Music News: Bruce Springsteen announces new album, 'Western Stars'

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Bruce Springsteen's 'Western Stars' album cover.
Bruce Springsteen's 'Western Stars' album cover. (Columbia Records)
Bruce Springsteen announces new album, 'Western Stars'
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Look who's a Man of the Woods now. Bruce Springsteen has announced his 19th studio album, his first since 2014's High Hopes. Western Stars will be released on June 14, with a first single, "Hello Sunshine," expected on Thursday at midnight EDT.

It's an album Springsteen has been talking about for years, influenced by the classic California rock sound of the '70s. In a statement, the Boss said, "This record is a return to my solo recordings, featuring character-driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements. It's a jewel box of a record."

The album cover features an image of a running horse, and the 20-plus musicians on the album include keyboardist David Sancious, a member of the vintage E Street Band lineup in the '70s. Is Lil Nas X on there somewhere? We can only hope. (NPR)

More album news: the Black Keys have officially announced their new LP. The simply titled Let's Rock comes out June 28, and the duo have treated us to a new stomper as another tease, following the previously released "Lo/Hi." Here's "Eagle Birds." (Rolling Stone)

This week also saw a very cool posthumous album announcement from the Prince estate. Originals is a collection of 15 demo recordings of songs made famous by other artists — like "Manic Monday" (the Bangles), "The Glamorous Life" (Sheila E), and "Jungle Love" (the Time). 14 of the tracks have never before been released, the exception being Prince's version of "Nothing Compares 2 U," which came out a year ago as a standalone single.

Originals will premiere on June 7 as a Tidal exclusive before getting a physical release a couple of weeks later. Jay-Z, who helped curate the collection, cut this deal with the estate as part of their peacemaking last year. (The Current) (Jay)

This week's new releases

The Cranberries, In the End

On January 15, 2018 news broke of the death of one of the most iconic voices of the '90s. The powerhouse vocals of Dolores O'Riordan pushed Cranberries songs like "Zombie" and "Linger" to the top of the charts and her particular vocal delivery was mimicked by teenagers everywhere as they sang along. The news of O'Riordan's death was doubly tragic when followed by stories that she had been busy in the studio working on new music with the Cranberries. The band decided to move forward with the album release as a way to honor O'Riordan. The band's eighth and final album, In The End, seems like a fitting farewell with songs like "All Over Now." (Jade)

Marina, Love + Fear

She used to be known as Marina and the Diamonds, but that was kind of confusing since it wasn't like "the News" or "the Heartbreakers" where there was actually a was always just Marina, and now that's what she goes by.

The Welsh singer-songwriter born Marina Lambrini Diamandis has never been as huge in the U.S. as she is in the U.K., but she nonetheless has a large American following of fans who love her soaring, tightly crafted songs with sharp, empowering lyrics. Take the epic sweep of Florence + The Machine, the pop pizzazz of Carly Rae Jepsen, and the attitude of Lily Allen, and you'll kind of get the idea.

Although Marina's full album Love + Fear is finally out on Friday, it's actually split into two halves, and the first half — Love — was released as an EP earlier this month. Here's some good advice from that set: "Enjoy Your Life." (Jay)

Craig Finn, I Need a New War

When I picture Craig Finn, the frontman for the Hold Steady and Lifter Puller, I see him center stage in his ball cap, arms open wide as if waiting for a running hug. He's talk-singing his way through some story about partying in his youth. On his third solo record, I Need A New War (technically wrapping up a trilogy that started with 2015's Faith In The Future and continued with 2017's We All Want the Same Things), Finn is telling even more intricate and smaller stories. These are character studies from the master of digging into the details. Hang out with the downtrodden in songs like "Blankets." (Jade)

Guided By Voices, Warp and Woof

There are a lot of prolific artists — Prince, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Jay-Z — but no widely-known artist has quite matched the machine-gun pace of Robert Pollard. His band Guided By Voices have just dropped their 27th studio album, and that's on top of dozens of solo releases. All in all, Pollard's written over 1,600 songs — and all by the young age of 61.

How does he do it? Well, he keeps things pretty concise. Warp and Woof has 24 songs, and yet it clocks in at 37 minutes. The 90-second single "Angelic Weirdness" finds a laconic but unsettling vibe, with lyrics that are completely incomprehensible. It might remind you of an R.E.M. demo, except this ain't a demo, it's the finished track, it's all you're going to get, Bob Pollard probably just finished another album while I was talking. (Jay)

FKA twigs, "Cellophane"

There are certain artists who evoke emotion from a fluttery breath. They can squeeze a horror movie worth of tension in a tentatively held note. Singers who don't fear the dramatic: Kate Bush, Björk, Tori Amos, and FKA twigs. If you aren't familiar with the British singer FKA twigs, she's been making a name for herself as a multi-disciplinary artist. She's a talented dancer, filmmaker, and visual artist. Her empathetic voice quivers on her new single, "Cellophane," a vulnerable song about not being enough for someone you care for. (Jade)

Audio sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
The Black Keys: "Eagle Birds"
Prince: "Nothing Compares 2 U"
The Cranberries: "All Over Now"
Marina: "Enjoy Your Life"
Craig Finn: "Blankets"
Guided By Voices: "Angelic Weirdness"
FKA Twigs: "Cellophane"

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