Having shrunk to a duo within the last year, NYC experimentalists Battles have just released “Titanium 2 Step,” the lead single for the forthcoming long-player Juice B Crypts due out in October via Warp. It’s a frenetic space jam of chaotic funk with Liquid Liquid’s Sal Principato lending sporadic vocal yelps. The band is currently on tour in Europe, hitting the US in early December.
Alt-rock singer/songwriter Juliana Hatfield returns with her second record of 2019 with a tribute to the Police, covering a smattering of the trio’s classics and deeper cuts. This stands as Hatfield’s second covers record, having paid tribute to Olivia Newton-John back in 2018, and it’s a tradition she hopes to continue. She released the insular and reflective Weird, her 17th solo album, back in January of this year. Hatfield’s teaser for the upcoming covers record is her version of “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da,” which suits her style amazingly well. I hadn’t previously heard a Police influence in her solo work, but I can’t un-hear it now.
Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police is out in November on American Laundromat Records. You can pre-order it here.
Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come was such a visceral, unimpeachable, career-defining classic that it was almost a relief that the band broke up a few months after it came out so as not to risk tainting its lasting legacy. Refused’s dissolution in the face of imminent success was also consistent with its anti-capitalistic ethos. So, when rumors started to circulate in 2010/11 that something was brewing for Refused, the band’s perfectly encapsulated legacy was on the verge of compromise.
Inevitably, a reunion tour was announced in 2012 followed by the dreaded “new” album in 2015. Even though Freedom wasn’t a terrible comeback record, it didn’t hold a candle to The Shape of Punk to Come. And four years on the band has announced a follow-up: War Music is out in October. The first single, “Blood Red,” serves up a healthy dose frenetic agitation and a hint of metal, replete with a memorable chorus.
Last summer Robert Smith curated the Meltdown festival in the UK with handpicked acts ranging from My Bloody Valentine to Nine In Nails to The Church. The Cure, of course, headlined but were billed as CURÆTION-25 so as not to violate a contract for its massive headlining slot a few weeks later in London’s Hyde Park. Both shows are being combined for a DVD/Blu-Ray release this October to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary. The setlists are expectedly massive, showcasing every idiosyncratic incarnation of the band.
Smith recently revealed an update for the band’s progress on its first new album in 11 years in an interview at the Fuji Rock Festival, claiming that the record will be delayed until next year. He had originally claimed it would be out close to Halloween this year. Even casual Cure fans know not to trust anything the man says with regard to release timelines.
David Bowie’s estate has just released an official video to accompany the 2019 mix by longtime producer Tony Visconti of “Space Oddity,” which was Bowie’s first big hit released 50 years ago this month. To the chagrin of some fans, the footage mixes eras of Bowie’s career. This was a song that he kept in sets throughout all of his chameleonic musical and artistic shifts so to complain of the blended eras seems a bit short-sighted.
To further capitalize on the semicentennial anniversary of Bowie’s career launch, a 7″ box set has recently been issued, featuring the original mono release as well as the new 2019 mixes housed in new picture sleeves complete with a double-sided poster.
Bowie’s estate has released a glut of small-scale rarities this year but still no word on the next catalog box set, covering his musical rebound in the 1990s.
The Replacements have announced a new box set of alternate versions of the songs that comprised its penultimate album, Don’t Tell A Soul. Across four discs, an LP, and a cassette, the new set, entitled Dead Man’s Pop, presents Don’t Tell A Soul as it was originally intended, according to the press release over at Rhino.
Some of the alternate takes include the notoriously debauched and drunken sessions with producer Tony Berg at Bearsville Studios from 1988, as well as the infamous sessions later that same year mutual fan with Tom Waits!?!
Despite refusing to perform its breakout album for the 25th anniversary of Parklife, Blur is acknowledging the occasion by re-releasing a vintage line of merchandise, as well as a 10″ record of a previously unreleased live BBC session. No word yet on a special edition of the album itself.
The show refusal dates back to April of this year, where lead singer Damon Albarn voiced his concern over the Brexit situation, saying: “Say we got to the point of having a second referendum, then I would be happy to play that record as a celebration and as a way of reminding ourselves of a time when we had an idea of Britishness that wasn’t political.”
Maybe the band will soften on the idea as these releases roll out. That record deserves to be celebrated.