I don't know if you realize this or not, but those of us in Colorado sit on the cusp of what is essentially a weeks-long musical holiday. (Sorry, you probably still have to go to work.) Yes, we approach a September and an October that are unprecedented in terms of what's contained in the new release and concert calendars. No, I didn't actually check for precedents, but the case will be made shortly.
Which brings us to the collection of songs that make up this month's Waking Life playlist, supersized for the occasion. Plenty of highlights to be had here, but we can start with a few cuts from records being released between now and October.
As a 41-year-old who endeavors to feel brand new as often as possible, it only makes sense that I'm beyond excited about Neil Young's brand new 41-year-old record. "Hitchhiker" (out Sept. 8) is a simply-arranged collection of songs that Young recorded in one sitting in August 1976 with collaborator David Briggs. There are two previously unheard songs included, but the real gold as far as I'm concerned is material that would see the light of day in different forms later on: Sparse takes on long-loved classics like "Pocahontas," "Powderfinger" and "Campaigner," among others. The title track eventually saw release in longer, noisier form on 2010's "Le Noise," but the original version included here reveals more intimate depths.
Circle Sept. 8 on the calendar, because Young's time capsule shares the release day with new records from several artists included below, including Alvvays, Deerhoof (featuring guest spots from Juana Molina, Wye Oak's Jen Wasner, and Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier), The National and The Dream Syndicate, which releases its first record in 29 years.
Another record out that day is the latest from Tony Allen, the 77-year-old drummer who got his start in Fela Kuti's band before releasing several of his own records. More recent years have seen him in collaboration as a part of supergroups The Good, The Bad, and The Queen and Rocket Juice And The Moon, but "The Source" marks his full-length debut for the esteemed Blue Note label and a more traditional jazz sound.
Did I mention that we're barely scratching the surface here? Also included in this month's playlist are standout early cuts from September releases like Ariel Pink, The Clientele, Hiss Golden Messenger, Alex Cameron, The Horrors, Phoebe Bridgers and Luna, who covers The Cure's classic "Fire in Cairo" here from the upcoming covers record "A Sentimental Education."
Plenty of live previews in the mix, too: JD McPherson (Gothic, Sept. 30), The War On Drugs (Ogden, Oct. 14-15), Ariel Pink (Bluebird, Oct. 24), and Alvvays (Bluebird, Oct. 31). Meanwhile, on the local front, don't miss new cuts from The Guestlist, Denver hip-hop mainstay Babah Fly, and (at long last) The Still Tide, whose "Run Out" EP I've loved for months and is finally available to stream. Huzzah!
Luckily, the month is long -- and don't forget, most of it is still summer. Let's behave accordingly!