In the right place

Jonathan Edwards brings new album to Tupelo

Like many in his profession, Jonathan Edwards spent the past several months working on new music, due the a pandemic-induced break from live performing. The result is the wonderful Right Where I Am. His first studio album since 2015, it’s at turns reflective, introspective and celebratory, the latter best represented by “50 Years,” a thank-you note to fans written for a 2017 anniversary show.

“I figured going in I better write a song for this event,” Edwards said in a recent phone interview, “because it was turning out to be a big one. So I did, and the first time I played it was that night at the party.”

He was joined by Livingston Taylor and Jon Pousette-Dart, two friends from his early days on the New England music scene.

The party-hearty groover “Drop and Roll” is one of two co-writes on the LP with Edwards’ son-in-law Jerome Degey. Its sentiments will be familiar to anyone who sang along to “Shanty” from his debut album, when Edwards exhorted listeners to “put a good buzz on.”

This time, he sings “roll over and burn one down” on a tune written in the middle of the night. “It’s kind of a stream-of-consciousness,” he said. “I’m very proud of that song in that it’s kind of subtle but… ‘roll me up a fatty, Bob Marley be proud.’ You know, come on!”

The title track is a statement of purpose. “I’ve got a lot of songs within me still, stories left to tell,” he sings.

“It’s part of my DNA. I’ve always been a creative sort,” he said, quoting another line from the song. “I’ve always built stuff out of other stuff. I went to art school and four years of college and eventually the guitar and rock ’n’ roll took over. Since then, I have many, many outlets for my creativity, and it’s hard to focus often, but I think the introspection that we had during lockdown was really conducive to more creativity, and appreciation for being able to express oneself.” He also states boldly in the song, “I’m not afraid to take a stand and bleed upon the stage … pay the price to tell the truth.”

“Perhaps [that image is] maybe a little too colorful, but that’s what it feels like,” Edwards said, adding that as he approaches his 75th year, “my challenge now is mostly physical.”

He co-produced the new record with longtime friend and accompanist Don Campbell, with help from Todd Hutchinson at his Acadia Recording studio in Portland, Maine.

“I loved it there. … It looks like a yard sale, with all these vintage amps and guitars everywhere … a very creative place,” Edwards said, and it made the work easier. “It’s a corny thing to say, but we followed the songs where they led us, and I’m really, really happy with that destination.”

He’s also pleased with the positive response Right Where I Am is receiving.

“It’s great, because you never know,” he said. “You put [these songs] out there as children, and you never know how they’re going to be accepted by society,” he said.

Edwards was scheduled to return to the stage on his birthday, July 28, at Jonathan’s in Ogunquit, Maine. Two nights later, he’ll play one of the final shows at Tupelo Drive-In, as the venue prepares to return indoors in mid-August.

“I miss the crowd for sure, and I miss the energy that only they can provide,” he said. “I can sit around and play with my friends, which is also really nice, but boy, getting out in front of a crowd….”

He nods to the al fresco event in Derry.

“In this case, and it’s really apt, that’s where the rubber meets the parking lot,” he said.

Jonathan Edwards
Friday, July 30, 6 p.m.
Where: Tupelo Drive-In, 10 A St., Derry
Tickets: $22 per person, $75 per car at

Featured photo: Alli Beaudry. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 21/07/29

Local music news & events

Maine man: His finger on the pulse of New England’s zeitgeist, comedian Bob Marley points out obvious truths, like that the correct name for grandparents here is Grammy and Grampy, Meme and Pepe for French Canadian families, and that children shouldn’t be allowed to choose something like “Poopy” because they can’t pronounce the correct one. Thursday, July 29, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, July 30, and Saturday, July 31, 6 and 8:30 p.m.; Sunday, Aug 1, 5 and 7:30 p.m., Colonial Theatre, 609 Main St., Laconia, $36.50 at

Rock show: A double shot of regional talent, prog rockers Mindset X play downtown with support from Blindspot. For the latter, it’s their first time in front of an audience in over a year; they’ll also open for Alanis Morrisette and Garbage on Meadowbrook’s side stage in early September. Mindset X is working on a follow-up to their 2015 LP Oceans, and the preview tracks on the band’s Facebook page are very promising. Saturday, July 31, 9 p.m., Shaskeen Pub, 909 Elm St., Manchester, tickets $10 at the door; 21+.

