After last week’s deluge of new releases, things are a bit quieter this week but there’s still plenty of gold out there. I’ve gone through all the release schedules to come up with these music recommendations.
1. Fast Romantics, F. Yourself (Postwar Records)
The Toronto-based duo of Matthew Angus and Kirty say “Welcome to the curse-filled song of the summer.” No guesses on what the “F” stands for. And yes, there is a clean edit for radio–quite a clever one, too. This is the first single from Happiness + Euphoria (due on September 29) which will be split into two thematic parts: one fun and poppy and the other “lush and beautiful.” Ambitious.
2. Dominic Fike, Mona Lisa – Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse (Sony)
Anytime you can get a song on the soundtrack of a big tent-pole summer blockbuster, you’re doing okay. Fike, an American who made his bones as an alternative hip hop artist, has come up with a jaunty summery track that has been streamed more than 25 million times in just a few days.
3. Beck, Phoenix, Odyssey (Capitol/Universal)
Beck is very amenable to collaborating with other like-minded artists online, exchanging files back and forth until something gels. He and Phoenix, the band from Versailles, France, get along so well they’re co-headlining the Summer Odyssey Tour across North America. The only Canadian date is September 3 at Budweiser Stage in Toronto.
4. Fall Out Boy, Hold Me Like a Grudge (Fueled by Ramen)
This is the second single from the band’s 2023 return So Much (For Stardust), their first record in five years. They’re on a roll following the solid showing of the first track, Love from the Other Side. If you hurt yourself stage diving, don’t expect the same outcome as what we see in the video.
5. The Smile, Bending Hectic (XL Recordings)
With the next Radiohead album a few years away (at least!), Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood are on a walkabout with their very Radiohead-esque The Smile. While they have performed this live, it was never available to the general public until now. Bowing to fan pressure, we have this recording made at Abbey Road with the London Contemporary Orchestra
1. Envy of None, This is Now EP (Kscope)
A couple of years back, Andy Curran (Coney Hatch) ended up collaborating with a young Portland, Oregon, singer named Maiah Wynne. A series of fortunate encounters led to Alex Lifeson (yes, the Rush guitarist) coming aboard along keyboards/producer Alfio Annibalini. A self-titled debut album was released last year. This EP is a follow-up. If you ever need to test out some speakers and headphones, this is the kind of music that will put them through their paces.
2. Albert Hammond, Jr., Melodies on Hiatus (Red Bull)
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Just as with Radiohead, I wouldn’t expect a new album from The Strokes anytime soon. And just like singer Julian Casablancas, guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. seems to prefer working solo for the time being. His fifth album features guest appearances from guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), drummer Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys), rapper GoldLink, and a few others.
3. Stewart Copeland, Police Deranged for Orchestra (Shelter/BMG Rights Management)
A Police reunion? Never, ever. We’ll have to rely on drummer Stewart Copeland to take the band’s hits and turn them into something for various orchestras. The songs will be familiar. Maybe it’s best that I let Stewart explain himself.
4. Portugal. The Man, Chris Black Changed My Life (Atlantic)
It’s been nearly six years since the last album and P.TM’s return is dedicated to an honorary member of the band who died in 2019. In an interesting move, they brought in producer Jeff Bhasker who is known for his work with Harry Styles, Kanye, and Beyonce) to “change their process.” There’s a storyline that’s woven through the whole album. Another surprise is the list of guest performers which includes Edgar Winter (the Frankenstein guy from the 70s) and Paul Williams (the pop songwriter for The Carpenters and The Muppets.) And yes, this single was used in a Taco Bell spot.