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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Latest by Rachael Sage, Crooked Teeth, The Perms, The Wolfe, Erika Wennerstrom join our mix

New York singer-songwriter-producer Rachael Sage grabbed our attention a few years ago when we saw her share a stage with Judy Collins. That makes us relative latecomers, as she's been performing and recording for more than two decades. Sage has just released her 13th album, Myopia, and it's arguably her best collection. It includes a cover of Howard Jones' "No One Is To Blame" (Sage just finished a tour with him). But it's her original songs that make a big impression -- ranging from the upbeat, optimistic "Alive" to an unsettling look into the mind of a misanthrope, "Sympathy Seed." Our pick for the New Music bin is the very catchy "Olivia." Sage tells BlackBook that the song is inspired by a certain "fiercely intelligent, empathetic and heroic character" on television.

From a very different part of the music spectrum comes Crooked Teeth, an electro/dance band from Glasgow by way of London. Their debut single for indie label Lost In The Manor, "Mountain Song," mixes synths, guitars and electronic beats into a swirl of sound that could fill a dance club or provide the soundtrack for a road trip.

Indie-rock trio The Perms released their fourth album, Miracle, a few months back, but it's taken a while for it to reach our ears from their home base in Winnipeg. They specialize in the compact, under-three-minute pop song, and we're picking up a perfect 2:32 example, the bouncy single "Lose Yourself."

From just a bit farther west, in Saskatchewan, comes The Wolfe, a female rock/power-pop trio that's just released its second EP, Strange Words. We're spinning the single, "Tip Of My Tongue." Canadian Beats called it "a nice balance of catchy pop energy with that rock-and-roll edge."

And we've decided we haven't heard enough of Erika Wennerstrom, the Heartless Bastards vocalist who released her solo album, Sweet Unknown, several weeks ago. So we're dipping back into that set for the hypnotic slow-burner "Extraordinary Love." Wennerstrom says the song is about loving oneself first: "If I can't be kind and loving to myself how can I expect anybody else to?"

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