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Next Week in Music | Sept. 20-26 • The Short List: 6 Titles You Want to Hear

Jesse Malin, Ringo Starr, Poppy and the other artists at the top of the to-do list.


Any week that includes new music from Jesse Malin, Ringo Starr, Poppy and members of Morphine — not to mention vintage cuts from Jakob Dylan and Luther Russell, plus a VIP-studded tribute to The Velvet Underground — is more than OK by me. You too? Good. Here’s the rundown:


The Bootheels
1988: The Original Demos

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The members of The Bootheels were frontman, songwriter and bassist Luther Russell, who would later lead The Freewheelers before emerging as a prolific solo artist and half of Those Pretty Wrongs (with Big Star’s Jody Stephens); guitarist Jakob Dylan, who would soon achieve stardom as leader of The Wallflowers; future Wallflowers guitarist Tobi Miller, whose instrumental interplay with Dylan provided one of The Bootheels’ most notable sonic features; and drummer Aaron A. Brooks, who would go on to work with Moby, Lana Del Rey, and others. These tracks provide a glimpse into the origins of teenage musicians who would rise to greater heights than they could ever have imagined.”

Jesse Malin
Sad & Beautiful World

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sad and Beautiful World is for the survivors, the dreamers, the leavers and the believers,” said Jesse Malin. “My music has always been about rebirth and redemption. This record is for those who pick up the pieces and find beauty in the madness.” The first double album of Malin’s career hits like a collection of heartfelt and eloquent short stories that never lose their dirt and swagger. The phoenix bird could be the spiritual mascot of Sad and Beautiful World. Forged in the wild flames of the lost pandemic year, the album follows Sunset Kids (2019), Malin’s acclaimed album produced by Lucinda Williams and Tom Overby.”


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Flux marks yet another artistic leap for the ever-evolving Musical polyglot Poppy, featuring a stream-lined songwriting approach that puts her indelible earworm melodies at the foreground of a kaleidoscopic mosaic of overdriven guitars. Flux was produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen (M83, Air, St. Vincent), who had Poppy and her band record live to tape, resulting in an organic feel that lends a decidedly personal touch to the new set of material. 2021 has already proved to be a monolithic year for Poppy, kicking off with a stunning Grammy performance in March (on the heels of her nomination for Best Metal Performance, making her the first solo female artist ever nominated in the category), her global livestream event The Last Disagreement in April, the May release of her cover of Jack Off Jill’s Fear of Dying, the June release of single Her and more.”

Ringo Starr
Change The World EP

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “These four tracks were all recorded at Starr’s Roccabella West studio just as he did for his Zoom In EP released in March 2021, and features frequent and new collaborators, creating songs that span the spectrum of pop, country, reggae and rock ’n’ roll. Ringo comments, “I’ve been saying I only want to release EPs at this point and this is the next one. What a blessing it’s been during this year to have a studio here at home and be able to collaborate with so many great musicians, some I’ve worked with before and some new friends.”

Vapors Of Morphine
Fear & Fantasy

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Vapors of Morphine perform the music of “low rock” pioneers Morphine, utilizing the ethereal, hypnotic and expansive sounds popularized by the group in the ’90s. The Vapors were formed over a decade ago by Morphine saxophonist Dana Colley, singer and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Lyons and Morphine’s original drummer Jerome Deupree. The group now includes drummer Tom Arey (J. Geils Band, Peter Wolfe‘s Midnight Ramblers, Ghosts of Jupiter). Their new album represents both a new era and a return to form.”

Various Artists
I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute To The Velvet Underground & Nico

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: Verve Records, the original label of The Velvet Underground, is also the home of the new tribute album I’ll Be Your Mirror, which features tracks from Iggy Pop & Matt Sweeney, St. Vincent & Thomas Bartlett, Sharon Van Etten (with additional vocals by Angel Olsen), Kurt Vile & The Violators. I’ll Be Your Mirror was overseen and executive produced by Hal Willner, Lou Reed’s dear friend and producer who passed away last year. Willner was a master of the tribute album, with each project he worked on extending the magnitude of the artist or work under consideration. In particular, he very much viewed himself as a primary curator of Reed’s legacy, and the care and love he felt for his friend’s work is evident in every note on I’ll Be Your Mirror. Fittingly — and sadly — it is the last album he worked on.”