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British Singer Sam Fender On Getting A (Literal) Taste Of America And Why "Everyone Needs A F—ing Elton John"
Sam Fender

Photo: Charlotte Patmore

interview

British Singer Sam Fender On Getting A (Literal) Taste Of America And Why "Everyone Needs A F—ing Elton John"

Sam Fender is riding high on the success of his hit "Seventeen Going Under." In the midst of his first stateside tour, GRAMMY.com spoke to the singer/songwriter about everything from growing up, to the best American sweets and the heroics of Elton John.

GRAMMYs/Aug 31, 2022 - 02:31 pm

Sam Fender wants to "smash America" – and he's right on track.

After years of scoring hits in his native U.K., the Geordie singer/songwriter is breaking through to U.S.audiences with "Seventeen Going Under," a tale of growing up confused and yearning, told without inhibition in an upbeat style.

Fender's growing stateside success is due in part to a banner year in his home country, where he headlined Glastonbury Festival earlier this summer and performed to 40,000 people in London's Finsbury Park. His second studio album — also titled Seventeen Going Under — won a BRIT Award and was named Album Of The Year by NME.  

Fender's music has broken free from the estate councils of his northern England hometown and obliterated the seen-it-all attitude that permeates London music culture to engender awe in America. His appeal comes from his ability to straddle the line between rock anthem and indie heartache with his songs, delivering jolts of universal emotion in the key of U2, Bruce Springsteen and early aughts guitar rock. The singer has also drawn legions of fans on TikTok, who find commune in his deeply personal lyrics.

Fender is in the midst of his first U.S. tour, a portion of which has him supporting Florence + the Machine on major stages such as Madison Square Garden. On stage, Fender and his five-piece backing band of childhood friends rollick through songs with political and parental influence — buoyed by fist-pumping choruses and Clarence Clemons-worthy saxophone wails. 

Though Fender already knows he won't be playing many shows next year — just a handful of performances "headlining something massive," he confides — in the meantime, he's culling his fan base.

Fender sat down with GRAMMY.com to discuss his growing international audience, writing process and a very special gift he received from Elton John.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

You're a bit on the precipice here in the U.S. How does that feel to you?

Everything in the UK is f—ing skyrocketing at the moment in terms of our career. We're doing a f—ing huge headline show at home which we're gonna announce really soon, like 50,000 people. The reason why I was talking about this — I wasn't just outright bragging — is because it’s really humbling to come over here when nobody f—ing knows who we are.

But you were on the biggest stage at Outside Lands in San Francisco. 

But we don't have the usual amenities — we couldn’t get a tour bus. So we're in a f—ing RV which aren't designed for sleeping on while moving; that's so uncomfortable. There's four of us in that one. And it's sweaty, and you can't sleep at all.

It’s been a challenge, it’s been testing. But it’s lush because that's when I think this band really kind of bears its teeth. When we're like f—ing struggling it just takes us back to when we first were touring around Europe, but it's kind of bringing back all that excitement. It's like we've got to fight for it a bit more, which is really quite refreshing.

Have you felt that audiences were particularly responsive to you here?

People are picking up on [the themes of my lyrics]. It’s a small-town existence. It's lovely to see the songs connect on that kind of level in a place that is so far from home, you know?

I heard your band are childhood friends.

Me and [guitarist] Dean [Thompson] have known each other since we were 11. Joe [Atkinson] at the back [on keys and guitar], we've known each other since we were 14. And Johnny [Davis], the saxophonist, he's my brother's mate. My brother is 10 years older than me, so Johnny was always another sort of big brother character. I thought he was the coolest guy. It's like a family band.

What have you guys been doing in the RV when you can't sleep?

We don't watch anything because we don’t have any internet connection. It's been pretty dire to be honest. We've just been eating chocolate bars and reviewing them.

So what has been your favorite so far?

Butterfinger. I f—ing love them. I think they’re amazing. I like Baby Ruth and I like PayDay as well. All the nutty ones.

I'm with you on that. Except for the Butterfingers. It's a little OG for us.

It's like it sticks to your teeth and everything. I came to America to get hit by the most disgustingly sweet things. I think this is exactly what America should taste like.

Beyond getting the taste of America, has it been any different touring for American audiences than British or European ones?

