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New Music Friday: 9 releases worth a listen this long weekend (30 June 2023)

It would be nice to spend the long weekend outdoors, but the wildfire smoke makes that challenging in some parts of the country. Earlier this week it just hurt to breathe. Maybe it would be best to limit outdoor activity just a bit in favour of spending some time indoors with the A/C and this recommended music.

Singles

1. Arkells, Skin (Virgin/Universal)

The Arkells’ latest summertime singalong (and they already have plenty of those) is more prep for the September 21st release of Laundry Pile. According to the band, they weren’t planning to record a new album quite so soon. The original goal was a collection of acoustic versions of recent songs, but once they started going through demos, things just kind of snowballs.

 

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2. Mother Mother, Normalize (Warner)

Mother Mother’s first single of 2023 should work well with people who endure “the metaphorical death which occurs when we’re not being ourselves; the deadening of the spirit when trying to appease some external framework of so-called normalcy. Ideally, it’s an anthem for the outcast.”

 

3. REM, Strange Currencies (Remix) (Craft Recordings)

Compared to other bands, REM has done much when it comes to exploiting their back catalogue. That could be changing with this re-re-release of this single (originally from 1994 and then part of the 25th-anniversary edition of Monster, released in 2019). Why this song now? It features prominently in the trailer of season two of the TV series The Bear—and it’s not the first time REM material has been used in the show. The show’s creator and executive producers are big fans.

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4. The Breeders, Go Man Go (4AD)

Since we’re on the subject of re-releases, The Breeders are preparing at 30th-anniversary reissue of their landmark Last Splash album from 1993 (due September 22) which is in the process of being mastered from the original analogue tapes. Part of that includes a “lost” song from those sessions that was co-written by Kim Deal, Black Frances of The Pixies and J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. When the album does come out, it’ll be available on twin 45-RPM 12-inch records for maximum fidelity.

 

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5. Aqua, Barbie Girl (Tiësto Remix) (Geffen)

Sorrysorrysorry, but there’s just no escaping the hype surrounding the upcoming live-action Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. In case you’ve forgotten this one-hit-wonder from 1997, Aqua was a product of Norway that according to Wikipedia is the 16th best-selling single of all time, just ahead of The Beatles’ I Want to Hold Your Hand. If this new version catches on, sales of just 75,000 or so will propel it past She Loves You. Oh, and there’s another version featuring Nicki Minaj. It’s a Barbie world.

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils (Watermill Recordings LLC)

Yes, this is the band (est. 1972 and still going after a million lineup changes) that gave us the hit Jackie Blue back in 1974. I’m only including it here because (a) who doesn’t need more cowbell?; and (b) I love the riff they do on Talking Heads’ Life During Wartime. I swear that this song exists yet the band has yet to post anything.

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Albums

1. 3rd Secret, The 2nd 3rd Secret (Independent)

I missed this one last week because it somehow appeared under the radar. That’s weird considering the band features Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron from Soundgarden along with Krist Novoselic, the bass player for Nirvana. The group also features Bubba Dupree (Void, Hater), and the dual vocalists Jennifer Johnson and Jillian Raye (bandmates with Krist in his band, Giants in the Trees). The whole thing was produced and mixed by Jack Endino, a guy who was so instrumental to the early grunge scene. If you want to explore more, a self-titled album was released in April 2022.

 

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2. The Baseball Project, Grand Salami Time (Omnivore Recordings)

Speaking of supergroups, this baseball-centric outfit featuring Peter Buck and Mike Mills (REM), Steve Wynne (Dream Syndicate), Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows), and Linda Pitmon (Filthy Friends) have reconvened after an interval of nine years. If you love baseball, you’ll need this record. As you can probably guess by the title, the current single is about a player who bounces from team to team.

 

3. The SLIP~ons, Heavy Machinery EP (Scamindy Records)

This Vancouver supergroup (I sense a theme here) features the work of Brock Pytel of The Doughboys, Brian Minato of Sarah McLachlan’s band, and mixing by Skinny Puppy’s Dave Olgilvy. What we get is some middle-90s power pop that would have sounded right at home on Minneapolis’ Twin/Tone Records alongside Soul Asylum and The Replacements. Fun fact: This is the first band I’ve ever seen with a tilde (that squiggly thing that acts as a dash in their name) in their name.

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