Reasons to Be Cheerful
A Look Ahead at Summer's Bounty

As you read this, I am in France. Yes, that France.

I’m visiting for nine days for work, and while I can’t say for sure, I’m betting that the fact that I’m on the clock hasn’t dampened my excitement for my first visit to the land of my ancestors. I’m in Toulouse, an 800-year-old city in the country’s southwest region, and probably having the time of my life.

Which means this week you’re not getting my best effort. Next week’s will certainly be more substantial than this week’s, but it will also be an easy one for me to write, as you’ll see. This week, though, I thought I’d run down a couple of upcoming releases I’m excited about, since this is supposed to be a column about the geeky thrill of new music. So here are some records coming out soon that I am geekily thrilled about.

We’re in a massive month for new tunes, and I hope I’m going to have time to listen to everything I’m picking up. I’m pretty jazzed for the new Deafheaven album, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. That’s a great title, and from everything I’ve heard, the band leapt to a new level on this one. I’m also quite looking forward to Between the Buried and Me’s Automata II, which will conclude the album they began a few months ago. It still seems to me that there was no reason to break this record up into two releases, but we’ll see.

Punch Brothers will have a new one called All Ashore in a couple weeks. Chris Thile is, as I’ve said before, a once-in-a-generation kind of musician, and I’m always interested in whatever he comes up with. I’ve heard nothing about this new one, other than the two songs that have been released from it, so it feels to me like just another Punch Brothers record, but they’ve all been pretty amazing so far. I’m very ready for a new Cowboy Junkies album too, after too long a wait.

August is slimmer pickings, but there are certainly some I’m looking forward to. The big one next month is Death Cab for Cutie, who will return with Thank You For Today on August 17. Everything I’ve heard has been godawful boring, but I hope they can deliver a good argument for their continued existence. I’m also looking forward to Lightsleeper, the first album from Neil and Liam Finn together. Neil is just coming off of his best album in many years, Out of Silence, and Liam has always been a swell writer. This should be very good.

Other things from August include the first Ultraphonix record, and I say first because I hope there will be more. Ultraphonix is a collaboration between singer Corey Glover of Living Colour and guitarist George Lynch, and anything that gets me more Corey Glover is going to be worth my money. I have long been an Enuff Znuff fan, as anyone who has followed this column probably knows, and on August 10 they will issue their first record without Donnie Vie. This, of course, has me worried, but I will buy it anyway and see how it is. Donnie is working on a new thing now too, and I’ve supported him on Pledgemusic.

September opens with Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station and Paul Simon’s In the Blue Light, in case you were wondering if any legends would pop up in this list. McCartney’s record is all new songs, and I’m always interested to hear new tunes from Paul, because he doesn’t have to write any ever again. He makes new music now solely because he wants to, and that’s the best kind of freedom. Simon’s record revisits some forgotten gems from his catalog and, judging by the lineup of musicians on this thing, reinvents them. Very much looking forward to both.

Also in September is a new Orbital album, a new one from Low, a comeback from Nile Rodgers and Chic, a new Joy Formidable record, the first new Riverside album since their guitarist died, a new Richard Thompson record, a vault release from Prince and a four-CD box set of unreleased music from Tom Petty. Given all that, October can’t match up yet – we’ll have a new Tom Odell album, a new Coheed and Cambria rock opera, a new Twenty-One Pilots and the final EP from Minus the Bear.

I’m also anticipating the new Tourniquet album Gazing at Medusa somewhere in there, and the new one from Jimmy Brown of Deliverance, called Eraserhead. And sometime later this month, a five-CD reissue of Horrendous Disc, one of the most important Daniel Amos albums, will land in my mailbox. That will take some time to get through all on its own.

So yeah, there’s a bounty of new stuff headed our way. And my usual problem applies: I have less and less time to absorb it all and form thoughts about it. I am genuinely hopeful that after I return from France, I can buckle down and get you the weekly column that you deserve. Thanks for reading even when I don’t deliver. I appreciate you more than you know.

Next week, the Choir scores the hat trick. Follow Tuesday Morning 3 A.M. on Facebook at

See you in line Tuesday morning.