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Next Week in Music | April 24-30 • The Short List: 16 Titles You Want to Hear

The National, Rickie Lee Jones, The Damned, Taj Mahal & the rest of the best.


The National and Country Westerns, Rickie Lee Jones and Rush, a Sex Pistol and Elephant Rifle, Hawkwind and Silver Moth, The Damned and Del Barber — and more where they came from. It’s gonna be a busy week. Listen up and read on:


Les Abranis
Amazigh Freedom Rock 1973-1983

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Abranis were a pioneering Algerian band that blended traditional Berber music with western rock, folk, disco, and funk, all the while proudly celebrating their Kabyle heritage and taking the Maghrebi music scene by storm, from Algeria to France, the latter becoming a new creative center for the Kabyle diaspora. Amazigh Freedom Rock 1973-1983 is a comprehensive look into their discography, from the garage-rock experimentations of their early days to their lushly orchestrated North African fusion masterpieces of the 1980s. Many of the tracks on the compilation are taken from their 1983 album N1, the zenith of Abranis’ endeavour to create modern Algerian music infused with the sounds of the world. Over 11 electrifying tracks, Amazigh Freedom Rock 1973-1983 highlights their legacy as the underground kings of Kabyle rock.”

Del Barber

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “When Del Barber set to writing the 12 songs that comprise his eighth album, he adhered more than ever to a prairie aesthetic. The record follows Barber’s acclaimed 2021 album Stray Dogs: Collected B-Sides Vol. 1, made during the height of pandemic restrictions. Stray Dogs brought Barber to the end of one season; Almanac doggedly led him into the next. “I want my work to be seen as subtle by definition,” Barber says. “I want my statements to come across as questions rather than decrees or opinions. Some of the songs are descriptions of my world through my own eyes, a way of songwriting I’ve never felt I’ve done well until now. Writing Almanac felt like I had another chance. It felt like spring.” After writing Almanac on his farm 400 kilometers northwest of Winnipeg, where he lives with his wife and two children, the three-time Juno nominee took his road band into the city. The album was recorded at No Fun Club in the space of a week with co-producers Grant Siemens and Scott Franchuk. Barber says that he wanted the atmosphere in the studio to be spontaneous and collaborative, traits that definitely shine through on Almanac’s lively, unpolished sound. “It was a really beautiful session,” he says. “There were no grand intentions, just an aim to get good friends and players together and record a pile of my songs. Going into this session I really wanted to enjoy the process, not think too hard, and just keep it simple and honest. I had a group of great songs and I really didn’t want to stand in their way.”

Country Westerns
Forgive The City

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Country Westerns are a three-piece band with a two-man engine: Joseph Plunket is an Atlanta hardcore kid-turned-singer-songwriter whose first solo gig was opening for Cat Power. He went on to lead Brooklyn alt-country legends The Weight during the height of N.Y.C.’s mid-00’s garage rock bonanza and played bass on the side for King Tuff and Gentleman Jesse. Brian Kotzur is a swaggery metronome who drummed for Silver Jews and was a close collaborator of David Berman. The band’s first fan and an early champion of theirs, Berman would lurk in the back of dingy Nashville clubs and film their early shows on a flip phone. Marking the band’s second full-length release for Fat Possum, this barn-burning collection is also their second to be helmed by famed producer Matt Sweeney (who even contributes his lead guitar stylings to a few tracks).”

The Damned

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “More than 45 years after releasing the ground-breaking debut Damned Damned Damned, The Damned return with Darkadelic, their 12th studio album. The album, from the band that launched punk and invented goth, once again innovating and expanding upon their unique universe. The Invisible Man track is a showcase for Captain Sensible’s riffadelic guitarwork and David Vanian’s snarling baritone vocals. Darkadelic barrels along from there and features some of The Damned’s sharpest song writing and genre-bending performances reaching peaks with other tracks such as You’re Gonna Realise and Beware Of The Clowns, drenched in classic horror movie references, nods to swinging ’60s London, and a refined palette of musical influences. The Damned will indeed paint the world Darkadelic in 2023.”

Elephant Rifle
Broken Water

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Elephant Rifle are a band from Reno. They have been toiling in relative obscurity since 2010. Their music draws from ’90s noise rock, ’80s hardcore punk, and ’70s classic rock, with some metal, jazz, and psychedelia, among other things, thrown in as well. They are middle-aged men who have, among them, fathered more than enough children to field a baseball team. Broken Water, the band’s forthcoming new record, is their fourth LP and their first full-length album in five years. It’s a new lineup of familiar faces. Vocalist and unemployed music journalist Brad Bynum, and guitarist and Grateful Dead/Minor Threat enthusiast Clinton Wallace are joined for this record by heavy-hitting drummer and golden-eared sound engineer Mike Young, and, back from some long Orphic journey into the underworld, bassist Scaught Bates, who once came in second place in a “most handsome man in Reno” contest. Scaught played on most of the band’s early releases, like the 2011 EP Teenage Lover and the 2012 debut full-length Party Child. And Mike was a big part of the band’s 2018 opus Hunk.”

