10 Music Books To Dig Into This Summer: A Kate Bush Bio, A First-Hand Account Of The Grunge Scene & Feminist Punk Histories
'Hit Girls' by Jen B. Larson; 'Stomp and Shout' by Peter Blecha; 'Lunacy' by John Kruth


10 Music Books To Dig Into This Summer: A Kate Bush Bio, A First-Hand Account Of The Grunge Scene & Feminist Punk Histories

2023 has been a big year for books about music, and there's still more to come. Step away from your screen and pick up one of the tomes below, from Lucinda Williams' memoir to a history of Some Bizzare Records and an overview of 'Dark Side of the Moon.'

GRAMMYs/May 26, 2023 - 02:08 pm

2023 has already been a strong year for music-related books: industry insider Tony King’s memoir The Tastemaker: My Life with the Legends and Geniuses of Rock Music, Scott G. Shea’s All the Leaves Are Brown, a comprehensive bio of the Mamas and the Papas, and Paul McCartney’s photo book 1964: The Eyes of the Storm. There’s more to come in the fall, with memoirs due from Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and Sly Stone, as well as an updated 30th anniversary edition of Michael Azerrad’s classic Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. People love reading about their favorite artists, but a well-written book based around a good story should be capable of holding your attention regardless of your feelings about a performer’s music. It’s also a pleasure to read a book on a well-covered topic that offers a new perspective. And of course, one of the fun things in reading a book about music is that it will undoubtedly prompt you to head off to your favorite streaming site in order to listen to the songs the author has been describing.

Here’s a round up of current titles that range from covering the beat of South Africa to 1990s grunge, from a singer/songwriter who disappeared for 30 years to a new Rock Hall inductee.

Running Up That Hill: 50 Visions of Kate Bush

By Tom Doyle

In 2005, music journalist Tom Doyle was ferried by car to the home of Kate Bush, "somewhere in Berkshire [England]," to interview her for Mojo magazine. The subsequent article used just a fraction of his four hour interview with her. Nearly two decades later, Doyle uses that interview as the core of a fascinating book that offers new insights into the acclaimed, reclusive musician.

Doyle’s book was first published in the UK last year, riding the wave of enthusiasm when Bush’s 1985 single "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)," became a surprise worldwide hit, due to its use in the Netflix series "Stranger Things" (swiftly followed up by her recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year). The "Visions" are presented mostly chronologically, with expected stops at obvious life/career high points, such as the making of each of her albums.

But it’s more than just a listing of greatest hits. Doyle fills out his portrait with excursions into other areas, such as examining the influence of mime/dance artist Lindsay Kemp on Bush’s work, her first foray into live performance with the KT Bush Band (imagine Bush letting loose with "Honky Tonk Woman!"), and her faux pas of asking for Queen Elizabeth II's autograph. Not to mention his blow-by-blow account of Bush’s unexpected return to live performance with a London theater residency in 2014. A highly enjoyable read that’s a midway point between a trivia book and a full biography. 

Mud Ride: A Messy Trip Through the Grunge Explosion

By Steve Turner with Adem Tepedelen

From his days as a guitarist in the seminal Seattle alt rock band Green River, to his tenure in long-running Sub Pop Records act Mudhoney (who just released their eleventh album, Plastic Eternity), Steve Turner managed to ride the grunge wave all the way from obscurity to international acclaim and come out the other end still standing.

And what’s most interesting about Turner’s memoir is that it comes from the perspective of someone who was close to the center of the storm, but didn’t have to navigate the pitfalls of fame that befell higher profile acts like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Turner also carefully unwinds the many intertwining threads of Seattle’s late ’80s-early ’90s music scene, when musical chairs among bands was the norm, to make this a thorough first-hand account of the period. 

You'll also learn that '90s rock history could’ve been quite different: Turner says he was offered a position as second guitarist in Nirvana when Dave Grohl joined the band in 1990 (he declined, saying Nirvana was better as a three piece). Instead, Turner and Mudhoney took the road less traveled, and still ended up making a bigger impact than they ever dreamed of (though they still need to have day jobs).

Don’t Tell Anybody The Secrets I Told You

By Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams is such a compelling storyteller in her songs, it’s no surprise that her memoir grabs you from its very first page. In a telling pair of contrasting anecdotes, Williams relates how an "older gentleman" affiliated with the music business told her on learning that she was writing a memoir, "Don’t write about your childhood. Nobody wants to read about that." Conversely, a woman at one of Williams’ shows recognized that her childhood experiences were key to her art, asking Williams if she had a rough childhood as she headed backstage after the performance. When Williams nodded yes, the woman replied, "I thought so." 