Release party: With a name reflecting a balance between hippie rock and SoCal reggae, Slack Tide is a disciplined jam band that includes three Berklee grads. They’ll celebrate their first studio effort, Sea Rat Red, at an area microbrewery that regularly welcomes them. Over the summer the Seacoast-based group has been working the new album throughout the region, with a few more shows slated. Saturday, July 31, 6:30 p.m., Pipe Dream Brewing, 49 Harvey Road, Londonderry,

Summer sound: With a set list drawing from a range of sources, Woodland Protocol is always a reliable party-starting band, whether it’s a singalong to “Zombie” or a call to dance on Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” Usually, they’re playing in places with age restrictions, but an upcoming Henniker appearance is family-friendly, so grab the lawn chairs and hope for dry skies. Tuesday, Aug. 3, 6:30 p.m., Community Park, 18 Depot Hill Road, Henniker,

At the Sofaplex 21/07/29

Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It (PG-13)

National treasure Rita Moreno tells the story of her life and her career in this charming documentary.

This movie is full of Latino performers who talk about how Rita was their role model, particularly for actresses like Eva Longoria, Karen Olivo and Justina Machado (who costarred with Rita on the recent remake of the series One Day at a Time).Rita talks about what the lack of diverse parts for Latina actors meant for her and how she was able to slowly break free of a career of playing “spicy” temptresses (her commentary on things like the direction to be more “spicy” is a delight). She also discusses the added yuckiness of gender dynamics in Hollywood, the many times she felt she had to just grin and bear it to keep working. Despite all this struggle, Moreno also expresses her joy with her career, how much she loves performing and how she’s been able to wrestle with personal demons to be in what appears to be a very good place, with a supporting role in the upcoming remake of West Side Story (the 1961 movie being where she earned that O in her EGOT).

At 89 (90 later this year), she seems to be having an absolute blast, whether she’s chatting up Jimmy Kimmel or hanging out backstage at One Day at a Time or calling BS on some aspect of the politics of the movie’s present (2018, as far as I can tell). This 90-minute movie is a warm, energetic visit with your funny, sarcastic aunt. A Available for rent or purchase and coming to PBS at some point in the future. The first three seasons of One Day at a Time are available on Netflix. Some of the fourth season episodes are available on Paramount+ and one more is available on Hulu. The animated “The Politics Episode” from Season 4 doesn’t seem to be available anywhere? But the 1961 West Side Story is available for rent or purchase, as is 1952’s Singin’ in the Rain, another musical featuring Moreno.

No Sudden Move (R)

Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro.

A simple job that will earn everyone a good chunk of cash for a few hours of work goes all kinds of wrong in this new cops and crooks movie set in the 1950s from director Steven Soderbergh.

Curt Goynes (Cheadle) doesn’t trust the mysterious Mr. Jones (Brendan Fraser) who hires him or the two men, Ron Russo (Del Toro) and Charley (Kieran Culkin), who join him on what he’s told will be three hours of work earning him $6,000. That job: babysit the family of Matt Wertz (David Harbour), a man who has access to an important document. If he’ll go to his office and take the document out of his boss’s safe, his wife Mary (Amy Seimetz) and his children Matthew (Noah Jupe) and Peggy (Lucy Holt) will be fine — at least, so the men who hold them at gunpoint say. The men wear masks and assure the Wertz family, as they themselves have been told, that nobody will get hurt.

Of course, even a “simple” job can go awry, with all sorts of layers and unseen alliances. The movie has some nice small roles for the likes of Ray Liotta, Matt Damon and Jon Hamm. This isn’t the bouncy fun of the Ocean’s movies but it is a very Soderberghian cool crisp cocktail of capering and doublecross with just a dash of dry humor. B+ Available on HBO Max.


Old (PG-13)

A family has a pretty terrible day at the beach in Old, the latest, I don’t know, not horror really, thriller or something, from M. Night Shyamalan.

Married couple Guy (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Prisca (Vicky Krieps) were probably always going to have a lousy holiday at some resort on an unnamed island. Sure, their kids, 11-year-old Maddox (Alexa Swinton) and 6-year-old Trent (Nolan River), seemed pretty excited about a resort with a candy buffet bar and a beach, but Guy and Prisca both seem to be barely keeping a lid on some misery, with a medical thing, a near-future separation and the concept of a “last family holiday” mentioned. Perhaps this is why Prisca jumped at the suggestion of the hotel manager (Gustaf Hammarsten) for a day trip to a fancy private beach as a place for her family to make some kind of lasting memory.

