Hello new music lovers. Welcome to NEXT. We have a simple goal: Find you a NEXT, new favorite song. #NextFavoriteSong
Let us begin NEXT week 752 with Mipso. The expansive Edges Run, found the North Carolina quartet broadening its sonic palette. In interviews, the band members have talked about how the recording sessions almost broke them up. Thankfully, Mipso soldiered on, staking out a captivating new identity on its latest album with material that both charms and challenges. Mipso retains the lush instrumentation of its predecessor—assisted by longtime touring drummer Yan Westerlund and a handful of guests—while injecting some playfulness back into the proceedings. The woozy track “Let a Little Light In” embraces instrumental quirkiness by including a toy piano, pulling back a curtain of melancholy and nostalgia to take a clear look at childhood memories. This is a common thread throughout the album as the band’s four singers and songwriters—guitarist Joseph Terrell, fiddler Libby Rodenbough, mandolinist Jacob Sharp, and bassist Wood Robinson—struggle with existential questions through a lens that keeps them from becoming too heavy. Banjo-accented grooves back explorations of body image (“Your Body”) and mental health (“Help”), while “Hey, Coyote” and “Just Want to Be Loved” examine the security found in a home and a romantic relationship, respectively.
Nothing But Thieves wrote its current single “Is Everybody Going Crazy?” in reference to the year 2019 and the things that made it a “wounded, sinister place.” But when the song premiered in early March of this year, it felt even more apt describing the first few months of 2020. “On the day it debuted on Radio One, I went down High Street near me and just saw people stealing toilet paper and buying bucket-loads of pasta,” recalls frontman Conor Mason. “I remember feeling delirious and dizzy at what was going on around me. It felt like we’d written a song about the previous year and all the lunacy on the planet, but it felt like it didn’t almost belong in that year anymore. It belonged in that week.” Indeed, most of Moral Panic, the third album from the Essex-based British rock band, feels like it was written for this year — even though the album’s 11 songs were mostly written during 2019. Over the span of those 11 tracks, the band — Mason, along with guitarists Joe Langridge-Brown and Dominic Craik, bassist Philip Blake and drummer James Price — takes the listener through the fever-in-the-air feeling of life right now. That work has yielded tracks that have pushed the band’s usual full-throttle rock sound, creating the likes of “Free If We Want It,” the song on the album Mason’s proudest of writing. “I think it’s a very classic songwriting, Tom Petty-esque tune that we’ve slipped into a modernity, whilst we can,” he says. “I wouldn’t normally normally say this, but I felt, when I was recording it and when I sang it, like I was in a bizarre pocket of emotion. It’s the best I’ve ever performed on a record. The whole record, but especially with this song. I struggle to listen to that song because of where my head and my heart was at the time. But I think that’s part of part of it — part of it is leaving a piece of you in the music, and that you probably can’t recreate again.”
The music of this three-man group, The Happy Fits, bursts with joyful and authentic energy, and in this review of their most recent album, “What Could Be Better,” we’re hoping to highlight the qualities that make this band so special. In some ways, “What Could Be Better” takes the band in a new direction. Frontman Calvin Langman’s relentless cello strokes, which drive past happy-go-lucky tracks like “Dirty Imbecile” and rock anthems like “Mary” alike, are largely absent. In their place, The Happy Fits have honed their use of harmonies and created a much larger sound for their music. The important things have remained though: a pop-rock-indie sound that exhibits the band’s excellent vocal talent, a diverse catalogue that switches easily from head-banging to side-swaying and — of course — fruit-themed cover art. The album opens with its first single, released back in June, entitled “Go Dumb.” The boys seem to have taken a page out of Cage the Elephant’s playbook, employing distorted vocals backed up by a snare beat. The song doesn’t quite sound like any others in their catalogue, so it’s clear from the start that this album will be a little different. Still, the bouncy guitar riff post-chorus brings the characteristic levity that makes The Happy Fits such a fun band.
