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edge staff writer


What’s new (and coming soon) in music

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Fall might be my favorite time of year. Not so much for the pumpkin spice that seems omnipresent at the moment, but for the newly arrived music titles, and those on the way, to warm your frosty ears.

The Avett Brothers – “Closer Than Together” (American/Republic; out now)

Everything that makes The Avett Brothers one of the most consistently great American bands is present on the band’s 10th album. Strong songwriting, genre-shifting and sublime musicianship rule on “Closer Than Together” - a topical album of melodic messages, not overtly political, but cleverly tied to the music.

Wilco – “Ode to Joy” (dBpm; out now)

I consider myself a Wilco freak, but I confess to a blind spot in regard to the band’s last two albums. Vintage Wilco offerings like “Summerteeth” and “Sky Blue Sky” are a world away from “Star Wars” (2015) and “Schmilco” (2016) – two titles I’m still trying to absorb. “Ode to Joy” is closer to the former and that gives me hope that Jeff Tweedy hasn’t completely abandoned his commercial instincts. There are plenty of earworms in these new songs that seem to reveal more upon each spin.

Kacy & Clayton – “Carrying On” (New West Records; out now)

Like 2017’s “The Siren Song,” this remarkable album was produced by Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy at his band’s The Loft studio in Chicago. The album’s cool vintage sound puts the focus on the Canadian duo’s powerful songwriting and familial harmony. Like the Tweedy-produced “The Siren’s Song” (2017), “Carrying On” is barely a half-hour long but it’s a wholly satisfying listen. One of the best new records I’ve heard so far this year.

Art Alexakis – “Sun Songs” (The End Recordings/BMG; Oct. 11)

Everclear’s leader has readied his debut solo record – one that he describes in the record’s press release as “an acoustic singer-songwriter type of album.” Promising to push the boundaries of what people expect from the composer of “I Will Buy You a New Life,” “The Man Who Broke His Own Heart” and “AM Radio,” Alexakis says the new record has a number of influences, from “classic country to hip-hop.” First single “The Hot Water Test” sounds almost like an outtake from an imaginary episode of “Everclear Unplugged.” I loved playing Everclear on the old “Mike & Mike Show” and it should be fascinating to hear Alexakis’s album in its entirety.

Gregg Rolie – “Sonic Ranch” (Gregg Rolie Music; Megaforce; Oct. 11)

The original voice and co-founding member of both Santana and Journey is back with his first full-length solo album since 2001. Lead single “What About Love” is a powerful power chord-driven rocker inspired by friend (and guest) Ringo Starr’s message of peace and love. Rolie is a longtime participant in Ringo’s “All-Starr Band,” and says he sometimes plays the song with Starr during sound check. Journey and Santana bandmate Neal Schon appears on the album along with Toto’s Steve Lukather.

Fastball – “The Help Machine” (33 1/3/Redeye)

Speaking of songs we loved playing on “Mike & Mike” back in the day, these guys gave us fun melodic rockers like “The Way,” “You’re an Ocean” and “Out of my Head.” Based purely on “White Collar” - this album’s lead single - we can expect more of the same, and we need it. Remember when top 40/pop radio was dominated by fun, cool and catchy pop songs? These guys are still doing it on a very high level.

Last modified on Tuesday, 08 October 2019 10:19


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