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Next Week in Music | Nov. 30 – Dec. 6 • The Short List: 14 Titles You Want to Hear

Christmas music, live albums, anthologies — and even some new music!

Christmas music. Live recordings. Anthologies. If that were an answer on Rock ’n’ roll Jeopardy, the question would be: What are the three kinds of albums released in December? And you’d be right. Of course, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing — not when the list includes some of the titles below, anyway. Heck, there are even a couple of actual new releases in there too. Here they are in alphabetical order:


Tori Amos

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Celebrated singer-songwriter Tori Amos’s new, festive EP Christmastide is a special collection of four original tracks to celebrate the holiday season with her fans. Christmastide is quintessentially Tori, with each track weaving together her thoughtful lyrics, haunting melodies and magical soundscapes. The EP is a celebration of hope and togetherness, featuring her trademark vocals and piano. It also sees the return of her longtime musical collaborators, drummer Matt Chamberlain and bassist Jon Evans. In what has been an incredibly unexpected, turbulent and for many, a very divisive year, Tori wanted to create a safe space for her fans to reflect on the challenges the world has had to face. Sharing a sentiment of encouragement, unity and strength, Tori says, “With Christmastide it was important to be positive and to try and lift people’s spirits. It’s a time of year that should be joyful with family and friends but also can sadly be a very lonely place for some. Many families will be unable to be together this year because of the Pandemic as well as many that are also dealing with the aftermath of a long and bitter U.S. election. I hope these songs contained in this beautiful package can be a small treat to help along the way.”

Arctic Monkeys
Live At The Royal Albert Hall

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On June 7, 2018 we played a very special show at London’s Royal Albert Hall. All the proceeds from that memorable night were donated to War Child UK in support of the vital work they do protecting, educating and rehabilitating children who have experienced the trauma of conflict and the horror of war. The situation that was bad in 2018 is now desperate and those children and their families need our help more than ever. To enable War Child UK to reduce their funding deficit and continue their valuable work, we are happy to be able to release a live album, recorded that evening at The Royal Albert Hall. All proceeds will go direct to the charity. We thank all our fans in advance for their support of this release and in turn for their support of War Child UK.”

Seasonal Shift

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Arizona group Calexico’s first holiday album Seasonal Shift is less of a Christmas album and more of a cross-cultural seasonal celebration, the themes of Seasonal Shift are based around that familiar end of year feeling of reflection, of ceremony and of recognition of the year gone by and changes it brought for better and for worse. Seasonal Shift contains a few cover songs, including classics by John Lennon with Yoko Ono and Tom Petty as well as a few special guests and a whole lot of good will. It’s heartfelt but fun, and earnest but celebratory. It features Calexico in an assortment of guises, referencing Portuguese fado and old Mexican folk songs, from the stripped back two-man skeleton to the full party of international collaborators, including artists like Bombino, Gaby Moreno, Gisela João, Nick Urata (DeVotchKa) and Camilo Lara.”

10 Years Gone

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Earlier this year we intended on celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Deafheaven demo released through Bandcamp on June 1, 2010 with a tour of North America with our friends Inter Arma, Greet Death and All Your Sisters. Unfortunately, we couldn’t fulfill that tour because of fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. To rebound from the financial and morale hit, we put together an album of the set we intended to perform. Revisiting the songs in this studio sessions format with Jack Shirley at Atomic Garden reminded us of how important these years have been. I’m thankful we were able to give songs like Daedalus, the first we wrote, and other favorites like Vertigo and Kettle, new power after so many years of playing them. They made me think of the people who played on them with us. For the first time we’ve included information on who played on what tracks and when they were originally released.”

The Decemberists
Live Home Library Vol. 1: Royal Oak Music Theatre, Aug. 11, 2009

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Recorded at Royal Oak Music Theatre in Michigan during the Hazards Of Love tour (2009), this release is the first volume in The Decemberists’ Live Home Library series from the band’s own label, Youth and Beauty Brigade. This limited one-time-only pressing is a vinyl exclusive, not available on any streaming services. Mixed by Hazards of Love co-producer/mixer Tucker Martine.”

Divine Horsemen
Live 1985-1987

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “17 songs from back in our (first 🙂 heyday. Re-mastered and fresh-sounding. If you’ve been a longtime Divine Horsemen fan, you will really dig this. Coming out also in limited CD edition. 1st part recorded Live Sept. 1985 at Sarari Sam’s in Huntington Beach, CA. 2nd part recorded live February 1987 by William Jordan at The Rat in Boston, MA.”

Gone Is Gone
If Everything Happens for a Reason…Then Nothing Really Matters At All

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Gone Is Gone have announced that their new studio album, If Everything Happens For A Reason… Then Nothing Really Matters At All. The supergroup are comprised of Queens Of The Stone Age guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, Mastodon bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders, At The Drive In drummer Tony Hajjar and Mike Zarin, with Hajjar and Van Leeuwen having overseen the production of this outing. Hajjar commented: “I definitely had some strong ideas coming into this record. My idea was to make a record that could be played by all of us in a certain fashion or even just one of us with some electronics. I really wanted the record to live in many forms. We feel that we accomplished that… It is a record that pushed us creatively. We expressed ourselves fully without any barriers or fear of what people would think.”