It's sort of similar in a lot of ways. But I think the crowds are more enthusiastic from an early stage in your career.

We were told that LA was going to be really somber and nobody would give a f— sort of thing. So we were like, “Oh it's going to be like London!” But it was the complete opposite of what we expected — the whole room was bouncing, and we had them in the palm of our hands. That was the best feeling. Everyone kept coming up to us after like, "That doesn't happen in LA."

What's been your favorite song to perform during this tour?

"Get You Down" and "Spit of You" — I haven't seen my dad in a while, and that song's about him. So I think the further apart I am from him, the more I start to sing that song with conviction. It's been lovely and it's been going down really well. When we started playing it., there was just some kid in the crowd like, "This is my favorite f—ing song!" and it just really f—ing pumped us up.

Do you think that a lot of your fans are from TikTok?

Well, when you hear "Seventeen Going Under" and they scream two lines and then the kind of volume drops off [laughs] — yes. But they've stuck around and they're still singing other songs as well. So I don't give a f— where they're from.

I used to kind of poo-poo TikTok. Even at 26, I was like, I feel old to be on this. But then obviously, it all kicked off, so I'm not complaining. The way I look at it now is this — it's just another medium for kids to discover music, which is f—ing amazing. Because if they do come to the show, and they only know that one line from TikTok, probably by the end of the show, they'll know some more songs. A lot of these young new fans have come through — it's recurring. It's not like they've dropped off the face of the Earth.

It must be really interesting to see so many people engage personally with these very specific lyrics that you've written. A lot of people probably don't get the chance to see that.

It was a bit of a headf—k to be honest. At first, it was a bit overwhelming, because a lot of these initial stories and TikTok were like a lot of the posts that were like really heavy stuff [like] kids talking about being victims of domestic abuse. It was really quite a harrowing thing to kind of be constantly bombarded with notifications of that sort of level of story, and it kind of put weight on ["Seventeen"] for us. Even though my song touches on violence and things like that, it's not about my parents or anything.

It's essentially about being a skint [British slang for poor], how my mother being skint, and it's about how the government in my country treats poor people. How they go after people like my mum when she wasn't very well — not all the f—ing corporations that slide their taxes in the Cayman Islands.

That's the beauty of it, though, isn't it? I write about [that] and then the kids dig it, and it means something to them. And that's what it should be like; There's loads of songs out there that mean something to me for some memory that might [not be related to the artists' intention].

I think that all of your songs sort of sound a little bit different. Like there's some U2; I could hear like a little bit of Beastie Boys in the intro to one of your tracks. There's so much Bruce Springsteen in your sound to me. Who are your biggest creative inspirations?

You actually just said three bands that I adore. I f—king love Beastie Boys. I love U2 and I love Bruce Springsteen. I love the War, Achtung Baby, Joshua Tree era U2.  I love Springsteen's entire catalog. Beastie Boys I f—king adore. We actually walk off to "Sabotage." The opening to "Spice" has that sort of visceral energy.

My dad used to sing in the social clubs back in the Northeast, and he used to sing all of the soul songs. And the first time I ever drank a whiskey with my dad, I was 15 or 16. I came downstairs and he was listening to, I think it was either "She Is My Lady" by Donny Hathaway, or it might have been "A Song For You."

He had a tear in his eye, poured us a glass of whiskey, and said, "Sit down and listen to this. This man is the best singer you will ever hear.” And then I started learning Donny Hathaway songs as a kid.

Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Sam and Dave…love that '60s stuff. I used to cover Sam and Dave in my band [sings "Hold On I'm Comin'"].

What were your creative goals during the creation of Seventeen, and how do you see yourself evolving from that?

I wanted to do an album that was more cohesive than the first one, but it's not mega cohesive. From "Aye" to "Last To Make It Home," those are very different sounding songs. But I think lyrically, as a whole, [Seventeen] was more concise, and had more of a continuity with the story. It was more about growing up. It was all about mental health, love and loss, and all of the things that you have experienced in your early adult life.

What happened after with the success of it in the U.K., was something that I never ever thought. I never, ever dreamed of charting a single because guitar bands don't really get into the charts over there. The last time a band got into the top 10 before us was the Arctic Monkeys and that was in 2013. And they got to No. 8; we got to No. 3. That, for us was a real eye-opener as to how [the album has] connected.

