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Next Week in Music | Feb. 12-18 • The Short List: 18 Titles You Want to Hear

Clearly, things are picking up. So here are some new things worth picking up.

Yep, you read that right. There are at least 18 decent albums coming down the pipe  — and I didn’t even include the big-name pop-chart drivel. Looks like things are finally picking up. So here’s a look at some things that are worth picking up:

 


Les Amazones d’Afrique
Musow Danse

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The all-female African supergroup Les Amazones d’Afrique, a collective which has included some of the biggest stars in African music, make a triumphant return with a new sound on their third album Musow Danse. While their cause — campaigning for gender equality and eradicating ancestral violence — is worthy enough in itself, their musical creative expression is equally powerful. Richly melodic and far-ranging, it blends pan-African styles and collaborative harmonies with gritty, contemporary pop. Following two critically acclaimed albums — République Amazone (2017) and Amazones Power (2020) — with the idiosyncratic Congotronics producer Doctor L, the band have collaborated with Jacknife Lee (U2, Modest Mouse, Taylor Swift) on the new album to embrace a powerful pop sound led by 808s and glitchy synths and drawing from contemporary hip-hop and trap influences.”


Chromeo
Adult Contemporary

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Approaching the 20-year mark of their storied career, Chromeo unveil their sixth album Adult Contemporary. The aptly named LP sees the iconic Canadian duo of Dave 1 (Dave Macklovitch) and P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) exploring what it means to be funky in your 30s and 40s. As the riotous early 2000s era that propelled them to indie superstardom becomes the stuff of legends, the Funklordz approach this new chapter with their groove intact. Across the album’s 14 tracks, Chromeo navigate adult relationships in a contemporary world, traversing themes of commitment, monogamy, attachment issues, sleepless nights, abstinence and so much more. True to their trademark tone, it’s both unapologetically funny and disarmingly sincere, with nary a trace of irony. Musically, it’s safe to say the Funklordz have entered their sophisticated Steely Dan era, matching their signature synth-work with lush string arrangements, slick horn sections and live instrumentation throughout. And while this is undoubtedly Chromeo now, Adult Contemporary’s only collaborations are a deliberate nod to the duo’s early days: The album is mixed by New York house legend Morgan Geist, mastered by French Touch hero Alex Gopher (Phoenix, Air) and its sole feature is La Roux, a close friend the band for over 15 years.”


Crawlers
The Mess We Seem To Make

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “To become a great rock band, you often need to begin with a certain alchemy. There needs to be talent, determination, a solid friendship which can withstand the rigours of creative difference or public critique. But you also need a sizable dose of ambition, the kind of unapologetic belief that your voice is one which needs to be heard. Such was already the case for Crawlers way back in 2018, when Amy Woodall, Liv May and Holly Minto were at uni together in Liverpool. Having formed in 2018, the band spent their first few formative years gigging around the Liverpool scene. Amy, Holly and Liv were already polishing their grunge-rock sound when they recruited drummer Harry Breen. Newly solidified as a four, their formidable live reputation has already encouraged the kind of organic fanbase that will help them become the U.K.’s next big crossover alternative act. Over the years, each new release has sealed Crawlers’ reputation as one of the U.K.’s most exciting young bands, with their debut mixtape Loud Without Noise cementing their global status through helping them to achieve a huge 80+million streams to date.”


William Doyle
Springs Eternal

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Serving up art-pop for the anthropocene, Springs Eternal is the Mercury-nominated, critically acclaimed artist William Doyle’s most ambitious and most playful creation to date. Taking a panoramic view of the ecstasies and agonies of life in the 2020s, the record asks how we exist as fragile flesh and blood — our hearts beating and our minds racing — in an unprecedented, almost unimaginable time of runaway climate destruction and technological expansion. Springs Eternal presents a strange and thrilling cast of characters — from cowboys to castaways — who just might be Doyle, once or twice removed. “Most of the songs are in the first-person, but rather than being autobiographical, I was trying to imagine hyperreality versions of myself,” Doyle says. “What if decisions I made in my life had resulted in the self of each particular song? How many degrees of separation am I from those realities? It’s a frightening thought, and frightening thoughts often make for good songs.”


