Welcome to NEXT.
Elevator pitch: Find you a NEXT, new favorite song. #NextFavoriteSong.
It’s that simple. Life is crazy. You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy as hell. You don’t have the time you had in college to listen to music. You want the good and you want it in one place. That’s what I aim to do. I listen to WAAAAAAYYYY too much new music. I listen —-> then collect them for a one hour radio show. So you don’t have to waste your time. Let me do the homework. You just listen. Cool?
And thanks for listening. Hey – if you like what you hear. Tell a friend. Or don’t.
May NEXT find a song that makes your ears smile. Enjoy it all.
“Music is the tool to express life – and all that makes a difference.” – Herbie Hancock
Let us begin NEXT week 773 with Friedberg. Friedberg’s music is often described as a blend of post punk and alt-rock doused in alluring pop sensibilities – something that is immediately familiar, but also like nothing else. Or everything else.
The Black Crowes are releasing their 30th-anniversary reissue of their breakthrough debut album, Shake Your Money Maker. The Super Deluxe version – available on either four LPs or three CDs – will include a newly remastered version of the original 1990 album, as well as three previously unheard studio recordings. One track, “Charming Mess,” is a song that was originally earmarked to be the Black Crowes’ first single but eventually left off Shake Your Money Maker. Other material on the Super Deluxe edition includes two demos from the band’s early years (when they were known as Mr. Crowe’s Garden), a collection of B-sides and a previously unreleased 14-song concert recording from a 1990 performance in their hometown of Atlanta. Reproductions of early band flyers, a tour laminate, a Black Crowes patch and a 20-page booklet highlight the collectibles included in the set
Thad Cockrell said the song’s title was inspired by boxer Buster Douglas’ infamous knockout of Mike Tyson in 1990. Cockrell’s own ability to keep on swinging is what led to this big break. Cockrell grew up in a religious family, as his father was the pastor at the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church, per IndyWeek, and Cockrell’s lyrics are infused with religious references. “Heaven waits for nothing less / Than giving in to faithfulness… I’ll let it rest / But I’m not down to give up yet,” Cockrell sings in the opening verse of “Swingin’.”
The Backseat Lovers is a young indie rock band from Heber City and Sandy, UT, featuring Joshua Harmon on lead vocals/guitar, Jonas Swanson on lead guitar/vocals, KJ Ward: on bass guitar, and Juice Welch on drums. The band started when Josh, having heard of local drummer Juice Welch, introduced himself and asked if he wanted to start a band. They immediately started working on arrangements for some of Josh’s songs. Later Josh met lead guitarist and vocalist Jonas Swanson while waiting in line for an open mic at the Velour in Provo city. Neither of them got on the list to play that night, so they sat on a park bench outside the venue and played their songs to each other until they ran out of stuff to play. Josh invited Jonas to come down and play with him and Juice. It was that night that Out of Tune, a song Josh had been holding onto since he was 16, came to life when they arranged it as a group.
For Nichols and Lucero, the keyboard textures felt like a natural progression. “I didn’t want to make a retro record. I wanted it to be a straight-ahead Lucero album, but with sonic elements that I’ve wanted to incorporate for a while.” The real experiment, according to Nichols, was to push himself further as a writer. “I have tried to write more story-based songs, from other characters’ points of views. Which doesn’t come as naturally to me. I’m getting closer to what I want to do. On this record, you can see that I’m at least putting in the effort.” Lucero. Like the word itself, the group has been a lodestar of sorts for anyone asking the musical question: “Can you find commercial success, yet maintain an identity rooted in the ragged rooms of Midtown Memphis?” For more than two decades, that’s just what they’ve done, and part of their identity has always rested on being unpredictable. That’s why I’m surprised/not surprised when the first sounds emanating from the speaker from their latest record are the shadowy, atmospheric tones of an analog synthesizer, with chunky guitar chops following close on their heels. With just a few swift notes, I was having an ’80s flashback.
Since the release of Matthew Sweet’s breakthrough 1991 album Girlfriend, Matthew Sweet has established himself as one of America’s preeminent power pop artists. Exploring topics like growing up and breaking up, Sweet tallied a pair of gold records in the 90s, selling more than a million albums in the U.S. along the way. As Girlfriend turns 30, Sweet once again confronts the idea of aging, doing it gracefully over the course of the dozen tracks that make up his latest studio effort Catspaw. While the guitar work of punks Richard Lloyd (Television) and Robert Quine (Richard Hell, Lou Reed) informs several of Sweet’s most celebrated albums, he goes it alone on Catspaw, handling lead guitar himself for the first time.
David Gray is supposed to be on the road promoting the release of the 20th anniversary of White Ladder, however, like the rest of us, has been confined to his home in the face of the COVID19 pandemic. And though Gray’s enjoying time with his family – there’s also the urge to hop into a new musical project. White Ladder, the album that put David Gray on the map, and the one Gray jokes almost turned him mad while writing it. Well White Ladder has hit its 20th anniversary. “When you start again after an album cycle and you go back to the drawing board, there are often a few ideas hanging around from last time. But then they somehow feel part of a different era and you realize you’ve moved forward. You want to start again from nothing,” David Gray says. And this is the place that Gray says he’s in at the moment. For Gray, the beginning of any album involves working himself into the right headspace. “You’re a bit scared, really,” David Gray admits, noting that initial thoughts always start with “is something still gonna happen? Will an idea come that really means something to me and is going to resonate for other people too?” From there, David Gray strives to find something that surprises him. Maybe it’s something that sounds or feels like a song that he’s written before. And as Gray starts to write — eventually find a landscape that he’s moving into. “Then you get a sense of the color and the shape and the sound, perhaps, of what it is you’re trying to do,” Gray explains. Part of this involves going through old ideas, which David Gray’s jotted down in between album cycles. Gray’s constantly taking notes, whether in the middle of a soundcheck, reading something he finds inspiring, or while going about his daily life. Then, when it’s time, Gray will go through this content, which he stores on his phone.
