BY: JOEY REAMS
On Fridays, the world is blessed with new music from a handful of artists. To help you find your next favorite album, we’ve discovered what new alternative and indie albums have been released. This week’s notable artists include Imagine Dragons and Manic Street Preachers. Check out the list below:
Imagine Dragons – Mercury – Act 1
Alternative rock headliners Imagine Dragons have released their fifth studio album, Mercury – Act 1. This is their first album since 2018’s Origins. The band decided not to promote their last album with a tour. Instead, they chose to decompress and spend time with the family. The new album had four songs previously released, “Follow You,” “Cutthroat,” “Wrecked,” and “Monday.” “Wrecked” was dedicated to singer Dan Reynold’s sister-in-law, Alisha Durtschi Reynolds, who died from cancer. Mercury – Act 1 was produced by Joel Little and Rick Ruben.
“This song was my way of dealing with it all, as music has always been my refuge,” said Reynolds about “Wrecked.” “No longer being a man of fervent faith, I can only hope that she hears it somewhere in a place where she is healed and no longer in pain. This song is my wish for an eternity with those that I love.”
Manic Street Preachers – The Ultra Vivid Lament
Welsh rock band, Manic Street Preachers have released their fourteenth studio album, The Ultra Vivid Lament. Despite having an impressive catalog that dates back to 1986, this is the band’s fourth album in a decade. Their last release was 2018’s Resistance Is Futile. Lead singer James Dean Bradfield and guitarist Nicky Wire have pursued solo careers in conjunction with the band. Bradfield last released a solo album in 2020 with Even In Exile, while Wire hasn’t released a solo album since 2006. Both musicians have expressed an interest in releasing another solo album.
“The track is about the battle to claim meaning, the erasing of context within debate, the overriding sense of factional conflict driven by digital platforms leading to a perpetual state of culture war,” according to a press release regarding the song “Orwellian.” “As with many songs on the record, it was written on the piano by James Dean Bradfield. Musically, it echoes ABBA, the majesty of Alan Rankine’s playing in the Associates and Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life” with a Lindsey Buckingham guitar solo. It felt like the perfect sonic and lyrical introduction to The Ultra Vivid Lament.”
Ronnie Wood – Mr. Luck – A Tribute to Jimmy Reed: Live at the Royal Albert Hall
Ronnie Wood, the longtime member of The Rolling Stones and a member of Faces and Jeff Beck Group, has released a new live album dedicated to Jimmy Reed. The 18-track album features The Ronnie Wood Band, including Mick Taylor, with several special guests such as Bobby Womack, Mick Hucknall, and Paul Weller. Jimmy Reed was a Mississippi electric blues pioneer.
“Jimmy Reed was one of the premier influences on the Rolling Stones and all the bands that love American blues from that era until the present day,” Woods said. “It is my honor to have the opportunity to celebrate his life and legacy with this tribute.”
What You Missed August 27
Last week, there weren’t enough new releases to write an entire story, but there are a few releases that you’ve missed.
Big Red Machine – How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?
Big Red Machine, the indie collaboration of Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon, has shared their second studio album, How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? via 37D03D and Jagjaguwar. The album features a plethora of featured artists, including Anaïs Mitchell, Taylor Swift, Fleet Foxes, Ilsey, Naeem, Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan, Shara Nova, La Force, Ben Howard, and This Is the Kit. The album itself contains several themes such as love, loss, grief, nostalgia, reconciliation, and the odyssey of life.
“This is all music I initially generated and feel emotionally connected to, but it has been very interesting to hear how different people relate to it and how different voices collide with it,” said Dessner. “That’s what makes it special. With everyone that’s on this record, there’s an openness, a creative generosity, and an emotional quality that connects it all together.”
Toad the Wet Sprocket – Starting Now
Toad the Wet Sprocket, the alternative rock band from 1986, has released their seventh studio album, Starting Now. This is the band’s first album since their 2013 New Constellation. Before that, the band broke up for about a decade before reuniting in 2009. This new album is the first with Josh Daubin on drums, who replaced Randy Guss after leaving in 2020. The band is expected to go on a tour once it is safe to do so. They will appear at Hootiefest in Cancun, where Hootie and the Blowfish will headline for three nights.
“Sometime around the end of 2019, it became clear that it was time for a new Toad record. We’d taken a long break from recording together and it felt like we had the right songs and the right energy again.” says lead vocalist, Glen Phillips. “If there’s a theme to these songs, it’s hope. We’ve all been through a crazy couple of years and I wanted to take a deeper look at what it’s like to be thrown far off-center and find a new way of living on the other side. How do we not just survive but actually ground ourselves in such unusual times?”