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Sunday, January 14, 2018

New music by Bedouin, Fox Grin, Coveter and more added to our mix

The debut album from Bedouine, the project of Syrian-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Azniv Korkejian, has been getting wonderful reviews. Pitchfork wrote that the songs have a "natural intimacy, with arrangements that, at their most ornate, feel like impromptu daydreams in the minds of their narrators." It draws comparison to Joni Mitchell's Hissing of Summer Lawns. The Guardian wrote, "her debut elegantly shape-shifts between Americana, country, cosmic folk and sun-scorched soul." We're joining the chorus of praise for this captivating album. "One Of These Days" is one of our featured New Music tracks this week, and we'll soon be adding more of Bedouine's gorgeous songs.

Also new to our collection is Fox Grin, a art-rock/dream-pop duo originally from Atlanta that's now based in Nashville. Thomas Chapman (vocals/guitar/keys) and David Bean (bass/backing vocals) aim to create "brilliantly colored soundscapes with a pop-song sensibility." Atlanta Immersive has called their music "wonderfully lush noise." They've just released their third collection, King Of Spades, and our featured pick is "One Day."

And we've just been introduced to Coveter, an emerging alt-rock band from Ottowa that put out its first EP, Love Me To Pieces, a few months back. One review said its five songs "do an excellent job of incorporating alternative, blues, funk, and even pop with a modern twist. [The band's] greatest trick is how it seems to rock hard, yet seems so laid back." Coveter's sound is on the rough-and-noisy edge of what we typically play, but we're enjoying the jaunty sound of our featured track, "Who Knows?"

Our other New Music picks of the week are additional cuts from albums we've featured in recent weeks:

  • From Tempest by Vancouver Island's Band of Rascals, we're adding "Altitude."
  • And from the self-titled album by Rochester, N.Y.'s Heroic Enthusiasts, we're picking up "Pure Fade" 
As always, we welcome suggestions about what music - new, not-so-new and classic - we should check out. Comment on this page, on Twitter or Facebook or at birchstreetradio@gmail.com

Sunday, January 7, 2018

This week's picks: Jacobs Run, Danielia Cotton, Joe Satriani, BRMC and Blue October

Last summer we picked up on Jacobs Run, a trio from Melbourne, Australia. We've been playing their singles "Hold On a Minute" and "Use" and waiting to hear more. Now their third single, "Sleepwalking," is about to be released, and we've got an early copy in our New Music bin. It's a tale of insomnia caused by relationship angst: "I'm churning up inside my head / wondering what it is I should have said." This is a polished piece of pop/rock - not surprising since this "new" band is made up of veteran musicians. They cite as influences fellow Australians The Church as well as Oasis, Snow Patrol and Tom Petty.
Another indie artist we've featured before is Danielia Cotton, who blends elements of rock, soul, gospel and other genres with thoughtful lyrics and rich, emotive vocals. Her recent release, The Mystery of Me, encompasses a wide range of moods. We've been spinning the very upbeat "4 Ur Life" and now we're adding the more laid-back "Forgive Me" -- which to our ears would blend well with some of Sheryl Crow's songs.
Veteran guitar master Joe Satriani is about to release his 16th studio album, What Happens Next. For this all-instrumental outing, he formed a power trio with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and bassist Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple. They set out, he says, to make "pure rock and roll." We're featuring "Energy," which Satriani told Guitar World demonstrates "the power, fun and excitement of true and spontaneous musical chemistry. Chad, Glenn and me rockin’ out, not holding back, reveling in the moment.”
We're not very familiar with California's Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, although they've been releasing records since 2000 and are about to roll out out their eighth studio LP. The single "Echo" caught our attention and earwormed its way into our New Music bin. It's an atmospheric, meditative track. Rolling Stone said the song, "as the title suggests, echoes the enthralling sound of Eighties rockers like Echo & The Bunnymen." The album, Wrong Creatures, was produced by Nick Launay, who has worked with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Arcade Fire.

