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Next Week in Music | March 23-29 • The Short List: Nine Releases You Want to Hear

All the top albums on the way, from Basia Bulat to Pearl Jam to Waxahatchee.

One of the world’s biggest bands, a few pop-music idols, some indie-rock vets and a slew of singer-songwriters: There’s a solid slate of good music arriving this week to take your mind off you-know-what. Here are nine of the top titles for your self-isolation soundtrack (in alphabetical order):

Basia Bulat
Are You in Love?

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Some records require a journey. Are You in Love?, Basia Bulat’s extraordinary, glittering new album, required two: The Canadian singer went to the Mojave Desert and then she went away – turning inward, shaking off the shadows, looking out to dawn. Like 2016’s Good Advice, Are You in Love? was made with My Morning Jacket’s Jim James. I want to make a really beautiful record about compassion, she had written to him, and Joshua Tree seemed like the perfect location: the site for a quest, finding music in the dunes. Gathered at Hi-Dez Studios, Bulat and her band jammed for hours — then built fires, went for hikes, drove in circles chasing dust-devils and mirages. James helped the songwriter trust her instincts — “he knows how hard it can be to make records” — but she also pushed herself to be vulnerable in new ways, testing different kinds of collaboration. The record wasn’t done when Bulat came home to Montreal — and by mid-2018, she had stepped away from the songs. It would be nine more months before she was ready again to listen to her own voice. There was death and grief, but also forgiveness, reinvention and love: “coming to terms with the past and acceptance of the present and trying to stay open to the future.” The result — after returning to these recordings in spring 2019, singing the songs live in Australia, mixing and re-mixing in L.A. — is an album that’s gorgeous and startling, quietly strange, a shining desert record with a bit of dusty rose over all its 13 tracks. Are You in Love? is searching and certain; it’s the sound of a singer who’s refusing to hide.”

Brian Fallon
Local Honey

THE PRESS RELEASE:Brian Fallon’s rock star days are firmly behind him. And no one is more accepting of that fact than Brian Fallon. Having recently turned 40, the New Jersey legend has left more than his youth in his rearview. His former outfit, The Gaslight Anthem, reunited for a string of reunion shows in 2018 but now only exists in that murky grey area known as “indefinite hiatus.” He released two well-received solo albums in the past four years, 2016’s Painkillers and 2018’s Sleepwalkers, but even those records dwell more in the rock genre than anywhere else. Now, with his new solo album, Local Honey, Fallon has made the record he has always wanted to make and has put himself in a place to release it exactly as he pleases. Its acoustic-leaning, introspective, singer-songwriter artistry is a benchmark of a time and place, a heartfelt and grown-up sound that has been in his mind and in his heart for a long while. Unique amongst his output, Local Honey is a snapshot of Fallon’s current existence and a masterstroke from an artist whose songwriting talent is boiling over. “I want people to see where I am now,” Fallon says. “I’m 40, I’ve got two kids, a wife, a house — that’s who I am. I’m not really trying to do any thing, I’m trying to step away from that. I just want to tell stories and write songs that mean something to me. And if you’re aging the same way I am then hopefully they mean something to you, too.”

5 Seconds of Summer

THE PRESS RELEASE:5 Seconds of Summer’s Calm is their fourth studio album. Says lead vocalist Luke Hemmings, “For a band to make it to four albums is no small feat in itself but to be reinventing and constantly pushing our songwriting and to come out with music that we’ve never been more proud of makes me so happy to be in 5 Seconds of Summer. Calm speaks on a journey through a young man’s life, for better or for worse. We are all human and all make mistakes, sometimes we hurt the ones we love and inevitably, ourselves in the process. Calm leaves the band in a much happier, unified and calm state of mind to continue making albums for years to come.”

Lilly Hiatt
Walking Proof

THE PRESS RELEASE:Lilly Hiatt felt lost. She’d just returned home from the better part of a year on tour in support of her acclaimed third album, Trinity Lane, and, stripped of the daily rituals and direction of life on the road, she found herself alone with her thoughts for the first time in what felt like ages. So Hiatt did what’s always come most natural to her in times of questioning and uncertainty: she picked up a guitar. Over the course of the ensuing winter, she wrote a mountain of new music that grappled with her sense of self and place in the world, reckoning with issues that had been bubbling beneath the surface of her subconscious in some cases for years. The result is Walking Proof, Hiatt’s fourth and most probing collection to date. Produced by former Cage the Elephant guitarist Lincoln Parish, the record walks the line between Hiatt’s rough, rock and roll exterior and her tender, country roots, exuding a bold vulnerability as she takes a deep and unflinching look in the mirror. What emerges is a newfound maturity in Hiatt’s writing, an abiding sense of calm in the face of chaos as she learns that sometimes, you have to let go in order to get what you want most.”

