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by Alex Suskind

3 Feb 2010

Rocky Votolato
True Devotion
Releasing: 23 February

In 2007, singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato released his seventh full-length studio album, The Brag & Cuss, to mostly favorable reviews. Soon, his lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression resurfaced, however. He stopped writing music and cut himself off entirely from the outside world, holing up in his apartment for more than a year. In an effort to overcome his demons, Votolato spent time studying existential philosophy, history, physics, and theology. Before long, he began writing music again. His upcoming album, True Devotion is the result of those writing sessions.

The new record gives listeners a look into Votolato’s life; a powerful acoustic retelling of his downfalls (see “Lucky Clover Coin”) and his determination (see “Fragments”).

01 Lucy Clover Coin
02 Fragments
03 Red River
04 Eyes Like Static
05 Sparklers
06 Instrument
07 What Waited for Me
08 Sun Devil
09 Don’t Be Angry
10 Where We Started

Rocky Votolato
“Red River” [MP3]

by Darren Ratner

3 Feb 2010

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
I Learned the Hard Way
Releasing: 6 April

Ever dapper and full of swagger, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are about to release their fourth LP, I Learned the Hard Way, this spring. Expect more of Jones’ vintage soul (comparisons to Aretha and Tina Turner abound) to blow you away. The title track is currently available for download.

Daptone Records: “I Learned the Hard Way was produced by Bosco Mann and recorded on an Ampex eight-track tape machine by Gabriel Roth in Daptone Records’ House of Soul studios, the record drips with a warmth and spontaneity rarely found since the golden days of Muscle Shoals and Stax. Sharon’s raw power, rhythmic swagger, moaning soulfulness, and melodic command set her firmly alongside Tina Turner, James Brown, Mavis Staples, and Aretha as a fixture in the canon of soul music. From the lush Philly-Soul fanfare that ushers in “The Game Gets Old” at the top of the record, to the stripped down Sam Cooke-style “Mama Don’t Like My Man” at the tail, the Dap-Kings dance seamlessly through both the most crafted and simple arrangements with subtlety and discipline.”

01 The Game Gets Old
02 I Learned the Hard Way
03 Better Things
04 Give It Back
05 Money
06 The Reason
07 Window Shopping
08 She Ain’t a Child No More
09 I’ll Still Be True
10 Without a Heart
11 If You Call
12 Mama Don’t Like My Man

“Angel’s Share” [MP3]

by Darren Ratner

3 Feb 2010

With all the talking set to surround the 2010 Oscar nominations, the loudest chatter (at least for a few days to a week) is typically about the snubs. And which film was snubbed the hardest this year? Crazy Heart, by many miles. Never has an actor, Jeff Bridges, made a downtrodden, whiskey-worshiping country singer look so insatiably cool. Although the film’s concept seems less-than-original, Bridge’s performance, along with that of the vivacious Maggie Gyllenhaal, keeps you riveted from start to finish.

Put Crazy Heart in place of District 9, I say. Those stupid aliens have nothing on Bad Blake.

by PopMatters Staff

3 Feb 2010

Gil Scott-Heron
I’m New Here
Releasing: 9 February

Spoken word artist and poet Gil Scott-Heron was a massive influence on the development of hip-hop. His socially and politically conscious work of the late ‘60s and ‘70s and performance style strongly anticipated the more brainy styles of rap and even less obvious genres such as acid jazz. Next week Scott-Heron releases his first album in 13 years with I’m New Here and the first video has hit the Internet. Plus, you can stream the whole album below.

01 On Coming from a Broken Home (Pt. 1)
02 Me and the Devil
03 I’m New Here
04 Your Soul and Mine
05 Parents (Interlude)
06 I’ll Take Care of You
07 Being Blessed (interlude)
08 Where Did the Night Go
09 I Was Guided (Interlude)
10 New York Is Killing Me
11 Certain Things (Interlude)
12 Running
13 The Crutch
14 I’ve Been Me (Interlude)
15 On Coming from a Broken Home (Pt. 2)

by PopMatters Staff

2 Feb 2010

Tom McRae
The Alphabet of Hurricanes
(Cooking Vinyl)
Releasing: 22 February (UK), 16 March (US)

British master song craftsman Tom McRae releases his fifth album this March and the first free MP3 is now available.

01 Still Love You
02. A Is for…
03. Won’t Lie
04. Summer of John Wayne
05. Told My Troubles to the River
06. American Spirit
07. Please
08. Out of the Walls
09. Me & Stetson
10. Can’t Find You
11. Best Winter
12. Fifteen Miles Down River

Tom McRae
“Out of the Walls” [MP3]

//Mixed media

Terror, Dolls, Madhouses: Three for the Price of Price

// Short Ends and Leader

"Three Vincent Price projects from American International.

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