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Sunday, March 19, 2023

New from The Heavy, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Hannah Jadagu, Northlake, Daughter

The Heavy: I Feel the Love

Here's the second single to emerge ahead of this funk-rock band's upcoming sixth album, Amen. Never mind that the group hails from Bath, England, American Songwriter says the track "rollicks with Pentecostal-pop energy, rich with Mississippi heat."

St. Paul & the Broken Bones: Sea Star

Photo: Paige Sara
This is the first single from the Alabama band's upcoming album, Angels in Science Fiction. Bandleader Paul Janeway says it was inspired by a fable about a man who picks up a starfish on the beach and tosses it back into the sea. A passerby points to many other washed-up starfish and tells him "you’re not going to make a dent in this." The man replies "I made a difference for that one." Says Janeway: "I hope that the moral is one that I teach my child: ‘Try your best to make a difference, starting with the people that are around you.’"

Hannah Jadagu: What You Did

Photo: Sterling Smith
Following her debut EP, released by SubPop when she was barely out of high school, this Texas native will release her first full-length album this spring. Stereogum calls this single "crunchy and satisfying, a blast of fuzz accompanying Jadagu insistent chorus of  “I know what you did.” 

Northlake: Falling Out of Fashion

Guitarist Dylan Ackelbein, originally from Fleetwood, U.K., and bassist Devlin Manning from Dallas started out playing together around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. They met Austin DeLoach working at a local studio, and in 2020 asked him to join as their singer. Rounding out the group is drummer Josh Street, who grew up in Charlotte, N.C. As diverse as their backgrounds are the influences they cite - from Led Zeppelin, King Crimson and Pink Floyd to The 1975, Clairo and Harry Styles. This single is the first of theirs to reach our ears.

Daughter: Party

Another single emerges from the London trio's upcoming LP Stereo Mind Game. This song is described as "recogniz[ing] that that in order to maintain relationships with others, we must first make peace with ourselves. [It] recounts the place that Elena Tonra got to before deciding to give up alcohol." The lyric speaks of being afraid of getting so drunk at a party that the singer might forget "The worst night of my life / or even worse, the best."

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Eclectic New Music: The Drifts, Matt Andersen, Touch The Buffalo, Slaid Cleaves, Holly Rees

The Drifts: Breaking Every Bone

One of three new-to-us artists that we're featuring this week, this Toronto-based alt-rock band was formed in 2019 and has one album to its credit. This single from an upcoming EP was co-written with the Monowhales, with singer Alyssa Holmes and bandmate Sam Nyberg building around on their collaborators' initial lyric of “I’m breaking every bone in my body / Trying to write a love song.”

Matt Andersen & The Big Bottle of Joy: So Low Solo

An award-winning blues guitarist and singer-songwriter from New Brunswick, Andersen selected eight musicians and singers and then wrote music specifically for their talents. The result is The Big Bottle of Joy, the name of both the band and their new album. It was recorded "live-off-the-floor" at The Sonic Temple in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Touch The Buffalo: In Six Heads About It

When the promo for a new release says "for fans of Aerosmith [and] Mumford and Sons," one has to be skeptical. And really this band from the Washington DC area doesn't sound much like either, but this track does include both ukelele strumming and loud guitars. We're told this single will be on a new EP called Bodhicitta, which means "a mind that is aimed at awakening." Yet the band says this track "lyrically, structurally and emotionally is trying to capture the feeling of a descent into madness"

Slaid Cleaves: Through the Dark

This is the sort-of-title track from Together Through the Dark, the first new collection in five years from the Texas-based folk singer. Cleaves has said the song is "about offering comfort in hard times" -- which resonates given that the album was recorded between Covid surges early last year. “Can’t fight the storm outside" he sings here, "but we can wait it out.”

Holly Rees: Missing Out (Again)

The original recording of "Missing Out" was on the singer-songwriter's 2018 solo acoustic EP Slow Down, and is heard now and then on our midday show, The Bistro. Now the Newcastle, UK, artist has released this re-imagined, full-band version. The song is billed as "the punchy antithesis of tired break-up songs, where catchy guitar riffs meet a witty tongue-in-cheek lyricism coated over sincere feeling."

Saturday, March 4, 2023

New: Peter Gabriel + Ian Hunter + Natalie Merchant + Sam Roberts Band + Madison Cunningham

Peter Gabriel: The Court

Of this latest single from the upcoming album I/O, Gabriel says: "I had this idea for ‘the court will rise’ chorus, so it became a free-form, impressionistic lyric that connected to justice, but there’s a sense of urgency there. A lot of life is a struggle between order and chaos and in some senses the justice or legal system is something that we impose to try and bring some element of order to the chaos. That’s often abused, it’s often unfair and discriminatory but at the same time it’s probably an essential part of a civilised society. But we do need to think sometimes about how that is actually realised and employed."

Ian Hunter: Bed of Roses

The veteran rocker and former Mott the Hoople frontman has brought together an all-star cast for his next album, Defiance Pt. 1. This first single features Ringo Starr on drums and Mike Campbell on guitar. Other contributors to the LP include Jeff Beck, Todd Rundgren, Billy F. Gibbons, Slash and many more. The project started during lockdown, with Hunter putting together basic tracks in his Connecticut basement. He put out word to his musician friends and was overwhelmed with responses.  “It was a fluke,” he says. “It’s amazing what’s happened. It’s been such a buzz.”

