Welcome to NEXT.
And thanks for listening. Hey – if you like what you hear. Tell a friend.
May NEXT find a song that makes your ears smile. Enjoy it all.
“Most people die with their music still locked up inside them.”
Let us begin NEXT week 775 with Tom Petty. Everyone needs TP in their life. The songs on Finding Wildflowers (Alternate Versions) first initiated the Petty estate’s discovery and curation process for the larger All the Rest project. The new collection features 16 studio recordings of alternate takes, long cuts and jam versions of Wildflowers songs as Petty, band members and co-producer Rick Rubin worked to finalize the album in 1994. The Tom Petty estate says: “This collection offers fans further deep access into the writing and recording of Wildflowers, as well as realizing the full vision of the project as Petty had always intended.” The collection was produced by Petty’s longtime engineer and co-producer Ryan Ulyate who listened to 245 reels of 24-track tape, revealing Petty and his collaborators’ evolutionary process and finding the group willing to do whatever it took to discover the essence and magic in the material. “There’s this kind of longing in the song, in the way that he wrote the chord structure, the melody and the lyrics. It’s wistful, and it would have been the perfect way to end the disc.” Finding Wildflowers (Alternate Versions) featuring tracks from the Super Deluxe edition of All the Rest, will be available as its own collection.
A new single from Slothrust called “Cranium” hit our hearts, minds, and playlists this week, and it’s all about the various ways we serve up love. But it serves up a lot of things on its own time, and the gripping, bluesy track concludes with a long, drawn-out guitar solo from bandleader and Brookline native Leah Wellbaum. We’d say it’s a bit of a curveball from the trio, but by now, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected when it comes to the shape-shifting sounds and approaches of Slothrust. “I think of ‘Cranium’ as an absurd mating ritual dance by one of those beautiful complex birds with iridescent tail feathers,” says Leah Wellbaum of Slothrust. “Except instead of feathers I am holding family heirloom tweezers and my hands are coated in honey. It’s sweet, but incredibly uncomfortable and definitely overbearing.” The band’s first new music since 2019. “The song is about wanting to serve love but not knowing the ‘right’ way to do so — often offering too much, or something unwanted entirely. It is a promise to love both absurdly and impossibly with a heavy sprinkle of pain… I knew right away that I wanted to end this song with a long, emotive guitar solo in the style of Funkadelic’s ‘Maggot Brain.’ Something that really takes you on a journey, but perhaps not the one you were expecting.”
Wolf Alice’s much-anticipated third album looks like it could be on its way. Rowsell says the song is about “the arrogance of humans” and riffs on her feelings about that Vonnegut quote in its opening lines. “Who are you to ask for anything more?” she questions. “Do you wait for your dancing lessons to be sent from God?” Relatability is big currency in pop culture these days and it’s a common phenomenon for us to interpret songs, books, movies and more based on our own experiences. We inject importance into their storylines and lyrics based on how they make us feel about our lives, the lines between whether a piece of art is actually good or just makes us feel seen increasingly blurred. It’s an event that doesn’t escape Rowsell’s of our self-important society: “Every book you take and you dust off from the shelf/ Has lines between lines between lines that you read about yourself,” she observes. “Does a light shine on you?” It’s sharp, smart songwriting that provides both a critical assessment of humanity’s egotistical impulses and allows us to do the very thing it warns of – finding ourselves in the lyrics and moulding them to fit our worlds. Wolf Alice have long proven themselves to be one of the best and brightest bands in Britain. And this track will help more people see them as top of the UK.
The members of Fleetwood Mac have long been known to go their own way, but they always end up back together. Mick Fleetwood revealed in a new interview that he recently reconciled with Lindsey Buckingham, who was fired from the rock band in January 2018 and sued his former bandmates eight months later. “I’ve really enjoyed being reconnected with Lindsey, which has been gracious and open,” the drummer and founding member, 73, told Rolling Stone on Monday, March 1. “And both of us have been beautifully honest about who we are and how we got to where we were.” Now that he and Buckingham, 71, are back on speaking terms, Fleetwood has been thinking about the possibility of working together again and doing a farewell tour with Stevie Nicks, John McVie and Christine McVie.
