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Saturday, May 14, 2022

New from Florence + The Machine, Arkells, Andrew Leahey & The Homestead, Mt. Joy, Camp Cope

Florence + The Machine: Free

The new album from Florence Welch and company, Dance Fever, is co-produced by Welch and Jack Antonoff. NME writes that it packs "an invigorated spirit into powerful, sneakily thrilling pop," This track "channels the intensity of Welch’s previous work, but in a more euphoric direction. Its twitchy percussion arrangements heighten one of the most ecstatic choruses of the band’s career, and Welch approaches the subject of overcoming anxiety with sustained wonder that such happiness is even possible."  

Arkells: Past Life (feat. Cold War Kids)

This is the second single released ahead of the Ontario-based band's upcoming album Blink Twice (the follow up to last year's Blink Once). “Last fall we were in LA working on music and had this driving 80’s song about being present in the moment, and liberating yourself from the past,” says frontman Max Kerman. “We wrote the first verse and left the second one open, hoping that Nathan (Willett) from Cold War Kids might be drawn to the collaboration. CWK were one of our early influences when we started our band, and we’ve been lucky enough to share the stage with them over the years, and honoured to record this tune with them.”

Andrew Leahey & The Homestead: Caught Like a Fire

The newly released American Static, Vol. 2 completes an 18-track collection from this Nashville band. Entertainment Focus writes that the group "started out with a fair amount of Americana in the mix of what they were doing, but they’ve pared that back and become more of a straight-ahead rock band." We're featuring the opening track of Vol. 2, which AllMusic says "ignites into a rousing chorus of ringing guitars and harmonies, setting a confident tone that carries for the rest of the set." 

Mt. Joy: Evergreen

Formed by Philadelphia natives and high school friends Matt Quinn (vocals, guitar) and Sam Cooper (guitar),and now a five-piece band based in Los Angeles, the group is preparing to release its third full-length album, Orange Blood. "Evergreen is the shot of tequila on this record," says Quinn. "It’s a love song about trusting what you have during times when the world seems to be changing faster than we can keep up."

Camp Cope: Running With The Hurricane

This is the title track from the third album by the Melbourne, Australia trio of singer-songwriter-guitarist Georgia Maq, bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich and drummer Sarah Thompson. NME says "it marks a change of pace for a band who made their name with self-described ‘power emo’ songs that often addressed pressing issues head-on." Maq tells the website: “It’s just a change in perspective because of what the world has experienced the last few years. In Australia, we had the bushfires and I was like, ‘how can anything be worse than this? This is terrible.’ And then Covid happened. The hurricane really felt like a metaphor for chaos and loss of control, and just going with that.”

Saturday, May 7, 2022

New music variety from Maggie Rogers, Wilco, Grand Splendid, Bear's Den, Sally Dige

Maggie Rogers: That's Where I Am

The singer-songwriter's second album (or fourth, if you count two self-released sets) won't be out until late July, but this first single is moving quickly up the charts. NPR writes: "Stuttering electronics and handclaps underpin the momentum that builds through the song's first minute, but then Rogers opens a floodgate of sleek guitar distortion, bassy synth and gated reverb on crashing drums." At heart, it's a simple love song, about a relationship that starts out a bit rocky but works out well: "Wish we could do this forever / And never remember mistakes that we made ... It all works out in the end / Wherever you go, that’s where I am."

Wilco: Falling Apart (Right Now)

Wilco has long lived along the vague border between alt-country and indie-rock. They veer sharply to one side of the line on their upcoming album, a 21-track extravaganza called Cruel Country. Bandleader Jeff Tweedy says country music "has always been the ideal place to comment on what most troubles my mind – which for more than a little while now has been the country where I was born, these United States." Most of the album was recorded in live takes at the Loft in Chicago.

Grand Splendid: Heartstrings

This Montreal indie-rock band is back with its third single, leading up to an album expected later this year. The three songs so far demonstrate a good range of sounds: A touch of cosmic rock on "You Are the Universe," traces of Beatles influence on "Magic" and an echo of 80s bands like Dream Academy on this new track. Lead vocalist Julian Buchbinder says overall, the LP features "a lot of guitars and vocal melodies," with some upbeat songs and some more melancholic. "We think that they work well together as a whole."

Bear's Den: Blue Hours

The U.K.-based band is about to release its fourth studio album, Blue Hours. The songwriting duo of Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones say the title track "is a song about communicating with someone that’s hard to reach. It’s this idea of trying to have a conversation with someone through one-way glass, where they can’t even see you and there’s a real disconnect with how you’re communicating. On one level, it’s also an internal thing, where you’re trying to get through to yourself.” .

