Whatever it looks like outside your window, allow me to assure you that spring has definitely sprung in the music world. Between the 400-plus albums arriving next week and the 15 essential titles below, things are heating up fast. So unless you want fall behind right off the bat, you should probably make some time to get acquainted with these new arrivals next week:
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The first thing that grabs you about Altın Gün’s new album is the energy. With Aşk, the Amsterdam sextet turn away from the electronic, synth-drenched sound of their 2021 albums Âlem and Yol. While those two, created at home during the pandemic, paid homage to the electronic pop of the ’80s and early ’90s, Aşk marks an exuberant return to the ’70s Anatolian folk-rock sound that characterised Altın Gün’s first two albums, On (2018) and Gece (2019). 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, as a band, just going into a rehearsal space together and creating music together instead of demoing at home.” There’s also a deliberate return to the source in the material they’ve chosen for this album. All ten tracks are new readings of traditional Turkish folk tunes, revealing how these ancient songs remain eternally resonant and ripe for Altin Gün’s brand of psychedelic reinterpretation. 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.”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The Record started in June 2020. A week after her album Punisher came out, Phoebe Bridgers sent Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker a demo of Emily I’m Sorry and asked if they could be a band again — for the first time since those five short months in 2018, when the Boygenius EP was conceived, written, recorded, released, and toured. Nobody had wanted to be the first to ask — to make such a demand on everyone’s time. Now, Julien made a Google Drive folder called “Dare I Say It?” and everyone flooded it with potential songs. The Record is about recapturing joy. Julien wrote $20 after realizing that what she wanted for the band was more sick riffs. It’s hard to say such things as an individual artist, when it’s your music, soon to be collapsed with your identity. You don’t want to seem like — or be — a superficial meathead. But it’s things like sick riffs that made you truly giddy when you were first learning how to play, making music with your friends “for no reason.” Why do non-reasons sometimes feel so much more urgent than reasons?”
City And Colour
The Love Still Held Me Near
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The Love Still Held Me Near is a deeply personal and cathartic offering for City And Colour — acclaimed singer, songwriter and performer Dallas Green — and the most sonically expansive in the celebrated City And Colour canon. “The Love Still Held Me Near was born out of unimaginable loss and the subsequent journey through the grief and heartache that followed,” explains Green. “It’s about digging deep down into yourself and attempting to unearth hope and light in the things that can comfort you through those times. For me that has always been writing and recording music, so that’s exactly what I did.” Produced by Green and longtime band member and collaborator Matt Kelly, the 12 songs that comprise The Love Still Held Me Near follow the most difficult period in Green’s life, including the tragic loss of his best friend in 2019. Green poignantly eulogizes him in the stunning opening track Meant to Be, which was released in November.”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Did you know that miracles happen every day? We don’t always see it that way. We look at the state of the world and think, “It’ll be a miracle if we make it out alive.” But miracles are what humans do. We’re Earth’s most inventive and unpredictable species, when we’re allowed to be. Also the most destructive. Miracle-Level is Deerhoof’s mystical manifesto on creativity and trust. It celebrates the infinite small wonders of existence that spontaneously present themselves, when not obstructed by our death-driven masters. Musically, Miracle-Level is vulnerable, brave, and brimming with spicy surprises. Deerhoof’s 19th album is also their first to be recorded and mixed in a recording studio. Production was entrusted to Mike Bridavsky at No Fun Club in Winnipeg. This is also their first album written entirely in bassist and singer Satomi Matsuzaki’s native language. Deerhoof once again speak in a secret code that only their fans understand, in which hooks abound, and genre is nonexistent.”
Irregularis (The Great Hiatus)
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The undisputed kings of garage rock are back! It’s been 22 years since the last Headcoats album, but now Billy Childish, Bruce Brand and Johnny Johnson are back with a brand-new studio album! Yes, you read that correctly! Irregularis (The Great Hiatus) was recorded last year at Ranscombe Studios in Rochester. The lads kindly answered some pertinent questions…
What was it like working with each other again after all this time?
BILLY: It was ‘fab’ and ‘gear.’
BRUCE: The weirdest thing for me was how weird it wasn’t. It was like time compressed, but to the ‘good old days’, early on. I was wary that it ‘wouldn’t be like Thee Headcoats‘, but it was.
JOHNNY: I’m with Bruce and Billy on that one. I think we were all surprised how it all just worked. If I remember correctly, we kicked off role playing like we detested each other. Then we got started and well, you can hear the result.
What were the first songs you ran through when you got in the studio?
BILLY: That’s a very good question. No idea.
BRUCE: I can’t remember. They all sound the same to me.
JOHNNY: Bill had stuff on his phone that went “KSSHHCCCKSSHHHH”! So, we did that first.”
