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Next Week in Music | March 6-12 • The Short List: 11 Titles You Want to Hear

Van the Man, Matt Andersen, Long Ryders, King Khan & the rest of next week's best.

I like Miley Cyrus as much as the next person — assuming the next person thinks she often squanders her impressive vocal talents on subpar pop drivel. That’s why I’m taking a wait-and-hear approach to her new album Endless Summer Vacation, which arrives next Friday. But fear not: There’s still plenty of great music on the way. Including these offerings:


Altin Gün

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Their fifth album in as many years, Aşk (deeper feeling of love) marks an exuberant return to the ’70s Anatolian folk-rock sound that characterised Altın Gün’s first two albums. It is a record that radiates the infectious energy found in the Amsterdam-based sextet’s celebrated live performances and next levels the group’s ground breaking sonic palette of Turkish psychedelic groove pop, sci-fi disco and dreamy acid folk. But there’s development here too. Aşk is the closest the band have come so far to capturing the infectious energy of their live performances. “It’s definitely connecting more with a live sound — almost like a live album,” says bassist Jasper Verhulst. “We took a very traditional approach to recording a rock album, like in the ’70s. In this instance, that doesn’t just mean getting six musicians together in a room with a few microphones. “It’s also about the gear that we are using,” says Verhulst, “the tape and everything.” It’s this attention to detail in using vintage equipment and recording techniques that gives the album such a warm and welcoming sound. But, above all, this is the sound of friends and collaborators joyfully reconvening to make music together again in real time and space. Fresh yet timeless. Rooted in antiquity yet yearning for heavenly futures. Aşk wants to take you places. All you have to do is strap yourself in.”

Matt Andersen
Big Bottle Of Joy

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Big Bottle of Joy is about celebration — hard-won, overflowing, exuberant celebration. Matt Andersen’s latest long-player lives up to the grand title from its opening song Let It Slide; a muscular, organ-drenched urge for people to chill out and be good to each other — to its understated, romantic curtain closer Shoes. Andersen finds reason to sustain this celebration of the life we share together everywhere — on the road, missing a lover; between the sheets in a southern Ontario motel room; from Montreal “all the way to New Orleans;” in a “little kitchen ballroom” on a quiet night at home. Over a dozen songs infused with raw blues-rock, rollicking Americana, thoughtful folk, and ecstatic gospel, he testifies to something we could all do well to remember: the time we have together is special, so let’s spend it the right way. “Being good to each other, you know, in taking care of each other – those are the biggest things I want to put out there,” Andersen says. “If we’re in it together, it’ll be a lot easier than trying to do it on our own.”

H. Hawkline
Milk For Flowers

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On Milk For Flowers, beauty flourishes in the corners of grief’s desecrated church; jewelling the cobwebs, gilding the dust, and making a relic of its creator’s arrow-shot heart. Brought to being in Huw Evans’ hometown of Cardiff, the writing of the album served as the outlet for several dances with the violence of life — a spate of significant events which took his “spectrum of emotion and experience suddenly widescreen.” Milk For Flowers belongs firmly in the realm of the divine; not only for the auspices, saints, and holy bakers that populate its lyrics, but also for its exquisite torment; the gateway to a newfound profundity of voice. “I’m not so good at showing vulnerability and I think that’s why, in the past, there’s been a tendency to obscure or make abstract any real emotion, either lyrically or musically” Evans reflects. “I think this was most apparent with the way I sang, keeping everything as flat and emotionless as possible. It was impossible to do any of those things with this album: I had to sing.” Milk For Flowers is at once visceral and enlightened, its soundscapes verdant yet delicately rendered, and with this latest, most intimate work, H. Hawkline beautifully bares his blood, bones and soul. And quietly, along with the entrails and rubble held in Milk For Flowers’ reliquary, there hides a small, green kernel of life; hope, perhaps, that today’s decay might nourish tomorrow’s blooms.