Though the manager told them to keep this beach a secret, theirs wasn’t the only family he told about it. As Guy and Prisca and the kids pack into the hotel’s van for a ride over, they’re joined by tightly wound doctor Charles (Rufus Sewell), his wife, Chrystal (Abbey Lee), their 6-year-old daughter Kara (Kyle Bailey) and his mother (Kathleen Chalfant). When they arrive at the beach (dropped off by a driver played by Shyamalan himself, which, sigh, really guy?), they find famous rapper Mid Sized Sedan (Aaron Pierre) already there and are soon joined by another couple, Jarin (Ken Leung) and Patricia (Nikki Amuka-Bird).

By the time Jarin and Patricia show up, the day has already started to head south, with young Trent having spotted the body of a woman floating in the water and Charles having accused Sedan, who is sort of stunned and has a non-stop nosebleed, of causing her death. In the confusion of the moment, the group realizes that (1) their cell phones get no reception, (2) they can’t go back through the cave that brought them to the beach because it causes everyone who heads back to get a crushing headache and then black out and, perhaps most disturbingly, (3) something weird is happening with their kids.

After first having to ditch his swim trunks because they don’t fit, Trent (Luca Faustino Rodriguez and later Alex Wolff) is suddenly taller and older, something like 11, Jarin guesses, with Maddox (Thomasin McKenzie, who plays her for a significant part of the movie) at more like 16 and Kara (Mikaya Fisher) also 11. The kids are freaked out at suddenly being bigger and the adults are freaked out about everything, including the increasingly erratic behavior of Charles and the sudden illness of his mother. They eventually guess that they are all, not just the kids, aging and that all of the families were dealing with some kind of illness when they arrived at the island.

I can’t decide if it’s cleverly efficient or over-the-top hokey how this movie delivers the basic biographical information and a bunch of backstory about the characters. We learn names and occupations almost immediately because Trent directly asks everybody about them in a way that is I think supposed to read as a cute kid quirk but comes off as very “hey audience, take notes.” There is also a point when Patricia, therapist, basically gathers everyone on the beach together to have them explain their backstories. It’s not that this action is so weird in the context of the story, it’s that it comes across as clunky and inartful, which then starts to border on silly. There are a lot of things like that here, such as a stretch (spoiled in the trailers) when one character becomes very quickly pregnant and then delivers a baby. Sure, there is something of a horror element to it (also an ick factor) but it also comes across as sort of ridiculous.

I basically went with the first, oh, 45 minutes or so of Old. This isn’t the most solidly constructed plot (or set of characters or dialogue) but it’s an interesting concept, there are a bunch of interesting ideas banging around. The terror of the family, the children changing so fast, the adults watching their children change and realizing what it all means for everybody’s lives, is relatively well developed. But, not unlike some other Shyamalan films, it all seems to unravel and deflate in its back half. I don’t know how I wanted this story to resolve but I do know that how it all comes together feels unsatisfying, both unfinished and overly literal.

There are some decent performances here: The core family — it’s Bernal, Krieps, McKenzie and Wolff who are together for I think the longest stretch — work well together and the actors playing the older incarnations of very-recent kids do a good job of giving us both grown-up people and people whose life references are still child-based. Bernal and Krieps have some nice scenes together; they believably play out a long marriage over a short period of time. But there are also times (many of Sewell’s scenes, for example) when the movie-ness of the movie just can not get out of an actor’s way enough for them to give a compelling, and not silly, performance.

Old isn’t terrible but it’s ultimately more frustrating than anything else. C

Rated PG-13 for strong violence, disturbing images, suggestive content, partial nudity and brief strong language, according to the MPA at Directed by M. Night Shyamalan (who also wrote the screenplay, which is based on a graphic novel called Sandcastle by Pierre-Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters), Old is an hour and 48 minutes long and distributed by Universal Studios. It is playing in theaters.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins (PG-13)

How charismatic is Henry Golding? So charismatic that I basically, on balance, enjoyed Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, an origin story for a character in the G.I. Joe universe.

