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Next Week in Music | April 10-16 • The Short List: 10 Titles You Want to Hear

Metallica, Ann-Margaret and two Neil albums? That's what I call an interesting week.

Metallica, Feist, Natalie Merchant, Ann-Margaret and two new archival albums from Neil Young? Now that’s what I call an interesting week. Here’s the deal:


Born To Be Wild

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Born To Be Wild is the first album in more than a decade from consummate entertainer Ann-Margret. It’s a collection of brand-new recordings of her favorite rock ’n’ roll and pop gems from the ’50s through the ’70s, featuring an all-star group of friends and fans including The Who’s Pete Townshend, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, Paul Shaffer, Pat Boone, Mickey Gilley (on one of his final recordings), The Oak Ridge Boys, T.G. Sheppard, Stax guitarist Steve Cropper, Linda Gail Lewis, Robben Ford and many more. Featuring golden-era favorites like Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Son Of A Preacher Man, Volare and Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Ann-Margret remains at the top of her game (and still rides her purple Harley-Davidson) while possessing a voice that’s enchanting as ever. For Born To Be Wild, Ann-Margret teamed with producers Jürgen Engler (David Hasselhoff, Robby Krieger), Adam Hamilton (William Shatner, Missing Persons) and Danny B. Harvey (Nancy Sinatra, Wanda Jackson), as well as engineer Chris Lietz.”

Ben de la Cour
Sweet Anhedonia

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With songs that explore life’s murky corners and shadowy characters, Ben de la Cour‘s music occupies the intersection between gothic Americana and dark, gritty folk. It’s a sound fueled by the stories and struggles of its creator, a lifelong explorer who’s never been afraid to shine a light on his own demons. “Folk music has a long tradition of darkness,” he explains, “and darkness is something I know a lot about.” That darkness takes on new dimensions with his fifth record, Sweet Anhedonia, a gripping collection of Americana noir songwriting, heartland rockers, and folk ballads. He recorded the album with Jim White, a cult folksinger celebrated for his own Southern gothic sound. “Jim’s album Wrong-Eyed Jesus! helped me through a terrible time in my life,” says Ben. “I’ve always been such a big fan of his music. We worked together in Athens and Nashville, taking alternative approaches to my songs by building soundscapes and percussive patterns. The goal was to make an art record — something that was expansive but not bombastic.”

El Michels Affair & Black Thought
Glorious Game

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “When Leon Michels and El Michels Affair released their first record, Sounding Out The City, in 2005, it was hard to guess what was next for Michels and his then-introduced, now-patented “cinematic soul” sound. Now, four studio albums and scores of tribute and remix projects later — all while producing for some of the biggest names in the industry — Michels has trademarked his sound, with each project taking audiences somewhere new and pushing the boundaries of what he is known for. The man is a river, not a lake and this time he takes his golden touch into the realm of hip-hop laying down a musical bed for one of the greatest to ever rhyme into a microphone: Black Thought of The Roots crew. The LP is called Glorious Game and it is a remarkable debut partnership in more ways than one. Michels provides his bottom-heavy, soul-tinged production for Black Thought, who gives us some of the more personal and transparent verses we’ve ever heard from him.”


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Award-winning, hugely influential musician Feist returns with Multitudes, her sixth solo album and first since 2017’s Pleasure. Multitudes was produced by Feist with longtime collaborators Robbie Lackritz (Weather Station, Bahamas, Robbie Robertson) and Mocky (Jamie Lidell, Vulfpeck, Kelela), with additional production from Blake Mills (Bob Dylan, Fiona Apple, Perfume Genius). Multitudes took shape soon after the birth of her daughter and sudden death of her father, a back-to-back convergence of life-altering events that left the Canadian singer-songwriter with “nothing performative in me anymore.” As she cleansed her songwriting of any tendency to obscure unwanted truths, Feist slowly made her way toward a batch of songs rooted in a raw and potent realism which is touched with otherworldly beauty. “The last few years were such a period of confrontation for me, and perhaps it felt that way to some degree for everyone,” explains Feist. “We confronted ourselves as much as our relationships confronted us. It felt like our relational ecosystems were clearer than ever and so whatever was normally obscured — like a certain way of avoiding conflict or a certain way of talking around the subject — were thrust into an unavoidable light. It became a chance to find footing on more honest ground when the effort to maintain altitude actually took more effort than just handing ourselves over to the truth.”

