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Introducing Sound Check, the Globe’s weekly go-to guide for music lovers

With new releases on the way, Buffalo Tom, Joyner Lucas, and Ballroom Thieves are among a bevy of local artists with some spring in their step

Singer-guitarist Bill Janovitz and drummer Tom Maginnis perform with Buffalo Tom at the Paradise in December. The band plans to release its 10th album, "Jump Rope," on May 31, followed by dates in Amherst and Lowell.Ben Stas for The Boston Globe

Welcome to Sound Check, a weekly guide to concerts, tunes, and trends rooted in Boston and beyond. This column covers March 22-28.

Massachusetts’s heavy hitters must have hopped in the studio at the same time, because 2024′s musical almanac points to one of the most fruitful springs for album releases in recent memory. A healthy crop of new material from nationally-recognized locals sprouts this season, blooming into a lush bouquet of folk, alt-rock, hip-hop, and soul.

Worcester-raised rapper Joyner Lucas leads the pack with the release Friday of his much-anticipated record “Not Now, I’m Busy.” The album, which Lucas has been teasing since last year, marks his first LP since a frenzied 2020 that saw the release of both “ADHD” and “Evolution.”


Joyner Lucas's “Not Now, I’m Busy” releases on Friday.Elsa/Getty Images/file

The Ballroom Thieves then seize the spotlight with their gleaming offering “Sundust,” due out April 12. The acoustic folk group, who formed at Stonehill College, will present “a self-portrait of [their] intertwined lives” on the new record, per vocalist and instrumentalist Calin Peters.

May carves out space for new material from storied alt-rock vets Guster and Buffalo Tom, who will both share their first studio records since the pre-pandemic days. Guster spin self-soothing alternative for our existential times on “Ooh La La,” due out May 17; Buffalo Tom’s landmark 10th LP, “Jump Rope,” follows on May 31.

The newest artist of the bunch, jazz and alt-folk act Alisa Amador unveils her debut full-length, “Multitudes,” on June 7. “Multitudes” will also be Amador’s biggest milestone since her Tiny Desk Contest victory in 2022, when she made history with the first Spanish language song (“Milonga Accidental”) to win the competition.

On June 21, Lake Street Dive usher in summer’s glow with their penchant for poppy soul on “Good Together.” The Brooklyn-via-Boston group will return to the area with their new material for July’s Levitate Music and Arts Festival in Marshfield.


It’d be enough of a boon to see these albums released within the same year. But to receive them all in one season? That’s a serotonin boost that rivals the switch to daylight saving time.

Even more hip-hop could be on the horizon, as well. Boston-born rappers Cousin Stizz and Coi Leray both shared singles in January, potentially priming listeners for larger releases. Especially given Leray’s recent signing to Island Records, new tunes from either artist could take root when we’re least expecting it.


The House of Blues supplies two powerful pairings this week: Boy band devotees can catch Joey Fatone and AJ McLean on Friday, followed by a night of reggae royalty with Damian and Stephen Marley on Saturday.

Head to the Orpheum on Saturday for the chance to hear Blue October’s new tune “Everything We Lost in the Fire.” The single made its radio debut earlier this month in the midst of the Texas band’s “Spinning the Truth Around (Part II)” tour.

The Magnetic Fields lead a historic doubleheader at Roadrunner Sunday and Monday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “69 Love Songs.” The experimental pop-rock group will perform their massive record in its entirety for the first time in 20 years, just a few miles from where they played their first show at T.T. the Bear’s Place in 1991.


The Last Dinner Party come to Royale on Sunday.Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Royale hosts recent favorites from the alternative sphere, welcoming The Last Dinner Party — who recently released their rollicking debut record, “Prelude to Ecstasy” — on Sunday, and indie-pop savant Arlo Parks on Thursday.

Shortly after performing at Lollapalooza Chile, Ana Tijoux uncorks an infectious lust for life with her new Latin pop record “Vida” at Brighton Music Hall. The French-Chilean artist hasn’t embarked on a full US tour since 2018, heightening the hype behind her local show on Monday.

Vermont post-punk reigns supreme at O’Brien’s Pub on Thursday, with performances from Thus Love and Robber Robber, joined by New York’s Native Sun.


Tyla, “Tyla.” Brace for a deluge — the success of Tyla’s 2023 single “Water” indicates that we’re in for a new wave of fans this week. The debut studio album from the South African artist captures a fluid stream of R&B that ebbs and flows between gentle caresses (“Butterflies”) and gutsy clapbacks (“Truth or Dare”).

South African singer Tyla's self-titled debut is out Friday.JOHN LAMPARSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Waxahatchee, “Tigers Blood.” Four years after releasing her breakthrough album, “Saint Cloud,” Katie Crutchfield once again reaches for the sky with this collection of prismatic Americana. The Missouri singer-songwriter steeps her new record in sunbeams, even when tackling tough topics like codependency and mind-numbing malaise.

The Veronicas, “Gothic Summer.” Never let a new dance party from Brisbane twins Jessica and Lisa Origliasso go “untouched.” “Gothic Summer” fortifies the Veronicas’ punky pop legacy with — and I mean this in the best way possible — a soundtrack’s worth of electric confessionals fit to accompany the next teen drama series. Recent single “Here to Dance” recalibrates their saccharine sound with a disco groove akin to Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia.”



Speaking of Buffalo Tom . . . If you missed the band’s two sold-out appearances in Somerville last weekend for the Fort Nights benefit shows, the concert gods have smiled upon you. The group has announced a handful of summer performances, including an album release show celebrating “Jump Rope” at the Drake in Amherst (May 31) and an outdoor gig at Lowell’s Boarding House Park (June 29).

Victoria Wasylak can be reached at vmwasylak@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickiWasylak.