These are my jams: 4 new releases in 2016

Heron Oblivion
Heron Oblivion

It’s been a while since I wrote anything about music that didn’t involve dead musicians, so I thought I’d highlight some new releases that have been burning a hole in my earbuds.

New Iggy

Ypsilanti’s favorite son is hinting that this might be his farewell from recording and performing music. If so, it’s a hell of a swan song.

The story goes that Iggy, now a Miami beach bum in his late 60s, used his flip phone to text Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Desert Sessions), suggesting that they work together:

The text led to a phone conversation, and then a FedEx package — Mr. Pop called it a “dossier” — he sent to Mr. Homme. It held quotations from Walt Whitman, poems or potential lyrics by Mr. Pop and other writings including, because Mr. Homme had been curious, terse but detailed notes about Mr. Pop’s Berlin days and the making of the two albums with Mr. Bowie. “I’ve got a good memory,” Mr. Pop said. Reflecting on his partnership with Mr. Bowie, who died earlier this month at age 69, Mr. Pop was appreciative: “He resurrected me,” he said. For Mr. Homme, it was an intimidating trove; he didn’t contact Mr. Pop for three months, then explained that he had been working on music and sent some poems and songs in progress. They agreed to get started.

The album, “Post Pop Depression,” has Homme’s fingerprints all over it, with his guitar hooks and instrumentation. But “Mr. Pop” brings his wavering baritone voice, which has aged incredibly, and enough of his swaggering persona (which has long since taken to wearing suits), to lyrics contemplating his own legacy in a world he no longer seems to recognize. It’s a hell of a pairing.

Heron Oblivion

I came to this band because of Meg Baird, the trippy folk chanteuse whose album “Don’t Weigh Down the Light” was one of my favorites of 2015. The promise of noisy psych-space rock did the rest, and I wasn’t disappointed.

You can read about the rest of the band’s pedigree here. I hear echoes of psychedelia ranging from late-’60s Jefferson Airplane through “Bad Moon Rising”-era Sonic Youth and beyond, all anchored by Baird’s vocal presence. Performing June 2 at the UFO Factory in Detroit.

The Julie Ruin

The first track released from their second album “Hit Reset,” due July 8, hits the ground running, a propulsive pop-punk-dance blast from the five-piece band led by Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre).


Another example of a collaboration spawned by a digital communication, this is from an album by Neko Case, K.D. Lang and Laura Veirs, due out later this spring.

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