Once upon a time, kid Snake Eyes (Max Archibald; the character may have had a name at some point but I didn’t catch it) watched in horror as baddies murdered his dad (Steven Allerick). Left to grow up on the streets, Snake Eyes (Golding) has become a bare-knuckle fighter who drifts from town to town as an adult. A Yakuza tough guy hires Snake Eyes to become one of his worker-bee tough guys. Snake Eyes initially turns him down but then agrees to join up because they offer to find the man who murdered Snake Eyes’ father.

While working for the Yakuza, Snake Eyes becomes friends with Tommy (Andrew Koji), a guy who seems to be a little higher up in the gang’s corporate organizational chart. When Tommy is revealed to be a spy for the Arashikage clan, the gang tries to order Snake Eyes to kill him but instead Snake Eyes saves Tommy, who in turn takes him to his family’s palatial estate in Japan and offers Snake Eyes the chance to train with the ninja of the Arashikage, whose head is Tommy’s grandmother, Sen (Eri Ishida). Akiko (Haruka Abe), the head of Arashikage security, is not so sure about this Snake Eyes fella and doesn’t like the plan to let him join the clan.

Eventually, the international bad guy operation known as Cobra makes an appearance, with Baroness (Ursula Corbero) working with Kenta (Takehiro Hira), the movie’s central bad guy. We also get talk of the “Joes,” presented here as kind of an international good guy organization, in the form of Scarlett (Samara Weaving).

There’s more G.I. Joe mythology, but my memories of the cartoon are vague — enough that I remembered a bit of “hey, isn’t that guy going to become that guy” type character beats but not enough that I found myself super invested in all the backstory. Nor do I think you need to be to enjoy what’s best about this movie, which is its basically talented, if not always well-served by the movie, cast, in particular Golding. More Golding in any form, is my general feeling and he makes for an engaging action hero here. The movie gives him about a quarter inch of character development but he’s able to stretch that just a little farther through the power of his presence. In my fantasy casting of the next generation of James Bond, Golding has been one of my contenders for a while — he’s suave and handsome and believably bad-ass and capable. This movie doesn’t have that much humor or that many emotional beats, but Golding definitely makes the most that he can of what often feels like just a live-action version of the cartoon I remember from my childhood.

The movie also shines in some of its fight scenes, many of which are sword-based. The choreography makes what you know are likely to be fights to the draw none the less energetic and they’re often situated in some pretty settings (the Arashikage training grounds, a rainy cityscape).

Snake Eyes isn’t particularly great, it’s not one of those popcorn movies that transcends form in some way. I wish more had gone into making this cinematic world a little richer, especially since it feels like we’re going to be here a while. But for what it is, it does OK, with Golding largely saving the day. C+

Rated PG-13 for sequences of strong violence and brief strong language, according to the MPA on Directed by Robert Schwentke with a screenplay by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Joe Shrapnel & Anna Waterhouse, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is two hours and one minute long and is distributed by Paramount Pictures. The movie is currently in theaters only; according to IndieWire and Wikipedia, Snake Eyes will stream on Paramount+ on Sept. 6.



Chunky’s Cinema Pub
707 Huse Road, Manchester;
151 Coliseum Ave., Nashua;
150 Bridge St., Pelham,

The Flying Monkey
39 Main St., Plymouth

O’neil Cinemas at Brickyard Square
24 Calef Highway, Epping

Red River Theatres
11 S. Main St., Concord

Rex Theatre
23 Amherst St., Manchester

Wilton Town Hall Theatre
40 Main St., Wilton, 654-3456


Jaws 21+ trivia night at Chunky’s in Manchester on Thursday, July 29, at 7:30 p.m. Admission costs $5, which is a food voucher.

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (R, 2021) will screen at Red River Theatres in Concord Friday, July 30, through Sunday, Aug. 1, at 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Pig (R, 2021) will screen at Red River Theatres in Concord Friday, July 30, through Sunday, Aug. 1, at 4:45 and 7:30 p.m.

In the Heights (PG-13, 2021) will screen at Red River Theatres in Concord Friday, July 30, through Sunday, Aug. 1, at 1:15 p.m.

Jungle Cruise (PG-13, 2021) a sensory friendly flix screening, with sound lowered and lights up, on Saturday, July 31, 10 a.m. at O’neil Cinema in Epping.