Jim Lauderdale
When Carolina Comes Home Again

THE PRESS RELEASE: “A Grammy Award-winning icon of American music, Jim Lauderdale has always covered a wide range across the Americana spectrum, from rocked-up country to high lonesome bluegrass. In a very literal sense, he’s returning to his geographic as well as musical roots on his 33rd album, When Carolina Comes Home Again. The 13 tracks on When Carolina Comes Home Again are straight-up bluegrass, going back to the earliest music he learned to play. The music is also rooted geographically, in Lauderdale’s home state of North Carolina – where he was born in Statesville and grew up in Troutman and Charlotte before attending Carolina Friends School in Durham and the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. From its title track on down, When Carolina Comes Home Again features songwriting partners and instrumental backup from members of numerous North Carolina acts including Songs From the Road Band, Town Mountain, Steep Canyon Rangers, Balsam Range, and Cane Mill Road.”

The No Ones
The Great Lost No Ones Album

THE PRESS RELEASE:The No Ones are a new bi-continental collaboration featuring Scott McCaughey, Frode Strømstad, Peter Buck, and Arne Kjeisrud Mathisen. Stretching from Norway through Athens, Georgia to the northwest corner of the United States, and consisting of members from R.E.M., I Was A King, The Minus 5, The Baseball Project, etc., The No Ones are classic two guitars, bass, and drums, sounding like what you might expect, only different, more-so, and better! The 13-track album was recorded in June 2017, at Type Foundry by Adam Selzer in Portland, OR, and features Patterson Hood, Darren Hanlon, Andrew Reiger, Lucy Parnell and Debbi Peterson. With music by the collective and lyrics by McCaughey about abduction, interstellar mysteries, witchcraft, climate change, gentrification, and the desolation of the soul, their vocal harmonies and psychedelic flourishes fuse the sunny turbulent sounds of the ’60s with the darkness and decay of present day.”

Pearl Jam

THE PRESS RELEASE:Pearl Jam’s much-anticipated 11th studio album, Gigaton, was produced by Josh Evans and Pearl Jam. Gigaton marks the band’s first studio album since Grammy Award-winning Lightning Bolt. “Making this record was a long journey,” explains Mike McCready. “It was emotionally dark and confusing at times, but also an exciting and experimental road map to musical redemption. Collaborating with my bandmates on Gigaton ultimately gave me greater love, awareness and knowledge of the need for human connection in these times.” Gigaton’s cover features Canadian photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist Paul Nicklen’s photo Ice Waterfall. Taken in Svalbard, Norway, this image features the Nordaustlandet ice cap gushing high volumes of meltwater.”

Jessie Reyez
Before Love Came To Kill Us

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Jessie leverages her personal experiences to write through emotional pain and deliver a meaningful sound her fans can connect to and appreciate. Known for her outspoken storytelling and raw vocals, emulating the likes of Amy Winehouse, Jessie uses her talents to expose the darkest corners of the music industry. She maintains this breed of storytelling in her forthcoming and heavily anticipated debut album Before Love Came to Kill Us while exploring themes surrounding immigration, feminism, and love in songs such as Love in the Dark, Crazy, and Far Away. As she continues to accumulate accolades, praise, and success, Jessie maintains the strong work ethic instilled in her by her parents and is conscious of her Latin roots by collaborating with and providing guidance to both rising and established acts as she climbs the charts. It is through her hard work, grit, and collaborative efforts that her solo catalog has obtained nearly one billion streams worldwide while her videos have resulted in over 230M views. Her raw vocals paired with her unique point of view and soulful expression make her an exciting rising star among critics and fans, putting her on the path to becoming a cherished household name in 2020.”

Saint Cloud

THE PRESS RELEASE:Waxhatchee’s Saint Cloud is an unflinching self-examination whose raw, exposed narrative terrain is aided by a shift in sonic arrangements. While her last two records (Out in the Storm and Ivy Tripp) featured the kind of big guitars, well-honed noise, and battering sounds that characterized her Philadelphia scene and strongly influenced a burgeoning new class of singer-songwriters, Saint Cloud strips back those layers to create space for Katie Crutchfield’s voice and lyrics. The result is a classic Americana sound with modern touches befitting an artist who has emerged as one of the signature storytellers of her time.”