For jaded hipster Millennials and their streaming services, September 2015 will be just another month of the year, a time to wander aimlessly through millions of songs and hundreds of commercials. For record collectors, especially whose who grew up in the 1980’s or love 80’s music, September 2015 just might be the greatest month in world history. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many blockbuster releases hitting the shelves, if it weren’t for Gerry Galipault’s comprehensive and addictive new release calendars on Pause and Play, I would be completely lost. Let’s tear open his calendars and dive on in:
Against Me! “¢ The Libertines “¢ Public Image Limited
Against Me! “¢ 23 Live Sex Acts
Since coming out as transgender in the pages of Rolling Stone, Laura Jane Grace has risen from being unfairly tagged as a “major label sell out” to the much-deserved status as a national icon. Best of all, Grace is finally being recognized as one of the era’s top songwriters and performers. With an Emmy nomination under her belt for the AOL web series True Trans, winning collaborations with Miley Cyrus and Joan Jett on the YouTubes and a thundering, never-ending world tour in full swing, things have never looked better or brighter for the formerly Floridian band. Against Me’s third official live album (following Americans Abroad and the New Haven, CT show released through their website) pulls evenly from the band’s catalog. Six of the 23 tracks hail from from their breakthrough indie release, Transgender Dysphoria Blues (my 2014 Album of the Year), 6 come from their two Butch Vig-produced albums for Sire (my favorite era of the band), and the rest come from the band’s early, more abrasive albums and singles. If you missed the band as they tore through your town, here is your best chance to join the fun. For everyone else, it’s a protein bar to tide you over until the next album in 2016 or 2017.
NEW AGAINST ME! TOUR DATES:
04 – Asbury Park, NJ – The Stone Pony (Red Bull Sound Select curated by Brooklyn Vegan)
23 – Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades *
24 – San Francisco, CA – Slim’s *
25 – Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory *
26 – Mesa, AZ – Nile Theater *
27 – Las Vegas, NY – Life Is Beautiful Festival
* = w/ Cayetana, Annie Girl & the Flight
JUST RELEASED: THE NEW LYRIC VIDEO FOR ‘TRUE TRANS SOUL REBEL’ (directed by Steak Mtn.):
Public Image Limited “¢ What The World Needs Now
That “other” band by Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon has now been around in various incarnations for 37 years (give or take a 17 year hiatus). 26 years have passed since my favorite PiL LP, the Stephen Hague (OMD, New Order)-produced 9. The pop-leanings of 9 are long gone, replaced by the wry, bitter, angry, ‘get off my lawn’ Johnny we know and love, along with the jarring guitars and aggressive soundscapes that make PiL such a rush. If it’s half as good as the 2012 reunion album, This is PiL, we are in for a treat.
PiL just debuted the video for ‘Double Trouble’. While it looks like it was hastily shot on an iPhone, it answers the burning question, what happens when aged punks retreat to a house in the English countryside? Rock out and cook health food. No wonder Johnny is as animated here as I’ve ever seen him and it’s no wonder the rest of the band, Lu Edmonds (guitarist, co-writer on my beloved 9 album), Bruce Smith (drums) and Scott Firth (bass) look so damn good and Happy? after all these years.
The Libertines “¢ Anthems of Doomed Youth
Music fans will forever wonder why Amy Winehouse had to die and how the hell Pete Doherty managed to survive the 2000’s. By the time the Libertines rolled into Chicago back in the day (I saw a raucous but unmemorable show at the Empty Bottle), Doherty was long gone from the band and not too long after that, the “UK Strokes” were done and gone. Well, now they’re back, and from what you see in the video, enjoy em while you can. This type of hard party can only last so long before another breakup or burial.
Also released, The Arcs (featuring Dan Auberach of The Black Keys). See the full list HERE.
Prince “¢ HITNRUN
Today Prince announced that his new album, HITNRUN, would be released on September 7. “Yea!” say Prince fans (“Friends” as he calls them). Wait, not so fast. So far, this appears to be an exclusive streaming release on his friend’s TIDAL service, so “old friends” like me who have ponied up for every Prince album to date will have to wait to legally purchase and own a copy (preferably on CD). One can hope that it will simultaneously be released on iTunes and Amazon MP3, but I am not getting my hopes up — this is the man who said “Up yours, that’s right, I’m a star” to all of his US fans by releasing 20Ten exclusively in Europe, for free. There’s also one of his best EP’s, The Undertaker, that only came out in Japan. So while I am 80% curious, 15% heartbroken and 5% pissed off, I’ll get over it. There are plenty of fine bands that want my money this month. Let’s move on…
Duran Duran “¢ Richard Hawley
Duran Duran “¢ Paper Gods
After three perfect LPs followed by 20 years of decent singles and album filler, Double D returned to glory with the 2010 release of All You Need Is Now, produced by Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse). My self-cobbled, 28-track, Super Duper Best Buy Japanese Deluxe edition of …Now was so awesome, it secured the top spot in POPDOSE’s round-up of the 10 Most Awesome New Wave Comebacks Ever. Ronson is back, along with the always-reliable Nile Rogers and (“WTF is she doing here?” Lindsay Lohan) for Paper Gods. The band promises “weird and “experimental” but are we talking Night Versions weird or Red Carpet Massacre weird? The early single, featuring Janelle Monae is super slick and hawt, so anything is possible.