The Wizard of Oz (1939) at the O’neil Cinema in Epping on Monday, Aug. 2, and Wednesday, Aug. 4, at 10 a.m. as part of the summer kids series. Tickets to the screening cost $2 for kids ages 11 and under and $3 for ages 13 and up. A $5 popcorn and drink combo is also for sale.

Raya and the Last Dragon (PG, 2021) at the Rex Theatre on Tuesday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m. with a portion of the proceeds going to Manchester Police Athletic League. Tickets cost $12.

Jaws (1975, PG-13) screenings at Chunky’s in Manchester, Nashua and Pelham Wednesday, Aug 4, through Saturday, Aug. 7, at 7 p.m. plus screenings at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets cost $4.99.

Rock of Ages (PG-13, 2012) screening at the Rex Theatre in Manchester on Wednesday, Aug. 4, at 7 p.m. with a portion of the proceeds going to the Manchester Police Athletic League. Tickets cost $12.

Featured photo: Old.

The Lost Boys of Montauk, by Amanda M. Fairbanks

The Lost Boys of Montauk, by Amanda M. Fairbanks (Gallery Books, 295 pages)

The Lost Boys of Montauk is not exactly a feel-good book. It is the true account of a 1984 fishing trip where all four crewmembers were lost in a horrific storm off the shores of Long Island. The easiest way to describe this is to say that it is another version of The Perfect Storm. However, while the outcomes are similar, the differences in the stories lie in the details and decisions that got each crew to a specific point where tragedy happens.

In the first chapter we are told that all souls on board the Wind Blown from Montauk were lost at sea. Of course this makes reading the rest of the book a little difficult as we then learn about each of the sailors on board, their roles in the community, and their plans for the future. We try to keep ourselves from becoming attached because we know what the future holds for them.

However, it’s tough to stop turning the pages. Fairbanks does an amazing job of essentially reconstructing the “crime” scene and soon you realize that, as in the story The Perfect Storm, it took a series of seemingly unconnected events coming perfectly together to cause this tragedy.

Much research and many interviews went into this book; it reads more as a detailed journalistic article than it does a thrilling story. One is absolutely amazed at the level of information the author was able to unearth.

Montauk is an old fishing community whose residents live and die by the sea and their craft. The old hands talk about boats the same way more affluent people talk about their beloved cars. Boats are given names and personalities; they are respected and coddled, for without them there is no income and no livelihood.

Young men (and occasionally women) who are born into the fishing village and others who show up for the summer acknowledge the hard work that is required on a commercial fishing trip. This book takes a look at the relationships between the “old-timers” and the “elites” who coexist on the island. Sometimes they work well together, sometimes they don’t. But it turns out they all respect a sea that can turn on you at any moment.

There are four on the ship. Mike, the captain and father of three young boys, is the leader of the pack, which includes Dave, a young son of money who would rather work on a boat than in a wealthy profession. Another crew member, Michael, not quite 20, is the son of a fisherman and had planned to work his way up to his own crew someday. Then there’s Scott; raised by a single mom, he’s the youngest of the crew but he always carried his full weight of work.

They are all so darn likeable.

In her research Fairbanks uncovers discussions that sting when read in hindsight, like this one Mike and his wife Mary had when making the decision to buy the Wind Blown:

“‘I’m going to die on that boat,’ Mike repeatedly said to Mary. ‘I need my own boat.’ Mary didn’t disagree. It wasn’t that she didn’t want her husband to own his own boat. It was the next logical step. But Mary, who is a deeply intuitive person (several people described her to me as “witchy”), had a bad feeling about the Wind Blown from the very start. She felt a heavy, sinking feeling, a knowing in the pit of her stomach.”

Through Fairbanks’ interviews we get to know the families of these crew members. We hear their struggles with loss, grief and a certain amount of acceptance that “the boys died doing the job they so loved.”

The story is filled with so many “if they had only gone down another path or made another decision, then the ending would have been different” moments. One crew member who was not able to be on the boat due to a travel delay was replaced with another at the last moment. What if travel had not been delayed? What if Mary had been able to talk Mike out of buying that particular boat?

