Alan Cross’ weekly music recommendations: Friday the 13th, with feeling
Let’s face it: last week’s new release schedule was a bit of a dog, thanks to two national holidays.
This week, though, is a little more lively.
1. Cowboy Junkies, All That Reckoning
Has it really been six years since the release of the last album? The Junkies return with what they called their deepest and most complete record ever. “We’ve always tried to make records that are relevant to who we are as people,” says Michael Timmins. “These songs are about reckoning on a personal level and reckoning on a social level.” Like all Junkies albums, this one is probably best enjoyed after dark with lit candles and a glass of Chardonnay.
2. Rick Astley, Beautiful Life
I have a friend in Singapore who honestly believes that Rick Astley is the greatest artist of his generation. Since he’s the only person I know who is thrilled to be rickrolled, my wedding present to him was an autographed picture of Astley. He’s quite thrilled at the man’s career renaissance (remember that he retired in 1993) which, among other things, includes a close friendship with the Foo Fighters. His last album, 50, was a chart success in the U.K. Chances are he’ll do okay with this one, too.
3. Dirty Projectors, Lamp Lit Prose
I try to include a wildcard or two on each weekly list, and the ninth album from Brooklyn’s Dirty Projects certainly qualifies. Frontman David Longstreth seems to have overcome his heartbreak (the theme of a 2012 self-titled album) and has produced a less dancey and more guitar-driven record. Nice harmonies, too. The album features appearances by members of HAIM, Rostam of Vampire Weekend, and Robin Pecknold from Fleet Foxes. A good choice if you’re feeling adventurous about your streaming choices this weekend.
4. Slightly Stoopid, Everyday Life, Everyday People
This punky band from San Diego has spent some time over the last couple of years trying to press a playable record out of hash resin. So far all attempts have failed, but they haven’t been too troubled by that since they just break apart the bad pressings and smoke them. This new album features plenty of guest appearances (Ali Campbell from UB40, G. Love, Sly & Robbie, to name a few). I think we can assume that the studio control room was a smoky place.
5. Amy Shark, Love Monster
Amy Billings, she of the Gold Coast area of Australia, has already become quite the deal at home thanks to some well-received singles from her debut EP from last year, Night Thinker. The song that intrigues me the most is this duet with Mark Hoppus of blink-182.
London Calling — The Fernweh, Next Time Around
This Liverpool band (not to be confused with an LA group of the same name) says their name is a German word that describes a certain type of wanderlust: that feeling you get when you start researching vacation ideas with every spare second. You’ll immediately hear plenty of influences from the golden era of British folk as well as tinges of bands like The Byrds.
Undiscovered Gem — Hello June, Mars
Coming out of Morganville, West Virginia, this group conjures memories of a certain type of alt-pop found in the 1990s. This single comes from their debut EP, Spruce. Pleasant.
Throwback Thursday — Kazzer, Pedal to the Metal
When Mark Kaspryzk of Binbrook, Ont., was relegated to an alternate on the Canadian National Judo for the 2000 Olympics, he decided that a career in music might be a better option. Signing with Epic Records, he released a debut album under the named Kazzer which was nominated for a Best New Year Artist award at the Junos two years later. He’s since gone on to work with the band Redlight Kings and now trades under the name M. Rivers.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for Global News.
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