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.
“Musicians want to be the loud voice for so many quiet hearts.” – Billy Joel
Let us begin NEXT week 776 with Middle Kids. ‘Today We’re the Greatest’ is the Middle Kids’ second studio album. The follow-up to the band’s 2018 debut ‘Lost Friends’. “I want to make music that loves its listener. Music that makes people feel seen, seen in the tiny little places that hide away in their hearts,” explained frontwoman, of Middle Kids, Hannah Joy.
Michelle Zauner’s been busy. Following the quick one-two of Psychopomp in 2016 and Soft Sounds From Another Planet in 2017, it’s been a while since Zauner’s released new Japanese Breakfast music. But along the way Michelle Zuner also started a new band called Bumper and wrote a memoir called Crying In H Mart. “After spending the last five years writing about grief, Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast wanted the follow up to be about joy,” Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast explained “For me, a third record should feel bombastic and so I wanted to pull out all the stops for this one. I wrote ‘Be Sweet’ with Jack Tatum from Wild Nothing a few years ago. I’ve been holding onto it for so long and am so excited to finally put it out there.”
Dry Cleaning are a post punk band from the UK. Punk music historically has been characterized by hardcore vocals, fast-paced progressions and the occasional political angst. Dry Cleaning, a modest four-piece band based in London, is changing the scope of rock and punk music with their post-punk style, a more avant-garde approach to the traditionally loud genre. Dry Cleaning frontwoman Florence Shaw is the voice behind the music. Her deadpan, spoken-word delivery is accompanied by Lewis Maynard’s funky basslines, Tom Dowse’s rock-inspired guitar riffs and Nick Buxton’s driving percussion. All of these elements flow together to create beautiful and occasionally abstract stories and themes in every song. the band said their songwriting style is very collaborative and involves every band member. “We just kind of jam,” Dowse of Dry Cleaning said. “We just get together and don’t pressurize ourselves, we just hang out… have like a jam for like 15 minutes, it can be completely unguided.” Dowse says of Dry Cleaning we will record the jam sessions and listen back to them throughout the week. Then, they meet up and discuss any pieces that stood out to them. “We’ve written from those jams. There’s something in there, maybe like 5 seconds… that will turn into a song. It’s kind of really organic,” Dowse said. Shaw of Dry Cleaning said the band’s lyrics are bits and pieces of life that she has collected over the course of about ten years, whether they are phrases from YouTube comments or snippets from magazine articles. “I would collect things in the notes of my phone. If I saw them out the window of the bus, or if I overheard someone saying something I thought was interesting, or had a bit of a contradiction in it… I would just note it down with no sense of what it was gonna be for,” Shaw of Dry Cleaning said. “I was just collecting to collect. And then (the band) came along, and my first thought was, ‘Oh, well, I could use them.’”
Marius Lauber aka Roosevelt is a dedicated music lover drawn to all forms of dance music. Yacht rock to house euphoria to sub-zero techno, and it’s the warm emotional touch that drives his music. That warmth of his dance music makes people fall in love – since his breakthrough ‘Elliot EP’.
Dinosaur Jr have announced their new album, ‘Sweep It Into Space’. The record was started before lockdown hit, was co-produced by Kurt Vile. The new Dinosaur Jr will be released via Jagjaguwar. J Mascis says: “I was listening to a lot of Thin Lizzy, so I was trying to get some of that duelling twin lead sound. But the recording session was pretty well finished by the time things really hit the fan. When the lockdown happened in March, that meant I was on my own. But it was cool.”
Grouplove have decided to take a new musical direction, this time choosing to go a punkier and darker route than the happy-go-lucky sound that can be found on their breakout 2011 hit ‘Tongue Tied’. This culminates in a journey of sonic exploration for the band. a year since the release of Healer, alt-rock five-piece Grouplove is readying the follow-up with the announcement of a surprise record called This is This. “We hope this album gives people the permission to f***ing scream or head-bang or punch walls,” Grouplove says in a statement. “It’s important to stay emotional. The whole rainbow is important,” Grouplove continue. “If we just live in the light blues, are we really alive? I’m not. I need to feel it all.”
With a sound reminiscent of The Black Keys we listen to Hey King. The biting electric guitar and drum-driven “Road Rage” fiercely expresses the frustration women feel with harassment and having their sense of safety threatened and also celebrates their strength. Hey King says “We wanted this to be every woman’s song because we all have stories of harassment and stories of our resilience,” explains London of Hey King. “For the video —> We had originally planned to include ourselves playing/singing the track, but after seeing the incredible performances from our collaborators, we decided to let them tell the story.” Plecity of Hey King adds, “‘Road Rage’ is an anthem for female empowerment and having this group of amazing women respond to it visually is extremely humbling.”
Amythyst Kiah has been tapped as an up-and-coming secret that we need to get to know better. With a new version of Kiah’s radically reimagined song “Black Myself” a powerful track originally recorded for the band she was in, Our Native Daughters. It’s a cover if you cover yourself? Amythyst Kiah’s one of roots music’s most exciting emerging talents, blending a deep knowledge of old-time music with sensibilities spanning classic country to contemporary R&B.” Amythyst Kiah has created a boundary-crossing “Southern Gothic alt-country blues” style.