Natalie Merchant
Keep Your Courage

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Keep Your Courage is Natalie Merchant’s 10th solo studio album and first of new material since 2014’s self-titled record. An eclectic album produced by Merchant, it features two duets sung with vocalist Abena Koomson-Davis, contributions from the Celtic folk group Lúnasa and Syrian virtuoso clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, and horn arrangements by jazz trombonist Steve Davis. There are lush orchestrations throughout by seven composers including: Gabriel Kahane, Stephen Barber, Colin Jacobson and Megan Gould. Keep Your Courage comprises nine original songs by Merchant as well as an interpretation of Hunting the Wren by Ian Lynch of the Irish band Lankum. Merchant writes in her album’s liner notes, “The songs contained within this album were written and recorded during the global pandemic that began in the winter of 2019 and is in its fifth wave as I write, in the autumn of 2022. It has been, and continues to be, a period of great flux and fear on every level: global, national, communal, familial, personal. But this is not an album about the coronavirus or the chaos it caused. For the most part, this is an album about the human heart. The word ‘courage’ has its root in the Latin word for heart, cor, and we see it over and over in many languages: le coeur, il cuore, o coração, el corazón. This is a song cycle that maps the journey of a courageous heart.”

72 Seasons

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Yes, you read that correctly … we have completed recording at HQ, and our 12th studio album is coming your way! It’s been six years since Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, so we think it’s about time for some new music. With 12 tracks totaling over 77 minutes, 72 Seasons was produced by Greg Fidelman, along with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. The album package was once again conceived and art directed by our good friend, acclaimed designer David Turner, and his team. David, who won a Grammy for his work on Death Magnetic, is the man behind the look and feel of all of our recent releases, including Through The Never, S&M2, and Hardwired. “Is there a special meaning to the title?” you ask. James explains it best: “72 seasons. The first 18 years of our lives that form our true or false selves. The concept that we were told ‘who we are’ by our parents. A possible pigeonholing around what kind of personality we are. I think the most interesting part of this is the continued study of those core beliefs and how it affects our perception of the world today. Much of our adult experience is re-enactment or reaction to these childhood experiences. Prisoners of childhood or breaking free of those bondages we carry.”

Miesha & The Spanks
Unconditional Love In Hi-Fi

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Calgary garage-rock duo Miesha & The Spanks are getting set to release their punk-fueled new album Unconditional Love In Hi-Fi. The album was recorded at the National Music Centre in Calgary under the capable ears of producers Daniel Farrant (The Buzzcocks) and Paul Rawson. Miesha Louie is a mixed-Secwépemc artist living in Treaty 7 Territory, and The Spanks are the many drummers who’ve stood beside her on stage. Sean Hamilton is her latest and longest musical partner, and they’ve spent the last 5 years building and embellishing their garage-rock sound into something almost too big for two people to contain. Deeply influenced by proto-punk classics like The Runaways, MC5, Stooges and ’90s riot grrrl/grunge like L7 and The Gits, Miesha & The Spanks conjure an energy that hits you in the face, throwing you into a world of killer riffs and sweaty gig venues. And it’s in those sweaty spaces that Miesha & The Spanks thrive, fresh off the highway, out of the van, and onto the stage.”

The Watchmen
Silent Radar Super Deluxe Anniversary Edition

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Canadian rock band The Watchmen celebrate the 25th anniversary of Silent Radar with 46 specially curated tracks recorded at a time when the band was arguably at their peak as a live band and songwriters. In addition to the mastered original album, the 2023 reissue is made up of live performances, acoustic tracks, and demo recordings that showcase the band’s versatility. Also included is the Raw and Unmixed version of Silent Radar that provides a glimpse into what this classic ’90s album sounded like before it was mixed. On the recording process, drummer Sammy Kohn notes, “We ended up recording the album with producer Adam Kasper, at the height of the grunge scene in Seattle. It was a very exciting time for the band and I’m very grateful that we had the opportunity to record this material so professionally.” The 2023 reissue cumulates with a collection of never-before-heard tracks dubbed, The Lost Album comprised of comprehensive demo recordings completed before the original album. “I believe these tracks represent the real treasure here,” says Kohn. “It’s an entirely different listening experience with these familiar songs and some absolute magic was captured in these tracks that fans of the band are going to love. They have never been heard as they have lived in our vaults for over 25 years.”

Neil Young & The Ducks
High Flyin’

Neil Young & The Santa Monica Flyers
Somewhere Under The Rainbow

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “This is the first official release by The Ducks — a short-lived group that Neil Young played with in 1977. The Ducks featured Neil (guitar, harmonica and vocals), Bob Mosely (bass and vocals), Jeff Blackburn (guitar and vocals) and Johnny Craviotto (drums). Mosely was an original member of Bay Area band Moby Grape; Blackburn had previously fronted his own band and co-wrote My My Hey Hey (Out of the Blue). The set lists were very democratic, with each member of the band taking the lead in turn. The Santa Monica Flyers (Neil Young, Nils Lofgren, Ben Keith, Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina) played London’s Rainbow Theatre on Nov. 5, 1973, with the first half of the concert dedicated to Young’s masterpiece album Tonight’s The Night. The intense concert was recorded by Pete Long, and includes riveting versions of those tracks, plus Young classics Cowgirl In The Sand, Don’t Be Denied and Flying On The Ground Is Wrong.”