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Next Week in Music | July 13-19 • The Short List: 9 Releases You Want to Hear

The Pretenders, Bobby Lees, Lawrence Arms & the rest of this week's top titles.

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We could all use more balance in our lives. And in our music. I can’t help you with the former, but this week’s top albums could give you a hand with the latter. The diverse lineup includes big-timers like The Pretenders and the Dixie-less Chicks; indie outfits like Protomartyr and The Bobby Lees; Brits like Ellie Goulding and Jarvis Cocker’s eponymous new band; punks like Gang of Four and Lawrence Arms; and more. All you have to do is mix, match and enjoy. Let’s run the voodoo down:

 


The Bobby Lees
Skin Suit

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Bobby Lees are a young bone-shaking garage-rock band out of Woodstock, NY. In the past year they’ve played with The Chats, Future Islands, Boss Hog, Daddy Long Legs, Shannon & The Clams and Murphy’s Law. Their sound mixes classic garage-punk hits with raw and emotive storytelling. Their new record Skin Suit was produced by underground punk legend Jon Spencer of the Blues Explosion.”


Bush
The Kingdom

THE PRESS RELEASE: “We are really proud of The Kingdom,” says Gavin Rossdale. “It’s as if all roads traveled over the last few years have gotten us to this point. We look forward to this cycle — old fans, new fans, likeminded people who are searching for their kingdom.”


The Chicks
Gaslighter

THE PRESS RELEASE:Gaslighter is the brilliant new album from The Chicks, and is the fifth studio album to be released by the band. It is the The Chicks’ first new album since 2006’s Taking The Long Way, which won five Grammy Awards including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year. Gaslighter is produced by Jack Antonoff with The Chicks. Superstars, renegades, innovators, heroes, villains, and moms, The Chicks have grown from a band into a cultural phenomenon. Since the release of their debut album Wide Open Spaces in 1998, The Chicks’ music has stirred emotions in fans across the world, making them one of the biggest and most influential bands of our time.”


Gang of Four
Anti Hero

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The surviving members of Gang of Four, singer John Sterry, bassist Thomas McNeice and drummer Tobias Humble, have joined with Andy Gill’s widow Catherine Mayer to celebrate Andy through music — and in raising funds for St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, the London hospital that tried so hard to save his life earlier this year. Forever Starts Now, a brand new Gang of Four track written by Andy and John, was released as the first single on May 29. Its original working title was Hero, a reference, John explains, to the lyrics about “a character who sees himself as the hero of his own life and manipulates his partner into supporting this fantasy. The line, ‘She sings along with his song / she thinks it’s like having the radio on…’ always brings a wry smile.” The EP takes its title Anti Hero from the single and to reflect Andy’s lifelong mistrust of narratives around supposedly great men. “Andy always had a healthy scepticism about celebrity culture and populist politicians,” says Catherine. “And he could always spot when someone was blowing smoke.” She adds: “Even so, he would be moved and delighted that artists he loved and admired have come together to celebrate him by launching this EP and for such a good cause.”


Ellie Goulding
Brightest Blue

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ellie Goulding’s highly anticipated fourth studio album Brightest Blue will include a number of recent releases alongside a plethora of new songs, with the album being set in two parts, Brightest Blue (executively produced by Ellie Goulding & Joe Kearns) and EG.0 respectively. Across the two halves Ellie enlisted a number of writers and producers to help create the finished product, including the likes of Tobias Jesso Jr., Starsmith, ILYA, serpentwithfeet, Patrick Wimberly (of Chairlift) and Jim Eliot, amongst others. Explaining her thoughts behind the first half of the record Ellie explain that it “reflects my vulnerability… it acknowledges a complex world where relationships still dictate our happiness and heartbreak and can still be the most painful thing in the world, no matter how enlightened you are. The tracks also symbolize growing up and becoming a woman. While the second half of the album “encapsulates my confident, brave and fearless side and features all my recent collaborations.” Ellie elaborates, “I often find myself writing about my thoughts and emotions in a way that I know will be catchy and memorable. I will always seek to use my voice in ways that no one would ever expect and look to collaborate with the least likely, exciting and eclectic group of other artists.”