We will never know what might have happened and that’s part of what makes this a compelling read. Again, this is not a feel-good, inspirational story, but it is a fascinating look at the age-old brotherhood of fishermen, the dynamics at play, and the families who literally live and die within the sight of water. A

Wendy E. N. Thomas


Author events

CATHLEEN ELLE Author presents Shattered Together. Virtual event, hosted by Toadstool Bookstores, located in Nashua, Peterborough and Keene. Thurs., July 29, 6 p.m. Visit or call 673-1734.

SHAWNA-LEE PERRIN Author presents Radio Waves. Virtual event, hosted by Toadstool Bookstores, located in Nashua, Peterborough and Keene. Sun., Aug. 1, 2 p.m. Visit or call 673-1734.

JOYCE MAYNARD Author presents her new novel Count the Ways. Phenix Hall, 38 N. Main St., Concord. Thurs., Aug. 5, 7 p.m. Visit or call 224-0562.

SADIE & CORBIN RAYMOND Authors present 121 Days: The Corbin Raymond Story of Fighting for Life and Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury. Gibson’s Bookstore, 45 S. Main St., Concord. Tues., Aug. 10, 6 p.m. Visit or call 224-0562.

KATE SHAFFER & DEREK BISSONNETTE Authors present The Maine Farm Table Cookbook. Outside the Music Hall Historic Theater, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth. Thurs., Aug. 12, 6 p.m. Tickets cost $60 for a small table (two people), $120 for a medium table (four people), $180 for a large table (six people). Visit or call 436-2400.

Featured photo: The Lost Boys of Montauk.

Album Reviews 21/07/29

Andrew Renfroe, Run In The Storm (self-released)

I’ve come to know dozens of rock guitarists quite intimately over the years. They’re odd, obsessed creatures, in a constant three-way battle with their instrument, their musical desires and their own abilities. I imagine that jazz players must take those conflicts to a whole other level, and when one becomes a master of their own destiny, it’s got to be a sweet thing. This guy’s from New York City, from where he released a Jazz Weekly-lauded EP last year (and no, I don’t know if I’ve literally ever received a jazz EP in all the piles that’ve washed into this office). This is a different sort of thing than I would have anticipated, as Renfroe isn’t just flashy but incredibly tasteful. Sound-wise it’s Weather Channel-ready but remarkably more advanced than that; his statements tend to be highly concise, short and sweet rather than prolonged, and his interplay with sax player Braxton Cook is pure melted butter. One to investigate if your pleasures run to tightly controlled, mellow progginess. A+

James DiGirolamo, Paper Boats (self-released)

This Nashville-based singer-songwriter has piles of notable experience as a session musician and touring sideman, having worked with Mindy Smith, Robby Hecht and the ever-awesome Peter Bradley Adams, along with lots of others. There’s a reason session guys are, you know, session guys, but DiGirolamo does have enough of a songwriting knack to please most soccer parents, his obvious target audience. His chosen niche is mainstream pop that encompasses the Paul McCartney to Simon and Garfunkel space, but he obviously picked up a pretty sweet Americana influence during his time with Adams (“Top Of The World”; elsewhere). Of course, none of that automatically spells smashing success just on face, but this is a decent effort. DiGirolamo’s relaxed tenor is pretty much like Robbie Williams fitted with a certain government-issue Bob Dylan nasality; song structures lean toward more modern anti-hook arrangements. He’s aware indie exists; “On Paper” sounds a bit like a Tin Pan notion of a Bon Iver rough draft, if you can imagine such a thing. B


• On July marches, to the 30th, when new albums will, like magic, appear in your stores or wherever you obtain music totally legally like the good upstanding citizen that you are. As all the pre-teens know, weird-haired Billie Eilish will release a new album called Happier Than Ever, and everyone will buy it no matter what I say in this space, so you and I would both probably be better served if I just talked about the feral hijinks of our three abandoned rescue cats, Patches, Rubysmooch and Babypuss, all of whom were lured out of their various drainpipe and rhubarb-plant landing spots because they sensed correctly that I’d overfeed them. But I won’t talk about that, since this is a music column and not the Cheezburger website, so let’s pretend that this new Billie Eilish album will make everyone on the internet forget to cancel her for making xenophobic remarks a few years ago or whatever it was. I can understand that people were permanently damaged by someone saying idiotic things when they were an idiot teenager or early-20something, because at that age, as we all know, humans are fully developed psychologically and have the manners of an Oxford graduate in Anthropology, and never do stuff like eat anything without properly arranged knives, forks and spoons as prescribed by Emily Post. Yes, never in my life have I ever heard a teenager say something that didn’t make me think to myself, “Boy, that’s an important socio-political point; I’m really going to need to marinate my brain in that one for a good while.” Anyway, the new single, “Your Power,” is proof that Eilish has grown up the rest of the way; it’s not a hyper-minimalist bloop-pop thing like all her other nonsense, it’s more like Bat For Lashes doing an Americana-tinged booze ballad. So everyone can just go back to stalking your ex on Facebook and leave Billie alone, because she’s never going to say or do anything stupid again, guaranteed, ever.