Friko
Where We’ve Been, Where We Go From Here

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “An essential new addition to Chicago’s long lineage of forward-thinking indie rock, Friko — vocalist/guitarist Niko Kapetan and drummer Bailey Minzenberger — transform every song into a moment of collective catharsis. At the heart of Where We’ve Been, Where We Go From Here is the powerful emotional connection Friko’s members have cultivated since childhood. The album merges post-punk, chamber-pop and experimental rock, magnifying Friko’s exhilarating power with a steady barrage of spirited gang vocals. Poetic, explosive, and sublimely raw in feeling, the album brings an equally visceral intensity to brutally heavy anthems and heart-on-sleeve ballads alike, creating an immediate outlet for the most unwieldy emotions. Where We’ve Been, Where We Go From Here embodies a sonic complexity befitting of a band that names Romantic-era classical music and the more primal edges of art-rock among their inspirations.”


Laura Jane Grace
Hole In My Head

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “A musical force since Against Me!‘s debut in the late ’90s, Laura Jane Grace has never shied away from themes of political commentary, environmentalism, social critique, and candid self-exploration. Following the 2012 public announcement of her gender transition, Grace racked up several accolades. Against Me! released its most acclaimed record to date, Transgender Dysphoria Blues in 2014, which was followed by an Emmy-nominated 10-episode companion documentary, True Trans. In 2016, Grace teamed up with journalist Dan Ozzi to co-write her acclaimed memoir Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist, rightfully named one of Billboard’s 100 Greatest Music Books of All Time. Hole In My Head is Grace’s 12th album and an exciting hallmark in her colorful and extensive career. Recorded at Native Sound in St. Louis, the album is a sonic curio cabinet containing multitudes. Hole In My Head features warm 50s-rock-influenced guitar riffs, saved-for-later lyrics, love letters to St. Louis, dysphoria apparel, and thoughtful reflections on a punk life lived.”


Grandaddy
Blu Wav

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “A prolific storyteller, Grandaddy‘s Jason Lytle is inspired by the overwhelming beauty of nature to the mundane moments that spark life’s strongest memories. With the album title Blu Wav meant to be a literal mash-up of “bluegrass” and “new wave,” the new collection has a distinct feel, a uniform vibe, and a somewhat unexpected sound. It was conceived as Lytle was driving through the Nevada desert, and Patti Page’s Tennessee Waltz came across the classic country station on the radio. He was immediately intrigued by the possibilities of what it might sound like to keep the slow sway and sweet, simple lyrics of the bluegrass waltz while adding layers of dense synthesizers and the electronics of new wave. It incorporates the lo-fi lushness and sometimes-psychedelic orchestration Grandaddy is known for with Lytle’s first foray into true country. Seven of its 13 songs are waltzes, and as Lytle notes,“there’s an inordinate amount of pedal steel.”


Idles
Tangk

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Tangk is the righteous and vibrant fifth album from madcap truth-seekers, Idles. Pronounced “tank” with a whiff of the “g” — an onomatopoeic reference to the lashing way the band imagined their guitars sounding that has since grown into a sigil for living in love — the record is the band’s most ambitious and striking work yet. Where Idles were once set on taking the world’s piss, squaring off with strong jaws against the perennially entitled, and exercising personal trauma in real time, they have arrived in this new act to offer the fruits of such perseverance: Love, joy, and indeed gratitude for the mere opportunity of existence. A radical sense of defiant empowerment radiates from Tangk, co-produced by Nigel Godrich, Kenny Beats and Idles guitarist Mark Bowen. Despite his reputation as an incendiary post-punk sparkplug, frontman Joe Talbot sings almost all the feelings inside these 10 songs with hard-earned soul, offering each lusty vow or solidarity plea as a bona fide pop song — that is, a thing for everyone to pass around and share, communal anthems intended for overcoming our grievance.”


