Sunday, July 31, 2016

We're building a better Birch Street Radio

We're creating a new, improved, commercial-free version of Birch Street Radio.

Our "marvelous mix of music" is preparing to move to a new internet stream. You might say we're changing channels -- like when a TV series moves from one network to another.

On our new stream, we'll continue playing new & classic music by bands & singer-songwriters from the '60s to today -- and more music, because we won't have to take station breaks to allow for advertisements.

We'll make the switch gradually, At the moment, we're simulcasting the same program on both channels. The new one is available on TuneIn, Radio.netRadioforest,netStreema.com and certain other sites, as well as the mobile apps from TuneIn, Radio.net and Nobex. The original stream continues on Radionomy,com and certain other sites. Both can be found on Shoutcast.com by searching for Birch Street Radio.

Once we're sure things are working well, we will split the programming. The new stream will drop the station breaks. The older stream will keep running for a while, but with a smaller playlist and commercial breaks. If you're listening to the older stream, you'll hear announcements asking you to come to this website and connect to the new stream. Eventually the older stream will be discontinued.

The internet-broadcasting landscape has been going through a lot of change lately, and there's always a chance we'll have to make further moves or changes in the future. But we plan to do whatever's best to keep the music playing -- and we hope you'll continue listening to Birch Street Radio.

Remember, you can always find the latest links & players here at birchstreetradio.com

Image: RCA Victor inspector tests frequency alignment of a radio at factory in Camden, N.J., circa 1936. Source: National Archives.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Our journey of musical discovery continues

Have you heard of Canadian singer-songwriter Lauren Mann? Neither had we until her latest album, Dearestly, showed up on Noisetrade.com (a site we highly recommend, by the way). We started listening and couldn't stop.

We're adding "New Beginning" to our New Music bin, and a bunch of other tracks are going into our Marvelous Mix of Music.

So who is Lauren Mann? A Calgary native now living on Canada's west coast, she was the winner of a CBC-Radio Canada's "Searchlight" talent contest a couple of years ago (read an interview here).

Our other new adds couldn't be much more different: A couple of hard rock tracks and some British indie pop:
  • OK we'll also admit that we're not familiar with the L.A. alt-rock band Failure, which broke up in 1997. But it's now reunited and issued its first album in 20 years, The Heart Is A Monster. We're spinning "Hot Traveler."
  • Yet another band that's news to us: Mammal Not Fish, four lads from Norwich, U.K. They've just put out their first EP, Wake Up! One track won its way into our New Music bin: "Dreaming Of The Sea."
  • And more from Canada: The band Billy Talent has a lot to say about global issues on its fifth album, Afraid of Heights. We're adding the title track, which allmusic.com calls "a melodic pop/rock bomb, the central thesis of the entire record: conquering fear and taking a step into the unknown."

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Vim, Vigor, Emotions, Math, Youth & More!

Our new-music adds this week include brand-new tracks from Carsie Blanton, Local Natives and Tyler Boone, as well as additional tracks from recent albums by Margaret Glaspy and Band of Horses.

Carsie Blanton's second release from her upcoming So Ferocious album - "Vim & Vigor" - is an unabashed celebration of female libido. The video takes on the women-objectifying cliches of so many music vids and flips them on their butts, so to speak. Near-naked babes fawning over the singer? Sure, just substitute hunks. Gender politics aside, the song is just a lot of fun.

We've been playing Tyler Boone's "Paper Wings," a delicate end-of-an-affair song. It was the teaser for his latest five-song EP, True Experience, which came out a few days ago. We're jumping on its first track, "Don't Let Me Down," which has a much different, rocking sound that shows off this Nashville-based musician's range. 

Also added to our New Music bin:
  • The title track from Margaret Glaspy's full-length debut, "Emotions and Math" 
  • "Fountain of Youth," the latest single to emerge from Local Natives' upcoming Sunlit Youth album
  • And we've picked up two more cuts from Why Are You OK? by Band of Horses: "In A Drawer" and "Solemn Oath."

Sunday, July 17, 2016

LA indie band Night Talks & more new music


The latest band to enter the Birch Street Radio playlist is Night Talks, a Los Angeles quartet that just released its debut single.

On "Green," lead singer Soraya Sebghati laments being turned into a "green monster" by jealousy.

The track falls somewhere between emo and driving alt-rock. Sebghati's voice - slightly reminiscent of Evanescence's Amy Lee but smoother - is backed by a tight band consisting of Jacob Butler on guitar, bassist Josh Arteaga and drummer Cris Arteaga.

They haven't yet set a release date for their full album, but we'll be keeping tabs on that.

Also added to our New Music bin this week:
  • "Locator," a single that Wilco dropped out of the blue this week. It seems to be a song about GPS, with a Radiohead-ish feel of paranoia: "Something in the sky can find me... I tell locator everything it wants to know." 
  • "Casual Party" by Band of Horses. For everyone who's ever been to a party that made them hate humanity. 
  • "I'm Not the One," the latest single to spin out from Pete Yorn's "Arranging Time."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

We're testing new transmission methods

We're working on ways to improve Birch Street Radio and how we bring it to you.

We're making arrangements with a new streaming service to carry our Marvelous Music Mix without commercial interruptions. It would also make Birch Street Radio available on more sites and apps.

If all goes as planned, we'll make the switch in the coming days. We'll update all the players on this website and our listings on other internet radio sites so you can easily switch to our new "channel."

Stay tuned for further updates. We don't want you lose us when we move!

Image: British Post Office engineers inspect Marconi's radio equipment during demonstration on Flat Holm Island, 13 May 1897. Source: Wikipedia. Used with permission.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

This is the song for this moment in the USA

Switchfoot's latest album was officially released July 8 - and it contains a song that might as well have been written that very day.

Coming at the end of a very distressing week in the United States, "Looking For America" is as timely as a song could possibly be. A sampling of the lyrics:
I'm looking for the place that I was born/I'm looking for a way to fix what's torn/I'm looking for America ... 
I want to see a nation rise above the fear and fight that haunts these streets tonight ...
Headlines that I can't believe in/But I'm still holding on to hope/I'm looking for a miracle/I'm looking for America.
The track features hip-hop artist Lecrae. Both Switchfoot and Lecrae have been described as Christian artists, but shouldn't be pigeonholed as religious-music performers. It's more accurate to say they are musicians who aren't afraid to let their attitudes and beliefs come through in their music.

Here they share their belief in what America can be - and the changes that are needed to get there.

You'll be hearing "Looking For America" in our New Music rotation.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Catching up & adding recent music

We've been playing early-release tracks from the new Sarah Jarosz album, Undercurrent. And now that the full album is out and we've had a chance to give it a good listen, we've added a bunch more to our playlist. This is an amazing talent - her virtuoso playing, her expressive voice and her songwriting add up to mesmerizing music.

You've been hearing us play "Too Late" and "Mercy" from Bonnie Bishop's new album, Ain't Who I Was, and now we've added "Looking For You" to our rotation.

Scott Krokoff, one of our featured indie artists, has been posting some fresh videos on his site lately, and that prompted us to take another listen to his 2015 album Realizations & Declarations Vol. 2 and add another track, "Sparrows," to our playlist.

And we've added a couple more selections from the new Wye Oak album, Tween. You'll hear "If You Should See" and "Better (For Esther) in our mix.

Our playlist is constantly expanding - and we welcome your suggestions! Comment here or email us.