Jarv Is…
Beyond The Pale

THE PRESS RELEASE:Jarv Is… are pleased to announce their debut album Beyond the Pale. This is the first original music from Jarvis Cocker since the Further Complications album in 2009. Jarv Is… a band featuring Jarvis Cocker (vocals, guitar, percussion), Serafina Steer (harp, keyboards, vocals), Emma Smith (violin, guitar vocals), Andrew McKinney (bass, vocals), Jason Buckle (synthesiser & electronic treatments) & Adam Betts (drums, percussion, vocals). Jarv Is… formed to play a show at the Sigur Ros Norður og Niður festival in Iceland at the very end of 2017. Jarv Is… was conceived as a way of writing songs in collaboration with an audience. As the material they were playing was in a state of flux the band decided to record their live shows so that they could monitor how the songs were developing. After an appearance at the Desert Daze festival in California, Geoff Barrow (Portishead, Beak>) suggested that these recordings could be used as the basis for an album. Overdubs & vocals were added at Narcissus Studios in Neasden, London. Post-production work took place at Jason Buckle’s Place du Big Boss studio in Raynes Park, London. The album was mixed by Craig Silvey at Toast Studios in West London. Jarv Is… an ongoing live experience because life is an ongoing live experience. Or, to put it another way: THIS IS NOT A LIVE ALBUM – it’s an ALIVE ALBUM.”


The Lawrence Arms
Skeleton Coast

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Chicago-bred trio The Lawrence Arms will release Skeleton Coast, their first album in six years. Skeleton Coast was recorded 30 miles east of El Paso, TX at Sonic Ranch Studios with longtime producer Matt Allison. It was kind of like album camp in the sense that we were in this very remote setting for two weeks and really focusing on making the record. That was a very different experience for us because we’ve always made our records in Chicago which is home and all the things about home are in the way,” says vocalist and guitarist Chris McCaughan. The album contains the elements of the band’s sound that fans have come to love for the past two decades but recontextualizes them in a way that somehow sounds perfectly aligned with this strange time in our collective history. Although it was written and recorded before the Coronavirus upended the world, the band’s seventh studio album sounds eerily prescient as it imagines an apocalyptic future where coyotes croon and wolf packs roam free. “For a band who has been around as long as us, this is about as urgent of a record as we could make,” vocalist and bassist Brendan Kelly explains. “It may be kind of dark but it’s really about searching for light in the darkness and finding it, as small as those moments may seem. That’s sort of where we’re at: Collecting the scraps of things that could make for a bearable existence in dark times.”


The Pretenders
Hate For Sale

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Pretenders are delighted to announce their brand-new album Hate For Sale, the first to be recorded with the now long-standing touring lineup of the group. Produced by the revered Stephen Street (The Smiths, Blur) Hate For Sale is The Pretenders’ 11nth studio album and the first to be written collaboratively by Chrissie Hynde and electrifyingly dynamic guitarist James Walbourne. Speaking about writing with James for the first time, Chrissie added: “I wanted to write with him since Day 1. James is especially sought after and has recorded with Jerry Lee Lewis, Dave Gahan, and The Rails, to name but a few. We always planned on writing while on the road, but as anyone in a band will tell you, being on tour is a procrastinator’s dream come true.”


Protomartyr
Ultimate Success Today

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Following the release of Relatives In Descent, the band’s critically acclaimed headlong dive into the morass of American life in 2017 (featured on myriad “best of” lists), Ultimate Success Today continues to further expand the possibilities of what a Protomartyr album can sound like.
“The re-release of our first album had me thinking about the passage of time and its ultimate conclusion,” says singer Joe Casey of Ultimate Success Today. “Listening to No Passion All Technique again, I could hear myself hoping for an introduction and a long future, but also being cognizant that it could be ‘one and done’ for us. So, when it came time to write Ultimate Success Today, I was reminded of that first urgency and how it was an inverse of my current grapple with how terribly ill I’ve been feeling lately. Was that sick feeling colouring how I felt about the state of the world or was it the other way around? This panic was freeing in a way. It allowed me to see our fifth album as a possible valediction of some confusingly loud five-act play. In the same light I see it as an interesting mile marker of our first decade of being a band — a crest of the hill along a long highway. Although just to cover my bases, I made sure to get my last words in while I still had the breath to say them.”