Are you writing anything right now?

Yeah, I'm 16, 17 songs into another record. 

Has that success been influencing what you're writing?  

The actual writing of Seventeen itself was a catalyst for the next album. I had done such personal songs on the first album, the second album, I did a bit of therapy and that gave us so much to write about. Which was really cathartic for us and it really kind of helped my mental health. 

To be honest with you, the only time that I feel sane is when I'm recording and when I'm writing. All of the distractions that you have in life, whether it be drugs, drink, sex, whatever, all of them things don't come f—ing close to just blackening out a page. It's more necessity than inspiration. I opened Pandora's box with that record. And I can't close it, but I'm good because it's cathartic. And it's a healing process as well. 

It's the best way to pick up a shot at self esteem. It's the best way to grieve something. I had a really big breakup a year and a bit ago, so I've had a lot to write about that. And a lot of writing about my own failures as a partner and the trials and tribulations of trying to keep a lover when you're doing this as your job. 

So it sounds like your next record is going to be very mature.

It's self deprecating and self-effacing, so nothing much has changed. [Laughs

"Alright" was the most recent single that you released – why was that the one you chose?

I totally thought it was gonna go on Seventeen, but then I'd wrote 60 songs for Seventeen because of the pandemic. For the first two, three months of it; I was alone. I've got a health condition…so for the first three months I was completely stuck and wrote "All Right" 'round that time.

[The song is] about depression, but it's also about the idea that I felt like I've always cheated death, because I got ill at such a young age. So is this idea that I feel like I've just always cheated death somehow and my number is going to run up at some point.

You've been supporting some pretty awesome artists – is there anyone who you'd love to share a stage with?

We've [supported] Bob Dylan, Neil Young and the Stones. It's like, I just need Springsteen. And then I just get to die happy.

Then your number will be up. Speaking of greats, I read in NME that Elton John says you are the one man that's like putting out good rock music.

Elton's like my uncle now, my fairy godfather. Elton and David [Furnish, John’s husband], they're just like my f—ing dads. They took us well under their wing. I was being unhealthy and doing too much of everything else, and they were the ones who scooped us out of that pit. I stayed with them for f—ing two and a half weeks.

I sat up all night with Elton, night in, night out, just listening to music. I'd play him stuff and everything I played him, he'd heard. He is a f—ing encyclopedia of music.

There's so much music that he showed me that is now a part of my soul. For example, the Band. I've never really listened to the Band, I only heard a couple of hits. And then next thing you know, I go back home and there's this knock on the door. This guy just walks up with a box full of f—ing vinyl. And all of the things that we listened to, he bought on vinyl and got couriered to my house.

I've never ever met another artist that is so f—ing devoid of jealousy and envy. I mean, it's probably because he's one of the biggest rock stars ever, but he's so, so open and he loves so many different types of music. It's so f—ing inspiring. Like the amount of kids that he's pushed, including myself — the little punk band, the Linda Lindas, he loves them as well, shouts them out. He doesn't have to do that. He's Elton f—ing John, and he literally spends half his time just pushing kids to achieve their dreams.

He is such a wonderful human being. Everyone needs a f—ing Elton John.

Lastly, do you have any larger goals? Either in the coming years or immediate term?

I would love to maintain what we have. Like, I hope it doesn't peter off. I think my personal goals are that every single member of my band has a house that is theirs. Once I've achieved that, then I know that I've looked after the boys. These are my friends who've sacrificed to follow my dream. Once they have got that, then I know it was worth it.

That and, uh, smash America.

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Outside Lands Cancels 2020 Fest, Announces 2021 Lineup

Lizzo 

Photo: Jim Dyson/Redferns via Getty Images 

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Outside Lands Cancels 2020 Fest, Announces 2021 Lineup

Lizzo, J Balvin, The Strokes, Tame Impala, Tyler, The Creator, Burna Boy and Kehlani are among the artists who will perform at the festival on Aug. 6–8, 2021 at Golden Gate Park

GRAMMYs/Jun 25, 2020 - 12:43 am

Outside Lands, San Francisco's eclectic summer music festival, officially announced on June 24 that its 2020 edition would not be taking place but left little room for gloom as it has also announced its 2021 lineup.

