The Friday leading into the first long weekend of the summer is one of my favourite days of the entire year. Nothing beats the prospect of an entire Canadian spread out in front of us with all its glorious possibilities.
Might as well start the season with some fresh music, no?
1. Let’s start with a selection of reissues
There are new collections from Pink Floyd (a re-release of the Pulse compilation), Bruce Springsteen (The Album Collection Vol. 2, 1987-1996), Steve Miller Band (Complete Albums Volume 1 (1968-1976) and four from Paul McCartney and Wings (NEW, Chaos And Creation In The Backyard, Wings Greatest, and Thrillington).
2. Postdata, Let’s Be Wilderness
Paul Murphy of Wintersleep occasionally trades under this name for his solo work using a rotating series of cast members. Two members from Frightened Rabbit (the Scottish band that just lost their frontman, Scott Hutchison) appear along with a couple of Wintersleep bandmates. Murphy realizes the title is a bit weird, so he explains it this way: “It felt like it was a good, welcoming title that also has this ‘wonder’ quality as well. I want it to be inviting.”
3. Matthew Sweet, Tomorrow’s Daughter
When Sweet recorded his last album, Tomorrow Forever, in Omaha back in 2016, he also finished enough material for a sequel. That’s one prolific recording session.
4. Ray Lamontagne, Part of the Light
If you’d like something mellow and suitable for playing around the May long weekend campfire, the new album from Ray Lamontagne might be just the thing. Jim James of My Morning Jacket helped out on much of the record.
5. Courtney Barnett, Tell Me How You Really Feel
Barnett is one of the best things to come out of Australia in a long time. After a fantastic debut record called Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit in 2015 and an equally good collaboration with American Kurt Vile entitled Lotta Sea Lice, she’s back with more sharp songwriting. Never has the mundane sounded so cool.
London Calling – Bad Breeding, Psychic Cooper
For the last couple of years, some in the UK have been calling Bad Breeding the best new punk band in the country. They come from a town called Stevenage, which is about an hour’s drive north of London. All four guys say the town is exceedingly dull, which is why they’re driven to liven things up. Their newest release is a 12-inch four-track EP entitled Abandonment.
Undiscovered Gem – Little Junior, Crooked Tooth
This Toronto four-piece specializes in a flavour of slacker power-pop (is that an oxymoron?) which is geeky in a most adorable way. Imagine, if you can, Weezer mixed with Pixies and the Talking Heads. Their debut album, Hi, features a heartbreak song written by singer Rane Elliott-Armstrong for his boyfriend. Apparently they both wish they had gotten braces when they were young.
Throwback Thursday – Sex Pistols, God Save the Queen
All this week I’ve been leading a group on a tour of UK rock’n’roll landmarks. On Tuesday, Lee, our guide and driver, took our minibus up The Mall towards Buckingham Palace and turned this song on full blast. We passed the changing of the guard with the windows down and everyone on the bus singing. Stupid tourists.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for Global News.