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Next Week in Music | May 24-30 • The Short List: Four New Titles That Aren’t Chromatica

Here are the albums I'll be listening to instead of Lady Gaga's next juggernaut.


Let’s not kid ourselves. When it comes to new music, there’s only one game in town next week: Lady Gaga’s Chromatica. It’s by far the biggest album due this Friday — especially since The Killers bumped their disc Imploding The Mirage down the road to yourguessisasgoodasmine. And hey, who knows? Maybe Gaga’s LP will be the greatest album of the year. Could happen. All I know is that I’m more interested in some of the other, smaller releases coming down the road. Like these releases:

Nicole Atkins
Italian Ice

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In each song she creates, Nicole Atkins reveals her incredible power to transport listeners to a much more charmed time and space. On her new album Italian Ice, the New Jersey-bred singer-songwriter conjures the romance and danger and wild magic of a place especially close to her heart: The Jersey Shore in all its scrappy beauty. Inspired by the boardwalk’s many curiosities — the crumbling Victorian mansions, the lurid and legendary funhouse, the Asbury Park rock ’n’ roll scene she played a key part in reviving — Atkins ultimately transforms her never ending fascination into a wonderland of her own making. “When you’re on the boardwalk there’s a feeling that anything can happen, and that’s the feeling I tried to create with this record,” Atkins says. “I wanted to give people something they can put on and buy into a fantasy that gets them excited about what might happen in their own lives.” For help in capturing the shore’s kinetic spirit, Atkins assembled a studio band whose lineup feels almost mythical. Recorded at the iconic Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama, Italian Ice finds the Nashville-based artist joined by Spooner Oldham and David Hood (both members of The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, who played on classic records from the likes of Aretha Franklin and Etta James), Binky Griptite of The Dap Kings, Jim Sclavunos and Dave Sherman of The Bad Seeds, and drummer McKenzie Smith (St. Vincent, Midlake). With special guests including Spoon frontman Britt Daniel, Seth Avett of The Avett Brothers, Erin Rae, and John Paul White, the album is a testament to Atkins’ uncommon talent for uniting musicians of radically different sensibilities. “I just invited all my best musical friends to be there with me, and then we roped in Spooner and David too,” says Atkins, who connected with the two musicians after performing at Oldham’s birthday bash. “Musically, it doesn’t make any sense. But I’m a superfan of all of them, and we ended up with the weirdest, craziest band ever. It just became this awesome misfit party.” Co-produced by Atkins and Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes, Italian Ice makes brilliant use of its A-list personnel, unfolding in a kaleidoscopic sound that Atkins likens to “an acid trip through my record collection.” At turns as opulent as symphonic pop and gritty as garage punk, the album wanders into shades of psych-rock and honky-tonk and girl-group melodrama, endlessly spotlighting the tightly honed musicianship and unbridled originality at heart of Atkins’s artistry. “I didn’t really censor myself much,” she points out. “Everything that felt good to say or hear or feel coming back off the speakers, I just went for it.”

Jade Hairpins
Harmony Avenue

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Originally conceived as an addendum to Dose Your Dreams, Fucked Up drummer Jonah Falco and songwriter Mike Haliechuk’s debut album as Jade Hairpins, Harmony Avenue, is a collection of foraged pop songs with electronic landscaping about human behaviour. With Falco stepping up as frontman and main lyricist for the first time, Hairpins are here to challenge, confound, and sparkle their way into listeners’ hearts with a sound he describes as “straddling the post-post-punk of New Order, Scritti Politti, and Orange Juice, with the primordial sense of humour and absurdity of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Television Personalities, or The Monks.” Each song on Harmony Avenue was conceived real-time in studio, then edited and crafted together to become the rousing and infectious journey that it is. The London and Toronto-based band focused on creating stories for character-based writing not unlike those explored to epic proportions on Fucked Up records, only to reveal an emotional, thoughtful, and ultimately ebullient sonic universe entirely its own.”

Teddy Thompson
Heartbreaker Please

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Here’s the thing,” Teddy Thompson sings frankly on his new album, “you don’t love me anymore. I can tell you’ve got one foot out the door.” From its opening track Thompson’s new album Heartbreaker Please reckons with the breakdown of love with a wistful levity as satisfying as it is devastatingly honest. The album is drawn from the demise of a real-life relationship set against the backdrop of New York City, the place he has called home for the better part of two decades. A member of the British musical dynasty first helmed by his legendary parents, Linda and Richard Thompson, he left London for the States at 18, settling in New York five years later. “I took a summer vacation that never ended,” he says. “In retrospect, I was trying to reinvent myself. It was easier to leave it all behind, go somewhere new and declare myself an artist. And you can actually reinvent yourself in America; step off the plane, say ‘My name is Teddy Thompson, I’m a musician!’.” Twenty years later, Heartbreaker Please finds Teddy Thompson perfectly himself, a commanding artist at the top of his craft.”

Thomas Wesley
Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley Chapter 1: Snake Oil

THE PRESS RELEASE:Diplo will release his long-awaited country album Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley Chapter 1: Snake Oil. The album includes the hits Heartless with Morgan Wallen, Lonely with Jonas Brothers and So Long with Cam. It also features guests Thomas Rhett, Zac Brown, Young Thug, Noah Cyrus, Orville Peck and more. Diplo’s foray into country has been gestating for a while. He brought it the public for the first time at Stagecoach’s first ever Late Night dance party in 2019, where he welcomed Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus for the live debut of Old Town Road. He has since released his own remix of the track and appeared alongside them at the Grammys. Born Thomas Wesley Pentz, Diplo is one of the most dynamic forces in music today under his own name, as well as a member of the now-legendary Major Lazer. As a producer he’s worked with the likes of Beyoncé, Bad Bunny and Turnstile.”