New Music Round-Up 5/15/20: Future, Jason Isbell, Migos, The 1975, El-P, Ben Harper, and more

Welcome to the BroBible New Music Round-Up, where I’d like to report for those keeping track, Quarantine Beard Number Four is gone. I’ve moved on to Quarantine Beard Five. For more follow me on Twitter:  @ryanoconnell79

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This week’s playlist is celebrating the great Stevie Wonder who turned 70 this week. In related news, Stevie Wonder is only 70 years old? I would have bet three rolls of toilet paper that he was turning at least 80.

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This Week’s Releases

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit Reunions

 

Isbell and his band the 400 Unit are back with their new album Reunions today, although if you’re the kind of person who is a supporter of local music shops, then there’s a good chance you’ve had the album for a week. Isbell made the album available a week early to anyone who purchased it at their local record store because Isbell is a solid dude and that’s something solid dudes do.

Reunions is Isbell’s first new album since the excellent The Nashville Sound came out in 2017. He released a live album in 2018, Live from the Ryman, recorded at the iconic Nashville venue.

For a review of the album, you can check out Pitchfork’s, which gave it a 7.8 rating.

In the lead up to the album’s release, Isbell has been making the rounds when it comes to talking to the press. He has done insightful and interesting interviews with Rolling StoneSpin, and The New York TimesHe has also done deep dives into his impressive discography with both UPROXX and Stereogum.

On Friday, Isbell and his wife and bandmate Amanda Shires will be performing in an empty Brooklyn Bowl in their hometown of Nashville. A live stream of the performance will be hosted by FANS and kicks off at 7pm central time. Donations are being encouraged for both the band’s crew and the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Now if you’re at all familiar with The New Music Round-Up, you know that we here are avid fans of both Isbell’s music and his Twitter feed. My dude rarely disappoints on both fronts.

So with that being said…

What’s Jason Isbell Tweeting About This Week?

Solid. Really solid.

Future High Off Life

21 songs. Future’s new album contains 21 songs.

That’s a lot of (expletive deleted) songs. Future’s last album, The WIZRD, was only 20 songs. Ugh. Lame.

Now this new Future album was supposed to be called Life Is Good but perhaps because life is decidedly NOT GOOD right now, the rapper elected to change the title to High Off Life. Smart move, Future.

Future’s eighth album features guest spots by Drake, Travis Scott, DaBaby, Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Lil Baby, Meek Mill, and more. The album features both the original version of Future’s collaboration with Drake “Life Is Good” as well as a remix featuring Drake, Lil Baby, and Da Baby.

Overall, we’re deducting points for having way too many songs, but we’re giving points for self-awareness (the album change.) In the end, it kind of ends in a draw.

It could be worse, Future.

Migos “Racks 2 Skinny”

Another week, another new Migos song. Last week it was “Taco Tuesday” and this week it’s the more fleshed out “Racks 2 Skinny.” And by fleshed out, I mean it’s more than a minute and a half long, which is what ‘Taco Tuesday” clocked in at.

Guys, Future is out dropping albums with 21 tracks on it. The least you can do is drop songs that are at least three minutes long.

As was pointed out last week, Migos are supposed to be releasing Culture III sometime this summer, but with seemingly EVERYTHING being delayed because of COVID-19, the album’s release date is TBD, which is also what you could say about damn near everything at this point.

When am I going back to work? TBD. When can I go to a bar? TBD. When will there be toilet paper at the grocery store? TBD.

It’s getting old, folks. It’s getting old.

The 1975 “Guys”

“Guys” is the latest song from The 1975’s upcoming album Notes On A Conditional Form to be released. If you’re keeping track, it’s the eighth song they’ve released from the album. They’re not giving away the farm though.

Apparently, the album contains 14 more songs.

TAKE THAT, FUTURE.

The 1975’s singer Matt Healy recently talked about the new tune with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, saying that “it came quite easy, that song.”

“But I think I just wanted to write a love letter to friendship, as opposed to every love song being about our romantic relationships. I think that our friendships are obviously our most formative relationships.” He added, “So shout out to the homies.”

Notes on a Conditional Form comes out next Friday, May 22nd.

Ben Harper “Don’t Let Me Disappear”

Ben Harper dropped a new song this week, the tender, acoustic track “Don’t Let Me Disappear.” It’s his first new solo release since last year’s “Uneven Days.”

Harper’s last album came out in 2018. No Mercy In This Land was a collaboration with Charlie Musselwhite.

On a somewhat related note, I don’t know if you ever saw Harper and The Innocent Criminals play live back in the day, but those dudes rocked. I also think Harper’s first two albums, Welcome To The Cruel World (1994) and Fight For Your Mind (1995) still hold up all these years later.

El-P Fantastic Damage

Okay, so this isn’t technically a new release but it is kind of a new release because for the first time, El-P’s debut album Fantastic Damage is available on streaming services. The rapper’s 2002 debut had started to reach urban myth status as it remained persona non grata on services like Spotify and Apple Music.

Not anymore!

Recorded just after El-P’s group Company Flow broke up, the album features guest spots by Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, and more.

In other El-P news, Run the Jewels confirmed a release date for Run the Jewels 4. The album comes out on June 5th and is available for pre-order now.

Check out my breakdown of the greatest duos in Hip-Hop history and see where Run the Jewels landed.

Elsewhere in Music…

What’s The Latest On Concerts?

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There’s not a lot of news on the live music front right now, but there’s a little bit, so here you go.

Remember when it was announced that Bishop Gunn frontman Travis McCready would perform at TempleLive in Fort Smith, Arkansas on May 15? It was going to be the first concert in the country since the concert industry closed up shop nearly two months ago.

However, the show was receiving pushback, especially from Arkansas’ Governor Asa Hutchinson, who had issued a directive that limited audience sizes at venues to 50 people. The McCready show was planning on limiting their capacity, but still planning on exceeding that 50 person number. After some back-and-forth, Hutchinson ended up hitting the venue with a cease-and-desist order.

Cooler heads have prevailed though and after some discussions, the show is back on. The show has been rescheduled to May 18th, three days after new social distancing guidelines are set to go in place. Yet the show’s promoters still seem a little salty about the whole affair.

“Doesn’t feel like America to me. It’s disheartening,” promoter Mike Brown said. “So due to the actions by the State of Arkansas, by the Arkansas Health Department and the governor’s office, we are applying to move this show to May 18th to be in compliance with the directive from the Arkansas Department of Health and governor’s office. Against our will.”

Take the win, dude. Just take the win.

In other news, live music may return at some point, but I wouldn’t plan on doing much crowd-surfing if that’s your jam. And then there’s Shinedown, the one who band who come out and said that fuck it, our summer tour is still happening.

For more about the future of live music in the states, check out this piece I wrote for the site.

This Week in Foo Fighters News

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2020 was supposed to be a big year for the Foo Fighters. They are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut record coming out and at some point, they’re supposed to be releasing a new album.

But you know, pandemics.

Their 25th-anniversary tour has been postponed and the release date for the said new album is like everything else right now, TBD. However, Grohl has been busy doing interviews and making late-night appearances lately and in one recent interview, shed some light on the new album.

“It’s filled with anthemic, huge, sing-along rock songs. It’s almost like a dance record—not like a EDM, disco, modern dance record. It’s got groove, man,” Grohl said. “To me, it’s like our David Bowie’s Let’s Dance record. That’s what we wanted to make, we wanted to make this really up, fun record.”

Okay, then. Giddy up.

I’d also recommend this Op-Ed Grohl wrote recently about the importance of live music.

And Now, Cardi B Asks The Important Questions

 

The Best Late Night Performance Of The Week

Checking In On The Podcast Front

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There are two new music-related podcasts that are worth checking out.

The first is Winds of Change, a new podcast from Crooked Media. Hosted by Patrick Radden Keefe (the author of one of the best books I’ve read recently, Say Nothing,) the pod explores the idea that the power ballad “Winds of Change” that had a hand in taking down the Berlin Wall wasn’t written by The Scorpions, but by the CIA. The first episode came out on Monday.

The second podcast is the new season of James Andrew Miller’s Origins, which is an oral history of Cameron Crowe’s classic movie Almost Famous. Miller is a master when it comes to oral histories, having done deep dives into Saturday Night Live, ESPN, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Speaking of Almost Famous, have you ever spent too much time thinking about what would be the best band you could make comprised entirely of fictional musicians from movies? I have!

This Week In Sure, Why Not?

And We’ll End Here

See you next week!