Incubus, Sheryl Crow & Brad Paisley Lead Albums Of The Week - April 21
Thu, 20 Apr 2017 12:08:16
This week there's a little something for everyone in album releases. Icons, idealists, rockers and country rebels are all dropping collections that feel essential, not only for long-time fans but for first-time listeners.
Maximo Park bring stories of political and personal revolution, while Sheryl Crow returns to her roots and her most exciting album in some years. Meanwhile Brad Paisley finally delivers the album that he's been promising would drop for several months, and alternative rockers Incubus share a full discography of everything they've ever recorded — a collection that sounds more like a totem of the genre which built them than it does a typical anthology release.
So, as always, with apologies to those that we don't mention — here is the ARTISTdirect round-up of the most interesting releases that make our Albums of the Week...
Ray Davies — "Americana" — Legacy Recordings
Sir Ray Davies releases his first album in a decade and, perhaps oddly for an artist who inarguably represents some of the very best of British songwriting, it is a collection of sentiments and structures that pay homage to the artist's fondness for American culture. The themes, on one hand, are apparently narrow — but then the view pulls back and we see that "Americana" is simply a filter through which a broad landscape has passed. Davies songwriting benefits from the wide focus, and the tracks feel as heartfelt and loving toward their subjects as anything he's previously offered. Not an explosive album, but certainly one that will register in the canon of what makes Davies Davies.
Maxïmo Park — "Risk To Exist" — Cooking Vinyl
Paul Smith and his pals return with an album that was borne of frustration and the need to create solutions to the political and human issues occurring around the world. "Risk To Exist" champions the cause for empathy over fear, and for togetherness over polarization. With songs addressing refugee and migrant crisis, the shift of global power, and the urgent need to calm it's an incredible accomplishment that Smith continues to inject his deeply personal stories, usual wit and a wisdom that reflects his decades travelling the world. It's a great album, oddly as danceable as it is angry.
Incubus — "8" — Sony Music
8 is much less of an album — and much more a complete discography of every release the hard-rocking band from Calabasas has ever dropped. With 13 million worldwide sales and 8 million sales in the USA alone, the call for a comprehensive collection of the band who informed an entire generation of alternative rock kids was not small. This package feels as much like a catalog of sounds from an entire scene as it does the output of just one band. For fans of the band — this is a potentially pricey but essential grab. For fans of the genre here is a release that perfectly documents one of the most influential bands of the 90's.
Sheryl Crow — "Be Myself" — A&M Records
Three years ago Sheryl Crow released her first 'full country' album. Feels Like Home left genre stalwarts cold, and it's reasonable to say that it was a commercial flop. Crow, who has been in the game for a long time, and knows the long and hard roads that the journeyman musician must take, picked herself up, dusted herself and returned to her roots. Be Myself is a crisply titled manifesto that brings the sound that made Crow famous back into the fore. Track after track of sing-along country-rock-alternative-pop moments bring the artist's heart up for examination. This is a declaration of purpose, drive and determination — informed not only by recent struggles, but previous victories — the album is conversely complicated and simple. Working again with Jeff Trott and Tchad Blake, the team responsible for hits like "My Favorite Mistake" and "Everyday Is a Winding Road." This is what Crow has always done best — and she does it brilliantly here.
Brad Paisley — "Love & War" — Artista Nashville
Following the success of his recent track "Today", fans of Brad Paisley have eagerly been waiting for his eleventh studio album, Love and War. Delayed releases added only to the excitement and tension as Paisley discussed his collaborations with Demi Lovato, Mick Jagger. There's even a track on here that credits Johnny Cash as a co-writer. The song is "Gold All Over The Ground" and it uses a poem penned by one John R. Cash. There are traditional themes and contemporary cuts — Paisley even references Netflix series "Stranger Things" in his video for "Last Time For Everything" The sense of conflict and community is strong on this album, and whilst he has his detractors it's an undeniable truth that Brad Paisley does country like no other.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff