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Saturday, April 21, 2018

From the USA, UK, Norway and France - Here are this week's New Music picks

After the smashing success of their Grammy-nominated debut album, Los Angeles retro-rock band The Record Company is preparing to release its sophomore effort, All Of This Life. The first single, "Life To Fix," dropped on Friday and immediately landed on NPR Music's "Songs We Love" list and a Rolling Stone best-of-the-week list. The venerable rock magazine called it "a rough-and-tumble ode to hitting rock bottom and building yourself 'back up, brick by brick.' Fans of the band's rootsy take on rock & roll should dig the track, which isn't so much a return to form as it is taking that form to a big new level."

Photo: Alex John Beck
Ash, a trio of alternative rockers from Northern Ireland, has a long and colorful history (amusingly documented here) and a strong UK following, but is less well known on the western side of the Atlantic. And we have to admit we're not familiar with their catalog. But the new single "Annabel," from their forthcoming seventh studio album, Islands, caught our ear with a pop-punk sound that brings us back to the 90s. They'll be stopping in Boston, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles in September.

Frank Turner's next album, Be More Kind, is due May 5 but he's already released five tracks. The latest is "Blackout" - literally about a power outage, but as Turner says, "It’s about how we might collectively respond to social dislocation and collapse.” Which, the song suggests, is already going on around us. "We're all caught in the blackout / Trying to feel our way out."

From the British Isles we jump over to Norway, where Aurora has released a new single, "Queendom." The song imagines a magical land where the powerless are empowered under a benevolent queen. "You have a home in my queendom," she sings. She says the song is "about the shy people and the lonely people, and I hope it can be a place where we can come and be lonely together and then not be lonely anymore." There's word that this track will be on an upcoming album, expected to appear in the fall.

Also finding its way into our New Music bin this week is a track by a band from Nice, France, with the curious name Kill the Moose. "We are largely influenced by the shoegaze scene and British rock from the 90’s," says guitarist Alex Ornon. In recent months they've put out three EPs, and from the most recent, Good Girl, we're picking up on the nervously dreamy "Omen." "Another graceful day has come to be," sings vocalist Elisabeth Massena. "It's more than I can take."

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