Royal Blood release the first taste of new music in the form of the supremely danceable ‘Trouble’s Coming’ – a track that sees them veering off the course set by their last two releases into considerably funkier territory, swapping hard rock for a disco stomp. It might prove challenging to a fanbase accustomed to the bare-bones riffery of the last two LPs, but Mike is unfazed. “We’ve truly made it just for ourselves – we love it, and if you don’t, that’s OK. It’s genuinely all I’ve been listening to at the minute!” he chuckles, proudly. “You can hear that we’re liberated on this record; all the new influences on there, it’s stuff we’ve always loved but never allowed ourselves to pursue. I think you can actually hear the embryos of these songs in tracks like ‘Figure It Out’, but we just didn’t explore it enough. That’s why we self-produced this one; as soon as we knew which direction we wanted to go in, it seemed pointless to put anybody else in the way of it.” For Mike, the new musical trajectory was made possible by a profound breakthrough in his personal life. “I had to change one thing, and that was everything,” he laughs. “A big part of that was the way I was living. I needed to be in a different headspace.” The singer has been sober since February 2019, and points to the decision as the basis for the euphoric sound that came to define the new record. “It’s had a huge effect. My entire headspace has shifted; it’s changed my outlook, my relationships, the way I think about music, everything,” he continues. “I really feel like it’s helped me to access all of my brain, all of my potential. There were a lot of reasons for wanting to sort my shit out, but my songwriting has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of it. It’s why that festival run we did last year was huge; I had to prove to myself that I could do it sober. And I did it, and I was singing and playing better than ever, so I came away from that with genuine confidence. I didn’t feel like I needed to answer to anybody. So, that’s what had to change. My entire life!”
Tom Petty’s 1994 album “Wildflowers” has finally reached full bloom. When the late rock frontman made the album – only his second in a then-two decade career not to be labeled as a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers project – Petty initially envisioned it as a two-CD set with 25 songs. At the suggestion of record label Warner Bros., Petty pruned down the project. He released a single-disc masterpiece, which would go on to be certified triple platinum, selling more than three million copies, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. “Wildflowers” also earned him his first solo Grammy, the 1995 best male rock performance award for the song, “You Don’t Know How It Feels.” In later years, Petty returned to his vision of an expanded “Wildflowers,” with that original second album of songs. It was a project he wouldn’t finish before his death in October 2017 at the age of 66, shortly after the Heartbreakers finished its 40th Anniversary tour. Now his family and music mates have finished the job. “Wildflowers & All The Rest ($19.98-up), out Friday, includes a remastered version of the original album and a second disc of ten songs from those considered for the original two-CD version. More decked-out editions offer additional insights into Petty’s two-year creative flurry with a collection of the musician’s solo home demos, a vast assortment of rarities and previously unreleased recordings, and live performances. “We just took an opportunity here to be a little more completist about looking at the work he did in those two years with Rick,” said Petty’s daughter, Adria, speaking of producer Rick Rubin, who helmed “Wildflowers” and the subsequent Heartbreakers’ release “Echo.”
Pearl Jam have marked the 30th anniversary of their first ever concert by releasing their legendary MTV Unplugged show on streaming services for the first time ever. While the vinyl reissue and CD release of the 1992 set was previously confirmed. Recorded on March 16, 1992, the Unplugged session saw the Seattle titans sharing acoustic renditions of tracks from their debut album ‘Ten’ – as well as the track ‘State of Love’. Pearl Jam also recently announced their biggest-ever London shows, taking place next summer. The band will play two nights at BST Hyde Park 2021 on Friday July 9 and Saturday July 10. Pixies will lead the support acts on July 9, while IDLES do the same on July 10.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela are GRAMMY Award-winning guitar virtuosos. Rodrigo y Gabriela have announced today’s premiere of “Terracentric,” the latest track from their upcoming METTAVOLUTION LIVE, an all-new double album recorded during last year’s sold out METTAVOLUTION World Tour. “Terracentric” is joined by an official live video, filmed in concert at Paris, FR’s Le Trianon and streaming now via YouTube. METTAVOLUTION LIVE arrives as 2LP, 2CD, and digital download. METTAVOLUTION LIVE also includes such recently unveiled tracks as “Electric Soul” and an awe-inspiring, 20-minute-plus live version of Pink Floyd’s epic “Echoes,” audaciously reimagined for two acoustic guitars.
Chris Stapleton doesn’t need NEXT’s help and this song is something cool. Will country music’s most impressively bearded traditionalist jump on the Fleetwood Mac bandwagon that’s been rolling through Nashville of late? Seems unlikely — though Stapleton’s new one does feature a cameo by Mike Campbell, the longtime Tom Petty sideman who stepped in for Lindsey Buckingham on FM’s last tour.
