January 19, 2018
Fall Out Boy, ManiaThe shape-shifting quartet's seventh album is "a re-affirmation of their ability to fuse over-the-top oversharing and Queen-ly operatic stomp with an elastic vision of pop," writes Jon Dolan. "It's more proof of why they're masters at turning meltdowns into jock jams."Read Our Review: Fall Out Boy Turn Meltdowns Into Jock Jams on ManiaHear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal
Lanco, Hallelujah NightsLast year's "Greatest Love Story" hit big on country radio and this Nashville band became even more invested in pushing the genre's boundaries in unexpected ways on its debut. "You don't want to be different for being different's sake, because that feels cheap," bandleader Brandon Lancaster told Rolling Stone. "But it's like, 'Do we like it? Does it give us that feeling inside we've all been chasing since we learned how to play instruments?' If it's giving us that feeling, let's do it." Read Our Feature: "Greatest Love Story" Band Lanco on Debut Album, Writing "Truck" SongsHear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal
First Aid Kit, RuinsKlara and Johanna Söderberg's fourth album has "dreamy grandeur, with touches of pedal steel and Peter Buck's guitar atmospherics," writes Will Hermes, "while a damaged romance bleeds across a widescreen America – it's like a Sergio Leone film starring Lana Del Rey, doubled."Read Our Review: First Aid Kit, Swedish Indie-Folkers, Return With R.E.M.'s GuitaristHear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal
Dave East, P2East Harlem-raised, Nas-cosigned MC Dave East brings back the Rotten Apple rap aesthetic with the sequel to last year's surprise hit Paranoia. "I've just been through a lot in 29 years, so I got a lot to talk about," he told Rolling Stone. "I always tell people, I never get writer's block because it's coming straight from my brain, like, real-life experiences. I'm like the news. I'm just reporting it for myself."Read Our Feature: Dave East on Prison, Islam, Reviving Nineties-Style SkitsHear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal
Devin Dawson, Dark HorseThis YouTube-borne upstart's debut takes a big-tent approach to country music. Opening track "Dip" takes a page from No Doubt's reggae-electro-pop book, while "I Don't Care Who Sees" pairs the California crooner's twang with bedroom-pop beats. Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal
Tune-Yards, I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private LifeThe first album in four years from Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner is "determined to conjure kinetic joy while staring down our present cultural fright show," writes Will Hermes. Read Our Review: Tune-Yards Get Intersectional, With Mighty Grooves, on Fourth LPHear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal
The Shins, The Worms HeartA number of artists, including Lucinda Williams, Tracy Bonham and Tegan & Sara, have recorded beloved old albums recently. But James Mercer is the first to do it with his most recent one. He re-imagines each song on 2017's Heartworms, flipping the running order and, in most cases, roughing up the sound. Heartworms often suggested Brian Wilson teaming up with Hall & Oates in a Portland home studio. The Worm's Heart opens with "The Fear – Flipped," which sounds like the Velvet Underground, then moves on to the loose reggae of "Half a Million – Flipped" and the excellent "Mindenhall – Flipped," the latter of which evokes Jerry Lee Lewis' 'Great Balls of Fire" via the Clean's "Tally Ho." As always, Mercer's seemingly bottomless tune-machine talent holds it all together. Jon DolanHear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal
Laraaji, Vision Songs, Vol. 1Leave it to the rarity-hunters and eccentricity embracers at Numero Group to find and champion the oddity in this zither-playing ambient icon's shimmering oeuvre. In the recent explosion of private press new age reissues, it feels like no one has gotten more love than Laraaji – his 1980 Brian Eno-produced debut re-released by Glitterbeat, the longform pieces of 1984's Celestial Vibrations via Soul Jazz, two cassette box sets via Stones Throw's Leaving Records and an appearance on Light in the Attic's scene-defining I Am the Center compilation. However, Vision Songs, originally a self-released cassette issued by the busking musician in 1984, showcases him in singer-songwriter mode. The drones and zither glow are still present, but are joined with a tiny Casio for tunes reminiscent of everything from James Taylor's tender folkie tunes to Talking Heads' stiff new wave to the minimal post-punk of bands like Flying Lizards. Christopher R. WeingartenHear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal
Caitlyn Smith, StarfireSmith, a 31-year-old singer-songwriter who's written hits for Meghan Trainor and Lady Antebellum among others, steps out on her own with this excellent debut. Smith's own voice is strikingly potent, easily as big and versatile as any of the Nashville stars she's worked with. On "St. Paul" she sings about being 17, driving from her native Cannon Falls, Minnesota to her first little big town ("listening to the same three Wilco tracks") and sneaking drinks at a local punk club, while the acoustic "This Town Is Killing Me" surveys her struggles while trying to make it as an artist, including missing her grandfather's funeral because she had to tour. The LP ends with "Cheap Date," a sweet, funny piano come-on about forgoing the scene downtown to order Chinese and make out on a couch: "Think of all the money we'll save," she sings. It's the perspective that comes from living a little before you get your shot. Jon DolanHear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal
Shopping, The Official BodyTwenty-first century malaise hangs in the background of this British trio's third album: "Where will I go/to find some peace?" guitarist-vocalist Rachel Aggs wails over skittering guitars on the malcontented "Asking for a Friend," while the stomping "Discover" underscores Andrew Milk's petulant assertion "I'm not lonely/I'm fine" with a menacing bassline that hints at below-the-surface tumult. Shopping pairs their stinging critiques of a frosty world with jubilant, taut disco-punk, augmenting their shout-along rallying cries and jumpy guitars with touches of synth bass and programmed drums. Wiry and urgent, The Official Body offers vibrant, chaotic catharsis at an ideal moment. Maura JohnstonHear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify
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February 04, 2019
So many times, we put ourselves at the bottom of our love-list, making sure anyone and everyone comes first. Why? I’m a lifelong Jesus-loving girl, as most of you know, and something he said two thousand years ago might give you another perspective: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” YOURSELF. Yes, that’s what he said -- it’s fine and dandy to love love LOVE yourself too.
Read on and discover the secrets of self-love and the joys of loving others...
August 22, 2018
Peace, Love, strength and Yoko Ono. They fit like hand in glove. Now Yoko revisits her past through her latest album Warzone (out October 19) and remembers our history so she can help influence our future - right on time.
August 16, 2018
A magical night of ELO and a concert full of love and amazing surprises - Groupie designer and contributor, Devyn Severson, shares her fun-filled story with us all. Thanks Dev
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