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Next Week in Music | Aug. 21-27 • The Short List: 12 Titles You Want to Hear

f you're in the market for some new sounds, you're barking up the right tree.


Alice and Marvin. Buck and Cindy. A grandaddy and a messenger. A branch and some islands. A dog and your pet. If you’re in the market for some new sounds, you’re barking up the right tree. Here are your plays of the week:


A Giant Dog

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In contrast to what fans have grown to expect from rough-and-rowdy Austin glam-punk quintet A Giant Dog, Bite is an intricately constructed concept album, a dense tale about its protagonist’s ultimately tragic days in a “virtual utopia” called Avalonia. New sounds and textures abound, including, most notably, sumptuous string arrangements. Fans eager to learn more about the narrative and its many themes — among them gender dysphoria and the inherent dangers of virtual reality — need not fear, because the band has completed a full-fledged screenplay to support it. “Within our previous albums, the subject matter, the lyrics are all very personal, based on our experiences — self-centered, even,” vocalist Sabrina Ellis explains. “In making this conceptual album, we had to find ourselves within, or project ourselves into, the principal characters. We developed them, got to know their minds, emotions, and motivations, and then expressed those in nine songs. The songs aren’t demonstrative as in musical theater. Instead, the songs are heated moments, internal expressions that stand on their own.”

The Armed
Perfect Saviors

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Armed return with their new album Perfect Saviors, the first new music since 2021 breakout release Ultrapop. Providing a full accounting of album contributors for the first time, Perfect Saviors was produced by the band’s Tony Wolski along with Ben Chisholm and Troy Van Leeuwen, with contributions from Julien Baker, Sarah Tudzin, Mark Guiliana, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Eric Avery, Stephen Perkins, Josh Klinghoffer, and many more. The album was mixed by Alan Moulder. Vocalist Tony Wolski offered this statement on the album: “Too much information has made us dumb and confused. Too many ways to connect have inadvertently led to isolation. And too much expectation has forced everyone to become a celebrity. Predictable primal dangers have given way to newer social ones. And the result is a world that is confounding and terrifying but ultimately still beautiful. We hope this record is exactly all of that, too. Perfect Saviors is our completely unironic, sincere effort to create the biggest, greatest rock album of the 21st century.”

Be Your Own Pet

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Nashville’s Be Your Own Pet made a triumphant return to both the stage and airwaves this past year after nearly 15 years apart. Following a whirlwind two-year career in the late ’00s that saw the four teenagers release two records (via Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace in the U.S. and XL Recordings in the U.K.), become magazine cover stars, and play to ravenous sold-out crowds around the world, it became clear that the flame burned too quickly and they needed to call it quits. Now, a decade and a half later, the band haven’t skipped a beat. Their long-awaited new album Mommy was written and recorded by the three founding members Jemina Pearl Abegg (vocals), Jonas Stein (guitar), Nathan Vasquez (bass), and longtime drummer John Eatherly. “For better or worse, we all were slapped in the face that it wasn’t as easy on our own,” Stein says of their hiatus. “We were all moderately successful, but nobody found that Be Your Own Pet chemistry.”

jaimie branch
Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war))

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:jaimie never had small ideas. She always thought big. The minute you told her she couldn’t do something, or that something would be too difficult to accomplish, the more determined and focused she became. And this album is big. Far bigger and more demanding than any other Fly or Die record. For this, jaimie wanted to play with longer forms, more modulations, more noise, more singing, and as always, grooves and melodies. She was a dynamic melodicist. jaimie wanted this album to be lush, grand and full of life, just as she was. Every time we take a listen, we feel the deep imprint of her all over the music, and we see all of us making it together. Which is what she wanted, of course. You see, for jaimie, the process was always as important as the art itself. The environment in which the music would be performed was always as important as the art itself. And the relationships — not only with the space, but also the crowd, and most of all between the four of us — was always as important if not more important than the art itself.”

Alice Cooper

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Produced by longtime collaborator Bob Ezrin, Road was written, composed and recorded with Alice Cooper’s trusted, longtime bandmates – Ryan Roxie (guitar), Chuck Garric (bass), Tommy Henrikson (guitar), Glen Sobel (drums) and Nita Strauss (guitar). Road channels the spirit of old school Alice with instantly recognizable grit and plenty of gusto. It’s everything you’d hope for from him and more. “For Road, I wanted the band to be involved in the foundation of all the songs,” says Alice. “I only see these guys when we’re on the road. So, I wanted them to be as tight as they are for the show but on all-new material. When you have a band this good, I believe in showing it off, and this is my way of doing so.”

Marvin Gaye
Let’s Get It On Deluxe

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “This revised and expanded edition of the iconic Marvin Gaye album Let’s Get It On is being released three days before the album’s 50th anniversary. Featuring a fascinating trove of 33 bonus tracks — 18 of them previously unreleased — the prince of soul’s creative explorations continued to unfold with the production of this pivotal release. Collectively, the bonus material leans into the story of Gaye’s multi-layered personal struggles during the album’s creation. Comprised of tracks recorded during an intense six months of sessions in Los Angeles in ’73, this newly enriched edition presents the album’s original eight songs alongside unheard mixes and material from all the sessions along the way, in addition to a trove of funky and fascinating instrumental tracks — and unreleased versions of the ballad recordings Marvin returned to time and again. Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004, Let’s Get It On represents a pivotal moment not only in the career of Gaye but in the evolution of soul music. Gaye gave voice to intimate desire in a way that was lightning charged. At the time, he claimed it was spiritually guided. Fifty years on, it’s never been more apparent that he was telling the truth.”

