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Next Week in Music | Aug. 28 – Sept. 3 • The Short List: 10 Titles You Want to Hear

Chrissie & Pretenders, Buddy & Julie, Frankie & the Fingers & the rest of the best.

Sorry to bear bad tidings, but I shit thee not: Friday really is Sept. 1. Another summer down the tubes. I hope you have more to show for it than I do. On the plus side: September begins with new albums from The Pretenders, Buddy and Julie Miller, Frankie & The Witch Fingers, some intriguing supergroups and more. So it could be worse. Here are your plays of the week:


Empire State Bastard
Rivers Of Heresy

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “A decade ago, Simon Neil and Mike Vennart would be found sitting on the back of the Biffy Clyro tour bus sharing the most extreme, confrontational or just downright twisted music they could find. Simon had always had the name Empire State Bastard lurking in the back of his mind if he ever formed a sickeningly heavy band, leaving Mike with the challenge of writing music that could live up to that moniker. Now the results are ready to be unleashed with the news that Empire State Bastard will release their debut album Rivers of Heresy. Sprawling across the alt-metal landscape, the record’s songs hit like a full-throttle collab between Siege and Slayer, toy between mathy chaos and grindcore ferocity or lurch with slow-motion stoner-rock menace. It’s a sound which calls for an exemplary drummer, so they called upon the best: Dave Lombardo of Slayer, Testament, Dead Cross and more.”


Frankie & The Witch Fingers
Data Doom

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “There’s long been a growl festering in the West, an earthen rumble fed by tectonic tension, acrid smoke, and sun-parched air. The brew has boiled over lately, a pressure-cooked chaos that can no longer be contained. The growl has grown to a howl.. the howl is at the door. Few are as ready to meet the madness head on as Frankie And The Witch Fingers. On Data Doom, the band hurtles the listener head first into the wood-chipper of technological dystopia, systemic rot, creeping fascism, the military-industrial profit mill, and a near-constant erosion of humanity that peels away the soul bit by bit. With a fuse lit by these modern-day monstrosities the band seeks to find salvation through a thousand watt wake-up of rock ’n’ roll exfoliation.”

Ghost Of Vroom
Ghost Of Vroom 3

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On their third album, Ghost Of Vroom — the acclaimed trio of singer-songwriter Mike Doughty (Soul Coughing), bassist Andrew “Scrap” Livingston, and drummer Madden Klass — have collected a dozen new tracks built upon hard-hitting drums, eclectic hooks, and Doughty’s signature brand of lyrically dexterous art-pop. “It’s a dream, and a groove, and its language is an object,” writes award-winning author Rick Moody in an exclusive essay accompanying Ghost Of Vroom 3, “one that leads beyond where Doughty started, into a life of greater improvisation, the aleatory, the migratory, the dilatory, hand signals, dropping in and dropping out the kid goes for broke, and here makes one of the great records of his life, a thing of its time, a thing of another time, a thing that makes dreams out of time, and a thing of great beauty, and, let it be said, acceleration, here it is the third of three, like hypothesis, antithesis, synthesis, Ghost Of Vroom 3.”

Human Reaction

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Mssv are releasing their second studio album Human Reaction in their typical style: With a 58-show tour in the U.S. and parts of Canada. The band, composed of guitarist Mike Baggetta, Stephen Hodges on drums and Mike Watt on bass, create music that is a heretofore unimagined hybrid of a punk power-trio and a dreamy experimental rock band, though they prefer the term “post-genre.” Their latest full-length album finds the oddly memorable hooks of their noir-tinged adventure music with a lot more vocals from the Main Steam Stop Valve leader Baggetta, adding more personality than ever before, alongside his bandmates, Hodges and Watt, who also share in the vocal duties throughout the album. Human Reaction traverses a deeply broad sonic landscape, as expected from this nearly unclassifiable group, though with even deeper twists and turns.”

