|In Another World||Cheap Trick||BGRT||CD||2021-04-09||$13.98|
|BUMMER||cleopatrick||Nowhere Special Recordings||CD||2021-06-04||$11.98|
|Arrows||Red Fang||Relapse Records||CD||2021-06-04||$13.98|
|You Hear Georgia||Blackberry Smoke||LDRS||CD||2021-05-28||$11.98|
|L.W.||King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard||KGLW||CD||2021-05-28||$12.98|
|All of Your Stones||The Steel Woods||Woods Music||CD||2021-05-14||$11.98|
|I'm Still Here||Travis Linville||Black Mesa||CD||2021-05-21||$14.99|
With over 5,000 performances spanning four decades, 20 million records sold worldwide, and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, CHEAP TRICK is undoubtedly one of the most influential classic rock groups of the past 50 years. The band was formed in 1974 and while it has evolved throughout the years, CHEAP TRICK has continued to reach mainstream and critical success. Hits such as “I Want You To Want Me,” “Dream Police,” and “Surrender” have cemented the group as one of America’s top rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time.
"Listening to the story of Canadian duo cleopatrick is a bit like hearing the plot of the best, most righteously validating coming-of-age film never made. Two friends meet aged four in Hicksville, Nowheretown (real name: Cobourg, Ontario, population 19,000), grow up completely inseparable, form a band and, against numerous obstacles, blossom into a genuine, global underground sensation. There are heroes and villains, highs and lows and, crucially, some of the most poetic plot twists that could seem almost too perfect, were they not completely true.
Take the story of 2017 breakthrough track ‘hometown’ for example. “It’s one of the craziest, most ironic things that’s ever happened,” begins vocalist and guitarist Luke Gruntz. “I was going to college because I was too scared to put all my chips in the band pile, and that’s what ‘hometown’ is about: it’s a song about feeling like we’re doing all this stuff and we’re working so hard and we’re just never going to be heard. It’s literally a song about people probably never hearing our songs. And then by some act of the universe, that song ended up unlocking all the doors for us.”
Today, cleopatrick has logged 77 million streams and counting - all from an increasingly dedicated fanbase who’ve found the duo, completed by drummer Ian Fraser, their own way: no major label, no big budget, just two best pals knuckling down, cementing a unique sonic alchemy and filling a space of honest, empathetic yet undeniably heavy-hitting rock music that they’d been searching for themselves for years. Between multiple sold out tours in Canada, the US and the UK/EU and appearances at Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and Reading/Leeds, the pair have been crafting BUMMER: a debut album that sees cleopatrick harness all the magic they’ve been brewing over their two-decade friendship and funnel it into a record that aims to reinvigorate the rock landscape from the ground up. Taking the ethos of their New Rock Mafia collective - a group of friends and fellow bands, united in making a more inclusive, equality-driven space in rock music - and imbuing it with the sonic ambition and ferocity of a record designed to be played hard and loud, it’s an album about two friends, who’ve been with each other since the formative first steps that adorn ‘BUMMER’’s heartwarming cover image and made something that’s a testament to the power of sticking to your guns."
Throughout their career, Blackberry Smoke has embodied Georgia’s rich musical legacy, honoring the people, places and sounds of their home state. As the band celebrates their 20th anniversary this year, their reverence for Georgia has only deepened.
On their latest album, You Hear Georgia, the follow-up to 2018’s critically acclaimed Find a Light, Blackberry Smoke is further celebrating these roots with 10 new songs that feel like Georgia, accented by the addition of Grammy-winning producer and fellow Georgia-native, Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile). “Dave and I had spoken for the last few years about making a record,” Starr says. “Finally, it worked out, our schedule and his schedule, and we said, yes—let’s make a record.”
Blackberry Smoke worked quickly, spending just 10 days at Nashville’s famed RCA Studio A, Cobb’s home base since 2016. The band recorded live on the floor, giving You Hear Georgia a crisp, outgoing feel. Like other Blackberry Smoke efforts, this album leans into well-crafted Southern rock driven by jagged guitar riffs and rich instrumentation, as the band layers on rollicking piano (“Live It Down”), funky grooves (“Hey Delilah”), and introspective acoustic sounds (the stripped-down, folk-leaning “Old Enough to Know”).
The title song, “You Hear Georgia” features a narrator who’s underestimated because of outward appearances and misguided stereotypes, which is a theme of Starr’s lyrics this time around, particularly as it relates to the band’s Southern roots. “Lyrically, the song is about the South being misunderstood. It’s obviously a rough and tumble world, and there’s a lot of bad people. But there’s a lot of good people too. It started with the idea of how people might have a preconceived opinion of you because of a thick Southern accent, then expanded into the reality of how some people just seem to have such a hard time getting along, thanks to political or religious views, or simply what part of the country you come from.”
Many of You Hear Georgia’s songs describe characters that are restless and prone to seeking out a change of scenery, in hopes of finding a place where they belong. Against cinematic backdrops with vivid details, it’s easy to empathize with these protagonists as they share pearls of wisdom (“Don’t ever trust a grown man with a nickname”) and exhibit deep self-awareness (“Anywhere’s better than staying here, with the ghosts running thru his mind”) along the way.
You Hear Georgia reinforces that the band members have come so far together because they also can rely on one another for support and creative direction, no matter what the circumstances.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard return with ‘L.W.’, their seventeenth studio album and the third volume in the band’s explorations into microtonal tunings. A companion piece to its 2020 predecessor, ‘K.G.’, as well as a stand-alone work of art in its own right, L.W. displays a collision of musical worlds. After a decade of frenzied productivity and a recent inability to tour, the band was able to “reset [their] brains” and embark upon a search for “the notes between the notes”. Out via KGLW
The forthcoming album from The Steel Woods, All of Your Stones, took on a new dimension back in January when the band’s founding guitarist and principal creative force, Jason “Rowdy” Cope, passed away peacefully in his sleep at age 42.
The new album is the third offering from one of the fastest rising bands in the worlds of independent country and Southern rock. Since releasing their debut Straw In The Wind album in 2017, The Steel Woods have staked their claim as worthy successors of Southern rock icons Lynyrd Skynyrd, with a dynamic live show and a songwriting verve that draws inspiration from country icons like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.
When The Steel Woods entered the studio to record All Of Your Stones, smack in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s clear they had something to prove, if only to themselves. Cope had wrestled with undiagnosed PTSD and its multitude of symptoms after the release of sophomore album Old News. Wes Bayliss, the band’s singer and co-songwriter, wasn’t always sure what the future held for the group, which is rounded out by Johnny Stanton (bass) and Isaac Senty (drums).
Reflecting on Rowdy’s vision and passion for the band, Stanley says the last thing Jason would have wanted was for the music to stop. Bayliss concurs. “We were always going to do the things you do when you put out a record. Now, there is simply a little more reason.” Indeed there is more reason.
With the release of All Of Your Stones, The Steel Woods now have the responsibility to keep the fire burning. After all, it’s what Rowdy would want.