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What's new (and coming soon) in music early in 2020

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The beginning of the year is traditionally a quiet period for new music but 2020’s first quarter release list features some eagerly awaited titles in pop, rock, blues and country.

Lana Del Ray - “Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass”; (Interscope/Polydor; February)

Following on the heels of her Album of the Year Grammy nomination for “Norman F****ing Rockwell,” the singer-songwriter plans to self-publish a book of poetry soon and intended to precede it with this “freestyle poetry” spoken word collection, originally due on January 4, and now postponed until next month. While announcing the release three weeks ago on Instagram, Del Ray said half of the album’s proceeds will benefit a different organization each year it’s on sale, with the first year’s proceeds dedicated to Native American groups. Del Ray also said she intends to offer the collection for “around a dollar.”

Halsey – “Manic” (Capitol; January 17)

She’s one of the hottest figures in pop at the moment with more than 23 million records sold in the U.S. alone in only four years. Announced last March, “Manic” will include Halsey’s first #1 hit, “Without Me” and singles “Nightmare,” “Graveyard,” and “Clementine.” Guests include Florida rapper Dominic Fike, Suga of South Korean boy band BTS and Alanis Morissette.

Marcus King – “El Dorado” (Fantasy/Concord; January 17)

About a year ago, the 23-year old South Carolina blues rock phenom told The Maine Edge why he doesn’t dare step off the gas and bask in the success he’s enjoyed with his band over three albums: “Once things start to feel good, that’s when you’ve really got to turn up the heat and keep on growing.” King honors his word with his first solo album, “El Dorado,” produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. A group of studio heavyweights back the guitarist and singer on 12 tracks, including the blues-stomping first single “The Well.”

Little Big Town – “Nightfall” (Capitol/Nashville; January 17)

The CMA-winning Homewood, Alabama quartet is set to unveil their ninth LP a day after they perform the self-produced record in its entirety at Carnegie Hall. From there, they’ll take it on the road for an intimate theatre tour scheduled to include two nights at Boston’s Wang Theatre in February. “The record kind of feels cinematic to me, but there’s also a lot of beautiful intimate moments,” singer Karen Fairchild said to the Associated Press. “In a theatre, this record is really going to shine.” The record will include bar anthem “Over Drinking” and the single “The Daughters,” along with 11 additional cuts.

of Montreal – “UR FUN” (Polyvinyl; January 17)

I’m a sucker for catchy indie pop, and this Athens, Georgia band, led by Kevin Barnes and featuring an ever-evolving group of coconspirators, has done it well for more than 20 years over 16 albums. “UR Fun” will be a sequel of sorts to 2018’s “White is Relic/Irrealis Mood,” which according to a press release was the “falling in love record” while the new LP will be the “staying in love” record which chronicles the relationship between Barnes and his partner and songwriter Christina Schneider. First single “Peace to all Freaks” points to love as the ultimate mediator during divisive times.

Sons of Apollo – “MMXX” (InsideOutMusic; January 17)

The progressive-metal supergroup, featuring Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy, vocalist Jeff Scott Soto, bassist Billy Sheehan, keyboardist Derek Sherinian and guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thai, have readied a follow-up to their 2017 debut. Recorded over a leisurely 8 months, “MMXX” (pronounced “2020”) was written in about three weeks and includes 8 new tracks, including the closing 16-minute epic “New World Today,” according to a press release. Sherinian adds “Each member of this band has their own signature sound, and when you put all of this together, what you get is a wonderful five-headed beast.”

Also coming soon: New albums from Pet Shop Boys (“Hot Spot,” due Jan. 24), Kesha (“High Road,” due Jan. 31), Meghan Trainor (“Treat Myself,” due Jan. 31), Ozzy Osbourne (“Ordinary Man,” TBA) and Huey Lewis and The News (“The Weather,” due Feb. 14), as well as new titles from Weezer, Green Day and Coldplay.

Last modified on Tuesday, 07 January 2020 07:39

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