Comebacks. Collaborations. Classics. Covers. Canadians. Clearly, next week’s album releases are playing in the key of C. Lend an ear:
Things Take Time, Take Time
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Living among uncertainty can make you forget that certainty is everywhere, all around us. Courtney Barnett’s first two albums told stories of the tiny splinters that pull on the very fabric of the world: The way panic attacks and unmoored comments and unsightly, unseemly vistas can make knots and tears that are impossible not to fixate on. Her third album steps back, takes a breath, takes a beat, asks you not to fixate on the little things. It’s quieter and smaller than you might expect from Courtney. If you don’t like it — although you probably will — it’s no big deal; just give it another go tomorrow. Things Take Time, Take Time is finely woven, soft to the touch; spanning 10 wide-eyed, open-hearted vignettes, it traces the gentle arc of a life, forgoing pithy detail in favour of generous scene setting and graceful character development. It’s an object of beauty made for everyday use and, like most things of that ilk, a lot of work went into it, emotionally and physically.
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “For over 15 years, The Dodos have been careening, almost recklessly, towards some perfect ideal of how The Dodos should sound. First formed with the intention of creating a record that felt and sounded how the inside of a guitar might, the band have spent the intervening years sprinting towards that platonic ideal. The propulsion of that chase has always been palpable, even in the duo’s strangest, quietest moments — a gasping thrill conjured as if metallurgically from the interplay between virtuosically fingerpicked guitar and bracingly intricate drumming. Now, after so long, finally: Grizzly Peak. The eighth album by Meric Long and Logan Kroeber still plays as if in freefall, but things are different this time. Meditative and sometimes painful in its emotional excavation, over the course of 10 anthemic, gorgeously-rendered tracks, Grizzly Peak reveals itself as that place Long and Kroeber were always desperately trying to find.
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Endless Boogie rejoin with their fifth proper studio album. It contains and is called Admonitions. Seven tracks of unrefined wisdom, mostly put to tape in improvised fashion with little to no warning. Recorded over two years and two sessions — at the pastoral tranquility of the Stockholm inland archipelago in 2018, and in the dank, cramped basement of a Fort Greene, Brooklyn studio in February 2020. Eklow on crude direction, Sweeney on stealth glamour, the obscurantist clarity of Paul Major is, as always, as ever, on full display, the fierce reality of Mike Bones is crucial, and the stoic solidity of The Harry Druzd lays beneath it all. Old pal Kurt Vile hovers over Counterfeiter. Full grease, delivered with ease. It is the band’s humble wish that you immerse yourself and enjoy this offering.”
Dave Gahan & Soulsavers
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On Imposter, multi-platinum selling Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted recording artist and songwriter Dave Gahan, along with long time musical partner Soulsavers (Rich Machin), take listeners on a personal journey of 12 meticulously chosen reimagined songs from across genres and time periods, including selections from Neil Young, Bob Dylan, PJ Harvey, Charlie Chaplin, Cat Power and Mark Lanegan, among others. “When I listen to other people’s voices and songs — more importantly the way they sing them and interpret the words — I feel at home,” Gahan confesses. “I identify with it. It comforts me more than anything else. There’s not one performer on the record who I haven’t been moved by. I know we made something special, and I hope other people feel that and it takes them on a little kind of trip — especially people who love music and have for years.”
Heavy Load Blues
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Heavy Load Blues is the first-ever blues album by renowned quartet Gov’t Mule — led by Grammy-winning vocalist, songwriter, guitar legend, and producer Warren Haynes. The album delivers an even mix of Haynes’ originals and revered covers originally made famous by the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Junior Wells, Ann Peebles, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and even Tom Waits and The Animals. “For me, personally, it’s kind of been on my list of things to do for years,” shares Haynes. “I didn’t know if it was gonna be a solo album or a Gov’t Mule record. We play some traditional blues on stage from time to time and although it’s usually never more than a few songs per show, our approach to the blues is unique and based on our collective chemistry as a band. This album gave us a mission. Although in some way it was ‘anything goes,’ we wanted to stay true to the spirit of the blues in a traditional sense. It’s not a blues/rock record – it’s a blues record. We wanted it sonically to sound different from a normal Gov’t Mule record.”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Idles return with their new album Crawler — an album of reflection and healing amid a worldwide pandemic that stretched the planet’s collective mental and physical health to the breaking point. Frontman Joe Talbot says, “We want people who’ve gone through trauma, heartbreak, and loss to feel like they’re not alone, and also how it is possible to reclaim joy from those experiences.” Idles albums have always been anchored by these overarching themes, but the ability of the band to juxtapose beauty and rage with humor and drama has never felt more satisfying than on Crawler. “It was writing selfishly that helped make it possible,” says Talbot. “Reflecting. Telling my own story. Not trying to tell everyone else’s story. Not trying to fix the world — just talking about how I am fixing mine.”
