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Next Week in Music | Feb. 24 – March 1 • The Short List: 7 Releases You Want to Hear

Check out new titles from Robert Cray, Today Is The Day, Wasted Shirt and more.

If you’re a big fan of James Taylor, I have good news and bad news. The good news: Sweet Baby James has a new album arriving next week — a disc of American Songbook standards, fittingly titled American Standards. The bad news: Nobody needs to hear that shit. Here are seven albums you should check out instead:

Robert Cray
That’s What I Heard

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Funky, cool and bad,” is how Robert Cray describes his latest album, That’s What I Heard. “I thought if it we could get this thing that Sam Cooke used to have, the kind of sound that early Sam Cooke records had, that we could pull this off,” says producer Steve Jordan. On That’s What I Heard, Robert celebrates the music of Curtis Mayfield, Bobby “Blue” Bland, The Sensational Nightingales and more, alongside four newly written songs. The music on That’s What I Heard falls into two camps, the sweet and the funky. Of the former, You’re the One comes from the Bobby “Blue” Bland songbook. “There’s this thing where I feel you kind of gotta get out of your own head when you’re covering one of your heroes,” Cray explained. “Bobby’s one of those. You just let yourself go, and do the song because you love it.” Says Jordan: “Robert is just a great person besides being extraordinary talent. People gravitate to his guitar playing first, but I think he’s one of the best singers I’ve heard in my life. Not only because of his singing ability, but his interpretations. He’s such an honest soul in my opinion.” Robert’s band features Richard Cousins (bass), Dover Weinberg (keyboards), Terence F. Clark (drums), and Steve Jordan (drums, percussion).”

Gang Of Four
This Heaven Gives Me Migraine EP

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Until days before his death on Feb. 1, Gang of Four co-founder Andy Gill was working on a new body of music that revisits and re-imagines his musical legacy. The new EP includes three new recordings, which form only part of that output, together with two spoken interludes by Andy. Andy’s wife, Catherine Mayer, says; “From the hospital, Andy continued to give final notes on mixes of music that he looked forward to releasing. Since his death, I have been working with the band to fulfill his vision. The only change we have made is to include on the EP two brief recordings of Andy speaking, both, in different ways, essence of Andy.” Gang of Four singer John “Gaoler” Sterry adds: “This collection of songs was recorded just before Andy died and it was his intention to get these out — to represent the way we played them on tour, late last year. All three songs were recorded in Andy’s home studio in London and there’s a fly-on-the-wall intimacy to this EP; from the song selection to the snippets of spoken word.”

Mondo Generator
Shooters Bible

THE PRESS RELEASE: “This is a gem! A rare pearl found in the deep sea, a Mondo Generator 2010 lost album!! The vocals are ripped as usual, some songs are screamed but yet others feature melodic lines. The album has a punk-stoner sound with a desert rock attitude. All the songs are written by Nick Oliveri aka Rex Everything. The album features the cover of Dog Food by Iggy Pop with Dave Grohl on drums. Nick knows how to surprise us all the time! He picked this lost gem from his secret stash!”

Gord Sinclair
Taxi Dancers

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The solo debut from the musician best known as bassist and songwriter with Canadian rock legends The Tragically Hip brings several firsts. Chiefly, it’s the first release from a member of the band since the passing of frontman Gord Downie in 2017, an event that united the nation. Taxi Dancers is a farewell of sorts, fearlessly exploring Sinclair’s despair about losing a lifelong friend and bandmate. But it is also a clear-eyed survey of what’s good in the world, and a profound statement about why sorrow must be viewed in tandem with joy. Both are elemental aspects of living, and music — especially rock music, with its boundless capacity for nuance, shading, and sheer emotional heft — is perhaps life’s purest mirror. Taxi Dancers fluently moves between candlelit ballads and buoyant pop numbers to flat-out rock scorchers and what can only be termed as a spaghetti Western-style corker (Take Me to the Moon, which is propelled by galloping baritone guitar), all highlighted by Sinclair’s vivid lyrics. The album’s unique title, by the way, refers to the Depression-era custom of bringing women into remote communities to dance with men at Saturday Socials. “It’s like the entertainment industry where we’re paid to dance and then move on,” Sinclair notes. “Music is always central when people get together.”

