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Alan Cross’ weekly music picks: New Smashing Pumpkins, posthumous Prince and more

Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins performs onstage during the 'Ogilala' solo tour at Hollywood Forever on November 9, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins performs onstage during the 'Ogilala' solo tour at Hollywood Forever on November 9, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif. Scott Dudelson/WireImage

There are some big names on this week’s list, including our first taste of the new old-school Smashing Pumpkins and an advance look at the next project from everyone’s favourite cartoon band, Gorillaz.

Let’s get into it.

1. Prince, Mary, Don’t You Weep

When a friend of mine once got to tour through Prince’s Paisley Park complex in Minneapolis, he struck up a conversation with one of the engineers. “How much unreleased music is in these vaults?” he asked. The engineered just smiled and said, “A hundred years’ worth.” The first of what will no doubt be many posthumous albums will arrive Sept. 21 in the form of Piano & Microphone 1983, a nine-track, 35-minute release that features home recordings like this. Amazing, this.

2. Dave Matthews Band, Come Tomorrow

It’s been six years since the DMB last released an album. Things got off to a rocky start when news broke of sexual misconduct allegations against violinist Boyd Tinsley (he’s since left the group and only appears on one song), but with the summer jam band season upon us, the focus will return to the new music. Interesting, Dave’s horn player, LeRoi Moore, appears on two songs — a neat trick, since he died in an accident in 2008. Longtime fans might find this record sounds a little more lush than previous releases.

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3. Smashing Pumpkins, Solara

With an almost complete reunion of the classic Smashing Pumpkins lineup set to hit the road next month, it’s time to start releasing new material as a way of seeing if this project has any legs. While the tour will focus on material from the first three albums (Gish, Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness), I’d expect them to drop in a few tracks from the upcoming, still-untitled, Rick Rubin-produced album. Solara marks the first time in 18 years Billy Corgan, James Iha, and Jimmy Chamberlin have appeared on the same song.

4. Gorillaz, Humility

Gorillaz fans are used to waiting years between releases. Not this time, though. The band’s sixth album, The Now Now, will come a mere 427 days after last year’s Humanz. Humility is one of two advance songs that have popped up ahead of the album’s June 29 release. And like past records, this album promises to feature some interesting guest appearances. This track features jazz guitarist George Benson, the guy famous for the hit On Broadway in 1978.

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5. Dierks Bentley, The Mountain

The country star needed to get away from the distractions of Nashville (he owns a gastropub on Broadway that takes up some of his time), so he moved his operation to Studio in the Clouds, an eco-friendly recording studio in Telluride, Co. It’s high in the Rockies, hence the name of the album. “We honoured 4/20 every day we were there,” he told Rolling Stone. Let’s see if that comes out in the music.

London Calling: LUMP, Curse of the Contemporary

Not a great name for a band, but U.K. singer-songwriter Laura Marling and his partner, Tunng’s Mike Lindsay, seem comfortable with it. The two met at a Neil Young concert after-party and discovered that each had songs they were unable to finish. As you’ll see with this video, they somehow bonded over Sasquatches and Yetis. This is a single from their self-titled album.

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Undiscovered Gem: Israel Nash, Rolling On

Israel Nash paid his dues playing all over New York City before moving to a tiny town in central Texas, where he has a recording studio in a Quonset hut out back. This single comes from an album entitled Lifted, due July 27.

Throwback Thursday: The Pursuit of Happiness, I’m an Adult Now

Back in 1986, the idea of an indie band getting their homemade, zero budget video on MuchMusic was insanity. Yet The Pursuit of Happiness did just that with their original performance of “I’m an Adult Now.” A year later, they were in the studio with their hero, Todd Rundgren. That resulting album, entitled Love Junk, celebrates its 30th anniversary this month.

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

Subscribe to Alan’s Ongoing History of New Music Podcast now on Apple Podcast or Google Play