New Releases

Do To The Beast

Afghan Whigs

Time Travelers & Bonfires

Sevendust

The 1975

The 1975

Cope (Deluxe Version)

Manchester Orchestra

La Gárgola

Chevelle

Lithium Burn

Deleted Scenes

With Light And With Love

Woods

Here and Nowhere Else

Cloud Nothings

Under Color Of Official Right

Protomartyr

PUP

PUP

New & Classic Emo

Happiness Is

Taking Back Sunday

Home, Like Noplace Is There

The Hotelier

S/T

Rites of Spring

24 Hour Revenge Therapy

Jawbreaker
More trials and tribulations than an average episode of Melrose Place, Jawbreaker continues to explore their personal struggles on their third album, fittingly titled 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. Continuing on the Jawbreaker tradition of poetic lyrics that provide a mental image to each song, the band deals with their endeavors through music instead of wallowing in them, making this record not entirely bleak. "Do You Still Hate Me," for example, has the persona dishing out the friction of a relationship gone sour through talking to the person in question: "I wrote you a letter/I heard it upset you/How can I do this better/We're getting older/But we're acting younger." Being critiqued and ostracized from their scene during the height of their popularity was another headache singer/songwriter Blake Schwarzenbach dealt with around the time this album was released (their previous album, Bivouac, provided them with a huge cult following). This no doubt inspired the song "Indictment," which talks about not caring what anyone thinks of their songwriting ("I just wrote the dumbest song/It's going to be a singalong/Our enemies will laugh and be pointing/It wont bother me, what the thoughtless are thinking"). Providing the perfect flow of temperamental pop to go along with these stories is proof enough that 24 Hour Revenge Therapy is the pivot of Jawbreaker's creative output.

Mike DaRonco, Rovi

Diary

Sunny Day Real Estate
Sunny Day Real Estate's debut album, Diary, virtually defined emo in the '90s, laying much of the groundwork (along with Weezer) for the genre's end-of-decade indie prominence. Although emo existed (both as a term and as a style) prior to Diary, it hadn't yet risen out of the deepest hardcore punk underground, save for a few bands on the Dischord label. For all intents and purposes, Diary was the album that made emo accessible, fusing its gnarled guitars and nakedly emotional vocals with more than a hint of melodic Seattle grunge. SDRE's song structures are far more oblique than, for example, the similarly anthemic Pearl Jam, but it's still easy to miss the group's main inspirations if you're not looking for them. Perhaps that's because, at bottom, SDRE don't sound much like their emo predecessors. For one, there are plenty of quiet, arpeggiated passages and contrasting dynamics; for another, vocalist Jeremy Enigk is more of a crooner than a screamer at heart, and the underlying tenderness in his voice breathes majesty into the group's slow, languid melodies. Yet, while Diary's true heart lies in its soaring, introspective anthems (like the band's signature song, "In Circles"), the more tortured, visceral moments balance things out, preventing the album from wallowing in melodramatic self-obsession. In retrospect, Diary doesn't quite fulfill all of its ambitions -- there are a few underfocused moments that don't achieve the epic sweep of the album's best compositions. That occasional inconsistency makes it feel somewhat less realized than their proggier post-reunion work, especially since Enigk would develop into a far more distinctive vocalist. But even if it isn't quite the top-to-bottom masterpiece its legions of imitators suggest, Diary still ranks as arguably the definitive '90s emo album, and an indispensable introduction to the genre. [The remastered 2009 edition adds new liner notes and 2 bonus tracks ("8" and "9") taken from the Thief Steal Me a Peach 7".]

Steve Huey, Rovi

S/T

Embrace

1986

One Last Wish
A document of the beautiful, short-lived urgency of the phenomenon known as One Last Wish. The fleeting and desperate nature of the band's existence emerges in this, their one and only recording, made in the few months they were together in 1986. The sound is like a hybrid of all the elements of their other musical projects -- sort of a logical extension of where Rites of Spring's latest material left off, mixed with what Happy Go Licky and Fugazi would later do. Guy's poignant and stirring vocals are as fierce/delicate as ever, and the music is churning, well composed, and compassionate all at once. And yet there's something else to this music -- some feeling that is indescribable, something that can only be felt.

