CD of the Month Club

Every month, WNRN picks the best of what’s new. You can join WNRN’s Acoustic or Electric CD of the month. All CD of the Month Club members will receive a new CD in the mail every month.

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CD of the Month Club News & Updates

June Electric CD of the Month: Alt-J’s Relaxer

British trio Alt-J engulf us with substantial style on WNRN’s Electric CD of the Month, Relaxer. Bringing their third album into view is the laid back “3WW”. The triumphant instrumental builds to beautiful vocal symmetry, featuring Ellie Rowsell, the singer from Wolf Alice, for added flair. If you haven’t gotten a chance to hear “In Cold Blood” yet, you will enjoy this rock jam that has lit up the early summer for me. It and the snarled “Hit Me Like a Snare” are to focused as “Adeline” is to vast & otherworldly.

On “Deadcrush” they reference their favorite deceased royal Anna Bolina (nay Anne Boleyn) and Van Gogh subject Anna L’Arlesienne. The song is very angular and beguiling as the subject matter might imply. The band expands into near Fleet Fox-ian territory with the soaring vocals and acoustic guitars on “Last Year” and their cover of the classic “House of the Rising Sun” steers in a much more reverential tone than The Animals 1964 take on the folk song. To wrap up Relaxer Alt-J find an orchestra and a choir to rise to new heights with “Pleader”.

On Thursday, July 27 Alt-J will play Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD with SOHN opening.

By |June 5th, 2017|Categories: CD of the Month, Featured, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

June Acoustic CD of the Month: Chris Stapleton’s From A Room: Vol. 1

Chris Stapleton will release two CDs this year. The first installment is From A Room, Volume 1, and is WNRN’s June 2017 Acoustic CD of the Month.

“A Room” refers to the classic recording studio in Nashville, RCA Studio A where Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson recorded some of their classic recordings. Traveller’s producer, Dave Cobb,  is back helping Stapleton create the sound of this masterpiece.

At no point during this new recording by Chris Stapleton do I have any other thought but to listen and enjoy. Why? First, his voice. To quote my favorite country music blogger on Saving Country Music, “One of the biggest challenges for any singer is to write songs in a way that showcases their vocal talent and challenges their range. For Stapleton, this is his greatest asset…. you may never hear a more better sung record in all of country music than From A Room: Volume 1.”

Second, the songs. One of the reasons I became an instant fan of the Steeldrivers bluegrass band was the songs. Former bandmates of the Steeldrivers, Mike Henderson and Chris Stapleton, still write songs together. Two of these co-writes ended up on the new CD, “Broken Halos” and the single, “Second One to Know.”  The lyrics on the whole album are easy to quote, fun, and embody the dry ironic humor that draws me back to country music, including the one cover, “Last Thing I Needed, First Thing in the Morning.” “Up To No Good Livin’” will be a song that critics and songwriters will look to as an iconic country song for years to come. Just brilliant. You may not instantly fall in love with “Death Row” but with each listen you will plumb the depths of the lyrics and performance.  Other stand outs include “Either Way,” and “Them Stems.”

By |June 1st, 2017|Categories: Anne Williams, CD of the Month, Featured, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

May’s Electric CD of the Month

It’s May when flowers bloom, graduations are eminent and plans for all the summer fun to come swirl in your head. To get you ready for the season is Whiteout Conditions from The New Pornographers, WNRN’s Electric CD of the Month for May.

Beginning with the uptempo romp, “Play Money” brings all sorts of synthesized effects and  Neko Case’s voice. What a welcome return of The New Pornographers.   The album continues with“Whiteout Conditions” the frenetic energy builds as the band sings ‘forget the mission just get out alive.” A.C. Newman’s words get stuck in your head and then you find their complexity. Newman described The New Pornographers move toward a bigger bolder sound on Whiteout Conditions saying, “… we wanted it to be like Krautrock Fifth Dimension.” You can feel that on “High Ticket Attractions” which you’ve heard on WNRN. Go deeper and you’ll find Neko Case’s voice soaring on “This is the World of the Theater” and “We’ve Been Here Before” that sets to life a choir of reverb that could be celebratory or contemplative.

The New Pornographers will be touring this summer and make their way to Charlottesvile with Spoon on Wednesday, July 19 playing at Sprint Pavilion.

By |May 9th, 2017|Categories: CD of the Month|0 Comments

April 2017 Electric CD of the Month

Hot Thoughts  from Spoon is WNRN’s April Electric CD of the Month. Beginning with the charged up “Hot Thoughts” the new Spoon album brings a sexy, sci-fi meets dance vibe that immediately draws you in. “WhisperI’llHearIt” stays low until it is ready to explode into tambourines and guitar solos. The instruments slowly layering atop each other in as a psychedelic storm of synthesizers evolve on “Do I Have to Talk You Into It”.

The focused disco jam of “First Caress” and “Can I Sit Next To You” are some of the tightest songs that Spoon has ever written.  Some lovely piano work throughout Hot Thoughts, but I like the emotional and tonal shift found from “I Ain’t The One” to “Tear It Down”.

Hot Thoughts reminds me why I like Spoon so much, they create a world within an album that I want to exist in.

Spoon will be at Sprint Pavilion in Charlottesville on Wednesday, July 19 with The New Pornographers opening.

By |April 20th, 2017|Categories: CD of the Month|0 Comments

April 2017 Acoustic CD of the Month

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbor’s newest, Souvenir, is WNRN’s April 2017 Acoustic CD of the Month.

After returning from University of St. Andrew in Scotland with a Masters in Divinity, with a thesis titled “Bruce Springsteen and the American Redemptive Imagination,” Drew Holcomb settled in Nashville, recruited folks from his zip code to form the Neighbors, and started releasing music along with providing tour support to folks like Ryan Adams and the Avett Brothers.  Since 2005, they have released a series of full length CDs.

WNRN has championed Holcomb’s music including the recent Medicine, welcomed him to the Red Wing Roots Music Festival, hosted him in the WNRN studio, and placed a version of “Here We Go” on In Studio at WNRN Volume 4.

Souvenir shows Holcomb’s knack for melody, including the sweet “Mama’s Sunshine, Daddy’s Rain” as well as the stompers, “California,” and “Fight for Love.” This recording’s theme is live your life with love and depth through intimate ballads, stadium size anthems, or more conversational songs asking you to love your neighbors. The urgency and exhilaration of the whole album are worth treasuring and will probably end up on many critics “Best of 2017.”

By |April 1st, 2017|Categories: Anne Williams, CD of the Month, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

Acoustic CD of the Month, March 2017

Ryan Adams new release, Prisoner, is WNRN’s March 2017 Acoustic CD of the Month.

Ryan Adams’ Prisoner is a break up record. It is his first album since his divorce from actress/singer, Mandy Moore. Adams described the separation as “humiliating and just a f*$%ing horrible thing to go through.” Adams channels his loss and crafts a complete work with snapshots and many moods. Prisoner’s sound is reminiscent of his classics, Gold and Cold Roses. This universally praised release is his 16th album since Whiskeytown disbanded.

Prisoner opens with  “Do You Still Love Me?” With its full sound and crashing guitars, this song is the set up for our journey through the breakup. The song titles read like chapters of a ‘how I got through my divorce’ book, not like Eat Pray Love but ones from Adams’ point of view through the rising action: “Prisoner,” “Doomsday,” “Haunted House,” and “Shiver and Shake.” These lead us up to the climax with “Outbound Train” then on to the denouement  with “Broke Anyway” and “Tightrope.” All this packed into 43 minutes!

By |March 1st, 2017|Categories: Anne Williams, CD of the Month, Miscellaneous|0 Comments