Zac Brown Band – Welcome Home (2017) [WEB FLAC]

Zac Brown Band - Welcome Home (2017) [WEB FLAC] Download

Artist: Zac Brown Band
Album: Welcome Home
Genre: Country
Year: 2017
Size: ~ 238 mb
Source: Digital Download
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

GRAMMY-Award winning Zac Brown Band will release ‘WELCOME HOME,’ the band’s new album and their first release on Southern Ground / Elektra Records. Produced by GRAMMY-Award winning producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell) and In The Arena Productions, and recorded at Southern Ground Nashville studio, ‘WELCOME HOME’ is what the band calls not only a return to their roots, but also a return to ‘The Foundation,’ the band’s debut album that is now 5X platinum.
The theme of reflection is echoed throughout the 10-track album. Songs range from the first single, “My Old Man,” which paints a poignant picture of the ever-changing relationship between fathers and sons to “Two Places at One Time,” about juggling the conflict between life on the road and the comforts of home, and “Roots,” which honors the band’s journey from their humble beginnings. In addition, thebandcontinues their tradition of recording a cover song they all admire, this time with John Prine’s “All The Best.” “This is the most personal album we’ve ever done and we’re very proud of it,” said Brown. “Welcome Home.”

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Yo-Yo Ma – Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach (2017) [WEB FLAC]

Yo-Yo Ma - Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach (2017) [WEB FLAC] Download

Artist: Yo-Yo Ma
Album: Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach
Genre: Classical
Year: 2017
Size: ~ 357 mb
Source: Digital Download
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

CBS/Sony Classical has been accompanying superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma for decades on his journey through the unsurpassed works written for his instrument by Johann Sebastian Bach. The label is now pleased to announce the release of important landmarks from that journey, Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach, on a single CD. Ma’s first recording of Bach’s six Solo Suites, which went on to win the Grammy for “Best Classical Instrumental Performance” and is represented here by the Sarabande from the Sixth Suite, took place in 1982. In the same year, Yo-Yo Ma recorded Bach’s complete sonatas for viola da gamba with harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper which was hailed by Gramophone as “intelligent and expressive.”
Yo-Yo Ma’s explorations of Bach have also taken him far beyond his instrument’s core repertoire to some highly enterprising collaborations with the Baroque specialist Ton Koopman. Inspired by Bach’s own practice of recycling his music, the renowned Dutch conductor-organist transcribed a selection of Bach works for solo cello and chamber ensemble, and in 1998 Sony recorded these pieces with Ma playing a Baroque cello, alongside Koopman and musicians from his Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra playing period instruments.
Finally, as an encore, the album offers the Fancy on Bach Air created for Yo-Yo Ma by John Corigliano and recorded by the cellist in 1999. The American composer based this rhapsodic seven-minute piece on the Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1. Wrote ClassicsToday.com, “The music not only sings but also speaks through Yo-Yo Ma s generous cello mastery.”

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Voyager – Ghost Mile (2017) [WEB FLAC]

Voyager - Ghost Mile (2017) [WEB FLAC] Download

Artist: Voyager
Album: Ghost Mile
Genre: Rock
Year: 2017
Size: ~ 318 mb
Source: Digital Download
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

Perth, Australia is the land credited with the birth of progressive rockers, Voyager, a band who found their way into a close knit and competitive sub-genre of rock and metal and were determined to stay there. While the bands who currently circle the progressive pool may not all necessarily be too precious about their given status among the sub-genre, fans within the community of this unique little sliver can be quite territorial of their favorite artists. Die hard followers of Voyager are no different. Active since 1999, Voyager, however subtly, crept their way into the ears and hearts of what is now their ever growing following who are currently eagerly awaiting the bands new album, ‘Ghost Mile’ which drops in May.

Straight off the bat, if you are new to either the band or genre that is prog, ‘Ghost Mile’ is a wonderful introduction to both. While there are tracks certainly geared more toward the already converted such as “Misery Is Only Company”, “The Fragile Serene” and album opener “Ascension” to name a few, there are also much more accessible numbers in place that could persuade and beckon the impressionable to come to the dark side. “What A Wonderful Day” acts as a solid example of this. Not sure where to begin? Skip straight to it. The tracks signature riff kicks it off and reminds one, fondly, of the same way Static-X would craft their big, crunchy yet industrial and bop worthy riffs. On top of this, when we are met with the chorus, there is lyrical phrasing happening that is reminiscent to that of when Louis Armstrong sang “What A Wonderful World”. Given the title similarities and, unless mistaken, the phrasing in the chorus, betting your chips that this track may just be a nod to another might just be a sound bet. Then, if you are feeling like being just a bit more daring, “Lifeline” should be your next step.