Blake Butler, Rovi

The Black Parade

My Chemical Romance
The Black Parade is the third studio album by My Chemical Romance. Released on October 24, 2006 through Reprise Records, it was produced by Rob Cavallo, known for having produced multiple albums for Goo Goo Dolls and Green Day. It is a rock opera centering on a dying character with cancer known as "The Patient". The album tells the story of his apparent death, experiences in the afterlife, and subsequent reflection on his life.
Four singles were released from the album: "Welcome to the Black Parade", "Famous Last Words", "I Don't Love You", and "Teenagers". The Black Parade has received generally favorable reviews, and the band achieved its first Number 1 single in the UK with "Welcome to the Black Parade". The album debuted at number two on both the Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart and is also certified as platinum by the RIAA, as well as a Platinum certification in the UK and a Gold certificacion in Argentina by the CAPIF and in Chile by the IFPI Chile. The Black Parade was given the Platinum Europe Award by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry for 1 million sales in Europe. The limited edition boxed set also earned My Chemical Romance a Grammy Award nomination. In the video game Guitar Hero II, the song "Dead!" was added to the game's track list prior to the earlier PS2 version, and the three songs "Teenagers," "Famous Last Words" and "This Is How I Disappear" are available for download. The Black Parade has sold 1,610,000 copies in the US as of October 2010, and has sold 3,000,000 copies worldwide.

~ Provided by Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Parade) under Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode)

Bleed American (Deluxe Edition)

Jimmy Eat World
After being dropped by Capitol, Jimmy Eat World returned in 2001 with their most consistent and accessible album to date. Recorded entirely on the band's dime, before they had a new record deal, Bleed American features compelling lyrics, driving guitar work, and insanely catchy melodies. Left to their own devices during the recording process, it wouldn't have been surprising if the band had turned out another layered, sprawling album akin to their previous full-length masterwork, Clarity. Perhaps sensing that they wouldn't be able to top their previous work when it came to spacy emo, Bleed American heads in a new direction. There are no 16-minute songs here, just straight-ahead rock & roll, performed with punk energy and alt-rock smarts. The title track sets the tone for the album with its blistering guitar attack and aggressive vocals. "A Praise Chorus" and "The Middle improve upon that formula, maintaining the forceful instrumentation but toying with the lyrical themes. "A Praise Chorus" uses the most basic of rock emotions for lyrical inspiration, "I wanna fall in love tonight," while lifting lyrics from Tommy James' "Crimson and Clover," They Might Be Giants' "Don't Let's Start," and Mötley Crüe's "Kick Start My Heart," among others. When used in a song about the comfort and trappings of nostalgia, this borrowing comes off more like a well-placed tribute than stealing. "The Middle" offers a pep talk about self-acceptance and fitting in, and one of the most memorable guitar riffs this side of Angus Young. Bleed American's quieter moments recall some of the band's signature instrumentation from their previous work. Gentle keyboards, bells, and stirring background vocals from former that dog. member Rachel Haden enhance the understated beauty of ballads like "Hear You Me" and "Cautioneers." Haden's most enjoyable contribution, however, is to the up-tempo rocker "The Authority Song." On the surface a song about a song (John Mellencamp's "Authority Song), it also name drops the Beatles' "What Goes On." The numerous references to other bands and other songs reveal that although Jimmy Eat World is a critically acclaimed and incredibly talented band, the members are really just rock fans themselves. If they maintain this level of quality, however, don't be surprised if the next generation of ambitious rockers start writing songs that pay tribute to Jimmy Eat World. [The 2008 Deluxe reissue of the album lives up to the deluxe tag, featuring an entire disc's worth of b-sides, live tracks, demos and an unreleased version of "Your House". Many of the tracks were released in Japan, the UK, or Germany, it's nice to have them all gathered together in one spot. None of the extras stand out as relevatory or essential, but they do add quite a bit of background to one of the few pop/punk or emo albums likely to stand the test of time.]

