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Next Week in Music | May 27 – June 2 • The Short List: 15 Titles You Want to Hear

I see Arooj & Alan, Jesse & Willie, Sam & Hannah, Richard & … um, Swamp Dogg?

Romper, stomper, bomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me do. Magic mirror, tell me today, which of my friends have albums on the way? I see Arooj and Alan, Jesse and Willie, Sam and Hannah, Richard and… um, Swamp? I think my mirror might be broken. See for yourself:


Arooj Aftab
Night Reign

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Grammy-winning Arooj Aftab is set to release Night Reign, the follow up to her critically acclaimed album Vulture Prince. Aftab makes the night the focus of this nine-song collection. Entirely in her own voice and through her own story, she delves into the multifaceted, bold and fascinating realm that comes to life after dark. Some nights are for falling in love, some are for solitude and introspection, some are to be annoyed at a forced social gathering–and so go the stories of Night Reign. The album features new friends like Cautious Clay shredding on flute, Moor Mother echoing Aftab’s sentiment of how cruel the world is, and Chocolate Genius aka Marc Anthony Thompson lending his tender sensibilities to a song about being grounded. Longtime collaborators Petros Klampanis and Maeve Gilchrist also continue their musical partnership as core members of Arooj’s musical family. The resulting new music again showcases Aftab’s striking ability to build a thing of beauty from distinct elements. Night Reign is a clear departure from tradition or the reinvention of ancestral music. It’s a reflection of Aftab’s 15 years living in New York City and her unapologetic commitment to stay true to herself. With open-heartedness, candour and wit, Aftab lets us get even closer to her.”

Babe Report
Did You Get Better

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With a squall of guitar and a crash of drums, two years on from the release of their exhilarating debut EP, Chicago noisemakers Babe Report finally release their debut album in the form of the rough-and-ready Did You Get Better. With 10 new songs, and all wrapped in under half an hour, it’s an immediate and breathless arrival. However it finds you or you find it, Did You Get Better finds a way to take the reins, ploughing headfirst into its journey and rarely looking back for approval, to even worry if anyone else is joining for the ride.”

Bat for Lashes
The Dream Of Delphi

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “This album is dedicated to my daughter Delphi and is about both the intimacy and rawness of birthing and mothering her during a global pandemic in 2020 and the cosmic realisations I had as a human being following this experience,” says Natasha Khan, known professionally as Bat For Lashes. “I saw how Delphi came through me, through a mysterious portal, one more babushka doll in a long line of DNA. I memorised her first giggle, the smell of the spiral in her baby hair, the swirls of the milky way, echoes of our existence calling out through time. I noticed I was suddenly animal. My body morphed and provided, in an act of blind servitude and quiet devotion. I returned momentarily to the cycles and seasons, through naps and breastfeeds, writing this music in any spare moment I could, methodically mapping out the experience of having my mind slowly blown by something so seemingly common.”

Buffalo Tom
Jump Rope

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “After six years, the American alternative rock band Buffalo Tom are back with their 10th album Jump Rope. During the lockdown, the band kept on writing and sent each other ideas for arrangements and parts, which resulted in a sizeable backlog of song ideas. A sort of direction made itself apparent from the ideas they were trading; most of the songs called for an acoustic, quieter production. Eventually, emerging from their basements, they slowly got to actually working together on the songs in the same room, rehearsing quietly (especially for the super-loud Buffalo Tom), with acoustic guitar. After giving most of the songs a good amount of overdubs and a lot of electric guitars, the songs evolved into this beautiful and thrilling new album.”

Live In Aston 1977

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Live in Aston 1977 is the latest in an ongoing series of Can album releases focusing on the band’s live performances. Live In Aston 1977 is a whole new lens through which we can view a unique band with seemingly inexhaustible energy for live performance. It comes at a difficult period for Can; their recently released eighth studio album, Saw Delight, had been badly received and although posterity has been kinder, the reviews on release were savage. It might be expected that the live performances from this time would reflect some of the criticisms of the album, that they were slowing down, perhaps even feeling a little jaded, but it cements the notion that Can live, at any period, was mercurial. Within the Can Live series, this is the first to feature bassist Rosko Gee (Traffic) who had recently joined Irmin Schmidt, Jaki Liebezeit, Michael Karoli and Holger Czukay (who, relieved of bass duties is credited with ‘waveform radio and spec. sounds’ on the album), and would perform with them until the band’s split in 1979.”

