Alan Cross’ weekly music picks: The return of alt-rock

Billie Joe Armstrong performs with Green Day at the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in New York. AP Photo/Michael Noble Jr.

We could say that people who are nervous about today — Friday, September 13 — have paraskevidekatriaphobia, but I prefer to classify the condition as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Whichever you prefer, there is no fear of any shortages of music today.

In fact, I’m forced in increase our usual coverage.

1. Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Weezer

Earlier this week, we learned of the massive 2020 Mega Hella Tour featuring all three bands (plus The Interrupters, but their name is in a really tiny font on the poster.) The announcement was enhanced with a surprise club gig in LA by all three bands and by the simultaneous release of three new singles.

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2. Lumineers, III

The band was at the Toronto International Film Festival last week to promote a short film (44 minutes) that they created to go along with their new album. All the songs from the record have their own vignette within the movie and all the vignettes tie together to tell a story of addiction, pain, and loss. The album itself is very moving, but also emotionally raw. Depending on your state of mind, you might want to approach with caution.

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3. Pixies, Beneath the Eyrie

Even though The Pixies have been around for more than 30 years, this is just their seventh album. Okay, so there was that hiatus from 1993 to 2004, but they’re making up for lost time with three albums in the last five years. Recorded in an old abandoned church in upstate New York,  the surroundings seemed to have brought out a little goth in the band. And in an interesting twist, the album was heralded by a podcast series called It’s a Pixies Podcast which detailed the recording process.

4. Royal Foundry, WAKEUP WAKEUP

The first single and title track from Royal Foundry’s new record (due Sept. 27) continues in the Edmonton band’s evolution from a folky sort of thing towards something … not folky. Might this be the song that gives them their big breakout? It’s got a shot.

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5. Korn, The Nothing

For a lot of people, the nu-metal of the late ’90s was either (a) a really bad idea, (b) a very bad dream or (c) all of the above. While most of their contemporaries have disappeared back into the nothingness, Korn has managed to keep things alive. Thirteen albums into their career, there appears to be plenty of crunch left in Korn.

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Bonus Tracks

London Calling: Dry Cleaning, Magic of Meghan

Remember how the Sex Pistols savaged the monarchy with God Save the Queen back in 1977? This is exactly the opposite. London’s Dry Cleaning seems to really like the royal family, especially Meghan Markle.

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Undiscovered Gem: Killer Virgins, Karate Girl

Killer Virgins, a Toronto trio fronted by singer/songwriter/guitarist/former child actor Samantha Weinstein, ticks a lot of the right boxes. Brought up on Nirvana, Hole, Chili Peppers, and Eminem? Check. Parents into cool bands like The Damned, The Ramones and The Dead Kennedys? Yep. Current fans of Jack White, The Strokes, and Arctic Monkeys? Affirmative. Can Killer Virgins bring it all together? Absolutely.

Throwback Track: Belly, Feed the Tree

Belly — the alt-rock band, not the rapper— is one of the very, very few groups I remember to have come out of Rhode Island. (The Talking Heads count if you go back far enough.) Led by Tanya Donnelly (also of The Breeders and Throwing Muses), this 1993 song is about a mythical tree on a farm at the foot of which generations of a family were buried — hence “feed the tree.”

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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

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