May 28, 2020

Avril Lavigne Returns

Modern Rock
By Kristi Kates | Nov. 24, 2018

After five years away from the music scene while she struggled with Lyme disease, Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne is back with the first single from her upcoming sixth album (title TBA). The track “Head Above Water” is an emotional and personal power ballad about exactly what it sounds like — trying to hang in there. Lavigne’s vocals are in full force over a solid, accelerating instrumental, in a strong showing for her return (check out the single at She’s remaining evasive about the rest of the album and its release date, though, simply saying that it’s a “powerful” collection of tunes …

Singer Rihanna has just snagged an unusual honor: She’s been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary by her native Barbados for her work helping promote education, tourism, and investments on the Caribbean island. This isn’t a big turn of events, necessarily — Rihanna’s been considered a “cultural ambassador” for Barbados since 2008 — but this is a more prestigious and official role for the multimedia diva …

The Long Island Music Hall of Fame inducted its latest honorees into the institution last week, with special ceremonies taking place at The Space at Westbury. Honored for their contributions to both Long Island’s music scene and the overall music community were Taking Back Sunday, rappers EPMD, Jimmy Webb, jazz trumpeter Glenn Drewes, Tommy Byrnes (guitarist with Billy Joel), radio legend Cousin Brucie (Bruce Morrow), and music executive/record company guru Seymour Stein, known for his work with Madonna and The Ramones

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, along with members of The Blockheads and Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet, have formed a supergroup called Saucerful of Secrets (the name, of course, borrowed from Pink Floyd’s second album). Saucerful has just announced a U.K. tour for 2019, with more dates and countries expected to follow. The initial run will include concert stops in Aylesbury, Cambridge, and London in May of next year … 

Another great collaboration is heading your way this week, namely Liam Payne’s club-pop effort with French Montana, a broody friend-zone single in which Payne chases an elusive lady around New York City and its late-night subway stops in “First Time.” Check out the catchy track and its accompanying music video at

Nov. 30 will welcome Common, with special guest Robert Glasper, to The Fillmore in Detroit …

Boyne City’s Performing Arts Center has announced that it will stage the musical Newsies in spring 2019. The musical is best known for its 1992 film version starring Christian Bale and Bill Pullman

Motor city trio Deadbeat Beat has released its latest single, the psychedelic, droning “Tree, Grass and Stone” …

Detroit rapper Illingsworth has released You’re No Fun, his debut album on indie-rap label Mello Music Group … and that’s the buzz for this week’s Modern Rock. 

Comments, questions, rants, raves, suggestions on this column? Send ’em to Kristi at



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