AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: MAVIS STAPLES & LEVON HELM/CARRY ME HOME

When worlds collide, they can often create a universe that is greater than the sum of both worlds… and so much more. So, using that analogy when talking about music, the end results are either glorious and inspiring or insipid and dull. To be honest it all depends on chemistry and how naturally things fall into place. To make things work, they cannot be forced. The 1986 collaboration between rockers Aerosmith and rap trio Run DMC was inspired. The Beach Boys and The Fat Boys collab in 1987’s “Wipe Out”, not so much. More recently, modern Country music has been infiltrated by Hip-Hop and Rap artists, creating a new organic musical movement that may not make sense on paper but sounds great on the radio. And why does Country Rap work? Because the artists – and the audience – grew up on both genres. And that is the same reason why CARRY ME HOME by Mavis Staples and Lavon Helm works so well.

Mavis Staples is one of the most respected Gospel and R&B vocalists in the world. For over 70 years, she has followed a musical path yet has gladly taken detours and embraced many other musical genres along the way. Her many musical reinventions have added to her longevity in the music business. As the only surviving member of the legendary Staples Singers, she carries with her a musical legacy that has inspired legions of fans across many different genres. Levon Helm, on the other hand, came to prominence as the drummer of iconic Rock group The Band. Levon and the rest of the group were raised on everything from Folk and Country to Rock, R&B, and every other form of music born alongside the dusty roads that made their way across America. And many of those roads intertwined with the same ones that Mavis Staples’ traveled. So, when Mavis Staples appeared at The Band’s final concert in 1976 – captured on film as THE LAST WALTZ – her world collided with Levon’s and a friendship was born.

That friendship became the collaboration that is CARRY ME HOME, a live performance from 2011 that is finally seeing a release in 2022. The album was recorded in Woodstock, New York, as part of Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble series. Helm had initially started the Midnight Ramble gatherings in 2003 in order to raise money and keep his house out of foreclosure. By 2011, the Midnight Ramble had become a celebration of music, art, love, and faith. So, when Mavis Staples joined Levon and his band, two worlds collided, aligned, and danced across the sky. A concert that feels like a tent revival, CARRY ME HOME lives up to every expectation… and exceeds all of them. While Staples and Helm were unaware that this was the last time that they would perform together – Levon died in April 2012 – this set contains performances filled with excitement, joy, and a love of making music. While there are many highlights, CARRY ME HOME ends with a passionate take on The Band’s “The Weight”, the song that Mavis performed in THE LAST WALTZ. It is the perfect ending that feels like a celebration. Of love. Of life. Of Levon.

MAVIS STAPLES & LEVON HELM

CARRY ME HOME

Available NOW!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: KYLE DION/SASSY

Soul music changed when Prince came on the scene. Right before his arrival, there were only a handful of artists that were being taken seriously as ‘artistes.’ The Soul, R&B, and Funk music that had been so dominant in the ‘60s and early ‘70s had given way to Disco. And while the genre itself was uplifting and invigorating, Disco was so popular that everyone jumped on the dance bandwagon. Within a few years, Disco’s innovators were pushed aside in favor of one-off cash-in releases by labels, musicians, and performers, essentially draining the heart and soul from the music. But when Prince came along in 1978, he recalibrated Soul, Funk, and R&B, taking control of the musical narrative and putting the artist/artiste out front. And by doing so, he kicked open the gates and encouraged future generations of artists to do the same.

