Are we really into the second half of July already? Time flies when you’re in lockdown. And don’t you just want to stand on the border and scream “GET IT TOGETHER, AMERICA?” It won’t help, but you might feel better.
1. Alanis Morissette, Reckoning (single)
Had this been any other perfectly normal boring year, Alanis Morissette would have been on the road celebrating the 25th anniversary of Jagged Little Pill. It would have been a good tour, too, with Garbage and Liz Phair in tow. Not gonna happen, of course, but we do have a brand new album entitled Such Pretty Forks in the Road coming in two weeks. Get started with this single. Glittery.
2. Metallica and San Francisco Symphony, All Within My Hands (Live) (Single)
Metallica signalled they were going to release something earlier in the month — and here it is. Back on Sept 6 and 8, 2019, the band performed their “S&M2” concerts, which follow up on their previous symphonic adventure back in 1999. Metallica and San Francisco Symphony: S&M2 will feature symphonic versions of Metallica songs. There’s a variety of packages coming, including a Super Deluxe Box, which will be limited to 500 copies and will include the actual sheet music used during the performances. How much? Well, if you have to ask…
READ MORE: (Aug. 1, 2019) Metallica responds to B.C. woman who fended off wild cougar with the band’s music
3. Psychedelic Furs, Come All Ye Faithful (Single)
No, it’s not the Christmas carol, although I have no idea why you’d choose such a title for a July single release. No matter. We haven’t seen an album from the Furs in almost 30 (!!!) years. To put that into perspective, the last time the group released an album, there was still such a thing as the USSR. Made of Rain will be here July 31. COVID-19 willing, there will be a big world tour in 2021.
4. Elvis Costello, Hetty O’Hara Confidential (Single)
Back in February, Elvis hustled himself to Helsinki in the dead of the Finnish winter so he could work undisturbed on new music. Hetty O’Hara Confidential, the story of a gossip journalist, is the second single in a drip-drip-drip series of releases, the next of which is due Aug. 4.
5. The Pretenders, Hate for Sale
Chrissie Hynde may be turning 69 in September, but she has no intention of retiring. The band’s 11th studio album harkens back to The Pretenders as they were back in the 1980s — maybe the best thing they’ve done since Learning to Crawl in 1984. The addition of guitarist James Walbourne (he from a band called The Rails) appears to be an excellent move as he’s proving to be the kind of collaborator Chrissie needs. There are parts of this single that remind me of the fierce Precious from the 1980 debut album. Meaty stuff. Love the harmonica in the single, too.
London Calling: David Byrne’s Badside
The name of this Liverpool four-piece comes from a member’s grandmother who was always wondering about his dating situation: “Are you courting anyone, dear?” And lest you think the song has anything to do with the Talking Heads frontman, it’s supposed to call out various forms of hypocrisy in the U.K., like people who say they aren’t racist but still do racist things.
Undiscovered Gem: Dead Defined, Hurt
This is the work of Toronto-area musician Craig Ewan, who definitely leans harder. This NIN song is hard to cover, but Ewan manages to pull it off.
The Cult, She Sells Sanctuary (The Long Mix)
The 1980s were all about extended dance mixes. Even groups like ZZ Top got into teasing out songs like Legs and Sharp-Dressed Man for the dance floor. The Cult also enjoyed stretching their songs, sometimes in multiple ways. The big single from their 1985 Love album appeared in several different versions, including “The Long Mix,” which simply extended all the best bits. The alt-rock and Goth kids loved it.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with Q107 and 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for Global News.