And as her memoir reveals, that turbulent childhood laid the groundwork for Williams' future life and career. The constant moving as her father sought out new jobs around the country naturally led to her feeling more comfortable on the road; a handy attribute for a touring musician. Being the daughter of an acclaimed poet (Miller Williams) helped hone her own lyrical skills. She also writes movingly of struggles her mother, Lucille, had with mental illness. Lucille was a pianist, but was discouraged from pursuing a musical career; instead, the piano became "a joy and a burden at the same time," sold when she fell into a depression, repurchased when she felt better.

Williams faced her own obstacles, coping with her own obsessive-compulsive disorder, trying to find a place for herself when her music was deemed too country for rock and too rock for country, and confronting the sleazier side of the music industry (as when a filmmaker sexually propositions her at a meeting ostensibly to discuss making a video for her song "Right in Time"). Her conversational writing style draws you in, and her incisive observations keep you turning the pages. 

Hit Girls: Women of Punk in the USA 1975-1980

By Jen B. Larson

"‘Punk,’ I thought, was overproduced pop songs that sold a style," Jen Larson writes in her book’s introduction, observing that in general, coverage of women in punk still focuses on "a few groups with well-known women," riot grrrl, and little else. Larson’s intention is to delve into punk’s rich history, unearthing "these still-hidden stories [that] aren’t the tales we often hear in the popular punk narrative," celebrating the achievements of these unsung pioneers. 

There are some familiar names among the entries: Romeo Void (San Francisco), the Bags (Los Angeles), Lydia Lunch (New York). But Larson has also tracked down acts from more remote outposts — from Anchorage, Alaska (the Anemic Boyfriends) to South Palm Beach, Florida (Teddy and the Frat Girls) — bringing a greater depth to a history where the tendency is to concentrate on the musical developments in major urban centers. The song descriptions will have you heading to YouTube to check out long-forgotten recordings (like the great song by the Welders, from St. Louis, about sexual harassment: "P-E-R-V-E-R-T"). 

The book also benefits from new interviews with various band members sharing their insights. ("There’s this idea that there were no women of color in the punk movement," says Stoney Rivera of Milwaukee’s Dummy Club, who adds, "Women of color have been in the forefront of music in every genre from day one.") Even punk rock aficionados will find new info in this lively exploration of the period, which also serves up fun bits of trivia, like the Plasmatics’ Wendy O. Williams being the first woman on the cover of UK metal magazine Kerrang! and Vegetarian Times in the same month. 

Stomp and Shout: R&B and the Origins of Northwest Rock and Roll

By Peter Blecha

This book opens with a striking image of a skinny, 17-year-old Ray Charles, stepping off the bus in downtown Seattle in 1948. Though knowing no one in the city, within a day of his arrival he was playing at a local club, soon crossing paths with the likes of Quincy Jones, Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, and Ernestine Anderson. It’s a remarkable story that reveals the wealth of talent percolating in what was then considered a provincial backwater — a history that’s been not so much hidden but overlooked, drawn out by a historian who’s long chronicled the Pacific Northwest music scene.

Blecha’s book takes you back to an era not just before "Smells Like Teen Spirit," but before "Come Softly To Me" and "Walk, Don’t Run," the first big hit records to come from Northwest acts (the Fleetwoods and the Ventures, respectively). Blecha draws on the 400-plus interviews he’s done over the years to trace the evolution of the music that came to be known as the "Northwest Sound," which he describes as "a distinctive ‘rude jazz’-tinged mutation" of R&B. From "I Know I Was Wrong" by the Barons (the first NW teenage R&B group to have a hit) to the innumerable bands that put an unmistakable NW stamp on "Louie Louie" (the Wailers, the Frantics, the Kingsmen, et. al.) to the hint of ’90s rock you hear in cult acts like the Sonics, Stomp and Shout finally gives a voice to the musicians, promoters, producers, and entrepreneurs who laid the groundwork for the musical explosions to come. 

Rude Girls: Women in 2 Tone and One Step Beyond

By Heather Augustyn

Heather Augustyn tackles a conundrum of the 2 Tone/ska/bluebeat scene of late ’70s-early ’80s Britain: that women were "relegated to novelty status … in the very movement that prioritized equality and unity." As she observes elsewhere, "How strange for bands of five, six, seven men, even though they are Black and white, to sing about unity and never have it dawn on them that there weren’t any women in their new era." 

Rude Girls dives deeply into the period, with Augustyn casting her net broadly to include performers who, while not necessarily associated with ska, nonetheless interacted with the movement (such as the members of pop group Bananarama, who collaborated with Fun Boy Three). The extensive interviews make this book especially comprehensive.

A running theme is how virtually all the performers had to constantly push back against the idea that "women don’t play in bands." For Augustyn, their perseverance is something to celebrate, and one of her primary aims in writing the book is to provide inspiration for the future generations. And Rude Girls is certainly a primer for those who want to take the first step. As the Selecter’s Pauline Black so aptly puts it, "If the boys won’t let you join in their game, then sometimes it’s best to invent a new one of your own." 