Lizzo, J Balvin, The Strokes, Tame Impala, Tyler, The Creator, Burna Boy and Kehlani are among the artists who will perform at the festival on Aug. 6–8, 2021 at Golden Gate Park. 

The fest sold early bird tickets for its 2020 event earlier this year, but had not released a lineup. While it had not officially announced this year's cancellation, California Gov. Gavin Newsom made it clear in April that mass gatherings would not happen any time soon in the state. 

In a statement, the fest said it was sad their 13th consecutive fest could not happen, but that it was looking towards the future. 

"We are looking to the future & filled with excitement to announce NEXT year’s festival, returning August 6-8, 2021," the fest said on Twitter. "We believe it is in the best interest of everyone’s health & safety that we not return in 2020."

Tickets for the 2021 fest will go on sale June 25 at 10 a.m. PST. 

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Childish Gambino And Kacey Musgraves To Headline Outside Lands 2019

Childish Gambino

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

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Childish Gambino And Kacey Musgraves To Headline Outside Lands 2019

Lineup for August is filled with artists prominent at the 61st GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Mar 27, 2019 - 04:29 am

The Outside Lands festival is coming to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on the weekend of Aug. 9–11. They announced their lineup this morning including 61st GRAMMY Awards Record Of The Year winner Childish Gambino and Album Of The Year winner Kacey Musgraves. Gambino aka Donald Glover also won for Best Music Video, Best Rap/Sung Performance and Song Of The Year. Kacey Musgraves' Golden Hour also won Best Country Album. Her track "Space Cowboy" won best Country Song and "Butterflies" won Best Country Solo Performance. The overlap between Outside Lands and winning at the 61st Awards doesn't stop there.

Other 61st winners in Outside Lands' lineup announced on March 26 are Leon Bridges, Lauren Daigle, Ella Mai, PJ Morton, and Anderson .Paak. Nominees from this year's show include Bebe Rexha and Tierra WhackTyler Joseph from Twenty One Pilots was nominated for Best Rock Song at the 61st as well.

The Outside Lands lineup is filled with winners of GRAMMY awards from other years as well. The list includes Edie Brickell, Flume, Lil Wayne, Paul Simon, and Mavis StaplesBlink-182, Counting Crows, Hozier, the Lumineers, and Bob Moses are among the artists in the lineup who've previously been nominated for GRAMMY awards.

GRAMMY wins and nominations are recognition for artists but the lesser-known acts coming to Golden Gate Park in August are also exciting and well worth a listen. We've covered San HoloYaeji and others. With a lineup this entertaining, the experience in the park this summer is bound to be fantastic.

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Remembering Christine McVie Of Fleetwood Mac Through Her GRAMMY Triumphs, From 'Rumours' Onward
Christine McVie in 1969

Photo: Evening Standard / Stringer via Getty Images

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Remembering Christine McVie Of Fleetwood Mac Through Her GRAMMY Triumphs, From 'Rumours' Onward

Unflashy and undramatic, McVie's contributions to Fleetwood Mac led to some of their greatest contributions to popular song — with two GRAMMY wins to boot.

GRAMMYs/Dec 2, 2022 - 08:32 pm

In an acclaimed career that spanned more than half a century, Christine McVie staked her claim as one of the most potent singer-songwriters of her generation. A beloved original member of the seminal rock group Fleetwood Mac, with whom she sang, wrote and played keyboard, she and her bandmates catapulted to fame in the early '70s, scoring GRAMMY gold and influencing generations of musicians.

"As a GRAMMY Award winner and 2018 Person of the Year honoree, the Recording Academy has been honored to celebrate Christine McVie and her work with Fleetwood Mac throughout her legendary career," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. stated. In an announcement of her death, the remaining members of Fleetwood Mac mourned her passing by saying "She was truly one-of-a-kind, special, and talented beyond measure."

McVie, who passed away Nov. 30 at 79 after a brief illness, may have not been as flashy, or as dramatic, as fellow Fleetwood Mac members Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. But McVie's contributions to the band led to some of their greatest contributions to popular song, with two GRAMMY wins among seven nominations.

The tour de force that is Rumours is one of the most acclaimed and best-selling albums of all time and an inductee into GRAMMY Hall Of Fame. The masterpiece earned McVie her first GRAMMY (for Album of the Year no less) at the 20th Annual Ceremony in 1978, also earning a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Group.