Sally Dige: I Will Be the Sun for You

A Danish-Canadian artist based in Berlin, Germany, Dige has released two albums and a handful of singles over the past several years, but this is the first to reach our ears. We're told her sound has evolved over time from disco-inspired electro, to post-punk, to synth-based "ethereal new romantic" and now to indie pop. After releasing an album composed and recorded entirely on one synthesizer, Dige says, “the natural form of self-rebellion was to pick up instruments that didn't need electricity to function, and play with strings and the hands again." Mandolin and balalaika are among the instruments heard on this upbeat, uplifting song.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Arcade Fire, Martin Courtney, Ellevator, Metric, Trombone Shorty added to our New Music bin

Arcade Fire: Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)

The second single to emerge ahead of the upcoming album We is "a lullaby for the end times, sung to my son, but for everyone," says frontman Win Butler. “There’s nothing saccharine about unconditional love in a world that is coming apart at the seams.” During their surprise set at Coachella, Rolling Stone reports, Butler got so emotional performing the song that the band "had to stop and start again after he composed himself." The album, due this week, was produced by Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich along with Butler and his wife and bandmate, RĂ©gine Chassagne.

Martin Courtney: Corncob

The second solo album from the Real Estate frontman, Magic Sign, is coming in June. This opening track, Courtney says, is a recollection of "the end of youth, pre-adulthood," of driving aimlessly with friends "to get as completely lost as possible ... Eventually getting home using these little green signs that are posted throughout the New Jersey suburbs telling you which way to go to reach different towns. We called them magic signs.” Brooklyn Vegan calls it "a nicely mellow track bathed in pedal steel and nostalgia." 

Ellevator: Slip

The Hamilton, Ontario-based trio's first full-length album, The Words You Spoke Still Move Me, comes out this week. On this track, singer Nabi Sue Bersche says, "We went full prog-rock ... and tapped into some mythological nerdery." It's based on a Scottish fable about a Selkie - a seal/woman captured and held against her will on land. "Our Selkie returns to the water after drowning the man who held her captive. It’s easy to imbue elemental stories like this with all sorts of meanings. I think this one is about killing the things that hold us captive and returning to the water, wherever that is for you."

Metric: All Comes Crashing

Photo: credit: Justin Broadbent
The Toronto band just announced that its eight studio album, Formentera, is coming in July. This first single is a love-in-a-time-of-calamity song. "When push it comes to shove / We do not fall out of love," Emily Haines sings. "There’s no one I would rather be lying beside / When it all comes crashing." (Didn't Frodo say something like that to Sam at Mount Doom?) The band says the album is named for an island near Ibiza, a "dream destination" they read about while stuck in Toronto during the pandemic. Says Haines: "We came to this realization that it wasn’t even about an actual place anymore, it was about creating an escape for yourself in your mind because you’re powerless over so many things.”

Trombone Shorty: Lie to Me

We're featuring another track from the just-released LP, Lifted, by the musician who will headline the closing night of this week's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The trombone wizard also plays trumpet and tuba on this track, and brings in the drumline from his alma mater, Warren Easton High School, evoking a parade through the streets of his native city. 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Brand-new music from Bonnie Raitt, Marcus King, The Suffers, Common Deer, The Silos

Bonnie Raitt: Livin' for the Ones

On her 21st album, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner shows her singing, songwriting and guitar-playing are as excellent as ever. The LP was recorded during the summer of 2021, and this song reflects on lives lost to Covid, with the message that we must make the most of our own lives in their honor. It's a co-write with frequent collaborator George Marinelli, who joins in on guitar and vocals. The record also features two veteran members of Raitt’s band, bassist James Hutchinson and drummer Ricky Fataar, as well as Glenn Patscha (keyboards/backing vocals) and Kenny Greenberg (guitar). Its 10 tracks are a mix of originals -- including the title song, equal parts heart-wrenching and heart-warming -- and covers, including "Love So Strong" by Toots and the Maytals. Raitt planned to record the song as a duet with Toots Hibbert -- but he was one of "the ones" taken by the pandemic.

Marcus King: Hard Working Man

Working again with Dan Auerbach, who produced 2019's El Dorado, the blues-rock guitarist is preparing to release Young Blood in August. King says the music of the English band Free and its late guitarist Paul Kossof was running through his head when he was writing this song. The result, writes Rolling Stone: "The high-octane track explodes with an FM-radio chorus, a chunky guitar riff, and enough cowbell to satisfy Christopher Walken. [It] sounds as if it arrived in the year 2022 by way of a bitchin’, time-traveling 1970 Camaro."

The Suffers: Don't Bother Me

This Houston-based ensemble fronted by singer Kam Franklin will release its third studio album, It Starts With Love, in June. This first single started with a demo Franklin received several years ago from a friend, Swedish writer/producer Johan Karlberg. The band finally took it into a studio and "knocked it out over the course of two-and-a-half days," the singer said in a statement. "Influenced by the complexities, power, and care of Buena Vista Social Club, Miami Sound Machine, and Sly and The Family Stone, ‘Don’t Bother Me’ is a demand to be left alone by the outside world so that the wildness, fun, mistakes, and freedom that should come with being a young adult can truly be embraced.”