Conform to Deform: The Weird & Wonderful World of Some Bizzare

By Wesley Doyle

There have been numerous books about punk rock, but not as many about the music scenes that developed in its immediate aftermath. Conform to Deform looks at the rise and eventual dissipation of  Some Bizzare Record — a label that attracted musicians inspired by punk’s energy, but who wanted to do something more radical musically. 

London DJ Stevo (Stephen Pearce) began seeking out "the stranger bands that were around" for his sets, and eventually Some Bizzare Records was born from the acts he championed. Its first release, the 1981 compilation Some Bizzare Album, helped to launch the careers of Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, and The The. Cabaret Voltaire, Einstürzende Neubauten, Coil, Swans, and Psychic TV were later drawn to the label.

Doyle takes the oral history approach to the story, and his coup is in getting the enigmatic Stevo to agree to an interview, and his idiosyncratic approach to the music industry (such as misspelling "bizarre" because "I like ambiguities") means there’s no shortage of insider anecdotes and great one-liners. It’s also a thoroughly entertaining look at an era when the music industry was a lot more freewheeling.

"It’s missing the mavericks, and I think Stevo was a proper maverick," said music journalist Colin Schaverien. It’s also a cautionary tale, illustrating how starting out with a huge success (in this case, Soft Cell’s "Tainted Love") isn’t going to guarantee your company a smooth ride.

Wayward: Just Another Life to Live

By Vashti Bunyan

Wayward (first published in the UK last year, and now in the U.S. in paperback) is the story of a woman who was determined to leave the music industry behind — only for it to catch up with her 30 years later. An acoustic performer frustrated by the machinations of the music industry in 1960s London, Bunyan left the city with her boyfriend, traveling by horse-drawn cart. There’s a dreaminess to Bunyan’s writing, even as she describes the hardships of life on the road, subsisting on porridge and brown rice for so long that the sweets on display at a candy store look like "a psychedelic vision." 

There’s also a recurrent theme of how women artists are silenced; the male friend who tells Bunyan "a girl should not be singing a [Bob] Dylan song"; her first manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s insistence that she record a Jagger/Richards number instead of an original song (he later conceded her song was the better choice); her boyfriend’s demand that she stop writing "those miserable little love songs." 

Nonetheless, the songs she did record attracted the attention of Joe Boyd, who produced her 1970 album, Just Another Diamond Day. And when it’s reissued in the 21st century, its rediscovery is all the sweeter for Bunyan, who’s finally inspired to make music once again: "I picked up my guitar and it no longer gave me the sounds of failure and sadness." It’s the story of a woman rediscovering her artistry.  

By Lior Phillips

When first sitting down to read this book, turn first to page 163 and listen to each of the "Essential Tracks" listed there to get a basic grounding in the genre you’re about to explore (the book is part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 "Genre" series). This interactive element is retained throughout; at the end of each chapter is a "micro playlist" with further song recommendations (and where to find them online), a feature that helps this concise history really come to life. 

Acknowledging her subject’s complexity, Lior Phillips describes her book as offering a "series of snapshots, scenes from which the larger picture can be stretched." And while noting that the evolution of the country’s music is inextricably "tied to the anchor of apartheid," this is also a story of triumph over adversity and oppression, and the key role played by the music.

From the birth of one of the world’s most popular songs, "Mbube," by Solomon Linda’s Evening Birds (later to become "Wimoweh" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight") to today’s purveyors of gqom (She Madjozi) and amapiano (DJ Kelvin Momo), this is a book celebrating a music that has inspired activism and delivered sheer joy.

[Editor's note: Lior Phillips is a contributor]

Lunacy: The Curious Phenomenon of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, 50 Years On

By John Kruth

The 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s landmark album The Dark Side of the Moon naturally comes with the release of the obligatory lavish box set. But there’s also a new book that takes you deeper inside the creation of this enigmatic work and its cultural reverberations that have echoed across the decades. John Kruth sets the stage nicely, with a concise summary of the band’s story before digging into the album track by track. And he also finds some unexpected byways to explore.

There’s an entire chapter on the "Cultural History of the Moon," for example, in which astrophysicist Dr. Matthew Bobrowsky informs us that there actually isn’t a "dark side of the moon." A chapter on the history of the concept album reaches all the way back to Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 ("often considered the original concept album") and Luke the Drifter by Hank Williams. It’s also packed with a wealth of detail, such as a dissection of Clare Torry’s cataclysmic vocals on "The Great Gig in the Sky" that climaxes with a (possibly apocryphal) story of a woman who claimed that the singer’s ululations eased her childbirth pangs. You also learn the band added "The" to the album’s title to distinguish it from another record also entitled Dark Side of the Moon, released in 1972 by British blues outfit Medicine Head. 