Jr. Gone Wild
Still Got The Jacket
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In the early ‘90s, a new genre of music called “alt-country” suddenly appeared in order to describe artists who drew inspiration from traditional sources, but whose sounds were still infused with the power of modern rock ’n’ roll. It was indeed a game changer for many bands, especially those who had, in fact, been “alt-country” long before the term was coined. Yet, it was something Mike McDonald couldn’t see coming when, in 1983, he formed Jr. Gone Wild in Edmonton. For the next 12 years Jr. Gone Wild would hone its own version of this approach on albums that have become cornerstones of Canadian alt-country. However, no band can sustain such a winning streak. By 1995, McDonald was ready to try life as a solo artist and focus on his family, while the legend of Jr. Gone Wild just kept growing. Finally, in 2013, McDonald, lead guitarist Steve Loree, bassist Dave “Dove” Brown and drummer Larry Shelast agreed to reunion shows which left them feeling like Jr. Gone Wild could rise again. New songs slowly took shape until everything came to a halt in 2019 when Shelast died from a heart attack. The band enlisted McDonald’s nephew Quinton Herbert to man the kit, and his ease at filling the role made it clear that Jr. Gone Wild’s first album in over 25 years would ultimately be finished. And here we are.”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “More than any young American rock band, Kills Birds approach their songs with an intensity that’s so tangible it feels like the stakes are near life and death. Fronted by Nina Ljeti, a Bosnian-Canadian filmmaker and L.A.’s most electrifying new rock singer, their performances are visceral and cathartic, with guitarist Jacob Loeb’s blistering riffs and Fielder Thomas’s pummeling basslines. While 2019’s Kills Birds was a debut that captured the promise of their grunge-inspired sound and Ljeti’s unflinching lyrics, their followup Married is a triumphant representation of everything that makes them so thrilling. It’s a document of a band pushing their musical chemistry to new heights.
Nevermind 30th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The Sept. 24, 1991 release of Nirvana’s Nevermind touched off a seismic shift in global youth culture. Rising to No. 1 worldwide over the next few months, its impact would elevate Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl from a promising Pacific Northwest cult band to one of the most successful and influential artists of all time. Nevermind returned rock ’n’ roll integrity and passion to the top of the charts, and continues to be a singular inspiration to fans and musicians alike over the last three decades — as it no doubt will for generations to come. The 30th anniversary edition of Nevermind contains 94 audio and video tracks — 70 previously unreleased — including four complete live shows that document Nirvana’s historic ascension on the concert stage: Live in Amsterdam, Netherlands (recorded and filmed on Nov. 25, 1991 at the famed club Paradiso); Live in Del Mar, California (recorded on Dec. 28, 1991); Live in Melbourne, Australia (recorded Feb. 1, 1992); and Live in Tokyo, Japan (recorded Feb. 19, 1992).”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to hear is true … NRBQ’s first new album since 2014 is about to unleashed! No names have been changed and no one is innocent. The band’s lineup is keyboardist Terry Adams, guitarist Scott Ligon, bassist Casey McDonough and drummer John Perrin. Says Adams: “The songs came out of nowhere … or at least somewhere nice. All of us are in there.” Any release of NRBQ music is a cause for celebration, but after nearly a decade since their last full-length studio release, Dragnet brings the band back to the turntables and live venues of America. Though they don’t carry a badge, they are going to work, and after more than a year away from live performances, this is where they come in. So do your part and safely celebrate the release of Dragnet when they come to your city and in the meantime, duh duh-duh duh!”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Actively seeking out moments of creative-authenticity, be it via a slightly-out-of-tune guitar or proudly-fuzzed vocals, Pip Blom take us back full circle and introduce us to their Welcome Brea — an 11-track release which resonates with about as much decisive allure as its precursor, but with a bit more contemporary chaos to boot. Where Boat reckoned as a fresh-faced, yet gloriously fearless game-changer, Welcome Break is the self-assured older sibling who, with an additional year or two behind themselves, isn’t afraid to speak out, take lead, and instigate a liberated revolution-come-bliss-out. Unhinging genre in our instant-access era of musical snoot, no-one does an enthused-chorus quite like Pip Blom yet much can be said for this gang being far from one-trick-ponies. With Pip Blom, no mood is untouched nor sense of renewal left behind. The trick to it all? As Pip reveals: “I just really like catchy songs and I feel like that’s something we try to do. I’d classify it as being sentimental – it’s not sugar-happy Pop … more like Titanic pop songs.”
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
Raise The Roof
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Raise The Roof finds Rock And Roll Hall of Famer Robert Plant and 27-time Grammy-winner Alison Krauss reunited some 14 years after the historic success of their first collaboration Raising Sand, which earned six Grammy Awards, including Album and Record of the Year. Like its predecessor, Raise The Roof was produced by T Bone Burnett, who worked with Plant and Krauss to expand their collaboration in thrilling new directions, accompanied by drummer Jay Bellerose, guitarists Marc Ribot, David Hidalgo, Bill Frisell and Buddy Miller, bassists Dennis Crouch and Viktor Krauss, along with pedal steel guitarist Russ Pahl, among others. The album features 12 new recordings of songs by legends and unsung heroes including Merle Haggard, Allen Toussaint, The Everly Brothers, Anne Briggs, Geeshie Wiley, Bert Jansch and more.”