The Hold Steady
The Price Of Progress
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Formed in 2003, The Hold Steady have released eight albums, numerous singles and played over 1,000 shows. The Price of Progress is the ninth studio album from the band, released on the band’s Positive Jams label. The Price of Progress arrives as The Hold Steady mark the 20th anniversary of their foundation bringing new ideas, sounds, and textures to a still-evolving canon of nine studio album releases that began with 2004’s Almost Killed Me. The album was produced by longtime collaborator Josh Kaufman at The Clubhouse in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and mixed by D. James Goodwin. The Price of Progress stands as their most sonically expansive record thus far, while also remaining unmistakably The Hold Steady, showcasing narrative rock ’n’ roll tales of ordinary people struggling and surviving in a modern world. “These are some of the most cinematic songs in The Hold Steady catalog,” says singer-guitarist and main songwriter Craig Finn, “and the record was a joy to make. I feel like we went somewhere we haven’t before, which is a very exciting thing for a band that is two decades into our career.”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “D.O.A. leader Joe Keithley is one of Canada’s leading rebels. He’s got a reputation for delivering the straight goods with no BS: Whether he’s onstage with D.O.A. or playing his acoustic guitar at a protest or on a picket line, his message rings true. Many have compared Joe to a modern-day Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger because he has spent a lifetime standing up for the average person through his music and through his actions. Joe has been an activist since he was 16 years old and that’s reflected in his songs, as Keithley takes on all manner of ill deeds like police brutality, sexism, warmongering and racism to name a few. He’s also stood up for the environment, first nations, unions and many other good and just causes by organizing and playing at well over 300 benefit concerts.”
Murray A. Lightburn
Once Upon A Time In Montreal
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The Dears frontman Murray A. Lightburn says his third solo release Once Upon A Time In Montreal is the album version of a biopic. It’s about his late father, a jazz musician from Belize who moved to Montreal via New York to reconnect with his teenage sweetheart. They were then married for 56 years, until he died in April 2020 in a Quebec nursing home where he’d been living with Alzheimer’s. Despite growing up with the man, Lightburn — the youngest brother of three — says his father “was almost a complete stranger to me. I could almost count the conversations we had, and none of them were very meaningful. I had to deduce that our happy moments were listening to Expos games together. I never knew how he felt about my career or the things I’d achieved — all of which I got from him.” Lightburn’s father was a saxophonist who worshipped John Coltrane. There’s no hard bop on Once Upon A Time in Montreal, but it does feature an array of Montreal jazz players. Like this album’s predecessor, 2019’s Hear Me Out, Lightburn is in full crooner mode, distilling the passion and intensity of The Dears into gentle arrangements that feature an orchestral section, drawing on late-’60s, early-’70s folk/jazz/pop: Dionne Warwick, Nick Drake, Bill Withers, Serge Gainsbourg, Al Green, etc. While the influences might be obvious, the end result is singular and without peer.”
A Dizzying Lust
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Eamon McGrath is a Windsor-based musician with a 15-plus year touring history of Canada, the U.K., the U.S.A., Europe, Mexico and Japan. He has released more than 25 albums, written two books, scored two feature films, and has travelled the world relentlessly since 2007, cultivating an international audience and committed, loyal network of fans. His fiercely DIY approach has garnered him respect and admiration in both the indie rock and folk communities, as he effortlessly bridges a gap between both genres, composing heartbreakingly beautiful songs that are performed with an honest, intense energy on stages worldwide. Tracked by McGrath alone and compiled from songs composed during a 10-month world tour in support of 2022’s Bells Of Hope, A Dizzying Lust features McGrath channeling the frontier spirit of a folk singer alone on the road with an acoustic guitar. McGrath’s trademark notoriety as a savage rocker is put to the test here, opting instead for a rare subtle minimalism and focused attention to the lyrics and song.”
Molina, Talbot, Lofgren & Young
All Roads Lead Home
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Crazy Horse has always been a band that was meant to be. Formed in the late 1960s as rock ’n’ roll was beginning to take a turn into the ’70s, the band (Ralph Molina, Billy Talbot and Danny Whitten) had started playing with Neil Young, and, though they didn’t know it then, were going to make history for 50-plus years. All The Roads Lead Home is an exciting continuation of their storied career. It is a statement of power and purpose on what rock ’n’ roll bands can accomplish as the decades pass and musical growth continues. In so many ways, Crazy Horse exists as a party of one in the way they have created something so uniquely original and completely within their own world. All Roads Lead Home is an album born out of pure inspiration as well as social necessity. Molina, Talbot and Nils Lofgren kept recording their original songs, each with other musicians and in various locations during the pandemic years. They were forced to change from working as a trio with Young, and used that opportunity to see what their new individual configurations would lead to. And, of course they led home.”