The brothers Robinson and Their reunion came on the heels of the 30th anniversary of their debut album Shake Your Money Maker. A newly announced 30th Anniversary Super Deluxe edition of the record features a remastered version of the album, three never-before-heard studio recordings, two unreleased demos from the band’s early days as Mr. Crowe’s Garden, B-sides, and a 14-song live concert that took place in their hometown of Atlanta in 1990. For the brothers, compiling material for this edition served as an exciting project in quarantine that allowed them to revisit a ton of material in their archive. “We do have piles of stuff over piles of years that’s pretty amazing,” Rich said. “We were always going into [the] studio. I think we went into the studio several times between Shake Your Money Maker and Southern Harmony, Southern Harmony and Amorica, and so on.”
I’ll take my live music any way I can get it – luckily there are some great deluxe box sets coming out with full live shows included.
Jose Gonzalez says: Every now and then I try to write lyrics in Spanish — this time I succeeded! I guess talking to Laura in Spanish every day helped. I started writing “El Invento” around 2017 when she was born. The song is about the questions — who we are, where we’re going and why? Whom can we thank for our existence? Historically, most traditions have invented answers to these questions. Thereof the name of the song: The Invention (god). It’s been 6 years. The music on the recording sticks pretty close to González’s trademark softer style of playing, which is rich with subtle melodies and gentle fingerpicking to make for a tranquil listening experience. The new single also notably marks the Swedish musician’s first-ever record featuring lyrics sung entirely in Spanish (his parents are Argentinian). González credits his daughter for his ability to finally begin writing songs in Spanish
This deep Joe Strummer cut is taken from a forthcoming LP of The Clash frontman’s greatest hits. Made up of carefully curated singles, fan favourites and rarities, ‘Assembly’ will be released via George Harrison’s Dark Horse Records, which is now run by the late Beatle‘s son Dhani Harrison and manager David Zonshine. The deep cut arrives ahead of ‘Assembly’, a newly remastered LP of The Clash frontman’s greatest hits. “Junco Partner (Acoustic)” is the only unreleased track from Strummer’s upcoming compilation project. Prior to this album, Strummer’s team also shared another album of unreleased music titled Joe Strummer 001.
The Heavy Hours are four friends from Ohio that started playing music in an abandoned house somewhere in suburbia. We didn’t know any songs so we started writing our own. Band practice would start at midnight and end at 3:00am; we’d make noise, order pizza, and argue about everything we could think of. We started writing and recording; we wrote music that was based off of our musical capabilities and instincts, we recorded that music and after listening back to it, we decided “hmm, we gotta do that again…” So, we wrote some more; this time we were writing to make music we wanted to hear but hadn’t yet, combining influences from bands we loved and experimenting with new approaches. We recorded a bunch of songs on a farm in Virginia with our good friends, the music got passed around and one day we got a call from Dan Auerbach, and he said “hmm, let’s do that again…”
The Nashville-via-London duo Ida Mae announced their new sophomore album Click Click Domino, which follows their critically-acclaimed EP Raining For You and breakout debut Chasing Lights. The husband-wife duo has also shared the title track from the record, which features a blistering guitar performance from Marcus King. Ida Mae writes, “This was written kind of as a knee jerk song. The unfiltered noise of social media, concerns surrounding social engineering, the lack of emotional connection and physical disconnection gets to all of us. We all know how easy it is to falsify an image, be it in fashion / politics / or any aspect of your everyday and in a lot of people’s lives it has become a necessity to play into it. I wanted to write the lyrics to ‘Click Click Domino’ almost as Twitter statements, counting characters, making a short sharp stream of consciousness commentary.” Marcus King says, “A warm summer Nashville evening, enjoying a whiskey beverage with my lady and two of our best friends in town, Chris & Steph of Ida Mae. I listened through the track ‘Click Click Domino’ and was immediately floored by the raw nature of the recording, the intensity and the undeniable, delightfully British rock sound I had grown up being captured. I’m honoured to have played on this track. What a powerhouse album and what a powerhouse band.”
Rodrigo y Gabriela say that the Cover “It was a no-brainer for us,” says Rodrigo. “Kamasi is one of the most exciting jazz musicians out there and ‘Street Fighter Mas’ has such a good groove.”“It was a challenge for us,” adds Gabriela, “recreating the instruments with just two guitars, so it became a kind of game. We had to change a few bits and pieces, especially in how I interpreted the drum parts on my guitar.” guitar virtuosos Rodrigo y Gabriela have announced their first release of the new decade. The JAZZ EP. AND MUST SEE LIVE. Must.