The Natvral
Summer Of No Light

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Natvral (Kip Berman, former frontperson of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) returns with his second solo album Summer of No Light. A spirited, beautifully observed collection of rough and ready songcraft, the album finds Berman eyeing the past while dealing with an inescapable present. In 2020, in the early stages of lockdown, Berman began writing songs that reflected on a world that had seemingly ended — while contending with the needs of his young family seeking solace in the familiar. “Initially, a lot of the songs were about getting as far away from the reality of my moment as possible.” While he initially sought escape from the isolation in which he found himself, soon the solace of home and family life began to seep its way into the music “The routines of domesticity were often unwelcome, and always exhausting — but probably mentally helpful. I was isolated, but not alone.”

The Pretenders

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Pretenders’ 14th studio album Relentless is a clearly defined snapshot of where the band are in 2023. Speaking about the album title, Chrissie Hynde says: “I enjoy seeing the various meanings and origins of a word. And I liked the definition: ‘showing no abatement of intensity.’ It’s the life of the artist. You never retire. You become relentless.” Relentless is the second consecutive Pretenders album to be written as a collaboration between Hynde and the band’s resident guitar hero, James Walbourne. Especially sought after in his own right, he has recorded with Dave Gahan, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Rails, among many more. “We had developed this method of working remotely and it seemed like we just kept on doing it for this album,” Hynde says.“ This is something that we’ve honed down to an art in the last few years. He always comes up with something I wouldn’t have thought of myself and I love surprises.”

Jeff Rosenstock

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Jeff Rosenstock makes increasingly chaotic albums for an increasingly chaotic world. With each passing year, it feels like the temperature of the universe boils 5° hotter, and with each new album, Rosenstock’s music grows more unwieldy and lawless. Louder, faster, more feral. Which brings us to 2023 — a planet on fire, a mere 90 seconds to midnight on the doomsday clock, and the release of Rosenstock’s appropriately titled, anarchic record, Hellmode. “To me, the album feels like the chaos of being alive right now,” Rosenstock says. “We’re experiencing all these things at the same time that trigger our senses, and emotions that make us feel terrible. We’re just feeling way too much all at once!” But for all its textured turmoil, there are also surprising glimpses of clarity and grace to be found in Hellmode, when Rosenstock deliberately slows things down in places that are prettier and more delicate, rare moments of shelter in the storm. Which only makes it more rewarding when these moments unexpectedly unravel and spiral back into extreme, manic chaos, like abruptly being flung into a Nintendo game on level 99.”

Speedy Ortiz
Rabbit Rabbit

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Rabbit rabbit is a superstitious incantation repeated on the first of each month to bring good fortune — a belief practised by Sadie Dupuis, the guitarist, singer and songwriter of the Philadelphia rock quartet Speedy Ortiz. As a child with OCD, she followed arbitrary rituals, a coping mechanism commonly triggered by early trauma, and “rabbit rabbit” was one that stuck. When Dupuis began to parse difficult memories for the first time in her songwriting, it felt like kismet to name her band’s resultant fourth record after an expression of luck and repetition: Rabbit Rabbit. Instead of re-treading old routines, the record finds Speedy Ortiz interrogating conventions, grappling with cycles of violence and destructive power dynamics with singular wit and riffs. Rabbit Rabbit finds Speedy Ortiz at its most potent: melodically fierce, sonically mountainous, scorching the earth and beginning anew.”

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Odeon Budokan

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “There are certain albums in the extensive Neil Young archives that take on a unique life of their own. Maybe it’s their rarity, or a galvanizing reputation that sets them apart. One of the most anticipated releases in this ongoing musical march is the live collection Odeon Budokan, recorded with Crazy Horse in 1976 at two show almost a world apart at overseas venues: Hammersmith Odeon in London and Nippon Budokan Hall In Tokyo. The 10-track album includes an electrifying range of songs, from well-known classics to true surprises. Tracks on Side 1 were recorded in London March 31, 1976, and feature Young’s solo set on guitar and piano from the first half of the concert. Side 2 tracks were recorded two weeks earlier on March 11, 1976, with Young and Crazy Horse at an early electric apex. This is the first official vinyl release of Odeon Budokan. It has only been available on CD as part of Neil Young’s Archives Volume II box set.”