With summer driving season upon us–did you take an extra-long weekend because of Canada Day being on Thursday?–you’ll need some tunes for the stereo. Let’s try these.
1. Willie Mason, Outwit the Devil
Already Dead (Cooking Vinyl)
Descended from the 19th philosopher William James (the brother of novelist Henry James), Willie is a folksy, bluesy sort of singer-songwriter preparing to release his fifth album in August. Brendan Benson (Jack White’s buddy in The Raconteurs), the whiskey-voiced Mark Lanegan, and The Chemical Brothers are all fans.
2. Damon Albarn, The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows
The Nearer the Found, More Pure the Stream Flows (Transgressive)
Recommended If You Like: Whatever it is that Damon does
Damon hasn’t worked with Blur in a while and Gorillaz is on hold for the moment. But Damon isn’t going to sit still for a second. This album was originally envisioned as an orchestral piece inspired by the Icelandic landscape (Damon has been a fan of Iceland for years). It was recorded in a stone barn (an Al-barn? Sorry) with a few of the sea in the English countryside. This is his second solo album.
3. T. Thomason, Lovers in a Dangerous Time
RIYL: Cockburn covers
While the original 1984 version is upbeat, the Barenaked Ladies showed in 1991 that it had more power when slowed down slightly. Now comes T. Thomason, who slows things down even further and repurposing it as a queer anthem, inspired by the time spent in lockdown with his partner. This again proves that a great song can be interpreted in many different ways.
4. Khartoum, Took It All Away
Vultures EP (Young Poet Records)
RIYL: Courtney Love endorsed artists
Last I heard, Courtney was living and working in London, so it’s natural to assume that she’s been listening to some new local music. Khartoum, a four-piece London band, has received her stamp of approval. The EP will be out on August 20. Fun fact: The lead singer is the grandson of Marianne Faithfull.
5. Rare Americans, Baggage
RA#3: Jamesy Boy & The Screw Loose Zoo (Frontside)
RIYL: Facing up to your flaws
Here we have a Slovak-American band working and living in Vancouver. Up until now, their most well-known song has been Brittle Bones Nicky, which has had more than 50 million views on YouTube. It probably helps that they like to vlog cooking tutorials, too. Catchy stuff—and a cool video, too.