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Sunday, November 28, 2021

New Music by Screens 4 Eyes, Glass Violet, Pete Yorn, Andrew Leahey, Soda Blonde


Screens 4 Eyes: What to Make of You


The latest release from the project of Tel Aviv-based musician Yael Brener is an EP, Meridians, consisting of three new tracks. It joins two albums, another EP and several stand-alone singles in the S4E catalog - some recorded with a band and others, like this one, with Brener playing all the instruments. Her brand of "indie dream pop / electro rock" is marked by dark vocals and swirling keyboard sounds creating a sense of mystery.

Glass Violet: Indigo


We've just been introduced to this indie band from Bristol, U.K. Its five members cite The Killers, Kasabian and The Strokes among their influences. They strive for "arena-size" songs with "huge choruses and melodramatic breakdowns." They've released a handful of singles in the past two years, but this is the first to reach our ears, and we're happy to pass it on to yours.

Pete Yorn: Elizabeth Taylor


The iconic actress is mentioned only in passing in this song, and we don't really know what the line means: "Why'd you have to go all Elizabeth Taylor on me?" Yorn doesn't really explain it when he says the song is "about picking yourself back up, dusting yourself off, and getting the f**k back out there.” This is the first tease of his upcoming ninth album, expected in early 2022. It's called Hawaii -- for reasons that are equally mysterious, at least for now.

Andrew Leahey & the Homestead: Keep the Car Running


We previously featured "Good at Gone" from this Nashville-based outfit's new album, American Static, Vol. 1, and now we're putting this high-powered track into our New Music bin. (Never mind that it was released as a single early this year. Don't go all Hermione Granger on us!) "Originally a celebration of the idea of hearing a song so powerful on your car radio that you won’t turn off the ignition until it ends, the track has evolved into an anthem of resilience," wrote Rolling Stone. Said Leahey: “It’s about finding your own stability during times that threaten to knock you off balance.”


Soda Blonde: I Still Have Feelings for You


This Dublin band released its first full-length album, Small Talk,in July. Now they're back with an EP consisting of stripped-down versions of four of the LP's songs, including this single. The arrangement suits this song about the difficulty of letting go: "I still can’t manage any memories that you come into / I still get weak, out of true."

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The latest adds to our New Music bin: July Talk, Lake 22, Elephant, The War on Drugs, Sting


July Talk: I Am Water


While touring to support their 2020 album, Pray for It, the Toronto-based group has spun out this high-energy single. While the lyric seems to deal with existential questions, the band's announcement of the song emphasized its ebullient sound: "Don't know about you, but we have so much pent-up energy from staying inside over the pandemic and we just wanna dance + let it out! We hope that it brings you all sorts of joy, and that you can blast it in your kitchen and let loose."

Lake 22: I Want to Hate You


The buzz from the Seattle music scene spread through college radio and has now reached us - so we're catching up on this quintet's self-titled album, released several months back. The band's bio says its music "is shaped by the grunge rock of the 80s and 90s, the Punk movement, and their parents’ record collections of classic rock, pop, and jazz." This punk-ish rocker suddenly switches gears with a jazzy piano break. Other tracks on the album go off in even more directions. Variety - just what we like!

Elephant: Calling


Photo by Jose van der Weide
We've been spinning a couple of tracks from this Rotterdam-based band's initial EP, and now we have the first single from its debut full-length, Big Thing, due in the new year. The quartet describes its sound as "sunny melancholy in a major key." This song is described as a response to pandemic lockdown, which caused many people to reflect on their lives: “Sure, I’ll work as hard as I can in this life / For a house, a car, a kid and a wife / But I’ll try to build something, out on my own / that can’t be torn down after I’m gone.”

The War on Drugs: Wasted


Compared with 2017's densely-arranged A Deeper Understanding, the Philadelphia-based band's new album, I Don't Live Here Anymore, sounds "looser and less toiled-over without losing the detail" of frontman Adam Granduciel's songwriting, AllMusic writes. This track features a quick pulse behind lyrics that seem to be the conflicted ramblings of someone trying to come to grips with a breakup: "Our lives are disconnected much too soon."

Sting: The Hills on the Border


On his new album, The Bridge, Sting reprises the Police sound with "Rushing Water," goes all-in on light pop with "If It's Love," and explores his jazz and classical influences on other tracks. We're featuring this stylistic stand-out, a folky fable that, Riff Magazine says, "with its violins, accordion and plenty of mood, sounds like a cross between Richard Thompson and October-era U2."