Richard Hawley “¢ Hollow Meadows
I was new to POPDOSE when Sheffield’s Richard Hawley was promoting his menacing and melodic last album, Standing at the Sky’s Edge . We talked for about an hour by phone, resulting in one of my all-time favorite interviews. The edgier sound of the last album roars back on the single ‘Which Way’ while much of the album balance promises a return to the wistful and romantic atmosphere of his early albums Late Night Final and Lowedges. Hollow Meadows features frequent collaborator, Jarvis Cocker (Pulp), alongside a slew of ringers from the UK folk scene. Expect something magnificent.
GTR “¢ Glen Hansard “¢ Robert Forster
GTR “¢ GTR 2 CD Deluxe Expanded Edition
“When The Heart Rules The Mind” — Great song from the 80’s, or GREATEST song from the 80’s? Discuss.
The super group featuring Steve Howe (Yes, Asia) and Steve Hackett (Genesis) didn’t last long and were derided by college rock hipsters back in the day. That said, most art takes a while to be fully appreciated. Two singles from the album, the other being ‘The Hunter’, have aged incredibly well as slick, delicious, ridiculously over-the-top nostalgia.
A second album was demoed and is readily available in the dark crevices of the Internet, but alas, it never came to be. There was more in-fighting in GTR than you’ll see on most Real Housewives episodes. The first album has been out of print for years, but roars back gloriously thanks to Cherry Red Records’ Esoteric Recordings. The remaster includes three alternate mixes from the 12″ singles, plus a full concert recording where the band padded their setlist with Yes and Genesis hits. The concert will be an interesting listen because in an ironic twist, the guitar processing effect that created the signature “no synth” synthy GTR sound in the studio could not be replicated in concert, so they had to add a keyboardist to the lineup.
Cherry Red and their associated labels usually knock it out of the park with their liner notes and essays, so perhaps more answers will be revealed within. If nothing else, it will be great to have this lost gem in blazing CD digital glory once again. Preorder direct from Cherry Red.
Glen Hansard “¢ He Didn’t Ramble
Glen Hansard has brought so many smiles to so many faces, with the Frames (Set List remains one of my all-time favorite live recordings), the movie Once, and with the Once-inspired folk duo, The Swell Season. It was easy to cut him a break for 2012’s utterly depressing band and romance break-up album, Rhythm and Repose. The new album title doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs, but the debut single, ‘Winning Streak’, soars like his best work in years. It would nice to see a Hansards of Rock package tour with the Frames, Swell Season and Hans Solo all on the same stage, but in the meantime, expect this album to warm your soul deep into the long cold winter.
Robert Forster (formerly of The Go-Betweens) “¢ Songs to Play
It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since the last solo album by the co-founder of beloved Aussie indie rockers, The Go-Betweens. Robert Forster has been busy, producing albums, working as a music critic and compiling glorious reissues of his band’s seminal work. He returns with a lovely new album that will surely thrill the adventurous indie rock fan in all of us. His melodic, textured and good natured songs at times recall Lou Reed, Willie Nelson and David Byrne. On the breathtaking ‘Let Me Imagine You’ he implores someone he adores to stop using twitter so he can imagine who they are instead of having all the mystery removed. Remember when stars had an air of intrigue around them. Take note every over-exposed celebrity and pop star on Earth. These songs promise to unfold and reveal more and more with subsequent listens — a welcome return indeed.
Also released 9/18, new albums by: Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin, Chris Cornell, David Gilmour, Keith Richards and ZZ Ward. See the full list HERE.
New Order “¢ Chvrches
New Order “¢ Music Complete
As annoying and whiny as Peter Hook has been in the press since leaving New Order, Music Complete probably won’t feel complete without his signature bass lines and vocal contributions. On the flipside, it’s nice to have keyboardist Gillian Gilbert back in the fold alongside special guests Brandon Flowers (vocals on ‘Superheated’), Iggy Pop (‘Stray Dog’) and La Roux’s Elly Jackson (‘Tutti Frutti’, ‘People On The High Line” and backing vox on ‘Plastic’).
