Welcome to the first Paradise Found Records blog of 2023. We're looking forward to another year of great music.
Record Store Day is set for Saturday, April 22. The long list of exclusive vinyl usually drops in early February; we'll be back in a future blog with more details. If the past is any indication, we'll have hundreds of great albums from all genres to satisfy music lovers. Record Store Day is our busiest day of the year, and 2023 should be the biggest RSD yet!
Here are a few of the musical offerings we're excited about in 2023, in order of release date. But first, I want to call attention to a 2022 release I recently discovered.
Alex G -- God Save The Animals (out now)
Alex G aka Alexander Giannascoli is a Philly-based musician who made his first eight albums under the moniker (Sandy) Alex G. Giannascoli plays almost all of the instruments on his records, with a little help from others (including girlfriend Molly Germer, violinist for Japanese Breakfast). God Save The Animals is unlike anything else I heard last year: a blend of rock, folk and indie that deploys autotune to compelling, sometimes jarring effect on multiple tracks and that manages to simultaneously evoke Neil Young, Kevin Parker (aka Tame Impala) and Stevie Wonder. First single "My Runner" may be a little too close to Soul Asylum's "Runaway Train" for comfort, but that is the only negative thing I can say about this breathtakingly original album. (Favorite track: "Mission")
Margo Price -- Strays (out now)
Strays is Nashville troubadour Margo Price's fourth album. It accompanies Maybe We'll Make It, her memoir that came out last fall. Composed on a hallucinogen-fueled weekend with husband/songwriting partner Jeremy Ivey, this is easily Price's best record, more rocking than her prior work thanks in part to assists from Mike Campbell (of Heartbreakers fame), Sharon Van Etten, Lucious and famed Topanga Canyon producer Jonathan Wilson. Whether it's Fleetwood Mac or Emmylou Harris, multi-instrumentalist Price creates classic rock and country sounds that are both familiar and fresh. Will 2023 be the year she breaks big? For now she has no local shows scheduled, but don't miss her powerful live act if you get the chance. (Favorite track: "Radio")
Bob Dylan -- Fragments: Time Out of Mind Sessions (1996-1997) The Bootleg Series Vol. 17 (out now)
Bob Dylan has never been boring, but the mid-nineties saw him hit a career ebb. He responded by working with Daniel Lanois (for the second time) to produce the highly-acclaimed Time Out of Mind, which won multiple Grammys, was widely considered the best release of 1997, and started a late-career resurgence that has continued to this day. The 17th release of his Bootleg Series finds him mining the vaults from that era. Over four albums (or five CDs), the master works up a comeback effort with his best material in more than two decades. (First listen: "Mississippi Version 2")
U.S.Girls -- Bless This Mess (2/24/23)
Toronto-based Megan Remy performs as U.S. Girls. Her unique blend of dance-pop has gotten her a lot of critical attention, but she has still failed to breakthrough on a larger scale. Her eighth record, Bless This Mess, promises to be her most accessible work to date. Hopefully this release gets some radio play and helps her find a larger audience. (First listen: "Bless This Mess")
Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach -- The Songs of Bacharach and Costello (3/3/23)
Painted From Memory, Elvis Costello's 1998 collaboration with legendary composer Burt Bacharach, was a late-career peak for both master songwriters. This box set is a compilation of their previously released duets alongside new and live tracks and outtakes. Available in 2- and 6-LP (and CD) formats, this one is a treasure for classic pop lovers. (First listen: "Painted From Memory")
U2 -- Songs of Surrender (3/17/23)
Revisiting and reworking old material is often a dicey proposition, but that isn't stopping Bono and company from putting out a multi-record set with new renditions of forty U2 classics. The songs match the chapters in Bono's excellent 2022 memoir, Surrender. The first sample reworks one of their biggest hits, "Pride (in the Name of Love)." I'll let you decide whether it bodes well for the rest of the effort. (First listen: "(Pride) In The Name of Love")
Various Artists --Dance Craze: The Best of British Ska...Live! (3/17/23)
One of the first big musical losses of 2023 was Terry Hall, lead singer of The Specials and founding member of the Two-Tone label. Dance Craze is an 1981 film that captured the incredible live energy and power of the Two-Tone stable of acts, including The Specials, The English Beat, Madness, The Selector and others. Only viewable up to now on grainy, low-quality YouTube footage, the film is getting its first DVD release, accompanied by an expanded soundtrack that features all of the songs from the film. Required viewing for ska lovers or anyone who likes music that makes you want to pogo. (First listen: "Man at C&A")
Lana Del Rey -- Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd (3/24/23)
Del Rey's ninth studio effort is already receiving a lot of buzz. Producer Jack Antonoff (among others) is back at the helm, and the record features musical contributions from Father John Misty (aka her male equivalent), Jon Batiste, The Bleachers and others. Here's hoping the record approaches the highs of 2019's Norman Fucking Rockwell, her best work in a prolific career. (First listen: "Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd")
boygenius -- the record (3/31/23)
The female indie rock supergroup of Jillian Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus released an EP in 2018. In the intervening years, Bridgers has become a star on the strength of Punisher while Baker joined Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten for last summer's popular Wild Hearts Tour. The trio returns with a debut album and a headlining slot at Coachella. (First listen: "True Blue")
Caroline Polacheck -- Desire I Want to Turn Into You (4/14/23)
Former CU student Caroline Polacheck was first heard around these parts as a member of the group Chairlift. The second solo record under her own name drops on Valentine's Day with a headlining tour to follow (including a May 14 Mission Ballroom show with the aforementioned Alex G as opener). Polacheck's pop increasingly leans in an EDM direction, but her talent is undeniable and she's another artist due for a higher profile in 2023. (First listen: "Welcome to My Island")
The National -- First Two Pages of Frankenstein (4/28/23)
The ninth record from the Cincinnati-based purveyors of dour indie-rock will be the first new album from the group since 2019's I am Easy to Find and feature contributions from Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift, who has been working with The National's Dessner brothers in recent years on her own records. (First listen: "Tropic Morning News")
Still awaiting release dates:
The Cure -- Songs of a Lost World
Cure founder/songwriter Robert Smith moves at a snail's pace when it comes to new releases; the group hasn't done anything new since 2008's 4:13 Dream. Will 2023 be different? The latest effort from the band still lacks a release date, but it does have a title and tour dates scheduled under the banner of "Shows of a Lost World." While it's hardly a sure thing, The Cure appear to be closer to new music now than at any point in the last decade.
