5 songs you must hear this week: 16 January 2023

Ugh. Mid-January is rough. While the holiday hangover slowly abates, it’s replaced by the sober realization that we still have about ten weeks of rough winter weather ahead of us. On the positive side, this gives us time to hunker down with some new and interesting music.

1. Public Image Ltd., Hawaii
Single (Cargo UK Distribution)
Recommended If You Like: Eurovision madness

Johnny Lydon (né Mr. Rotten of the Sex Pistols) has always been proud of his Irish ancestry. That’s why he’s thrown this new PiL song at a competition to see which act will represent the country at the 2023 Eurovision Awards. The song is awfully melodic for a Lydon song, but it is a tribute to Nora, his wife of more than forty years, and her struggles with Alzheimer’s.

Listen on Spotify.

2. Brandon Wolfe Scott, In Stride
Slow Transmission EP (Dine Alone)
RIYL: Yukon Blonde, for one

Any other week and we’d be talking about Brandon and his band Yukon Blonde. This time, though, it’s about the singer’s forthcoming solo record (March 23) that was born out of much anxiety and insomnia. If you’ve ever laid awake on a Sunday night worrying about what kind of madness the universe was going to throw at you for starting first thing Monday, then this is for you. Hey, I can dig it.


3. F-ed Up, I Think I May Be Weird
One Day (Merge)
RIYL: The screamy stuff

No concept albums and no 12-hour gigs this time. Instead, Toronto’s F-ed Up offers the shortest album of their six studio records. In fact, the title of the album comes from an attempt to get everything recorded in just one day. And that’s precisely what happened—sort of. It took three eight-hour sessions, so close enough. The result is something that sounds pretty frantic and of the moment. It’s ten songs of pushing through with no second-guessing.


5. The Bad Ends, Mile Marker 29
The Power and the Glory (New West Records)
RIYL: REM fans, obviously

When Bill Berry left REM more than a quarter-century ago, fans were told that he was retiring from music to spend the rest of his days as a hay farmer in Georgia. He’d even sold off his drums. However, Berry is back with a new band called The Bad Ends featuring four friends, a couple of whom also live in the Athens area. Their debut album will be available Friday.


The New Pornographers, Really Really Light
Continue as a Guest (Merge Records)
RIYL: Early 00’s indie

After more than two decades of recordings and touring, Vancouver’s New Pornographers can rightly be called elders of 00’s indie-rock. Sidelined by the pandemic, bandleader AC Newman spent a couple of years considering things like loneliness, isolation, and the annoyances of having to live online. He’d never been one to record alone at home and collaborate by sending files to bandmates, but it was time to learn. The band’s ninth album will be available March 31.


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