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Next Week in Music | Oct. 17-23 • The Short List: 9 Titles That Aren’t Taylor Swift’s Midnights

Archers Of Loaf, Arctic Monkeys, Goat, Robyn Hitchcock and the rest of the best.

If you came here looking for all the skinny on Taylor Swift’s upcoming 10th album Midnights, you came to the wrong place. It’s not that I have something against her — I interviewed her a few times back in the day, and found her unfailingly charming, if somewhat understandably guarded. But really, you don’t need me to tell you about Tay-Tay or her new tunes — you can read about them on pretty much every other entertainment website on the planet. I’d rather spend my time telling you about some of the worthwhile albums she’ll be overshadowing next week. Like these:


Archers Of Loaf
Reason In Decline

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Reason in Decline, Archers Of Loaf’s first studio album since the 1998 release of White Trash Heroes, is no nostalgic, low-impact reboot. When they emerged from North Carolina’s ’90s indie-punk incubator, the Archers’ hurtling, sly, gloriously dissonant roar was a mythologized touchstone of slacker-era refusal. But this new LP is an entirely different noise. In fact, it’s a startling revelation. Guitarists Eric Bachmann and Eric Johnson, once headstrong smartasses inciting a series of artful pileups on the band’s four studio albums and EP, are now a fluidly complementary, sonically advanced unit. Notably, Johnson’s signature trebly lines peal clearly above the din instead of struggling to be heard. Today, singer-songwriter Bachmann’s lyrics balance righteous wrath with a complex tangle of adult perspective. He still spits bile, but it’s less likely to concern scene politics, music trends, or shady record labels thwarting the dreams of a young rock band. Bachmann puts it bluntly: “What I really think about going back to the Archers and doing a new record is that the three other members of this band are awesome. It’s not about responding to the past or whatever our bullshit legacy is. I just wanted to work with these guys because I knew the chemistry we had and that we still have. I knew that was rare.”

Arctic Monkeys
The Car

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Arctic Monkeys’ seventh studio album The Car features 10 new songs written by Alex Turner, produced by James Ford and recorded at Butley Priory, Suffolk, RAK Studios, London and La Frette, Paris. Following 2018’s Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, The Car finds Arctic Monkeys running wild in a new and sumptuous musical landscape and contains some of the richest and most rewarding vocal performances of Turner’s career.”

Hugh Cornwell
Moments of Madness

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Widely regarded as the poet laureate of the punk era (from his early career fronting The Stranglers to his transition as a solo artist), Hugh Cornwell has built a substantial and singular body of impressive solo albums. His tenth solo opus Moments of Madness continues his illustrious output by experimenting with musical genres as his enviable reputation as a wordsmith resounds across this album’s songs. Self-produced, and with Cornwell playing all of the instruments himself, Moments of Madness’s 10 incredible tracks finds Hugh flexing his musical muscles with a stripped down, offbeat, reverberating sixties vibe ringing from the seductive melodies and lyrically distinctive perceptions that are indelibly stamped with Hugh’s trademark imagination. Vocally and lyrically a career-best, Hugh has never sounded so good on his 10th solo album. A high watermark and a modern-day masterpiece, Moments of Madness is being tipped as the most significant album of Hugh’s career.”

Oh Death

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Formidable psychic warriors, channelers of the mystic and proponents of a spiritual quest that transcends this realm, Goat remain a band shrouded in mystery. Travelling from their inscrutable origins in the Swedish village of Korpilombo across the stages and festivals of the world in the last decade, this band has created their incendiary music entirely according to their own co-ordinates. With all this in mind, the casual observer might have guessed from its title that Requiem, their beatific and melancholic album of 2016, was to be their last. Yet the ancestral spirits summoned by their art are always restless. Thus the eternal cycles of rebirth have triumphantly produced Oh Death — a ceremonial conflagration as powerful as any this band has made.Invigorated by forces we can only guess at the origins of, Oh Death is a party to which all are welcome. Blithely waving away easy classification, these heat-hazed serenades are just as comfortable in the headspace of vicious ‘70s funk as they are in zesty ZE records post-punk.”

