New Music Preview: Jack White, The Breeders, and Seun Kuti

jack-white
The Washington Post/Getty Images
The Washington Post/Getty Images

March has plenty of new album releases in store, there are three particular records coming out this month that we can’t wait to hear.

The Breeders – All Nerve

Author Neil Gaiman describes The Breeders’ sound as “melodic and discordant all at the same time, women’s voices singing from the darkness … fighting to feel emotions, to feel something.” Then-Pixies bassist Kim Deal formed the group as a side project with Tanya Donnelly of Throwing Muses in 1989 and released a debut album in 1990.  The Breeders would become Deal’s primary band following the Pixies’ breakup in 1992, and a year later (with a new lineup), the group would release Last Splash, an album that helped to define the sound of alternative rock. Deal recorded two further albums under The Breeders moniker, but neither maintained Last Splash‘s definitive lineup.

The Last Splash group reunited in 2013 for LSXX, the album’s 20th anniversary reissue. The quartet has remained intact since the reunion. Early singles from All Nerve starting appearing in October 2017, with “Wait in the Car” released as part of series of 7-inch releases from 4AD.

Not only is All Nerve the Breeders’ first studio album since 2008’s Mountain Battles, it also reunites the same quartet that played on 1993’s acclaimed Last Splash. Indie rock phenom Courtney Barnett sings background vocals on “Howl at the Summit.”

All Nerve is available now via 4AD.

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 – Black Times

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Seun Kuti is the youngest son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. Following Fela’s death, then-14 year-old Seun began leading the his father’s dance orchestra, Egypt 80, in 1997 and has continued to do so for the past two decades.

In that time, the younger Kuti has honed the group’s sound while continuing to emphasize the political side of the music. On the title track of Black Times, lyrics such as “Understand your history / rise to be free” shine a forensics-style black light on current issues, intensified by the axe-work of Carlos Santana.

In a press statement, Kuti described the album as a “true reflection of my political and social beliefs … It is an album for anybody who believes in change and understands the duty we have to rise up and come together. The elites always try to divide the working class and the poor people of the world. The same oppression felt by workers in Flint, Michigan, is felt by workers in Lagos and Johannesburg.”

Black Times is available now via Strut Records.

Jack White – Boarding House Reach

Since his time as one half of The White Stripes, Jack White has continues to create well-regarded music. Boarding House Reach marks the Detroit-born, Nashville-based artist’s third solo album and his first release since The Dead Weather’s 2015 album, Dodge and Burn. Discussing the forthcoming album with Rolling Stone, White described his goal: “I wanted to take punk, hip-hop, and rock and roll, and funnel it all into a 2018 time capsule.”

The first sounds from the album, a four-minute piece titled “Servings and Portions from my Boarding House Reach,” provide some context. Less a single than a collage of music from the forthcoming record , “Servings and Portions” runs the gamut. From the sounds of a discordant piano to a brief interlude featuring White rapping, the release moves through different flavors at warp speed.

If the remaining songs are any indication, White has succeeded in his goal. “Respect Commander” features the anxious rhythm of a drum machine mixed with a variety of synthesizers. “Corporation” is closer to the bluesy, distorted, guitar-led tracks White is known for, but rather than the straightforward garage rock of The White Stripes, the track has a funk-influenced groove and features a suite of instruments and techniques.

Boarding House Reach arrives Friday, March 23 via White’s Third Man Records.

Did you miss out on last month’s releases? Check ’em out here.