Sunday, August 13, 2017

Josh Ritter, Hemming, The Kents & more new music added to our mix

Josh Ritter is bringing out a new album, Gathering, next month. Ritter tells NPR Music that the album title is a reference to storms building up, either in the atmosphere or internally. The first song to spin out, "Showboat," is narrated by "a big talker who carries deep inner uncertainties and struggles to keep a strong front against the world raging around him."

We return to the vibrant Philadelphia indie-music scene for the latest release by Hemming, the band led by singer-songwriter Candice Martello that we've featured before on Birch Street Radio. "Counting Stones" is a dark, piano-based ballad with a plaintive vocal lamenting a broken relationship: "I can see right through the ground / And I'm counting every single stone / That's how far I let you get me down." Hemming will be touring with Philly friends Cayatana starting with September dates in Brooklyn, Toronto, Detroit and Chicago.

Another indie act that we've featured before is Ontario quartet The Kents. They put out an EP last year and now follow up with a single, "Is There Anyone?" Lead vocalist and guitarist Warren Frank says it's "about trying to find one's place amidst the constant barrage of opinions that social media has become." Over a jittery, syncopated beat, he sings, "Is there anyone ... to tell me all the things I need to hear."

One of the current practitioners of "retro" or "vintage" rock is J.D. McPherson, who played with a rockabilly band in his home state of Oklahoma before setting out solo. Now living in Nashville (where it seems damn near every type of music is being crafted and innovated these days), he's bringing out his third album, Undivided Heart & Soul, in October. The first single is a tale about a run of misfortune, called "Lucky Penny."

Also joining our new music rotation this week is the latest from Big Head Todd and the Monsters, "Damaged One." The veteran guitar-rockers from Colorado apparently have an album due this fall, although we haven't been able to find its title or any other info. We figure it's a good bet it will also include the band's previous single, last year's "Wipeout Turn."

Here these five picks-of-the-week in our big 24/7 mix on Birch Street Radio on your favorite media player - Or hear them together right now in this set on MixCloud:

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Americana, Canadian alt-rock and more new music

We're featuring another very eclectic batch of New Music this week, ranging from the delicately beautiful sound of a female folk trio to the multi-layered sounds of young alt-rock bands.

They may not be household names in pop circles, but Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O'Donovan are superstars in the realm of folk, bluegrass and Americana. They've come together on and off in the past couple of years to perform as I'm With Her, a project that the New York Times described as an alliance of virtuosos. Violinist Watkins, guitarist O'Donovan and multi-instrumentalist Jarosz, songwriters all, meld their singing and playing beautifully. They finally have an EP coming out soon, and we're featuring the first track to emerge, "Little Lies."

Montreal alt-rockers Chair Warriors make their Birch Street Radio debut this week with "Lights Out," the first track to emerge from an upcoming EP called Dawn of Edo (a Japanese-history reference). The trio of vocalist/keyboardist Brandon Mignacca, guitarist Robert Flis and drummer Gopal Devanathan produces an expansive sound influenced by bands like Muse. Mignacca says of this song, "Lights Out is about the idea of seeing things for what they truly are. City lights deny us the chance to view the stars, among other things. It’s when the lights are out that you can truly see what the universe holds both externally and internally."

Also on our playlist for the first time is Oakland, California's Day Wave. It's the solo project of Jackson Phillips, a singer-songwriter who fleshes out his songs with guitar, synth and drums to give them a psych-pop sound. Following a couple of EPs, he released his first full-length, The Days We Had, a few months back. We're catching up with the catchy "Something Here."

Our other featured picks this week are:
  • Another track from Little Hurricane's most recent release, Same Sun, Same Moon. The California duo continues in its optimistic vein with "Isn't It Great."
  • And the ever-optimistic, unstoppable Ringo Starr has a new album coming out next month, Give More Love. We're adding the title track, wherein Ringo keeps alive the Beatles' love-is-all-you-need philosophy - which indeed we need in these times.

We play one of our 15 latest New Music picks at the top of each hour of our live stream. You can also listen to the latest five picks, listed above, in this set on Mixcloud.