This is one of the busiest release days in the last six months.
In addition to three highly anticipated albums, we have the soundtrack to a much-hyped movie and a very comprehensive box set.
1. Greta Van Fleet, Anthem of a Peaceful Army
Ever since GVF burst out of Frankenmuth, Mich., (previously known for being the home to the world’s largest Christmas store), they’ve been blowing everyone away, filling large venues (capacity ~7,500) on the strength of just two EPs. Now that their debut album is here, their label and management plan to have them headlining arenas through 2019. Yes, their sound is derivative in a Led Zeppelin sort of way, but the members of GVF are so young, they have no first-hand knowledge of that era of classic rock. To them (and thousands of fans), what they’re doing is fresh, new and interesting. All the power to them. As one review says, “ is shaping up to be the finest debut album of both 2018 and 1972.”
2. Elle King, Shake the Spirit
It’s nice to see that Elle has come through a really rough personal stretch: the elopement, the regret, the divorce, the subsequent depression (she didn’t leave her house for weeks at a time), and now the recovery. She says that the only thing that really kept her alive was making this album: “The music was bringing me back to life,” she maintains. Can this album replicate the success she saw with her breakout single, Ex’s and Oh’s? We’ll see.
3. Bohemian Rhapsody Original Soundtrack
After months and months of hype, Bohemian Rhapsody, the Freddie Mercury biopic starring Mr. Robot‘s Rami Malek (who looks awesome, by the way), we enter the final stretch towards the film’s opening on Nov. 2. If you were worried that any accompanying soundtrack would be cluttered by members of the cast clumsily covering Queen songs, relax. No one involved with the project would allow Freddie’s or Queen’s memory to be sullied that way. Instead, we’re presented with basically a collection of Queen’s greatest hits with a few essential live tracks thrown in. As it should be.
4. Cranberries, Everybody Else is Doing It So Why Can’t We 25th-anniversary box set
A quarter-century after a group of Irish teenagers saw their debut album go multi-multi-multi-platinum, the inevitable expanded version arrives in a sumptuous box set that fans will love. The four-disc set features plenty of B-sides, outtakes, live performances, radio sessions, demos and even the entire contents of the Cranberries’ long-long demo EP. Tired of accessing this material via scratchy lo-fi YouTube videos? This solves everything.
5. Arkells, Rally Cry
There’s no stopping Arkells. Driven by the bottomless energy and confidence of singer Max Kerman, the band’s fifth album is filled both with songs that will satisfy the base and material that pushes things ever so slightly down the field. This record shows plenty of growth, the kind of development that can only come by playing live constantly. Expect to hear plenty from this album over the next two years. It’ll have that kind of lifespan.
London Calling: B.E.D., White Coats
Other than they’re from London and their name is an acronym built from the band members’ names (Baxter, Etienne, and Delilah), precious little is known about this act. The British music media seems rather fond of them, though, and are anticipating a self-titled album due next Friday (Oct. 26).
Undiscovered Gem: Andrew Ahlsten, 420
Part-time music and real estate agent Andrew Ahlsten of Cayuga, Ont., pulled together this song that speaks to some the lingering questions around Canada’s legalization of weed. Note, too, the shout-out to noted weed enthusiast, Gord Downie.
Throwback Thursday: The Cure, Let’s Go to Bed (1982)
Finally, The Cure has been nominated for induction into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, something that should have happened years ago. But we have to understand the psychology of the people who make up the committee that controls inductions. If we’re honest, this group of people is really, really biased toward American artists. Case in point: Kraftwerk, the most important electronic band in the history of electricity. Without them, you don’t have techno-pop, every flavour of synth-pop, industrial music and EDM, not to mention the earliest elements of hip-hop. How can they NOT be in the Hall already?
Same thing with The Cure. If we’re looking at a list foundational bands for the sound that eventually became known as alternative music, they’re right up there — top five, for sure. Yet they’re NOT in the Hall yet? Unbelievable. But maybe this year. We’ll see.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with 102.1 the Edge and Q107, and a commentator for Global News.
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