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Next Week in Music | Feb. 8-14 • The Short List: 5 Titles On My Radar

The Band, Black Sabbath, Paul Leary, Slowthai and R+R=Now all make the cut.


Next Friday, millions of people will be checking out new albums by Florida Georgia Line, Pentatonix, The Pretty Reckless, Sia, Robin Thicke and K-Popsters Tomorrow X Together. Spolier Alert: I won’t be one of them. But I will be listening to these releases and reissues:


The Band
Stage Fright 50th Anniversary Edition

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Band are about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their classic third album Stage Fright with a suite of newly remixed, remastered and expanded 50th Anniversary Edition packages. All the releases were overseen by principal songwriter Robbie Robertson and boast a new stereo mix by Bob Clearmountain from the original multi-track masters. For the first time, the album is being presented in the originally planned song order. The box set, CD and digital configurations feature a bevy of unreleased recordings, including Live at the Royal Albert Hall, June 1971, a thrilling full concert captured in the midst of their European tour as the band was at the top of its game; alternate versions of Strawberry Wine and Sleeping; and seven unearthed field recordings, Calgary Hotel Recordings, 1970, a fun and loose, impromptu late-night hotel jam session between Robertson, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel, playing several Stage Fright songs that were recorded while the album was in the mixing stage.”

Black Sabbath
Vol 4: Super Deluxe Edition

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Black Sabbath unleashed the group’s fourth album in two years in 1972 with Vol 4. Stacked with classic tracks like Supernaut, Changes and Snowblind, the record harnessed the group’s surging popularity to reach the Top 10 on the Albums Chart in the U.K. and the Top 20 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S., on its path to being certified platinum. The innovators of heavy metal revisit Vol 4 on a new collection that includes a newly remastered version of the original album along with a trove of 20 unreleased studio and live recordings and comes with extensive booklets featuring liner notes with quotes from the era from all four band members, rare photos, and a poster with previously unpublished early artwork of the album using the working title Snowblind.”

Paul Leary
Born Stupid

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Paul Leary issued his debut solo album The History Of Dogs in 1991. And now, 30 years later he’s releasing the followup Born Stupid. It may seem like an oddly excessive length of time between albums, but that’s apropos, as nearly all the highlights of Leary’s legendary career have been odd and excessive. Leary is best known as guitarist/vocalist for the infamous psychedelic noise rock band Butthole Surfers, whose aggressively surrealist recordings and live shows have become mythology in the world of underground music.  Much of the subversive creative spirit that fueled the Butthole Surfers’ best work can be found inside the grooves of Leary’s charmingly twisted new album. Musically, Born Stupid largely steps away from the atomic punk energy and fuzzed-out metal riffing that defined the Surfers’ sound. Instead, Leary has crafted an equally compelling soundscape filled with carnival sideshow calliopes, spaghetti western guitar motifs, and off-kilter German beer hall waltzes. But where the Surfers’ work was often squarely focused on the manipulation of sounds and textures, Born Stupid is heavily rooted in the craft of song, and the record’s finely structured musical landscapes work to support the stories being sung.”

R+R=NOW Live

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In October 2018, Robert Glasper settled into the Blue Note club in NYC for a month-long residency several nights of which featured the new dream team collective R+R=NOW with Glasper on keys, Terrace Martin on synthesizer, vocoder, and alto saxophone, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah on trumpet, Derrick Hodge on bass, Taylor McFerrin on synthesizer, and Justin Tyson on drums. The band had recently released their debut album Collagically Speaking and the music had already taken on expansive new dimensions in concert as evidenced on R+R=NOW Live, a thrilling live recording with standout tracks including Respond, Change of Tone, Resting Warrior and a cover of Kendrick Lamar’s How Much a Dollar Cost.”


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Towards the end of 2020, Slowthai upped the dwindling good vibe of a generation by announcing details of his second album Tyron, the followup to his widely acclaimed debut Nothing Great About Britain. Tyron was formed against the backdrop of an unforgiving climate where judgement, shaming and underdeveloped and simplistic conceptions of other people are fashionable. Instead of succumbing to such simplicity, Tyron presents an artist who is unabashedly complicated and willing to explore themes of loneliness, identity, self-acceptance, and the difficulties in becoming an individual. Tyron is a melodic dive through the expansive landscape of his feelings. His ability to bear his imperfections and contradictions makes Tyron an album that is the antithesis of a culture of purity. A resistance to the rising tide of moral one-upmanship and the pervasive self-righteousness that blinds us to our own fallibility.”