Black Taxi are back – well kinda back. I’ll take anything that reminds me of them. I miss those boys so much. It’s iEzra – former frontman of Black Taxi. Most people stayed home. Hunked down between the global pandemic, the heated presidential election, the intensified calls for racial justice and the overall air of “unprecedented,” 2020 saw a lot happen. Well Ezra didn’t do that—the Black Taxi frontman, Ezra Huleatt—decided to go out into the world and see the sights for themselves. A road-trip. Across America. He wandered. He took notes and then channeled these reflections into music. It’s what Ezra does. This new batch of songs under – iEzra – are available now for your listening pleasure. The album is called The Underlying Condition. “I wrote this song on a long road trip into the North,” Huleatt told American Songwriter. “The first voice-memos hail from various spots between Atlanta and a small Adirondack motel. I write most songs fast, but ‘Just a Little More’ aged slowly, in the dust of optimism, unemployment checks, and gas station coffee. I then demoed-out the initial song sketches and emailed those to friends for feedback before putting the album together in Milwaukee last fall.” A playful, gritty vibe, “Just A Little More” is reminiscent of the same dancey indie style that Black Taxi has become known for. “Musically, this song is built for running (in rain storms),” Huleatt commented. “I want people to shoot some whisky and then run to this tune, especially when the horn lick kicks in on the chorus. It has a great tempo to lean hard into and the beat is all swagger. On a lyrical level, people can look at this micro-story of attempted repentance and deranged capitalism and translate it to their macro: our dystopia of a world is flaming right now with humanity an unhinged caravan. We are all carnies armed with differing sets of facts and hellbent on getting our share, staggering in the cesspool we have made for ourselves. But, we still have the power (barely) to control things, dictate our future. What’s it gonna be? We really can’t ignore the shape we are in anymore.”
Hull, of Manchester Orchestra, said of single ‘Bed Head’: “‘Bed Head’ is two old friends existing in two separate realities, it’s a conversation about the lives they lived, the consequences of life’s decisions, and finding purpose in trying to be better.” Manchester Orchestra also has ‘A Black Mile To The Surface: The Global Concert Film’. “If ‘Black Mile’ was this idea of ‘from birth to death,’ this album would really be more about ‘from birth to beyond, focusing on the highs and lows of life and exploring what could possibly come next.”
Jason Williamson, of Sleaford Mods, has been well ahead of the curve. As the verbal half of the English beat-punk/punk-beat duo Sleaford Mods, Williamson has used the grinding repetition laid down by his partner, Andrew Fearn, as a launchpad for spittle-drenched rants aimed upward for almost a decade. The Mods were, album after album, year after year, grumbling into the void about fascists and hypocrites both. “It’s pretty important to have all those kinds of flavors in there on an album,” Fearn of Sleaford Mods says. “It’s like a mix tape, isn’t it? I sound really old saying ‘mix tape.’ ” (Both of the Mods are circling 50.) Inching toward maturity (self-reflection, a tad more actual singing) while keeping what works (bracing minimalism, not letting self-reflection get in the way of a good rant) is as apt a thematic pigeonholing of the new Sleaford Mods album as any. For Fearn’s part, it’s important that the music itself remains true to the initial primal urges of punk (Fearns cites Butthole Surfers as a band he far preferred over any Britpop), hip-hop and dance music. When a specific effort to change the band’s sound is suggested, he pushes back, saying, “It was actually the opposite.”
Music is Life. Thanks again for listening.
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:
- Tom Petty – You Saw Me Comin’
- Slothrust – Cranium
- Wolf Alice – The Last Man On Earth
- Fleetwood Mac – Gold Dust Women (Live)
- The Black Crowes – Seeing Things (Live Atlanta 1990)
- Jose Gonzalez – El Invento
- Joe Strummer – Junco Partner (Acoustic)
- The Heavy Hours – Don’t Walk Away
- Ida Mae – Click Click Domino (Featuring Marcus King)
- Rodrigo y Gabriela – Street Fighter Mas (Cover)
- iEzra – Just A Little More
- Manchester Orchestra – Bed Head
- Sleaford Mods – Mork n Mindy (Clean)
and remember if you love someone hug them right now