Sunday, February 28, 2016

More new music added to our Marvelous Mix

Quilt - Plaza
Modoc
As usual, the latest additions to our New Music Bin represent a wide range of styles, because variety is what we do.
  • Another track from Bonnie Raitt's Dig In Deep: "What You're Doin' To Me." This album is so damn good that you'll be hearing other songs from it scattered throughout our playlist.
  • Likewise we've added "Hissing My Plea" from Quilt's new release, Plaza. And likewise, other tracks from the album will be popping up in our program as well.
  • "Feels So Good" is our latest pick from The Record Company's killer debut, Give It Back To You.
  • The latest to spin out from City and Colour's If I Should Go Before You is "Wasted Love."
  • Serendipity led us to discover Modoc, three guys who met in Indiana and moved to Nashville to play rock'n'roll. They just released their third disc, Automatic + Voluntary.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Our new fave: Bonnie Raitt's "Dig In Deep"

RWe are long-time fans of Bonnie Raitt, and she's well-represented in our mix. So we're happy to report that her new album, Dig In Deep, is an excellent addition to her catalog and our collection. You'll be hearing it plenty on Birch Street Radio.

Some of the highlights are Raitt's own compositions: "Unintended Consequence of Love," "If You Need Somebody" and "The Ones We Couldn't Be" are heartfelt, thoughtful relationship songs while "What You're Doin' To Me" is more of a feel-good love song. Raitt sharpens her pen for a smart protest song, "The Comin' Round is Going Through." Songs like "Gypsy in Me" and "You've Changed My Mind" are not her compositions, but she makes them her own.

Then there's her cover of "Need You Tonight" - yes, the INXS tune. It's fun to hear Bonnie give this '80s dance number a different take, but to our ears it doesn't quite fit with the deep, soulful feel of the rest of the album.

That's a minor quibble. Overall, this is a top-flight album from one of the stars of American music.

Recommended reading: NPR's review of the album and Rolling Stone's interview article.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Latest adds to our New Music bin

There's SO much good new music floating around that it's hard to keep up, but here's what we've snatched up and added to our Marvelous Mixture in recent days:
  • "Unintended Consequence of Love," the latest release from Bonnie Raitt's forthcoming Dig In Deep.
  • "Hell Yeah" - OK now that Lake Street Dive's full album Side Pony is out, this fun and sexy track is our new favorite.
  • "Cold to See Clear" by Nada Surf from You Know Who You Are.
  • "In My Eyes," the latest single to spin out of Best Coast's California Nights.
  • "Off The Ground," the suddenly hot single from The Record Company's rocking debut, Give It Back To You.
  • "Direction of the Sun," one of the originals by Adrien Reju from her album Strange Love & The Secret Language. (Read more here.)

Those are among the songs now being featured in our New Releases Bin. Other songs by these artists are also in our big mix, along with thousands of songs from hundreds of other bands and singer-songwriters. Music variety is what we do!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Artists we play: Adrien Reju


We happened to catch Adrien Reju opening for Amy Helm at a recent show in Irvington, N.Y., and were happy to discover another fine singer-songwriter. Her 2015 album, Strange Love & The Secret Language, is a mix of original songs and cover with the theme of "unconventional love." We've added several tracks to our Marvelous Mixture of Music, including covers of David Bowie's "Soul Love" and Elliot Smith's "Waltz No. 1."

Adrien got her start as a performer in Philadelphia as part of a songwriter scene that included Amos Lee. She released a 5-song EP, Lucky Ones, in 2012 and a full length LP, A Million Hearts, in 2009.

There's a good interview with Adrien at glidemagazine.com. Here's an excerpt: 

Q: Your music has been labeled a unique brand of indie-folk-retro-pop do you think that’s a fair assessment and how would you best describe it?
A: I have a hard time defining my music in terms of genre. I like a lot of different stuff. I can see why someone would use all of those words, separately or together, to describe my music. So sure, I would say that’s a fair assessment. Accurate? I’m not sure. I guess my first album A Million Hearts was pretty folky compared to the more electrified “retro-pop” sound of my EP Lucky OnesSL & SL encompasses a bit of both. I’m constantly evolving and listening for what interests me. That’s what’s most important to me.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

We catch an Amy Helm show and it's lightning-hot


We were lucky enough to get to Irvington, N.Y., this weekend and see Amy Helm and the Handsome Strangers put on a terrific show at the Irvington Town Hall Theater.

Listeners to Birch Street Radio know we've been giving Amy's debut album, "Didn't It Rain," plenty of spins. Performed on stage with this terrific 3-piece band, powerful songs like the title track, "Heat Lightning" and "Rescue Me" swept up the packed house in a musical tornado.

