Alan Cross' weekly music picks: Rock and rolling out of the summer

Fridays are the day when we see new releases from dozens of countries around the world both online and in-store.

With the fourth quarter looming, the industry is starting to gear up for the most important time of the year. Not a lot of big pop, hip-hop or country artists to report on this week, but there is plenty to interest the rock fan.

1. Alice in Chains, Rainier Fog

It’s been six years since the last AIC release (2013’s The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here) and more than 20 years since the band has recorded an album at home in Seattle. That goes all the way back when original singer, the late Layne Staley, was straight enough to make it into the studio. The band has been touring all over North America and Europe this summer and plan to stay on the road until at least the end of October. Grunge lives? Apparently — even when there’s been something as disruptive as a change in lead singer. This is the song that begins the album.

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2. Interpol, Marauders

Wait. Is Interpol sounding … cheerful on this record? Maybe just a little bit. While there’s plenty of their trademark moody stuff — you can still wear black while listening to this album — the band has tried to expand their attitude a little with their eighth record. Paul Banks delivers his vocals in his Joy Division-ish way while guitarist Daniel Kessler continues to do what he does best. Some fans might find the album choppy in terms of quality — and why are the drums so loud in the mix? — but it’s still worth streaming.

3. Basement Revolver, Heavy Eyes

This is the debut album from a Hamilton indie-rock outfit that has plenty of 90s DNA sprinkled throughout. Singer Chrisy Hurn may evoke memories of Mazzy Starr’s Hope Sandoval on songs like Baby while the big echo-y guitars take us back to some of the decade’s more shoegaze-y sounds. Best heard while lying in a field while staring at clouds or after sunset or with a glass of spirits.

4. Plain White T’s, Parallel Universe

Plain White T’s (est. 1997) have really had just one major hit in 2006’s Hey There Deliah, but it was a monster. Word came earlier this summer that it’s being turned into a TV series. Meanwhile, PWT’s have soldiered on with album after album, leading to this, their eighth. The video for the first single is interesting, tinted to look like it came from the 80s.

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5. White Denim, Performance

Recorded in the band’s private studio in Austin, Texas — an old building that began as a general store in 1902 — White Denim is hoping that this will be their mainstream breakthrough after a decade of trying. All eight of the band’s records have been solid and deserve more attention. This album has some definite 70s influences which have already won them some love in the U.K.

London Calling: Silent Forum, How I Faked the Moon Landing

With a title that might attract the tinfoil hat crowd, Wales’ indie noir group Silent Forum actually flipped the script with this song as the original name of the band used to be How I Faked the Moon Landing. That was a bit too long for a name but great for a song title. On the downside, if you try to Google this song you’ll have to drill down past all the conspiracy theorists to find it.

Undiscovered Gem: BC Camplight, I’m Desperate

New Jersey’s BC Camplight (real name: Brian Christinzio) might be one of the most honest songwriters you hear this year. Singing about depression, suicidal thoughts, alcoholism, and personal demons, he wrote most of this record while living in Manchester, England. But then he overstayed his visa and was deported back to his parents’ basement in America. That explains the title, Deportation Blues, doesn’t it? Fantastic video, too.

The Tea Party, Save Me

Twenty-five years ago this summer — June 11, 1993 — the Tea Party’s Led Zep-and-The-Doors-influenced major label debut, Splendor Solis was released in a world besotted with grunge and all things alternative. A risky move perhaps, but the country embraced the record and sales quickly soared into double platinum territory. This was the lead single and one of about a half-dozen tracks that were reworked from the previous year’s indie release.

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

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

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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