• Also ahead this week is proto-punk Alan Vega’s Alan Vega After Dark, which is a posthumous release. Formerly the more interesting half of the duo Suicide, he was 78 when he died in his sleep in 2016. By my count this is his third posthumous record, after two released by his attorney wife Liz Lamere. Suicide tended to cause a lot of violent incidents at the end of their shows; as Wikipedia notes, “They were among the first acts to use the phrase “punk music” in an advertisement for a concert in 1970.” And so he was awesome, like Iggy Pop, and this new album is composed of tunes cobbled together during a session with Pink Slip Daddy members Ben Vaughn, Barb Dwyer and Palmyra Delran. One of the songs, “Nothing Left,” is very, very much like Stooges-era Iggy, so I’d have to like it even if I didn’t, which I don’t.

• Didn’t I just mention a new album from Los Lobos, or am I insane? Native Sons is the new album, featuring the single “Love Special Delivery,” which is awesome, because it’s rockabilly and it has Tex-Mex horns. They should play that acoustic set at Tupelo again, bro.

• To close out the week we have See Me, the new record from R&B singing lady Leela James! The new single, “Put It On Me,” is totally ’70s soul-pop, with Four Tops-style orchestration and some super-deep singing. It’s official, she’s awesome.

Retro Playlist

Twelve years ago it was 2009, just saving you the math, being that math should be abolished. This time that year there were a couple of big things going on in the music world. One was the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, from which sprang a six-CD set called Woodstock: 40 Years on: Back to Yasgur’s Farm, which included 38 previously unreleased tunes “from such crazed drug-heads as the Grateful Dead, The Who, Tim Hardin, Jefferson Airplane and one-hit joke-band Country Joe & The Fish, who ended the Vietnam War.” But wait a minute, you know what else was in the news? That’s right, Michael Jackson had just died, so anyone who had survived the 2008 stock market crash with a car, a chicken coop to live in and $200 in Monopoly money had, at the time, “so many new Jacko releases that Amazon isn’t even bothering anymore to include song lists or explanatory blurbs in the listings, and all you can really do is hope you’re not accidentally buying old Wham! albums disguised as Thriller remixes.” I focused my Jacko-related coverage on an unidentified DVD called Moonwalking – The True Story of Michael Jackson, which may or may not have been a bunch of unauthorized shaky-cam bootlegs released by unemployed accountant-hobos who had simply taped a bunch of ET segments off their TV and spliced them together.

The two focus albums under review that week comprised a mixed bag. I appear to have rather liked Horehound from Dead Weather, the ’70s-hard-rock collaboration between hamburger addict Jack White and Kills singer Alison Mosshart, but looking back, I now know that the more that band released albums, the more I realized they weren’t really doing anything interesting, and have scribbled my thoughts accordingly once or twice since.

There was also Take Off Your Colours, an album from English punk-pop throwaways You Me At Six. The songs, I thought, were decidedly ‘meh,’ viz: “Though they’re too hooky and mature to be lumped in with all the hand-me-down Hoobastank chaff, they’re not 100 percent wheat either.” They sound exactly like every other emo band ever, which we now know has become mandatory for all of them.

If you’re in a local band, now’s a great time to let me know about your EP, your single, whatever’s on your mind. Let me know how you’re holding yourself together without being able to play shows or jam with your homies. Send a recipe for keema matar. Message me on Twitter (@esaeger) or Facebook (eric.saeger.9).

Stay in the loop!

Get FREE weekly briefs on local food, music,

arts, and more across southern New Hampshire!