Here are a few of the things we'll be playing this week.
Van Morrison: Keep Me Singing is Van Morrison's 36th studio album to date and consists of 13 tracks—12 original songs written and performed by Morrison, as well as a cover of the blues standard "Share Your Love With Me"—written by Alfred Baggs and Don Robey and previously recorded by artists such as Aretha Franklin and Kenny Rogers. For the track "Every Time I See A River", Morrison has collaborated with acclaimed lyricist Don Black. The album's closing track, "Caledonia Swing", is an instrumental featuring Van on piano and saxophone. All tracks were produced by Van Morrison.
Bon Iver: 22 A Million. 22 stands for Justin Vernon. The number's recurrence in his life has become a meaningful pattern through encounter and recognition. A mile marker, a jersey number, a bill total. The reflection of "2" is his identity bound up in duality: the relationship he has with himself and the relationship he has with the rest of the world. A Million is the rest of that world: the millions of people who we will never know, the infinite and the endless, everything outside one's self that makes you who you are. The other side of Justin's duality is the thing that completes him and what he searches for. 22, A Million is thus part love letter, part final resting place of two decades of searching for self-understanding like a religion. And the inner-resolution of maybe never finding that understanding. When Justin sings, "I'm still standing in the need of prayer" he begs the question of what's worth worshipping, or rather, what is possible to worship. If music is a sacred form of discovering, knowing and being, then Bon Iver's albums are totems to that faith. The poly-fi record formed at the congruence of a bold yet delicate sonic palette. These sounds were the way out from the suffocating enclosure and captivity of anxiety. The ten songs of 22, A Million are a collection of sacred moments, love's torment and salvation, contexts of intense memories, signs that you can pin meaning onto or disregard coincidence. If 2011's Bon Iver, Bon Iver built a habitat rooted in physical spaces, then 22, A Million is the letting go of that attachment to a place.
Pixies: Head Carrier. The Pixies consists of founders Black Francis (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), David Lovering (drums) and new bass player Paz Lenchantin (Zwan, Papa M, Queens Of The Stone Age). For over 25 years, they have been an Independent music staple, have influenced countless acts from Nirvana, The Strokes, PJ Harvey, Weezer, Radiohead, etc. Bono of U2 has called the Pixies "one of America's greatest bands ever" and Radiohead's Thom Yorke has said that "the Pixies had changed my life". The Pixies have been covered by David Bowie ("Cactus") and recently invited on tour to support Robert Plant. Head Carrier, their first proper full-length in many years, is a return to that familiar Pixies sound everyone adores and touches on classic Pixie's sounds. The album was recorded with Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood, Opeth, Band Of Skulls).
EC LIVE in San Diego with JJ Cale. LIVE archive release from the rock legend. On March 15, 2007, Eric Clapton's world tour stopped at San Diego's iPayOne Center (originally the San Diego Sports Arena and now the Valley View Casino Center). The band lineup for the tour continues to be a firm fan-favorite, with Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall II on guitars, Chris Stainton and Tim Carmon on keyboards, Willie Weeks on bass, Steve Jordan on drums and backing vocalists Michelle John and Sharon White. During the set, EC's long-time musical inspiration, JJ Cale, sat in for five songs, including three from their Grammy-Award winning album, The Road To Escondido, released in 2006.
John Prine: For Better, Or Worse. The follow up to Prine's Grammy award winning record, In Spite of Ourselves, For Better, or Worse features duets with Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Alison Krauss, Susan Tedeschi, Lee Ann Womack and others. Two time Grammy Award winner, John Prine, is a singer/songwriter who, from his eponymously titled first LP release in 1971, has continued to write and perform songs that have become central to our American musical heritage. Long considered a "songwriter's songwriter," John Prine is a rare talent whose writing is greatly admired by his peers. With his career spanning more than 40 years Prine continues to perform at sold out shows all over the US, Canada, and Europe. Among the many awards and accolades John has received in recent times include is his 2003 induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, an Americana Lifetime Achievement Award for songwriting and was honored at the Library of Congress by US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser. Prine has become for many, not just a well-loved and appreciated songwriter, but a bonafide American treasure.