Fleetwood Mac's 11th studio album, Rumours was actually McVie's 7th album with the band after making her name in the English blues scene, rising through the ranks as part of the band Chicken Shack, and even releasing a solo album.

In 1971, McVie joined Fleetwood Mac alongside her then-husband John McVie. The potent combination of the McVies, along with Mick Fleetwood, Buckingham and Nicks, catalyzed and detonated into the stratospheric Rumours.

"It's hard to say (what it was like) because we were looking at it from the inside," McVie said about the iconic album earlier this year.  "We were having a blast and it felt incredible to us that we were writing those songs. That's all I can say about it, really."

McVie's coyness may stem from the fact that prior to its production, Christine and John divorced after eight years of marriage. Meanwhile, Buckingham and Nicks were having a tumultuous relationship themselves. 

McVie is credited as sole songwriter on a handful of instant-classic Rumours tracks, all written during a perilous moment. "I thought I was drying up," explained McVie. "I was practically panicking because every time I sat down at a piano, nothing came out. Then, one day,  I just sat down and wrote in the studio, and the four-and-a-half songs of mine on the album are a result of that."

That includes "Don't Stop," an ironically peppy ode considering the turmoil McVie and her bandmates were grappling with at the time. With lyrics that staunchly proclaim "Yesterday's gone!," the song was reportedly written as a plea from Christine to John to move on from their relationship.

"I dare say, if I hadn't joined Fleetwood Mac, we might still be together. I just think it's impossible to work in the band with your spouse," McVie later said. John, meanwhile, was oblivious to the song's message during its production and early acclaim. He revealed in 2015: "I've been playing it for years and it wasn't until somebody told me, 'Chris wrote that about you.' Oh really?"

John was also equally ignorant to the source inspiration of "You Make Loving Fun"; McVie told him the joyful song ("Sweet wonderful you/ You make me happy with the things you do") was about her dog. In reality, it was about an affair with the band's lighting designer.

"It was a therapeutic move," McVie later mused of her lyrical penchant for hiding brutal honesty in plain sight. "The only way we could get this stuff out was to say it, and it came out in a way that was difficult. Imagine trying to sing those songs onstage with the people you're singing them about."

When McVie was asked earlier this year what song she written she was most proud of, it was an easy answer: the Rumours track "Songbird."

"For some peculiar reason, I wrote "Songbird" in half an hour; I've never been able to figure out how I did that," she told People. "I woke up in the middle of the night and the song was there in my brain, chords, lyrics, melody, everything. I played it in my bedroom and didn't have anything to tape it on. So I had to stay awake all night so I wouldn't forget it and I came in the next morning to the studio and had (producer) Ken Callait put it on a 2-track. That was how the song ended up being. I don't know where that came from."

McVie's most recent GRAMMY nominations were for her contributions to The Dance, Fleetwood Mac's 1997 live album that featured her stand-outs from Rumours along with the McVie penned-tracks "Say You Love Me" and "Everywhere."

The album earned McVie and the band GRAMMY nominations for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal (for the Lindsay Buckingham-written "The Chain") and  Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal (for "Silver Springs," penned by Stevie Nicks). It also landed a nomination for Best Pop Album. It was her final album with the band before a 15-year self-imposed retirement.

In her final years, McVie was a vital member of Fleetwood Mac, including in 2018 when they became the first band honored as MusicCare's Person of the Year.

Speaking to the Recording Academy before the ceremony, Nicks expressed that her initial goal upon joining the group was a humble one: "Christine and I made a pact. We said we will never, ever be treated as a second-class citizen amongst our peers."

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15 Must-Hear New Albums Out This Month: SZA, Neil Young, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, NCT Dream & More
(L-R): A Boogie wit da Hoodie, SZA, Jacquees, Metro Boomin, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer

Photos (L-R): Joseph Okpako/WireImage; Tim Mosenfelder/FilmMagic; Prince Williams/Wireimage; Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Justin Combs Events; Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

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15 Must-Hear New Albums Out This Month: SZA, Neil Young, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, NCT Dream & More

Rounding out the year, here are the can't-miss releases and massive new albums dropping in December 2022 from Weezer, Metro Boomin, NOFX, Jacquees, Ab-Soul, and many others.