Saturday, November 13, 2021

New Beach House, Ana Egge, Creamery Station, Diamondtown, They Might Be Giants in our mix


Beach House: Once Twice Melody


The process of releasing "albums" keeps evolving. The duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally is bringing out a new 18-song collection, titled Once Twice Melody, in four "chapters" over four months. It's the eight Beach House album, and the first produced entirely by the band. The first installment was just released, and we're featuring the title track. "Working with a live string ensemble for the first time, they summon a sound more surrealistic than anything on 2018’s 7," writes Pitchfork, adding that this song, with lyrics about "basking in the faraway places constructed by a wandering mind ... evokes the sensual slowness of a hot summer day."

Ana Egge: Wait A Minute


Photo by Shervin Lainez
This Canadian-American singer-songwriter's music crosses genres of folk, country and pop/rock without fitting neatly into any of them. She recently released her 12th album, Between Us. Folk Alley describes our featured track well: "From the snare shot that opens the song to soulful Memphis horns that cascade in a shower of golden notes, 'Wait a Minute' shuffles exultantly into our hearts and gets us up and dancing." The lyric could apply to politics or interpersonal relations. Says Egge: “Often times things can be worked out if we take the time to slow down together and talk and listen. And we need to do that in order to stop reacting to each other. When we’re just reacting, we’re still stuck in ourselves.”

Creamery Station: Crazy Night


This Connecticut-based band "relies on its diverse players and diverse influences to bring forth performances in the tradition of the 'Jamband' genre, allowing them to take the music anywhere the moment moves them," says its press release. It released its second album last year and is working toward a third, with songs "conceived and developed by the ensemble during the pandemic months of outdoor rehearsal sessions, when live shows were few and far between." The seven-member group, formed in 2014, wears the influences of the Grateful Dead, The Band, Little Feat and the like on its collective sleeve. 

Diamondtown: Everyday Is Monday


We sail down east to find this band formed by veterans of several groups from the Nova Scotia music scene. It started with the duo of KC Spidle and Evan Cardwell, accompanied by a drum machine, and has grown into a quintet. This opening track on their self-titled album starts with a few beats from that drum machine before the full-band sound kicks in, with Meg Yoshida on drums. "This record is the most rocking thing we’ve done up until this point," says Spidle. "I think adding Meg to the fold was the crucial element to make it sound like a band.”

They Might Be Giants: Moonbeam Rays


Photo by Sam Graff
Nearly four decades into their music career, John Flansburgh and John Linnell continue to innovate. Their latest album, BOOK, packages 15 songs with a 144-page book of Brooklyn photographer Brian Karlsson's work and with lyrics styled by graphic designer Paul Sahre. We've been playing the single "I Can't Remember the Dream," and now we're featuring this rocker with a nasty-breakup lyric (that doesn't refer at all to its title). Hot Press calls the track a Big Star-comparable pop gem, while Glide Magazine says it "feels like a Yo La Tengo jam." Mostly it sounds like TMBG being TMBG.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Brand-new music by Spoon, Land of Talk, Foals, Smokey Brights, Cat Dowling


Spoon: The Hardest Cut


Photo by Oliver Halfin
The Austin-based band says the tenth album in its 25-year career will be its "purest rock 'n' roll record to date." Vulture writes that this first single "makes good on that promise ... pairing heavy detuned guitars and a jaunty solo (inspired by ZZ Top, per lead singer-songwriter Britt Daniel) with another of the band’s expectedly catchy choruses." The LP, spookily titled Lucifer on the Sofa, is scheduled for release in February.

Land of Talk: Moment Feed


Elizabeth Powell recorded her new EP on a Canadian pandemic-assistance grant that required her and her Land of Talk bandmates (Mark “Bucky” Wheaton on drums, Pietro Amato on keyboards and Amato, Chris McCarron and Erik Hove on brass) to record five songs in ten days. “I thought this was just going to be a secret release that the band never shared," says Powell. But four of the songs are being released under the title Calming Night Partner. During the making of this song, Powell says, "I kept envisioning a time when we’d finally get to play live shows again. A room full of bodies swaying, heads bopping, eyes smiling. All of us together. Together again. I believe this song was made to warm up the room in all senses.”

Foals: Wake Me Up


Photo by Edward Cooke
Here's another song written during lockdown while dreaming of live shows. “We wanted to create a contrast between the outside world and the music that we’re writing inside this small room,” frontman and guitarist Yannis Philippakis tells Consequence of Sound. “We couldn’t help but reimagine ourselves on stage and how euphoric it will be once it returns.” The band is prepping an album for next year, the first since 2019's Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2 -- and the first since the departure of keyboardist Edwin Congreave. Philippakis describes it as a “dance/disco record ... For this one, it’s back to a sweaty, late-night dance floor -- a going-out record.” Both the sound and the title remind us of Parquet Floors' "Wide Awake" -- we'll have to play them together now and then! 

Smokey Brights: Unity


Photo by Jake Hanson
The story goes that Ryan Devlin and Kim West bonded over pizza and music. They met while slinging pies at a south Seattle restaurant, soon began writing and recording songs together, and self-released their first album in 2014. Along the way they got married. Drummer Nick Krivchenia and bassist Luke Logan round out the band, which just released a pair of singles following up last year's LP I Love You But Damn. This track, West tells American Songwriter, “is a rally cry against division; an anthem against apathy."

Cat Dowling: Animals


This Dublin-based indie-pop artist has fronted bands, released a solo album in 2013 and worked on various collaborative projects. Now signed to FIFA Records, she has released a few singles this year leading up to this week's release of her LP, Animals. This title track, Dowling says, "starts as minor and ends up major. It's about the major and minor of life and of love and the constant pull in everything between major and minor and the light and the dark. It's a song ultimately of passion, wildness, sensuality and love."

Saturday, October 30, 2021

New: Elvis Costello, My Morning Jacket, Jeen, Sunflower Bean, Andrew Leahey & The Homestead


Elvis Costello and The Imposters: Magnificent Hurt


"A new album of urgent, immediate songs with bright melodies, guitar solos that sting and a quick step to the rhythm” is how the veteran rocker describes The Boy Named If, due in January. Costello says its 13 songs “take us from the last days of a bewildered boyhood to that mortifying moment when you are told to stop acting like a child — which for most men (and perhaps a few gals too) can be any time in the next 50 years.” Stereogum writes that this first single "sounds a whole lot like something that Costello might’ve made in the late ’70s. The song has a pounding backbeat, some perfect organ interjections from longtime bandmate Steve Nieve, and a lead vocal with some real snarl in it."

My Morning Jacket: Complex


After last year's release of leftover tracks from the Waterfall session, the band is back with an album of fresh material. (Seems they couldn't come up with a fresh title, though, so it's called My Morning Jacket.) New York's WFUV radio says it's "packed with everything fans look for in a My Morning Jacket album: Fully-developed, rich, anthemic rock anchored in American roots and adorned with dense layers of opulent psychedelic guitars, soaring vocals, and complex, progressive melodies."

Jeen: Recklessly


Jeen (O'Brien) says she "started writing ‘Recklessly’ last summer when my head was spinning like everyone else. Always feeling like the bottom could drop out any second. Being a musician can be challenging on a good day and I never made a plan B. So I felt that pretty hard last year and this year as well. Like that rush of not having a safety net, but maybe wishing you did.” The song is on the Toronto-based artist's new LP, Dog Bite, which also features the single "Maybe I'll Be Gone," which entered our mix a few months ago.

Sunflower Bean: Baby Don't Cry


It's been a little over a year since the Brooklyn-based trio of guitarist-vocalist Nick Kivlen, bassist-vocalist Julia Cumming and drummer Jacob Faber released its last single, "Moment in the Sun," so it's good to hear from them again. No word on whether an album is in the works, but the band is about to begin touring again after a pandemic hiatus. This song, they say, "is about how so many things in our lives are disposable. Content and news is consumed and discarded leaving us unfulfilled. 'Baby Don't Cry' is about enjoying the real. The things right in front of us that give us meaning and how sometimes, even sad songs can give you that warm feeling of hope."

Andrew Leahey & the Homestead: Good At Gone


This Nashville-based songwriter and his band just released the first half of a planned 18-track double-album, American Static Vol. 1. The band's combination of guitar-driven arrangements and storytelling lyrics bring frequent comparisons to Petty and Springsteen, but a review by The Alternate Root says the group is "a decidedly cohesive outfit that isn’t indebted to any other entity and their rugged, determined stance results in songs that are singularly stirring and flush with resilience and resolve." About this song, Leahey tells American Songwriter: “I spent four years remaining in transit the whole time. I like crazy schedules like that, but I don’t like the fact that I’ve grown accustomed to being apart from my wife for long periods of time. ‘Good at Gone’ deals with that realization. It’s a song about distance, guilt, long hauls, and payoffs.”

(Photo credit: Chad Cochran)