New Music Friday: 8 releases out this week worth your attention (05 May 20 2023)

We’re a couple of weeks from a deluge of new albums and songs that will dominate our summer. First though, we do have to deal with the remaining spring releases.


1. Gord Downie and Bob Rock, Lustre Parfait (Arts and Crafts)

Before he died, Gord asked Canadian super producer Bob Rock if he had any music lying around. Turns out he did; Rock is always writing instrumental pieces to keep himself busy between album projects. He gave a chunk of material to Gord who went away to write lyrics. Over the following months, they met up in Toronto, Vancouver, and Los Angeles to flesh out the ideas. More than six years after those first chats about music, we finally get to hear all the results.

2. Ed Sheeran, – (“Subtract”) (Atlantic)

Fresh off his exoneration in the Thinking of You/Let’s Get It On copyright trial, this is the final of Sheeran’s basic math albums (+ from 2011, x in 2014, and ÷ in 2017). This is a pretty heavy album, featuring themes of grief, depression, and the confusion and fear that followed his wife’s cancer diagnosis.

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3. The Smashing Pumpkins, Atum: A Rock Opera in Three Acts (Because Music)

If we go way back to the beginning of Pumpkins’ career, we’ll encounter stories of Billy Corgan having writer’s block. It wasn’t until he wrote the song Today for the Siamese Dream album that he was able to break through. Since then, the man has been an ultra-prolific songwriting machine. Billy considers Atum to be a series of sequels to projects that go all the way back to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1996) and the two haves of the Machina album (both released in 2000). Atum itself had three parts. Act One was released back in November with Act Two following in January. If you need even more, there’s a box set that consists of all 33 Atum songs plus ten bonus tracks.

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4. SQÜRL, Silver Haze (Sacred Bones)

While I was poking through the stacks at Jack White’s Third Man Records store in Nashville last month, the staff was playing something really interesting on the stereo. It turns out it was a group called SQÜRL, a project that includes movie director Jim Jarmusch and his buddy Carter Logan. They call SQURL “an enthusiastically marginal rock band from New York who like big drums & distorted guitars, cassette recorders, loops, feedback, sad country songs, molten stoner core, chopped & screwed hip-hop, and imaginary movie scores.” This record may keep you busy for a while.

5. Buck 65, Super Dope (Handmade)

Canadian MC, producer, and one-time radio guy, Rich Terfy has been cleaning out his vaults, dropping many, many songs on his Bandcamp page. After a five-song EP entitled 14 KT Gold, he now presents us with a 15-track album that turned out to be longer than he expected. No videos yet, but he did release the album teaser.

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1. Jack Black, Peaches (Back Lot Music)

Running just 95 seconds, this single from The Super Mario Bros Movie (current box office gross: more than US$1 billion) is being promoted as “the shortest power ballad from the year’s biggest movie.” *Checks notes* Yep. That’s correct.

2. Bethany Cosentino, It’s Fine (Concord Records)

As she sings in this song, Bethany has evolved from the sound she created with indie-pop darlings Best Coast. This first single from an upcoming solo album entitled Natural Disaster has a sound that sounds like it originates from somewhere between LA and Nashville. If you’re a fan of Sheryl Crow or Bonnie Raitt, then you’ll want more of this.

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3. Køster, Numbrain (RPM Promotions)

Before Toronto’s Køster made his live debut at the Bovine Sex Club back in March 2022, he had a little accident that resulted in third-degree burns. But the show must go on. He showed up at the gigs hours later, still wearing his hospital gown. You gotta admire that. A debut album entitled What Do You Expect will be out next year.


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