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Next Week in Music | Nov. 1-7 • The Short List: 17 Titles You Want to Hear

Steve Conte, Snail Mail, Neal Francis, Pretenders, Hip & the rest of the best.

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Hey, I love Abba as much as the next guy. But come on; it’s been 40 years. Do you really think their new album Voyage — which comes out next Friday — is going to be as good as their classic ’70s titles? Ditto Diana Ross’s new disc Thank You, which comes more than 20 years after her last set of original material. No thank you. Besides, it’s not like there aren’t plenty of other great new releases coming down the pipe. Such as:

 


Steve Conte
Bronx Cheer

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “New York City guitarist, singer and songwriter Steve Conte has found the way back to center stage with his first solo album in five years, the attitude-infused Bronx Cheer. The album is brimming with the spirit of New York both past and present.  Known for his memorable guitar work as a member of The New York Dolls, as well as former Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe’s band (with whom he still performs), Steve found international fame in recent years via his collaborations with Japanese composer and artist Yoko Kanno on the soundtracks to several hit anime series, including Cowboy Bebop. The album’s 11 tuneful new songs, all written by Conte, swing like a citified update on Paul Westerberg or Old 97’s. The core of Bronx Cheer consists of Steve on guitar and vocals with bass by his brother John Conte (Southside Johnny & The Jukes, David Bowie, Ian Hunter) and the renowned Charley Drayton (Keith Richards, Iggy Pop, The Replacements) on drums.”


Neal Francis
In Plain Sight

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On his new album In Plain Sight, Neal Francis offers up a body of work both strangely enchanted and painfully self-aware, unfolding in songs sparked from Greek myths and frenzied dreams and late-night drives in the depths of summer delirium. True to its charmed complexity, the singer/songwriter/pianist’s second full-length came to life over the course of a tumultuous year spent living in a possibly haunted church in Chicago. The result: a portrait of profound upheaval and weary resilience, presented in a kaleidoscopic sound that’s endlessly absorbing. Like its predecessor, the album spotlights Francis’s refined yet free-spirited performance on piano, an instrument he took up at the age of four. Recorded entirely on tape with his bandmates Kellen Boersma (guitar), Mike Starr (bass), and Collin O’Brien (drums), In Plain Sight bears a lush and dreamlike quality, thanks in large part to Francis’s restless experimentation with a stash of analog synths lent by his friends in his early days at the church.”


The Groundhogs
Road Hogs: Live From Richmond To Pocono

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Like some lost treasure that Indiana Jones’ cooler roommate just happened upon, this triple vinyl release tracks the mighty Groundhogs on a 3941-mile journey from Richmond Athletic Ground to the Pocono Raceway track in the mountains of Pennsylvania. It takes them from blues revivalists to head-friendly prog icons and power rock innovators; bridging the gap between their first two bluesy albums and the nirvana and nadir of the band’s most lauded lineup of Tony McPhee (guitar and vocals), Pete Cruikshank (bass) and Ken Pustelnik (drums) at their final show on that big American tour that broke up the original trio. Sitting in the Warner Brothers’ vault for 50 years, four reels of tape lay wedged between the masters of the groundbreaking albums Thank Christ For The Bomb, Split and Who Will Save The World… The Mighty Groundhogs.”


Curtis Harding
If Words Were Flowers

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Growing up, Curtis Harding’s mother used to tell him, “Give me my flowers while I’m still here.” It was a phrase that stuck with the talented singer and multi-instrumentalist through the years, a reminder to show his love and appreciation for the people he cared about before it was too late. “That’s what this album is,” Harding reflects. “It’s me giving my flowers to the world, to anybody who needs to hear what these songs have to say right now.” Written and recorded over the past two tumultuous years, If Words Were Flowers is indeed a vibrant, intoxicating bouquet, one as diverse as it is dazzling. Drawing on vintage soul, R&B, hip-hop, garage rock, and psychedelia, the songs here are raw and gritty, fueled by airtight grooves, punchy horns, and adventurous production from Harding and frequent collaborator Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby, Benjamin Booker). There’s a clear through line on the album from Harding’s 2017 breakout Face Your Fear, but there’s obvious evolution as well, a boldness that revels in risk-taking and sonic exploration. The result is a pointed, timely album that feels experimental and classic all at once, a moving, generous collection all about love, resilience, and reconciliation from an artist who values the beauty and the power of human connection above all else.”


