New Music Monday: Kendrick Lamar, Van Morrison, Jeff the Brotherhood, Action Bronson, Lightning Bolt, and More!

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Happy Monday music maniacs! LIke new stuff? Great! You’ve come to the right place. Each week all sorts of audiolicious goodies are unleashed onto the masses and this is where they come to be judged. I’ll tell ya what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s a waste of your time. Thanks for stopping by!

The Big News!
I wasn’t really paying attention so I missed it when the new Kendrick Lamar record, To Pimp A Butterfly, was mistakenly released last week on iTunes. I still wasn’t paying attention when it was officially released the next day, a week early. So I completely missed the boat on this one. But that’s okay, because the rest of the world was paying attention and has had great things to say about the new record (it’s also sold like wildfire). The Cleveland Plains Dealer calls the record “thoroughly engaging” with “top notch” music that “poses challenges for those that expecting easy answers”. The Urban Daily claims that “here’s a lot to traverse on this album and it’ll likely take more than a few spins to truly understand the levels of depth and complexity that reside within each rhyme, within each instrumental and within each message”.

In other hip hop news, New York based dope rapper Action Bronson will finally release his major label debut, the highly anticipated Mr Wonderful. Featuring guests like Chance the Rapper and produced by the likes of The Alchemist and Mark Ronson. Bronson was recently spotted serving lunch to SXSW patrons and previewing the new record.

And, new Earl Sweatshirt this week. I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, is his second record.

Brothers From Another Mother

After being dropped by former label Warner Bros, rocking rocker dudes Jeff the Brotherhood return with their latest record, Wasted on the Dream..

Legendary legends Jon Spencer Blues Explosion! come storm back with more booty shakin’ jams on their latest release Freedom Tower, the band’s tenth. It’s some sort of tribute record to New York City, and Consequence of Sound calls it “a record as chaotic and full of life as the city that inspired it.” I love everything Spencer and the ‘Splosion have done and will certainly be checking this one out.

The Greatest Revisited
The new Van Morrison record is a reworking of some of the masters’ greatest work with special guests like Steve Winwood, Mark Knopfler, Mavis Staples, and Bobby Womack.

Still Punking After All These Years
Twenty years into their career, California punk icons Strung Out are apparently still at the top of their game. Especially if this review from 303 Magazine, which claims that the new record Transmission.Alpha.Delta shows the band “still as instrumentally sound and furious as ever”.

Dad rockers Toto unveil their “laid back” and “brilliant” first album in nine years, the creatively titled Toto XIV. Sadly, this release coincides with the death of former bassist Mike Porcaro.

In other rock star death news, the drummer from Twisted Sister died this week.

My Recommendation
Like last week, a clear no brainer. Lightning Bolt. Fantasy Empire. My most anticipated album this year. This would have been the big news regardless of the new Kendrick Lamar if Lamar’s people hadn’t made news by releasing the record early. This is LB’s first record since 2012 and their first made in a studio. This review by Soundlab claims “a new approach to recording and an accommodating record label hasn’t dampened or quashed Lightning Bolt’s resolve or bullish charm. If anything, it’s galvanised and rejuvenated them. With Fantasy Empire, it has enabled them to make another great record to add to their already impressive back-catalogue.” It’s been streaming on NPR for the last week and I’ve listened to it about a dozen times, but I’m still not sure I’ve heard it yet, if you know what I mean.

Next Week
Tune in next week, same new music time, same new music channel, for new Death Cab For Cutie!!


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