Lonnie Holley
Oh Me, Oh My

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Some years ago, there was a magazine piece wherein the writer meditated on the concept of the “Cosmic Southerner”: the late Pharoah Sanders, André 3000 and Col. Bruce Hampton were all mentioned. Somehow, Alabama-born, Atlanta-based self-taught artist Lonnie Holley was left out. But Holley, 72, has improvised — nay, conjured! — ecstatic, baffling and heavy moments that can often only be described as “cosmic.” In a mere two lines of a song, Holley can zoom in on the pores of one’s skin and pull back to encompass the whole of the Milky Way. All that said, Holley’s music and visual art are much more about our place in the cosmos than the cosmos itself. It’s about how we overcome adversity and tremendous pain; about how we develop and maintain an affection for our fellow travelers; about how we stop wishing for some “beyond” and start caring for the one rock we have. Holley has never delivered this message as clear, as concise and as exhilaratingly as he does on his new album Oh Me Oh My. It’s both elegant and ferocious, sharpening the work contained on his 2018 debut MITH. It is stirring in one moment and a balm the next. It details histories both global and personal. It features both kinetic, shortwave funk that calls to mind My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and the deep-space sounds of Eno’s ambient works. There are also elements of Laurie Anderson’s meditations, Gil Scott-Heron’s profound soul, John Lurie’s grabbag jazz, and yes, Sun Ra’s bold afrofuturism. But Oh Me Oh My is a triumphant sonic achievement of its own.”

King Khan
The Nature Of Things

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Berlin-based alternative music legend King Khan redcently announced The Nature Of Things, his second jazz album. The LP is dedicated to all those folks out there trying their best to fight for environmental peace and justice. Humanity is on its last legs and in these dire times one must always remember Malcolm’s words: “When the I is replaced by We, even illness becomes wellness. The Nature Of Things is King Khan’s followup to his acclaimed jazz debut The Infinite Ones, and is titled after a nature television show he grew up watching hosted by David Suzuki. The album features John Convertino (Calexico) on drums, percussion and marimba, Alex White (Fat White Family) on sax and flute, Torben Wesche (King Khan and The Shrines) on saxophone, Davide Zolli (Mojomatics) on percussion and Brontez Purnell (Younger Lovers) on drums and percussion.”

The Long Ryders
September November

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:September November is the first album in four years from the band who helped invent Alt-country and Americana, and the followup to The Long Ryders’ critically acclaimed Psychedelic Country Soul. The album’s songs are all originals by guitarist/ mandolinist Sid Griffin (author of the Bob Dylan Basement Tapes book Million Dollar Bash) and guitarist/pedal steel player Stephen McCarthy (who also plays with The Jayhawks and Dream Syndicate), with help from longtime drummer Greg Sowders. It was produced by Ed Stasium, best known for his long relationship as producer and engineer for The Ramones. Griffin says September November is “two thirds the distilled alt-country genre we helped found back in the 1980s, one third Paisley Underground adventurism yet seasoned with a dash of our own crazed soulfulness thrown in.” Due to the unexpected passing of bassist Tom Stevens, bass duties on the new album were shared by Murry Hammond of Americana stalwarts The Old 97s and McCarthy. Guests on the album include D.J. Bonebrake of L.A. punk legends X and violinist Kerenza Peacock of the Coal Porters.”

Meet Me @ The Altar
Past // Present // Future

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Meet Me @ The Altar are here to dismantle rock music’s stereotypes riff by riff. The band — guitarist-bassist Téa Campbell, drummer Ada Juarez and lead vocalist Edith Victoria — have reignited the genre with their refreshing mix of earworm pop melodies, blazing guitar riffs, and punk attitude. Now, they’re ready to stake their claim in rock history with their debut album Past // Present // Future. The record finds the bandmates experimenting more than ever as they solidify a signature sound while also ripping apart the “nostalgia act” box they didn’t ask to be placed in. Each word in the album title holds a significant meaning: Past pays respect to the iconic bands who’ve influenced them (including Paramore, Twenty One Pilots, P!NK, Demi Lovato and Avril Lavigne). Present finds the band redefining what a modern-day rock band looks and sounds like, while Future looks ahead at how the band will impact the genre and where they might go from here. Calling upon iconic producer John Fields (P!NK, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato), the 11-track album sheds any notion of sonic limitations. The band explain: “The things we hold from our past inform who we are now and where we might go. This album pays homage to the music we loved growing up while reflecting our modern-day lives, sounds, and experiences — we can’t wait to share Past // Present // Future with the world.”