While not comparing him to Prince from a musical standpoint, Kyle Dion is the direct result of Prince’s musical breakthrough more than four decades ago. By taking the ‘music’ back from the ‘business,’ he has managed to create music that is unique to himself yet is easily accessible to a larger audience looking for a good time. Kyle Dion became interested in music at a young age, writing his first song at the age of 9. By the time 2014 rolled around, he was releasing his first mixtape, SIXES & SEVENS. Over the next several years, Kyle Dion released a series of Soul and Hip Hop-influenced singles and EPs before finally issuing SUGA, his debut album, in 2019. The critically acclaimed album brought him to the attention of a wider audience. Ever since the release of that album, audiences and critics alike have been awaiting his next move…

SASSY, Kyle’s sophomore album, has arrived to unanimous acclaim. Combining Soul, R&B, and Hip Hop influences with a modern twist, SASSY is the album fans wanted… and so much more. Rather than revisit the sounds of SUGA, he has restructured his ‘formula’ and reinvented himself. Far more experimental than his debut, SASSY sees an even more confident Kyle Dion take control of his musical narrative and steer it in any direction that suits his fancy. And unlike so many current Soul, Rock, and Pop albums, he realizes that the best tactic in songwriting is to ‘leave the audience wanting more,’ with no song on the album exceeding the three and one-half minute mark, and most of them timing in at less than three minutes. Kyle Dion knows what he’s doing and he’s definitely feeling comfortable as he controls his own musical journey. Highlights include “I Could Be Your Girlfriend,” “Fix Vision” (featuring Chanel Tres), “Placebo” (featuring Ja Rule), “Cookie,” and the first single, “Parmesan.”

KYLE DION

SASSY

Available NOW!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: AWOLNATION/MY ECHO, MY SHADOW, MY COVERS

Formed in Los Angeles, California in 2009, AWOLNATION was founded by singer, songwriter, and musician Aaron Bruno. His career began when, while still in high school, he formed the Punk band Insurgence. By 2000, he had founded the band Home Town Hero, who released two albums during their four-year career: HOME TOWN HERO (2002) and BITCH CITY (2004). After Home Town Hero dissolved in 2004, Aaron and bandmate Drew Stewart formed the band Under The Influence Of Giants (UTIOG). Between 2004 and 2008, UTIOG released the EP HEAVEN IS FULL (2006) and their self-titled album (2008) and several singles before splitting up. Never one to remain idle for too long, Aaron Bruno set his sights on his next musical project: AWOLNATION.

While AWOLNATION is a band, Aaron Bruno remains the singer, songwriter, and sole constant member since their inception. AWOLNATION made their recorded debut with the release of the BACK FROM EARTH EP in 2010. A year later, their album MEGALITHIC SYMPHONY (2011) was an international hit, charting in the US, Canada, Austria, the UK, and other countries. 2012’s RUN was even more successful, climbing into the Top 20 in the US, Austria, and Canada. AWOLNATION’s next two albums – HERE COME THE RUNTS (2018) and ANGEL MINERS & THE LIGHTNING RIDERS (2020) – were also hits in several different countries, proving that AWOLNATION were here to stay. With a series of hit albums, EPs, and singles in their back pocket, Aaron and AWOLNATION were up for a new challenge…

2022’s MY ECHO, MY SHADOW, MY COVERS is an album that finds Aaron and his bandmates collaborating with guest artists on a series of surprising cover versions. Instead of knocking out faithful retreads of the originals, these songs get a fresh AWOLNATION spin to them and end up sounding both comforting and exciting at the same time. The songs don’t lose their original charm as Aaron and Co. take them apart and put them back together with a modern twist. Highlights include Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning” (featuring Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath), The Alan Parsons Project’s “Eye in the Sky” (featuring Beck), Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again (Naturally)” (featuring Midland), Scorpions’ “Wind of Change” (featuring Incubus’ Brandon Boyd and Portugal. The Man), Madonna’s “Material Girl” (featuring Taylor Hanson), Michael Sembello’s “Maniac” (featuring Nothing But Thieves’ Conor Mason) and The Cars’ “Drive.” An uplifting experience from start to finish, MY ECHO, MY SHADOW, MY COVERS is new nostalgia at its finest.

