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edge staff writer


Spring ahead with some new music releases

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Don’t let the fresh snowfall keep you from checking out some of the multitude of new music titles being released this month. With the arrival of springtime (at least according to the calendar), we’ve got your T-shirt weather soundtrack.

David Byrne – “American Utopia” (March 9; Todo Mundo; Nonesuch)

The former Talking Heads CEO serves up some awkward delights on his first true solo album since 2004. With six producers pitching in, Byrne fans can’t be faulted for expecting more, but the Heads-like “Everybody’s Coming To My House” is a fun first single. See him at Merrill Auditorium in Portland on September 11.

The Decemberists – “I’ll Be Your Girl” (Capitol; March 16)

The band has a new producer on their eighth album in John Congleton (Modest Mouse, Nelly Furtado, Brian Wilson) and a very Smiths-like ‘80s vibe on first single “Once in My Life.” The album contains at least two future classics with the darkly-joyous “Everything is Awful” and “We All Die Young.”

Snoop Dogg – “Snoop Dogg Presents Bible of Love” (RCA Inspiration; March 16)

Snoop has taken a few alternate routes of late. Remember when he went Rastafarian and changed his name to Snoop Lion? How about his VH1 “Potluck Dinner Party” series with Martha Stewart? Just as unexpected is this 32-track gospel record. Surrounding himself with veterans of the form (including Faith Evans, Rance Allen, K-Ci, The Clarke Sisters and Mary Mary), Snoop showcases the assemblage with two albums of R&B fused praise music. “I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody about somebody who can save anybody,” Snoop raps. It works.

Jack White – “Boarding House Reach” (Third Man/Columbia; March 23)

White’s third solo album was born of a desire to think small. He told The New Yorker that he quietly demoed a batch of songs on a vintage reel-to-reel machine in a tiny Nashville apartment. Then again, crafting his own mythology is a White specialty. Funnily enough, the finished record has a colossal sound, made even more-so by Bob Ludwig’s mastering. The intense riff-fueled “Over and Over and Over” features a scatterbrained everything-bagel-style approach to production, including some Zappa-esque backing vocals. Possibly his most stylistically varied project to date, “Boarding House Reach” is a one-stop shop to satisfy all of your Jack White needs.  

Jukebox The Ghost – “Off to The Races” (JTG,LLC/Caroline; March 30)

Among the most reliable purveyors of contemporary power pop, this trio of earworm-crafting savants is about to release their first album in four years. Two songs issued in advance (“Jumpstarted” sounds like Queen meets Jellyfish, “Fred Astaire” simply sounds like a hit) have created enormous expectations for the full album. Jukebox The Ghost is one the finest and friendliest bands making music today.

Kacey Musgraves – “Golden Hour” (MCA Nashville; March 30)

Speaking of high expectations, Musgraves is one of those rare major label country artists in total control of her music. Raised on Loretta Lynn, Neil Young, Jim Croce, Glen Campbell and Ryan Adams, Musgraves stays true to her music - and fans love her for it. She has referred to “Golden Hour” as “trippy” but fans need not fear a twangy-psych record. Songs like “Velvet Elvis,” “Slow Burn” and “High Horse” prove that Kacey has cracked the code for creating accessible hit music with depth and staying power.


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