Saint Nomad is a trio that was born in Russia and raised in the US. Saint Nomad is made up of three brothers, Nikita, Ruslan, and Yan Odnoralov. Moving to the United States as children. A chance encounter with a Radiohead VHS tape. Good back story. Now they are creating head-bobbing alt-pop
This Jason Matu tune has Super clever wordplay. This indie rocker from Jason Matu is fun. We need a bit of fun, no? Jason Matu brings to mind Flaming Lips, Manchester Orchestra, and other indie rock greats on this cool, bombastic jam. I’m a fan of alliteration. So Matu’s verses make Chris Bro a happy boy. It brings a satisfying quirkiness to the overall tone of the song. Not to mention the sweet synth layers and Matu’s yearning vocals.
Lucy Spraggan states that the message of the album is kind of perseverance. So I guess it flows quite well with, you know, these times at the moment and everybody trying to persevere, try and get through this. Yeah that’s the message for the record. Lucy Spraggan made a lot of choices in the last 2 years and this album is kind of like a diary of that. The songs cover pretty much every decision Lucy Spraggan made in that time in a quite honest way – Lucy can’t wait for everyone to hear them. Lucy Spraggan recorded this album during lockdown in a very remote part of Scotland. Spraggan had to isolate before the recording and adhere to some quite tough Covid regulations, so it wasn’t like any record Lucy had made before. As for writing, Lots of this was written in the first lockdown. Choices you get to explore on this record? Getting sober, getting divorced, taking up running, moving, staying still, meeting a new love interest. Lots to mull over! Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics? Lucy Spraggan: I find them everywhere. Anything significant in my life often becomes a song! Lyrics are constantly floating around my head.
Former London Souls frontman Tash Neal released “Something Ain’t Right” on Friday. Tash Neal’s debut solo chronicles the injustice and inhumanity that prevails in society today, especially as they relate to the repeated unjustified killings of Black Americans like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. Neal’s powerful lyrics and impassioned vocal work transmits his emotion clearly to the listener. A backdrop of agitated guitars, fusion-funk bass, fevered percussion, squiggly synths, and even the sound of gunshots combine and create the groundwork for his focused callout of the corruption and tyranny that has held Black Americans back for centuries. “I wanted it to be as fun and exciting as possible, because I was like, ‘I’m not going to play a f*cking slow song—that’s not resistance,’” said Tash Neal. Tash Neal: “The key to blackness and why we’re still here is because we still maintain joy through the pain. We can still kick a groove after being dehumanized. We don’t need to be sad. We can fight.”
Lauren Isenberg, known to the world as Renforshort, had just come back home to Toronto from a tour in Europe a week before the coronavirus pandemic put her city on lockdown. She’s 18. Renforshort’s raw pop-rock anthems drip with teenage angst. 18-year-old Canadian Lauren Isenberg is penning a soundtrack to the teenage experience with her bubble-gum grunge bops. I may not be 18 anymore – hell I don’t even remember 18 anymore – AND I remember that feeling. 18 feels like this album. That I remember.
Kaleo (stylized as KALEO) is an Icelandic rock band, which formed at Mosfellsbær in 2012. “Break My Baby” is a track off Kaleo’s upcoming album, Surface Sounds. The follow-up to their 2016 breakout record A/B. It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but in some ways 2016 is like a distant planet. That was the year a little Icelandic outfit with a Hawaiian name broke through the hip-hop boom to become one of the last blues rock headliners of the post-Millennial zeitgeist. Kaleo’s A/B was a thunderous blast of rock traditionalism that somehow managed to transcend its CCR and Muddy Waters roots to sound utterly of the new century. And “Way Down We Go” was inescapable, even on the increasingly digitized pop charts.
Yuno melds skittering pop and warped hip-hop with catchy-as-hell emo and simple guitar riffs.“Spending so much time at home during the pandemic brought back a lot of feelings from my adolescence. I grew up as somewhat of a loner—spending most of my time isolated in my bedroom, and I wanted to capture the parallels between my life now and the life of my younger self,” Yuno said. Yuno: “I drew a lot from the pop-punk, post-hardcore, reggae, and southern hip hop that I’ve loved throughout my life. I feel like my 14-year-old self would be very proud.”
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:
- Friedberg – Lizzy
- The Black Crowes – 30 Days In The Hole (Cover)
- Thad Cockrell – Swingin’
- The Backseat Lovers – Kilby Girl
- Lucero – Outrun The Moon
- Matthew Sweet – Blown Away
- David Gray – Heart And Soul
- Saint Nomad – How Much Longer
- Jason Matu – Ladycakes
- Lucy Spraggan – Why Don’t We Start From Here
- Tash Neal – Something Ain’t Right
- Renforshort – Feel Good Inc (Cover)
- Kaleo – Break My Baby
- Yuno – Somebody
and remember if you love someone hug them right now