AWOLNATION

MY ECHO, MY SHADOW, MY COVERS

Available NOW!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: ROBIN TROWER/NO MORE WORLDS TO CONQUER

Born in Catford, London, England in 1945, Robin Trower is an iconic guitarist whose career began six decades ago when he formed The Paramounts in 1962. Also featuring vocalist Gary Brooker, the Paramounts split up in 1966, and Trower formed a short-lived group by the name of The Jam (not to be confused with the British Mod trio led by Paul Weller). He reunited with his former Paramounts bandmate Brooker and joined Procol Harum, who then scored an international hit with their single “Whiter Shade of Pale.” Suddenly thrust into the spotlight, Robin made the best of it and recorded five albums with Procol Harum and touring the world before leaving the group in 1971…

After forming his own group – the Robin Trower Band – he began the next phase of his career as one of the most beloved guitarists of his generation. With the release of his 1973 debut album, TWICE REMOVED FROM YESTERDAY, Trower became a ‘guitar hero’. With the success of albums such as BRIDGE OF SIGHS (1974), FOR EARTH BELOW (1975), LONG MISTY DAYS (1976), IN CITY DREAMS (1977), CARAVAN TO MIDNIGHT (1978), and VICTIMS OF THE FURY (1980), Robin Trower inspired listeners to turn up their FM radios and play air guitar as if their lives depended on it. In the 1980s, audiences began to play air keyboards and the Classic Rock artists were sidelined for a brief time. Robin Trower weathered the storm and continued to release a series of critically acclaimed albums and remained connected to his dedicated fanbase.

With 2022’s NO MORE WORLDS TO CONQUER, Robin Trower continues to look forward but doesn’t sacrifice his past in the process. While not a full-frontal Blues album, this release uses Blues as a launch pad that sends Trower into different musical universes. Sounding fresh and exciting, NO MORE WORLDS TO CONQUER offers new twists to Trower’s signature sound. This is an updated take on Classic Rock without having to resort to retro tropes. Completely Robin Trower to the core, some songs travel down the same musical path that made pre-MTV Dire Straits so exciting. With a foundation in British and American Blues Rock., NO MORE WORLDS TO CONQUER is an album with great hooks, great playing, great vocals, and an obvious passion and love for creating music. Songs like “The Razor’s Edge,” “Ball Of Fire,” “Losing You,” and the title track are prime Trower at his best. “Waiting For The Rain To Fall” could easily be a hit single… that is, if radio existed like it did a few decades ago. Robin Trower may not feel that he has no more worlds to conquer, but he continues to take his listeners to new places. And isn’t that really what it is all about?

ROBIN TROWER

NO MORE WORLDS TO CONQUER

Available NOW!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BONNIE RAITT/JUST LIKE THAT…

Bonnie Raitt has absolutely nothing to prove. More than 50 years since the release of her 1971 self-titled debut, she remains one of America’s greatest musical treasures. A critically acclaimed singer and guitarist, she has blended blues, rock, pop, and R&B into an original roots-based sound that is distinctly American and uniquely Bonnie Raitt. Throughout the course of her career, she has won 10 Grammy Awards and one Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, yet she had to wait nearly two decades before finally achieving commercial success in 1989. However, between her debut album and her breakthrough, she had released a series of critically adored albums, built up a large fanbase, and used her platform to campaign for causes she believed in. With the support of fans and fellow musicians, she stayed the course and maneuvered her way through the chilly waters of the music business. She had experienced many highs and lows, but as the 1980s were coming to a close, she was dropped by her record label and faced an uncertain future. And then came NICK OF TIME

Bonnie Raitt first collaborated with producer Don Was on a track for the STAY AWAKE compilation in 1988. She had already left Warner Bros. Records and nearly signed with Prince’s Paisley Park Records, but after a skiing accident and leaving alcohol behind, everything fell into place. After being turned down by over a dozen labels, she signed with Capitol Records and the rest is history. 1989’s NICK OF TIME went to #1 on the Billboard 200 and she scored with hit singles such as “Thing Called Love”. The album won three Grammy Awards and paved the way for further success with albums such as LUCK OF THE DRAW (1991), LONGING IN THEIR HEARTS (1994), FUNDAMENTAL (1998), SILVER LINING (2002), SOULS ALIKE (2005), SLIPSTREAM (2012), and DIG IN DEEP (2016). Selling over fourteen million physical units over her career, she has also been inducted in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (2000), The Blues Hall Of Fame (2010), and the Hollywood Bowl Hall Of Fame (2001). And now, six years after the release of her previous studio album, Bonnie Raitt is set to release her 21st studio album and the third on her own Redwing Records label.