Great Lake Swimmers
Uncertain Country

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Doubt, followed by discovery. Demos that ended up as finished tracks. New beginnings, rear-view reflections, and ruminations on the fluidity of time: Uncertain Country captures these feelings and so much more. This celebration, 11-songs long, follows a prolonged period of collective anxiety. Though recorded in different locales — and with a variety of musicians — a theme of questioning runs throughout. Even before the world turned upside down, singer-songwriter Tony Dekker felt mired in uncertainty: From the climate crisis and the ever-changing political landscape to deep shifts within the music industry. The “uncertain country” Dekker chose as the album’s theme is not a specific place. Rather, it’s a territory we, as humans, inhabit in the 21st century — a world that, more often than not, is confusing, unfamiliar and unsettling. Twenty years since the first self-titled release, Uncertain Country shows a songwriter at the top of his craft with so much more to say. In a time of uncertainty, one thing is certain: Great Lake Swimmers’ first collection of new songs in five years is worth the wait.”

The Future Never Waits

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Future Never Waits follows Hawkwind’s critically acclaimed 2021 album Somnia and 2022 double live album We Are Looking In On You. The band’s 35th studio album is an outstanding progression to their varied and celebrated catalogue. Opening track The Future Never Waits delivers a 10-minute instrumental-led space-age march, before progressing into the guitar-driven followup The End, featuring Dave Brock’s trademark vocals and chugging machine-gun riffs. Innovative additions to the Hawkwind canon such as Aldous Huxley and They Are So Easily Distracted introduce a gradual, almost lounge-like quality, with deliberate piano, audio samples and saxophones lamenting over a futuristic backdrop and roaming guitar solos. Other tracks like Rama (The Prophecy) and I’m Learning To Live Today sit tightly in the Hawkwind groove, providing old and new fans alike with the intense and concentrated fusion of musical styles they’ve come to expect and celebrate.”

Rickie Lee Jones
Pieces Of Treasure

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Pieces of Treasure, Rickie Lee Jones’ newest album, has been a long time coming. In a career that has spanned more than four decades, the renowned singer songwriter has interpreted an extraordinarily wide range of songs from writers and artists she loves, often collected on the same album — showtunes, blues, folk, rock (David Bowie publicly praised her take on Rebel Rebel). She has released the celebrated jazz-leaning albums Girl At Her Volcano and Pop Pop, but until now, she had never devoted an entire album to the American Songbook. Pieces of Treasure — the title a callback to Jones’ seminal album Pirates — is a reunion with legendary producer Russ Titelman, who co-produced her star-making, self-titled 1980 debut and the followup Pirates. Titelman had followed Jones’ career over the many years since they’d last collaborated, faithfully going to hear her play whenever she came through New York City. They recently started having phone conversations and then meeting up for lunch; each time Titleman would tell her the same thing: “We’re going to make a jazz record. We’re going to make a jazz record.”

Taj Mahal

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Taj Mahal explores a jazzy new direction in his musical journey on his ground-breaking new album Savoy. Mahal can rightfully be called a living legend for his contributions to popular music. With a voice as instantly recognizable as Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles or Johnny Cash, throughout his career he has pushed the envelope of American roots music forward by incorporating sounds from the Caribbean, Africa, traditional blues and jazz. He has won three Grammy Awards from 14 nominations, was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame, and presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association. With Savoy, Mahal explores a collection of blues-tinged classic material with his good friend and acclaimed record producer John Simon, whose resume includes producing classic albums by The Band, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot and Blood, Sweat & Tears.”

Glen Matlock
Consequences Coming

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sex Pistols bassist and Rock Hall Of Fame inductee Glen Matlock has crafted a timely and politically pertinent new rock album that’s perfectly in tune with the chaos of our times. Backed up by a collection of legendary players, (in)famous cohorts, and rock royalty including the likes of Earl Slick and Clem Burke; Glen Matlock has never sounded better. And his new solo album ConsequencesComing proves once again that he is undeniably one of the greatest songwriters of his (or any) generation. Of the album Matlock says, “The album was written and recorded in Britain over the last 18 months or so with a posse of seasoned but en point performers.” says Matlock. “All done during the debacle that is Brexit and the rise and fall of the turgid Trump episode in the US. These songs reflect my take on the whole sorry mess that has ensued. The tunes are pretty catchy too…”

The National
First Two Pages Of Frankenstein

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The National’s ninth studio album, First Two Pages of Frankenstein, is anchored by evocative melodies and an enthralling lyrical narrative. Opening a new chapter in the band’s beloved discography, the 11-song album was produced by The National at Long Pond Studios in upstate New York and features guest appearances by Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers and Sufjan Stevens. After two back-to-back albums and several busy years of touring, First Two Pages of Frankenstein was initially stalled while lead singer Matt Berninger navigated, “a very dark spot where I couldn’t come up with lyrics or melodies at all … Even though we’d always been anxious whenever we were working on a record, this was the first time it ever felt like maybe things really had come to an end.” Instead, The National “managed to come back together and approach everything from a different angle, and because of that we arrived at what feels like a new era for the band,” according to guitarist/pianist Bryce Dessner, whose bandmates also include his brother Aaron (guitar/piano/bass) as well as brothers Scott Devendorf (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums).”