Joan of Arc
Tim Melina Theo Bobby

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Tim Melina Theo Bobby, Joan of Arc’s final album, might be their most personal and adventurous to date, culminating the band’s many inspired, divergent sounds into one self-reflective, conclusive statement. Joan of Arc always felt like an experimental intersection of its members interests. As prolific of a band as they have been, none of the albums sounded the same, none of the albums imagined themselves as too big to fail in the name of trying something new. They always felt like more of a collective than anything else. A smattering of gifted contributors, fighting their way through their own creative whims. Their shows, a type of controlled chaos. A chaos that required a close and gentle ear, or else one might miss the delicate daggers of lyric woven into the walls of sound, the walls of slow movement. It is good to determine your own endings; for yourself, but also for the sake of whatever comes next.”

Mark Lanegan
Dark Mark Does Christmas 2020

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “2020 has been a dark year and so to end the year Mark Lanegan returns as Dark Mark and releases a full Christmas album. Six tracks were released as a tour only 12″ in 2012 which is now rare and impossible to find. He has recorded four more tracks recently and turned it into a full-length album. Lanegan successfully takes some traditional Christmas songs, some Christmas covers plus some originals and twists them into a dark, melancholic affair. Standouts include Burn The Flames, originally recorded by Roky Erickson, and Lanegan makes this sinister song even more sinister. The Everley BrothersChristmas Eve Can Kill You is stripped back and haunting whilst the Lanegan original A Christmas Song is delicate and heartbreaking. 2020 is going be a dark Christmas.”

Live Skull
Dangerous Visions

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Emerging in the early ’80s at the end of New York’s legendary No Wave scene alongside Manhattan comrades Sonic Youth and Swans, Live Skull reshaped the aggression of burned-out post-punk into heavy, guitar-driven rock. This new release showcases their evolution, with Side 1 featuring recently recorded tracks, whilst Side 2 digs into the archives and includes four tracks from their 1989 Peel Session, released here for the first time. Such a wide range of sources could make for a scattered album, but Live Skull’s singular approach to music making unites everything on Dangerous Visions. The band’s new tunes tear into the air with the same ferocity of their early material, while the unearthed tracks are still vitally relevant today. Four decades since they began, the world still needs music from this band that never stops evolving and pushing itself–because there’s still no one who sounds like Live Skull.”

The Postal Service
Everything Will Change

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Postal Service’s Everything Will Change features fan favorites Such Great Heights, The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, Sleeping In and Natural Anthem, along with a cover of Beat Happening’s Our Secret and a rare live take on Dntel’s (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan. It was performed live at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley during their 2013 reunion tour. This edition of Everything Will Change was remixed by Don Gunn and remastered by Dave Cooley earlier this year, from the recordings that were originally released as part of the the 2014 concert film. A collaboration between Benjamin Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie) and Jimmy Tamborello (from Dntel), with Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis, The Postal Service released Give Up, their one and only album, in 2003.”

Sigur Rós
Odin’s Raven Magic

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Composed in the 14th or 15th century, Odin’s Raven Magic is an Icelandic poem in the ancient Edda tradition (Edda – a term that describes two Icelandic manuscripts which together are the main sources of Norse mythology and Skáldic poetry) its anonymous author clearly had an intimate knowledge of the Edda literature and mythology which alludes to a number of pagan motifs which are now lost. The poem recounts a great banquet held by the gods in Valhalla while they were absorbed in their feasting, ominous signs appeared that could foretell the end of the worlds of the gods and men. The album Odin’s Raven Magic is an orchestral collaboration between Sigur Rós, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, Steindór Andersen and Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir which premiered 18 years ago at the Barbican Centre in London and is now finally almost two decades later being released. The performance honours the poem, dramatic and beautiful, classical and contemporary. A stone marimba was built especially for the performance by Páll Guðmundsson.”

The White Stripes
Greatest Hits

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The first-ever official anthology of recordings from The White Stripes collects 26 previously released songs for this essential, career-spanning set, such as Seven Nation Army, Fell In Love With A Girl, Hotel Yorba, Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground, Hello Operator, Icky Thump, Apple Blossom and more. Additionally, an array of added value items will be available on a first-come, first-served basis with the purchase of the album at select independent record stores in the U.S. starting on release day. These special items each correspond to one of the 26 tracks on the album and will be distributed randomly to stores.”

The Wildhearts
30 Year Itch

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Wildhearts30 Year Itch — recorded during the band’s The Renaissance Men and Diagnosis tours during 2019 — is a 17-track album that showcases the incendiary energy that has made The Wildhearts one of the best loved UK live rock acts of the last 30 years. A perfect moment in time that shows a band still at the height of their powers, bristling with energy as they deliver classics such as Caffeine Bomb, Suckerpunch, Let Em Go, Vanilla Radio and I Wanna Go Where The People Go. Ginger says, “There are a few authorised bootleg live albums of The Wildhearts doing the rounds, but as soon as Danny rejoined the band I knew I had to capture the classic Wildhearts line up on record. There were a few reasons for this, the main one being that we’re still alive, which is a situation that could change at any second with this group. I also wanted people to hear how insanely powerful The Wildhearts are as a live band. Pounding drums, chainsaw bass and bombastic guitar riffs, all underpinning harmony vocals and huge anthemic songs that every member of the audience sings like a football crowd. It’s a surprisingly emotional blend of noise, passion and unity. As far as I’m concerned this is a classic album by a unique band playing timeless songs that don’t fit into any established genre. Is it rock? Is it punk? Who cares, it’s The Wildhearts.”