Hello new music lovers. Welcome to NEXT. We have a simple goal: Find you a NEXT, new favorite song. #NextFavoriteSong
“Music is the shorthand of emotion.” ― Leo Tolstoy
Let us begin NEXT week 762 with Blitzen Trapper. It has been a challenge keeping up with Portland, Oregon’s Blitzen Trapper over the past two decades. From their indie rock beginnings through a catalog that includes twisted folk, laid-back West Coast vibes, art-pop, country-tinged sounds, a rock opera and even a children’s album — all with a handful of label changes thrown in — it has been a head-spinning yet never boring ride. Much of this is due to frontman/singer/songwriter Eric Earley, a guy who’s not short on new, challenging ideas to keep his band and followers guessing. Nothing changes for album No. 10. Either way, the head-scratching concepts go down easy for music that feels like a comforting warm breeze on a cool spring day.
Prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in America, Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell was looking forward to the March release of the album Wreckless Abandon, the debut from The Dirty Knobs, a group in which he moonlighted for over a decade between duties as Heartbreakers songwriter and guitarist. Dating back to his days in pre-Heartbreakers group Mudcrutch, Campbell found himself alongside Florida-born rocker Tom Petty for nearly 50 years, appearing on a pair of Mudcrutch studio releases, 13 Heartbreakers records, all three of Petty’s solo efforts, live albums, box sets, greatest hits collections and more, a career responsible for the sale of more than 80 million records worldwide. Petty’s untimely death in October 2017 gave Campbell the chance to focus on The Dirty Knobs for the first time – until he received an offer from Fleetwood Mac co-founder Mick Fleetwood to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers as a full-fledged member less than four months later. Ultimately, Campbell embarked upon a Fleetwood Mac world tour which took him through the end of 2019, one of the longest outings of his career.
Most people probably don’t distinguish between Petty’s solo work and his work with the Heartbreakers, though there is something about “Wildflowers” that marks it as a different kind of product. Petty’s songwriting was always strong, but on “Wildflowers,” it seems to kick up a level. There’s not a weak track on the original record, a single CD that runs 62 minutes (compare that to 1979 “Damn the Torpedoes,” the other leading contender for best Tom Petty record ever, which clocks in at 36 minutes and 38 seconds) and might serve as the summation of where Petty and the Heartbreakers fit in the continuum of American pop music. There’s pop, rock and blues on this record, stripped down in accordance with Rubin’s signature style but relaxed and expanded, unfolding in a casual context far removed from the Heartbreakers’ usual grind and clash. It opens with the title track, which Petty contended arrived fully formed, a three-chord folk ballad for which he improvised lyrics on the spot. That’s followed by the Dylanesque shrug of complaint “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” jaunty road song “Time to Move On,” anthemic “You Wreck Me,” “It’s Good to be King,” etc. Here Petty’s songwriting comes to the front, and he reveals himself as gentle, sardonic and bruised, a grown-up artist at midlife, someone who understands how lucky he’s been and how much he’s lost.
Petty famously had too much material for the album. He’d spent nearly two years writing songs in his backyard studio. He originally proposed a 25-track double CD, but commercial considerations thwarted that. So he gave “Leave Virginia Alone” to fellow Warner Bros. artist Rod Stewart for his “A Spanner in the Works” LP. “Girl on LSD” showed up on the B-side of the “You Don’t Know How It Feels” single. “Climb That Hill,” “Hung Up and Overdue,” “Hope You Never,” and “California” appear in different forms on the soundtrack album Petty did for the 1996 romantic comedy “She’s the One.” A lot of them went into the vault, to be dragged out eventually because vaults aren’t tombs but storage lockers and will inevitably be opened up and picked through.
No One Sings Like You Anymore “is so special because it is a complete work of art that Chris created from start to finish,” his wife Vicky said. Chris Cornell‘s legacy lives on. Cornell’s wife Vicky and children Toni and Christopher posthumously released his last covers album, No One Sings Like You Anymore, a collection of 10 songs that he recorded in 2016. The album features hand-picked cover songs that the rocker completed before his death by suicide in 2017. He was 52. “This album is so special because it is a complete work of art that Chris created from start to finish,” Vicky said in a statement. “His choice of covers provides a personal look into his favorite artists and the songs that touched him. He couldn’t wait to release it.” “This moment is bittersweet because he should be here doing it himself, but it is with both heartache and joy that we share this special album,” she added. “All of us could use his voice to help heal and lift us this year, especially during the holiday season. I am so proud of him and this stunning record, which to me, illustrates why he will always be beloved, honored, and one the greatest voices of our time.”