Drive By-Truckers are a political band. But deep into a pandemic that’s derailed much of what was left of the music business, Patterson Hood now considers the Truckers a “personal band.” “Because it’s (expletive) personal,” Hood says. “And it’s personal to me because I don’t have a (expletive) job. I’m stuck in the house. And until this ends, I can’t do the thing my life is built around, which is go out play rock & roll shows. Because there are no rock & roll shows. My band has now put out two albums this year that we cannot go out and tour behind.”
Strung Like A Horse – Crazy Like Me Since forming almost a decade ago, Strung Like a Horse has built a reputation for surprising people, either with their talent, humor, sense of “why not?” or combination of the three. The name alone should give people an idea of what the band is all about — witty wordplay and double entendre for starters — the name was chosen in part because horse hair is used on many bows — but there’s also a nod to their music, Americana with a new-grass or even alt-rock edge. Over the last decade, the musicians have drawn fans across the South with their steady career progression, live shows and a need to constantly one-up themselves.
On Dawes’ terrific seventh album, Taylor Goldsmith gently wrestles with post-marital maturity and rock’s Peter Pan spirit, in recordings that veer back toward the band’s live spark. Dawes showing its best, or whatever. The folk-rock band’s newest album is a contender for their best work to date Dawes — a California-based folk-rock band — has spent the last decade making a name for themselves with heavy, melancholy lyrics and a beautiful blend of acoustic and electric instrumentalism. Their simply-produced style is reminiscent of the best soft rock the 60s and 70s had to offer, and their seventh studio album stays true to form. Overflowing with themes of nostalgia, maturity, stagnance and moving on, “Good Luck with Whatever” makes a case for being Dawes’ best album to date.
Ron Gallo has written a great anti love song. This song was written after a V Day party. Some people hide. They conceal themselves from toxic people, places, and things. For a long time, Ron Gallo was choosing all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons—until he figured himself out. On his new single “HIDE (MYSELF BEHIND YOU),” the Nashville-based artist explores why people run and hide, hurt others, and why everyone just needs to stop chasing other people. “It’s being with someone because how they make you feel or the idea of them rather than who they really are,” says Gallo, who admits to choosing the wrong people in his life because he didn’t know himself. “Sometimes we say ‘I love you, I want to be with you’ but maybe we really mean ‘I don’t like me, I don’t want to be with myself and you can help distract me from me.’” The moral of the “HIDE” story: “relax, stop chasing, just be you and the right thing will happen.”
Aimee Mann covered this sons for the six-part HBO documentary series I’ll Be Gone in the Dark may have concluded last month, but Aimee Mann has just released a full version of the opening theme: her cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Avalanche.” Sharing the same cover art as Cohen’s 1971 album Songs of Love and Hate, Mann’s rendition of the track ups the original’s instrumentation, with a haunting string arrangement to accompany her vocals. “You who wish to conquer pain/You must learn what makes me kind,” she sings. “The crumbs of love that you offer me/They’re the crumbs I’ve left behind.” “My husband, Michael Penn, and I had been close friends with Patton [Oswalt] and Michelle for many years and were very familiar with the ups and downs of her research,” Mann said in a statement. “We were completely devastated by her death. I was incredibly moved by Patton’s dedication to getting her book finished and was so happy when he reached out about recording a version of ‘Avalanche’ for the show. Michael produced and recorded it at home, and we were both honored to hear it at the start of every episode.”
Music is Life. And new music keeps you young at heart. And keeps your mind nimble. It’s science. Do the google if you don’t believe me.
It was tough before Covid 19. Now more than ever we need to support these bands. Even something as simple as buying an album, or a ticket to a show (when live music comes back or if they are hosting online events), or a tee shirt. And if you can buy directly from them. Even better. Thank you.
Spotify playlist updates on Thursday(ish). Link to Chris Bro on Spotify.
WARNING may contain bad words. Or may not. Depends.
Artist and Song Title:
- Mipso – Hourglass
- Nothing But Thieves – Free If We Want It
- The Happy Fits – Go Dumb
- Royal Blood – Trouble’s Coming
- Tom Petty – Wildflowers (Live)
- Pearl Jam – Oceans (Live MTV Unplugged)
- Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Diablo Rojo (Live)
- Chris Stapleton – Starting Over
- Drive By Truckers – Watching The Orange Clouds
- Strung Like A Horse – Crazy Like Me
- Dawes – Good Luck With Whatever
- Ron Gallo – Hide (Myself Behind You)
- Aimee Mann – Avalanche (Cover)