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Next Week in Music | May 4-10 • The Short List: Four Titles You Might Hear

Fake Names, Mark Lanegan, Butch Walker & I Break Horses top this week's playlist.

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Looking for new releases from Norah Jones, Margo Price, Airborne Toxic Event, The Bobby Lees, The Fratellis, Jimmy Buffett, Nikki Yanofsky and others this week? Keep waiting: Like countless artists, they’ve all pushed back their discs until later in the year. Thankfully, there are some other fine offerings waiting in the wings (unless they decide to turn tail too). Here’s the lowdown:


Fake Names
Fake Names

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Punk rock supergroup Fake Names includes Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, Bad Religion), Michael Hampton (S.O.A., Embrace, One Last Wish), Dennis Lyxzén (Refused, International Noise Conspiracy, INVSN), and Johnny Temple (Girls Against Boys, Soulside). Fake Names first came to form in early 2016 when Brian Baker and Michael Hampton met up at Hampton’s Brooklyn home to play music together, with no intentions beyond possibly writing a song or two. Friends since first grade, the two guitarists ended up writing a handful of songs that day, and then closed out the session with a spontaneous decision to start a band. When it came to finding a bassist, Baker and Hampton looked to Johnny Temple, a fellow classmate from their elementary school. Later that year at Chicago’s Riot Fest, both Baker and Temple were struck with the sudden inspiration to recruit Refused frontman Dennis Lyxzén as their singer. On their self-titled debut, Fake Names bring their collective history to a 28-minute burst of unbridled energy. Co-produced by Hampton and Geoff Sanoff and recorded at Renegade Studios (a New York City facility owned by Little Steven Van Zandt), the album augments their bare-bones breed of punk with a heavy dose of power-pop, cleanly manifested in the band’s bittersweet melodies and abundant backup harmonies.”


I Break Horses
Warnings

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Six years since their last studio album, I Break Horses release Warnings, their long-awaited third LP. If Warnings holds you in its grip like a great film, it’s no coincidence. Faced with making the follow-up to 2014’s plush Chiaroscuro, HorsesMaria Lindén decided to take the time to make something different, with an emphasis on instrumental, cinematic music. As she watched a collection of favourite films on her computer (sound muted) and made her own soundtrack sketches, these sonic workouts gradually evolved into something more: “It wasn’t until I felt an urge to add vocals and lyrics,” says Lindén, “that I realized I was making a new I Break Horses album.” That album is Warnings, an intimate and sublimely expansive return that, as its recording suggests, sets its own pace with the intuitive power of a much-loved movie. And, as the title suggests, the sumptuous sound worlds – dreamy mellotrons, haunting loops, analogue synths – and layered lyrics crackle with immersive dramatic tensions on many levels. “It’s not a political album,” says Lindén, “though it relates to the alarmist times we live in. Each song is a subtle warning of something not being quite right.” As Lindén notes, the process of making Warnings involved different kinds of dramas. “It has been some time in the making. About six years, involving several studios, collaborations that didn’t work out, a crashed hard drive with about two years of work, writing new material again instead of trying to repair it. New studio recordings, erasing everything, then recording most of the album myself at home…”


Mark Lanegan
Straight Songs of Sorrow

THE PRESS RELEASE: “When considering any great work of art, be it a painting, a novel, or a piece of music, it’s natural to wonder what might have inspired it: ‘the story behind the song’. Mark Lanegan’s new album, Straight Songs Of Sorrow, flips that equation. Here are 15 songs inspired by a story: his life story, as documented by his own hand in his new memoir, Sing Backwards And Weep. The book is a brutal, nerve-shredding read, thanks to Lanegan’s unsparing candour in recounting a journey from troubled youth in eastern Washington, through his drug-stained existence amid the ’90s Seattle rock scene, to an unlikely salvation at the dawn of the 21st century. There’s death and tragedy, yet also humour and hope, thanks to the tenacity which impels its host, even at his lowest moments. As Lanegan writes near the end: “I was the ghost that wouldn’t die.” While the memoir documents a struggle to find peace with himself, his new album emphasis the extent to which he came to realise that music is his life. “I started writing these songs the minute I was done, and I realised there was a depth of emotion because they were all linked to memories from this book. It was a relief to suddenly go back to music. Then I realised that was the gift of the book: these songs. I’m really proud of this record.” Straight Songs Of Sorrow feels both definitive and unique, a culmination of its creator’s arc yet also indicative of the energy that drives him onto future horizons. No wonder Lanegan is proud. “I do feel this is something special for me, something honest,” he says. “’Cos records are not real life, man – in case no one told ya. They’re just a fake version of life!” Lanegan laughs. “Well, at least you have one now that’s a little closer to being real. Unfortunately, it’s by me.”


Butch Walker
American Love Story

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Things are weird. This we can all agree on. In light of the current state of the country (and the rest of the world), I grappled with whether to do this or not … But I feel like in trying our best to create some sort of escape from all the madness, what better way to do that than with … a NEW ALBUM! Let me rephrase that. It’s not really a traditional “album” like I’ve made in the past. You see, a couple of years ago, I wrote and recorded this sort of “Rock Opera” love story about hate. I know, I know … CRINGY. Nobody needs a rock opera in 2020, and they aren’t exactly a popular concept. Which is exactly why I did it. And I finally think it’s time to let this thing out into the great wide open. It’s called American Love Story. Think of it as a cast of characters, telling a sometimes harsh, sometimes funny but beautiful and bittersweet tale of “this was the life around me in my youth” to a “what if it happened to you” scenario. All wrapped up in a soundtrack that sounds like the FM radio and MTV of my younger years. It’s not gonna be for everybody (when have I ever been?), and that’s okay. All I want is for it to be a little thought provoking and maybe give you a couple of feels along the way. Hope you listen. More to come.”