While on all things lyrics and phrasing, vocalist, front-man and keys player Daniel Estrin produces a vocal delivery on this record that stands out above all else. Through much trial and error since 2003’s ‘Element V’, Estrin has developed and progressed his voice by leaps and bounds here. Technical ability aside, just the sheer sound and mix of the vocals on this album are worked beautifully. ‘Ghost Mile’ certainly envelopes much more elements of rock than it does metal, by a long shot. While Estrin’s vocals work incredibly well, there are moments when you just want the tension pierced, but musically the record never reaches that climax. Notable examples of when this does in fact reach can be found in much of the material from Symphony X, Anathema and especially Ne Obliviscaris who are masters at creating tension to the brink of no return with elements of black metal and piercing it with clean vocals and violin at the most crucial point. Much of the credit here must be given to Ne O’s own Tim Charles who has proved he understands this better than most.Voyager are by no means do anything wrong per say, it is the choice of the artist. However it does feel like the album was gearing up to this at one moment or another but never quite reaching it, like a roller coaster climbing right to the top of the tracks ready for the take off only to begin reversing slowly. And it is not that it can’t be done, ‘Hand. Cannot. Erase’ does so masterfully, with Steve Wilson and even Porcupine Tree delivering this type of execution for many moons, now.

‘Ghost Mile’ does itself more favors than not. It is a well produced, incredibly accessible and fiercely passionate album. While it does pendulum between rock and metal all the while remaining progressive in its purest form, its only downfall is it suffers in its reach. Sounds and styles are blended comfortably, resting with ease beside one another, but there are moments you feel the band trying to push their own boundaries with regards to tension, but pulling back all too soon, and what should feel like the piercing simply feels flat. That being said, this is somewhat of a personal preference developed through exploring the genre over some years, and the trade off is getting a great prog rock record as opposed to a metal one. But hints of more metal elements could have acted as a virtue in trying to achieve with this record feels like it was going for in some areas and not always delivering. Voyager are bound to open many new doors for newer fans to peek their heads through with ‘Ghost Mile’, and while it may not be everything die hard fans might have come to expect, it will no doubt please their fans and guide new ones down avenues to all things Voyager.

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Armin van Buuren – The Best Of Armin Only (2017) [WEB FLAC]

Armin van Buuren - The Best Of Armin Only (2017) [WEB FLAC] Download

Artist: Armin van Buuren
Album: The Best Of Armin Only
Genre: Trance
Year: 2017
Size: ~ 871 mb
Source: Digital Download
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

A wise man once said that it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey that gets you there, about the progress you make while trying to push your limits. When Armin van Buuren started off with his first Armin Only show in 2005, nobody knew it would become as big as it is today. But he embraced the experience and let it inspire him. That journey is what makes Armin van Buuren the artist he is today. That journey is what makes ‘The Best Of Armin Only’ a phenomenal new chapter in his career. The ‘The Best Of Armin Only’ Special Box is what captures the essence of all of Armin van Buuren’s Armin Only shows. Packing four photo cards, one sticker, one custom-made shoutbox and two CDs brimming with the highlights of his previous Armin Only shows as well as the new music that will fill out ‘The Best Of Armin Only’ shows in May 2017, this Special Box embodies Armin van Buuren’s life-long dedication to his craft and the paths he has taken. ‘The Best Of Armin Only’ is not where the journey ends. It’s merely another exciting new bend in the long and winding road that we hope will go on forever.

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Timothy Seth Avett as Darling – IV (2017) [WEB FLAC]

Timothy Seth Avett as Darling - IV (2017) [WEB FLAC] Download

Artist: Timothy Seth Avett as Darling
Album: IV
Genre: Folk
Year: 2017
Size: ~ 439 mb
Source: Digital Download
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

The past few years have been good to the Avett Brothers, their most recent success culminating in the form of a chart-topping success for their latest album, True Sadness, and lead single “Ain’t No Man”. With that said, for every couple of new fans that the band has adopted in expanding their sound, there’s at least one who takes issue with the genre-bending quest recently taken on by a group that once purely embraced the acoustic traditions of bluegrass, folk, and country. Luckily for these types, various members of the band have taken on side projects that may click better with them. These include, but are not limited to, Bob Crawford’s New Jersey Transient to Seth Avett’s own taking on of the Darling moniker for his solo work.