Robyn Hitchcock

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Shufflemania! is the followup to 2014’s critically acclaimed The Man Upstairs. The new record was recorded in Nashville, Robyn’s new home base in the U.S., and was produced by Robyn and Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs). This is the first time Robyn has made a full band album in the studio since 2008, and the record features a lot of key players, including Gillian Welch, Emma Swift, Pat Sansone (Wilco, The Autumn Defense), and Grant-Lee Phillips. The psych-rock influence is a callback to his days with The Soft Boys and his early solo albums. Shufflemania! offers up 10 gloriously ingenious new Hitchcock songs in just under 40 minutes — a “proper pop album” as nature intended. Songs like Midnight Tram To Nowhere and the optimistic, album-closing One Day (It’s Being Scheduled) are state-of-the-art Hitchcock, manifesting his signature wit, miraculous gift for melodic craftsmanship, and striking humanity in a world gone mad. “I am thrilled to be unleashing my new record album Shufflemania! on the world. What is Shufflemania!? It’s surfing fate, trusting your intuition, and bullfighting with destiny. It’s embracing the random and dancing with it, even when it needs to clean its teeth. It’s probably the most consistent album I’ve made. It’s a party record, with a few solemn moments, as parties are wont to supply. Groove on, groovers!”

Simple Minds
Direction Of The Heart

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Simple Minds’ 18th studio album Direction Of The Heart finds the band at their most confident and anthemic best and is an inspired celebration of life, most evident on the captivating lead single Vision Thing. Album guests include Sparks frontman Russell Mael and songwriter Gary Clark, bassist Ged Grimes former music partner from the band Danny Wilson. “How to make a feel-good electro-rock record during the very worst of times? Direction Of The Heart is the result of that challenge. Who would have thought we’d have so much fun creating it?” says frontman Jim Kerr. Most of Direction Of The Heart’s tracks were written, created and demoed in Sicily, where both Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill live. Unable to come to the U.K. because of quarantine rules, the album was recorded and produced at Hamburg’s Chameleon Studios with Andy Wright (Massive Attack, Echo & The Bunnymen) and Gavin Goldberg (Simply Red, KT Tunstall) for additional production. Grimes (who co-wrote two songs), drummer Cherisse Osei and vocalist Sarah Brown joined on some tracks, recording their parts separately in London.”

Sleater-Kinney / Various Artists 
Dig Me In: A Dig Me Out Covers Album

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “To commemorate 25 years of Dig Me Out, we’re releasing a covers album featuring some of our closest friends and admired artists! We can’t wait to share these unique renditions with you. Coming this summer! The artists who appear on Dig Me InSt. Vincent, Wilco, Margo Price, Tunde Adebimpe, Courtney Barnett, Black Belt Eagle Scout, The Linda Lindas, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, Big Joanie, Low and others — have not so much covered the 13 original songs but reinterpreted and reimagined them. Through added layers or the subtraction of guitars and drums, they provide a new way into the songs. Fresh rage, joy, pain, reclamation, slyness, and longing. Other interpretations slow down or stretch out the songs, trading urgency for contemplation, weariness or even a hint of ease.”


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Some 30 years into their career, Canadian indie-rock perennials Sloan return with their 13th album Steady. Featuring the band’s trademark harmonies and every band member taking lead vocal duties on at least a couple tracks, there’s no better musical commonwealth than this quartet. You’ll hear the power pop rockers like Magical Thinking and Keep Your Name Alive to the moving, stripped-back introspective numbers like Simply Leaving and Human Nature, and the psychedelic trips of Panic of Runnymede and Close Encounters. It’s hard to think of another band that has stayed as consistent for three decades musically and still has all the same band members for their entire career. After 13 albums, slow and steady wins the race.”

Tegan & Sara

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Canadian duo Tegan and Sara’s 10th studio album Crybaby was produced by John Congleton (Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten), Sara Quin and Tegan Quin, and recorded at Studio Litho in Seattle and Sargent Recorders in Los Angeles. “This was the first time where, while we were still drafting our demos, we were thinking about how the songs were going to work together,” says Tegan. “It wasn’t even just that Sara was making lyric changes or reorganizing the parts to my songs, it was that she was also saying to me, ‘This song is going to be faster,’ or ‘It’s going to be in a different key.’ But Sara effectively improves everything of mine that she works on.” Sara adds with a laugh, “Maybe I am the renovator. I’m the house-flipper of the Tegan and Sara band.” With nine studio albums to their credit and millions of records sold, Tegan and Sara have used music as a way of storytelling throughout their 20-year career. With that storytelling at the core, they have built a multi-faceted media empire that stretches into TV, books, newsletter and public service, but always deeply rooted in music.”