Alan Cross’ weekly music picks: Liona Boyd sends her love, and a Nirvana cover from Post Malone

(L-R) The late Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Post Malone. CP Images archive

In a normal year, we’d feverishly be making playlists for the first long weekend of the summer. In 2020, though, we’ve been making quarantine playlists since March. Here are a few more suggestions to add to your COVID-19 library.

1. Liona Boyd, Sending Love in the Time of Corona

This song came to Boyd whilst bicycling near her winter house in Palm Beach, Fla., and thinking about how her family and friends were dealing with the pandemic. A melody and some lyrics popped into her head, which she then posted on YouTube using her computer’s camera. Fan comments were enough to persuade her to make a proper recording, working remotely with a producer back in Canada. Proceeds will go to the Unison Benevolent Fund, which helps Canadian musicians who have fallen on hard times.

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2. Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp, Isolation

A billion years ago (in this case, September 2019) when we could still venture out to a concert, Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp performed together at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival. Part of their set included Isolation by John Lennon, a track from the 1970 album, John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band. No one knew we’d all be thrown into isolation when this recording was made, but now it feels rather timely.

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READ MORE: Johnny Depp covers John Lennon’s ‘Isolation’ along with Jeff Beck

3. Post Malone, Nirvana Tribute

Post Malone shocked people (in a good way) when he tore through a set of Nirvana songs on a quarantine-induced live stream earlier this year. The response has been so good that his record label has issued a couple of songs from the session as bonafide singles.

4. Moby, Power is Taken

Back in January, Moby promised to donate all the proceeds from his 16th studio album, All Visible Objects, to a range of charities and organizations. None have to do with the coronavirus specifically, but everyone can use a little help these days. Included on Moby’s gift list are Brighter GreenMercy For AnimalsRainforest Action Network, and the ACLU. This single features vocals from D.H. Peligro of the Dead Kennedys.

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5. The Dears, Heart of an Animal

The Montreal band’s eighth studio album, Lovers Rock, is available digitally now with a vinyl edition set to appear on Aug. 21. (What? No CD version?) It’s kind of doom-y (longtime fans will hear similarities to their post-9/11 album, No Cities) and seems to fit in well during a pandemic. Listen for a guest appearance by Jake Clemons of the E Street Band and Sam Roberts.

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Bonus Tracks

London Calling: JARV IS, House Music All Night Long

After disbanding Pulp, one of the great bands of the Britpop era, Jarvis Cocker bounced around through various projects (including a stint as a BBC radio presenter) before forming JARV IS, a group designed for live performance. But over time, some singles appeared, which have since coalesced into a full record to be entitled Beyond the Pale. It was supposed to be out this spring, but the virus has delayed it until September. We do, however, have this single.

Undiscovered Gem: Hamish Anderson, You Give Me Something

Coming out of Melbourne, Australia, Anderson has already won a number of awards and accolades. He’s also toured with everyone from BB King to Los Lobos and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. This is from his second album, Out of My Head.

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Throwback Track: Kraftwerk, The Model

We lost another one last week when Florian Schneider, who co-founded Kraftwerk back in 1970, died of cancer. The influence of Kraftwerk is almost equal to that of The Beatles. Everyone from the techno-pop and techno artists from the ’90s to industrial act to hip-hop performers owe a debt to them. The fact that they’re not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is nothing short of a travesty. This track from 1978’s The Man-Machine album, was a sizeable international hit.

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

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