Enter IV, the fourth consecutive studio effort by Avett with the stage name, as its name would imply. For all of the pop pomp and circumstance that his 17-year-old main project with his brother Scott, Bob, and others have brought about, his motions as Darling have been decidedly understated from the very beginning. With Avett’s voice as the centerpiece of the project, accompanied by an acoustic ensemble setting its primary focus on his guitar work, Darling efforts tend to encapsulate more of the feeling of the albums of Avett Brothers’ past—think The Second Gleam, but with drums.

Yet, Timothy Seth Avett as Darling is a passion project that has remained dormant for the 36-year-old artist since 2006. He was 25 during his last solo endeavor, and much has changed for him since then, between two marriages, the birth of a son, and all of that time spent on the road and in the studio with his main effort. Still, the “everyman in love” persona that he’d last donned as Darling over a decade ago is still as effervescent as it always has been, if not simultaneously tamed and weathered by the passage of time.

The songs present on IV still wonder in the same innocent, straight-talking way of loving previously seen on The Mourning, the Silver, the Bell, but the subject matter is decidedly more self-assured. Much of the record seems to be in dedication to the family that he’s built with actress Jennifer Carpenter following the birth of their son in 2015 and subsequent marriage in 2016. This can be seen from opening track “Disappointing You”, which plays out as an innocent confession to his love and on through “Should We Move”, where he questions if they should move to a place where they can,—and this writer quotes—“grow good tomatoes”. It culminates in the tender ramblings of “Are You Thinking of Me” following further dedications over tracks like “Songbird”.

Taking a note from several generations of bluegrass tradition, Avett tackles a purely instrumental acoustic romp on “Samuel and the Baler”. Then, he spends the rest of the album taking note from several generations of folk tradition by delivering songs based on personal stories and the self-prescribed truths that he’s found through them. This comes about in different forms depending on where you look, but whether he’s questioning religion on “Faith Undefined” or how he fits into his love’s life on “Your World”, it always comes across as compelling with the scorching sincerity that he sets on the table.

Ultimately, IV marks a strong return for Seth Avett as Darling. From the disenfranchised fan of past studio material from the Brothers to long-time enthusiasts of all that they have put out, and even to those yet to become a part of the Avett world at large, there is something soft-spoken, and compelling to unsuspectingly seduce you for a good listen or two. Here’s to hoping that we won’t have to wait another decade for Darling’s next effort.

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Snakecharmer – Second Skin (2017) [WEB FLAC]

Snakecharmer - Second Skin (2017) [WEB FLAC] Download

Artist: Snakecharmer
Album: Second Skin
Genre: Hard Rock
Year: 2017
Size: ~ 397 mb
Source: Digital Download
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

The original British band Snakecharmer 2013 was built on the backs of former Whitesnake members Mick Moody and Neil Murray, along with several others dedicated to the early ’80s melodic rock sound. Harry James from Thunder, and Adam Wakeman of Ozzy Osbourne fame rounded out the mix, as well as the new addition of Simon McBride on guitars. Many changes in personnel have taken place since the band’s first issue, the 2013 self-titled debut.

Quite a few people in the Sleaze Roxx community, and beyond, have been looking forward to this album, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Fact is, Snakecharmer have maintained their Whitesnake heritage over the years. Second Skin is not modern by any means. It is an enjoyable romp through bombastic ’80s rock. “Are You Ready To Fly” is a great example of guitar and heavy Hammond organ work, much like Deep Purple. On the other hand, “Follow Me Under” uses the same key sounds as a flourish to the guitar/vocal progression. The acoustic beginning to “I’ll Take You As You Are” betrays a half decent mid-tempo rock song. I like it….

“Hell Of A Way To Live” is a hell of a way to make a rock song. I’m liking the intro vocals, an original guitar line, and a catchy chorus. Early thoughts of “Fade Away” are not encouraging. It’s so much of an uninspiring ballad that I’m not sure I want to finish the five minute track. Therefore, we move on to “Dress It Up”, and I’ve got to say, it’s a nice recovery. Solid riff and loose musicianship makes it feel natural. I might compare this song to Foreigner’s “Feels Like The First Time” in many respects.

