This is no practical joke, Jack White fans. The busiest man in rock is set to drop his second solo record this summer.
Lazaretto, the follow-up to his critically-acclaimed 2012 effort Blunderbuss, will be released on June 10, his label Third Man Records announced today.
The tracklist has not been revealed as yet, but we do know that the title track will be the first single off the album, and will be available later this month. And if you know a little bit about White, you’ll know he goes all out with several different deluxe editions of his records. For the full details, head over to Third Man.
White gave fans a first taste of the album by posting the instrumental song High Ball Stepper on YouTube. Listen below:
And if you, like me, have no clue what a “lazaretto” is, here’s the definition, according to Wikipedia:
A lazaretto or lazaret is a quarantine station for maritime travellers. Lazarets can be ships permanently at anchor, isolated islands, or mainland buildings.
Well, there you go. Anchors away, Jack.
White has already been announced as a headliner at the Osheaga festival in Montreal, which runs from Aug. 1-3.
So, you’re a few weeks into that 2014 running regime, and your playlist already feels stale. You need some new music to propel you out into the cold winter air. The solution? Call Ben Kaplan.
Kaplan, Toronto-based journalist born in Brooklyn, seems perfectly suited to this situation. After making a name for himself as a pop music writer – contributing to publications like GQ, The New Yorker, Spin, The National Post and others – he’s slowly crafted a new identity as a running author.
This week, the 39-year-old writer releases his first book, the unconventional training manual Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now: The Rogue’s Guide to Running the Marathon.
“It’s real personal,” says Kaplan. “It’s all about the birth of my child, and it’s about my love-hate relationship with alcohol. It’s got everything. It’s training, it’s memoir, it’s interviews, it’s anecdotes. A real labour of love.”
I should mention that I’ve ‘ran into’ Kaplan a few times in my life – in the National Post newsroom, in the stands of a Toronto Raptors game, and on small-town running trails two hours north of Toronto. The man loves to run. I’ve seen first-hand evidence.
In his book, he includes running song recommendations from various musicians he’s interviewed throughout his career. Here, he gives us a sample of that. And, in a little twist, he salutes the artists he’s interviewed by picking one of their tracks for his own personal playlist:
Paul Simon recommends: The Delmore Brothers (any song)
Ben Kaplan recommends: Paul Simon – The Boxer
Kaplan on his pick: “Because when you’re out there, 32k into a marathon, it’s good to remember that you’re in the fight of your life.”
Selena Gomez recommends: Britney Spears – Toxic
Kaplan recommends: Selena Gomez – Come and Get It
Kaplan on his pick: “It’s a monster radio jam. Remember: When making your mix, diversify genre and tempos!”
Moby recommends: Black Flag – Damaged 1
Kaplan recommends: Moby – Natural Blues
Kaplan on his pick: “There was a time around the release of Play when I had stories on Moby going in about eight different places. I still listen to this album and miss New York.”
Jack White recommends: The Who – Baba O’Riley
Kaplan recommends: The Raconteurs – Steady, As She Goes
Kaplan on his pick: “I can’t believe I didn’t recommend this tune in the book. There’s no artist I prefer more – well, maybe Kanye or Feist or Neil Diamond – but there are few musicians I’ll take over Jack White, the king.”
Feist recommends: J.J. Fad – Supersonic
Kaplan recommends: Feist – Mushaboom
Kaplan on his pick: “When Julie and I got married, we walked into the party to this song. Can you listen to this without smiling? Not me.”
Katy Perry recommends: Willow Smith – Whip My Hair
Kaplan recommends: Katy Perry – Roar
Kaplan on his pick: “I don’t know. If this comes on the radio, I might change it. But if it comes on at 36k, I might turn it up. It’s a new tune and untested. Play it with care.”
Will.i.am recommends: Boogie Down Productions – My Philosophy
Kaplan recommends: The Black Eyed Peas – Where is the Love?
Kaplan on his pick: “The most important thing to consider from a running song, to me, is how good it makes you feel. This song makes me feel good.”
Justin Bieber recommends: Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana
Kaplan recommends: Justin Bieber – Baby
Kaplan on his pick: “This is a tough one, but I do like this song. It’s light and soft as the heel on a sneaker. A nice rap from Ludacris makes it complete.”
According to Rolling Stone, the busy rocker is deep into the recording process for the follow-up to his Grammy-nominated 2012 solo debut, “Blunderbuss.”
“I’ve got about 20 to 25 tracks I’m working on right now – a lot of songs,” White told the magazine. “It’s a good time for writing for me.”
He has been in the studio once again with his separate backing male and female bands, the Buzzards and the Peacocks, and says the sound varies from track to track.
“It’s definitely not one sound,” he says. “It’s all over the place. After going out on the road with two bands, my influences have just spread out even more.”
As for when it will see the light of day, White says: “I don’t know if it’ll come out this year or not,” he adds. “The last one kind of came together so strangely, I was in the middle of making it and I didn’t realize I was doing it, you know? I was just doing it because I needed to get these songs down and then I realized I was making a record.”
The lineup continues to expand in rapid numbers for next month’s Grammy Awards.
Grammy nominees The Lumineers, Carrie Underwood and Jack White are all scheduled to take the stage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 10.
Song of the Year nom Ed Sheeran is also tapped to duet with six-time Grammy winner Elton John, and country stars Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert will also pair up for the 55th annual event.
Other performers already announced include The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, fun., Rihanna and Taylor Swift.
White, who has nine Grammys on his bookshelf already, is nominated in three different categories: Album of the Year, Best Rock Album (“Blunderbuss”) and Best Rock Song (“Freedom at 21″ – watch below).
The show airs Feb. 10 from 8-11:30 p.m. ET on CBS. Yours truly as well as fellow scribe Mark Daniell will be giving instant reviews of each and every act on Grammy night. Follow us on Twitter: @johnwillms and @markhdaniell.