Our soaraway six for 27 November starts with the 14-song collection No Fun Mondays, which sees Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong putting his signature melodic-punk spin on the songs that have formed the soundtrack to his life, including classics by John Lennon, Billy Bragg and Johnny Thunders. The No Fun Mondays series launched in March on Green Day’s YouTube channel. Like many musicians, Armstrong expected to spend much of this year on the road, touring in support of Green Day’s chart-topping February album, Father of All… However, once the Covid-19 pandemic forced him to put those plans on pause, Armstrong got busy with a different kind of work. “While we’ve all been in quarantine I’ve been reflecting on the things that matter the most in my life: family, friends, and, of course, music,” he says. “I figure if we have to spend this time in isolation at least we can be alone together.”
On Sunset Remixes is a very special limited-edition heavyweight 12″ featuring 5 remixes of stand-out tracks from Paul Weller’s recent critically acclaimed No 1 album. This eclectic collection was selected by Paul himself, with each reworking creating a fresh twist on the original track. One of the singles originally taken from On Sunset, the sublime ‘More’, is given a dreamy, other-worldly remix by Skeleton Key, which is an alias for James Skelly of Liverpool band The Coral. Senegalese drummer Seckou Keita creates a beautifully stripped back version of ‘Rockets’ featuring his added vocals and sparkling delicate strings, whilst acclaimed psych-folk singer Jane Weaver also plays with ‘Rockets’ but gives it a completely different mind-bending trippy feel. Welsh songstress and synth player Gwenno contructs a minimalist and atmospheric sound on ‘Old Father Thyme’, creating a trance-like and abstract version. Le SuperHomard – whose singer, Julie Gros, appeared as guest vocalist on ‘More’ – give the album’s title track their own special French je ne sais quoi, conjuring up disco balls in plush nightclubs.
Distant Memories: Live in London brings together selections from 2019’s Distance Over Time, in concert with the complete performance of 1999’s Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory, in what was one of the most anticipated and historic evenings in Dream Theater history, ultimately becoming this instant classic. The entirety of the band’s ‘The Distance Over Time Tour: Celebrating 20 Years of Scenes From a Memory’ is a testament to their fans’ long-term appreciation and love for the band. As the band explain: “Whether you had a chance to see this tour in person and want to relive what was hopefully an awesome concert experience, or are enjoying the performance on video for the first time, Distant Memories very accurately and very beautifully captures the energy and excitement we all felt together at the Apollo this past February. We are beyond proud to offer this release with brilliant sound, visuals and artistic presentation, thanks to our talented mix engineer, director, visual artist and art director who we all value beyond words.”
Folklore is the eighth studio album by the American phenomenon that is Taylor Swift. The album was created in isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic, with production from Aaron Dessner (The National), Jack Antonoff (Bleachers) and Swift herself. Departing from the mainstream pop sound of Swift’s previous releases, Folklore is an indie-folk, alternative-rock, electro-folk and chamber-pop album driven by pianos and guitars.
Sunny Side Up is the second studio album from Scottish singer-songwriter Paulo Nutini and his band The Vipers, which debuted at number one in the UK charts. It’s now getting a reissue on yellow vinyl.
Our release of the week is CYR, the new album from Grammy Award-winning alternative-rock luminaries The Smashing Pumpkins. The 20-track album was produced by front-man Billy Corgan and recorded in Chicago, and features founding members Billy Corgan, James Iha, Jimmy Chamberlin and guitarist Jeff Schroeder. Corgan said that the song ‘Cyr’ is “dystopic folly, one soul against the world sort of stuff, set against a backdrop of shifting loyalties and sped up time. To me it stands as both hopeful and dismissive of what is and isn’t possible with faith.” Global praise continues to pour in since the release of their current single and album namesake ‘Cyr’ – which was #1 most added at Alternative Radio first week of release – and ‘The Colour Of Love,’ both from the album. Variety applauded the songs for remaining “rooted in the now,” and for “effortlessly taking their place alongside a catalog of cherished Smashing Pumpkins classics,” while Billboard exclaimed “The Smashing Pumpkins are getting ready to smash it up once more.”
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