Alan Cross’ weekly music picks: It’s summer. Time for some ska

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones appear on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' on March 16, 2018. Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images

While everyone is fighting over what should be the song of the summer, new music keeps coming at us. Some of the acts this week haven’t released new material in six, seven — even 30 years. Here are just some of the 24,000 new songs uploaded to the streaming music services today.

1. The English Beat, Here We Go Love

The last time The English Beat released an album of new material, ET: The Extraterrestrial had just appeared in theatres and Prince William was just a few days old. To put this all into a musical perspective, the CD had yet to be introduced to the public. In other words, they’re little overdue. This edition of the band, correctly called “The English Beat Starring Dave Wakeling,” features none of the original band members, but at least the vocalist is the same. That counts for something, right? And because ska sounds so great in the summer, we can overlook any other quibbles.

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2. Christina Aguilera, Liberation

As X-Tina approaches the 20th anniversary of her debut album — yes, really; she’s now 37 — she’s firmly established as senior diva in the pop world. Her eighth album took four years to make and is her first in six years. But if it seems like she’s never been away, it’s true, thanks to her role as one of the four judges on The Voice. The result is something that fans will appreciate: big, bold, operatic and even symphonic. This single — a co-write with Kanye West — required 10 — ten! — other co-writers and six  —  six! — producers. That’s how you make pop music today.

3. Chromeo, Head Over Heels

Montreal’s Chromeo has been established since 2002, although it’s only been in the last seven or eight years that they’ve been able to show off their potential. Their fifth album features more funky, dancey pop featuring guest appearances from French Montana, Raphael Saadiq, and Pino Palladino, who’s known for his work with D’Angelo. DRAM, the Grammy-nominated singer, shows up on this single, along with Jesse Johnson (Prince’s band).

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4. Wilko Johnson, Blow Your Mind

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The fact that this album exists is nothing short of a medical miracle. Back in 2013, Wilko — a member of the legendary pub rock band, Dr. Feelgood — announced that he had terminal cancer and embarked on a farewell tour. Since then, he’s toured several more times, worked with Roger Daltrey, Madness and a number of other admirers. Given Dr. Feelgood’s effect on the early punks, the longer we can enjoy Wilko’s work, the better. This is his first album of new material in 30 years.

5. Mighty Mighty Bosstones, While We’re at It

When main Bosstone man Dicky Barrett was asked about how the new album was coming along, he said that because of the political and social situation in the United States, the record would be angry. And now that it’s here, it’s definitely fast and furious, a reaction against what he calls “unhinged hatred” by politicians (hello, Mr. Trump!) and others. Time for some intense punk rock, then.

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London Calling: The Blinders, L’Etat, C’est Moi

When the times call for intense music, Manchester never disappoints. This trio describes its mandate thusly: “We welcome to an alternative world informed by reality, Indulge in the drudgery under an absolute autocracy.” The first single from their upcoming debut album, Columbia, cops a quote from Louis XIV that translates as “The state is me,” which is kind of what Donald Trump and his autocratic buddies think.

Undiscovered Gem: Roddy Colmer feat. NEFE, Make It to Forever

Roddy is from a fine Toronto area band called Rebel Emergency but also takes time out to explore a solo career. His second album, Afterglow, features this song written for Rebel Emergency but never recorded. It was rewritten as a duet, which brings us to this single.

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Throwback Thursday: Tones on Tale, Go!

Tones on Tail spun out of Bauhaus after Peter Murphy bailed. The three remaining members, Daniel Ash, David J and Kevin Haskins, released a series of singles and EPs before rebranding as Love and Rockets. They, of course, had a great run in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which included this Goth club hit from 1984. Tones on Tails are back — sort of —under the guise of Poptone, a new band (a spinoff of a spinoff?), which features Ash, Haskins and Haskins’ daughter, Diva Dompe. Their entire repetoire consists of Tones on Tails songs, all with a modern spin and female vocals.

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

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