2022’s JUST LIKE THAT… features all the great hallmarks of a Bonnie Raita album. From her passionate vocals and emotional guitar playing to the tight grooves, instantly lovable melodies, and warm production, the album is both an extension of her past work and an intimate glance at where Bonnie Raita is now. And as usual, she is an expert at blending genres, creating something feels fresh and exciting. More importantly, the album feels natural and alive. Raitt could do this music in her sleep if she wanted, but JUST LIKE THAT… is an album of connection: between the artist and the music and between the music and the listener. There is no flashy playing, no over-produced gloss to attract the pop-living teens, and absolutely no pretension. This is an album as honest as it is comforting. Bonnie Raitt is an artist that works on emotion and exceptional talent. On songs like “Made Up Mind,” “Something’s Got A Hold Of My Heart,” “Love So Strong,” and the title track, she is not pretending to be the sprightly 20-something singer/guitarist she was on her debut album – she is completely in tune with who she is today. And that makes JUST LIKE THAT… a wonder to behold.

BONNIE RAITT

JUST LIKE THAT…

Available NOW

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: ENDANGERED SPECIES (2CD)

Like the Rock ‘n’ Roll revolution in the 1950s and the British Invasion of the 1960s, Punk Rock changed everything when it kicked down the doors in 1976. Within a year, the musical landscape had been uprooted and replanted with a crop of new groups, new ideals, new energy, and new sounds. In the U.S., the Punk movement was about art, attitude, and teenage rebellion. However, in England, Punk was a way of life. It was about survival. It was an uprising. The British teens weren’t rebelling against their parents and demanding later curfews on date nights – they were lashing out at the upper class and privileged elite who were holding them down. It was a class war, and the younger generation demanded to be heard. Thankfully, many of them chose to express themselves through music instead of violence. And in the process, Punk changed music history, creating new sub-genres such as Post-Punk, New Wave, and more. And now, four decades on, we look back with reverence at the music that was created during those tumultuous years.

While many of the British groups gained a lot of commercial attention in the US – Sex Pistols, The Clash, Buzzcocks, The Jam, etc. – there was a crop of equally exciting bands that didn’t gain as much press but managed to build up a following in the States regardless. Bands like UK Subs, 999, Angelic Upstarts, Chelsea, Sham 69, and others built their American audiences via college radio play, fanzine coverage, and word of mouth. However, UK Subs’ relentless live performances and prolific output stood out amongst their contemporaries. Fronted by former Rhythm & Blues singer Charlie Harper (the only mainstay in their 46-year career) and guitarist Nicky Garratt, the group charted their own course and vowed to release 26 albums with the titles beginning with a different letter in the alphabet. The first batch of albums – A to D – included ANOTHER KIND OF BLUES (1979), BRAND NEW AGE (1980), CRASH COURSE (1980), and DIMINISHED RESPONSIBILITIES (1981), etc.  Their next album, 1982’s ENGANGERED SPECIES, featured Charlie and Nicky joined by bassist Alvin Gibbs and drummer Steve Roberts. This groundbreaking Punk classic has remained a firm fan favorite since its original release.

