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Alan Cross’ weekly music picks: Spring into spring with some fresh songs

Michael Buble performs during the Telekom Street Gigs at Wappenhalle on December 4, 2018 in Munich, Germany. .
Michael Buble performs during the Telekom Street Gigs at Wappenhalle on December 4, 2018 in Munich, Germany. . Joerg Koch/Getty Images

Friday is the day around the world when most new music becomes available.

This week’s offering includes material from a Canadian superstar, a couple of interesting reissues, a little indie rock and what might be next-gen U2.

Here’s a look/listen.

1. Michael Bublé, bublé!

As a followup to last year’s Love album, Bublé released a digital version of the soundtrack to his NBC special (also entitled bublé! [sic]) which ran on Wednesday. It was a pretty impressive performance, featuring faves like Fly Me to the Moon and My Funny Valentine along with material from that last record. Michael calls the special “the greatest thing I’ve ever done.”
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2. Motley Crue, Like a Virgin

After years and years in development (and probably a lot of litigation), a film version of Motley Crue’s infamous bio The Dirt has finally made it to Netflix. As with Michael Bublé, Crue has released a soundtrack to go with this television event. It’s mostly a greatest hits thing, but it does include this metal cover of the Madonna hit.

3. Kate Bush, The Other Sides

Given that she’s been around for more than 40 years, a collection of Kate’s vast array of B-sides, rarities and alternate takes is long overdue. The Other Sides completes a four-pack of reissues of her recorded output that began several years ago. One disc is nothing but covers, which include The Man I Love (by the Gershwins) and this much-beloved song among Kateophiles.

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4. Jenny Lewis, On the Line

After starting in showbiz as a child actor, Jenny graduated to being a member of Rilo Kiley, a woefully-underappreciated band from Los Angeles that eventually called it quits in 2014. This allowed Lewis to shift her attention full-time to a solo career. Her fourth record features guest appearances by everyone from Ringo Starr to Beck and from Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and Ryan Adams (I wonder if there are stories there?). Love the lyrics to this single. Listen carefully.

5. Inhaler, It Won’t Always Be This Way

Back in 2012, a bunch of barely-teens in Dublin formed a band called Inhaler. Among their number was singer and rhythm guitarist Elijah Hewson of the posh Killiney section of town. His father, one Paul Hewson, better known as Bono, has something of a track record in the music industry. Let’s see if this is a case of like father, like son.

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London Calling — Man and The Echo, A Capable Man

Coming out of Warrington east of Liverpool, Man and the Echo like to use words like “oddball” and “quirky” to describe their political and social world view. As you listen, see how many people you can identify from the video artwork. Fun fact: The band’s name comes from a poem written by William Butler Yeats sometime around 1938.

Undiscovered Gem — N0V3L, Natural

Despite the awkward spelling of their name (yes, that’s a zero in place of an “o” and a “3” instead of an “e”), this Vancouver collective is all business when it comes to music. Their current EP (which is called Novel, with the word spelled conventionally) features eight songs that blow by in about 20 minutes. It’s spikey, angular, and agitated stuff that will probably conjure memories of Franz Ferdinand and Gang of Four. Fun fact: This song came bundled with another track entitled To Whom It May Concern.

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Throwback Track — The Pixies, Debaser

As late 80s alt-rock records go, few were more important than The Pixies’ second album, Doolittle, especially when it comes to the quiet-LOUD-quiet-LOUD dynamics that found their way into so much of the alt-rock of the 90s (cf. Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.) Fun fact: Debaser, the album’s leadoff track, was inspired in part by Salvador Dali’s surrealist film from 1929, Un Chien Andalou.

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Alan Cross is a broadcaster with 102.1 the Edge and Q107, and a commentator for Global News.

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