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Next Week in Music | Aug. 23-29 • The Short List: 12 Titles You Want to Hear

Halsey, Danko Jones, Toyah, Brian Setzer and the rest of the latest poppermost.

The bad news: Summer is almost over. The good news: The last week of August promises to deliver a plentiful bounty of great new albums (and a few equally great box sets and reissues) — topped by the dozen titles below. The best news: I’m done yapping. Let’s get down to it:


The Beach Boys
Feel Flows: The Sunflower & Surf’s Up Sessions 1969–1971

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In honour of 50 years of The Beach Boys’ timeless and often under-appreciated albums, they are releasing an expansive five-CD and digital box set titled Feel Flows: The Sunflower & Surf’s Up Sessions 1969-1971 that chronicles and explores in depth this metamorphic and highly influential 1969-1971 period of the band’s legendary career. Assembled by Mark Linett and Alan Boyd, the team behind 2013’s Grammy-winning SMiLE Sessions, the expansive collection features newly remastered versions of Sunflower and Surf’s Up and boasts 135 tracks, including 108 previously unreleased tracks, live recordings, radio promos, alternate versions, alternate mixes, isolated backing tracks and acapella versions, culled from the album sessions. Housed in a book-style package, the set is rounded out with a 48-page book loaded with unreleased and rare photos, lyric sheets, tape box images, recording artifacts, insightful new liner notes by noted radio veteran and Beach Boys afficionado Howie Edelson, and new and archival interviews from Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Bruce Johnston, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love and others.”

Be-Bop Deluxe
Live! In The Air Age Deluxe Edition

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “This legendary live album was released in July 1977 and would prove to be the band’s most successful album, peaking at number 10 in the U.K. charts. The album was issued at a time of growing commercial success for the band and followed on the heels of two highly acclaimed studio albums in 13 months: Sunburst Finish and Modern Music, both of which reached the top 20 of the U.K. album charts. Live! In the Air Age would be the band’s only live record and was recorded on a series of dates in the U.K. in February and March 1977 on The Rolling Stones mobile unit with John Leckie, who had engineered co-produced the band’s previous two albums, supervising the location recordings. Research of all of the Be Bop Deluxe master tapes revealed that multi-track tapes of all the shows recorded on the tour had survived. After digitising and listening through to all of the Rolling Stones mobile unit 24-track tapes it was decided to include each concert in its entirety in this expanded boxed set. The concerts were mixed over a period of several months by Stephen W. Tayler and are presented here for the very first time. They reveal the improvisational side of Be Bop Deluxe, particularly on pieces such as Shine and Blazing Apostles, which made each concert unique.”

Big Red Machine
How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Aaron Dessner has consistently sought an emotional outlet and human connection through music — be it as a primary songwriter in The National, a founder and architect of music festivals, or collaborator on albums by Taylor Swift, among many other projects. This generous spirit and desire to push music forward has never been more deeply felt than on Big Red Machine’s How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?, the second album from Dessner’s evermorphing project with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. Songs feature guest vocals and writing contributions from artist friends including Fleet FoxesRobin Pecknold, Ben Howard and This Is The Kit, Naeem, Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan and My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Nova, and Swift herself. Says Dessner: “This is all music I initially generated and feel emotionally connected to, but it has been very interesting to hear how different people relate to it and how different voices collide with it,” says Dessner, who for the first time also handles lead vocals on three tracks. “That’s what makes it special. With everyone that’s on this record, there’s an openness, a creative generosity and an emotional quality that connects it all together.”

The Bronx
The Bronx VI

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “L.A. rockers The Bronx return for their sixth studio album, which not only builds on the legacy they have established over their two-decade existence, but also proves that the door to what’s next has not just been kicked down, but chopped up and burned to a cinder.  “The feelings I got when writing for this sixth record is the same type of feeling I got writing Heart Attack American,” says singer Matt Caughthran. “It all comes from the same place and it’s all still 100% genuine and real. Believe me, I’m still feeling the raw emotion that I felt when this band first started. That’s just who I am, that’s who we are as people. You can’t fake stuff like that when it comes to music or art. You have to stay connected. You’ve just got to be real.”

Chubby and the Gang
The Mutt’s Nuts

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “West London five-piece Chubby and the Gang are balanced by two energies — a casual “fuck it” on one side, an active “fuck off” on the other. For every moment of punk imperfection, there’s an intricate flurry of detail. For every enraged statement about modern life as war, there’s a lyric like “Hello heartbreak, my old friend” that catches you off-guard. Made up of musicians from across the consistently thriving and criminally overlooked U.K. hardcore scene, Chubby and the Gang marinate their characteristic speed and sick-of-it-all energy in a mixture of ’50s pop. The result is a prickly take on the older, more melodic genres that punk derives from, chewing them up and spitting them out into something mangled but revitalised.”