Celebrating it’s 40th Anniversary, ENDANGERED SPECIES receives the Deluxe treatment and is now available in a two CD set that contains 32 bonus tracks including non-album B-sides, EP tracks, demos, outtakes, and live recordings. The album itself finds the band in their prime, mixing the energy of Punk with a slight Metal edge that incorporates influences from the burgeoning New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. While Charlie and the boys didn’t set out to write catchy little ditties like Buzzcocks or The Ramones, their songs are still melodic and instantly memorable. Raw, primal, and full of vim and vigor, the album is filled with classics such as the single “Countdown” and “Down on the Farm”, a track that Guns N’ Roses later covered on their 1993 album SPAGHETTI INCIDENT? Alongside the album and a host of non-album tracks and demos, this two CD set also contains 16 live tracks from 1982 including Subs classics such as “Stranglehold”, “C.I.D.”, “Tomorrow’s Girls”, and “Police State”. Housed in a six-panel digipak, this release is essential to UK Subs fans and can easily serve as a perfect gateway into the UK Subs universe. This is music that remains timeless and vital four decades on.

UK SUBS

ENDANGERED SPECIES (2CD)

Available NOW!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: FATHER JOHN MISTY/CHLOE AND THE NEXT 20th CENTURY

Acclaimed Indie Folk singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Josh Tillman – born in Rockville, Maryland in 1981 – is better known by his stage name Father John Misty. His early solo career began in 2003 with the release of several self-produced CD-Rs including 2004’s I WILL RETURN and LONG MAY YOU RUN, J. TILLMAN (2006). His album MINOR WORKS was Tillman’s first nationally distributed album and was closely followed by a two CD set that combined the previously mentioned albums. While he continued to release solo albums – including CANCER AND DELIRIUM (2007), VACILANDO TERRITORY BLUES (2009), YEAR IN THE KINGDOM (2009), and SINGING AX (2010) – he joined acclaimed Indie Folk band Fleet Foxes in 2008 and occupied the drum stool in that band on tour as well as on the album HELPLESSNESS BLUES (2011) before leaving in 2012. At that point in his career, Josh Tillman decided it was time to reinvent himself…

Relocating to Los Angeles, he changed his musical direction, began performing under the moniker Father John Misty and signed to Sub Pop Records. The album FEAR FUN was released in 2012 and achieved critical acclaim and caught the attention of music fans previously unfamiliar with his work under his own name. By the time he released the album I LOVE YOU HONEYBEAR in early 2015, he had become an Indie Folk sensation. With critical praise across the board and a higher commercial profile, Father John Misty became one of the most popular artists in Americana music.  He followed the success of that album with two more critically acclaimed albums – PURE COMEDY (2017) and GOD’S FAVORITE CUSTOMER (2018) – both of which reached the Top 20 in the US as well as fitting comfortably in the Top 40 in many other countries including the UK, Australia, Belgium, Ireland, and Sweden.  In 2020, he released the ANTHEMS + 3 EP and the limited live album OFF-KEY IN HAMBURG while he spent time writing and prepping for his next studio opus.

Four years after the release of his last studio album, Father John Misty returns with 2022’S CHLOE AND THE NEXT 20TH CENTURY, a delightful collection of songs that solidifies his reputation as one of America’s finest songwriters. The album begins with “Chloe”, the best Harry Nilsson song that Harry Nilsson never wrote. In fact, Nilsson’s ghost inhabits many of these songs although they remain classic Father John Misty songs. While sounding completely modern, this album is a callback to classic singer/songwriter albums of the 1970s. There is a lot of emotional depth throughout the album, but the album is far from depressing and somber. There are gentle moments that are reflective, but they are balanced by a lighthearted flair that you don’t find on many these days. From straight acoustic Folk and Pop to jazz-influenced gems, this album defies categorization and falls somewhere between the playful joy of Harry Nilsson and the hook-filled melodicism of Neil Finn. Highlights include “Kiss Me (I Loved You)”, “(Everything But) Her Love”, “Q4”, “Goodbye Mr. Blue”, “Only A Fool”, and “Funny Girl”.  CHLOE AND THE NEXT 20TH CENTURY is proof that there are modern artists that are more than capable of making classic albums today that can easily be compared to the albums that we cherish from our youth. A true gem, this is.