Helm has put together a top-notch band: Basist Byron Isaacs, who produced her album and co-wrote many of the songs; masterful guitarist Daniel Littleton; and full-throttle drummer David Berger.

This is a show to go out of your way to catch. Find upcoming dates at amyhelm.com and explore the rest of that site to learn more.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Lake Street Dive's "Side Pony" lives up to its promise

Reviewers have called Lake Street Dive's music everything from "Retro R&B" to "Jazz/Pop" to "Neo-Soul." But who needs categories? We enjoy tossing many styles of music into our Birch Street Radio mix, so a band that stirs up its own special blend is more than welcome.

We've already been playing a few tracks from the band's fifth album, "Side Pony" - and now that it's been fully released, you'll be hearing more of it. It's a well-crafted album (okay, maybe even a bit slick) by a band that's just an awful lot of fun to listen to. While the title track is a rather light confection, it's followed by a dynamite rocker, "Hell Yeah," that's probably our favorite. Another highlight is the very funky "Can't Stop."

Speaking of reviews, we recommend the one at Paste: "A fully realized Lake Street Dive has finally arrived and announced itself as a force to be reckoned with."

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Listen to us - and we'll listen to you!

We hope you enjoy listening to Birch Street Radio - and we want to know what you think.

What do you like about our music mix and presentation?

Do you have suggestions for improving it?

Do you have any difficulty playing our stream?

Are there bands or singers you think we should consider adding to the mix?

Please get in touch! You can
  • leave a comment on this page
  • email us at birchstreetradio@gmail.com
  • follow us on Twitter
  • find us on Facebook

Monday, February 15, 2016

Latest adds to our New Releases bin

We've added a big batch of new music to our Marvelous Mix in recent days:
  • Another track from Lake Street Dive's Side Pony, "Mistakes"
  • Brooklyn trio Sunflower Bean with "Easier Said" from their brand new album, Human Ceremony.
  • Also from Brooklyn, Fort Lean with "Cut To The Chase"
  • "Conqueror," the latest release from Norway's Aurora
  • Big Head Todd and the Monsters rocking on "Wipeout Turn"
  • The title song from Elton John's critically acclaimed new album, "Wonderful Crazy Night"
  • "Delilah," yet another hit from Florence + The Machine's How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
  • Another cut from Tame Impala's Currents, "The Less I Know the Better"
And as previously mentioned, tracks from the latest releases by alt-rockers Dirty Purple and roots-rockers The Gary Douglas Band.

How's that for a varied menu? 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bands we play: Dirty Purple

It's always exciting to discover a really good band that we haven't heard before.

We recently caught a show where Dirty Purple, a group of five young women from suburban Philadelphia, opened for veteran prog-rockers Crack the Sky.

Dirty Purple describes itself as alternative rock, or (in a recent tweet) "ladyemo." Their music has an intricate quality that puts it a cut above a lot of other alt/rock/emo outfits.

We've added "No Explanation" from their latest EP, Settle, to our New Music Bin this week, and you'll hear other tracks from them now and then in our Marvelous Mixture of Music.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

We're growing: More new music, more "deep cuts"

Our move from Live365 (RIP) to the Radionomy streamcasting platform has been going pretty well, and now we're making another big improvement.

The result: We'll be building our daily playlists from a much bigger library of music. You'll hear more "deep cuts" that don't often get radio airplay. And we'll be able to add more music, new and old, more quickly than before.

The background: Radionomy gives us space on its servers for a few day's worth of music, but not enough for our big collection. Since joining their platform in early January, we've been rotating songs in and out to vary the mix, but there was more repetition than we'd like.
Now, we're testing a direct feed from the Birch Street Studios to Radionomy that will allow us to tap our entire music library at any given time. Everything should be running smoothly by the end of this weekend, if not sooner. The music we've stored at Radionomy will remain as a backup in case of glitches in our direct stream.

The goal: To entertain you with a broad variety of music from bands and singer-songwriters of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. (Sounds pretty impressive when we say it like that!) We generally have a selection of new songs that play once or twice a day, and thousands more that you won't hear more than once in a week, or two, or more. 

Please let us know what you think. Comment on this page or use the links to our e-mail, Facebook page and Twitter feed. We'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Rootsy rock from a New York lawyer? Why not?

We're not exactly the first to discover The Gary Douglas Band, and we're sure many more will be catching up soon.

