New Music Friday: 8 releases worth your attention for the long weekend (20 May 2023)

There’s something special about the Friday of the May long weekend. It’s when we collectively contemplated the promise of another Canadian summer and all the wonderful things that can potentially happen over these next precious few months. That calls for some fresh music, obviously. Here are some suggestions from this week’s new release schedule.


1. Arkells, Laundry Pile (Universal)

Every year, Arkells come up with something to soundtrack the summer. A new album–also entitled Laundry Pile–is due September 21. When this song is played live this summer, expect to see lots of lighters and cellphones held aloft.

2. Disturbed, Unstoppable (Warner Music Canada)

Earlier this year, David Draiman and crew had a rock hit with Bad Men from their 2022 album, Divisive. Wanna bet this follow-up single will be used in sports broadcasts all summer?

3. Paul Langlois Band, It Matters to Me (Cadence Music)

When The Tragically Hip guitarist was asked to play at the closing ceremonies for the Canada Summer Games last year in Niagara, it got him excited about songwriting and performing again, The result is this album entitled Guess What? Expect it on July 14th.

4. Blur, The Narcissist (Parlophone)

If you’re counting, it’s been eight years since the last full-length from Blur. The Ballad of Darren (sorry, no idea–yet) will be here on July 21. Damon Albarn had this to say: “This is an aftershock record, reflection and comment on where we find ourselves now.”


1. Dave Matthews Band, Walk Around the Moon (Bama Rags Recordings/RCA)

It’s jam band season, so that means a new Dave Matthews record. This is the 10th studio album of Dave’s career and is fronted by this single which will no doubt be performed in many extended versions at every stop on his tour this summer.

2. Ghost, PHANTOMINE EP (Loma Vista Recordings/Concord)

Sweden’s Ghost has a thing for covers. In the past, they’ve released their interpretations of songs from everyone from ABBA (I’m a Marionette) to The Beatles (Here Comes the Sun) to Metallica (Enter Sandman). This new EP features some interesting cover versions (Television and See No Evil, Genesis’ Jesus He Knows Me, The Stranglers’ Hanging Around, and We Don’t Need Another Hero by Tina Turner), which should keep their ghoul fans occupied until the next album. The official single is this Maiden cover.

3. Def Leppard, Drastic Symphonies (Mercury)

Back in the late 60s and early 70s, it was a thing for a rock band to re-record some of their music with a symphony orchestra of some kind (cf. Procol Harum’s 1971 hit Conquistador with the Edmonton Symphony). Def Leppard is resurrecting that approach with this “deconstructed and reimagined” collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with new guitar and vocal parts.

4. Paul Simon, Seven Psalms (Legacy Recordings)

It’s been seven years since the last Simon record. His return (his 15th album) involves a 33-minute seven-movement piece that we’re supposed to listen to in a single sitting in order to fully its meditative, dream-like qualities. Maybe the best way to introduce things is with this official trailer.

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