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Next Week in Music | Sept. 4-10 • The Short List: 16 Titles You Want to Hear

Something tells me I'm in for a long fall (in more ways than one).

We’re comin’ in hot! September has barely begun and the fall releases are already arriving in droves. Next week brings must-hear offerings from Allison Russell, Low Cut Connie, Royal Blood, Ariel Posen, Chemical Brothers, Sparklehorse and two, count ’em two albums from The Coral — along with plenty more where they came from. And on top of these sweet 16, I could easily have added a dozen more titles to this list. Something tells me I’m in for a long fall (in more ways than one). Here are your plays of the week:


Blind Boys of Alabama
Echoes of the South

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Echoes Of The South finds the Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductees coming home to honour those they’ve lost — and deliver a bold declaration of how far they still plan to go. The 11-song collection is a portrait of perseverance from a group well-versed in overcoming incredible odds — from singing for pocket change in the Jim Crow South, to performing for three different American presidents, soundtracking the Civil Rights movement and helping define modern gospel music as we know it. Recently, the group’s decades-long mission of spreading light and love has taken on even deeper context, as they’ve reckoned with the loss of two of their own, Paul Beasley and Benjamin Moore, both longtime members of the Blind Boys’ tight-knit family. Echoes Of The South is released in their honour — as well as for the group’s recently retired leader Jimmy Carter — and keeps the Blind Boys’ long-held mission statement at its core: “As long as everybody gives all that they have to give and we sing songs that touch the heart, we’ll live on forever.”

The Chemical Brothers
For That Beautiful Feeling

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The title of The Chemical Brothers’ 10th studio album For That Beautiful Feeling sums it up perfectly. Recorded in the band’s own studio just near the south coast, this is a record that hunts for and captures that that wild moment when sound overwhelms you and almost pulls you under yet ultimately lets you ride its wave, to destinations unknown. It’s a record that pinpoints the exact moment you lose all control, where you surrender and let the music move you as if pulled by an invisible thread. Each track on For That Beautiful Feeling was born out of a desire to find that point of vision in the studio, a point that could then be refracted back onto the dancefloor through the music. As a result, it’s a collection of music that’s vividly colourful and confident and deeply psychedelic; impossible beauty carved from noise and chaos and endless fluid rhythm.”

The Coral
Sea Of Mirrors + Holy Joe’s Coral Island Medicine Show

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sea Of Mirrors is The Coral in full conceptual mondo-movie mode. Combining their love of ’60s and ’70s Western cinema, baroque pop, Love, Scott Walker, Sergio Leone, Lee Hazelwood and Ennio Morricone, it features string arrangements by the High LlamasSean O’Hagan and a cameo from Cillian Murphy. It is the natural, sprawling successor to 2021’s Coral Island and you will hear nothing like it in 2023.
Bridging Coral Island and Sea Of Mirrors, a second album titled Holy Joe’s Coral Island Medicine Show James and Ian Skelly’s grandad — aka The Great Muriarty — back into the fold for the narrated postscript to one of The Coral’s most successful albums to date.
Holy Joe’s Coral Island Medicine Show is the show that brings you sounds from the other side all through the night. We’ll be playing murder ballads and death-ditties, love songs and eulogies, songs about drifters, grifters, hobos and killers. If Coral Island was a box-office hit in 2022, then Holy Joe’s Coral Island Medicine Show is its low-budget little brother, written in a year and stitched together in less — think The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ll or Police Academy: Mission To Moscow, but without the plane fare to Russia. This is a sequel to rival the most shameless of cash-ins.”

Alabaster Deplume
Come With Fierce Grace

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In order to record the compositions in his critically acclaimed 2022 release Gold, Alabaster DePlume instilled a culture of creativity by leading his ensembles in spontaneous composition and development. To allow them to be present, he kept the musicians constantly creating across several weeks of sessions at London creative hub Total Refreshment Centre. This process resulted in an abundance of material, much more than he could fit onto the initial double LP. After spending most of 2022 touring in support of Gold, Alabaster spent much of early 2023 revisiting the additional material from those Total Refreshment Centre sessions — adding, subtracting, producing and arranging — resulting in an entirely new album, Come With Fierce Grace. It is an album made of authentic and unstipulated — yet welcomed — human interaction. It is for the most part an album of instrumentals, with exception of a few vocal features by Momoko Gill (aka MettaShiba), Falle Nioke, and Donna Thompson. It is perhaps the most raw and candid portrait of Alabaster’s creative compositional process we’ve yet to hear, as he’s captured vividly in the room with his collaborators — stretching, exploring, working to deepen and expand the emotions underlying his melodic and poetic frameworks.”

The Doors
Live At The Matrix 1967: The Original Masters

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Doors were a few months away from stardom in March 1967 when they played five sparsely attended shows at a small club in San Francisco called The Matrix. These uninhibited performances would have been fleeting if not for Peter Abram, who co-owned the pizza parlor-turned-nightclub with Jefferson Airplane founder Marty Balin. An avid recordist, Abram taped concerts at The Matrix regularly and his recordings of The Doors, made between March 7-11, 1967, spawned one of the band’s most storied bootlegs. At long last, all known Matrix recordings, sourced entirely from Abram’s original master recordings, will be released. The recordings have been remastered by Bruce Botnick, The Doors’ longtime engineer/mixer. Most of the newly upgraded live recordings are making their debut in the collection, including eight that have never been featured on any of the previous Matrix releases.”