GRAMMYs/Dec 2, 2022 - 07:20 pm

And just like that, 2022 is almost done — but not before we get another round of must-hear albums. December's slate of releases is set to send the year out on a high note, with something for all tastes.

This month heralds much-anticipated returns from R&B innovator SZA, with S.O.S., and rap super-producer Metro Boomin, with the mysterious HEROES & VILLAINS. December's riches also include Bad MFs from West Coast hip-hop supergroup Mount Westmore, indie-rock lifers Weezer dropping SZNZ: Winter and a loaded, possibly final album from punk-rock misfits NOFX. There's also new-generation R&B (RINI’s Ultraviolet EP and Jacquees' Sincerely For You), dark techno (Terence Fixmer's Shifting Signals), soul-baring indie (Sophie Jamieson's Choosing), and much more.

Below, check out a guide to the 15 essential albums dropping just in time for the festive season. — Jack Tregoning

Contributed reporting by Ashlee Mitchell

SZA - S.O.S.

Release date: TBD

Five years after her GRAMMY-nominated debut album, Ctrl, it's about to be SZA season all over again. While details are still pending, the alternative R&B star is expected to drop her second album, S.O.S., this month, following the single "Shirt" and its teaser follow-up, "PSA."

In a revealing Billboard cover story, SZA spoke frankly about the pressure she feels to release the album while navigating the music industry and her fans' expectations. As always with SZA, the music itself speaks volumes, and the darkly seductive "Shirt" (accompanied by a music video co-starring SZA and Academy Award nominee LaKeith Stanfield in a riff on Bonnie and Clyde) suggests S.O.S. will be something to savor. — J.T.

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Metro Boomin - HEROES & VILLAINS

Release date: December 2

To prepare fans for his new album, HEROES & VILLAINS, sought-after rap producer Metro Boomin went all-out on a short film starring his collaborators Young Thug and Gunna alongside celebrated actors Morgan Freeman and LaKeith Stanfield. Following that flex, the artist's first solo LP in four years is set to feature a who's who of rap, with an exact tracklist still to be announced.

Metro Boomin's previous album, 2018's Not All Heroes Wear Capes, featured the likes of Travis Scott, 21 Savage and Gucci Mane rapping over the producer's dark, trap-centric beats. This time around, he's keeping his cards close to his chest, slyly sharing a video of the studio sessions on his Instagram with the caption, "When the sequel is even better than the first." All will be revealed on Dec. 2. — J.T.

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Neil Young - Harvest (50th Anniversary Edition)

Release date: December 2

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Neil Young's seminal folk-rock album Harvest, released to great acclaim in 1972. Featuring indelible songs like "Heart of Gold," "Old Man" and "The Needle and The Damage Done," Harvest was the best-selling album of that year in the US.

To celebrate the milestone, Young is releasing a special anniversary edition, available in either CD or vinyl box-set. Extras include a new two-hour documentary called Harvest Time, an official release of Young's BBC In Concert performance, and a hardcover book featuring never-before-seen photos and notes by legendary rock photographer Joel Bernstein. Consider this the festive gift for the Neil Young completist in your life. — J.T.

After breaking out with his 2021 debut album, Constellations, RINI returns this month with the seven-track EP, Ultraviolet. The Filipino-Australian R&B talent, who now calls Los Angeles home, pairs his indelible voice with slinky, late-night production that pulls the listener close.

Ahead of Ultraviolet, RINI has released the singles "Haunt Me" and "Selfish," featuring GRAMMY-winning rapper BEAM, which pair his themes of love and longing with gauzy, head-nodding beats. "I want to be able to show the world and myself that I'm growing, not just in music, but as a person," RINI told Uproxx in May. On Ultraviolet, which also features the slick bedroom jams "Something to Feel" and "Your Eyes," that evolution is evident. — J.T.

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NOFX - Double Album

Release date: December 2

SoCal punk veterans NOFX have always kept up a prolific output, and this month the band returns with their 15th LP, Double Album. Following last year's Single Album, the conveniently titled Double Album features 10 new songs with perfectly NOFX titles like "Punk Rock Cliché" and "Is It Too Soon if Time Is Relative?" Lead single "Darby Crashing Your Party" showcases the band at their hard-riffing, rowdy best, with frontman Fat Mike clearly relishing lyrical volleys like, "A middle-class clown waging lower class war/A Beverly Hillbilly peeled off the floor."