Kruth adds that the band would never again "achieve this level of camaraderie, cooperation, and collaboration." It underscores an often overlooked aspect about the album; how its very success "trapped us creatively" in guitarist David Gilmour’s words. Kruth’s book celebrates the music, but also points out there’s a price to be paid in creating a masterwork.

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Positive Vibes Only: Chris Llewellyn Bares His Soul In This Stripped-Down Performance Of "Honest"
Chris Llewellyn

Photo: Courtesy of Chris Llewellyn


Positive Vibes Only: Chris Llewellyn Bares His Soul In This Stripped-Down Performance Of "Honest"

Rend Collective singer Chris Llewellyn branches out on his own by performing "Honest," the title track to his debut solo album.

GRAMMYs/Oct 2, 2023 - 05:00 pm

Chris Llewellyn is sharing his truth. On his new solo single "Honest," the Rend Collective co-founder gets vulnerable by approaching God in song with all his imperfections and doubts in full display.

"If you don't mind broken things, then you can have my heart/ No filter, just the way it is/ It's far from perfect, God/ But it's real and it's what I've got/ No varnish and no hiding place," the Irish singer intones in the opening verse.

Fans may be used to hearing Llewellyn with the rest of his long-running worship group, but for this episode of Positive Vibes Only, he strips down his solo song to just his voice and acoustic guitar. (The singer also sends a message of solidarity in the clip by wearing a cap that reads "Support Live Music Hire Live Musicians.")

The emotive track kicks off Llewellyn's debut solo album, also titled Honest, which dropped Sept. 1 via Sparrow Records and Capitol Christian Music Group and contains songs like "Gamble On Your Goodness," "Still Believe In The Magic" and "New Wine (Is My Bible a Barricade?)."

"Will God love you if you're honest? Is He faithful when you're faithless?" Llewellyn asks in a press statement, explaining, "These are the questions I was asking when I was writing this album…This is the soundtrack to wrestling faith."

Press play on the video above to watch Llewellyn's acoustic performance of "Honest" and check back to for more new episodes of Positive Vibes only. 

Positive Vibes Only: MAJOR. Petitions For Peace With This Sincere Performance Of "I Prayed For You (Said A Prayer)"

It Goes To 11: Meet Charlotte Cardin's Trusty Wurlitzer That Has "Sparked" All Of Her Best Songs
Charlotte Cardin

Photo: William Arcand


It Goes To 11: Meet Charlotte Cardin's Trusty Wurlitzer That Has "Sparked" All Of Her Best Songs

After years of searching for the perfect keyboard Charlotte Cardin finally found her beloved vintage Wurlitzer — and the instrument transformed the Canadian singer's sound.

GRAMMYs/Oct 2, 2023 - 04:34 pm

Charlotte Cardin spent years searching for the perfect keyboard. And when it comes to her vintage Wurlitzer, the wait was well worth it.

"This piece of gear is very important to me because most of my songs that I've ever written were sparked at this exact keyboard," she says while seated in front of the instrument, which she bought in near-perfect condition from a man who lived just 30 minutes from her Quebec hometown.

"It just feels like a beautiful thing to me that instruments have connections with humans and they're passed on to different people," the Canadian songstress continued. "I feel like when I got this instrument, I started writing songs that had a bit of the essence of [it]. To me, a Wurlitzer sounds very, like, nostalgic. It has a bit of a sexy sound but it's also light in a lot of ways."

Indeed, the Wurlitzer helped give birth to the 12 tracks that make up 99 Nights, Cardin's sophomore album released earlier this summer, as well as her latest one-off single "Feel Good."

"I'm never getting rid of it," she vows of the hand-me-down keyboard. "At one point, I wanted to potentially bring it on tour with me! Maybe I'll buy another one that's a little more beat up…but I feel like this one belongs in my home, always."

Press play on the video above to learn more about Cardin's musical journey with her trusty Wurlitzer, and check back to for more new episodes of It Goes To 11.

Lizzy McAlpine's Big Year: The Viral Singer Details The Biggest Moments Behind Her Fast-Rising Career

15 Must-Hear Albums This October: Troye Sivan, Drake, Blink 182, NCT 127 & More
(L-R) NCT 127, Black Pumas, Blink-182, BoyWithUke, Taylor Swift, Troye Sivan, Gucci Mane

Photos (L-R): The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images, Jody Dominigue, Jack Bridgland, courtesy of the artist, Michael Tranafp, Rodin Eckenroth via Getty Images, Paras Griffin via Getty Images


15 Must-Hear Albums This October: Troye Sivan, Drake, Blink 182, NCT 127 & More

Don't let the falling leaves bring you down — read on for 15 albums dropping in October from Taylor Swift, Gucci Mane and Riley Green.

GRAMMYs/Oct 2, 2023 - 03:22 pm

Fall has already begun, and 2023 enters its final act with the beginning of October. However, that doesn't mean the music has to slow down — this month offers plenty of new releases for everyone from rap fans to country aficionados.