FATHER JOHN MISTY

CHLOE AND THE NEXT 20TH CENTURY

Available NOW!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BEIRUT/ARTIFACTS

Founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Beirut originally started as a solo project by singer/songwriter Zach Condon.  Influenced by the music he heard while working in a cinema that showed international films, he decided to create his own music that incorporated elements of those worldly cinematic sounds that inspired him. Condon was also influenced by experiencing this music first-hand while traveling Europe when he was 17 years old, planting even more ideas into his creative mind. After returning to the U.S., he attended the University of New Mexico and began recording music at home. Collaborating with Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel / A Hawk and a Hacksaw) and Heather Trost (A Hawk and a Hacksaw), the album was finished in the studio and Condon and Beirut released their full-length debut, GULAG ORKESTAR, in 2006.

Met with rave reviews, GULAG ORKESTAR revealed a unique musical project that was embraced by Alt-Rock, Indie, Americana, and World music fans. Slightly altering their sound for THE FLYING CLUB CUP (2007), Condon and Co. revealed a love for French chanson. With each subsequent release, Beirut became more than just Condon’ solo project. As the line-up grew, different influences made their way onto the group’s albums such as THE RIP TIDE (2011), NO NO NO (2015), and GOLLIPOLI (2019). Beirut became a band that evolved and grew while also maintaining their distinct sound. During the group’s run of albums, Condon also worked with other artists including A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Blondie, Grizzly Bear, Sharon Van Etten, the New Pornographers, Mouse on Mars, and others. However, Beirut has always been Zach Condon’s focus and while the group has not finished a new album, he’s been working behind the scenes and going through their archives…

Like Beirut’s music, 2022’s ARTIFACTS is a collection that evolved and changed over time. The original intention for the release was to collect a few early EPs together and release them on a compilation. When Condon started going through hard drives to find a few bonus tracks to the release, he re-discovered so much bonus material that they had to expand the collection to two discs (both on CD and LP). While ARTIFACTS is not a ‘best of’, anyone that is new to the music of Beirut would think otherwise. An incredibly diverse release, the album mixes the warm acoustic based side of the group with their atmospheric electronica-influenced recordings to great effect. With melodies that sound both refreshingly original and oddly familiar and comforting, ARTIFACTS is an incredible musical journey that blends so many musical styles together that it is even hard to classify Beirut as anything but ‘wholly original’. Highlights include “Carousels”, “Fryodor Dormant”, “Elephant Gun”, “Napoleon on the Bellerphon”, and “Le Phare Du Cap Bon”. ARTIFACTS is both a fine reminder of Condon and Beirut’s talents and serves as a great gateway release for anyone wishing to dive into their catalog for the first time.

BEIRUT

ARTIFACTS

Available NOW!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: DESTROYER / LABYRINTHITIS

Throughout the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, American Rock critics found it necessary to treat the Canadian music scene like a bad joke. When, where, why, and how Canada become a punchline for music journalists remains a mystery, but our northern neighbors finally had the last laugh. In the last two decades alone, bands like The New Pornographers, Arcade Fire, Bran Van 3000, Death From Above (1979), and Broken Social Scene have achieved great success in the U.S., both critically and commercially. The older music journalists that once roamed the halls of Rolling Stone, Creem, Circus, and other magazines have slipped away into the shadows, replaced by a new legion of critics who have never had an aversion to Canadian music makers (and probably don’t even realize that their predecessors had an issue in the first place!). The times they are (thankfully) a-changin’!

