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Next Week in Music | April 22-28 • The Short List: 7 Titles You Want to Hear

St. Vincent, Charley Crockett, Iron & Wine, Pet Shop Boys & the rest of the best.

Unsurprisingly, things have slowed down a bit after Record Store Day. But only a bit: By my count, there are still at least seven excellent albums coming your way next week. Guess it’s your lucky day:


Charley Crockett
$10 Cowboy

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With $10 Cowboy, Charley Crockett didn’t set out to make a themed record. He had released a concept album in 2022, the critically acclaimed Man From Waco, propelling Crockett to new heights and establishing him as one of the leaders of a sparkling revival of traditional country and folk music. For the followup, Crockett wrote freely, over a two-month period, as he wound his way across the United States on the back of a tour bus. The resulting songs — raw, personal, vivid portraits of a country in transition — ended up being connected after all. “This material is written at truck stops, it’s written at casinos, it’s written in the alleys behind the venues, it’s written in my truck parked up on South Congress in Austin,” explains Crockett. “A ramblin’ man like me, a genuine transient, is in a pretty damn good position to have something to say about America.”

Fat White Family
Forgiveness Is Yours

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Fat White Family are back with the most sophisticated, vital and flamboyant creation of their career. The cult south-London band’s resplendent fourth album, Forgiveness Is Yours, has, like everything they’ve done pushed them to the limits not only of their creative talent, but of their health, their sanity, their very existence. To frontman Lias Saoudi, Forgiveness Is Yours, “is about life as eternal contingency… about no longer suspecting, but knowing that this shit will never get any easier… in fact, it’s about to get a whole lot worse, your body’s going to go into decay and the people you love will slowly start dropping dead around you… but somehow, you’ve smashed enough of your expectations thus far in life, you’re sort of fine with it… you accept it.” Its 11 tracks come on like a sideways state of the nation tirade, a bulletin of indignities chronicling times spinning wildly out of joint yet happily, for all its creators’ sufferings (founding member Saul Adamczewski permanently and acrimoniously left the band during its recording), Forgiveness Is Yours is an embarrassment of delights.”

Wiggle Your Fingers

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With the new album Wiggle Your Fingers, GospelbeacH are back with their ’70s Laurel Canyon sounds, but this time they’re drifting down to Hollywood in the early ’80s — their lonesome L.A. cowboy vibes reflect the neon lights of new wave, power-pop, and post-punk. The group was formed in 2014 by Brent Rademaker, Tom Sanford and Neal Casal from the Beachwood Sparks camp. Over the years has featured many harmonious friends, luminaries and guest stars over the years. The sound harks back to several eras of California sounds, folk-rock, sunshine pop country-rock and of course, the paisley underground. They debuted with an album that respectfully lifted the spirit and sound of early-’70s Grateful Dead (2015’s Pacific Surf Line), then jumped ahead a few years to the jangling pop of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers on 2017’s Another Summer of Love. By 2019, they’d added lush, Laurel Canyon-inspired vibes to the mix on third LP Let It Burn and took a detour into bubblegum and glam on the 2021 EP Jam Jam.”

Iron & Wine
Light Verse

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “When the pandemic began, and the world shut down, so did the process of creating for Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam. In its place was a domesticity that the singer hadn’t felt in a long time, and although it was filled with many rewards, making music was not one of them. Reflecting on that time, Beam notes: “I feel blessed and grateful that I and most of my friends and family made it through the pandemic relatively unscathed compared to so many others, but it completely paralyzed the songwriter in me. While so many artists, fortunately, found inspiration in the chaos, I was the opposite and withered with the constant background noise of uncertainty and fear. The last thing I wanted to write about was Covid, and yet every moment I sat with my pen, it lingered around the edges and wouldn’t leave. I struggled to focus until I gave up, and this lasted for over two years.”

Pet Shop Boys

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Nonetheless is Pet Shop Boys‘ first with producer James Ford, who has previously worked with artists including Arctic Monkeys, Depeche Mode, Blur, Gorillaz and Simian Mobile Disco. The album also marks the duo’s return to Parlophone, the label which released their iconic and massively successful material spanning 1985-2012. Nonetheless is both uplifting and reflective, mixing electronics, live instruments and orchestral arrangements. The songs are quintessentially Pet Shop Boys with a fresh, open sound, bringing together classic strands of their songwriting and moving them in new directions. They say: “We’re very excited to release this new album. Its 10 tracks are the strongest indicators of where we are today. Like much of our music it’s very reflective. It was great to work with James Ford, who we think has brought new elements to our music. Our demos are sometimes quite complicated, and James has dared to make us a bit more minimal at times — but also, the string arrangements are very beautiful. Some of the record is quite heart-breaking, but we hope a lot of it is also uplifting. It’s a record we’re very proud of.”

St. Vincent
All Born Screaming

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “There is a figure staggering down the street, lurching through a skewed landscape toward a grim new beginning. Rabid, man-sized; disconsolate and grieving in the violent daylight, the smell of death alive on her clothes. No mask, no costume. In fact — though try not to stare — her office wear is somewhat askew. Even her language is ruptured: what was once tightly refined is now impressionistic and felt. No wonder: “I find myself at the precipice of life and death, and reckoning with that,” says Annie Clark, the musician better known as Grammy-winning iconoclast St. Vincent, on the cusp of releasing her seventh album. Ever since she covered Big Black’s “Kerosene” live in 2011 and the subsequent cataclysmic 7” split “Krokodil”/”Grot,” fans have known that some evil lurked in Clark’s guitar. (Take it back even further if you like: This is someone whose college noise band was named Skull Fuckers.) On All Born Screaming — the first half, at any rate — that lacerating aggression possesses a St. Vincent album for the first time, unleashing a reeling thrash laced with the formative DNA of Steve Albini at his most corrosive and the ugly, spectacular catharsis of Nine Inch Nails, and opening up a brand new fracture in her songwriting. Says Clark with knowing wryness: “It’s my least funny record.”

The Zutons
The Big Decider

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Zutons’ first album together for 16 years, The Big Decider was recorded at Abbey Road Studios with legendary songwriter and producer Nile Rodgers, alongside the band’s original producer Ian Broudie. The Big Decider comes into view as an album of stark significance to the band, completed by Dave McCabe (guitar, lead vocals), Abi Harding (saxophone, vocals) and Sean Payne (drums, vocals). Written against the backdrop of a decade and a half’s worth of lived experience, it is born under the weight of family tragedies, lives lost and created, reality checks, and home truths faced up to and stared down. Wrestled into shape under the kind of steam that only decades-long friendships — with all their messy fall-outs, make-ups, breakdowns and ultimately love — can muster, The Big Decider became the sound of water passing under the bridge, and love for music, love for each other, and love for creating together becoming the most important thing of all.”