Signals 40th Anniversary Edition

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Rush continue their comprehensive 40th anniversary album series with new editions of the band’s decade-defining 1982 release Signals, an album that signified how the band was in no way detached and subdivided from the ever-shifting 1980s musical landscape. Rush’s ninth studio album was originally released in September 1982, and its technology-embracing riffs and rhythms, continued the forward-thinking trajectory of the acclaimed Canadian trio as it continued to chart the demands of a new decade. The album’s eight songs built upon Rush’s penchant for adapting to the flow of the times without compromising its flair for melding long-established progressive roots with radio-friendly song arrangements.”

Silver Moth
Black Bay

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “A leap of faith reaps extraordinary rewards on Black Bay, an album of depth, atmosphere and daring from the collective known as Silver Moth. Recorded under unusual circumstances, Black Bay is the sound of seven storied musicians yielding to shared goals, a policy of trust in action. Between hushed incantations and molten guitars, 15-minute noise-rock epics and healing psalms, the record is a testament to connectivity and receptivity: to a union of disparate minds committing to something greater than the sum of its parts. Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai, Elisabeth Elektra, Evi Vine, Steven Hill, members of Abrasive Trees, Burning House and Prosthetic Head convened to improvise the album in early 2021, inspired by a Twitter exchange between Abrasive Trees guitarist and songwriter Matthew Rochford, musician Elisabeth Elektra and fellow artist Nick Hudson about the Isle of Lewis. A couple of Zoom meetings would subsequently lead to Rochford, Elektra, Vine, Braithwaite, Hill, drummer Ash Babb and cellist Ben Roberts visiting the dramatic location of Black Bay Studios on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, where they tracked the songs in just four days: A testament to the musicians’ focused openness to their shared mission and environment.”

Stephen Stills
Live At Berkeley 1971

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In 1971 Stephen Stills embarked on a U.S. tour, opening each show with an intimate acoustic first set, and closing each night with a riveting electric set featuring the Memphis Horns. These historic, previously unreleased recordings took place over two nights at the Berkeley Community Theater, with David Crosby joining him on vocals and guitar for You Don’t Have To Cry and The Lee Shore. These recordings find Stills at peak performance in both vocal delivery and musicianship, effortlessly incorporating alternate instrumentation on his instantly recognizable tracks, including a seamless medley of 49 Bye Byes and For What It’s Worth unexpectedly played on piano. Hand-picked by Stills from his personal archives, this album captures timeless and era defining performances. Backed by a loyal cast of friends, including his usual steady rhythm section — drummer Dallas Taylor and bassist Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels — along with keyboardist Paul Harris, guitarist Steve Fromholz, and percussionist Joe Lala, these Northern California shows were one of the most unique and intimate stops on the tour.”

Wrong Dream

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “For all the chaos and aggression in Tunic’s songs, the Winnipeg trio are haltingly perceptive and emotionally resonant. Composed of singer-guitarist David Schellenberg and drummer Dan Unger, the punk band are responsible for bracingly intense full-lengths about the anxieties and insecurities of daily life, including the 2021 LPs Quitter and Exhaling. But with their third album Wrong Dream, they’ve written their most introspective and adventurous music yet. Across nine unpredictable songs, they grapple with integrity, grief, tumultuous relationships, and universal questions that come with trying to do the right thing. Co-produced by Seth Manchester (The Body, METZ) and stand-in bassist Drew Riekman (Blessed), it’s a document of a band pushing themselves as far away from complacency as possible to make something intentional and compelling.”

Andrina Turenne
Bold As Logs

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Calling Andrina Turenne’s new album Bold As Logs her debut feels like a bit of a misnomer. The Winnipeg singer-songwriter has, after all, graced stages across five continents and has lent her voice — as a member or a guest — to more than 50 albums during her 20-plus years in the music industry. In addition, she has a Juno for Best Roots & Traditional Album, awarded to her former band Chic Gamine. Bold As Logs contains 11 soulfully engaging songs in French and English, delivered in the spirit of road trips, kitchen parties, and bonfire gatherings. Andrina may have taken her time to move front and centre, but her time is now — and it was worth the wait. As might be expected, some of the songs have been gestating for many years, although some sprung from more recent ideas captured as home demos and voice memos. Andrina whittled them down to 14, which she sent to producer Grant Siemens (Corb Lund), and along with Andrina’s longtime musical partner Damon Mitchell (The New Meanies), they worked together as a trio to bring the album’s final cuts to life.”

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