Elvis: Back In Nashville
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Like its predecessor From Elvis In Nashville (released in 2020), Elvis: Back In Nashville is designed to showcase Elvis Presley and his core band as they sounded during actual recording sessions without orchestral overdubs and vocal accompaniment. A key difference between Elvis’ 1970 and 1971 Nashville sessions is that many of the 1971 recordings included backing singers; therefore, Elvis: Back In Nashville offers a variety of song performances both with and without vocal augmentation. With Elvis’ upcoming concert activities increasing, future studio time would be limited and so the goal of these sessions was to generate perhaps a year’s worth of new songs. RCA and the Colonel let Elvis know they’d like a new Christmas album, a gospel album, a pop album, and “several new singles for summer and fall releases” and so, Elvis’ music coordinator/producer Felton Jarvis booked a whole week of all-night sessions starting March 15, 1971 and brought on the same band he’d used the year before.”
An Evening With Silk Sonic
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The seeds of the collaboration were planted in 2017 when Anderson .Paak opened for Bruno Mars on the European leg of his 24K Magic World Tour. One late-night jam session on the road unlocked immediate chemistry. Just before the world slipped into quarantine, Bruno called Anderson: “Remember that idea we had back in 2017? Let’s do it.” One studio session grew into to a months-long collaboration, culminating the “setlist of doom.” Legendary Bootsy Collins christened Silk Sonic and came in as the “special guest host” for An Evening With Silk Sonic, their debut album.
The Tears Of Hercules
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Sir Rod Stewart’s rekindled love of songwriting grows stronger on his 31st(!) album The Tears Of Hercules. It’s Stewart’s fourth new album of original songs since 2013, when he reconnected with his songwriting muse to record Time. For his latest, Stewart wrote nine of the album’s 12 songs. To make the album, Stewart once again worked with Kevin Savigar, the keyboardist-songwriter-composer who co-produced Time, Another Country (2015), and Blood Red Roses (2018). Their long-running collaboration began in 1978 when Stewart invited Savigar to join his studio and touring band. “I’ve never said this before about any previous efforts, but I believe this is by far my best album in many a year,” Stewart himself crowed.”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Featuring Frank Meyer (vocals, guitar), Bruce Duff (vocals, bass, guitar) and drummer Mike Sessa of indie-punk vets The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, Sweet Justice deliver consistently strong and pure modern blues rock that follows the stylistic paths of Gary Clarke Jr., Rival Sons and The Black Crowes. “These songs are a little harder-edged than the first album and a lot catchier,” explains Meyer. “We got inspired by all the great blues-rock acts happening these days and wondered if our first album wasn’t a bit ahead of its time. It seemed like the time was right to revisit the Sweet Justice sound, but we gave it a modern twist on this one. This new album is less traditional than our earlier work and fits much comfortably in the modern rock landscape.”
They Might Be Giants
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “They Might Be Giants have always blazed an original path, and their ambitious new project Book takes that impulse to another level. The music from Book teems with the same energy, melody, and inventive songcraft, but this latest effort goes even further, introducing an immersive and fascinating album experience that blends photography, design, text, and music. True to its title, Book isn’t just a collection of 15 new songs: it’s a 144-page art book, created in collaboration with Brooklyn street photographer Brian Karlsson and celebrated graphic designer Paul Sahre. Like their Dial-A-Song service, breakthrough videos, and vast catalog of television work, Book was borne out of the duo’s relentless quest to take their music to new platforms and new places. “At this point, the album itself might seem like a quaint idea,” John Flansburgh explains. “Giving yourself real creative challenges keeps you moving forward.” John Linnell adds, “Nowadays albums are often just a collection of ones and zeroes. With Book we’re looking to make a more interesting object.”
Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal is a tribute to the life and music of the gifted singer, songwriter, musician, and friend to many. Featuring 41 of Neal’s songs, the collection brings together a galaxy of rock and roots music luminaries — including The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Shooter Jennings, J Mascis, Steve Earle and The Dukes, Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes, Billy Strings and many more — to reimagine the body of work Casal left behind, while celebrating his enduring impact as an artist. Within the limited edition vinyl and CD box sets are sleeves with rare and previously unpublished photos of Neal, a booklet presenting song lyrics, Neal’s own iconic photography and an essay by early career champion Jim Cardillo. Additional collectibles include a poster and baseball card with photos of Neal by photographer Jay Blakesberg and stickers designed by poster artists Alan Forbes and Marq Spusta. Highway Butterfly was co-produced by Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools and seven-time Grammy-winner Jim Scott.”