The Handsome Family

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Handsome Family’s new record began with a scream in the night. “It was a bleak winter during the middle of the pandemic,” says Brett Sparks. “One night around 4 a.m. Rennie started screaming in her sleep. She screamed, ‘Come into the circle Joseph! There’s no moon tonight.’ Scary as it was, I thought, man, that’s a good chorus!” The Handsome Family have been defining the dark end of americana for over 30 years. Their 11th studio album Hollow delves into the natural world at the edges of the man-made. It is a record lush with leaves and shadows and echoing with occult mystery. Asked to describe their music Brett says, “Western gothic.” It is music inspired by the abandoned strip malls of desert America where cracked pavement shimmers with heat and thorny weeds slowly reclaim the land.”

Kristin Hersh
Clear Pond Road

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Kristin Hersh’s new album is a cinematic road trip; a series of personal vignettes from a fiercely independent auteur, sitting plush with layers of all-consuming strings and Mellotron. It’s a watershed moment in a career overflowing with creative firsts and inspirational thinking; an elegant piece of personal reportage, a home movie caught in time. Previously, the juxtaposition of light and dark has been essential to the drama of Throwing Muses and 50Footwave, but this solo set is something of a departure; more inward looking, quieter but outspoken, underpinned by background noise for ambience and awkwardness. Clear Pond Road is a life-affirming statement, a further part of the jigsaw, a very personal memoir, from street signs to snapshots; a late blossoming and coming-of-age from a true icon of independence. The record is both intimate yet expansive, written largely within the confines of Hersh’s home, making the proceedings ever more personal.”

Low Cut Connie
Art Dealers

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “This record is all kink and no shame,” explains Adam Weiner of South Philadelphia rock ’n’ roll outfit Low Cut Connie. “I try to create a safe space for you to just absolutely get your freak on.” Art Dealers is a love letter to Lou Reed and Patti Smith’s New York, and the reckless abandon of “the art life” laid against a gritty, decaying American backdrop. Arriving at the intersection of sleazy and soulful, the eighth album from Weiner is a 13-song collection of risky, romantic, life-affirming anthems dedicated to a total liberation of body, spirit, gender and sexuality in the face of an increasingly tense political age. Where it took Weiner over three years to record his 2020 breakthrough album Private Lives, Art Dealers was tracked in just over a week outside of Philadelphia. As with his previous album, Weiner produced Art Dealers, further establishing his own brand of raw, analog rock ‘n’ roll. The record depicts a grimy modern urban landscape, a soulful but damaged place that Weiner and his band (including guitarist Will Donnelly, in his ninth year with Low Cut Connie) has gravitated towards throughout the band’s history. Weiner grew up amidst the lawns and strip malls of suburban New Jersey, and his teen dreams were lit up by the beacon of the Big City, where he could shed his skin like so many artists before. “I just want to turn people on with what I do,” says Weiner. “The world is a dirty and broken place… we might as well live it the f up while we’re here.”

Ashley McBryde
The Devil I Know

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Grammy winner Ashley McBryde has made a name for herself with her standout, critically acclaimed albums, all of which found the Arkansas native straddling lines between traditional country, rock-tinged roots and point-blank biker-bar riffs. With The Devil I Know, the Grand Ole Opry member and her band Deadhorse honed in and sharpened
what it is they do best. “When it was time to put together The Devil I Know, my band and I did what we always do: Got together in the purple building in East Nashville, played through a bunch of songs and discussed where we wanted it to go,” shares McBryde. “We decided to take all the things that people tend to give us a hard time for and turn it up. ‘Y’all are too country.’ We leaned into that — more country it is. ‘Y’all are awfully rock leaning
for a country artist.’ Is that so? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. ‘Last thing y’all need is another tender, finger pickin’ song.’ Oh? Tender makes you uneasy, cowboy? I hear you. Let’s see how much more tender we can be. We listened to what was said. We took none of it into consideration. Please enjoy The Devil I Know.”

Graham Parker
Last Chance To Learn The Twist

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Graham Parker should need no introduction. Thankfully, on the title track to his new album Last Chance To Learn The Twist, he provides one for himself. “They tried to eliminate it — good luck with that! They pushed it underground but it just grew back,” Parker sings with inimitably soulful grit, “It just grew stronger with every iteration… the music of the Devil was our salvation.” He’s singing, of course, of the artform of which he’s an widely recognized as a master: rock ’n’ roll. But it serves equally well as a summation of his career: For over 40 years, Parker has been slinging his signature sound, earning a spot in the pantheon of infuential rockers. On the other side of an uncharacteristic break from the road in deference to the global pandemic, Parker has delivered an eclectic, refective stew of soul, rock and blues fusions bursting with tasty, rootsy grooves and shot through with (as one song title has it) Wicked Wit” in his classic style.”