Bartees Strange and his album Live Forever reckons with existential dread, race, and class struggles. The album’s standout single “Boomer” is all at once a celebration of life, an acknowledgement of young adult confusion, and a big fucking question mark as to why people don’t talk about these things. In the songs prechorus, Strange acknowledges that that most people will “say what they wanna say” and “smoke what they wanna smoke,” and he won’t talk about how he doesn’t know what he wants. In the chorus, he belts out conflicting emotions while, still, at the bridge he vows resilience. Pinning down the right words for Bartees Strange’s debut album has proven to an incredibly difficult task. This is all because Strange is so damn inventive throughout his debut album Live Forever. Granted, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Strange was an opera singer and choir boy turned indie rock enthusiast,
Mumford And Sons announced the Delta Tour EP live compilation and the EP features a collection of live recordings from the past three years.
Future Islands are at the crossroads where music and mental health meet. Future Islands frontman Samuel T. Herring joins the show this week to share how he fell into the very dangerous and very common cycle of depression and addiction. Herring explains how this struggle has led to suicidal thoughts, a dependency on cocaine, and self-isolation, all of which has led to further depression and disconnection. The As Long As You Are vocalist and songwriter states how he was able to explore his deepest and most frightening emotions by allowing himself to “touch the bottom” of his darkness. This, in turn, led him to accept his own negative feelings, helped him connect with people, and also express his love for others as part of his ongoing recovery.
Taylor Swift has been known to work with pop music producers such as Jack Antonoff and Max Martin, but on “Folklore,” the album she dropped in July, the singer added a new, surprising collaborator to the mix: Aaron Dessner, one-fifth of the Grammy-winning indie rock band the National. Dessner co-wrote 11 of the 16 songs on “Folklore,” helping steer Swift away from the synth-pop of her previous record and, as a producer, supporting her cottagecore vision. He enlisted his twin brother and bandmate, Bryce Dessner, for the orchestration on several tracks, resulting in a layered, dreamy sound not unlike a good chunk of the last National album, 2019′s “I Am Easy to Find.” Five months later, Swift is back with another surprise quarantine album, “Evermore,” again produced and co-written by Dessner. But this time, he brought his boys along for the ride. Featured on the track “Coney Island” is none other than the National, with vocals by frontman Matt Berninger.
A Spenser says that every penny from this will go directly to the ACLU to fight voter suppression. Songs written/mixed/produced by Andrew Spencer Goldman in the spring/summer of 2020, but recorded in the most socially distanced way possible – across an ocean, in different cities in the U.S. and in Geneva Switzerland, at different times by Goldman/Lipple/Anderson/Ollendorff
This remarkably talented man, Mr. Cam Cole, is quite an outstanding and energetic entertainer. He’s seen often on the streets of London and in particular, Camden Town. He brings real quality to each and every performance, drawing large adoring crowds each and every time who engage enthusiastically throughout. Cam though is quite simply a superb one-man band and a phenomenal Rocker! He is, very much influenced by Folk, Delta Blues, and Rock N’ Roll. His main influences are White Stripes, Michael Jackson, T-Rex, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones. Cam is arguably the best and most recognised performing street musician in London. His ‘slide glide’ and ‘Moonwalk’ is highly entertaining, along with his many other energetic movements. He has mastered the use of the Farmer footdrums, utilising them to their full potential, and becoming a trend setter. Added bonus showing up on Ted Lasso. A must see TV show on Apple Plus. MUST SEE. Even for non-futbol fans.
The music of Jimi Hendrix is often described as “fiery.” And one of his biggest hits was “Fire.” But the singer/guitarist probably never imagined that on July 30, 1970 he—along with drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Billy Cox—would be standing on an outdoor stage, on a cattle ranch, near the side of a (thankfully, inactive) volcano, on the island of Maui, playing to a few hundred blissed out rock fans, all recruited on a whim. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was already scheduled to perform a show in Honolulu the next day, but they did this free, two-set afternoon show for a record. Or a movie. Or something. Even Jimi himself wasn’t sure what the film crews were capturing and how it would eventually be used. But his participation in what was officially called “The Rainbow Bridge Vibratory Color/Sound Experiment” has long been a fascinating, if hazy part of his story.
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.
You can listen to NEXT on the radio. Listen to NEXT on Ocean 98 in Maryland Sunday nights at 10. Or Saturday afternoon on VOBB in Canada
Artist and Song Title:
Gerry Cinnamon – Ghost
Great Peacock – High Wind
The People Between – Another Distraction
Cam Cole – Mama
The Hold Steady – Family Farm
Painted Shield – Knife Fight
Arctic Monkeys – Arabella (Live)
Eddie Vedder – Matter Of Time
Travis – The Only Thing
Taylor Swift and Bon Iver – Exile
Bleachers – featuring Bruce Springsteen – Chinatown
Jack Johnson – The Captain is Drunk
Kathleen Edwards – Who Saved Who
Karen O and Willie Nelson – Under Pressure (Cover)
Prep – Turn Up The Music
and remember if you love someone hug them right now