The month starts with Sufjan Stevens and the release of Javelin, his first fully-written album in eight years. On the same day, after several postponements, Drake will finally put forth For All the Dogs. Later in the month, blink-182 will make a long-awaited return with One More Time…, their first album featuring the original members since 2011, and Migos rapper Offset will drop his sophomore record, Set It Off.

There's also new work from Troye Sivan, NCT 127, Metric, Gucci Mane, and Taylor Swift closing off the month with the re-release of 1989 (Taylor's Version).

Don't let the falling leaves bring you down — below, compiled a guide with 15 must-hear albums dropping October 2023.

Sufjan Stevens - Javelin

Release date: Oct. 6

The last time Sufjan Stevens released an album fully written by himself was 2015's Carrie & Lowell. Javelin, his upcoming tenth studio album, will finally break this spell.

Mostly recorded at Stevens' home studio and featuring contributions from several friends (including the National's Bryce Dessner), the 10 tracks of Javelin bring back sounds of "70s Los Angeles' studio opulence" and vibes of a "detailed yet plain" self-portrait, according to a press release.

The album also features a cover of Neil Young's "There's a World" and an ambitious, 48-page art book with collages and essays written by Stevens. Javelin is preceded by the soothing single "So You Are Tired" and the spaced-out "Will Anybody Ever Love Me?"

NCT 127 - Fact Check

Release date: Oct. 6

Within the NCT constellation, NCT 127 is the subgroup anchored in South Korea's buzzing capital, Seoul. Since debuting in 2016, the nine-member ensemble has been infusing the city's vibrancy with innovative EDM and hip hop mixes.

On Oct. 6, NCT 127 will return with their fifth studio album, Fact Check, bringing in another round of their experimental K-pop sound. Consisting of nine songs, including lead single "Fact

Check (Mysterious; 不可思議)," the album expresses 127's confidence.

So far, they released a wealth of teasers that are linked to NCT's overall "dream" concept, video contents, and a highlight medley of the album tracks. After the recent ronclusion of NCT Nation, NCT's first full-group concert in South Korea and Japan, fans are expecting 127 to announce tour dates.

BoyWithUke - Lucid Dreams

Release date: Oct. 6

Mysterious masked singer and TikTok phenomenon BoyWithUke will continue his dream-themed saga with the release of Lucid Dreams, his fourth studio album.

According to a statement by the Korean American star, Lucid Dreams is meant to express "my desires, my fears, my past, and my dreams." He also adds that the each song on the album is "like a different step on the path. I'm facing past traumas, making the music I want to make, and figuring out who I am."

That development can be seen on pre-releases "Migraine" and "Trauma," where he opens up about mental health and childhood struggles over signature ukulele strings. In his own words, this album is truly "BoyWithUke blossoming, spreading his wings, and finding himself."

Drake - For All the Dogs

Release date: Oct. 6

After several postponements, Drake's eighth studio album is finally ready to meet the world. For All the Dogs is spearheaded by singles "Search & Rescue" and "Slime You Out" featuring SZA.

The album's tracklist is still a mystery, but it will reportedly feature names like Nicki Minaj, Bad Bunny, and Yeat, with production credits from 40, Bnyx, and Lil Yachty, among others. For All the Dogs is also linked to the Canadian rapper's debut poetry book, Titles Ruin Everything: A Stream of Consciousness — a 168-page collection written in partnership with longtime friend and songwriter Kenza Samir.

The album follows Drake's two 2022 studio albums: Honestly, Nevermind and Her Loss, in collaboration with 21 Savage. Currently, Drake is finishing up his It's All A Blur North American tour — one of the reasons why the album has been postponed before.

Troye Sivan - Something to Give Each Other

Release date: Oct. 13

On an Instagram post, Australian singer Troye Sivan stated: "This album is my something to give you — a kiss on a dancefloor, a date turned into a weekend, a crush, a winter, a summer. Party after party, after party after after party. Heartbreak, freedom. Community, sisterhood, friendship. All that."

Something to Give Each Other is Sivan's first full-length album in five years, following 2018's Bloom. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he revealed many of the inspirations behind this work, including partying, movies like Lost in Translation and Before Sunrise, and simple, ice-cold glasses of beer.

The trippy atmosphere of the album can be felt through pre-release singles "Rush" and "Got Me Started" — which features a sample of Bag Raider's omnipresent 2011 hit, "Shooting Stars." 

Offset - Set It Off

Release date: Oct. 13

Migos rapper Offset said in a statement that his sophomore album, Set It Off, took over two years to finalize. "This season is personal for me. It marks a new chapter in my life," he added.

A follow-up to his 2019 debut LP, Father of 4, the album will feature appearances by stellar names such as rapper Future, Travis Scott, Chloe Bailey, and Latto, as well as Offset's wife Cardi B, who appears on single "Jealousy."

