It’s been a while since we’ve heard from a couple of this week’s artists — 18 years in one case.
Also this week: a couple of wonderfully trippy songs that deserve to be played very, very loud, and a farewell record from some Canadian indie darlings.
1. Perry Farrell and The Kind Heaven Orchestra, Kind Heaven
It’s been forever — fans have been waiting since 2001 — since the Jane’s Addiction frontman and co-founder of Lollapalooza released a solo album. He’s stacked it with guest performers, including enough drummers to fill out the side of a basketball team. That includes Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), and Matt Chamberlin of both Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. The record also features appearances by Elliot Easton (The Cars), Bowie producer Tony Visconti, and Dhani Harrison (son of George).
2. City and Colour, Astronaut (Single)
Dallas Green’s solo work consists largely of sad acoustic songs about dying. This track, a teaser for a still-untitled album that will be released later this year, is a lot more electric than what he usually does and quite a bit more trippy. Outstanding and glorious, this is.
3. Silversun Pickups, Widow’s Weed
SSPU has kept a rather low profile since the release of their last album in 2015, apparently as the result of singer Brian Aubert going through a dark time as he sought a route to sobriety. Despite that, it’s not a sad album but one about change and renewal. The producer is Butch Vig, the guy who helmed the Nevermind sessions for Nirvana. Cool video for this single, too.
4. Hollerado, Retaliation Vacation
Back in February, Canadian indie faves Hollerado announced that they were packing it in after a dozen years. But before they fade to black, they’re going to play out the string with one final album that they produced, engineered and mixed entirely on their own. There’s a tour this summer, so catch them while you can.
5. Aurora, A Different Kind of Human (Step II)
Imagine for a moment if Bjork and Jane Siberry raised a daughter who wrote a concept album about the climate emergency. That’s exactly what we have with Aurora, a 22-year-old Norwegian singer with a delivery that dances around melodies in ways you almost never hear in a pop song. Despite the dire messages contained herein, the result is achingly lovely.
London Calling: Fontaines DC, Boys in the Better Land
This is one of those songs that I had on repeat for several listens the first time I heard it. Coming out of Dublin and fronted by Grian Chatten, the group has been compared favourably to the Arctic Monkeys in terms of their lyrical approach. Their debut album, Dogrel, is rather excellent.
Rod Colmer, Written in Stone
Although Rod — Roddy to his familiar — is involved with two bands, Rebel Emergency and The Most Non-Heinous, he also steps out to record solo material. His second outing, called Afterglow, deserves more attention.
Dandy Warhols, Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth
The Dandy Warhols had two goes at recording their second album in 1997. The first iteration was rejected by their record label because there were “no songs” (i.e. no hits). “Go back and do it again!” said the label. So they did and the result worked out rather well. The band is currently on a 25th-anniversary tour.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with 102.1 the Edge and Q107, and a commentator for Global News.
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