Van Morrison
Moving On Skiffle

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “It should come as no surprise that Van Morrison has made another album inspired by skiffle. Or that it takes a homemade style that exploded across Britain in the mid-1950s and brings to it a level of sophistication and soulfulness it didn’t always possess first time round. Skiffle has its roots in the African-American jug bands of 1920s New Orleans, who got around a lack of funds for proper musical instruments by using washboards, tea chests, jugs and tubs to appropriate their own take on the country blues. By the time it reached the UK, largely thanks to enthusiasts such as Ken Colyer, Chris Barber and Lonnie Donegan — who scored a massive hit in 1955 with his skiffle take on blues legend Lead Belly’s Rock Island Line — it became an entry point for a generation of callow British youth into the endlessly absorbing world of American blues, folk, jazz and country music. And nobody has inhabited that music, over an entire lifetime, as much as Morrison. “I was still in school when I performed with a skiffle band — a couple of guitars, a washboard and a tea-chest bass,” says Morrison, who grew up in East Belfast, “I was already familiar with Lead Belly’s recordings, so when I heard Lonnie Donegan’s version of Rock Island Line I intuitively understood what he was creating. I knew that it was what I wanted to do. It was like an explosion. This record retranslates songs from that era.”

The Nude Party
Rides On

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “For The Nude Party, nearly a decade has flown by in the blink of an eye. In that time, the New York-based band have released a pair of well-received albums, an EP, and played countless shows. In late 2020, they released their sophomore album Midnight Manor but were unable to tour behind it. Instead of sitting around, the band got busy. Setting up shop in their upstate New York headquarters, they used the funds they’d saved and spent a year building a studio space out of a barn. Tired of paying for studio time and being rushed, The Nude Party methodically worked at their own pace. Out were the sessions lasting a strict handful of days. In were impromptu writing moments and picking every sound as they went along. When the band met the Tampa based engineer Matthew Horner, they discovered that they had complementary problems: Matthew had a collection of incredible gear with no studio while the band had a great new studio with no gear. So they invited him to move his equipment up to the Catskills to record an album together. Such was the origin of the band’s Rides On. Unlike their first two albums, The Nude Party decided to produce Rides On themselves. With their new space and the help of Horner, The Nude Party had as much fun creating as they ever had at any other point in their career. The lack of pressure allowed them to record over 20 songs, including some that dabbled in electro-pop and stripped-down country before settling on the final 14 songs.”

Sleaford Mods
UK Grim

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “War, rising energy costs, inflation. A sclerotic political class and a divided country. The post-Brexit malaise, acts of national self-harm and other doomed flights from reality. Despair, anger and alienation. Has it ever been worse out there? “The rot’s set in,” says Sleaford Mods’ soulful ranter-inquisitor Jason Williamson. “So much it’s trampled into our consciousness to the point where we have become as one with the Conservative Party. We’re all Conservative MPs now … servants of this really bleak sort of Aldi nationalism.” Welcome to UK Grim. Building on the unique, insurrectionary strengths of previous records while refining them in gripping new ways, Sleaford Mods’ 12th album is a stunning step up. This is nothing less than a defining band and voice of their generation — like The Jam, The Clash or Public Enemy were — more fully realised than ever before. At a musical moment where so much seems to exist simply to melt into air, it is, unmistakably, the real deal. Though largely conceived before the tumults of 2022, UK Grim eerily anticipates the convulsions of a society losing its mind, narrated by a man determined to confront hypocrisies, especially his own. 14 watertight tracks take in stripped punk, barbed electronics and haunted hip hop, and subjects as diverse as the pernicious right-wing narrative, robbing from the till at work, a recovering addict’s nostalgia for drugs and an admission of existential aloneness. They are too brutally descriptive and psychologically blunt to be simple protest songs. Williamson says Covid ennui, life online, and experience of how the music industry works all folded into the album: however it happened, this could still be the angriest Sleaford Mods record yet.”

Ulrika Spacek
Compact Trauma

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Close to five years on from their last transmission, Ulrika Spacek resurface from self-imposed exile with their third album Compact Trauma, a collection of songs that function as a chance treatise of sorts for our current collective condition. With a title like that arriving at this point in time, it’s tempting to interpret the record solely in the context of the global events of the past few years, but the roots of these ten songs arc back much further in time, charged with their own personalised damage. The band’s previous albums had both been recorded in a studio / rehearsal space in Homerton that also doubled as their shared home. As writing for Album 3 began, it suddenly became another victim to gentrification, rendering the project both hub- and homeless. Writing and recording was then abruptly shifted to a professional studio in Hackney, only the second time they had worked in such conditions, and tensions and logistical difficulties soon became apparent. Somehow, a record began to emerge piecemeal from the gloom, though it was one obviously infected with its circumstances — including the pandemic. As the world stood still, Compact Trauma was filed away, unfinished and unheard by the wider world, possibly to remain that way forever. And yet, there was to be a second act. If mutability is our tragedy, it’s also our hope, clearer days slowly began to emerge as the bad slipped away. The wound, as the saying goes, is the place where the light enters you.”