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Next Week in Music | Nov. 14-20 • The Short List: 6 Titles You Want to Hear

The Beach Boys, Billy Strings, Smashing Pumpkins, Neil Young & the rest of the best.

It’s mid-November, and you know what that means: There are more albums coming out than anyone could hear. And I don’t just mean new stuff: You’ve also got an infinity of box sets, reissues, live albums and holiday fare. So many, in fact, that I was tempted to include at least a dozen more titles in the post. But in the end, I decided to put quality over quantity and just serve up a lean, mean six-pack. Crack it open:


The Beach Boys
Sail On Sailor: 1972 Box Set

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Beach Boys’ landmark albums, 1972’s Carl and the Passions – “So Tough” and 1973’s Holland, will take center focus in Sail On Sailor: 1972, a new expansive multi-disc and digital box set that documents and dives deep into their transformative and fruitful 1972 era. The latest chapter in The Beach Boys’ archival series was produced by Mark Linett and Alan Boyd, the team behind 2013’s Grammy-winning SMiLE Sessions and last year’s acclaimed Feel Flows – The Sunflower and Surf’s Up Sessions 1969-1971, the comprehensive six-CD Super Deluxe Edition features newly remastered versions of Carl and the Passions – “So Tough” and Holland, plus Holland’s Mount Vernon and Fairway (A Fairytale) EP (complete with its original instructions to “please listen in the dark”), and boasts an unreleased live concert recorded at N.Y.C.’s famed Carnegie Hall on Thanksgiving, 1972, the first-ever release of a complete Beach Boys concert from this era with the original setlist. Sail On Sailor: 1972 includes a bounty of unreleased outtakes, live recordings, radio promos, alternate versions, alternate mixes, isolated backing tracks and a cappella versions, culled from the historic album sessions. In all, it contains 105 tracks, 80 of which are previously unreleased.”

Adrian Quesada
Jaguar Sound

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On the heels of his acclaimed Boleros Psicodélicos LP, Adrian Quesada announces the release of Jaguar Sound. The 12-track collection marks the second new album of the year from the Grammy-winning guitarist, producer and Black Pumas co-founder, further showcasing his singular and signature ability to build a bridge between seemingly disparate worlds of music. Steeped in a heady fusion of hip-hop, psychedelic soul and the opulent orchestration of Italian film scores from the 1970s, the LP draws inspiration from life during the first few isolated months of the pandemic, as well as his experience growing up on the border of multiple countries, cultures and languages. Featuring a special appearance from Ikebe Shakedown, as well as harp by Mary Lattimore, Neal Francis on piano, keys from David Garza and an array of strings, horns and percussion, Jaguar Sound was produced, written, engineered, mixed and largely performed by Quesada at his own Electric Deluxe studio in Austin. Originally conceived during the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown, Jaguar Sound is an instrumental opus filled with musical themes, motifs and an amalgamation of genres that reflect a particular time, emotion and personal set of obsessions in Adrian Quesada’s life. “I just rode my bike every single day and listened to The Alchemist,” he says. “I’d come back home and crank out beats. Film scores and 1970s library music have always played a big part in my musical language as they paint a cinematic picture without words and that is very much something I draw influence from. It eventually got to the point where I wanted to bring them to life in my own way and turn them into songs.”

Smashing Pumpkins
ATUM: Act 1

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Smashing Pumpkins 12th studio album will be a three-act rock opera titled ATUM (Autumn). ATUM will feature 33 tracks and is the sequel to 1995’s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and 2000’s Machina/Machine of God. ATUM was written and produced by Billy Corgan over the past four years. The album tells an epic interplanetary story set in the not-too-distant future, though the songs themselves respectively stand on their own in the Pumpkins pantheon. The album features three original members of the band — William Corgan, James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin — as well as longtime guitarist Jeff Schroeder. Corgan had been developing the idea for the rock opera for years, and the pandemic gave him the time off the road to meticulously complete it in the grandiose way he had intended.”

Billy Strings
Me / And / Dad

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “As long as I can remember I wanted to make a record with my dad,” Billy Strings says, with his dad, Terry Barber, seated next to him. “I’ve been burning up and down the highways the last 12 years, and as time slips away, you start thinking, ‘I need to make time.’ It’s been a bucket list thing for me, something I’ve been afraid I wouldn’t find the time to do. And that scared me; not doing this record scared me.” That dream of coming together to make a proper studio album is finally realized with Me / And / Dad. It’s a collection of 14 classics that Billy and Terry know like the back of their hands, from Doc Watson and Bill Monroe songs to hymns and traditional classics. It’s the music that literally and figuratively made Billy the musician and human he is today with the finished album representing a lifelong goal finally achieved: a way for the Grammy-winning musician to honor the man who taught him how to play guitar.”

Weyes Blood
And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Technological agitation. Narcissism fatigue. A galaxy of isolation. These are the new norms keeping Weyes Blood (aka Natalie Mering) up at night and the themes at the heart of her latest release, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow. The celestial-influenced folk album is her followup to the acclaimed Titanic Rising. While Titanic Rising was an observation of doom to come, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow is about being in the thick of it: a search for an escape hatch to liberate us from algorithms and ideological chaos. “We’re in a fully functional shit show,” Mering says. “My heart is a glow stick that’s been cracked, lighting up my chest in an explosion of earnestness.” And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow opens with the wistful, winsome It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody, a song about the interconnectivity of all beings, despite the fraying of society around us. “I was asking a lot of questions while writing these songs. Hyper-isolation kept coming up,” Mering says. “Our culture relies less and less on people. Something is off, and even though the feeling appears differently for each individual, it is universal.” The lullaby-like Grapevine chronicles the splintering of a human connection. The otherworldly dirge God Turn Me into a Flower serves as allegory about our collective hubris. The Worst Is Done is an ominous warning, set against a deceivingly breezy pop melody. “Chaos is natural. But so is negentropy, or the tendency for things to fall into order,” she says. “These songs may not be manifestos or solutions, but I know they shed light on the meaning of our contemporary disillusionment.”

Neil Young With Crazy Horse
World Record

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Neil Young with Crazy Horse have an illuminating new album title World Record, recorded at Shangri-La in Malibu and produced by Rick Rubin and Young. This spirited 10-song collection is a cautiously optimistic meditation on the past, present, and future of our shared planet and what it means to live on it. World Record contains a wealth of wisdom, and the kind of poignant observations one can only be collected over an eventful life. The iconoclastic songwriter reminisces with gratitude about the gifts the Earth has given him and sets his sights on an uncertain future with hope that we can right this big, blue and green ship. He does so in a vital and unyielding fashion. There’s affecting folk, pummeling rock, and a monumental, classic Crazy Horse guitar odyssey in which he pays tribute to his relationship with cars while asserting the necessity of a fossil-fuel-free future. World Record is a cohesive vision that spreads positive energy while not flinching from our present situation. As Young himself said in a message on the Times-Contrarian during the making of World Record: “Real magic lasts and we think we have it.”


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