Blue October is another band that we're late to discover. This Texas outfit has been turning out alternative rock since the late 90s and is about to release its ninth album, I Hope You're Happy. The title track is an upbeat post-breakup song that sends sincere, if bittersweet, good wishes to an ex: "I hope you're happy / Even if you're not mine."

What bands - new or old - do you think we should "discover" and introduce to our listeners? Give us your recommendations by commenting on this page, contacting us on Facebook or Twitter, or sending us an email. Thanks!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Our first picks of 2018: Icicle, Calexico, The Georgia Flood and more

Happy New Year to all our listeners around the world! Our New Music picks for the first week of the year include a few tracks from upcoming 2018 albums along with a couple of late-2017 releases.

We were recently introduced to Icicle, the project of Montreal-based Krassy Halatchev. Growing up in Bulgaria, he studied the music of bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Depeche Mode and The Cure before emigrating in 1990. He was a member of a couple of bands before releasing his first solo album in 2014. His fifth LP, Silence, is due in March, but we have an early taste. We're featuring "My Heart," a mid-tempo rocker built on a heartbeat bass groove.

Calexico's ninth studio album, The Thread that Keeps Us, is due out in a couple of weeks. We've been playing the first single, "End of the World With You," for several weeks, and now we're featuring "Voices in the Field." The Tucson, Arizona-based band brings a sense of tension and unease to its latest work. “There’s a little more chaos and noise in the mix than what we’ve done in the past,” says co-founder Joey Burns, reflecting “where we’re at right now as a planet” as well as the band's desire to keep experimenting musically.

The latest single from The Georgia Flood, an indie-rock band that we've featured before, also has a noisy tension to it. That seems fitting, since it will be part of a collection called Polaroids and Panic Attacks, the Atlanta group's second album. The song, "Illuminations," has a sense of searching for signs in the dark. Founded by brothers Brooks Mason and Lane Kelly, the band has added drummer Damian Navarro and guitarist Gavin Deleshaw since its debut EP in 2016.

A few weeks ago we started spinning Sjowgren's "Stubborn Forces," and now we're adding "High Beam." Both are singles that dropped in November. Are more songs coming in 2018? An album, maybe? Who is in this band, anyhow? We don't know. The California group with the Scandinavian-sounding name has so far maintained an air of mystery. That seems rather gimmicky, but we enjoy the music, so we'll play along.

And we're taking another dip into the December release from The Defending Champions, Don't Stop. With a powerful horn section backed by guitar, bass and percussion, this New Jersey outfit blasts out its own unique brand of punk/ska/soul/rock party music. The title track and "Listen In" are already in our rotation, and now we're adding "Bad Habit."

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Today: Playing all our favorite 2017 music


For New Year's Eve and the first part of New Year's Day we're pausing our usual mix of new & classic sounds to concentrate on the great music that was released in 2017, by indie artists and major-label stars alike.

Later on Jan. 1 we'll pick our first batch of featured New Music and resume our Marvelous Mix of Music from the '60s to the 'teens!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

This week we feature our favorites sounds of 2017


The end of the year is a slow time for record releases, so we're taking a week off from picking new tracks to feature on Birch Street Radio. Instead we're highlighting our favorite music from the past 12 months.

While 2017 was a troubled year for the world, it was a fine year for creativity. And while we're not going to try to rank the year's "best" albums or songs or artists, we're pretty happy with all the music we've added to our playlist in the course of the year.

Along with "stars" like U2, Beck, Arcade Fire, Van Morrison and Coldplay, we've been pleased to bring you emerging and indie artists like Avenhart, Banditos, Caroline Reese, Cayetana, Edgar Road, Gracie and Rachel, Great American Canyon Band, Lizzie No, Making Movies, Margaret Glaspy Michaela McClain, Paper City Exile, Pavey Ark, Shawna Caspi, Sorcha Richardson, The Defending Champions, The New Respects, The Right Now, Wyland and many, many more.

Birch Street Radio got its start almost five years ago, but 2017 was its biggest and best year so far. Thanks to our listeners around the world for tuning in to our unique blend of new and classic music from bands and singer-songwriters, rockers and folkies, major-label stars and indie artists. And thanks to all the musicians who give us such great sounds to share!