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New Music Friday: 12 releases worth your time this weekend (22 Sept 2023)

The third week of September is traditionally be a busy time for new releases and 2023 is no exception. Here’s a dozen releases out this New Music Friday. Note the heavy Canadian representation.

Singles

1. City and Colour, Hard, Hard Time (Still/Dine Alone)

Dallas Green’s mellow Alexisonfire side project is about to set off on a European tour before he returns to Canada for a cross-country tour with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and Ruby Waters. This is the latest single from his seventh album, The Love Still Held Me Near.

2. Blink-182, One More Time (Universal)

Blink-182 dropped another couple of singles ahead of their first full album since the return of Tom DeLonge to the fold. This makes three tracks since Edging, the first single, was released eleven months ago. This song basically tells the story of the band. Pay attention to the lyrics.

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3. Steve Miller Band, I Don’t Mind (UMe)

Yes, that Steve Miller. And yes, it’s box set season. This is a previously unreleased song from the sessions that date as far back as The Joker album from 1973. Called J50: The Evolution of The Joker is a sprawling re-releases that includes 26 other unheard recordings.

4. The Breeders, Divine Mascis (4AD)

Not only is it box set season, it’s also the time for anniversary re-releases. The Breeders are in that category with a new version of Last Splash, the band’s big hit from 1993. This previous unheard song (one of two on the record and taken from the original analogue tapes) features J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, a guy revered by the Deal sisters.

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5. Econoline Crush, Locked in Your Stone (Independent)

The return of Trevor Hurst and Econoline Crush continues with yet another single from his When the Devil Drives album, a record that also comes with a documentary film about Hurst’s time as a psychiatric nurse working with First Nations patients in Manitoba. Both will be out later this year. The video for this single was created using AI.

6. Phil Selway, Picking Up Pieces (Bella Union)

Since there’s no sign of a Radiohead album (although we have been promised one “in a couple of years”), each of the members are off doing their own thing. The includes drummer Phil Selway who released a solo record called Strange Dance back in February. This song is from a companion piece entitled Live at Evolution Studios that features Phil collaborating with a string quartet. The entire collection of recordings will be available December 8.

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Albums

1. Arkells, Laundry Pile (Universal Music Canada) 

After dripping out a series of singles since the beginning of the year, Arkells have finally released what frontman Max Kerman calls “our most raw and intimate record yet. There are imperfections on the album, but that was kind of the point. We wanted to make the album simply feel as honest as possible.” It’s an accidental record, too. The band never really set out to make another album, but it just kind of…happened. Hey, when the songwriting muse visits, you welcome it with open arms. The new single is the album’s closer.

2. Will Butler + Sisters Squares, Will Butler and Sister Squares (Merge)

It was about a year ago that Will Butler announced that he was leaving Arcade Fire. Shortly after that, the sexual allegations scandals around his brother broke, sending the band into a weird kind of limbo from which they’ve yet to recover. Will started releasing new material back in the spring and the full album is available now.

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3. Kevin Drew, Aging (Arts & Crafts)

Speaking of bands with no plans to record anytime soon, Kevin Drew has taken time away Broken Social Scene–I mean, why not?–to release an album recorded at The Tragically Hip’s Bathhouse studios back in 2021. Working with collaborator Nyles Spencer, Kevin thought he was going to record a children’s album. It didn’t quite work out that way. Physical versions of Aging are available now. A digital version will appear on November 3.

4. Teenage Fanclub, Nothing Lasts Forever (Merge)

This is the 13th album from the Scottish alt-rock darlings. The last record (2021’s Endless Arcade) had a melancholy tinge since the record came in the wake of the dissolution of frontman Norman Blakes marriage and his attendance at too many funerals. This one, says Blake, is far more optimistic, and is centered on accepting life as it comes.

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5. Andy Taylor, Man’s a Wolf to Man (BMG Rights Management)

And on the topic of accepting what life gives you, Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor is still battling a serious case of prostate cancer, although at last word, the prognosis had improved. This is his third solo album and his first in 30(!!!) years. Given the circumstances, Durannies are most interested in what he has to say.

6. Sierra Pilot, Phantom Pains (Independent)

Sierra Pilot has been teasing this debut album for some time now with several advance singles that show guitar rock is alive and well and living in Canada. They thought they were going out on the road with Skid Row and Buckcherry next month, but that has been pushed to March because of health issues within Skid Row. This creates an opportunity for some solo headliner gigs this fall.

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