“Punching Above My Weight” is a funny tune. The acoustic opening line is more like Great Big Sea or something non-rock related. It develops into a song with mainstream appeal, yet it lacks longevity. I’m intrigued by “Forgive & Forget”, a bluesy, loose guitar delivery that sounds off-the-floor and passionate. While not quite a rock song, this might be my album take-away, akin to the Black Crowes or Little Caesar. Finally, “Where Do We Go From Here” elicits Jimmy Page guitar sounds, and David Coverdale vocals to pull off a song that starts pleasantly, and builds into a decent rocker.

As an entire album, Second Skin appeals to me. I might drop a song or two, but if you’re a fan of old-school Whitesnake, this is an obvious buy.

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Ragan Whiteside – Treblemaker (2017) [WEB FLAC]

Ragan Whiteside - Treblemaker (2017) [WEB FLAC] Download

Artist: Ragan Whiteside
Album: Treblemaker
Genre: Jazz
Year: 2017
Size: ~ 333 mb
Source: Digital Download
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

Ragan Whiteside, the flautist-singer who catches the ear like few in the world of contemporary jazz can, is getting ready to make waves this May 12th with her fourth studio album, Treblemaker. A favorite of well-known stages such as Capital Jazz, Whiteside’s sound brings to mind the stylings of Najee and Dave Valentin. The preceding album, Quantum Drive, has received major airplay and acclaim by publications. As its successor, Treblemaker promises a further expanse of Whiteside’s variety and style. Frank McComb, Kim Waters, Marion Meadows, and Tom Browne make their appearances on the album to lend their touch to a well-seasoned musical mix.

Whiteside is not one to shy away from shaking up expectations. In contemporary jazz, where there is always a thirst for fresh material, she steps up and delivers, both in studio recording and on live stage. “Her tenacity makes her a force to be reckoned with. Mark my words!” said Bob Baldwin of her once, and this tenacity is obvious at every show and in every track. “We need new music!” the fans say, and Ragan Whiteside is always up to deliver exactly what they ask for. Still a New Yorker at her core and in her every note, Ragan Whiteside brings no shortage of sound to shake up some perceptions of what a flute — and a jazz artist — can do.

Scheduled for release May 12th, 2017.

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Quantic & Nidia Gongora – Curao (2017) [WEB FLAC]

Quantic & Nidia Gongora - Curao (2017) [WEB FLAC] Download

Artist: Quantic & Nidia Gongora
Album: Curao
Genre: Latin
Year: 2017
Size: ~ 403 mb
Source: Digital Download
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

British DJ and producer Will Holland (aka Quantic) played guitar in various rock bands as a teenager, but it was his subsequent switch to house and broken beat that helped launch his musical career, especially after the 7″ recording “We Got Soul” arrived in 2000. (Quantic is also part of Quantic Soul Orchestra, as well as the soul-folk-dance duo the Limp Twins.) In 2001, Quantic’s full-length debut, The 5th Exotic, was released by the Tru Thoughts label, followed one year later by Apricot Morning. After briefly pausing in 2003 to record QSO’s Stampede (for which he played organ, bass, guitar, and saxophone, among other instruments) and the Limp Twins’ Tales from Beyond the Groove, Holland returned to his solo efforts with 2004’s Mishaps Happening. Quantic Soul Orchestra’s Pushin On was issued one year later, and 2006 proved to be particularly busy for the prolific DJ, as he released a compilation (One Off’s, Remixes and B Sides), a reissue of The 5th Exotic, and another new Quantic album, An Announcement to Answer. In 2008, he could be heard tinkering with a blend of dub and ’70s Latin on Death of the Revolution, which also marked his first release under the Flowering Inferno moniker. Dog with a Rope from 2011 used the same moniker while the Quantic name returned in 2012 with Look Around the Corner, an album recorded with retro-soul singer Alice Russell. Two years later, Magnetica became Quantic’s first solo album released in over seven years. Holland returned in 2016, once again under the moniker Flowering Inferno, releasing the album 1,000 Watts, which was a more direct foray into the traditional reggae sound. ~ Marisa Brown

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