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Next Week in Music | March 16-22 • The Short List: Six Releases I Want to Hear

Quarantine yourself with new discs from Tony & Hugh, Baxter, Gordo and others.


The Coronavirus kiboshed The Junos. But it can’t stop the music. As always, this week brings us another slate of big-time releases from the likes of Alicia Keys, Adam Lambert and The Weeknd. And as always, I’m not especially interested in those albums. But I’m definitely intrigued by some of the other releases arriving this week. Here’s my musical to-do list. You’re welcome to share. Just remember to wash your hands first.

Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela

THE PRESS RELEASE:Rejoice is a very special collaboration between Tony Allen, the legendary drummer and co-founder of Afrobeat, and Hugh Masekela, the master trumpet player of South African jazz. Having first met in the ’70s thanks to their respective close associations with Fela Kuti, the two world-renowned musicians talked for decades about making an album together. When, in 2010, their touring schedules coincided in the U.K., the moment presented itself and producer Nick Gold took the opportunity to record their encounter. The unfinished sessions, consisting of all original compositions by the pair, lay in archive until after Masekela passed away in 2018. With renewed resolution, Allen and Gold, with the blessing and participation of Masekela’s estate, unearthed the original tapes and finished recording the album in summer 2019 at the same London studio where the original sessions had taken place. Rejoice can be seen as the long overdue confluence of two mighty African musical rivers — a union of two free-flowing souls for whom borders, whether physical or stylistic, are things to pass through or ignore completely. According to Allen, the album deals in “a kind of South African-Nigerian swing-jazz stew,” with its roots firmly in Afrobeat. Allen and Masekela are accompanied on the record by a new generation of well-respected jazz musicians including Tom Herbert (Acoustic Ladyland / The Invisible), Joe Armon-Jones (Ezra Collective), Mutale Chashi (Kokoroko) and Steve Williamson.”

Baxter Dury
The Night Chancers

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Failed Fashionistas, Instagram voyeurs, jilted Romeos, reeking insecurity, the willingly self-deluded, the comically unaware, the Night Chancers … Baxter Loves You. Baxter Dury’s brand new album The Night Chancers was co-produced by long-time collaborator Craig Silvey (Arcade Fire, John Grant, Artic Monkeys) and Baxter, and was recorded at Hoxa studios West Hampstead in May 2019. From thrilling affairs that dissolve into sweaty desperation (Night Chancers) to the absurd bloggers, fruitlessly clinging to the fag ends of the fashion set (Sleep People), via soiled real-life (Slum Lord) social media-enabled stalkers (I’m Not Your Dog) and new day, sleep-deprived optimism (Daylight), the record’s finely drawn vignettes, are all based on the corners of world Dury has visited. Baxter says “Night Chancers is about being caught out in your attempt at being free”, it’s about someone leaving a hotel room at three in the morning. You’re in a posh room with big Roman taps and all that, but after they go suddenly all you can hear is the taps dripping, and all you can see the debris of the night is around you. Then suddenly a massive party erupts, in the room next door. This happened to me and all I could hear was the night chancer, the hotel ravers.”

Roger & Brian Eno
Mixing Colours

THE PRESS RELEASE:Roger Eno and Brian Eno — together and individually among the foremost innovators in experimental ambient music — will release Mixing Colours. Brian and Roger Eno have revolutionized many concepts of music production and performance, from pioneering treatments of pop music by Brian Eno to younger brother Roger Eno’s ambient synth/piano recordings reminiscent of Erik Satie. These qualities resonate on this new release. Each brings his unerring sense of place and mood to the album. The timbre in each title deepens and opens up with each listening. Specific yet abstract titles guide listeners through the collection created over several years in a unique collaboration by both artists. The result is deep-dive listening and landscapes of sound bearing titles like abstract art: Obsidian, Deep Saffron, or Wintergreen. The poetic and ambient anthology reveals two celebrated ambient musicians at the height of their artistry.”

The Grateful Dead
June 1976

THE PRESS RELEASE: “During the mid-1970s, The Grateful Dead saga was unfolding like a Greek classic. The Sisyphean Wall Of Sound had nearly broken the band. From it spawned a Medusa head of countless side projects, all deliciously fruitful but woefully not the same as the whole. The chorus lay in wait, pondering the reemergence of their heroes, and wondering if “THE LAST ONE” had really been it… But in early 1976, Apollonian light and healing would shine upon our intrepid wanderers once again. No more epic battles for the people with cops and lines and tightness, the Dead would return triumphant in smallness, playing intimate theaters and renting equipment along the way. No more ticket scams and greedy promoters, they’d give back with first ever mail-order ticket program, one that had a few kinks to work out but eventually served the fans well. Musically, June 1976 signaled a Golden Age of harmony and prosperity for the Dead. It marked an Odysseusian-like return for Mickey Hart. Donna Jean was in lock-step with the sirens’ call. Jerry and Bob delivered orphic delight with solo musings like Mission In The Rain (the only tour they ever played it on), The Wheel, and Cassidy, emboldened by group effort. There was fresh repertoire from Blues For Allah, breathing new life to the Dead’s continually morphing sound — as Weir once said of the ’76 tour, they wanted to play “a little bit of all of it.” Old favorites were re-envisioned with cascading tempos and unique sequencing, making the crowd question if they’d ever heard these songs before. And there was comfort and joy in the familiarity of watching the band make it up as they went along. By all means, it was clear that the bacchanalia of live Dead would reign on. And now the revelry from this epoch, evidenced by the near-studio quality sound captured on two-track live recordings by Betty Cantor-Jackson, lives on, bolstered by Jeffrey Norman’s HDCD mastering. It’s housed for posterity in a handsome box featuring original art work by Justin Helton. It’s documented in liners by Jesse Jarnow and photos by Grant Gouldon. And it’s ready for a spot on your shelf.”

Gordon Lightfoot

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Canada’s most celebrated songwriter, and international folk legend Gordon Lightfoot has announced his new album Solo. The album sees Lightfoot returning to the studio to release his first album of new music since 2004’s Harmony. Solo showcases Lightfoot at his most pure, alone in the studio with his guitar. In the making of Solo, Lightfoot discovered a treasure trove of unreleased material in his Toronto home. Two CDs of songs he recorded nearly two decades ago were tucked away in his office. The songs were written in late 2001 and early 2002, just before he suffered a near-fatal abdominal aortic aneurysm later that year. After discovering the songs, he went into Grant Avenue Studio in downtown Hamilton with his guitar to create this beautifully minimal work. Of the new work, Lightfoot says, “I thought my fans would be interested in hearing what songs sound like when first written.”

I Am Not A Dog On A Chain

THE PRESS RELEASE:Morrissey is kicking off the decade with his 13th solo studio album, I Am Not A Dog On A Chain, produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Joe Chiccarelli (Beck, The Strokes, The Killers). It was recorded during sessions at Studio La Fabrique in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France and Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California. “I have now produced four studio albums for Morrissey,” said Chiccarelli. “This is his boldest and most adventurous album yet. He has pushed the boundaries yet again — both musically and lyrically. And once again proving that as a songwriter and singer, he is in his own category. In truth, no one can be Morrissey but… Morrissey!” Celebrating the announcement, Morrissey released lead single Bobby, Don’t You Think They Know? with Motown legend Thelma Houston, who commented, “One of the biggest joys for me in this business is getting the opportunity to collaborate with other top artists. I love the challenge to see if what I do can work with what they’re doing. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. I think the blend of what Morrissey is singing and what I’m singing really works on Bobby. And it was a lot of fun working with M in the studio too!”