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Spotlighting some new June tunes

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With eagerly anticipated new titles on the way from heavy hitters like Ed Sheeran, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews and Madonna, summer 2019 is shaping up to be tunefully memorable. As many new releases are timed to coincide with the heavy touring season, the music industry is hoping that global sales will continue to rise for a fifth straight year.

Here’s a sneak peek at a few just-released titles and a taste of things to come.

The Divine Comedy – “Office Politics” (Divine Comedy; June 7)

This Irish pop band led by musical savant Neil Hannon celebrates its 30th anniversary by releasing one of its very best albums to date. A number of themes reappear throughout the record’s 16 infectiously enjoyable songs: technology supplanting humans, office life and the office afterlife. Per usual, the songs are instantly hummable; their lyrics multi-tiered nuggets of humor and social comment. A shout-out to multi-instrumentalist Tosh Flood (Pugwash; Saville) for his endlessly tasteful approach to serving the song.

Perry Farrell – “Kind Heaven” (BMG; June 7)

For his first solo album in 18 summers, the Jane’s Addiction frontman has delivered a catchy and concise (just 31 minutes) nine-song collection produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie) with appearances from a number of familiar names. Elliot Easton of The Cars and Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters are joined by Dhani Harrison and several members of Soundgarden on a virtual Whitman’s Sampler of tunes that sometimes sound like they could have been recorded with Farrell’s other band – or even Flaming Lips, No Doubt or Smashing Pumpkins. Farrell says this is the first album by anyone mixed in Atmos 7.2 surround sound (offering eight unique channels of information, this format is ordinarily reserved for movies), but we’ll have to be content with the stereo version for now.

Peter Frampton – “All Blues” (Phenix Phonograph/Ume; June 7)

Over the last two summers, Frampton recorded nightly blues jams on stage with touring partner Steve Miller for a potential shared album (including last summer’s outstanding performance in Bangor at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion) but that concept evolved into Frampton setting up shop in his Nashville studio with his touring band to record this collection of blues standards. Guests include Larry Carlton on the Miles Davis-penned title track, Sonny Landreth on B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone,” Kim Wilson on Muddy Waters’ “I Just Want to Make Love to You” and Steve Morse on Howlin’ Wolf’s “Going Down Slow.” Since being diagnosed with a progressive muscular disorder, Frampton is now on his farewell tour but he is in excellent form on this record.

Santana – “Africa Speaks” (Concord; June 7)

Fifty summers ago, Carlos Santana and his band introduced stunned Woodstock attendees to a signature blend of pure rock and traditional Latin music. For this Rick Rubin-produced affair, Santana has delivered a heartfelt love letter to the music of the African continent that remains true to Santana’s original mission. Spanish singer Concha Buika fronts the band on the album’s 11 songs that encompass classic San Francisco psychedelia, rhythms of Senegal and Gambia, and even Cuba on the record’s catchiest cut: “Breaking Down the Door.” Carlos plans to tour the album in 2020 while marking a few anniversaries with his band during concerts this summer.

Ida Mae – “Chasing Lights” (Thirty Tigers; June 7)

Got roots music? This British husband and wife duo – Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean (they live in Nashville these days) - have got you covered. “Chasing Lights” begins with “Boom Boom Boom” (featuring Dweezil Zappa on guitar) and continues through 13 tracks encompassing traditional Americana with deep and dirty blues, a little English folk to remind us where they came from and a ruffian swagger to tie it together. A variety of vintage guitars and gear are used throughout. Dues paid from myriad opening slots for Greta Van Fleet and the Marcus King Band, this duo is poised for headlining gigs and this remarkable debut will give them a solid foundation to build the set.

Titles expected on June 14: Bruce Springsteen’s much buzzed-about “Western Stars,” Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real’s “Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)” (see them this Friday night at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion with dad Willie, Phil Lesh & Friends, Alison Krauss, The Revivalists and Particle Kid - Micah Nelson’s band), Dave Matthew Band’s “Rhino’s Choice” and Madonna’s “Madame X.”

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