Ariel Posen
Reasons Why

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With each successive release in his career, Ariel Posen finds his creative tide rising. In 2019, he wrote seven songs for his first album How Long, and recorded them all, plus some instrumental interludes to fill things out. For his sophomore effort, 2021’s Headway, his songwriting surplus resulted in eight songs being left off the final project. For his latest, Reasons Why, the Canadian singer-songwriter and highly regarded guitarist wrote 30 songs, ultimately choosing 10. “The only thing I really go into a record thinking is how can I stay true to myself musically and artistically but try to make it better than the last one,” explains Posen, who co-produced Reasons Why with his usual collaborator, Murray Pulver. “What it usually comes down to, more so than production and sound and aesthetic, is the songs. It’s just a matter of doing a record with the best songs I have.” Reasons Why shows once again that “best” is a high standard for Posen. The new songs represent another step forward in every aspect – lyricism, musicality, playing, sonics. The songs are nuanced but impactful, deeply resonant but universally accessible. Posen blends craftsman’s care with the daring do of a seasoned live player, resulting in an immersive adventure that reveals fresh merits on every listen.”

Royal Blood
Back To The Water Below

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “From the very beginning, Royal Blood’s story has been one of two lifelong friends whose shared passion and dedication for writing and performing has led them on a remarkable adventure together — a story that has yet to be repeated and is a feat as rare as it is remarkable. That spirit continues into Back To The Water Below, which saw them self-produce an entire album for the very first time. It was a process which cancelled out the noise of any external influences, while also allowing them the convenience to write at their own studio in Brighton whenever inspiration struck. They discovered that the best ideas were the result of following their instincts — their unspoken, subconscious connection honed over the course of 15 years playing music together. Just as importantly, they cast aside any preconceptions of what Royal Blood should be. They allowed themselves the freedom to embrace other ideas, at times being guided by melodies rather than riffs and rhythms, and in others deploying whatever instrumentation they felt best complemented the songs. If in doubt, they remembered a nugget of advice offered by Rick Rubin — that the sound of Royal Blood isn’t defined by genre or the instruments that they play, but by the unique chemistry forged by the two friends.”

Allison Russell
The Returner

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Four time Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, poet, activist, and multi-instrumentalist Allison Russell’s new album The Returner was written and co-produced by Allison along with dim star (her partner JT Nero and Drew Lindsay) and was recorded over Solstice week in December 2022 at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles. It features Russell’s Rainbow Coalition band of all female musicians along with special guest appearances from the legendary Wendy & Lisa, Brandi Carlile, Brandy Clark and Hozier. Says Russell: “My goal with The Returner — sonically, poetically, and spiritually — is a radical reclamation of the present tense, a real time union of body, mind, and soul. This album is a much deeper articulation of rhythm, groove, and syncopation. Groove as it heralds the self back into the body, groove as it celebrates sensual and sexual agency and flowering, groove as an urgent call to action and political activism. In just a word, it’s funkier. But as is the history of anything funky, it’s never just a party. It is a multiverse of energies that merges the celebration and the battle cry. For while an embrace of the present tense is a celebration, it is equally an unquestioning leap into battle – cultural, political, environmental.”

Bird Machine

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Music had always been a shared language between Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous and his younger brother Matt, and as Mark began work on what he planned to be the fifth Sparklehorse album in 2009, the two of them would talk through his plans for the record. Matt can clearly recall their conversations; Mark’s excitement about the influences feeding into it and the way the songs were starting to take shape. It was these conversations that Matt and Melissa — Mark’s sister-in-law, who had also worked with Sparklehorse — returned to years later as they began to sift through boxes of tapes to catalogue and preserve Mark’s unreleased recordings and bring his posthumous album, entitled Bird Machine, to life. Mark was famously perfectionist about his work and the question of whether to complete the album weighed heavily on Matt. “It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever made,” says Matt. “It’s difficult making a choice about someone else’s art, even if you’ve known them all your life and worked with them, even if they were your brother and best friend. We had long conversations about not wanting to take this into a different direction. We wanted to bring out what was there.”

Various Artists
A Song For Leon

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Leon Russell was one of the most esteemed studio session men in rock history, having appeared on an eye-popping number of records by legends such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Darin, Phil Spector, Frank Sinatra, The Byrds and The Beach Boys. Russell’s solo work benefited from his amazing collaborators, as the likes of George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, various Rolling Stones and others helped Russell put the finishing touches on his albums through the years. The ‘master of space and time,’ Russell blended together Southern soul, gospel, country, rock and piano-man singer/songwriter stylings. A Song For Leon celebrates Leon’s life and career, consisting of iconic acts such as Pixies, Orville Peck, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, U.S. Girls featuring Bootsy Collins and other incredible artists. Showcasing the impact of Russell’s songs, A Song For Leon is meant to educate experienced Leon Russell fans by highlighting other versions of his music, but also bring new fans into the fold by highlighting how many of today’s rising musicians have taken inspiration from him.”