Later in the statement, Offset said he feels "like Michael Jackson coming from a successful group breaking records to superstardom on my own. This body of work is healing for me and a letter to my fans and supporters." Lead single "Fan" brings back that comparison through many Michael Jackson references in the music video — a clever choice for the rapper's keen self-awareness.

Metric - Formentera II

Release date: Oct. 13

Exactly one year after the release of Formentera, indie royalty Metric took to social media to announce their ninth studio album, Formentera II. "Sometimes I feel like I'm in a damn maze and maybe you do too, or maybe you have it totally together, or maybe you feel like you're always floating somewhere in between," they wrote. "Wherever you're at right now, I am here to guide you to the rocking️ conclusion of our Formentera I & II odyssey."

The Canadian band also shared lead single "Just the Once," which was described by vocalist Emily Haines as a "regret disco" song in a press statement. "It's a song for when you need to dance yourself clean," she added. "Beneath the sparkling surface, there's a lyrical exploration of a simple word with many meanings. Once is a word that plays a game of opposites."

In support of the release, Metric revealed another single, "Who Would You Be For Me," and will be playing special concerts in NYC, L.A., Toronto, London, Paris, Berlin, Mexico City, Monterrey, and Santiago starting Oct. 10. The concerts will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut LP, Old World Underground, Where Are You?

Riley Green - Ain't My Last Rodeo

Release date: Oct. 13

Alabama country star Riley Green has a moving story behind his second full-length album. Echoing the 2019 hit "I Wish Grandpas Never Died," Ain't My Last Rodeo came from one of the last conversations the singer shared with his late grandfather, Buford Green, who was an essential figure shaping his love for music and nature.

"I was fortunate enough to grow up within about three miles of my grandparents, so they were a huge part of my growing up and who I am — and this album is a lot of who I am," Green said in a press release. "This is really the first time I was able to really take my time, write and record songs that really felt like a cohesive album."

Ain't My Last Rodeo features 12 tracks (including a cover of Tim McGraw's "Damn Country Music")  and collaborations with Jelly Roll and Luke Combs. In February 2024, Green will embark on a 34-stop tour throughout the U.S.

The Drums - Jonny

Release date: Oct. 13

As its title suggests, the Drums' upcoming sixth studio album, Jonny, dives deep into current solo member Jonny Pierce's life. According to a press release, the album mainly explores "the deep-rooted childhood trauma Pierce experienced growing up in a cult-like religious community in upstate New York."

The singer explains further: "When I finished Jonny, I listened to it, and I heard my soul reflected back at me. It is devastating and triumphant, it is lost and found, it is confused and certain, it is wise and foolish. It is male and female, it is hard and gentle.

"To encapsulate one's whole self in an album, to honor each and every part of you, even the parts that feel at odds with each other, is to make something deeply human, and because my religion is humanism, the album becomes a sacred place for me to worship. Each feeling a different pew, each song a hymn to the human heart."

In the past few months, Pierce gave insight into the 16-track, indie-pop collection through singles "I Want It All," "Plastic Envelope," "Protect Him Always," "Obvious," and "Better." Jonny is the band's first full release since 2019's Brutalism.

Gucci Mane -  A Breath of Fresh Air

Release date: Oct. 17

Following 2016's Ice Daddy, Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane's sixteenth studio album will be named A Breath of Fresh Air.

In it, Mane is likely in his most vulnerable, relatable state yet. "I kind of wanted to let people know that I go through pain," he stated in an interview for Apple Music (via Revolt). "Like I said, I didn't want to have so much just superficial topics. I hit people and let them know, 'Hey, this was going on,' but it ain't a bad thing. It's okay to be happy. You know what I'm saying?"

According to iTunes, the album is set to have two discs and 24 songs, including singles "Bluffin" featuring Lil Baby, "Pissy"  featuring Roddy Ricch and Nardo Wick, "King Snipe" with Kodak Black, and "06 Gucci" with DaBaby and 21 Savage.

Release date: Oct. 20

blink-182's newest single, "One More Time," is a hard-earned reflection about what really matters in life. The punk rock trio, which hadn't been reunited since 2011's Neighborhoods, now realizes how personal struggles impacted their friendship, and how they hope to make it different in the future.

"I wish they told us, it shouldn't take a sickness/ or airplanes falling out of the sky," they sing, referencing Travis Barker's 2008 plane crash and Mark Hoppus' 2021 cancer diagnosis. "I miss you, took time, but I admit it/ It still hurts even after all these years."

A proof of maturity since they stepped into music in 1992, the heartfelt single is also the title track off upcoming LP One More Time... Featuring 2022's "Edging" and "More Than You Know" as well, the album was recorded mostly during their reunion tour this year, and boasts 17 tracks in total.

Sampha - Lahai

Release date: Oct. 20

Lahai is Sampha's grandfather's name and his own middle name. Now, it will become part of his musical history — the singer's sophomore studio album and follow up to 2017's acclaimed Process is due Oct. 20.

