Alan Cross’ weekly music picks: Get your thinking cap on
There’s an extra amount of depth with this week’s new releases that may result in you looking at the universe in a brand new way. Or perhaps not.
Let’s see what’s up.
1. Muse, Simulation Theory
Matt Bellamy, who’s barmy at the best of times with his fascination with conspiracy theories and cosmology, has steered Muse into the realm of Tron with a VR-flavoured record that will be accompanied by a lot of tech when the world tour launches. This includes special pre-show backstage events where fans will apparently be treated to a holodeck-like experience. If you want to prepare yourself, read up on the hypothesis that all our reality is nothing but a giant alien computer simulation.
2. Hanson, String Theory
Yes, the Mmbop people, 21 years and 11 albums later. With a title like String Theory, you’re excused for thinking that Hanson has spun into the same esoteric science being explored at the Large Hadron Collider. “Hey,” you might think, “Hanson should tour with Muse! All we’d need to complete the trifecta is a hologram of Stephen Hawking!” Alas, Hanson’s album has nothing to do with actual string theory. Instead, it’s an orchestral album. And yes, they cover Mmbop.
3. The Beatles, White Album 50th anniversary release
This is probably the most important re-release of the year. When the Beatles and George Martin gathered at Abbey Road to create the follow-up to Sgt. Pepper, they were faced with a monumental task. That was complicated by the members of the band growing apart from each other, the presence of Yoko, John’s slow descent into drugs, and a growing gap between The Beatles and George Martin. Between the end of May and mid-October 1968, Martin kept the tape machines running, capturing everything The Beatles did during those sessions. Fifty years later, Giles Martin, George’s son, supervised an expanded version of what became known as The White Album (its real title is The Beatles). All these alternate takes, demos, and remixes will be essential study material for Beatles fanatics.
4. Imagine Dragons, Origins
After talking about it for almost five months, Imagine Dragons have released their fourth album. If you’re puzzled by how they’ve been doling out the singles, you’re not alone. The first was released in July followed by a second single in September. Then a third single dropped on Halloween only to be superseded by a fourth single a week later. Imagine Dragons are the most-streamed rock band in the world. Let’s see where this album takes them.
5. The Revivalists, Take Good Care
Three years have elapsed since New Orleans-based The Revivalists had a breakthrough with Men Amongst Mountains. This record features a mix of new material (think the single All My Friends) as well as a few new live favourites (Got Love and You and I.) All eight members of the band had input into the songwriting. Revheads (the name given to the band’s hardcore fans) will be picking apart this record through the weekend.
London Calling — Anna Calvi, As a Man
Anna is an artsy sort from Twickenham who has released some truly bewitching music over the last decade or so. Although she’s always been musical — she picked up the violin at age six and started playing guitar at eight — she had a phobia about singing until she was in her mid-20s. The good news is that she found her voice very quickly. Her third album, Hunter, is getting quite a bit of support throughout the UK.
Undiscovered Gem – Body Type, Palms
Body Type is an all-female quartet out of Sydney, Australia, with a super-catchy single featuring alternating lead vocals. With tinges of early Go-Go’s and Bangles and cut with the feel of Canada’s The Beaches, this is a summery song just in time for the Australian summer.
Throwback Thursday — Elastica, Line Up
I pulled out this because of some news that came out about Elastica this week. The band’s Justin Welch has joined up with Miki Berenyi of Lush (a shoegazey band from the early 1990s), Michael Conroy of Modern English (remember I Melt with You?) and KJ McKillop from a group called Moose. With a debut album called Brickbat due in February, they’re setting the table with a debut single entitled Everlastingly Yours. Time to pull out this gem from Elastica’s 1995 debut album.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with 102.1 the Edge and Q107 and a commentator for Global News.
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