Common Deer: Take Me Home

Comprised of two sets of siblings -- Sheila Hart (vocals), Adam Hart (guitar, synthesizer), Liam Farrell (percussion, samples) and Connor Farrell (bass) -- this Toronto group just released its first LP, Maximalist, following a couple of EPs and then a pandemic-forced break. "It’s hard to feel like a musician when you can’t really record or perform," Sheila Hart tells Streets of Toronto. "I’ve definitely had a couple of identity crises over the last two years! But I’ve tried to combat that feeling by continuing to write a lot." She describes the album as "a lot of fun, despite the heavier lyrical themes. I was going through a lot of ups and downs with my relationships and mental illness throughout the writing process, and all of that ended up in the record. It’s definitely very personal. The music itself is pretty upbeat, and I love how that juxtaposes with the more serious lines."

The Silos: My Favorite Animal

The Silos initially emerged in New York in the 1980s, playing what might now be called alternative or Americana music, and were named Best New Artist in the 1987 Rolling Stone Critics Poll. We confess we weren't aware of them then, and the band's makeup and sound have morphed over the years. It's led by co-founder Walter Salas-Humara, who says it has "members all over the United States and in parts of Europe." Its upcoming album, Family, "was recorded in the Northeast, the Midwest, Texas and Germany, with members from all those regions dropping in on each other’s tracks via our modern technology." Salas-Humara describes this first single as "a melodic rock effort with a funky groove and sticky guitar and organ hooks. The lyric condenses the diversity in our cultures and ecosystems into a beautiful universality. Certainly the right message in troubled times."

Saturday, April 16, 2022

New releases from Dear Rouge, The Interrupters, The Killers, Georgia Harmer, The Grand Southern

Dear Rouge: Facedown

The third album by the Vancouver duo of Danielle and Drew McTaggart opens with this track that entertainment site Exclaim! calls "a sizzling electropop banger in the mold of St. Vincent's more energetic numbers." The LP, which also includes last year's single "Fake Fame" and recent single "Small Talk," grew from the couple's retreat to a lakeside cottage after the release of 2018's Phases. “I had this epiphany,” Danielle says, “that we needed to come back to ourselves and the joy and comfort we found in each other when we began writing music together.” They took "a more grassroots approach to the instrumentation," reports Canadian Beats. "Acoustic guitars from the tracks’ demo stages remain audible. Songs written on piano are kept to their instrument of origin, instead of being replaced by synthesizers. ... It’s all still distinctly Dear Rouge, but more personal, more vulnerable, and more intimate."

The Interrupters: In The Mirror

The ska-influenced Los Angeles band fronted by Aimee Interrupter (a.k.a. Aimee Allen) is prepping its fourth studio album, In the Wild, and we have the first single. With their bouncy, 80s-ish, Pat-Benatar-meets-early-Police sound, they pack enormous energy into this three minutes. The group says the album "takes you on a journey throughout Aimee’s life and every song is deeply personal." This number has a theme of coming to terms with yourself: "No matter how far I go / I always end up back here / In the mirror ... only in the mirror."

The Killers: The Getting By II

The new Deluxe Edition of the band’s 2021 Pressure Machine features "reimaginings" of some of the story-songs from that album. In this case, it takes a less-Killers-like song from the critically acclaimed album and converts it into a more-Killers-like single. The original version of "The Getting By" closed the LP in quiet contemplation. This regrooving "speeds up the original into a gleaming, euphoric track that erupts into a stadium-sized anthem," writes Udiscovermusic.

Georgia Harmer: Top Down

Last month we featured the single "All In My Mind," and now we add another track from this Toronto singer-songwriter's debut album, Stay in Touch, slated for release this week. The song has a pleasant, breezy sound, although Harmer says it's “about feeling frustrated by my own powerlessness.” The Revue writes: "With the blend of alt-country and dream-pop, she sounds like her talented aunt Sarah Harmer collaborating with Canadian royals Alvvays," with her vocal "accentuated by the shimmering acoustic and great electric leads."

The Grand Southern: Born to Break

Dash Hutton (vocals, drums) and Jesse Tyre Karp (vocals, guitar) formed this band in Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon and "create music that draws on the storied lineage of this locale, with their rich, nuanced Americana,” as Relix Magazine put it a few years back. Their new album, Don't Say Anything, is described as the culmination of three years of writing and recording. In addition to 70s artists like Graham Parsons, Poco and the like, their sound blends well with contemporary bands like Real Estate, Dawes and Lost Leaders.