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Next Week in Music | May 20-26 • The Short List: 11 Titles You Want to Hear

Paul Weller, Lenny Kravitz, Twenty One Pilots, Courettes & the rest of the best.

May 20 is Victoria Day in Canada. May 27 is Memorial Day in the U.S. But fear not: Music never takes a holiday. Just ask Paul Weller, Lenny Kravitz, Twenty One Pilots, Andrew Bird, The Courettes and the rest of the artists dropping new albums between now and next Friday:


Blue City

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Fusing melody and dissonance, Abrams blast forth a cathartic mix of catchy, driving rhythms, soaring vocals and ethereal ambiance. Wielding elements of heavy rock, shoegaze, grunge and post-metal with ease and fluency, they create a crystalline heaviness that’s bittersweet and nostalgic yet also gazes forward. The Denver band’s arresting sound finds them sharing terrain with the likes of Torche and Cave-In, while their penchant for crunchy, irresistibly hooky riffs recalls alt-rock icons Hum and Quicksand. Even so, their swirling meld of influences isn’t the totality of Abrams. Having shared the stage with Unsane, KEN mode, King Buffalo, Khemmis, Jaye Jayle or Emma Ruth Rundle, Abrams has always strived to deliver memorable live shows. A spearhead of the Denver rock scene, the foursome has recently joined the ranks of tastemaker label Blues Funeral Recordings for a spring 2024 release of their fifth album Blue City. Recorded and produced by Kurt Ballou (Converge, High On Fire, Torche, Chelsea Wolfe) at his legendary GodCity Studio, their new album Blue City is where genre-defying heaviness and perfect melodic songcraft converge, a sojourn through lush, cinematic passages and contemplative psychedelia.”

Andrew Bird
Sunday Morning Put​-​On

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sunday Morning Put-On features Andrew Bird‘s unique takes on classic songs by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Lerner & Loewe, Rodgers & Hart and more. The record finds him re-immersed in a lifelong love of mid-century, small-group jazz and the Great American Songbook. Accompanied by a masterful rhythm section — Ted Poor on drums and Alan Hampton on bass — Sunday Morning Put-On marks the culmination of a passion that has been building within him for nearly 30 years. The music he interprets dates back to his formative encounters with the titans who have consciously and subliminally influenced his career, and all of its numerous changes and acclaimed chapters. Sonically and personally, Sunday Morning Put-On is unlike anything he has done before. Produced by Bird and recorded live in southern California’s legendary Valentine Studios (Bing Crosby, Burl Ives), Sunday Morning Put-On also features guitar from Jeff Parker and piano from Larry Goldings. But it is Bird’s voice and violin that reach new levels, as he pushes himself further than ever as an improviser. Across the album, through the interplay of his bow, strings, and the breaths of air flowing through his vocal cords, he mimics the phrasing and tone of a reed instrument. Playing his violin like a horn and singing much more than he expected, he hones a virtuosity that was always present on his previous records, but rises prominently to the forefront with added layers of prowess and longing.”

The Courettes
Hold On, We​’​re Comin’

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Dynamic garage-rock duo The Courettes proudly present this collection of revamped classics from every era! Singer-guitarist Flavia Couri and drummer / producer Martin Couri bring a Phil Spector wall-of-sound style to these collaborative tracks that feature guest appearances by The Grass Roots, Sam & Dave, The Flamin’ Groovies, Johnny Thunders, and others! The album also includes The Courettes’ genius contribution to a Cramps tribute album (Bikini Girls With Machine Guns) and the forthcoming Taylor Swift tribute (Shake It Off)!”

Frog In Boiling Water

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Frog In Boiling Water, produced by Chris Coady, was a four-year process that nearly broke the band before the album was completed. With an aim to push their sound, make a record that challenged them, and treat the band as a democracy for the first time, DIIV began an ambitious journey, both individually and collectively. This journey left their relationships with one another fraying, with the many complex dynamics of family, friendship and finances entangled, coupled with suspicions, resentments, bruised egos and anxious questions. They ultimately found their way through, and the result is 10 songs that mine a new lyrical and musical depth, those two halves mirroring one another inside a reflective and immersive whole. It is a mesmeric testament to enduring, to envisioning anything else on the other side while you remain here, in the slowly heating water of right now. “We understand the metaphor to be one about a slow, sick, and overwhelmingly banal collapse of society under end-stage capitalism, the brutal realities we’ve maybe come to accept as normal. That’s the boiling water and we are the frogs. The album is more or less a collection of snapshots from various angles of our modern condition which we think highlights what this collapse looks like and, more particularly, what it feels like.”

Brian Eno, Holger Czukay & J.Peter Schwalm
Sushi! Roti! Reibekuchen!

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Groenland Records are proud to announce the release of a document of a unique — if until now little-known — performance given by Brian Eno, Holger Czukay and J.Peter Schwalm, in which they were accompanied by Raoul Walton and Jern Atai, members of Schwalm’s group Slop Shop. Billed as a “High-altitude-food-performance with incidental music by Slop Shop and Brian Eno,” with Can co-founder Czukay’s appearance kept under wraps in advance, it was recorded on August 27, 1998 outside the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland — the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany — in Bonn, Germany, at the opening party for an exhibition of Eno’s Future Light-Lounge Proposal multimedia installation. The album takes its title from the event’s unlikely name: Sushi! Roti! Reibekuchen!

