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Next Week in Music | Oct. 7-13 • The Short List: Five Albums & Two Boxes You Need

Joseph Arthur, Kim Gordon, Elbow and more releases to add to your list.

It’s a good week for indie-rock fans, with everyone from Joseph Arthur and Art Alexakis to Kim Gordon dropping new albums. For those who prefer their music a little more aged, well, you can’t go wrong with box sets from Freddie Mercury and Steve Miller. Here’s the skinny:

Art Alexakis
Sun Songs

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Some 30 years into his career as a recording artist, Art Alexakis — best-known as the singer-guitarist and sole songwriter behind the iconic alt-rock outfit Everclear — has started a new chapter in his remarkably prolific career, now as a solo artist. Writing all of the songs and performing all instruments on his own, Alexakis is releasing his first ever solo album. Sun Songs finds Alexakis exploring sounds, styles and lyrical subjects outside of the realm of his generally rock-focused band. “For the most part, it’s an acoustic singer-songwriter type of album,” says Alexakis. “It’s not about making another Everclear record; it’s about doing something that’s just me. I’m pushing my ability and pushing the envelope, and having fun at the same time. I’ve always wanted to do something like this. On the other records I’m always playing with other musicians who, even though I’m pointing them and pushing them in the direction I want them to go, they’re still bringing what they bring to the table, so they’re adding to it. Every album that has different players on it sounds different, as it should. I’ve always wanted that with Everclear: to be an amorphous thing that can change and become different things. I’ve never wanted to make the same album twice. That’s why I’m excited about my solo material, because it doesn’t sound like any Everclear record. Not even close.”

Joseph Arthur
Come Back World

THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s been three years since Joseph Arthur has released a brand-new solo album, and with the upcoming release of Come Back World he’s crafted his most personal and powerful album to date. ”The interesting parts of our stories aren’t the famous people we meet,” Arthur remarked. ”Or the times when everything is basically working. Or when we get to lay in comfort with a partner watching Netflix and the world go by. The interesting parts are when all those things break down and you’re left in isolation to finally deal with the roots of whatever had been thwarting your existence all along. The interesting parts are when the world has turned its back on you and you have turned your back on it or them. When darkness could seemingly swallow you whole if it hasn’t already. When there is no such thing as hope and so you manufacture it from a dream which only angle is to survive. Come Back World is an album about rebirth and survival.”

Metal Galaxy

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The forthcoming new album Metal Galaxy includes 14 songs, the names of which are all revealed today. As their band name, Babymetal represents “the birth of a new genre of music that combines Japanese pop with metal”, hence the term “baby” in the name, the new album expresses light and darkness, emotions like duality and ambivalence, and “new metal” created by various chemical reactions as other entities evolved and expanded in this album. Just like the Sun and the Moon changes the appearance of this world with its daylight and moonlight, with evermore new type of various sound, their music paints the metal galaxy in different colours.”

Giants of All Sizes

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Lead singer and lyricist Guy Garvey describes the album as “an angry, old blue lament which finds its salvation in family, friends, the band and new life.” It is a record that lyrically takes in moments of deep personal loss whilst reflecting its times by confronting head-on the spectres of injustice and division not just in the UK but across the world. It is a record that could only have been made in the 21st Century. Given such bleak, if ultimately redeemed, subject matter, it is also, perversely, the most relaxed record which elbow have made in some time. On Giants of All Sizes, each band member extended their usual process of working on demos alone and followed their vision to its conclusion rather than, as Craig Potter puts it, ‘taking the edges off things to find compromise’. In tandem with this, they returned to playing live in the studio, encouraged to experiment with the banks of analogue equipment at Clouds Hill in Northern Germany, giving songs a looser, more live feel. The result is the most starkly dynamic record from the band in recent times, “Sonically unabashed”, as Guy would have it. Whilst album closer ‘Weightless’ has the gossamer melodies and communal harmonies for which the band have latterly been known, this album echoes earlier elbow work at times whilst also breaking new ground.

Kim Gordon
No Home Record

THE PRESS RELEASE: “With a career spanning nearly four decades, Kim Gordon is one of the most prolific and visionary artists working today. A co-founder of the legendary Sonic Youth, Gordon has performed all over the world, collaborating with many of music’s most exciting figures including Tony Conrad, Ikue Mori, Julie Cafritz and Stephen Malkmus. Most recently, Gordon has been hitting the road with Body/Head, her spellbinding partnership with artist and musician Bill Nace. Despite the exhaustive nature of her résumé, the most reliable aspect of Gordon’s music may be its resistance to formula. Songs discover themselves as they unspool, each one performing a test of the medium’s possibilities and limits. Her command is astonishing, but Gordon’s artistic curiosity remains the guiding force behind her music. It makes sense that this “American idea” (as Gordon says on the agitated rock track Air BnB) of purchasing utopia permeates the record, as no place is this phenomenon more apparent than Los Angeles, where Gordon was born and recently returned to after several lifetimes on the east coast. It was a move precipitated by a number of seismic shifts in her personal life and undoubtedly plays a role in No Home Record’s fascination with transience. Front to back, No Home Record is an expert operation in the uncanny. You don’t simply listen to Gordon’s music; you experience it.”

Freddie Mercury
Never Boring: The Solo Box Set

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The Never Boring box set brings together for the first time a specially-curated selection of Freddie Mercury’s music, visuals and written and spoken words. The set reminds us that Freddie was an exceptional singer, songwriter, performer and human being whose special kind of magic is captured in this exceptional collection of his solo work. Taken from the very best original source material available, Never Boring contains three CDs with 32 tracks; a Blu-ray and DVD featuring 13 promo videos and interview; a 120-page 10”x10” hardback book full photos, many of them rare and unpublished, as well as thoughts and choice quotes from Freddie himself. The three CDs include a new 12-track compilation of many of Freddie’s greatest solo performances; a newly mixed 11-track special edition of Mr Bad Guy; and the nine-track 2012 special edition of Barcelona featuring full orchestra. The Blu-ray and DVD of Freddie’s promos and his stage performances with Montserrat Caballé include eight that have been painstakingly reassembled from the original 35mm film rushes to give them the best-ever visual and sound quality.”


Steve Miller
Welcome to the Vault

THE PRESS RELEASE:Steve Miller opens his massive archive for the first time to share his treasures with Welcome To The Vault. The career-spanning 3 CD + DVD collection contains 52 audio tracks and 21 performances on DVD, with 38 previously unreleased recordings, including 5 compositions that have never been heard before, and alternate versions of classic songs, live performances and more, housed in a 100 page hard bound book with Steve’s personal photos, and a 9,000 word essay. The DVD contains 21 live performances including rare footage from the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert in 1973, ABC In Concert 1974, a 1970 concert from the Fillmore West filmed for Dutch TV, Pine Knob Michigan in 1982, Steve and Les Paul at Fat Tuesdays (1990) and Austin City Limits in 2011. Welcome To The Vault also includes 10 guitar picks with Steve’s iconic Pegasus logo and an authentic backstage pass from Steve’s personal vault.”