Opeth: Sorceress. the 12th full-length album from the Swedish rockers. Since the early '90s, Opeth have stretched the boundaries of heavy music. From the progressive death metal the band began with to the records like Blackwater Park and the band's recent record, 2014's Pale Communion, Opeth has continually invited their growing audience along with them as they grew into the musically respected band they are today. There are few bands that can or will match Sweden's Opeth. Since forming in the tiny Stockholm suburb of Bandhagen in 1990, the Swedes have eclipsed convention, defiantly crushed the odds, and become one of the best bands on the planet; on album or on stage. Ask any Opeth fan. Enquire with any band that's shared the proverbial pine with the Swedes. Or, get a label representative to talk Opeth. They'll all tell you the same thing: Opeth are peerless. And they're only getting better.
Jimi: Machine Gun. This debut concert by Hendrix and his Band of Gypsys is released in it's entirety for first time ever. This set was captured live at the Fillmore East in New York and features Jimi joined by Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums. These 11 songs were recorded New Year's Eve 1969, the night before the original Band of Gypsys live album was recorded—eight of the tracks are previously unreleased while the three previously released tracks have been newly mixed by Eddie Kramer. As the '60s came to a close, Jimi Hendrix pushed the boundaries of funk, rock and R&B with a brand new group, Band of Gypsys. Together with Cox and Miles, Hendrix unveiled stunning, newly written material across four shows at the legendary Fillmore East in New York City.
Drive-By Truckers: American Band. On the 20th anniversary of being a band, Drive-By Truckers return with an urgent and timely protest album, made for our times, and in particular this election year. Songwriters Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley have made an epic statement and what NPR Music says " very well might be their greatest album." Drive-By Truckers are based in Athens, GA though two out of five current members (Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley) are originally from The Shoals region of Northern Alabama, and the band strongly identifies with Alabama. The band currently consists of Cooley (lead vocals, guitar, banjo), Hood (lead vocals, guitar), Brad Morgan (drums), Jay Gonzalez (keys/guitar/accordion/backing vocals) and Matt Patton (bass guitar).
Bob Weir: Blue Mountain. Before he co-founded the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir spent a summer working and living on a ranch in Wyoming, sparking a lifelong fascination with the stories and songs of the American West. Blue Mountain, Weir's first solo album in over 10 years, brings his musical journey full circle. Working with producer Josh Kaufman, acclaimed songwriter Josh Ritter, guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner and bassist Scott Devendorf, Blue Mountain is a moody, highly textured modern interpretation of Weir's unforgettable experience. Includes 'Whatever Happened To Rose', 'Lay My Lily Down', 'Only A River', 'Cottonwood Lullaby', 'Gallop On The Run' and more.
Regina Spektor: Remember Us To Life is composed entirely of all new songs recently written by Spektor, a change from past albums when she would record songs written throughout her career. Spektor gave birth to her first child in 2014 and she spent considerable time writing during and after her pregnancy. Says Spektor I made more art and felt more inspired than I had in a long time. Spektor recorded with producer Leo Abrahams (David Byrne/Brian Eno, Frightened Rabbit, Paolo Nutini) in Los Angeles at The Village Studios. Says Spektor of Abrahams, he is such a kind and talented musician. And person! I felt very grateful to work with him.
Banks: The Altar. The second studio album by American singer and songwriter Jillian Rose Banks AKA Banks. Producers Tim Anderson and Al Shux worked on the album—they also contributed to Banks' debut studio album, Goddess. The lead singles from the album include "F*** with Myself", "Gemini Feed" and "Mind Games". Banks is from Orange County, California. She is signed to Harvest Records and Good Years Recordings. Following the release of two extended plays, Fall Over and London, in 2013, Banks released her debut album, Goddess, on September 5, 2014, to positive reviews from contemporary music critics. She has toured internationally with The Weeknd and was also nominated for the Sound of 2014 award by the BBC and an MTV Brand New Nominee in 2014.
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: 50 Year Thing. LIVE release that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the country/folk legends. This performance and album features Aliison Krauss, John Prine, Vince Gill, Jackson Browne and many other "friends" of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and was recorded at the historic Ryman Auditorium in NAshville TN. The CD contains two extra songs not originally part of the PBS version.
Suicidal Tendencies: World Gone Mad. The twelfth studio album from Venice Beach's legendary hardcore punk/heavy metal band, Suicidal Tendencies. The band's current lineup features frontman Mike 'Cyco Miko' Muir and Dave Lombardo on drums. Dave is one of the founding members of Slayer and known as the 'Godfather of the double bass.' The band is often credited (along with D.R.I.) as one of "the fathers of crossover thrash". Suicidal Tendencies rose to fame with their 1983 self-titled debut album; it spawned the single "Institutionalized", which was one of the first hardcore punk videos to receive substantial airplay on MTV.