Lenny Kravitz
Blue Electric Light

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Timeless. Explosive. Romantic. Inspiring. How else to characterize Blue Electric Light, Lenny Kravitz’s 12th studio album? Kravitz’s mastery of deep-soul rock ’n’ roll is a long-established fact. As a relentless creative force — musician, writer, producer, actor, author, designer — he continues to be a global dynamic presence throughout music, art and culture. Blue Electric Light is an impassioned suite of songs, that broadens this distinction and is the latest contribution of a man whose music — not to mention his singular style — continues to inspire millions the world over. On the album, Kravitz’s talents as a writer, producer and multi-instrumentalist resonate as he wrote and played most of the instruments himself, with longtime guitarist Craig Ross. Kravitz has won four Grammy Awards and sold 40 million albums worldwide.”

La Luz
News Of The Universe

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “I was in a dream, but now I can see that change is the only law.” With a credo adapted from science fiction author Octavia E. Butler, an album title from a collection of metaphysical poetry, and an expansion in consciousness brought on by personal crisis, guitarist and songwriter Shana Cleveland learns to embrace a changing world with unconditional love on News Of The Universe, the new full-length from California rock band La Luz. News Of The Universe is a record born of calamity, a work of dark, beautiful psychedelia reflecting Cleveland’s experience of having her world blown apart by a breast cancer diagnosis just two years after the birth of her son. It’s also a portrait of a band in flux, marking the first appearance for drummer Audrey Johnson and the final ones from longtime members bassist Lena Simon and keyboardist Alice Sandahl, whose contributions add a bittersweet edge to a record that is both elegy for an old world and cosmic road map to a strange new one.”

Touched By The Stuff

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Inspired by the big shiny tunes flooding FM radio airwaves in the 1990s, Toronto trio Motorists go full throttle on their sophomore album. Now propelled by powerhouse drummer Nick Mckinlay, guitarist Craig Fahner and bassist Matt Learoyd channel stadium-sized power-pop through the gauzy fuzz of ’90s alt rock, like Big Star swerving into Hotline TNT. “Our first record essentially emerged in the rehearsal space,” says Fahner. “It was a simpler vibe of getting together with ideas and just seeing what happened. For this album, Matt and I wrote a lot more individually and brought more composed songs. We were really feeling that early ’90s alt-rock on the radio sensibility, with sensitive power-pop that’s made to sound hit-like and huge.”

Old Man Luedecke
She Told Me Where To Go

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “How did Old Man Luedecke go from touring the world with his banjo to suddenly giving it all up to work as a deckhand on a scallop boat, and abandoning his signature instrument? “I was just going over to my scallop farming neighbour’s house to get some scallops to have for dinner”, says Chris Luedecke. “Knowing that the live music world had slowed down, he asked me if I wanted a job on his boat” And so, Luedecke accepted and began going out to sea in the North Atlantic, not far from his family home in rural Nova Scotia. He was giving up the game of music. Throughout that time working on the water, song ideas would pop in his head, and Chris would stash them away in his sea salt-stained notebook and battered iPhone, not sure if anything would ever come of them. During downtimes, Chris and his family would host all-day sap boils and wiener roasts over an open fire on their property where they tapped their maple trees and boiled the sap to make syrup in the late days of several winters. A frequent visitor to these fires was Afie Jurvanen, aka Bahamas, who brought his family over for the BBQ and syrup and to chat music and play around on their guitars. “What about not playing the banjo on your next record?” suggested Jurvanen. Initially, Chris thought those may have been fighting words, and prepared to throw down with his fellow Juno winner. Luckily, it didn’t come to blows and Chris understood that Afie’s question was rooted in how much of a fan he was of Chris’s song writing, and that maybe perceptions of the banjo distracted from that. This was where She Told Me Where to Go truly began.”

Twenty One Pilots

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Clancy marks Twenty One Pilots’ first studio album in three years and follows their Gold-certified LP Scaled And Icy. The Grammy-winning duo introduced their new album Clancy with the single Overcompensate.  The song welcomes listeners back to the band’s immersive world. Layers of synths build over a racing breakbeat in the song — a skilled passage of alternative dynamics, flexing in time, and ready to explode. Having amassed over 33 billion streams worldwide and over 3 million tickets sold across global headline tours, the Columbus duo of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun have established themselves as one of the most successful bands of the 21st century and redefined the sound of a generation. Co-produced by Joseph and Paul Meany, Clancy marks the final chapter in an ambitious multi-album narrative first introduced in the band’s 2015 multi-platinum breakthrough Blurryface. ”

Paul Weller

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary music, few artists possess the enduring influence and innovative spirit of Paul Weller. A recording career that began in 1977 now takes in the release of his 17th solo album and his 28th in total. Weller has always demonstrated an unwavering commitment to pushing artistic boundaries while staying true to his roots. 66 promises to be no exception, offering a captivating journey through his continuing musical evolution. As the title and artwork by Sir Peter Blake (his first for Weller since 1995’s Stanley Road) indicates, Weller’s new album marks the completion of his 66th journey around the sun and is released on the day before his 66th birthday. 66 is quite a reflective and inward-thinking album that pulls back the camera lens and shines a light on the way Weller’s creativity interacts with his wider world. Continually finding new ways to alchemise the miracle of living and the meaning of it all, he draws on fragments of real life, ruminations on spirituality and even childhood memories. There are songs touching on faith, changing circumstances and the fractured realities of life in this turbulent age. But 66 is positive at heart, bursting with the wisdom and perspective accrued by the business of someone who has really lived and loved.”