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Next Week in Music | Jan. 25-31 • The Short List: The Top 3 Titles On My Radar

Weezer, Lucero and Selwyn Birchwood lead another massive pack of new releases.

I hate a lot of things. Including surprises. But this week turned out to be surprisingly pleasant — thanks to a whole whack of great new albums. See all my Now Hear This posts from the past couple of days for all the gold. Will next week follow suit? Based on sheer numbers alone, it’s certainly possible. Only time will tell, of course. But while we wait, let me tell you about the upcoming releases that are already on my radar (and should be on yours):


ALCD 4999

Selwyn Birchwood
Living In A Burning House

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Groundbreaking young blues visionary Selwyn Birchwood will release his third album Living In A Burning House on Friday. The rising guitar and lap steel player calls his original music “electric swamp funkin’ blues,” defined by raw and soulful musicianship played with fire-and-brimstone fervor. His gritty, unvarnished vocals draw his audience deep inside his unforgettable tales of love, passion, pain and pleasure. No other band on the current blues scene is built quite like Birchwood’s. In addition to Selwyn’s electrifying guitar and lap steel playing, the other featured instrument is Regi Oliver’s driving baritone sax. The group is rounded out by bass, drums and, for the first time, keyboards. Wanting to capture the power of the larger band, Birchwood wrote and arranged 13 new songs, and brought in famed Grammy-winning musician Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy, Susan Tedeschi). Living In A Burning House is a master class in distinctive, contemporary roots music and positively brimming with instantly catchy lyrics, undeniable grooves and some of the most exhilarating guitar playing in any genre.”

When You Found Me

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Acclaimed rock/alt-country quintet Lucero are gearing up to release When You Found Me. The disc finds Lucero founder Ben Nichols lyrically ruminating on family, while the band continues to evolve musically after 20-plus years. When You Found Me finds the group tapping into a more atmospheric widescreen vision, while expanding on their sound with heavier rock sonics. The use of keyboard player Rick Steff’s extensive collection of vintage synthesizers conjures an aural world of classic tracks with a firm foot in the present. Nichols, Steff and bandmates Brian Venable (guitar), Roy Berry (drums) and John C. Stubblefield (bass) uphold the urgency of past Lucero releases, while moving forward in both sound, writing and texture. For the disc, Lucero reunited with Grammy winner Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Drive-by Truckers), who produced their 2018 acclaimed album Among The Ghosts. When You Found Me was recorded in the band’s home town of Memphis at the historic Sam Phillips Recording Studio.”

OK Human

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “During the summer of COVID-19 we grabbed our masks, hit the studio & began to chip away at what is now known as OK Human. An album that was made by a handful of humans using only analog technologies (including a 38-piece orchestra) for all of you humans to consume. OK Human was made at a time when humans playing instruments was a thing of the past. All we could do is look back on ancient times when humans really mattered and when the dark tech-takeover fantasy didn’t exist. We used our instruments to connect to the 1960s and 1970s and, with the orchestra, back to the 18th and 19th centuries. We had no click track or loops or hi-tech sounds. Not even an electric guitar.”