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Next Week in Music | May 2-8 • The Short List: 15 Titles You Want to Hear

!!!, Arcade Fire, Belle & Sebastian, Black Crowes, Neil Young & the rest of the best.

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Canadian superstars. Scottish alt-popsters. Japanese garage-punks. Australian indie dudes. British icons. New York undergrounders. American rockers. Variety is definitely the spice of next week’s musical gumbo. Bon appetit!

 


!!!
Let It Be Blue

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The band’s ninth record, Let It Be Blue, takes !!!’s belief in constant, radical transformation to new, untapped zones. It’s a record of sparse dance music. The kind of stuff you want to put on loud, let loose, go to the bar to get a drink only to abandon your plans because the song that just came on was too good not to dance to. Let it Be Blue is a computer record, but it doesn’t feel like it. Featuring production from Patrick Ford, Let It Be Blue is the product of file sharing, trading stems, song particles, little ideas on their way to being fully realized dance tracks. It was conceived during the past two years, with dreams of future dancefloors very much on the brain. The resulting 11 songs are some of the band’s most production focused offerings to date. They’re crystalline, full of sub-bass and drums. It evokes visions of clubs where a concoction of Dembow and acid house play at volumes so loud your ears hurt and you forget what day of the week it is. In other words, it’s a !!! album. It makes you freak out a little bit.”


Arcade Fire
We

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Produced by Nigel Godrich, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, and recorded in multiple locales including New Orleans, El Paso and Mount Desert Island, We paradoxically distills “the longest we’ve ever spent writing, uninterrupted, probably ever” (per Win Butler) into a concise 40 minute epic — one as much about the forces that threaten to pull us away from the people we love, as it is inspired by the urgent need to overcome them. We’s cathartic journey follows a definable arc from darkness into light over the course of seven songs divided into two distinct sides — Side I channeling the fear and loneliness of isolation, and Side We expressing the joy and power of reconnection. On the album’s cover, a photograph of a human eye by the artist JR evokes Sagittarius A, the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. This stunning image — embellished by the distinctive airbrush color tinting of Terry Pastor (utilizing the same physical technique he employed on David Bowie’s iconic Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust covers) — is the visual expression of We.”


Belle and Sebastian
A Bit of Previous

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:A Bit of Previous is the 10th studio album by Belle and Sebastian and their first full-length in seven years. This may be surprising to anyone following the recent life pursuits of the Glasgow septet: A trilogy of EPs; a soundtrack for the directorial debut of The InbetweenersSimon Bird; The Boaty Weekender — a 3,000 capacity star-studded four-day music festival on a cruise liner sailing the Mediterranean; a live album showcasing the band’s present-day iteration as savvy main stage entertainers; and in 2020 a collaborative project with fans called Protecting The Hive. But in all these idiosyncratic endeavours, as intrinsic to the band’s DNA as the stage invasion at the end of each of their shows, a full-length has eluded us. A Bit Of Previous was recorded in Belle and Sebastian’s hometown of Glasgow when plans to fly to Los Angeles in spring of 2020 were scrapped due to the pandemic. Says Stuart Murdoch in the liner notes: “We did it together, us and the city. This record was the first ‘full’ LP recording for B&S in Glasgow since Fold Your Hands Child … (in) 1999. We clocked in every morning, we played our songs, we wrote together, we tried new things, we took the proverbial lump of clay, and we threw it every day.”


The Black Crowes
1972 EP

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Black Crowes’ new covers collection 1972 is a tribute project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of some of the best rock ’n’ roll songs. “The year 1972 was a watershed moment, some of the greatest rock and roll songs ever made came out of that year. To get our band back together in the studio, it had to be a celebration of rock and roll,” said singer Chris Robinson. “This record is about love and devotion to something that makes us feel good. We hope that it makes fans around the world feel the same.” The album will feature covers of The Rolling StonesRocks Off, Rod Stewart’s You Wear It Well, Little Feat’s Easy To Slip, The Slider by T-Rex, David Bowie‘s Moonage Daydream and the aforementioned cover of The Temptations Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone.”