While Arcade Fire has certainly drawn the most attention, The New Pornographers are equally beloved by music fans. Not exactly a collective like Broken Social Scene, most of the members of The New Pornographers- have been involved with different projects before and during the band’s existence. Members include Neko Case (solo, Maow), Carl Newman (AC Newman, Superconductor, Zumpano), John Collins (The Evaporators), and Todd Fancey (Fancey, Limblifter). While he left The New Pornographers in 2017, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Dan Bejar (Swan Lake, Hello Blue Roses) has been causing quite a stir with his musical project by the name of Destroyer. Releasing albums since 1996 (even before the formation of TNP), Destroyer’s recorded output has traveled down many different musical roads, showcasing the everevolving talents of Bejar. The last time we heard from Destroyer was the multi-layered 2020 album HAVE WE MET. A lot has happened in the world in the two years since that album was released, so we all sat back and waited to hear how everything had affected the music of Destroyer…

We are barely four months in to 2022 and Dan Bejar and Destroyer have delivered LABYRINTHITIS, an album that emerges from the global pandemic armed with a sense of hope and a briefcase full of melodies. An important part of Destroyer’s music – which Bejar has created with frequent collaborator John Collins – is the comforting familiarity of the group’s musical influences. Bathed in the memories of 1980s Synthpop and Post-Punk (with a dollop of New Wave), Bejar breaks down his musical inspirations, sands them down, gives them a new coat of shellac, and pieces it all back together. While the roots of Destroyer are showing, LABYRINTHITIS is far from a ‘retro’ album. With a unique and modern sound that continues to evolve, LABYRINTHITIS surprises the listener as it adds a new layer of emotion to Destroyer’s sound, allowing the songs to inhale and exhale while delivering tightly woven, darkly lit Pop songs. Highlights include the singles “Tintoretto, It’s For You”, “Eat The Wine, Drink The Bread”, and “June” as well as the Cure/New Order-influenced album opener “It’s In Your Heart Now”. In times like this, we all need to connect something that is both real and inspiring… and LABYRINTHITIS is your next new obsession.

DESTROYER

LABYRINTHITIS

Available NOW!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: REJJIE SNOW/BAW BAW BLACK SHEEP

Born in Dublin, Ireland to a Nigerian father and an Irish-Jamaican mother, acclaimed rapper and songwriter Alexander Anyaegbunam is better known by his stage name Rejjie Snow. After attending Belvedere College SJ in Dublin, he relocated to the U.S. to attend Montverde Academy in Florida on a soccer scholarship. He also attended the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia and studied film and design. However, after a semester in Savannah, he left school and moved back to Dublin, Ireland. Instead of concentrating on a soccer career, he switched his focus to a career in music.

In 2013, Rejjie Snow released his debut EP, REJOVICH, which was an instant success. The EP featured the track “!992,” which received over a million streams on social media. His first official single, “All Around the World,” was released in 2015 and was followed by “Blakkst Skn,” which was released later that year. Signing with 300 Entertainment in 2016, he released several singles before issuing his mixtape THE MOON & YOU in 2017. Rejjie Snow released his full-length debut album, DEAR ANNIE, in 2018 to critical acclaim. With each release, Rejjie Snow began receiving great acclaim and earned quite a following. His singles – including “Egyptian Luvr,” “23,” “The Rain,” and more – have been embraced by music fans in and out of the Hip Hop community. In the four years since DEAR ANNIE, anticipation has been high for a new album from Rejjie Snow…

Four years on from DEAR ANNIE, Rejjie Snow returns to the album game with 2022’s BAW BAW BLACK SHEEP. The album is an audio delicatessen filled with nods to classic Soul, Pop, R&B, and Hip Hop while still looking forward. And album of integrity and inspiration, this is an album for modern Hip Hop heads AND for those that haven’t connected with anything in the genre since the release of the first albums by A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, JUNGLE BROTHERS, and DE LA SOUL in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Featuring the singles “Cookie Chips” (featuring MF DOOM & Cam O’bi) and “Mirrors” (featuring Snoh Aalegra & Cam O’bi), the album mixes genres – from Psychedelia to Soul to Pop – with ease, creating an aural landscape that is comforting, riveting, and inspiring. There’s an experimental edge that that will excite those looking for something new. Like a child lost in a dream, BAW BAW BLACK SHEEP introduces the listener a world of wonderment and imagination.

REJJIE SNOW

BAW BAW BLACK SHEEP

Available NOW!