This is rootsy American rock 'n' roll from deep in the heart of ... New York. Douglas grew up in Brooklyn and suburban Long Island. After playing in bands through college and beyond, he made a career as a lawyer. But a few years back he picked up his guitar again and decided to switch paths. He wrote songs, put together a band and began playing at clubs and festivals.

Keepin' Faith, the full-length album released last fall, captures the band's energy and its classic-rock-meets-Americana sound. You'll be hearing the single "To Be With You" and other tracks on Birch Street Radio.

Our Marvelous Mix of Music brings together both classic rock bands and new artists. Which category does The Gary Douglas Band fit into? Both!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Keeping current: The latest additions to our mix

(Updated Feb. 9)
Here's some of the music we've added to our Marvelous Mix of Music this week:
  • The new single from The Lumineers, "Ophelia"
  • Another track from Lemolo's Red Right Return album, "Fuel"
  • Canadian singer-songwriter Basia Bulat with "Infamous" from her forthcoming Good Advice.
Quilt
  • Boston band Quilt's single "Roller" from the forthcoming album Plaza
  • Another track from Martin Courtney's Many Moons: "Airport Bar"
  • The I Don't Cares (Paul Westerberg & Juliana Hatfield) with "Born For Me"
UPDATE: One more just added - "To Be With You" by The Gary Douglas Band. We'll have more to say in another post soon.

A little technical difficulty... but we play on!

Radionomy, our web stream host, is having some technical difficulties that are causing.

Long.

Gaps.

Between.

Songs.

We're remaining calm and playing on. Think of the pauses between songs as moments of meditation. 

Or you could imagine you're listening to a friend change 45s on a turntable. 

We hope the issue will be fixed soon...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Can't get enough of "Let Me Get By"

Tedeschi Trucks Band has been getting great reviews for "Let Me Get By," the new album from the 12-piece band put together by Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. And they are well-deserved.

We downloaded it as soon as it was released last week and just can't stop playing it! Every track is now in our Marvelous Mix, and we'd have a hard time leaving any out - something we can't often say about a whole album.

After merging their separate bands in 2010, husband and wife Trucks and Tedeschi released three albums on Sony Masterworks. The left the label after 2013's "Made Up Mind."

As good as their earlier albums were, "Let Me Get By" reaches another level. Recorded at T&T's home studio in Jacksonville, Fla., and produced by Trucks, it has a loose, rollicking feel from start to finish.

"It's the first truly autonomous record we've done," Trucks said in a Rolling Stone interview.

"The songs could actually open up and stretch a little bit," said Tedeschi. "There were a lot more improvisational moments where, in the past, we tried to make all the songs shorter and fit for radio. It felt more natural. The record itself breathes."

Read the interview. Visit the band's web site. And hear it in the Marvelous Mix of Music on Birch Street Radio.

Tedeschi Trucks Band perform at a festival in Readington, N.J., July 2015. Photo by Dan D.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Artists we play: Carsie Blanton

Carsie Blanton is one of the singer-songwriters who are a bit out of the mainstream but whose music we play often at Birch Street Radio.

She's a hard one to categorize: Her music blends influences of pop, folk, jazz, caberet, soul and rock, and her lyrics are quirky, humorous, perceptive, sexy -- and lots of fun.

"I write whatever kind of song gets my point across most clearly," she writes on her web site. "My point, usually, is about the miraculous, ridiculous, confusing joy of being alive."

We first caught a Carsie Blanton set when she opened for Paul Simon in 2011, and had the pleasure of seeing her again in a coffeehouse setting a couple of years later. She's now working on a new album, and has shared with us a "home demo" of one of the songs she plans to include, called "Scoundrel." You'll hear it pop up now and then in our Marvelous Mix on Birch Street Radio.

Here's a video of Carsie doing a stripped-down version of "Smoke Alarm," from her 2012 album, Idiot Heart. This was recorded in "The Watermelon," the home studio where she also recorded the Scoundrel demo.



Be sure to check out carsieblanton.com to read more and find her music, which is available for download on a name-your-own price basis.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bands we play: Lake Street Dive

We have to admit we weren't aware of Lake Street Dive until their breakout album, "Bad Self Portraits," came out two years ago. But we were happy to jump on the bandwagon and we're eagerly anticipating the release of "Side Pony" this month. The second single from the album - "I Don't Care About You" - joins "Call Off Your Dogs" on our playlist this week.

What kind of music do they play, anyhow? Well, this description in the Boston Globe is as good as any:
They blend elements from Motown, classic soul, and British Invasion rock into a winning sound that’s high-energy and highly musical.
Read the rest of the Globe's write-up about Boston's own Lake Street Dive, and hear them in our mix on Birch Street Radio.