Every Friday our NoiseTrade New Music Tip Sheet highlights three recommended picks from that week’s batch of new releases that we think are worth checking out at your local record shop or via your preferred online music distributor of choice.
One Night Only: Live at Royal Albert Hall (Physical Release)
Live performances have always been the true testing ground for any artist and Gregory Porter’s One Night Only: Live at Royal Albert Hall album proves that the jazzy soul singer can deliver the goods at the highest levels. Porter’s honeyed rumble fills every corner of Royal Albert Hall throughout a richly crafted 19-track setlist where the crooner is backed by his band and the stunning London Studio Orchestra (conducted by Vic Mendoza). Pulling heavily from his recent tribute album, Nat King Cole and Me, Porter impressively embodies Cole’s cool on songs like “Mona Lisa,” “But Beautiful,” “L-O-V-E,” and Cole’s seasonal standard “The Christmas Song.” Of Porter’s originals, his interplay with the London Studio Orchestra on “Hey Laura” (from 2013’s Liquid Spirits) and “Don’t Lose Your Steam” (from 2016’s Take Me to the Alley) really highlight what makes Porter’s voice, songs, and presence so arresting. Originally released digitally back in November, the physical CD/DVD release is out today.
Reel Big Fish
Life Sucks… Let’s Dance!
So-Cal ska-punk legends Reel Big Fish may have come to prominence during the third wave ska boom of the ‘90s, but their new album Life Sucks… Let’s Dance! is another ridiculously fun, super catchy reminder that there’s still a lot of gas in the RBF tank. Serving as their ninth studio album, Life Sucks… Let’s Dance! is a perfect truth-in-advertising title for this album’s abundance of musical hooks and lyrical bite. One thing Reel Big Fish have always been able to accomplish with style is weaving angst-fueled, sarcastic commentary into groove-laden, horn-fueled singalongs that hit the melodic sweet spot of danceable catharsis. Lead single “You Can’t Have All of Me” bounces along on a tried-and-true RBF vibe and dares you not to join in on the chorus. Fans of the band will love this addition to the catalog and new converts will be hooked by its insanely catchy melodicism, smile-inducing instrumental touches, and warmly familiar ska-punk flourishes. As frontman Aaron Barrett says: “We didn’t reinvent the wheel, we just painted more checkers on it!”
For his sixth(!) release of 2018, prolific songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Ty Segall has teamed up with his wife, Denee Segall, and Emmett Kelly from Cario Gang to craft the debut full-length release from their band The C.I.A., which is out today on In The Red Records. Earlier this year they surprised everyone with the album’s lead single “Pleasure Seeker,” a buzzy, new wave inspired track that chugs along on a persistent groove and a dynamic verse-chorus dichotomy. I love Denee Segall’s vocals on “Pleasure Seeker” so much because the verses remind me of the late Patty Donahue from The Waitresses and the chorus definitely has a simplistic-yet-chaotic Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs vibe. With Ty Segall having his hands in so many projects this year (solo, GØGGS, and White Fence), one might worry about oversaturation. Luckily, the instrumental creativity and sonic inspiration running throughout the 10-tracks on The C.I.A. prove there’s no need to worry about that. Plus, clocking in at only around 22 minutes, taking it for a test spin is a super easy, non-committal lift.