Crowded House
Gravity Stairs

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “For more than four decades, Crowded House leader Neil Finn has been on an evolving, winding journey. Crowded House’s mid-’80s hits like Don’t Dream It’s Over and Something So Strong, combined with albums like Woodface and Together Alone, set the standard for the period’s erudite jangle-pop while always pushing the band’s art forward. That creative spirit brings Finn and his Crowded House bandmates to Gravity Stairs, their first new release since 2021’s Dreamers Are Waiting and eighth overall. Produced by the band with Steven Schram, the album shows Crowded House in its current incarnation — Finn, Nick Seymour, Mitchell Froom and Finn’s sons Elroy and Liam — as sharp as ever, feeling musically adventurous, and still capable of reaching the staggering highs that have made them an international favorite. It’s the act of climbing those figurative “gravity stairs,” inspired by a heavy stone staircase near where Finn vacations, that he likens to his own mindset as a creator.”

Jesse Dayton
The Hard Way Blues

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Jesse Dayton isn’t just an unsung hero of modern-day American music; he’s a towering figure in the realm of outlaw country, a master storyteller who effortlessly blurs the boundaries between genres and disciplines. With a career spanning multiple decades, Dayton has left an indelible mark as a chart-topping songwriter, guitar virtuoso, author, frontman, sideman, producer, and relentless road warrior. From his early days with the Road Kings, where he fearlessly melded Texas rockabilly and country with the raw energy of punk rock, Dayton has been a trailblazer. His innovative style not only earned him acclaim but also paved the way for collaborations with legends like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. Over the years, Dayton’s collaborations have spanned a diverse array of artists, from blues sensation Samantha Fish — his partner on the Grammy-nominated Death Wish Blues — to icons of country like Willie Nelson and Glenn Campbell, rock rebels such as Guns N’ RosesDuff McKagan and Glenn Danzig, and even visionary horror filmmakers like Rob Zombie. Yet amidst this vast spectrum of work, Dayton’s solo albums stand as a testament to his refusal to be confined by genre, earning him recognition as a roots-rock renaissance man.”

The Flying Luttenbachers
Spectral Warrior Mythos 2

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Spectral Warrior Mythos 2 is the first serious documentation of the transition from the 2017 reincarnation of The Flying Luttenbachers as a New York City-based unit to a Chicago band after Weasel Walter relocated in 2021. It wasn’t an easy transition, but then again, this project was never about taking the easy way out. (And, yes, WW switched from drums to guitar years ago.) A call rang out for new superheroes and veteran drummer Charlier Werber (he of units like Lovely Little Girls and Guzzlemug) heeded the call, lending his fastidious dexterity to the music. The band went through a series of bass players (including two alumni!) before landing on wildman jazz/metal shredder Luke Polipnick (of Abhorrent Expanse as well as modeling a wide array of other musical bags and hats). The trio hunkered down, playing sporadic gigs and honing the arrangements presented here. After years of service to this infernal hoard, Charlie is moving on and succeeding the drum throne to James Paul Nadien, who will debut with the Luttenbachers on their upcoming tour. Spectral Warrior Mythos 2 is a powerful display of Walter/Polipnick/Werber on fire, live in the studio, with no overdubs. The band knows these labyrinthine structures inside and out, and they pounce like panthers on and around the grid with the destruktiv zeal which is The Flying Luttenbachers landmark.”



THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Co-founded by Detroit natives Rahill Jamalifard and Lenny Lynch, Habibi got started in Brooklyn in 2011, earning early raves from far and wide. Dreamachine, their mesmerizing new record, marks a major sonic evolution for the band, rising beyond the critically acclaimed five-piece’s garage-rock roots to arrive at a singular swirl of analog and digital elements that underpin their search for spiritual and physical transcendence. Produced by Tyler Love and longtime collaborator Jay Heiselmann and featuring MGMT multi-instrumentalist James Richardson, the collection draws on a mix of post-punk, experimental pop, and vintage disco, calling to mind Tom Verlaine, Diana Ross, Kate Bush and Kim Deal, all filtered through the band’s shared love of Middle Eastern psych music. The songs here are their own distinct worlds, each an immersive quest in pursuit of something greater, and the band’s performances are relentless and hypnotic to match, driven by lush synthesizers, sinewy guitars, and a muscular rhythm section. The result is a record as fearless as it is enthralling, an alternatingly fierce and joyous work that ascends to new heights as it reckons with desire and escape, love and surrender, rebellion and reality.”

King Hannah
Big Swimmer

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Big Swimmer, the new album from Liverpool duo King Hannah (Hannah Merrick and Craig Whittle), was produced by Ali Chant (PJ Harvey, Perfume Genius) and finds wide-screen inspiration from the band’s time on the road over the past few years across the U.S., with stints supporting Kurt Vile and Thurston Moore. “Because if you’re visiting a different country, it’s more like you’re witnessing someone’s life,” Merrick comments on the band’s experiences on the road in the States. Therein a balance of lightness and darkness melded together, as the band witnessed everyday delights, horrors and mundanities — this all against the backdrop of their dreams of performing their songs around the world coming true. That balance is essential to Hannah and Craig, especially as they approach each release as an individual project, writing songs together from scratch. This can be heard in equal parts on their first EP, Tell Me Your Mind And I’ll Tell You Mine, and debut album I’m Not Sorry, I Was Just Being Me, out in 2020 and 2021 respectively.”

