February 2, 2018 12:01 pm

Justin Timberlake’s title track, and other tunes Alan Cross is listening to this week

Justin Timberlake performs at the 2017 Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 23, 2017 in Franklin, Tenn.

John Shearer/Getty Images for M2M Construction

Are we finished arguing about the Grammys yet? Good, because it’s time to start looking ahead to what new music is coming our way in 2018. And surprise! An important pop record has been timed for release just before the Super Bowl.

READ MORE: New music to kick off 2018

1. Justin Timberlake, Man of the Woods

The weirdest thing about JT’s new album is that its rollout is so … conventional. No withholding it from streaming services to boost physical sales. No exclusives on Apple Music or any of its competitors. It comes out in all formats at exactly the same time. And its big coming out party is JT’s halftime performance for Super Bowl LII this Sunday. Very old school, indeed. Then again, this first single follows the very modern trend of having multiple writers (five) and producers (three) on one song. Ultra-specialization or too many cooks? Your call.

2. AWOLNATION, Here Come the Runts

Aaron Bruno — the only guy that really counts in AWOLNATION — first signaled the direction he was taking on the third album as long ago as mid-October. The supporting tour begins with two shows in Toronto on Feb. 10 and 11 before it dips into the U.S. ahead of an ambitious European tour that includes a gig in Moscow.

3. Simple Minds, Walk Between Worlds

Simple Minds, a going concern since 1977, has seen its share of ups and downs since the band’s peak in the early 80s. But their last couple of albums have been surprisingly satisfying. Don’t write these guys off as retro relics because this record — their 18th studio album — shows that they’ve still got something to say.

4. The Sheepdogs, Changing Colours

Saskatoon’s current major music export decided to expand their sonic palette with the band’s sixth album, bringing in things like Latin percussion, horns, a fiddle and a banjo through the 17 songs on this record. There’s a new guitarist, too, Jim Bowskill, who offers some fresh playing not only on guitar but on mandolin. But if you’re a fan of their classic rock sound, fear not. It’s still very much intact.

5. Field Music, Open Here

If you were to go into this new Field Music single with no advance information, you’d swear it was some track from the techno-pop times of the early 80s that you somehow missed. And while it would not sound out of place back then, it’s actually brand new from this well-regarded English band’s sixth album.

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This week’s undiscovered gem

What a terrible name. I have a feeling that the guys in Psychedelic Porn Crumpets adopted that name as a joke but were stuck with it when the band began to take off. Hailing from Perth, Australia, they are, as their name suggests, very psych-y. However, their taste in pornography (and what it may or may not have to do with tiny English griddle cakes) is unknown. Good song, though.

London Calling: Manic Street Preachers

Like Simple Minds, Manic Street Preachers (est. 1986) are determined to play the long game. Their 13th studio album, Resistance is Futile, is due April 6 and is being foreshadowed by a most Manic-y-sounding single.

Throwback Thursday track of the week: Consolidated and Butyric Acid

If you were part of alt-rock club culture through the 90s and early 00s, you probably danced to this one without having a clue as to the name of the band or the title of the song. Butyric Acid came from a 1994 album entitled Business of Punishment from Consolidated, an ultra-left activist uber-politically-correct alt-rock industrial hip-hop band from San Francisco. I went to several shows and it felt more like an Antifa rally than a concert. Consolidated hasn’t been heard from since about 2005, which is too bad because they’d probably have a lot to say about the Trump era.

Consolidated – Butyric Acid from Don Starnes on Vimeo.

Alan Cross is a broadcaster with 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for Global News.

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