Houndmouth
Good For You

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Houndmouth — singer-guitarist Matthew Myers, drummer Shane Cody, and bassist Zak Appleby — recorded Good For You with Brad Cook (Waxahatchee, Hiss Golden Messenger) and mixed by Jon Ashley (The War On Drugs, B.J. Barham). The fourth full-length album from the Indiana-bred platinum-selling band marks a return to what Houndmouth does best: Shaggy, swinging, big-screen storytellingset to a rustic, home-recorded sound. Slowly brought to life in Houndmouth’s longtime headquarters — The Green House, a 19th-century shotgun-style residence decked out in gold wallpaper and crystal chandeliers that used to belong to Cody’s grandparents — Good For You bears a hi-fi minimalism that illuminates the record’s skillfully crafted storytelling.”


Legendary Shack Shakers
Cockadoodledeux

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Twenty-five years. Two-and-a-half decades. A quarter of a century. A long time no matter what you are talking about. So it’s no surprise J.D. Wilkes wanted to celebrate that milestone for his band, the Legendary Shack Shakers. Founder/frontman/multi-instrumentalist Wilkes decided the best way to commemorate a quarter century of making music with his band was — of course — by making more music. But like most long-lasting groups, the Legendary Shack Shakers have had a lot of band members come and go through the years. So a “family reunion” was planned, one that would host past members and the current lineup for celebratory recording sessions. The result is the group’s new full-length Cockadoodledeux.”


Aimee Mann
Queens Of The Summer Hotel

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Aimee Mann started developing the music that would become Queens Of The Summer Hotel in 2018, when she agreed to write songs for a stage adaptation of Girl, Interrupted, Susannah Kaysen’s memoir about her psychiatric hospitalization in the late 1960s. It was material that Mann understood well, having had her own struggles with mental illness. The album consists of a song cycle constructed from music that Mann wrote for the show, sung by Mann and orchestrated with her longtime collaborator Paul Bryan, using strings and woodwinds in a nod to the project’s theatrical origins. In many ways, Queens of The Summer Hotel is the unintentional part two to Mann’s 2017’s Grammy-winning album Mental Illness, both exploring themes of self-harm, depression and suicide. However, Queens of The Summer Hotel was written more quickly than any of Mann’s previous records. The assignment to write songs for someone else’s project offered Mann a sense of liberation, freeing her to enter another person’s consciousness and story — and a brand-new set of musical structures — through the lens of Kaysen’s own alienation. Although several different characters narrate the songs, they’re not strictly tied to any narrative. But together, they form a portrait of one woman’s crisis of disassociation as seen through another woman’s eyes.”


Connan Mockasin
Jassbusters Two

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Pulled from the same fictive universe as 2018’s Jassbusters, the shrewdly named Jassbusters Two makes a languid counterpart to its predecessor — both albums were recorded by a fictional band of schoolteachers from the as-yet mostly unseen daytime TV miniseries Bost’n ‘n Dobs’n, conceived, directed by, and starring Connan Mockasin himself, and possibly coming to a late-night cinema near you. In the mists of 2016, Jassbusters had found its feet in Paris, and Jassbusters Two materialized only shortly thereafter in 2017, three-and-a-half-thousand miles across the Atlantic. “Jassbusters was the first record I’d done as a band,” Connan reflects. “I really enjoyed it, and wanted to make more music while we were still in character as this group of music teachers.”


Old Time Relijun
Musicking

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Musicking is the latest example of the Old Time Relijun push and pull. They are the rarest breed of musical combo — insatiable, living raw, always on the margins, consistent as hell. You know what to expect, and yet haven’t a clue what’s coming next. Old Time Relijun conduct sweaty, compulsively danceable performances that never fail to inflame. Their songs are simple, but no one in the world could imitate them. Their albums are packed with sing-along hits mixed with sonic experiments and cosmic jests. The loose swagger belies years of practice, fastidious arrangements and a gut-level understanding of musical how and why.”


The Pretenders
The Pretenders + The Pretenders II Deluxe Editions

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Pretenders is widely regarded as one of the greatest debut albums of all-time. Featuring Chrissie Hynde’s incredible vocals and guitar, James Honeyman-Scott’s glistening guitar, Pete Farndon’s driving bass and Martin Chambers’ drums, the album is quintessential new wave, and a defining album of the ’80s. Curated by Chrissie Hynde, these Deluxe Editions features the original album remastered by Chris Thomas, alongside demos, rarities, and many live performances. The packages contains a high-quality book, featuring several rare, unseen photos as well as brand-new liner notes.