Bryan Ferry
Love Letters EP

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Widely regarded as a master of the cover version, Bryan Ferry will release new interpretations of four classic love songs this spring. The Love Letters digital EP will be the first all-new Ferry recordings since 2018.  Recording of Love Letters began in Nashville whilst on tour in 2019, with work on the EP continuing in London in 2020. In the U.S., the band included Luke Bullen on drums, Chris Spedding on guitar, Neil Jason on bass, Fonzi Thornton on backing vocals and Waddy Watchel on guitar. Back in London recording continued with Tom Vanstiphout on guitar, Chloe Smith on keyboards, Tugg (Nathan Curran) on drums, Marina Moore on viola and Lucy Wilkins on violin. Summing up the project, Ferry comments, “I like extending my repertoire by covering songs from different genres and different times. It can be an interesting challenge, finding the best way to interpret them in my own style — whatever that may be.”


Otoboke Beaver
Super Champon

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Super Champon is the latest release from acclaimed Japanese garage-punk quartet Otoboke Beaver. Champon is a Japanese noun meaning a mixture or jumble of things of different types, as the band explains, “It’s a mixture of songs from love to food, life and JASRAC. Our music is genreless and has various elements. We hope that it will be our masterpiece of chaos music. It also sounds like champion.” Otoboke Beaver, formed at Kyoto University’s music club, consists of Accorinrin (lead vocal & guitar), Yoyoyoshie (guitar & vocals), Hirochan (bass & vocals), and Kahokiss (drums & vocals). Acco’s off-kilter self-taught compositional and confrontational performance skills, together with the band’s incredible musicianship, make for a thrilling and unmissable live act. Otoboke Beaver are a punk-rock-garage quartet from Kyoto. The band’s name is taken from a local ‘Love Hotel’ and they describe themselves as: “Japanese girls ‘knock out or pound cake’ band”.


Pink Mountaintops
Peacock Pools

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Since their 2004 self-titled debut, Pink Mountaintops have supplied an outlet for the more arcane fascinations of Black Mountain frontman Stephen McBean. On Peacock Pools Pink Mountaintops’ first new music in eight years — the B.C. singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist shares 12 songs sparked from his magpie-like curiosity for a wild expanse of cultural artifacts: The sci-fi body horror of David Cronenberg, Disney Read-Along Records from the 1970s, early Pink Floyd and mid-career Gary Numan, John Carpenter movies, Ornette Coleman live videos, a 1991 essay on the cult of bodybuilding by postmodern feminist Camille Paglia. Featuring counterculture icons like Steven McDonald of Redd Kross and Dale Crover of Melvins, Peacock Pools alchemizes those obsessions into a body of work with its own enchanting power, the sonic equivalent of falling down a thousand rabbit holes at once and landing somewhere gloriously strange.”


Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Endless Rooms

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever return in 2022 with Endless Rooms, the Melbourne quintet’s third album. Described by the band — Fran Keaney, Joe White, Marcel Tussie and brothers Tom Russo and Joe Russo — as them “Doing what we do best: chasing down songs in a room together”, Endless Rooms stands as a testament to the collaborative spirit and live power of RBCF. While initial ideas were traded online during long spells spent separated by lockdowns, the album was truly born during small windows of freedom in which the band would decamp to a mud-brick house in the bush around two hours north of Melbourne built by the extended Russo family in the 1970s. There, its 12 tracks took shape, informed to such an extent by the acoustics and ambience of the rambling lakeside house that they decided to record the album there. The house also features on the album cover. For the first time, the band self-produced the record (alongside engineer, collaborator and old friend, Matt Duffy), creating their most naturalistic and expansive document yet. The result is a collection of songs permeated by the spirit of the place; punctuated by field recordings of rain, fire, birds, and wind. “It’s almost an anti-concept album,” say the band. “The ‘endless rooms’ of the title reflects our love of creating worlds in our songs. We treat each of them as a bare room to be built up with infinite possibilities.”


