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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Latest from Wye Oak, Jeffrey Gaines, Jacobs Run and more in our New Music bin this week

We're glad to hear Wye Oak has a new album on its way, and we're jumping on the first single, which is also the title track: "The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs." Originally from Baltimore (where their namesake tree grew), Jenn Wasner has relocated to North Carolina and Andy Stack to Texas, and they put the album together in a series of visits to each other's home studios. In a statement, the duo says the album addresses "a litany of modern malaises" with songs "radiating self-reflection and resolve, wielding hooks and musical intricacy as a shield against the madness of the moment." If that sounds a bit grandiose, the track itself is filled with energy, combining synths and guitar with soaring, overdubbed vocals.

Pennsylvania-based singer-songwriter Jeffrey Gaines has just released his latest album - the first since 2003. What's he been doing in the meantime? "Playing live was what I was doing and just loving that," he told Medium.com. An appearance at SXSW helped renew industry connections and led to Gaines working with Omnivore Recordings and producer Chris Price on the new collection, Alright. The studio band consists of bassist Davey Faragher and drummer Pete Thomas, who have worked with Elvis Costello, and guitarist Val McCallum, who has played with Jackson Browne and Sheryl Crow among others. Costello is a major influence on Gaines - unmistakably so in our pick for the New Music bin, "Seems To Me."

It hasn't been widely released yet, but we're happy to have an early copy of another single from Melbourne's Jacobs Run. "So Beautiful" is a solid mid-tempo rocker with a lyric about a new love interest - a more-sophisticated take on the old since-I-saw-her-standing-there theme (pardon the Beatles reference).

For our other New Music picks of the week, we're dipping back into albums that we've featured recently. In both cases, we're actually catching up with the first singles that were released a few months back.

"Black Tree" from King of Spades, the latest album by Nashville/Atlanta duo Fox Grin. It's a shimmering number with a nouveau-prog sound.

And "We Can Pretend" from the Keepsake album by New York-based Elizabeth and the Catapult. It's a sweet-and-a-bit-sad song reflecting on childhood and how it shapes us: "All we are now is what we choose to remember."

As always we welcome your suggestions about music and musicians that you think would fit in well on Birch Street Radio. Contact us on this page, on Facebook or Twitter or at birchstreetradio@gmail.com. And thanks for listening!

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