Gord Downie
Coke Machine Glow: Songwriters Cabal

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow was released in 2001, in between Music @ Work (2000) and In Violet Light (2002), the ninth and 10th albums by his mighty band of brothers in The Tragically Hip. The first solo project by one of the world’s great wordsmiths, Coke Machine Glow’s 16 painterly songs were released with an accompanying book of poetry, collectively emanating Downie’s heartrending stories, from the road as from home, in his signature quirk and complex, approachable wit. Twenty years since its release, Coke Machine Glow remains a teetering, charming body of work, never static, shot across its canvas in brilliant glowing embers and warm honey tones. To mark its 20th anniversary, this expanded reissue posthumously revisits the songs and poetry of this prolific period of Downie’s career. Entitled Coke Machine Glow: Songwriters’ Cabal, the triple-album features the original two-disc set plus a bonus record of 12 unreleased demos, alternate versions, and never-before-heard outtakes, carefully curated by Gord’s “oldest Toronto friend” Josh Finlayson and brother Patrick Downie with Jonathan Shedletzky.”

How Not To Be Happy

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The product of their fading seaside-resort hometown of Littlehampton, Gloo speak for the timeless day-to-day toil and angst; a rhapsody to lives gone stale, the band’s pop-laced punk rock is the perfect soundtrack to those in need of a little 21st-century escapism. Growing up in a place such as Littlehampton on England’s south coast, 20 miles east of Brighton and a world away from London’s bright lights, instils a certain appreciation for life’s simple things. But if we’re not here for a time, we might as well have a time, right? How Not To Be Happy, Gloo’s second full-length offering, speaks of that in abundance: 10 tracks of escapism that reflect the drudgery of the everyday but seek to shrug it off over the course of a 30-minute blur of power-pop, post-grunge and punk rock.”

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Halsey penned the songs for her fifth album If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power herself. She recorded the career-defining album with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, known for their work in Nine Inch Nails and as Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy-winning film/television composers. She continues to push creative boundaries, expanding her influence and impact beyond music. She uses her voice to speak up for causes she passionately believes in, including disenfranchised youth, women’s rights, mental health and the LGBTQ community.”

Danko Jones
Power Trio

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “When he’s not alphabeticzing his record collection, cleaning blood off his guitars, or fending off anti-masker dipshits on Twitter, Danko Jones fronts the rock band Danko Jones. It’s a job that he’s held down for 25 years now. While the world has changed dramatically over the past 25 years, Jones, bless him, most definitely has not—and the proof is right here in his 10th album of no-bullshit rockers and white-hot ragers, Power Trio. It’s a simple, self-evident title, but one loaded with significance, as it speaks to the special triangular alchemy Danko shares with his trusty bass-slinging accomplice JC and drummer Rich Knox, while also staking out the band’s place on a storied lineage of three-piece titans that includes The Jimi Hendrix Experience, ZZ Top, Rush, Motörhead, Venom, Dinosaur Jr., and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, to name a few. When you choose to start a power trio, you’re not simply forming a band, you’re entering a blood pact—a tacit acknowledgement that all three members need to carry their equal share of the weight lest the whole enterprise collapse. There’s nowhere to hide in a power trio—no second guitarist to cover your mistakes, no keyboard player to smooth things over, no horn section to distract the crowd. If you fuck up, the whole band fucks up. Everybody needs to be on their A-game at all times, and on Power Trio, Danko Jones are in peak physical condition, delivering each engine-revving riff, soul-shaking stomp, and shout-it-loud hook with a sniper’s precision.”

Brian Setzer
Gotta Have The Rumble

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Gotta Have The Rumble is Brian Setzer’s his first solo album in seven years. Produced by Julian Raymond (Glen Campbell, Cheap Trick), Gotta Have The Rumble is a red-hot album from start to finish — American music amped up to 10 – with songs that are full of dynamism and bravado. “Obviously, it’s a reference to my motorcycles and hot rods, something that hasn’t changed since I was 15 years old,” says Setzer. “I still have the same passion for going fast and adrenaline. But it’s also about my hearing problem with tinnitus — the ringing of the ear. It was pretty bad, and I realized that I couldn’t play the way I wanted to. As I recovered, standing in front of a small amplifier just didn’t cut it. The sound from my big amp makes the guitar rumble. Which is a big part of my sound. I was really despondent for a while because I thought I wouldn’t be able to do that again.”

Posh Pop

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In recent times Toyah has seen something of a cultural renaissance with younger female artists acknowledging the huge Influence of her groundbreaking and uniquely singular career. That the world is ready for Toyah means that Posh Pop will be justly celebrated. The most complete, uplifting pop record of Toyah’s inspirational 41-year career, Posh Pop is a triumphant album, its 10 songs encompassing euphoric partying, redemption, glam rock, interplanetary exploration, industrial grooves, revolution, the fate of humanity as viewed by monkeys and, above all, anthems. Every song here is a masterclass in pop, condensing a world of wonder into barely 40 minutes. It’s maximum pop and it’s also classier than virtually any other music you’ll hear all year. It’s posh pop.”

Thalia Zedek
Perfect Vision

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Thalia Zedek is an artist of immutable stature and unceasing vitality. The legendary songwriter’s fiery voice and frank lyricism give her songs both their emotional potency and their stark beauty. Zedek is able to distill complex events into simple, clear, and at times monumentally weighty moments with a singular grace. Through ballads or bluster, Zedek imbues her music with unguarded honesty. Her new album Perfect Vision examines the anxiety and pain of rising divisions between people both physical and ideological. On Perfect Vision, Zedek transmutes fervor and resilience into sobering laments, while her lush arrangements wrap the listener in an often-complex emotional message.”