The latest tracks from Real Estate were sketched out in a 2020 recording session. Lockdown forced them to finish remotely. And when finished these track as called by the band (Real Estate) their “most intuitive and interconnected music to date.”. “Life keeps changing and additional responsibilities and stresses keep being added, but this band is still here,” says frontman, of Real Estate, Martin Courtney. “When I was writing a lot of these songs, I was feeling a little weird about being in a band. Like, ‘how is this still a thing?’ I was feeling silly about it and then coming around to it at the same time. This is what we’re good at and it’s what we love to do and want to keep doing. I don’t want to do anything else.” The release will feature six songs, including the title track which has been a staple of the Real Estate’s live sets for some time.
Lake Street Dive are for anyone who enjoys strong vocals, tender love songs, 80’s throwbacks and all-round stellar music. If this is you then LSD is for you. Now onto their seventh studio album, the Brooklyn-based five piece has for the most part toned things down a little on Obviously. Though they’ve kept just enough of their juicy soul and funk to ensure your ears are continually interested throughout the eleven tracks.
Drew Holcomb And The Neighbors capture the feeling of the past year. Where do you want to go? Anywhere. Somewhere. Let’s hit the road. “People tend to say my music is inspiring and hopeful, and I used to be resistant and say, ‘No, I’ve got some darkness in there,’” Holcomb says. “But life is difficult. We all need a shot in the arm, and that’s what music is for me. I’m definitely not Steve Earle. I carry my own burdens, and I have to sing to my own experience.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Katie Toupin was Houndmouth’s secret weapon. Now solo. Katie Toupin says will always be grateful for her Kentucky roots, but these days, the singer-songwriter’s heart — and the sound of the music she makes — beats with a West Coast vibe. Toupin made her way with the band Houndmouth. They were a gloriously ramshackle Americana outfit that combined Laurel Canyon folk, Crazy Horse-style thunder and classic soul- and blues-infused ’60s rock for a sound that earned it comparisons to The Band. Katie Toupin was part of it from the beginning. Houndmouth took the South By Southwest by storm in 2012. They had barely been a band. Katie Toupin and her bandmates got their first label deal from that great SXSW. “It just became clear that it was over for me; I can’t really talk about the details, but staying became not an option and going sort of the only option, and so I left, without much of a plan,” Katie Toupin said. “It’s been an interesting sort of journey since then.”
Hints of a new The Who album. “We’re very different – politically, socially, spiritually, in every respect. But we happen to be in this band together.” The Who’s Pete Townshend says there could be a new album in the running for post-lockdown release. Currently Pete Townshend is working in his home studio. The rock legend has already got the foundations ready for the next The Who album, which Pete Townshend plans to release after lockdown if financially viable. Townshend explains: “There’s pages and pages of draft lyrics. If the moment comes, I’ll go in and start.”
Born out of what Timothy Moore describes as “a rediscovered serenity after a difficult time, a moment of rebirth that made me more aware of who I am”, “Talk No More” is an invitation to the light within a process of inner scrutiny. Musically – it’s very bedroom pop. With an English mother and an Italian father, Timothy Moore spent his teenage years between London and Milan. He moved to Barcelona. Lived there for 13 years. And with two friends formed the band MOOD. He returned to Milan in 2017, and two years later released his debut album as a solo artist, “Where Dreams Are Made”. Timothy Moore is a man with a huge passion for Britpop, soul and classic rock.
Dieden, aka Little Hurt, honed his songwriting chops for a decade with the Mowgli’s. According to Colin Dieden—the LA-via-Kansas City singer-songwriter behind Little Hurt—there are two ways to write a song. “One is like pushing a boulder up a hill, like ‘God this is tough work, something’s not right about this, something’s not falling into place, what’s not fitting?’ And the other way,” Little Hurt contines, “is when the song just writes itself. It just spills out and everybody in the room knows and three hours [later] you’re all having a beer.”
25 years together. the Boston-based octet – Dropkick Murphys — combines the fire of The Pogues with the punk sensibility of, say, Rancid. What 2 would you pick? “Middle Finger,” which sounds very much like what you’d hope a Dropkick Murphys song sounds like in 2021: Gang vocals, pipes, a bouncing rhythm and a chorus meant for singing unison in a packed, beer-soaked bar (once such experiences are allowed to return to our lives). Said co-lead vocalist Ken Casey about the new album, which is meant as a celebration of the band’s longevity throughout the years: On this record, the overall theme is the importance of music, and the bands that made us who we are. We just hope [the album] takes people’s minds off their troubles. We’re so fortunate and grateful to be in the position to share a little happiness in our own way. Our gratitude levels are off the chart. 25 years ago, somebody bet me 30 bucks I couldn’t form a band with three weeks’ notice to open for his band. As kids, we’d never been out of New England and here we are – we’ve made ten records and have been all over the globe. If there’s a message to this album, it’s ‘put your fist up and play it loud.’”
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:
- Middle Kids – Questions
- Japanese Breakfast – Be Sweet
- Dry Cleaning – Strong Feelings
- Roosevelt – Easy Way Out
- Dinosaur Jr – I Ran Away
- Grouplove – This Is The End
- Hey King – Road Rage
- Amythyst Kiah – Black Myself
- Real Estate – Half A Human
- Lake Street Dive – Hypotheticals
- Drew Holcomb And The Neighbors – I Need To Go Somewhere
- Katie Toupin – Astronaut
- The Who – Pictures of Lily (Pete Townshend Demo)
- Timothy Moore – Talk No More
- Little Hurt – Messed Up
- Dropkick Murphys – Middle Finger
and remember if you love someone hug them right now