It took him a minute to finally embark on a career under his own name, but Johnny Marr is nevertheless making up for lost time. Only a year after his critically hailed solo debut, The Messenger, the legendary former Smiths guitarist is back with Playland, due October 6. And if its revved-up lead single “Easy Money” is any indication, the album should provide ample riffs and grooves.
Norwegian singer/songwriter Monica Heldal has already made an auspicious first impression with audiences in her homeland on the strength of her debut LP, Boy From the North. Sounding like a cross between Mindy Smith and Nanci Griffith and drawing on folk, bluegrass, and Celtic influences, Heldal will showcase her talent on a brief U.S. tour (opening for The Last Bison) the month following the album’s North American release on September 16. Until then, her gothically gorgeous performance on the album’s title track will leave listeners entranced.