Over social media, Sampha described the record through a series of words as intriguing as his music: "Fever Dreams. Continuums. Dancing. Generations. Syncopation. Bridges. Grief. Motherlands. Love. Spirit. Fear. Flesh. Flight." Featuring contributions from singers like Yaeji, El Guincho and Yussef Dayes, it will feature 14 tracks that seemingly take a more positive tone than his previous work.

In a statement about lead single "Spirit 2.0," the south London singer said "it's about the importance of connection to both myself and others, and the beauty and harsh realities of just existing. It's about acknowledging those moments when you need help — that requires real strength."

Starting Oct. 12 in his hometown, Sampha will play a string of concerts throughout the U.K., Europe, and North America, wrapping it up on December 4 in Berlin, Germany.

Poolside - Blame It All On Love

Release date: Oct. 20

"I've spent 15 years being like, 'f—your rules,' and I finally feel like I'm not trying to prove anything or anyone wrong," says Jeffrey Paradise, the man behind "daytime disco" project Poolside, in a statement about his upcoming album, Blame It All On Love.

"It's just pure, unfiltered expression, and that's why I'm really excited about this record," he adds. The album bears 11 tracks described as "funky, soulful, laidback, and full of hooks" — as can be seen in singles like "Float Away," "Each Night" featuring Mazy, and "Back To Life" with Panama. According to the same statement, "the production marks a return to his live music roots and finds ease in simple and radiant layers of sound, even as it comes face-to-face with the complex reality of one's dreams come true."

Blame It All On Love is the follow-up to 2020 and 2021's duo Low Season and High Season. Poolside is on tour across the U.S. until Oct. 14.

Black Pumas - Chronicles of a Diamond

Release date: Oct. 27

Black Pumas' long-awaited second studio album, Chronicles of a Diamond, is "wilder and weirder" than its predecessor, according to an official statement. It is also the Austin-based duo's "fullest expression" of "frenetic creativity and limitless vision."

The album contains 10 tracks that expand on their trademark psychedelic soul sounds, as it can be seen in singles "More Than a Love Song" and "Mrs. Postman." "I wanted to make something we'd be thrilled to play live 200 days a year," says singer/songwriter Eric Burton in the same statement. "I wanted to be able to laugh, cry, bob my head, do the thing: it was all very much a selfish endeavor."

After the release, the Black Pumas will embark on a U.S. tour starting Dec. 4 in Austin, Texas, and follow into an European tour starting March 15 in Paris.

Taylor Swift - 1989 (Taylor's Version)

Release date: Oct. 27

Just three months after the release of Speak Now (Taylor's Version), Swifties will be treated to the singer's fourth re-recorded album this month: 2014's 1989. "To be perfectly honest, this is my most FAVORITE re-record I've ever done because the five From The Vault tracks are so insane," she revealed over social media.

As usual with Swift, the announcement of the album was marked by a slew of hints, starting with the news' date — Aug. 9, or 8/9 — during the final U.S. stop of her Eras Tour at Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium. On that day, she also debuted new, blue outfits that alluded to 1989's assigned color. Afterwards, the discovery continued through a partnership with Google Search for fans to solve word puzzles in order to discover the titles of the five "From the Vault" tracks.

The album, which Swift said "changed my life in countless ways" will be available in digital, cassette, CD, and vinyl. She will also release deluxe versions in four different colors: crystal skies blue, rose garden pink, aquamarine green, and sunrise boulevard yellow.

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New Music Friday: Listen To New Music From Jungkook & Jack Harlow, PinkPantheress, *NSYNC And More
Jungkook performs at the 2023 Global Citizen Festival in September.

Photo: Gotham/WireImage


New Music Friday: Listen To New Music From Jungkook & Jack Harlow, PinkPantheress, *NSYNC And More

As September comes to a close, listen to these new songs, albums and collaborations from Ed Sheeran, Lil Wayne and more.

GRAMMYs/Sep 29, 2023 - 08:18 pm

As we close out the month, this New Music Friday has loads of fresh beginnings and highly anticipated reunions.

Several big-name collaborations dropped on Sept. 29, from an electric team-up of the Rolling Stones and Lady Gaga to an R&B and rap fusion from Jungkook and Jack Harlow

Two nostalgic releases arrived as well, with Lil Wayne's new album Tha Fix Before Tha Vi continuing his "Tha Carter" series, while *NSYNC fans were treated to the boy band's first new song in 20 years with "Better Place."

Dive into these seven new releases that blend the old generation with the new. 

Jungkook ft. Jack Harlow — "3D"

BTS singer Jungkook takes us through a nostalgic journey with "3D," a song reminiscent of an early 2000s boy band hit. The hypnotizing lyrics illustrate his close connection to someone he can't reach, so he'll watch them in 3D.

