Looking to relive the royal wedding and then chase it down with some nu-metal?
We can do that this week.
1. Various Artists, The Royal Wedding – The Official Album (Live)
Not only did I spent the week leading up to the Royal Wedding in London, I watched the ceremony in a packed Fitzrovia pub over a special wedding brunch, which included plenty of cholesterol, blood pudding, and a bottomless Bloody Mary. At no time in the proceedings did I think, “Gee, I wish I could buy the audio of this ceremony on vinyl.” Yet Decca Records, one of the UK’s oldest record companies, landed royal approval to be the official label for the day. If vinyl isn’t your thing (the physical record is out on May 25), you can buy the album on iTunes for $11.99 or most of the 27 individual bits for $1.29 each.
2. Jonathan Davis, Black Labyrinth
The Korn frontman spent a long, long time working on a solo album, stealing time in between his commitments with his day job as a nu-metal god. Black Labyrinth is largely inspired by something known as the Ganzfeld Experiment, which combined sensory deprivation with a test for ESP. As the album was released on May 25, 20 fans underwent this same experiment in Long Beach, California, with Davis leading the process. That wins the prize for freakiest album release party ever.
3. Chvrches, Love is Dead
Scotland’s Chvrches, one of the jewels on the Glassnote Records roster (labelmates include Mumford & Sons, Strumbellas, and Robert DeLong), has already issued four singles from their much-anticipated third album. Using Dave Stewart of Eurhythmics and Matt Berringer from The National has added a new depth to their sound.
4. Shawn Mendes, Shawn Mendes
How far you’ve come, Shawn. Back in 2013, you were posing six-second videos on Vine. Today your on Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. And you’re just 19, too. Your hometown of Pickering, Ont., must be very proud. This self-titled album has already received glowing reviews around the planet, which pretty much assures that Shawn’s fourth world tour — did I mention he’s just 19? — will be another sellout affair.
5. Snow Patrol, Wildness
Welcome back, Snow Patrol! Has it really been seven years since your last album? They do have an excuse for being AWOL for so long. Singer Gary Lightbody had an extended rough time, dealing with alcoholism, depression and his father’s dementia. It should come as no surprise that there is plenty of hurt and pain in the album’s 10 songs. Then again, that’s when Snow Patrol seems to be at their best. Will they be able to reach the heights of “Run” and “Chasing Cars” with this record? We’ll see.
London Calling: Psylouette, My Favourite Disaster
I heard a lot of interesting music when I was in the UK last week, including this single from a boy-girl duo from Brighton. They’re sort of in a shoegaze headspace, but they lean more to the dream pop side of things with this song. It makes for good floating listening on a summer evening.
Undiscovered Gem: A Place Both Wonderful and Strange, Hurt
This Brooklyn trio describes what they do as “occult dance music” and “new jack witch.” Another description from their website: “Dark, Lynchian electronic noise pop performance art inspired in equal parts by noir and Janet Jackson.” While this cover of the Nine Inch Nails song leans more towards the original than the Johnny Cash version, it’s still worth a listen.
Throwback Thursday: The Cardigans, Lovefool
If you were around in the mid-1990s, you’ll remember that there was a period when it seemed that all was fair game when it came to alt-rock. Grunge had waned and was in the process of being replaced by the punk rock revival (Green Day, Offspring, etc.), while others were championing new non-grunge and non-punk sounds. The Cardigans came out of the middle of Sweden to become a big hit in Japan before achieving a ton of radio airplay for this single from their third album, First Band on the Moon.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for Global News.