Alan Cross' weekly music picks: Coldplay, Billy Corgan and Beck

When the gales of November come, music fans can be guaranteed a plethora of new material from major artists.

With Christmas but a month away, here are a few tunes that will be vying for your gift-buying attention.

1. Coldplay, Everyday Life

It’s been four years since Coldplay released a new studio record, but they’re making up for it by issuing a double album, divided into Sunrise and Sunset. By the time you read this, the band may have completed two special performances in Amman, Jordan, playing the first half of the album at dawn and the second when the sun goes down.

If you missed the gigs, a quick YouTube search will bring it up. Five singles have already been released from the album, this being the most recent.

It’s going to be Coldplay world for the next couple of years.

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2. Beck, Hyperspace

The first single from Beck’s 14th album, Uneventful Day, is one of the best things Beck has ever done. The video is also fun and filled with Beck-related Easter eggs. Look for cameos by actors Evan Rachel Wood, Tessa Thompson, and Alia Shawkat.

The album itself was co-produced by Pharrell Williams (he’s getting a lot of work these days, isn’t he?) And if you’re wondering about how the title of the album is represented in the artwork, that’s katakana, a form of Japanese script.

3. The Who, WHO

It’s common wisdom that a band of The Who’s vintage is no longer capable of writing compelling, exciting music. Wrong. After a 13-year break, Pete and Roger return with a solid new album, 55 years after their first recordings.

Co-produced by Pete and D. Sardy (Noel Gallagher, Oasis, LCD Soundsystem, Gorillaz), the 11 songs feature contributions from Zak Starkey (Ringo’s kid) and Benmont Tench (Tom Petty’s keyboardist) among others. The first single, Ball and Chain, is pure epic Who.

4. Leonard Cohen, Thanks for the Dance

Cohen passed away a few weeks after releasing his 14th album, You Want It Darker, in October 2016. He did, however, leave some material behind for his son, Adam, to work with.

Calling in help from people like Beck, Daniel Lanois, Feist, Jennifer Warrens, and longtime collaborator, classical guitarist Javier Mas, Adam fleshed out the record in a small garage not too far from where his father used to live. The result is fitting coda to a life well lived.

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5. Billy Corgan, Cotillions

Announced just three weeks ago and coming on the heels of a successful Smashing Pumpkins album and reunion tour, Billy’s third solo album — released under his full name, William Patrick Corgan — is a a pit stop on the way to another Pumpkins record, which he says “will be out soon enough.” Calling this double album “a true labour of love,” he’s currently on a short American tour performing solo material and selected songs from the Pumpkins’ catalogue.

At this point, it looks like Cotillions will be a digital-only release.

Bonus Tracks

London Calling: The Murder Capital, More Is Less

This week’s track is not from the UK but, being from Dublin, still originates from the British Isles. The Murder Capital, a five-piece post-punk outfit, has drawn favourable comparisons to both Joy Division and The Pixies. There’s more where this came from with their debut album, When I Have Fears.

Undiscovered Gem: Tara Rice, Nylon Smile (Single)

Toronto singer Tara Rice has taken this Portishead song from their 2008 album, Third, and given it the ukulele treatment. This goes very well with a cold November evening.

Pearl Jam: Not For You (Single)

When it was first released 25 years ago this week (Nov. 22, 1994), Pearl Jam’s third album, Vitalogy, was only available on vinyl. The CD and cassette versions didn’t hit the stores until two weeks later. That vinyl record sold 34,000 copies, an insane amount at a time when vinyl sales were going in the dumper. It took for Jack White to release his Lazaretto album in 2014 for that record to fall. This was the third of three official singles.

Alan Cross is a broadcaster with 102.1 the Edge and Q107, and a commentator for Global News.

Subscribe to Alan’s Ongoing History of New Music Podcast now on Apple Podcast or Google Play

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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