The Immediate Family
Skin In The Game

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Immediate Family’s second full-length studio album is a skillful combination of power and precision, fun and introspection, featuring soaring harmonies and a burst of R&B with the pure essence of rock and roll. Produced by the band themselves, Skin In The Game’s fourteen tracks showcase the remarkably versatile musical skills possessed by all five members of The Immediate Family: Singer-songwriter guitarists Danny Kortchmar, Waddy Wachtel and Steve Postell, and one of the most renowned rhythm sections in rock history, Russ Kunkel and Leland Sklar. The tight-knit quintet initially rose to prominence working with some of rock’s biggest names, such as Keith Richards, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, Billy Joel, David Crosby and Joni Mitchell, to name a few — but now they have reinforced their own identity as The Immediate Family. “This band has such power. It’s almost like an embarrassment of riches,” states Wachtel. “We just knew we had all moved up to the next level in the group. It was such a great feeling, one that is the real reason all of us do what we do.” Sklar adds, “The Immediate Family’s unrivaled musical chemistry comes from years of playing together. We all know each other backward and forward and can play to each other’s strengths in ways that other groups can’t always get to.”


The Jack Rubies
Clocks Are Out Of Time

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Clocks Are Out Of Time is the first new album from reunited English C86/post-punk veterans The Jack Rubies in over 30 years. The band return with their original lineup and bewitchingly angular sound fully intact. These noir-tinged, melodically gripping and darkly humorous tunes are easily the equals of anything the band crafted in their ’80s heyday and startlingly contemporary in both sound and outlook. But the record’s name also suggests a kind of glitch in the universal timeline, and it’s easy to hear why. Anyone familiar with the band’s original run (including their two now-highly-sought-after albums), or their context among contemporaries like The The, Nick Cave and The Fall, could be forgiven for thinking that Clocks is a lost album of that era. At the same time, followers of newer postpunk revival groups like Interpol, The National and Dry Cleaning might well mistake it for the debut of a band that could only come into being in the here and now of the 21st Century. Both points of view would be correct: it seems like the times have finally caught up with what The Jack Rubies always had in mind.”


Sean Ono Lennon
Asterisms

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Asterisms is a beautiful and exploratory instrumental project by Sean Ono Lennon, one of the most creative and versatile musicians / composers / producers / songwriters working today. Sean has written countless songs, composed film scores, produced, and performed on dozens of albums — and here he steps out as the leader of an all-star band of downtown N.Y.C. luminaries. Years in the making, the music is powerful, trippy, and intensely imaginative, blending rock, electronics, jazz, and more into an exciting new musical soundscape. With driving rhythms, a stunning lyricism, and a brilliant sense of orchestration, this album is sure to surprise and delight music fans the world ’round. Beautifully recorded, this is modern instrumental music at its very best.”


Levitation Room
Strange Weather

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “First breaking into the scene in 2015 with their beloved EP Minds of Our Own, Levitation Room have been a centerpiece of the L.A. psych-rock scene ever since. The subsequent releases of their albums Ethos (2016) and Headspace (2019), paired with extensive touring and festival performances across North America and Europe, have won the band a far-reaching, fervent fanbase and millions of global streams to date. They released a few singles during the pandemic but have been heads down working on new music over the last few years, returning now with a meticulously crafted next iteration of Levitation Room. Their floaty, cosmic songs are always a trip. Since forming nearly a decade ago, they’ve self-produced dizzying, otherworldly music that’s connected with fellow travelers in the hallucinogenic world of outré rock music. The record’s lyrical narratives — about love in the park, life in the city, and the fact that, “The world today is such an illusion” — are appropriately steeped in ’60s sonics and a dreamy, lo-fi atmosphere. It’s spacey, celestial guitar music for escaping into, and “it feels just like heaven.”


Lime Garden
One More Thing

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Lime Garden are a Brighton quartet — four friends whose coming-of-age indie-rock songwriting jumps over genre boundaries to create a sound that is uplifting yet somehow laid-back. They achieve this neat trick by harnessing catchy melodies and earworm hooks into an almost nonchalant net of lo-fi sounds, which is then sprinkled with a dry-wit to bring their world to life. It’s a world of late-night conversations and observations that strike a chord. The debut album One More Thing is the band’s love letter to the indie music they surrounded themselves with in their formative years, as well as a statement of love, fear, gratitude and embracing imperfections. Produced by Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, PJ Harvey, Yard Act), One More Thing is the culmination of a stellar run of singles and non-stop touring from Lime Garden since their emergence in 2021. The songs on this album challenge societal norms, breathe life into the mundane and they dream big. One More Thing is ambitious in its songwriting as well as its themes, Lime Garden welcome new technologies to help their traditional guitar sounds flourish into pop songs for the here and now.”


