10/29 Featured New Releases
Colorado songwriter Emily Scott Robinson beckons to those who are lost, lonely, or learning the hard way with American Siren, her first album for Oh Boy Records. With hints of bluegrass, country, and folk, the eloquent collection shares her gift for storytelling through her pristine soprano and the perspective of her unconventional path into music.
“I think that the thread running through the album is those things that call to us, and how we can't resist that call,” she says. “It’s about the siren songs that come up through our lives.”
Though not fully autobiographical, American Siren gracefully blends imagined characters with meaningful people she’s encountered on her journey. Showcasing her ability as a storyteller, “If Trouble Comes a Lookin’” invents a scene where a vulnerable priest and an unhappy wife meet in an Arkansas hotel bar. “Hometown Hero” is an emotional tribute to her cousin, a veteran lost to suicide. “Lost Woman’s Prayer” stems from the words of a sage friend she met while traveling abroad, while “Every Day in Faith” is a personal testament to seeing things through.
Robinson received significant acclaim for her 2019 album, Traveling Mercies. And her long-held dream came true later that year when she sang on the Telluride Bluegrass Festival stage as the winner of the Telluride Troubadour Contest. A poignant standalone single in 2020, titled “The Time for Flowers,” prompted a private Instagram message from Oh Boy Records’ Jody Whelan, letting her know how meaningful the song was to his family. They struck up a fast friendship, then decided to partner for a release of American Siren.
“It is bigger and riskier and more expansive than my last collection,” Robinson says. “It feels like I wrote some songs that I'm going to grow into as I continue to perform them. I actually cried after I finished every one of them. I was so relieved that I was able to write them. I carved out a little more of my own experiences into these songs. They're excavating some deeper stuff than I've touched on before. I think they will have a healing quality for people who listen.”
For her fans and for herself, this revealing collection proves that heeding the call to make music was the right decision. "Ever since this dream was born, I don't think it's ever left my mind," Robinson says. "I've worked toward it every day, even when I felt like I was stumbling in the dark. Now I can look back and see how beautifully it all knits together."
At this stage in the game, the name Whitechapel commands respect. Already sitting on one of the most enviable catalogs in contemporary metal, in 2019 they dropped The Valley, showcasing a confident evolution in their sound and standing as a true landmark release that sets a new standard for the genre. In 2021, they return with that album's successor, the mighty Kin, which is an even more dynamic and diverse collection, further advancing the band's sound into new territory without losing sight of what brought them to this point. The commencement of writing for the album was a direct result of the Covid pandemic, the band having several tours lined up to finish out the cycle for The Valley, but when these got cancelled, they decided to refocus their energies and begin working on a new record. The result is a collection that explores a lot of sonic and emotional territory, and for the first time, it could be said that a Whitechapel record is as much a rock album as it is a metal one, an assertion guitarist Alex Wade agrees with. "It's still very much a metal album, I don't think you would hear any of the songs on mainstream radio, but there are elements of the record that have more of a rock and open vibe. We really wanted these songs to breathe and have life and to sound bigger than anything we've made so far. We have explored more singing on 'Kin' too. It wouldn't make sense to have the majority of the fanbase enjoy that sound and then shy away from it." This is not to say that the band have lost their hardest edges, with the full-on death metal assault that kicks off both "Lost Boy" and "To The Wolves" as brutal and serrated as extreme metal gets, and while vocalist Phil Bozeman explores his wide-ranging singing voice more, he also cuts loose with his trademark roar across the album's eleven tracks.
Mastodon will release their anxiously awaited ninth full-length album, HUSHED AND GRIM, on October 29, 2021 via Reprise Records. Over the past year, the group recorded the album in their hometown, collaborating with producer David Bottrill [Tool, Rush, Muse, Peter Gabriel] behind the board. As their most ambitious body of work to date, it consists of 15 tracks, surveying sonic landscapes of rock, psychedelia, punk, metal, alternative, and prog threaded together by the innately expressive musical interplay of these four musicians. At the same time, an atmosphere of loss, loneliness, and longing permeates through the trio of cathartic vocals as they musically say goodbye to old friend, confidant, and longtime manager the late Nick John by architecting a magnum opus that bears the influence of his eternal memory.
The War On Drugs announce I Don’t Live Here Anymore, their first studio album in four years, out October 29th on Atlantic Records. Over the last 15 years, The War on Drugs have steadily emerged as one of this century’s great rock and roll synthesists, removing the gaps between the underground and the mainstream, making records that wrestle a fractured past into a unified and engrossing present.
Just a month after A Deeper Understanding received the 2018 Grammy for Best Rock Album, the band retreated to upstate New York to jam and cut new demos. It was the start of a dozen-plus session odyssey that spanned three years and seven studios, including some of rock’s greatest sonic workshops like Electric Lady in New York and Los Angeles’ Sound City.
The War On Drugs’ 2022 tour takes the band to some of the largest venues they’ve ever played, including their first headlining show at MadisonSquare Garden, as well as Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium, the Bill Graham Civic Center in San Francisco, the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, two nights at the Chicago Theatre, Philadelphia’s Metropolitan, the House of Blues in Boston, and beyond.
The fourth installment in Sheeran’s symbol album series = is Ed’s most accomplished work yet; the evolution of an artist who continues to tread new ground. A body of songs that were made over a four-year period following his seminal ‘÷’ (Divide) album era, thematically, ‘=’ finds Ed taking stock of his life and the people in it, as he explores the varying degrees of love (‘The Joker And The Queen’, ‘First Times’, ‘2step'), loss (‘Visiting Hours’), resilience (‘Can’t Stop The Rain’) and fatherhood (‘Sandman’, ‘Leave Your Life’), while also processing his reality and career (‘Tides’). Sonically, ‘=’ encapsulates Ed’s versatile musical palette, spanning signature, guitar-led tracks and world-class balladry to weightier, euphoric production moments, as first showcased on the album’s lead single ‘Bad Habits,’ released earlier this summer.
“Billy Bragg — the troubadour who's been giving his fans virtual hugs since the early 1980s — released this blood pressure-lowering testament to enduring love and trust. It's a track from his first solo album in eight years, out this October. —ANN POWERS, NPR STAFF PICK
“…each track on The Million Things That Never Happened recharges the spirit in its own way, making this a welcome balm for strange days.” - NO DEPRESSION
Moving…powerful…Bragg’s voice, carrying years of hard-earned wisdom, shares a message of hope, strength and healing.- AMERICAN SONGWRITER
Sam Evian’s highly anticipated third album, Time To Melt will be released on October 29th which will be a debut on Fat Possum Records. Sam is a prolific producer & engineer with credits including Big Thief, Blonde Redhead, Widowspeak, Anna Burch, Cass McCombs, Hannah Cohen, Cassandra Jenkins, Okkervil River and more.