"So if you're ready (So if you're ready)/ And if you'll let me (And if you'll let me)/ I wanna see it in motion/ In 3D (Uh-uh)," he sings in the chorus. 

Jack Harlow pops in, dropping a few verses boasting about his global attraction with women. "Mr. First Class" claims he can "fly you from Korea to Kentucky," as he closes out the song.

With an addictive chorus and groovy baseline, this track has a different vibe from his "Seven" collaboration with Latto. The song marks Jungkook's seventh solo single and second of 2023.

Rolling Stones & Lady Gaga ft. Stevie Wonder — "Sweet Sounds of Heaven"

The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder blended their talents, to create a harmonic symphony of a song that lives up to its heavenly title. Seven minutes of gospel- and blues-inspired rhythms, enriched by Gaga and Mick Jagger's distinct riffs, make this collaboration an immersive experience. Stevie Wonder grounds the track with his command of piano and melodic tempo.

The track is the second peek of the Rolling Stones' upcoming album, Hackney Diamonds, their first LP release in 18 years; their first release, "Angry," arrived Sept. 6. With production from GRAMMY-winning Andrew Watt, the soulful essence makes "Sweet Sounds of Heaven" an exciting taste of the long-overdue album.

*NSYNC — "Better Place"

Yes, you read correctly. After two decades and a recent reunion at the 2023 MTV Video Music awards, <em>NSYNC is back with a new single, "Better Place," appearing in the new animated Trolls* movie (due Nov. 17). With a nostalgic dance-pop beat, familiar production and breezy lyrics, this single is a remarkable comeback.

"Just let me take you to a better place/ I'm gonna make you kiss the sky tonight," they sing in the chorus. 

The reunion was first teased Sept. 14, through a video of the group's emotional studio session, as Justin Timberlake shared on Instagram. "When the stars align… got my brothers back together in the studio to work on something fun and the energy was special," he wrote in the post. 

PinkPantheress — "Mosquito"

Dive into this musical daydream as PinkPantheress serenades us on her new single, "Mosquito," a dreamy, lucid song reminiscent of old-school R&B. After recently hopping on the energetic remix of Troye Sivan's "Rush" and teaming up with Destroy Lonely on "Turn Your Phone Off," PinkPantheress is transporting us through a new era, full of charm and surprises.

"Cause I just had a dream I was dead/ And I only cared 'cause I was taken from you/ You're the only thing that I own/ I hear my bell ring, I'd only answer for you," she sings in the chorus. 

Co-crafted by GRAMMY-winning producer Greg Kurstin, this song is a transcending, surreal experience. This single isn't about romance, instead she takes us through her entanglements with treasures and money. That's further portrayed in the lavish video, which features a European shopping spree starring "Bridgerton" stars Charithra Chandran, India Amarteifio and "Grown-ish" star Yara Shahidi.

Ed Sheeran — Autumn Variations

The era of mathematical-themed albums seems to be over, as Ed Sheeran has entered a new chapter with Autumn Variations, his second project this year. Sheeran is singing from his heart, sharing soulful tales from emotional events in his life including the death of his dearest friend Jamal Edwards and his wife's health challenges during pregnancy — an extension of the stories he told with May's Subtract.

Autumn Variations is very raw, stripped down and authentic as he takes us through his personal journey. Amidst this, Sheeran still brings in some buzzing tracks including catchy songs like "American Town," "Paper Bag" and "Amazing."

Lil Wayne — Tha Fix Before Tha Vi

Lil Wayne celebrated his 41st birthday with a special present to his fans: the release of a new album two days later. The alluring 10-track project,"Tha Fix Before Tha Vi" dives into past vibes with songs like "Tity Boi," a reference to 2 Chainz's initial stage name, which may be a reference to the upcoming joint album between the two. Each song has a different feel including "Tuxedo," which features a more punk-rock melody and "Chanel No.5 ft. Foushee," which features a sensational beat.

His first album since 2020, Tha Fix Before Tha Vi features rather unexpected collaborators, including Jon Batiste, Fousheé and euro. With different sounds and features than past projects, we could possibly be entering a new Weezy era. 

Thomas Rhett & Morgan Wallen — "Mamaw's House"

Country superstars Morgan Wallen and Thomas Rhett unite for "Mamaw's House," a country-folk track relishing the memories of their grandparents' home and cozy fireplace tales. 

"It's where I spent my summers and she put me to work/ Shellin' peas and shuckin' corn until my fingers hurt/ No tellin' who I'da been without Mamaw's house," Rhett sings in the second verse. 

Rhett said the duo decided to write about their small-town culture — Rhett is from Valdosta, Georgia, while Wallen hails from Sneedville, Tennessee — and the significant presence of grandparents brought to their upbringings. 

"This song just kind of brings up how our mamaws used to act when we were little kids," Rhett told Audacy.. "It's an ode to all the grandmas out there."

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