The New Pornographers
Continue As A Guest
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Over the past 20 years, The New Pornographers have proven themselves one of the most excellent bands in indie rock. The group’s ninth album establishes them alongside modern luminaries like Yo La Tengo and Superchunk when it comes to their ability to evolve while still retaining what made them so special in the first place. A dazzling and intriguing collection of songs, Continue As A Guest finds bandleader A.C. Newman and his compatriots Neko Case, Kathryn Calder, John Collins, Todd Fancey and Joe Seiders exploring fresh territory and shattering the barriers of their collective comfort zone. Newman began work on Continue As A Guest after the band had finished touring behind 2019’s In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights. Themes of isolation and collapse bleed into this album, as Newman tackles the ambivalence of day-to-day life during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Newman says that the album’s title track also addresses the concerns that come with being in a band for so long. “The idea of continuing as a guest felt apropos to the times,” he explains. “Feeling out of place in culture, in society, being in a band that has been around for so long — not feeling like a part of any zeitgeist, but happy to be separate and living your simple life, your long fade-out. Living in a secluded place in an isolated time, it felt like a positive form of acceptance: Find your own little nowhere, find some space to fall apart, continue as a guest.”
Those Pretty Wrongs
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Having been a founding member of one of the most revered power pop bands of all time tends to be a footnote that follows you around. Yet Jody Stephens’ contribution to the pop canon goes well beyond his beginnings in Big Star, helping to refine alt-country with Golden Smog and shaping the Ardent Records legacy well into the current era. Following the outpouring of love around the documentary, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, Jody reached out to his longtime friend, producer and songwriter Luther Russell to join him for some promotional appearances. A comfortability on stage became a kinship in the studio and eventually led to two albums as Those Pretty Wrongs. The comfort between the duo is key to what makes Those Pretty Wrongs work. Luther and Jody bounce ideas off of one another with the kind of natural symbiosis that most bands can only hope to achieve. They’ve internalized their past, their influences, their locales, and, most recently, the cultural weight of the past couple of years, creating what might be their most endearing set of songs yet. Holiday Camp finds Those Pretty Wrongs crafting a record that’s autumnal, searching for solace, and yet unsettled. The title is a nod to both wistful summers at bygone British institutions, the favored gig fodder for their ‘60s heroes, and the more sinister implications of Tommy’s Holiday Camp — communal, but with a cost. There’s a promise of hope in that turn of phrase, but there’s a slightly dark undercurrent peeking out behind the wallpaper.”
The Men That God Forgot
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Shaking off the plague days like a snake sheds its skin, Waco Brothers stumble out of the empty, burning desert with a fierce thirst and an epic new album: The Men That God Forgot. It’s the first collection of original Waco tunes since 2016’s Going Down In History and comes to you via their own label. Waco Brothers got together in Chicago in the mid-’90s; battle-weary punk musicians who wanted nothing more than to play classic country covers for free beer in their adopted home city. Their residencies at bars like the Wrigleyville Tap and Augenblick became legendary for the sheer volume, speed and energy they brought to this task. Every night is still Friday night for the band, but these new songs lace that reckless exuberance with a more sober awareness of the tsunami of cynical corruption & materialism that infects our everyday existence.”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “We had a joke in the studio,” says Nick Waterhouse. “Some of the guys were like, ‘Nick, you’re gonna end up at a press conference like Dylan in ’65: “Who’s The Fooler?” ‘I don’t know, man, maybe it’s you! Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m becoming The Fooler right now.’ ” The title of the sixth album from the Californian singer-songwriter is more than just the name of one of its dozen immaculate tracks. The Fooler is both a clue and a red herring. The Fooler is the observed and the observer, narrator and subject, truth and lie. The Fooler is the shadow and reflection of a city the artist knows sufficiently well to wander with his eyes closed, and a place which very possibly never even existed. The Fooler is not so much an unreliable narrator as a constantly shifting perspective. The Fooler is the new album by Nick Waterhouse, and it’s a lot. “Many of the stories in the record come from that feeling of plasticity,” says Waterhouse. “What is memory? What is time? What is love between two human beings like in this imaginary city? It’s Cubist. A listener sees the angles of my life — and inexorably, my career — reflected in this work from all sides at once. I started thinking again about my university days, about modernist writers like Virginia Woolf, Christopher Isherwood, Hart Crane or Ford Maddox Ford; about memory and how it betrays you; what you can see and what you can’t.” Recorded by Mark Neill in Georgia, the album is a song-cycle of sorts, the arc of the album telling a tale of a city and its denizens. “There’s a phase shift that occurred writing this record,” says Waterhouse. “I had a breakthrough in how to tell stories in songs. It’s like an epiphany. I started realizing how I could bend time in these words and a lot of the things that weave through the record. I have a perspective as a narrator now, instead of being the occupant of the songs.”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Different Game is the followup to the veteran psych-popsters’ 2015 studio release Still Got That Hunger. This album is what the current-day Zombies were meant to make. It has the vintage qualities that made them stand out in the 1960s, yet still sounds modern and reflects their continued development as songwriters and musicians. Nine of the 10 tracks are written by Rod Argent, with the closer, The Sun Will Rise Again, by Colin Blunstone. Rod produced the album, which includes a small string ensemble on three tracks. The band began working on this album in 2019, shortly after their Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction, but it was delayed by the pandemic — they strongly prefer to record together and capture a live band performance in the studio (just as they had to do in the 1960s). They were not willing to make this album remotely.”