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New Music Alert: Week of May 18th

17 May, 2010 New Releases
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Band of Horses - Infinite Arms: “Infinite Arms” is Band of Horses’ third full length album and major label debut. Produced by Band of Horses with additional production by Phil Ek and mixed by Dave Sardy, the songs on “Infinite Arms” project the essence of the different American locales that became the setting for the recording and songwriting process, yielding the group’s most focused and dynamic recordings to date.

Band of Horses is Ben Bridwell, Creighton Barrett, Ryan Monroe, Tyler Ramsey, and Bill Reynolds. Infinite Arms marks the recording debut for Ramsey and Reynolds, while Barrett and Monroe graced the last album Cease to Begin. Through extensive touring over the last two years, Band of Horses have become a cohesive force, with all members making invaluable contributions to the unmistakable sound that has Bridwell has crafted since the band’s inception.

The Black Keys - Brothers: The maturation of the Black Keys as record makers and performers has been both subtle and startling. With their 2008 Nonesuch release ‘Attack & Release’ - the fifth album of their eight-year career which doubled the sales of their previous album and Nonesuch debut ‘Magic Potion’ - guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney illustrated the durability of their few-frills sound, a mysterious and heavy brew of seventies-vintage rock, classic R&B and timeless, downhearted blues. Producer and pal Danger Mouse, their first outside collaborator, didn’t try to reinvent their sound but further isolated its essence with the help of a few carefully chosen guest players and some retro-modern electronic gear. It didn’t need to get slicker to get better, or, as the Boston Globe put it, ”Attack & Release’ proves that cleaning up the boys still won’t stop them from tracking mud all over the house.’

Danger Mouse returned to co-produce ‘Tighten Up’ on ‘Brothers,’ but for the most part, the duo was on its own, spending ten days at the legendary Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama and coming up with the an even more intensely focused, deeply soulful set that includes a cover of Jerry Butler’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.’ The performances are inventive and impassioned: Auerbach extends his vocal range to falsetto on the lead-off track ‘Everlasting Light’ and ‘The Only One’; ‘Howlin’ For You’ opens with a Gary Glitter-style drum riff and the chorus practically invites singing along. The tunes offer a surprising amount of lyrical candor and more than a little dark humor; the grooves alternate between ballsy swagger and bluesy rumination. The album reflects where Auerbach and Carney have been lately, most recently collaborating with a who’s who of New York City MC’s, including RZA, Q Tip, Mos Def and Raekwon on the 2009 BlakRoc super-session organized by hip-hop impresario and Black Keys fan Damon Dash. They’ve also pursued projects on their own, Auerbach with his solo ‘Keep It Hid’ album and tour, Carney with his band Drummer and its debut disc, ‘Feels Good Together.’ Their maturation didn’t happen just in the studio, though. Carney admits, ‘Dan and I grew up a lot as individuals and musicians prior to making this album. Our relationship was tested in many ways but at the end of the day, we’re brothers, and I think these songs reflect that.’

LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening: The new album is LCD Soundsystem’s first full offering of new studio material since 2007′s Sound Of Silver, which was named best album of 2007 by The Guardian, Uncut and the Independent among others, and like its predecessor 2005′s LCD Soundsystem received a Grammy nomination for Best Electronic/Dance Album.

Nas & Damian Marley - Distant Relatives: International Hip Hop superstar Nas and Grammy-winning artist Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley join creative forces to release this highly anticipated and exciting 2010 collaboration. This is an album created by the two serious artists to explore and celebrate the correlations and deep-rooted connections between reggae and Hip Hop, tracing both sounds back to the African motherland that is both the cradle of humanity and the wellspring of mankind’s music. The project features the signature instrumentation and musicianship of Marley with the hard-hitting beats and lyrics of Nas. Distant Relatives traces the direct line from Dancehall Reggae’s breakthrough moment 40 years ago to the rise of Hip Hop several years later.

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