Peter Gabriel -- i/o
Peter Gabriel is notoriously slow when it comes to producing new music. Producer Daniel Lanois famously had to lock him in the studio just to get him to write the lyrics to "Come Talk To Me." His last studio album with new music, Up, came out in 2002 (in the interim he's put out a covers album and an album of his older material reworked with an orchestra). Although no release date is set, Gabriel has a new album, i/o, coming out in 2023 with a U.S tour scheduled for the fall (European dates are already onsale). If the first single, "Panopticom", is any indication, Gabriel lovers should be very happy with the return of one of the biggest global rock stars of the eighties and nineties.
Joni Mitchell -- Archives Volume 3: The Asylum Albums (1972-1975)
The first two installments in Joni's archives have taken her through Blue, widely considered to be her single best record. The upcoming, third installment will reveal Mitchell at her most musically sophisticated, when she worked with Tom Scott to create more jazz-tinged music that helped her reach her biggest audience to date thanks to Court and Spark, The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Hejira (the last of which featured bassist Jaco Pastorius). As with the first two installments, this series will include a ton of previously unheard live and studio material. Mitchell is making a live comeback with her first announced live show at The Gorge in June; the timing is perfect for the third installment.
Neil Young -- Archival Releases TBA
Perhaps no artist has put out more material in the past year than Neil Young. In addition to two new albums (and one old) with Crazy Horse (Barn, World Record and Toast, respectively), he released multiple live records and a 50th anniversary edition of Harvest, his biggest seller. Young has promised another full slate for 2023. We're particularly excited for the third volume of the Archives, which will cover his late-seventies period, a highly fruitful era (the multi-disc set is reportedly already in production). He has also promised a live release from 1996, when he was backed by Pearl Jam for the highly-underrated Mirror Ball LP.
Also Hoping for New/Archival Releases From:
Brittany Howard: The Alabama Shakes leader hasn't put out anything since 2019's excellent Jaime. I'm hoping to hear new material from her soon.
Jenny Lewis: LA's leading purveyor of new classic rock spent 2022 expanding her audience opening for Harry Styles. We're coming up on the fourth anniversary of her last album, On The Line, so 2023 could bring good things for her fans (she is also touring with her one-off bandmates in The Postal Service on a co-headlining tour with Death Cab for Cutie that hits The Mission Ballroom on September 26 and 27).
My Morning Jacket: By all accounts the group is already in the studio working on a follow-up to 2020's self-titled effort.
Tame Impala: A new album release would be faster than usual for Kevin Parker, but he is hinting he may be back sooner than expected.
Vampire Weekend: It's been nearly four years since the excellent Father of the Bride. Frontman Ezra Koenig lent his vocals to a song on the latest Phoenix LP and hinted at a live album during a show last summer. Live or studio, anything from this group will be welcome.
Gillian Welch: Welch has not put out any new music since 2011's The Harrow and The Harvest (she has released a covers album and an archival release in the interim). No reason to think anything is coming this year, but I can dream, can't I? Her partner David Rawlings is now working with our friends at Vinyl Me, Please, so at the very least we should look for a first-time-on-vinyl release of their excellent collaboration Time (The Revelator) effort.
The Who: Pete Townsend has been hinting at an expanded, 50th anniversary edition of the classic Who's Next for more than a year. That anniversary has long since come and gone, but a deep dive into one of the group's finest works would still be welcome.
Wilco: In the studio as I write, Wilco's archival series is next due for an expanded edition of A Ghost is Born, their impressive 2004 follow-up to the seminal Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The 20th anniversary technically isn't until June of 2024, but since the YHF box was a year late, I'll forgive them if this one comes out early.
Lucinda Williams: The most interesting concert pairing announced so far this year is Americana queen Williams opening for indie darlings Big Thief at Red Rocks on July 31. Lucinda has no new music planned, but she is releasing her first memoir, Don't Tell Anybody The Secrets I Told You, on April 25.