In a statement announcing the new album, Fat Mike revealed the songs were recorded at the same time as Single Album, then finished off later. "I think it's a very enjoyable album, and maybe our funniest," he added. It could also be NOFX's parting gift — responding to a fan’s Instagram comment, Fat Mike announced that 2023 will be the band's "last year" after an "amazing run." — J.T.

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Terence Fixmer - Shifting Signals

Release date: December 2

French producer Terence Fixmer has been one of the most intriguing figures in the electronic music scene for well over a decade. Over six past solo albums, numerous EPs and standalone releases, Fixmer has perfected a dark, gritty sound that melds techno with the looser industrial spirit of electronic body music (EBM).

Fixmer's seventh album, Shifting Signals, continues in that vein while allowing for new textures to creep in. "On each album I aim for something different but I retain the core sound, which is always there and often dark and melancholic," the producer wrote in a statement. "Sometimes the balance tips slightly and on this album, I'm striving to be freer and open myself up more to melody."

That openness to different modes is showcased on the atmospheric, piano-led "Synthetic Minds," which evokes a John Carpenter film score, while fellow singles "Corne de Brume" and "No Latitude for Errors" are built for heady techno dance floors. — J.T.

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Sophie Jamieson - Choosing

Release date: December 2

On her debut album, Choosing, London-based singer-songwriter Sophie Jamieson doesn't shy from difficult or uncomfortable emotions. Lead single, "Sink" lays bare her push-pull relationship with alcohol over a lulling bed of piano and drums. That theme of emotional vulnerability carries through the LP's 11 songs, which foreground Jamieson's enchanting voice and plain-spoken lyrics.

"The title of this album is so important," Jamieson wrote in a statement. "Without it, this might sound like another record about self-destruction and pain, but at heart, it's about hope, and finding strength. It's about finding the light at the end of the tunnel and crawling towards it." Choosing arrives via Bella Union, the tastemaking label led by Simon Raymonde, formerly of Scottish dream pop band Cocteau Twins. — J.T.

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White Lung - Premonition

Release date: December 2

Canadian punk rockers White Lung weren't expecting to take six years to follow up 2016's celebrated Paradise. As the story goes, the band got together in their hometown of Vancouver in 2017, expecting to rip out their final album before parting ways. In the studio, frontwoman Mish Barber-Way discovered she was pregnant with her first child — which, along with a global pandemic and another child, put the album plans on ice.

Fast forward to 2022, and White Lung's fifth and final album, Premonition, is finally here. With all that extra time to marinate, Premonition is a thrilling return from the trio, mining deeper themes with the same raucous, kick-down-the-door energy that fans expect. The album opens furiously with "Hysteric", and also features the singles "Date Night" and "Tomorrow," which match Barber-Way's impassioned vocals with muscular punk-rock riffing.

"We felt like this record was the right endpoint and we are happy the songs will finally be released," the band wrote in a statement. — J.T.

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A Boogie Wit da Hoodie - Me vs. Myself

Release date: December 9

New York's A Boogie wit da Hoodie has been steadily hyping the release of his fourth album, Me Vs Myself, throughout 2022. Originally scheduled for November, the album will drop this month, right in time for A Boogie's hometown album launch at the iconic Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Me Vs Myself was preceded by a pair of singles, "Take Shots," featuring Tory Lanez, and "Ballin," which both showcase the rapper's supremely confident flow and wavy beats. While the full tracklist is not yet confirmed, A Boogie's previous album, ARTIST 2.0, covered the R&B and rap spectrum with guests like Summer Walker, Khalid, Young Thug and Lil Uzi Vert, without pulling focus from the main star. The rapper has already lined up dates for the Me Vs Myself tour stretching into 2023, so it's a great time to bet on A Boogie. — J.T.

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Mount Westmore - Snoop, Cube, 40, $hort

Release date: December 9

When living legends Snoop Dogg, E-40, Too Short and Ice Cube formed the supergroup Mount Westmore, West Coast rap heads took notice. After several hints that a collaborative album was coming, Mount Westmore made the surprise decision to release their debut, Bad MFs, exclusively as an NFT via the blockchain-based platform Gala Music.

