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Alan Cross’ weekly music picks: Coronavirus can’t stop the music

The Killers guitarist Dave Keuning, singer Brandon Flowers and drummer Ronnie Vannucci perform at the 13th annual Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation's Grand Slam for Children benefit concert on October 11, 2008.
The Killers guitarist Dave Keuning, singer Brandon Flowers and drummer Ronnie Vannucci perform at the 13th annual Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation's Grand Slam for Children benefit concert on October 11, 2008. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

If this were the olden days, the restrictions on public contact would have made it almost impossible to acquire any new music. And while it’s true that record retailers are getting hammered by the coronavirus crisis, the supply of new tunes via digital services remains uninterrupted, not to mention sanitized for your protection, too.

Here’s what we’re listening to this week.

1. The Killers, Caution

Although they’ve been around for almost twenty years, Imploding the Mirage (due May 29) is only The Killers’ sixth studio album. It’s also the first album from the band since they relocated from their hometown of Las Vegas and the first time they’ve enlisted this many collaborators. Lindsey Buckingham (now ex-Fleetwood Mac) and kd lang are just two of the people who appear. The Killers do plan to tour this year, but like everything else, it’s been pushed back until things settle down.

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2. The Pretenders, The Buzz

Chrissie Hynde may be 68 and a longtime heavy smoker, but her voice sounds as sweet as it did in 1981. Must be that clean vegan living. Hate for Sale (due May 1) will be the eleventh Pretenders album. They, like The Killers, want to take things on the road starting in May, but we’ll see, won’t we?

3. Morrissey, Bobby, Don’t You Think They Know?

Despite his well-documented recalcitrance, Morrissey keeps finding record labels willing to release new albums. I Am Not a Dog on a Chain (out this week) is Mozzer’s thirteenth studio record, which he describes as “too good to be true… too true to be considered good.” Words like “bold” and “adventurous” are being thrown about. This single features vocal contributions from Thelma Houston.

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4. Powfu, Coffee for Your Head/Death Bed

This requires some explanation. Almost three years ago, an artist named beabadoobee issued an acoustic track called Coffee. In 2019, someone named Otterpop sampled the hook from Coffee and added a beat. Then Powfu (a Canadian, by the way) obtained everything, singing and rapping over the beat, releasing it on SoundCloud and then YouTube, where it has more than 35 million views. From there, it migrated to TikTok (over a million views) and from there to Spotify where it has more than 21 million streams. Now it’s starting to make it to radio. The music industry is an interesting place these days.

READ MORE: Michael Stipe sings ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It’ in coronavirus PSA

5. Roger Eno and Brian Eno, Mixing Colours

The Eno brothers have each been making music for decades (Brian being the most famous/prolific), so it might come as a surprise that they’ve never, ever worked together on an album. Should you require something soothing as you wait out your self-quarantine, this might just be the thing. Worked for me.

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Bonus Tracks

London Calling – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Blue Moon Rising

I’ll let Noel describe his fourth EP (also called Blue Moon Rising) in the last 24 months: “How it manages to combine the influences of Metallica, The Jesters of Malice, Mantovani, Robinson Crusoe as well as Bob Marley AND The Wailers is literally beyond me. Oh, and it’s not about City by the way.” (Manchester City’s colour is blue, so I’m glad he cleared that up.)

Undiscovered Gem – Paragon Cause, Lost Cause

This electro-pop/indietronica duo from Ottawa released a brand new ten-track record this week. For fans of the dark and mysterious side of bands like The Cure, Portishead, and, er, The Beach Boys.

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Throwback Track – R.E.M., It’s the End of the World as We Know It (But I Feel Fine)

With all coronapocalypse doom and gloom, it seems obvious that this song from 1987 would reappear on a chart somewhere. And it did earlier this week on iTunes as people looked for something to sum up the situation. Even Michael Stipe appeared with some online advice while using the track.

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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.