Garage Rock New & Classic

White Blood Cells

The White Stripes
Despite the seemingly instant attention surrounding them -- glowing write-ups in glossy magazines like Rolling Stone and Mojo, guest lists boasting names like Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson, and appearances on national TV -- the White Stripes have stayed true to the approach that brought them this success in the first place. White Blood Cells, Jack and Meg White's third effort for Sympathy for the Record Industry, wraps their powerful, deceptively simple style around meditations on fame, love, and betrayal. As produced by Doug Easley, it sounds exactly how an underground sensation's breakthrough album should: bigger and tighter than their earlier material, but not so polished that it will scare away longtime fans. Admittedly, White Blood Cells lacks some of the White Stripes' blues influence and urgency, but it perfects the pop skills the duo honed on De Stijl and expands on them. The country-tinged "Hotel Yorba" and immediate, crazed garage pop of "Fell in Love With a Girl" define the album's immediacy, along with the folky, McCartney-esque "We're Going to Be Friends," a charming, school-days love song that's among Jack White's finest work. However, White's growth as a songwriter shines through on virtually every track, from the cocky opener, "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground," to vicious indictments like "The Union Forever" and "I Think I Smell a Rat." "Same Boy You've Always Known" and "Offend in Every Way" are two more quintessential tracks, offering up more of the group's stomping riffs and rhythms and us-against-the-world attitude. Few garage rock groups would name one of their most driving numbers "I'm Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman," and fewer still would pen lyrics like, "I'm so tired of acting tough/I'm gonna do what I please/Let's get married," but it's precisely this mix of strength and sweetness, among other contrasts, that makes the White Stripes so intriguing. Likewise, White Blood Cells' ability to surprise old fans and win over new ones makes it the Stripes' finest work to date. [A version of the album was released with a DVD attached to it that included the bonus tracks "Hand Springs" and "Lafayette Blues" and videos for "We're Going to Be Friends," "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground," "Fell in Love With a Girl," and "Hotel Yorba."]

Heather Phares, Rovi

Aftermath (UK)

The Rolling Stones
The British version of Aftermath was released earlier than its American counterpart and had several differences beyond its cover design: it runs more than ten minutes longer, despite not having "Paint It Black" on it (singles were usually kept separate from LPs in England in those days), and it has four additional songs -- "Mother's Little Helper," which was left off the U.S. album for release as a single; "Out of Time" in its full-length five-minute-36-second version, two minutes longer than the version of the song issued in America; "Take It or Leave It," which eventually turned up on Flowers in the U.S.; and "What to Do," which didn't surface in America until the release of More Hot Rocks more than six years later. Additionally, the song lineup is different, "Goin' Home" closing side one instead of side two. And the mixes used are different from the tracks that the two versions of the album do have in common -- the U.K. album and CD used a much cleaner, quieter master that had a more discreet stereo sound, with wide separation in the two channels and the bass not centered as it in the U.S. version. Thus, one gets a more vivid impression of the instruments. It's also louder yet curiously, because of the cleaner sound, slightly less visceral in its overall impact, though the details in the playing revealed in the mixes may fascinate even casual listeners. It's still a great album, though the difference in song lineup makes it a different record; "Mother's Little Helper" is one of the more in-your-face drug songs of the period, as well as being a potent statement about middle-class hypocrisy and political inconsistency, and "Out of Time," "Take It Leave It" (which had been a hit for the Searchers), and "What to Do," if anything, add to the misogyny already on display in "Stupid Girl" and "Think," and "Out of Time" adds to the florid sound of the album's psychedelic component (and there's no good reason except for a plain oversight by the powers that be for the complete version of "Out of Time" never having been released in America). The British version of Aftermath (which was also released in mono on vinyl) has been available intermittently on CD since the late '80s as an import, and is worth tracking down.

[The Rolling Stones' London/ABKCO catalog was reissued in August of 2002, packaged in digipacks with restored album artwork, remastered, and released as hybrid discs that contain both CD and Super Audio CD layers. The remastering -- performed with Direct Stream Digital (DSD) encoding -- is a drastic improvement, leaping out of the speaker yet still sounding like the original albums. This is noticeable on the standard CD layer but is considerably more pronounced on the SACD layer, which is shockingly realistic in its detail and presence yet is still faithful to the original mixes; Keith Richards' revved-up acoustic guitar on "Street Fighting Man" still sends the machine into overdrive, for instance. It just sounds like he's in the room with you. Even if you've never considered yourself an audiophile, have never heard the differences between standard and gold-plated CDs, you "will" hear the difference with SACD, even on a cheap stereo system without a high-end amplifier or speakers. And you won't just hear the difference, you'll be an instant convert and wish, hope, and pray that other artists whose catalog hasn't been reissued since the early days of CD -- Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, "especially" the Beatles -- are given the same treatment in the very near future. SACD and DSD are that good.]

