New Music Preview: Mavis Staples, Morrissey, and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

Morrissey Getty Images
Xavi Torrent/Getty Images
Welcome to the Manual’s new monthly album preview column. Below you’ll find the three records releasing in November that we can’t wait to hear!

Mavis Staples – If All I Was Was Black

“We’re not loving one another the way we should,” notes Mavis Staples in a press release for the forthcoming If All I Was Was Black, written and produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco fame. She adds, “Some people are saying we need to make the world great again, but we never lost our greatness. We just strayed into division.”

Early single “Little Bit,” is a “a cautionary anthem of all the ways in which those regarded as suspicious have to weigh their actions just to survive day to day.” The song’s jaunty bassline contrasts with its chorus: “A little bit too high / a little bit too low / a little bit out of line / and my baby won’t make it home.” But the coda is optimistic: Staples sings, “You feel surrounded / Maybe you’re confused / Maybe you’re confounded / What is there to do? / A little bit from you / A little bit from me / Simple as it gets / We set each other free.” (Available November 17 via ANTI-)

Morrissey – Low in High School

Fall 2017 has been a treat for fans of The Smiths. October saw the release of a highly acclaimed deluxe remaster of the band’s 1986 classic, The Queen is Dead, and Morrissey’s latest solo outing, titled Low in High School, arrives in mid-November.

Two early singles have come out since the album’s August announcement. “Spent the Day in Bed” is a synth-infused pop anthem that doubles as a protest against the evils of television news. The chorus repeats, “Stop watching the news! / Because the news contrives to frighten you / To make you feel small and alone /To make you feel that your mind isn’t your own.” (Available November 17 via BMG)

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Soul of a Woman

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings’ new album, Soul of a Woman, arrives a year — nearly to the day — after the beloved soul singer’s death from pancreatic cancer. Recorded throughout the year before Jones’ death, the record finds her voice at full power.

“Matter of Time,” an early single released in October, is an uplifting gem. The song captures the energy of the band’s on-stage energy, which makes sense given Dap-Kings bassist Bosco Mann’s comment in a press release: “The band was really cresting on stage in months before Sharon passed. As a show band, I don’t think any band out there could have competed with us at that level. We hit the studio hot off the road and you could feel it in there.” (Available November 17 via Daptone Records)

Feature image courtesy of Xavi Torrent/Getty Images.

Writer’s note: In addition to contributing to The Manual, I work at a music promotion company, Distiller Promo, that is currently promoting Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings’ Soul of a Woman.

Fashion & Style

Shark Tank Style: The Winning Clothes You’ll Actually Want to Wear

These are the few fashion brands that have swum with the sharks and lived to tell the tale.
Culture

19 Classic Books Every Man Should Read (or Re-Read) in 2019

Make 2019 one for the books. Here's your reading list for the rest of the year.
Living

Bachelor Pad Tech: 11 Products you Need for a Smart Home

From robot vacuums to AI toilets and more, this round-up is guaranteed to take your pad well into the 22nd century.
Travel

The Best Road Trip Songs: Hit Play Then Hit the Gas

Ah, the open road! It beckons us to cast aside responsibility, embrace the unknown, jump in the car, and just go. Take this mixtape with you.
Music

The Best Funk Songs for Getting Down

From roller rinks to velvet lounges, funk is the grout between the tiles of life that keeps our bathtub all sparkly, scrubba-dub-dub fun.
Music

New Music Preview: Blood Orange, Ohmme, and Wild Nothing

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

Ever Heard of a Cigar Box Guitar? This Book Teaches You How to Build One.

Known as the "poor man's guitar," these DIY instruments are low on cost but big on sound, according to author and musician Shane Speal.
Music

New Music Preview: Bob Moses, The Chills, and Cypress Hill

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

Workout Playlist: The Best Songs for Getting Pumped About Pumping Iron

Our workout playlist on Spotify has been audio-engineered to get you started on — and help you stick to — your new fitness routine.
Music

The Perfect Party Playlist for When It’s Time to Dim the Lights

Once everyone's eaten and the booze-infused blood of your crowd starts pumping, it's time to dim those lights way down and put on some good tunes.
Fashion & Style

Casio Announces New G-Shock X Gorillaz Watch Collection

In honor of Casio G-Shock's 35th anniversary, the timepiece specialists have released a tantalizing collaboration with one of the world’s most successful virtual acts.
Culture

18 Vinyl Albums Every Man Should Own

Your vinyl selection may vary depending on what kind of man you are, but there are some works of art that deserve to be in everyone's collection.
Music

A Christmas Music Playlist that Doesn’t Suck (Finally)

Let's face it: A lot of holiday music is insufferable. So, we curated an up-to-date playlist of Christmas and wintertime tunes that are actually great.
Culture

A New Year’s Eve Party Playlist to Ring in 2019

This Spotify playlist has been marinating in some extra zesty subsonic sauce to help you cook up a very tasty pregame or a full-blown party.