Radiohead
Kid A Mnesia

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Kis A Mnesia collects Radiohead’s fourth and fifth albums alongside the debut of a newly compiled third disc titled Kid Amnesiae. Exclusive to this release, Kid Amnesiae is comprised of unearthed material culled from the Kid A / Amnesiac sessions. Along with alternate versions and elements of Kid A and Amnesiac album tracks and B-sides, Kid Amnesiae features the never-before-heard If You Say the Word and a previously unreleased studio recording of Follow Me Around. “We humbly submit Kid A Mnesia to you.⁠⁠ It’s a coming of age for Kid A & Amnesiac and it’s joined by a new album, Kid Amnesiae, a memory palace of half-remembered, half-forgotten sessions & unreleased material⁠⁠.”


Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
The Future

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Future caps off a run of career milestones for Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. For the recording, Rateliff and theh band escaped to his new Colorado studio to write an album’s worth of songs, shedding light on their unique observations and songwriting reflecting on our current times. While recognizable, the new work has evolved and pushes the band to a new level. “I look at the album overall as a big question,” notes Rateliff. “When I was writing the record we were in the middle of a pandemic and our future looked pretty bleak. I just continue to try to write from a place of hope. Then my own neurosis, and maybe being a libra gets in the way, and I can’t make up my mind. There is this constant back and forth battle in me personally and I am sure that comes out in my writing.”


Snail Mail
Valentine

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On her 2018 debut album Lush, 17-year-old Lindsey Jordan sang “I’m in full control / I’m not lost / Even when it’s love / Even when it’s not”. Her natural ability to be many things at once resonated with a lot of people. The contradiction of confidence and vulnerability, power and delicacy, had the impact of a wrecking ball when put to tape. It was an impressive and unequivocal career-making moment. On Valentine, her sophomore album, Lindsey solidifies and defines this trajectory in a blaze of glory. In 10 songs, written over 2019-2020 by Jordan alone, we are taken on an adrenalizing odyssey of genuine originality in an era in which “indie” music has been reduced to gentle, homogenous pop composed mostly by ghostwriters. Made with careful precision, Valentine shows an artist who has chosen to take her time. The reference points are broad and psychically stirring, while the lyrics build masterfully on the foundation set by Jordan’s first record to deliver a deeper understanding of heartbreak.”


Springtime
Springtime

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Springtime — the new Australian group comprising Gareth Liddiard (The Drones, Tropical Fuck Storm), Jim White (Xylouris White, Dirty Three) and Chris Abrahams (The Necks) — is the culmination of three renowned, multidisciplinary musicians each known for distinct styles and sound, a new endeavor that is as much a tonal experiment as it is a meditation on modern-day absurdity. Their self-titled debut combines elements of art rock, experimental noise, poignant lyricism, free jazz and improvisation to craft austere portraits of a world paralyzed by shellshock.”


The Tragically Hip
Road Apples 30th Anniversary Edition

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Created to mark the 30th anniversary of the band’s second studio album — which became their first record to hit No. 1 — the Road Apples 30th Anniversary Deluxe editions were carefully crafted with input from each living member of the band. The outcome is a deep dive behind the scenes of what made this album one of the most beloved in The Tragically Hip’s vast catalogue. With all tracks completely remastered in 2021 by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound in Nashville, for the first time, fans will hear music from the band with all the grit, vibrancy, and passion of their original recordings, second only to being in the recording studio with them. The expansive deluxe editions of the release are jam packed with rare and more previously unreleased and never heard before pieces of music chronicling The Tragically Hip’s Road Apples era.”


Hana Vu
Public Storage

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Hana Vu (born in 2000s California) grew up with her family making regular use of public storage spaces in Los Angeles, moving every few years, leaving a mix of the sacred and the mundane to sit inside concrete and steel. The 20-year-old musician sees the art of making and releasing songs in a similar sense: “these public expressions of thoughts, feelings, baggage, experiences that accumulate every year and fill little units such as ‘albums.’” She lived next to one of these buildings when she started writing her full-length Public Storage, and its towering presence lends a metaphor to a record that sounds far bigger than the bedroom it came from. The emotional chattels of these guitar-driven pop songs are scattered in different boxes, but they all belonged to one person at one point. Being left behind gives these vignettes a tone of brooding introspection. Across the album, Vu excavates an internal universe, loading and unpacking memories, moods, and imagined scenes with agency, charisma, and conviction.”