Bruce Eder, Rovi

El Camino

The Black Keys
Picking up on the ‘60s soul undercurrent of Brothers, the Black Keys smartly capitalize on their 2010 breakthrough by plunging headfirst into retro-soul on El Camino. Savvy operators that they are, the Black Keys don’t opt for authenticity à la Sharon Jones or Eli “Paperboy” Reed: they bring Danger Mouse back into the fold, the producer adding texture and glitter to the duo’s clean, lean songwriting. Apart from “Little Black Submarines,” an acoustic number that crashes into Zeppelin heaviosity as it reaches its coda, every one of the 11 songs here clocks in under four minutes, adding up to a lean 38-minute rock & roll rush, an album that’s the polar opposite of the Black Keys’ previous collaboration with Danger Mouse, the hazy 2008 platter Attack & Release. That purposely drifted into detours, whereas El Camino never takes its eye off the main road: it barrels down the highway, a modern motor in its vintage body. Danger Mouse adds glam flair that doesn’t distract from the songs, all so sturdily built they easily accommodate the shellacked layers of cheap organs, fuzz guitars, talk boxes, backing girls, tambourines, foot stomps, and handclaps. Each element harks back to something from the past -- there are Motown beats and glam rock guitars -- but everything is fractured through a modern prism: the rhythms have swing, but they’re tight enough to illustrate the duo’s allegiance to hip-hop; the gleaming surfaces are postmodern collages, hinting at collective aural memories. All this blurring of eras is in the service of having a hell of a good time. More than any other Black Keys album, El Camino is an outright party, playing like a collection of 11 lost 45 singles, each one having a bigger beat or dirtier hook than the previous side. What’s being said doesn’t matter as much as how it’s said: El Camino is all trash and flash and it’s highly addictive.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators

13th Floor Elevators
Did the 13th Floor Elevators invent psychedelic rock? Aficionados will be debating that point for decades, but if Roky Erickson and his fellow travelers into inner space weren't there first, they were certainly close to the front of the line, and there are few albums from the early stages of the psych movement that sound as distinctively trippy -- and remain as pleasing -- as the group's groundbreaking debut, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. In 1966, psychedelia hadn't been around long enough for its clichés to be set in stone, and Psychedelic Sounds thankfully avoids most of them; while the sensuous twists of the melodies and the charming psychobabble of the lyrics make it sound like these folks were indulging in something stronger than Pearl Beer, at this point the Elevators sounded like a smarter than average folk-rock band with a truly uncommon level of intensity. Roky Erickson's vocals are strong and compelling throughout, whether he's wailing like some lysergic James Brown or murmuring quietly, and Stacy Sutherland's guitar leads -- long on melodic invention without a lot of pointless heroics -- are a real treat to hear. And nobody played electric jug quite like Tommy Hall -- actually, nobody played it at all besides him, but his oddball noises gave the band a truly unique sonic texture. If you want to argue that psychedelia was as much a frame of mind as a musical style, it's instructive to compare the recording of "You're Gonna Miss Me" by Erickson's earlier band, the Spades, to the version on this album -- the difference is more attitudinal than anything else, but it's enough to make all the difference in the world. (The division is even clearer between the Spades' "We Sell Soul" and the rewrite on Psychedelic Sounds, "Don't Fall Down"). The 13th Floor Elevators were trailblazers in the psychedelic rock scene, and in time they'd pay a heavy price for exploring the outer edges of musical and psychological possibility, but along the way they left behind a few fine albums, and The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators remains a potent delight. [While most CD releases of the 13th Floor Elevators' debut have sounded flat and murky, this two-disc set from the U.K. Charly label presents this classic album in its best fidelity to date. Disc one is devoted to the album's original mono mix, which actually sounds crisper and better detailed than the stereo version on disc two, though the newly remastered stereo disc is a significant improvement over its previous releases, and it's been re-sequenced to reflect Tommy Hall's preferred running order. These are the same remastered versions that appear on the box set Sign of the Three Eyed Men, but for this release Charly has added as a bonus rough mixes of five tunes that offer a glimpse as to how the album might have sounded before the final overdubs and effects were added. Add a beautifully designed package and strong liner notes, and this adds up to the definitive release of one of the defining albums of the psychedelic era.]