Today Is The Day
No Good To Anyone

THE PRESS RELEASE:No Good To Anyone was recorded and mastered by Today Is The Day’s Steve Austin, who offers, “I fuckin’ love my new album, No Good To Anyone. I wanted to make the heaviest and most rocking, psychedelic songs possible. To take you on a trip. Anything goes at any second. No Good To Anyone is an experience. No Good To Anyone is the beginning of the end of your life.” Today Is The Day has been one of the most groundbreaking and unclassifiable entities in experimental music for nearly thirty years, achieving notoriety on fabled bastions of both noise-rock (Amphetamine Reptile) and metal (Relapse, Southern Lord). For such a bold and uncompromising artist, frontman Steve Austin has been a reliably prolific fixture both on wax and the live stage. Although TITD’s last album, Animal Mother, emerged six long years ago, he has played out frequently in the interim: with Kayo Dot, Abigail Williams and Weedeater from 2015 through 2017; a month with Soulfly and Nailbomb in 2018; high-profile one-offs at Psycho Las Vegas and Maryland Deathfest later that year; even the occasional European tour. Album number eleven was taking a while, sure, but fans probably assumed the machine was running as smoothly as ever. They had no idea what Austin endured in the preceding three years. No Good To Anyone represents the literal sound of a man rising from the darkest and lowest point of his life to a new plateau, delivering one of the most dynamic and poignant records in Today Is The Day’s enduring and ongoing legacy.”


Don’t Let Get You Down

THE PRESS RELEASE:Wajatta — the musical duo of Reggie Watts and John Tejada — return with their second album, Don’t Let Get You Down. Coming from different worlds, but sharing a passion for the rich history of electronic music, beat-boxer/comedian/musician Watts and electronic music artist/DJ/producer Tejada bring out the best in each other’s formidable skill sets. Where the duo’s debut album Casual High Technology hinted at the broad stylistic possibilities inherent in the marriage of Watts’ elastic, soul-stirring vocals and Tejada’s layered, melodically inventive productions, Don’t Let Get You Down makes good on that promise. Wajatta (pronounced wa-HA-ta) is a mash-up of the artists’ last names. Having grown up with similar musical influences, Austrian-born Tejada and German-born Watts draw from their love of electronic music. Exploring the intersection between influences and innovation, the two describe Wajatta’s music as “electronic dance music with its roots in Detroit techno, Chicago house, ’70s funk and New York hip hop.” It’s a sound that is both familiar and wholly original — and, like all great dance music, ultimately life-affirming, as Watts vocalizes, sometimes without words, the joyful energy of his and Tejada’s funky, shape-shifting productions. “That’s the great thing about working with John,” Watts says with an infectious grin. “He’s so steeped in the history of this music. I just pick up on that and run with it.”


Wasted Shirt
Fungus II

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Rarely when formulating combinations of musicians you would like to hear play together do you get to actually hear it. If Brian Chippendale and Ty Segall made a record, would you want to hear it? If the answer is yes, read on. If the answer is no, it’s too bad you ended up canned, suspended in syrup with nothing but other peaches to keep you company. Ty’s 2019 album First Taste and the new Lighting Bolt album Sonic Citadel are easily some of the best material either entity has ever released so if these two happened to find themselves in the same recording studio, a fan just might entertain elevated expectation levels. In fact, some might actually show signs of enthusiasm, even excitement at the fact that from July 5th -13th 2018, in the air-conditioning free environs of Ty’s home studio, the duo, eventually calling themselves Wasted Shirt, wrecked the joint as thoroughly as you hoped they would. Prepare To Be Stoked Dept.: The album is exploding euphoria from start to finish. A morphing day-glo rainbow that will bring a smile to your face like if you were on your way to Washington DC for the Million Puppy March. Upon first spin, all boxes are checked and any previously held doubts are completely obliterated. The more you play it, the better it kabongs you upside your head. Hectic doesn’t even begin to describe it. Brian and Ty, two mere particles in the grand scheme, collide at high speed, the technicians dive for cover, the reaction is recorded. Mutation is achieved. This is Freedom Rock. Turn up the volume. Hasten your emancipation. Sonic joy awaits.”