Soft Cell
*Happiness Not Included

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Soft Cell — frontman Marc Almond and producer / instrumentalist Dave Ball — are set to return with their fifth studio album *Happiness Not Included. It is their first new album since they issued Cruelty Without Beauty back in 2002. One play of *Happiness Not Included reveals all of the traits that fans first adored Soft Cell for: that distinctive and striking balance between light and shade, hope and despair, the personal and the universal. “In this album I wanted to look at us as a society: A place where we have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality and decency, food before the rights of animals, fanaticism before fairness and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others,” Almond says. “But in the album there is also a belief that there is a utopia if we can peel back the layers and understand what really matters.”


Sharon Van Etten
We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sharon Van Etten has always been the kind of artist who helps people make sense of the world around them, and her sixth album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, concerns itself with how we feel, mourn, and reclaim our agency when we think the world — or at least, our world — might be falling apart. How do we protect the things most precious to us from destructive forces beyond our control? How do we salvage something worthwhile when it seems all is lost? And if we can’t, or we don’t, have we loved as well as we could in the meantime? Did we try hard enough? In considering these questions and her own vulnerability in the face of them, Van Etten creates a stunning meditation on how life’s changes can be both terrifying and transformative. We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong articulates the beauty and power that can be rescued from our wreckages.”


Warpaint
Radiate Like This

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Radiate Like ThisWarpaint’s much-anticipated new record, not to mention their first in almost six years — arrives with its own very modern mythology intact, continuing the strange, brilliant, beautiful story of the band and quite neatly picking up where Heads Up left off. If the previous album was the coming of age, Radiate Like This presents Warpaint mk II in all their glory, a luminous coalescence of sound and vision which stubbornly belies its genesis, with the quartet of Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Stella Mozgawa and Jenny Lee Lindberg all recording their parts separately in various cities. “It’s the first time we’ve ever made an album like that, but in a weird way, it made us take our time with everything”, muses Kokal. “The process felt more meditative, less rushed.” This new sense of quiet confidence can be heard all through the album, which pulsates with ideas, energy and — most crucially — gorgeous melodies. Listen on in wonder.”


The Waterboys
All Souls Hill

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “After blazing a trail with 2020’s critically acclaimed Good Luck Seeker, The Waterboys waste no time in delivering again with their brand new record All Souls Hill. The album contains nine tracks of Waterboys brilliance, all mixed by Mike Scott himself. Announced off the back of the band’s recent sold-out U.K. tour andtheir box set The Magnificent Seven: The Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues/Room To Roam Band, 1989-1990, All Souls Hill is current, on-the-money social commentary, but with an air of hope. “All Souls Hill is mysterious, otherworldly, tune-banging and emotional.” comments Scott. “I made it with Waterboys old and new and my co-producer, brilliant sonic guru Simon Dine. Its nine songs tell stories, explore dreamscapes, and cast a cold but hopeful eye on the human drama.”


Neil Young
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion 1971 / Royce Hall 1971 / Citizen Kane Jr. Blues (Live At The Bottom Line)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Neil Young is set to deliver more rare live recordings from his extensive archives with the Neil Young Official Bootleg Series which began last autumn. Royce Hall, 1971 was recorded Jan. 30 on the UCLA campus, a solo acoustic gig. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 1971 — also solo acoustic — is the last U.S. show of Young’s 1971 solo tour. Citizen Kane Jr. Blues (Live at The Bottom Line), from New York City 1974, is a surprise set. Where analog tape exists in Young’s archive, these concerts have been mixed properly, providing much higher quality recordings than have previously existed — Royce Hall 1971 and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion 1971 are from the original analog masters. If no tape exists, the original bootleg has been restored and remastered to bring listeners the best audio experience possible, as with Citizen Kane Jr. Blues (Live at The Bottom Line) from New York City 1974.”