The album arrives on streaming services this month under a new title, Snoop, Cube, 40, $hort, featuring additional songs not included on the NFT version. A spirit of loose fun and ride-or-die friendship carries through all the singles released so far, including the swaggering "Bad MFs" and the bass-heavy, light-hearted "Big Subwoofer." As Snoop put it to HotNewHipHop, "You bring the legends of the West Coast together, something great will always happen." — J.T.

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Leland Whitty - Anyhow

Release date: December 9

Best known as a member of Toronto-based jazz ensemble BADBADNOTGOOD, Leland Whitty is a true multi-instrumentalist. On his seven-track solo release, Anyhow, Whitty oversaw all production and composition, moving deftly between guitar, synthesizer, woodwinds and strings.

Following his scores for indie films Disappearance at Clifton Hill and Learn to Swim, Whitty was inspired to combine cinematic composition with rock and jazz instrumentation in his own project. Lead single "Awake" perfectly strikes that balance with twinkling keys, mournful strings and an insistent drum beat, while follow-up "Glass Moon" conjures a similarly beguiling mood. Members of BADBADNOTGOOD and Whitty's musician brother also joined the studio sessions, making Anyhow a family affair. — J.T.

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Jacquees - Sincerely For You

Release date: December 16

On "Say Yea", the sultry bedroom anthem he dropped back in May, Jacquees croons, "Girl, you overdue for some romantic s—." That simple line is something of a mission statement for the R&B casanova, whose third album, Sincerely For You, drops this month.

The LP features "Say Yea" alongside 16 more R&B jams, including singles "Tipsy," which captures the singer's blurry plea to a lover, and the smoothly boastful "Still That." Elsewhere, Sincerely For You offers up guest turns from Future (who also executive produced the album), 21 Savage and Tory Lanez, plus the R&B dream team of 6lack and Summer Walker on "Tell Me It's Over." On his socials, Jacquees dedicated the album to "everybody who been there for me along the way" and promised to deliver only "real R&B." — J.T.

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Ab-Soul - Herbert

Release date: December 16

Six hard-won years after his last album, the divisive, conspiracy theory-heavy Do What Thou Wilt., Ab-Soul has found his drive again. The rapper from Carson, California returns this month with a deeply personal album that shares his birth name, Herbert.

Ab-Soul's new outlook was previewed in lead single "Do Better," which reckons with the scars of his past and looks to the future with powerful clarity. The next single, "Gang'Nem," featuring Houston rapper FRE$H and produced by fellow Top Dawg Entertainment mainstay Sounwave, also revisits his upbringing and pays respect to L.A. street culture over a woozy, hard-hitting beat.

For fans of Ab-Soul's dense lyrical style and gravelly flow, Herbert is an eagerly-anticipated return to the rap limelight. — J.T.

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NCT DREAM - Candy

Release date: December 19

NCT Dream, the youngest sub-group of Neo Culture Technology (NCT), has seen exponential growth since they rebranded as a fixed unit in 2020. The septet is set to release a winter special EP called Candy on Dec. 19. The mini-album's six tracks, include lead single "Candy," which was originally performed by H.O.T. in 1996. The album will be the first holiday release for any NCT sub-group, following a slew of successful releases from NCT Dream this year.

The group released their second studio album, Glitch, in March 2022, followed by their repackaged Beatbox in May. Their first feature film, NCT Dream The Movie: In a Dream, released worldwide on Nov. 30 and Dec. 3 and documents the opening days of their tour in Seoul. The group will finish their tour in Japan by February 2023. — Ashlee Mitchell

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Weezer - SZNZ: Winter

Release date: December 21

This has been a remarkably good year to be a Weezer fan. Always pleasingly prolific, in 2022 the band decided to release a four-EP series under the name SZNZ, each timed to coincide with a new season.

Following Spring, Summer and Autumn editions, SZNZ: Winter arrives just in time for peak coziness. While the complete tracklist is not yet known, Weezer performed the EP in full for an intimate crowd at the Troubadour in Los Angeles (using their favored alias Goat Punishment), with new highlights including "I Want A Dog" and "The One That Got Away."

While frontman Rivers Cuomo has described SZNZ: Winter as having a sad vibe that suits snowed-in days, you can always count on Weezer to cut the melancholy with some power-pop verve. — J.T.

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