New tunes, new bands and maybe even a new genre: Alan Cross’ weekly music picks

Tom Morello of the band Prophets of Rage performs in concert at Grona Lund on June 26, 2018 in Stockholm, Sweden. MICHAEL CAMPANELLA/Redferns

If you’re on vacation at any point in the next couple of weeks, unplug, relax, and enjoy this precious time. Don’t give a thought to anyone who can’t get anything done because everyone is on vacation. Drown out those thoughts with these fresh tunes that will enhance your downtime.

READ MORE: Alan Cross’ weekly music recommendations — Mid-summer selections

1. Tom Morello, We Don’t Need You

Tom Morello — he of Rage Against the Machine, Prophets of Rage, Audioslave, The Nightwatchmen, The Street Sweeper Social Club and so many other projects — has announced a solo album due Oct. 12 called The Atlas Underground. Look at this list of contributors: Portugal, The Man, Marcus Mumford, Tim McIlrath from Rise Against, both GZA and RZA, Steve Aoki, Killer Mike, Big Boi and more. Morello says he’s over his hate for EDM and is ready to create a brand new genre. Really? Here’s a sample of the kind of thing we can expect.

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2. James, Living in Extraordinary Times

James has been with us almost continuously since 1982 and are now up to their 15th album. If you’re a fan, you will find much to like here — except certain Trump fans who may take exception to the line, “white fascists in the White House.” Everything else is big, danceable and often quite life-affirming — such as this song.

3. CHVRCHES, Out of My Head

The Scottish synth-pop band has produced a standalone singer — it’s not from the current album, Love is Dead — with Wednesday Campanella, a Japanese electropop group. CHVRCHES has always been fond of Japan, so this anime-themed video will be appreciated by their fans in that part of the world.

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4. Houndmouth, Golden Age

I get a surprising number of emails from indie kids extolling the virtues of this trio (down from a quartet from their original lineup) from Indiana. There’s more of an electronic influence on this record, moving the band away from the indie/folk-rock sound of their first couple of albums.

5. Reuben and the Dark, Bobcaygeon

This could be the perfect middle-of-summer-head-to-the-lake song of the year. Calgary’s Reuben and The Dark had substantial success with live performances of this Tragically Hip classic, so they decided to formally record and release it. All proceeds will go to the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.

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London Calling — Fontaines DC, Chequeless Reckless

Okay, so this week’s selection isn’t actually from the U.K. but is in fact from Dublin. They’re a five-piece, garage-y rock outfit who inhabit a headspace similar to the kind of material we got from the indie bands who followed in the wake of The Strokes, with a little Mark E. Smith and The Fall thrown in. They don’t have a lot of original material yet, but what they have released, such as this single, is pretty compelling.

Undiscovered Gems — Cult Fantastic, Screens

I honestly don’t know much about this mysterious guy out of the LA area other than he likes to explore the intersection of music, technology, consumerism, and narcissism. He’s also big into a mix of science fiction, surrealism, Chili Peppers, Primus, George Clinton, and David Bowie. If you’re addicted to your smartphone (or know someone who is), this will hit home.

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Throwback Thursday — The Cult, (Here Comes the) Rain

The Cult is currently on tour with Bush and STP this summer in a package called Revolution 3. That had me feeling nostalgic for this remix of one of the singles from their 1985 breakthrough album, Love. A lot of dance remixes from the ’80s were stuffed with fluffy filler, but this production created by Mark Stent is actually an improvement on the original. A rare thing indeed.

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

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