Music News: Durand Jones, Weezer, and more new music

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Durand Jones and the Indications live at the PledgeHouse SXSW
Durand Jones and the Indications live at the PledgeHouse SXSW (MPR Photo | Nate Ryan)
Durand Jones, Weezer, and more new music
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Above, listen to an episode of The Current's daily Music News podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. You can also sign up for a daily Music News e-mail and join our Facebook group.

New releases this week include albums from the Japanese House, Weezer, Durand Jones, Hozier, Royal Trux, and the Cactus Blossoms. Plus, a new single from Carly Rae Jepsen!

The Japanese House: Good at Falling

The Japanese House is not Japanese, nor a house. It's an English singer-songwriter named Amber Bain. You might know her if you're a fan of the 1975, since she's opened for them, she's on their label, and members of the band appear on her debut LP Good at Falling. The album was recorded in part at Justin Vernon's April Base studio in Wisconsin, where Bain even took the opportunity to write some lyrics in Bon Iver's bathtub. Her music does feel like a bath, although not always a warm one, although the album's a little more upbeat than the four EPs that have already earned the Japanese House an enthusiastic following. Tracks like "Maybe You're the Reason" combine a Julien-Baker-like emotional intimacy with more than a little of that 1975 pop sheen. (Jay)

Hozier: Wasteland, Baby!

Irish singer-songwriter Hozier broke onto the scene with his powerhouse hit "Take Me To Church" in 2013. His songwriting style is informed by a love of American soul — James Brown, Nina Simone, and Billie Holiday — all artists who he name-drops in his ode to protest music, "Nina Cried Power," on his second album, Wasteland, Baby! Explaining his new album to Entertainment Weekly, Hozier said, "I'm trying to look at the world through the lens of personal interaction. To me, the personal and the political are one and the same. There may be a looming sense of doom and gloom in the songs, but, ultimately, I wanted to credit the warm center of people that's still there." Listen to him balance warmth and darkness in "Almost (Sweet Music)." (Jade)

Durand Jones and the Indications: American Love Call

It's almost time for SXSW 2019, but way back in 2018, Durand Jones and the Indications took Austin by storm. Jones is one of a rising generation of throwback soul stars, and his brand of soul is the glowing, sustaining '70s style of Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye. Their sense of authenticity is no accident: they're scholars of the form, but the Louisiana-born Durand Jones brings his own voice to songs like topical track "Morning in America" and this one, "Long Way Home." Wherever you call home, this tasty groove will take you there. (Jay)

The Cactus Blossoms: Easy Way

The Cactus Blossoms, a duo of Minnesota brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey, have leaned into their updated Everly Brothers sound on their second album, Easy Way. Mostly writing on the road touring with Lucius, Kacey Musgraves, and Nick Lowe, they pair also opened up to Dan Auerbach, of Black Keys fame, for inspiration; his name appears as a co-writer on two of the album tracks. This is an album focusing on love and joy. As the band says, "singing about love was more attractive than singing about divisive subjects." Let their sweet harmonies spread love your way in songs like "Desperado." (Jade)

Royal Trux: White Stuff

When Royal Trux signed a million-dollar record deal in 1991, they were hyped as the next Nirvana. That didn't happen, but they became a cult sensation with eccentric but melodic songs like "Ray O Vac" and "I'm Ready." Think of the Velvet Underground if they'd had Sonic Youth as an influence, and you'll more or less be there — except the only way Lou Reed could howl like Neil Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema would be if you woke him up at six a.m. Their sludgy stomp is very much intact on White Stuff, their first album in almost 20 years. If you have any 2x4s you need cut, get 'em out for these buzzsaw guitars on the title track. (Jay)

Weezer: Weezer (the Black Album)

Memes, viral sensations, and spreadsheets. The things that inspire Weezer in 2019 are a far cry from the place they started in 1992. The cut and paste structure that builds the songs on the long-teased Black Album (originally announced three years ago as a follow up to the White Album), may create dissonance and aggravate early Weezer fans, but that doesn't take away the fact that they know how to cultivate a perfectly catchy pop-punk song. TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek, in the producer seat, adds a glossy shine. One of the album standouts is "Living in L.A." (Jade)

Carly Rae Jepsen: "Now That I Found You" and "No Drug Like Me"

Carly Rae Jepsen just released not one, but two new singles — and her fans are outraged. Not because the music isn't good, but because the songs arrived on Wednesday, when all the media were busy watching Michael Cohen's testimony and the North Korea summit. If it hadn't been for those global events, a double drop from Carly Rae would certainly be front-page headline news around the world. "Now That I Found You" and "No Drug Like Me" are "pop perfection and possible early contenders for song of the summer," writes BuzzFeed, "February be damned." The Canadian indie-pop star still hasn't confirmed a new album, so these might need to sustain us for a while. (Jay)

Audio sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
The Japanese House: "Maybe You're The Reason"
Hozier: "Almost (Sweet Song)"
Durand Jones Interview clip
Durand Jones and the Indications: "Long Way Home"
Weezer: "Living in L.A."
Royal Trux: "White Stuff"
The Cactus Blossoms: "Desperado" (Recorded live at The Current)
Carly Rae Jepsen: "Now That I Found You"

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