Sumday: Excess Baggage

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Modesto’s influential indie-rock group Grandaddy have announced a special digital release of the Sumday: Excess Baggage, a 13-track collection of rarities and B-sides from the Sumday-era that unfolds like a lost Grandaddy album. Leader Jason Lytle said, “I like making songs like this. Lots of bleak but sweet visuals. Everyday stuff available for everyone to see…but some of us just end up with the twisted work of documenting it.” In May, Grandaddy announced Sumday Twunny, a box set arrving Sept. 1 that will includes the remastered original album, a complete four-track demo version titled Sumday: The Cassette Demos, and Sumday: Excess Baggage. “After many years of hammering away at writing and recording as Grandaddy, Sumday seems to be the center of it and where it all peaked,” Lytle says. “To the journalists we were, ‘On the verge of greatness, underrated, overlooked, unsung.’ It was a tumultuous and exciting time for us for sure. Also very exhausting.”

Hiss Golden Messenger
Jump For Joy

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Jump For Joy, the new record from Hiss Golden Messenger, finds songwriter M.C. Taylor facing the unknown. “I knew that I wanted this record to be full of joy,” he says, “because if we’re standing at some kind of finish line of human civilization — and I’m not saying that we are, but some days it sure feels that way — then I want to go out dancing. That’s what I wanted Jump For Joy to feel like: Dancing at the end of time. Laughing in the face of catastrophe. Jump For Joy finds Taylor, guitarist Chris Boerner, bassist Alex Bingham, drummer Nick Falk, and keys player Sam Fribush in high spirits. Hiss decamped to Sonic Ranch, 40 miles outside of El Paso, Texas, where they lived and recorded for two weeks, playing Frisbee or riding the studio four-wheeler when they weren’t in the studio. The result is an album that feels big and fresh, no less personal but consciously uplifting, like being in a room full of long-separated friends sharing stories and good news after a long struggle.”

And That’s Why Dolphins Lost Their Legs

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “If Islands’ last record, 2021’s Islomania, was a Saturday Night Fever dream, then the followup And That’s Why Dolphins Lost Their Legs is the Sunday morning comedown. Taking a giant leap forward, replete with addictive hooks at every turn, Dolphins (the ninth in the catalogue), stands out as the strongest and most articulate Islands record yet. Nick Thorburn and band manage to slyly tap into both the pain and the joy of living, often simultaneously, while stripping the music down to its simplest element: a strange sample rubbing up against a bouncing bassline, a snappy kick and snare firing off against a persistent, hooky guitar line. Though refined and deliberate, the music has a certain playfulness that Thorburn hasn’t tapped into in quite some time. The record is a notable departure from previous outings, but the DNA of Thorburn’s early work, namely his first band The Unicorns, can be heard clearly.”

Buck Meek
Haunted Mountain

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Following his beloved 2021 album, Two Saviors, Haunted Mountain marks Buck Meek’s third solo album and first for his new label. Haunted Mountain is about love and… something other. Something bigger than love, something that doesn’t challenge love exactly but stands in contrast to it. A soulfulness, or a soul-seeking fullness. Meek says that love songs are the hardest to write. “Not breakup songs, but an actual love song written in earnest? That is taboo now,” he says. “Sometimes it can feel like all the great love songs have already been written.” On Haunted Mountain, love often assumes a natural form — crystal ball dew-drops, green rivers and grasses, tears bottled. Sometimes it becomes artificial — mood rings, earrings, a pair of jeans, motorcycles and spacecraft. Love is a consciousness here, interacting with the lovers, greeting them, watching them sometimes, becoming them sometimes. It extends beyond romance, examining the inexhaustible bond between mother and sun, and asks — is love a form of magic? “When you are in love, it inhabits your environment, animates the inanimate, charging everything around you with a sense of meaning,” he says, “and not just new love; also love of many years.”

Cindy Wilson

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Cindy Wilson has always been on the forefront of music’s cutting-edge: As a founding member of The B-52’s, she was a pioneer of the New Wave sound that redefined music in the 1970s and ’80s. Cindy is known for her distinctly melodic voice and her remarkable ability to deliver powerful emotions in her music. Her work continues to influence alternative and mainstream cultures around the globe — and she’s still making new waves of her own with her second solo record Realms. Marrying her instantly recognizable vocals with a backdrop of dreamy, ambient, and dance-friendly music, Wilson has made a fresh name for herself that extends beyond her band’s legacy, establishing herself as a singular force in her own right. Nowhere is this more readily apparent than on Realms, Wilson’s spirited sophomore studio album and her most ambitious effort to date. Once again working with Suny Lyons (with Sterling Campbell contributing drums and Maria Kindt on strings), Wilson invites her audience on an immersive, enchanting 10-track journey that peels back the layers of our common humanity.”

Wreckless Eric

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Wreckless Eric needs little introduction — he wrote and recorded the classic Whole Wide World and had a hit with it back in 1977. Since then it’s been a hit for countless other artists. His three most recent albums amERICa, Construction Time & Demolition and Transience are widely praised as his best work. His albums encapsulate pop, bubblegum, garage trash and psychedelia — lyrical and sonic journeys, pop explosions, epic voyages, Polaroid snapshots. This new album, Leisureland, marks a return to his more ramshackle world of recording — guitars and temperamentally unpredictable analogue keyboards, beat-boxes and loops in conjunction with a real drummer, Sam Shepherd, who he met in a local coffee shop in Catskill, N.Y. He was delighted to find that Sam lived around the corner and could easily drop by to put drums on newly recorded tracks. The recording methodology may have been Contemporary American but the subject matter is almost entirely British. It also contains more instrumentals than any of his previous albums.”

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