Mother Mother
Grief Chapter

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Their ninth body of work. A new chapter in their constantly evolving story. An organic groundswell of young, passionate fans who have all found community in their songs – old and new alike. The gradual curvature from playing concert halls to headlining arenas and opening a stadium tour. All this plus the inevitable passage of time and weight of life and all that comes with it, contributed to the pounding, profound new Mother Mother album, Grief Chapter. Within its walls contains a dialed-up collection of songs that takes chances, swings big, goes as grandiose with the songwriting as it does granular, and manages to dive deep on Big Picture concepts like life, death, mourning, and the freedom that comes with accepting the inevitable – seemingly heavy themes that, magically, are buoyed by lyrical moments of complexity and lightness throughout Grief Chapter’s 12 tracks. Lead singer and Mother Mother lyricist Ryan Guldemond describes the process of crafting Grief Chapter as pushing things further than he’d ever done before. “On past records, we’d aim to trim the fat,” he says. “We’d tighten our songs up, to make them succinct, effective and compact. But with Grief Chapter, we’d get to that point and then ask ourselves, ‘how can we push things further? Where can we add length, and inject some unconventionality into these tight structures?’ We wanted to take compositional chances.”


Nouvelle Vague
Should I Stay or Should I Go?

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Nouvelle Vague, the renowned bossa nova project founded by Marc Collin and the late Olivier Libaux in 2003, has become a musical phenomenon over the past two decades. Initially conceived as a one-off tribute to post-punk songwriting in a bossa nova style, Nouvelle Vague’s debut album unexpectedly soared to global acclaim. The band’s unique fusion of melancholic post-punk and bossa nova, coupled with their daring French reinterpretation approach, set them apart. The latest album, inspired by vocalist Alonya’s rendition of The Clash‘s Should I Stay Or Should I Go, continues Nouvelle Vague’s tradition of reinventing classics. It will, again, amplify the timeless significance and continued impact of Nouvelle Vague’s musical legacy.”


Omni
Souvenir

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The music of Atlanta trio Omni has always swung fast and hit hard. And Souvenir, their fourth album, packs their biggest punch yet. Inactive during the majority of the pandemic — the longest downtime in their history — they approached this recording with lots of pent-up energy. Guitarist Frankie Broyles, singer/bassist Philip Frobos and drummer Chris Yonker converted their creative fuel into sharp, driving songs that land immediately, sporting chopping riffs, staccato beats, and wiry melodies. Why does Souvenir sound so sharp? Because each track is a compact unit that stands on its own, reflecting the time and place in which it was created. That’s why Omni called the album Souvenir: It’s a collection of audio objects, a stash of musical miniatures. Think of it as a family photo album, a binder of rare playing cards, a shoebox holding precious gems.”


Pet Needs
Intermittent Fast Living

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Intermittent Fast Living is the third album from Pet Needs — and is a vivid portrait of a band riding high on the roller coaster that is the rock ’n’ roll life, and stopping for just a split-second to capture the moment. A rush of adrenaline and a tornado of emotion, it was recorded at Vada Studios with George Perks (Enter Shikari, Skindred) and mastered by Frank Arkwright at Abbey Road. Pet Needs are a punk fuelled melodic rock four-piece from Colchester who have toured the world. Their past two albums — released in the last 18 months — have helped catapult the band to the rising stars they are today.”


States Of Nature
Brighter Than Before

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Brighter Than Before, the new album from Oakland’s States Of Nature, features 10 songs that  blend elements of post-hardcore, psych and garage, and straight up rock ’n’ roll. The first single, New Foundations, may have an uplifting dance punk vibe to it, but lyrically it is on the darker side. “Lyrically the song takes a bleak look at the world around us,” they say. “Raised in a post-9/11 world, the song observes the way paranoia shapes decision-making that is harmful and destructive. This directly ties to what’s happening today homelessness and the housing crisis in California. There are policy decisions happening at state and local levels that intentionally make it harder to build new housing, also pushed by positions the public holds around conservation of city aesthetics and a complete misunderstanding of why people are on the streets in the first place.”

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