Willie Nelson
The Border

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Border is Willie Nelson‘s 152nd album, according to Texas Monthly’s interactive All Willie Nelson Albums Ranked list. It premieres 10 newly recorded Nelson studio performances including four new wongs written with Buddy Cannon Once Upon A Yesterday, What If I’m Out Of My Mind, Kiss Me When You’re Through and How Much Does It Cost —and Hank’s Guitar, a cowritten by Cannon and Bobby Tomberlin. In keeping with his longstanding tradition of shining a light on country music’s finest songwriters, Willie rounded out The Border, his first album of 2024, with his versions of compositions by Larry Cordle and Erin Enderlin (I Wrote This Song For You), Rodney Crowell and Will Jennings (Many A Long And Lonesome Highway), Shawn Camp and Monty Holmes (Made In Texas) and Mike Reid (Nobody Knows Me Like You).”

Sam Jr.
Inner Shadow

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Broken Social Scene mainstay and breakthrough indie act Sam Jr. is geared to release his intriguing sophomore record Inner Shadow. Dark, edgy, and contemplative, this album intersperses his signature fuzzy, industrial rock tones with his melancholic musings on modern living. Aside from the musical undertakings, Inner Shadow reveals the breadth of his ingenuity with his involvement in writing, shooting, directing, and editing the accompanying music videos. Mixed by frequent collaborator Sebastien Grainger of Death From Above 1979, the album blazes with an electrifying intensity guaranteed to leave an indelible mark to listeners. Sam Jr. shares his creative process: “My inspiration for writing songs was sparked by the easygoing nature of The Dude from The Big Lebowski. I wanted to capture that spirit in my music. Despite our challenges, I believe in embracing optimism and mellow vibes, and I want that to resonate in my songs.”

Swamp Dogg
Blackgrass: From West Virginia to 125th St.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Not a lot of people talk about the true origins of bluegrass music, but it came from Black people,” says Swamp Dogg. “The banjo, the washtub, all that stuff started with African Americans. We were playing it before it even had a name. I’m trying to touch on every kind of music I grew up loving and listening to. This is my way of letting people know that I’m not just a soul singer or whatever they think I am. I’m so much more.”  But Blackgrass, Swamp Dogg’s remarkable new album, is no history lesson. Produced by Ryan Olson (Bon Iver, Poliça) and recorded with an all-star band, the collection is a riotous blend of past and present, mixing the sacred and the profane in typical Swamp Dogg fashion as it blurs the lines between folk, roots, country, blues, and soul. The tracklist is an eclectic one — brand-new originals and vintage Swamp Dogg classics sit side by side with reimaginings of ’70s R&B hits and timeless ’50s pop tunes — but the performances are thoroughly cohesive, filtering everything through a progressive Appalachian lens that nods to tradition without ever being bound by it.”

Richard Thompson
Ship To Shore

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “To be moving is better than to be standing still,” Richard Thompson says. He should know. The influential singer-songwriter and virtuosic guitarist has been on a singular musical journey for over a half century, from his days in the ’60s as a pioneer of British folk rock with Fairport Convention, to his seminal ’70s duo work with Linda Thompson, to the exploratory, deeply emotional music of the solo career that has been his primary concern ever since. In 2018 Thompson released his 19th solo album, the critically acclaimed 13 Rivers, and now, five years later, he has followed it up with his latest communication, Ship To Shore. The time taken between these efforts is something like an eternity for the prolific artist, but there was a reason: “Covid kind of halted everything for two-and-a-half years,” he explains. But once Thompson began writing again, new songs came in a burst of inspiration. And much like a ship to shore himself, the artist was instinctively drawn to his own musical roots, employing them in the service of fashioning a deep and diverse 12-track collection that pulls from various styles, genres and eras, but remains unmistakably Thompson. “I liked the idea of having a strong base to work from and reaching out from there,” he says. “And I think of my base as being British traditional music, but there’s also Scottish music, there’s Irish music. There’s jazz and country and classical. As far as I’m concerned, once you establish your base you can reach out anywhere. It’ll still be you ringing through, wherever you decide to go musically.”

Alan Vega

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Insurrection is a previously unreleased album by the Brooklyn master of minimalism Alan Vega. The 11 songs on Insurrection showcase the unparalleled vision and uncompromising force from one of the most influential artists of all time. Vega’s wife and collaborator Liz Lamere says of the album, “Insurrection was created in the time period around 1997/’98, after Mutator and prior to Vega’s 1999 release of 2007 and captures the intense energy of N.Y.C. in the ’90s rife with crime, killing, hate, fascism, racism, and moral bankruptcy. You can hear the tortured souls floating through this album.”