The springtime tends to be one of the most fruitful times of year for new music arriving in stores.
Below are some of my choice picks that I’m looking forward to in the next few months; I hope you find something here that appeals to you as well! (Release dates are subject to change).
Tinted Windows – S/T – Having members of Cheap Trick, Fountains of Wayne, Smashing Pumpkins and Hanson join together into one group sounds like a marvelous idea to me. Their debut release stands to be the best piece of power pop unleashed on the world in recent times. www.tintedwindowsmusic.com (April 21)
Bob Dylan – “Together Through Life” – The latest studio offering from ‘the man’ is his 33rd studio record and is reportedly steeped in the sound of classic Sun and Chess Recordings. Dylan has had a pretty good streak of studio records in the past decade; here’s hoping that streak continues. www.bobdylan.com (April 28)
The Disciplines – “Smoking Kills” – The latest band from Ken Stringfellow (The Posies/REM) is equal parts garage rock and pop and certain to satisfy the cravings of fans from both genres and everything in between. www.thedisciplines.com (April 28)
Heaven and Hell – “The Devil You Know” – Black Sabbath alumni Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Ronnie James Dio team up with drummer Vinny Appice under a different moniker than the historic Sabbath one, but rest assured that the music stands to be as heavy as ever. www.heavenandhelllive.com (April 28)
Ben Harper and The Relentless 7 – “White Lies For Dark Times” – Ben Harper leaves The Innocent Criminals behind but judging by the video of Shimmer and Shine posted at www.relentless7.com, his new band The Relentless 7 can stand on their own quite capably. Rock music is clearly the order of the day here; fans of Harper’s folksy moments might want to take heed before rushing out to buy this. (May 5)
The Divorcees – “Last Of The Free Men” – Expect another dose of good ol’ fashion country music from one of Moncton’s best outlaw country bands. The Skydiggers’ Josh Finlayson was in the producer’s chair for The Divorcees sophomore record, a pairing which has The Toronto Star buzzing about the record weeks before it is even in stores. www.thedivorcees.com (May 5)
Steve Earle – “Townes” – Earle once said “Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the world and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that!” Townes is Earle’s tribute to his friend and mentor. Van Zandt passed away on New Year’s Day, 1997 but during the 52 years he was on this earth, he wrote the Merle Haggard/Willie Nelson hit Poncho and Lefty and had his songs covered by Emmylou Harris and Nanci Griffith. www.steveearle.com (May 12)
Iron & Wine – “Around The Well” – Sam Beam has been making gorgeous, soulful and simple songs for years now and on Around The Well he has assembled a double-disc set of out-of-print and previously unreleased material. www.ironandwine.com (May 19)
The Motorleague – “Black Noise” – With the legendary Ian Blurton behind the boards, expect some glorious, anthemic rawk songs from Moncton’s The Motorleague. These songs will also be responsible for kicking your ass. You’ve been warned. www.themotorleague.ca (May 19)
Elvis Costello – “Secret, Profane & Sugarcane” – Recorded with T. Bone Burnett in a lightning-fast three days, the newest record from Costello is his first rooted in acoustic music since his 1986 masterpiece King Of America. www.elviscostello.com (June 2)
Rhett Miller – S/T – The singer/guitarist from the Old 97’s unleashes his latest solo record which reportedly was made in some trying times, including the death of his grandmother, lend darker than usual tones to Miller’s folk pop. www.rhettmiller.com (June 9)
The Dead Weather – “Horehound” – As if Jack White doesn’t already have his plate full with The Raconteurs and The White Stripes, he adds a third group to his resume. White’s fascination with sludgingly heavy guitar-rock continues, with few arguments from me. www.thedeadweather.com (June 9)
Pete Yorn – “Back and Forth” – The release of the Pete Yorn’s latest sure-bet collection of rock and roll songs is timed to coincide with his opening slot on a handful of dates on Coldplay’s North American tour. Hopefully the masses that will see him at these shows will catch on to one of the decade’s best-kept secret talents and give him the fame he so sorely deserves. www.peteyorn.com (June 23)
Levon Helm – “Electric Dirt” – The drummer from legendary group The Band returns with his second record in the past three years. The follow-up to rootsy Dirt Farmer is noted on his site as “painting a broader musical canvas by incorporating gospel, blues and soul into a wide range of original songs and eclectic cover songs.”(www.levonhelm.com) (June 30)