A few tracks were produced by Tom Rowlands of the Chemical Brothers, so the LP should be interesting and hopefully a lot better than Never Cry Another Tear, the album by Bad Lieutenant which features essentially the same lineup minus all the guests.
New Order “¢ ‘Restless’ — The First Single!!!
New Order just premiered the first single from the album. Bernie sounds a bit restless and a bit flat, but that’s always been part of his charm. The guitar-driven, Brotherhood-era sounding track is very bright start to what promises to be a long rollout cycle of new material as the year ends. A remix package for the single is on tap and in October, a vinyl box is expected to follow with even more remixes of album cuts.
Chvrches “¢ Every Open Eye
Much like New Order, Chvrches dishes up gorgeous, dark, alternative dance pop. It wasn’t until New Order’s Low Life that I even had a clue what that band looked like and Chvrches is no different. I cherish their albums and have never bothered to check out a video or their Wikipedia page. Where are they from? Are they hot or not? Do they twitterhate on anyone from High School Musical? Hell if I know. I think the mystery of it all adds to their allure. Prepare to fall in love.
Various Artists “¢ Creation Artifact — The Dawn of Creation Records 1983-85
On the reissues front, the year’s most exciting box set comes once again from Cherry Red, a label that is to UK indie rock what the Library of Congress is to film and movies. On Creation Artifact — The Dawn of Creation Records 1983-85, Cherry Red offers yet another PhD. course in a very fleeting, yet seminal moment of time in modern music. While most eras of music tend to get distilled down to the same 30 or so hit singles, Cherry Red is hell bent on restoring and celebrating vibrant swaths of pivotal rock and roll culture. Until now, most of these post punk singles have only been available as scratched up and dusty 7-inches in used vinyl shops and the estate sales of very cool dead people. Now, the sleeve art, gig posters, original recordings and the stories behind the bands and Alan McGee’s legendary upstart label are brought back to vibrant and colorful life.
POPDOSE has hailed all of Cherry Red’s previous mega boxes:
- Scared to Get Happy: A Story of Indie Pop 1980 – 1989
- NME C-86: Deluxe 3CD Edition
- Millions Like Us:: The Story of the Mod Revival 1977 – 1989
The set’s opening salvo, a pull quote that kicks off the enthralling 12,000-word liner note essay by Neil Taylor (who helmed the notes in the C-86 box set), just about sums up what you’re gonna get here:
Creation Records seeks pop groups with fantastic songs and a hatred for the current pop scene…’
Small Ad, Melody Maker, 1983
Across 5 CDs, you’ll get all of the label’s early singles (A-sides and B-sides), rarities, album tracks, demoes and live BBC-recordings. Many of the bands you know, Primal Scream, Jesus and Mary Chain, June Brides, Bodines. Others you should, including Pastels, Biff Bang Pow!, The Loft and the Jasmine Minks. Artifact plays like a maze of deep underground tunnels connecting Cherry Red’s Scared to Get Happy and C-86 box sets. The booklet (I’ve previewed the text version) promises hours if not months of discovery, an absolute dream for record collectors who are too often given new titles in editorial-free digipaks.
Order this box set early to thrill the indie rock record geek within you or within your family, it promises to be 2015’s top holiday gift. And by holiday I mean, Halloween — why wait?
The Membranes – Dark Matter/Dark Energy (out now)
One of the featured Creation acts (also found on the expanded C-86), The Membranes, recently roared back with their first album in decades, the critically adored Dark Matter/Dark Energy:
- “Anyone expecting a mere retread of The Membranes’ 80s glory days is in for one hell of a surprise, for what we have here is a band whose rear view mirror was thrown out into the traffic several miles ago.” — Julian Marszalek (The Quietus)
- “The Membranes’ first album in 26 years is an extraordinary comeback. Smashing together dub basslines, post-punk grind and cosmic soundscapes, Dark Matter/Dark Energy’ muses on mortality and the universe. Often brutal in approach, the gut-punch attack of Do The Supernova’ and Space Junk’ would frighten off any extra-terrestrials tuning in.” — Stuart Huggett, NME.
Prepare to have the living shit kicked out of your with this exhilarating sampler:
Also released on September 25, new albums by Don Henley, Disclosure, Peaches (feat. Kim Gordon) and Silversun Pickups. See the full list HERE.
Long overdue new albums by Editors and Eagles of Death Metal follow in October — and after that, the year pretty much goes to hell giving you plenty of time to catch up with the above titles.