New Music Tuesday: The Civil Wars, Chris Thile, Elvis, Hugh Laurie, The Polyphonic Spree & Amanda Shires

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I'm fascinated by how they decide when to release an album. Back in the day artists were often pressured to release one or two albums every single year.  These days if you get more than an album every few years an artist is considered prolific. There seems to be no pressure at all for an artist to release anything new, at least not in their own time.  Release dates mostly seem to come from whenever the artist decides to actually create the album.

Still, there is no doubt some science to it. Everyone wants to release the big summer jam and so May and June always see big releases. December sees all sorts of Christmas releases and there  other dates that get crammed with heavy duty players. It is crazy to me to find that on some weeks there are hardly any releases of any interest to anyone and yet the very next week you might find a dozen big names releasing albums. Again there must be some kind of science to it where studios have figured out that on certain weeks we fans will lay down our cash moreso than on others.

This week, the charts must say, is a good day to empty the wallet.  Maybe everyone is making one last purchase before school starts again.  Or something.  Whatever the reason we've got some nice albums coming out.

  • The Civil Wars - The Civil Wars: Their first album, Barton Hollow won three Grammys and is a harrowing, beautiful record. For some reason or another I hardly ever listen to it, but whenever I do I always wonder why it isn't in heavy rotation. Apparently the duo just broke up, but that hasn't stopped them from releasing a second album.
  • Bach: Sonatas & Partitas 1- Chris Thile: Best known as the singer of the new folk act Nickel Creek Thile is also the master mandolinist for the progressive bluegrass band the Punch Brothers as well as the go to guy for hipster acoustic music. Dude is prolific and insanely good. For whatever reason he's decided to do an album full of classical music.  I'm not one who usually buys classical albums, but you can bet this things is flipping' excellent.
  • Elvis At Stax: Deluxe Edition: Three CDs full of the last studio sessions the King ever did.
  • The Vigil - Chick Corea: Legendary pianist Corea has been one of the key players in jazz over the last fifty years.  He helped create jazz fusion with Miles Davis in the 60s and has continued to create interesting music with a virtual who's who of jazz players.  His new album features Stanley Clarke on bass.
  • Didn't It Rain - Hugh Laurie: I'm usually one to scoff at actors making music, but Laurie is actually a very accomplished pianist. I won't claim this will be great, but its got to be better than anything Bruce Willis ever sang.
  • Yes It's True: the Polyphonic Spree: I've never heard a note of these guys, but I periodically hear good buzz about them. Plus, I love the name.
  • Down Fell Doves - Amanda Shires:  I've never even heard of her but it turns out she recently married Jason Isbell and appeared on Isbell's stunning new record Southeastern. Amazon says that people who bought this album also bought things by the Civil Wars, Guy Clark, Neko Case. That's pretty good company to be in.