Mark Deming, Rovi

Youth & Young Manhood

Kings Of Leon
The Kings of Leon are the sons of a preacher and their debut album, Youth and Young Manhood, is their hymnal of rock & roll redemption. The brothers (and one cousin) Followill work with producer Ethan Johns for a rattling country-rock hootenanny, basically reviving the deep-fried Southern rock found on the band's first EP, Holy Roller Novocaine. Four of the five cuts featured in that set are included for a second time and they're nicely seeded in all their honky tonk rowdiness among the band's seven brand new tracks. Launching things off is the swanky "Red Morning Light." Guitarist Matthew Followill immediately establishes himself as a skilled musician, complementing his brother Caleb's coarse-grained drawl. "Joe's Head" is the closest the band comes to sounding like Tom Petty and Gregg Allman. "Spiral Staircase" finds Caleb causing trouble Bon Scott-style, while the band hints at some shenanigan-like behavior with some psychedelic pop. Youth and Young Manhood isn't sonically adventurous, but in the new-millennium pop realm, some greasy licks sure sound good.

The Ultimate Collection

The Kinks

Underneath The Rainbow

Black Lips

The Stooges (Deluxe Edition)

The Stooges
While the Stooges had a few obvious points of influence -- the swagger of the early Rolling Stones, the horny pound of the Troggs, the fuzztone sneer of a thousand teenage garage bands, and the Velvet Underground's experimental eagerness to leap into the void -- they didn't really sound like anyone else around when their first album hit the streets in 1969. It's hard to say if Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, Dave Alexander, and the man then known as Iggy Stooge were capable of making anything more sophisticated than this, but if they were, they weren't letting on, and the best moments of this record document the blithering inarticulate fury of the post-adolescent id. Ron Asheton's guitar runs (fortified with bracing use of fuzztone and wah-wah) are so brutal and concise they achieve a naïve genius, while Scott Asheton's proto-Bo Diddley drums and Dave Alexander's solid bass stomp these tunes into submission with a force that inspires awe. And Iggy's vividly blank vocals fill the "so what?" shrug of a thousand teenagers with a wealth of palpable arrogance and wondrous confusion. One of the problems with being a trailblazing pioneer is making yourself understood to others, and while John Cale seemed sympathetic to what the band was doing, he didn't appear to quite get it, and as a result he made a physically powerful band sound a bit sluggish on tape. But "1969," "I Wanna Be Your Dog," "Real Cool Time," "No Fun," and other classic rippers are on board, and one listen reveals why they became clarion calls in the punk rock revolution. Part of the fun of The Stooges is, then as now, the band managed the difficult feat of sounding ahead of their time and entirely "out" of their time, all at once.

Boys & Girls

Alabama Shakes
A low-key 2011 EP put Alabama Shakes on the map, but it was the buzz about the band's live shows—a hurricane of stomping, shabby-chic Southern soul led by firecracker vocalist Brittany Howard—that made Boys & Girls among the most anticipated debuts of 2012. The opening single, "Hold On," lives up to all the breathless hype; the Stax-studied howler seems heir apparent to The Black Keys' broad appeal. Of course, even though that gale force opener is a tough act to follow, the band's straight-laced guitar hooks and strutting backbeats are a rock-solid underpinning for Howard's rambunctious vocal tear (check out also-ran singles like "I Found You" and "I Ain't the Same"). So while Boys & Girls is an excellent initiation for the young band, it also seems to infer that the best is still to come.

Nate Cavalieri, Google Play

The Best Of The Troggs

The Troggs
The Best of the Troggs on Fontana/Chronicles is one of the better single-disc Troggs collections you are likely to find. The 12 tracks cover the band's best work from the initial period of their career in the mid-'60s. Of course, the set leads off with their biggest hit, the wild and nasty "Wild Thing," but the rest of the tunes show the band to be even wilder with a raft of frantic stompers like "From Home," the pleading "I Can't Control Myself," "I Want You," and "Gonna Make You." The group also made some of the most sensitive and pretty music of the British Invasion. Tunes like "Love Is All Around," "Anyway That You Want Me," "With a Girl Like You," and the impossibly tender "You Can Cry if You Want To" are the work of a band with a delicate mastery of emotion and dynamics. Hard to believe it's the same louts who bashed out "Wild Thing." Apart from a few minor cuts like "I Just Sing" and "Jingle Jangle," this collection delivers all the Troggs a casual fan would ever need and is a fine first purchase.

Tim Sendra, Rovi