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Music Releases 04-30-21

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After two UK #1 albums, 2 million album sales and an array of international acclaim, you might’ve thought you knew what to expect from Royal Blood. Those preconceptions were shattered when they released ‘Trouble’s Coming’ last summer. Hitting a melting pot of fiery rock riffs and danceable beats, they delivered something fresh, unexpected and yet entirely in tune with what they’d forged their reputation with.

When Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher sat down to talk about making a new album, they knew what they wanted to achieve. It involved a conscious return to their roots, back when they had made music that was influenced by Daft Punk, Justice, and Philippe Zdar of Cassius. It also called for a similar back-to-basics approach to what had made their self-titled debut album so thrilling, visceral and original. 

We sort of stumbled on this sound, and it was immediately fun to play,” recalls Kerr. “That’s what sparked the creativity on the new album, the chasing of that feeling. It’s weird, though - if you think back to ‘Figure it Out’, it kind of contains the embryo of this album. We realised that we didn’t have to completely destroy what we’d created so far; we just had to shift it, change it. On paper, it’s a small reinvention. But when you hear it, it sounds so fresh.”

Those traits pulsate throughout the new single and title track. Kerr’s spiralling bass riff casts an hypnotic allure as it grows in intensity, while his vocals switch at will between a raw rock roar and a soulful falsetto. It’s underpinned by Thatcher’s thundering beats, his taut rhythms infused with groove-laden hi-hats.

After setting the tone with ‘Trouble’s Coming’, the album opens in breathless, take-no-prisoners style with the fierce metallic grooves of ‘Who Needs Friends’ hitting an early visceral peak. Royal Blood further reference their fresh array of influences by deploying vocodered vocals on ‘Million & One’ before dynamically switching between the biggest contrasts of their sound with ‘Limbo’. Already a fan favourite having been a regular during the duo’s 2019 shows, ‘Boilermaker’ lives up to its reputation and is more than matched by ‘Mad Visions’, which evokes a hyper-aggressive Prince. It ends with a final surprise in the shape of the stark piano ballad ‘All We Have Is Now’, a vulnerable and revealing reminder to live in the moment.

This new approach manifested itself in the duo’s decision to produce the majority of ‘Typhoons’ themselves. ‘Boilermaker’ was produced by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, the two bands having first connected when Royal Blood supported them on a huge North American tour. Meanwhile, the multiple Grammy Award winner Paul Epworth produced ‘Who Needs Friends’ and contributed additional production to ‘Trouble’s Coming’.

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The Million Masks of God showcases the strength and boundary-pushing invention of Manchester Orchestra’s catalog, and is a testament to the kinship of its songwriting duo—the bond that enables them to take something so tragically personal and turn it into limitless, compassionate, communal, revelatory art.

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if i could make it go quiet, the debut album from girl in red, is the musical distillation of Marie Ulven’s solitary conversations on the road: it’s an album brimming with the things we wish we could say to others, but tell ourselves instead. The album is girl in red in its purest, elevated form. She has never been braver, and the music follows suit, whether it’s collaborating with pop mastermind and Billie Eilish collaborator FINNEAS on “Serotonin,” a huge pop anthem that speaks to Ulven’s struggles with mental health, or flexing her instrumental chops with album closer “it would feel like this.” Betrayal, lust, longing, pulling herself out of a depressive spell -- nothing is off-limits on if i could make it go quiet.

 

“I really poured my heart into a lot of these lyrics, fully,” she says. “I just feel like I emptied myself in this album.”

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Legendary drummer, Mick Fleetwood enlisted an all-star cast for a one-of-a-kind concert honouring the early years of Fleetwood Mac and its founder, Peter Green which was held on 25th February 2020 at the London, Palladium.

The bill included Billy Gibbons, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, John Mayall, Christine McVie, Zak Starkey, Steven Tyler, Bill Wyman, Noel Gallagher, Pete Townshend, Neil Finn, Kirk Hammett and Jeremy Spencer. Legendary producer Glyn Johns joined as the executive sound producer and the house band featured Fleetwood himself along with Andy Fairweather Low, Dave Bronze, Rick Vito, Jonny Lang and Ricky Peterson.

Fleetwood, who curated the list of artists performing, said: “The concert is a celebration of those early blues days where we all began, and it’s important to recognize the profound impact Peter and the early Fleetwood Mac had on the world of music. Peter was my greatest mentor and it gives me such joy to pay tribute to his incredible talent. I am honoured to be sharing the stage with some of the many artists Peter has inspired over the years and who share my great respect for this remarkable musician. ‘Then Play On’...”

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A unique new album of poetry and music featuring Marianne Faithfull, set to the music of Warren Ellis, and featuring Nick Cave, Brian Eno and Vincent Ségal.

Marianne Faithfull releases one of the most distinctive albums of her extraordinary life and career with composer and multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis. It was recorded just before and during the first Covid-19 lockdown – during which the singer herself became infected and almost died. Together with musical friends and family, She Walks in Beauty fulfils Faithfull’s long-held ambition to record an album of poetry with music.

Delving deep into her past, it’s a record that draws on her passion for the English Romantic poets, a passion she fostered at St Joseph's Convent School before leaving for London at the age of 16. There she entered the world of As Tears Go By, of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, setting her on a left-hand path to pop stardom. Sixties iconography and outrage followed, as did her subsequent battles with addiction before her 1979 return to powerful female and artistic autonomy with Broken English.

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On Dropkick Murphys' new album, Turn Up That Dial, the band boots in the front door of 2021 with a record that punches you square in the face and says, in the words of Ken Casey, "Get up, get out of those sweatpants you've been wearing for the last year... better times are ahead - LET'S F-in' GO!!"