Natalie Merchant: Come On, Aphrodite (feat. Abena Koomson-Davis)

After a gap of nearly a decade, the singer-songwriter and former member of 10,000 Maniacs will release her ninth solo album, Keep Your Courage, next month. She describes this first single as an "invocation to the goddess of love and passion. ...In the lyrics, I list all the clich├ęs we use to describe falling in love: being drunk and blind, over the moon, weak in the knees, and half out of our minds. For the Greeks, when the spirit of love descended, it was seen as a kind of assault; you would become powerless against an all-consuming, sweet madness. Amazingly, humans still crave it, in spite of the perils.” Merchant is joined here by Abena Koomson-Davis, a performer, educator and musical director of the Resistance Revival Chorus.

Sam Roberts Band: Picture of Love

Photo by Dave Gillespie
It's the 20th anniversary of this Montreal native's debut album, We Were Born in a Flame, which won JUNO awards for Album of the Year, Rock Album of the Year, and Artist of the Year. The next SRB album, following 2020's All of Us, is due in the fall, and this is the first single. It's a warm mid-tempo number with a mix of strumming and chiming guitars.

Madison Cunningham, Remi Wolf: Hospital (One Man Down)

These two Los Angeles-based artists teamed up to reimagine this song from Cunningham's Revealer album, which was released in September and won the Grammy for Best Folk Album. Cunningham says the song "has always had this underlying feeling of wanting to fall apart at the seams and then actively restraining itself. ... I wanted to make a version that knew zero restraint and hinges off completely. Being a major fan of Remi’s, I knew she would be the voice to help me cross that line."

Photo by Claire Marie Vogel.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Waeve debuts, plus Bully w/Soccer Mommy, Kenny Hughes, The Whythouse, True Lies

The Waeve: Sleepwalking

Guitarist Graham Coxon, from the veteran British band Blur, and singer-songwriter Rose Elinor Dougall have teamed up and just released their debut album, also called The Waeve. DIY Magazine calls it "a curious collection of contrasts. Most notably, that between the protagonists’ own voices: Rose’s a strong, smooth and often deep one ... Graham’s his signature twang, faltering and vulnerable. ...  Cinematic in scope, often luscious in its arrangements, [the album is] a singular gem." This track features Dougall's voice, with percussion, string and wind instruments building gradually behind her and finally joined by Coxon's guitar.

Bully: Lose You (feat. Soccer Mommy)

Compared with a track like "I Don't Know Where To Start" from Sugaregg, this new single pushes Bully's raw garage-rock sound into a more pop direction, as Alicia Bognanno teams up with another Nashville artist, Soccer Mommy's Sophie Allison. aking her rocket-fueled garage rock to dynamic new heights. Today she’s back with a new standalone single, billed as a precursor to a new album coming later this year. Stereogum writes: "It meets in the midpoint between the two bands’ aesthetics, trading out Bully’s usual rapid-speed intensity for an ambling ’90s alt-rock vibes while holding onto the raw power. It might be the most purely catchy Bully song to date."

Kenny Hughes: Midnight Man

This South African blues-rocker has been a traveling musician for the past six years, periodically releasing singles. This is the first one to find its way to our ears. It starts with some gentle struming and winds up rocking hard. The inspiration for the lyric is simple: "the fact that I do most of my best work after midnight," says Hughes. "When the rest of the world is asleep, our creativity as musicians keeps us awake."

The Whythouse: Breathe

Fronted by Chris Hale, a multi-genre artist from Waterloo, Ontario, this group is touted as an urban-country collective creating "their own lane of feel-good music." There's a bit of country flavor here, but to our ears this song has echoes of Jack Johnson blended with traces of Barenaked Ladies. The result is a fun, loose-limbed shuffle.

True Lies: Landmine

This blast of 80's-style jangle pop (the intro reminds us of The Bangles) comes to us from Malmoe, Sweden. The band formed back in 1987 and has been touring and building a fan bace throughout Scandanavia. This single is from the group's seventh album, New World Blues.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Our latest picks - from The Revivalists, Inhaler, Feist, King Tuff, The New Pornographers

The Revivalists: Kid

Photo by Zackery Michael
Coming in June: Pour It Out Into The Night, the fifth studio album from this New Orleans-based roots-rock band. This first single is a little more laid-back than some of their hits. It's described as "a hopeful anthem about finding the zest for life, self-belief and 'just living for the spirit.'" Grateful Web writes: "With an infectious melody and piano peeking through bright acoustic guitar, intricate layers of the band's distinctive instrumentation power a euphoric chantable chorus."

Inhaler: Just To Keep You Satisfied

The follow-up to 2021's It Won't Always Be Like This suggests that, in fact, this band is staying its alt-pop course. Here's the opening track from their sophomore album, Cuts and Bruises, which also contains the recent singles "These Are The Days" and "Love Will Get You There." The Independent writes: "The Irish four-piece make music that is uncomplicated, hooky and very listenable – if a little commercial. ... [The new album] may not offer anything new to music, but there’s no denying its appeal." The band gets some flack over nepotism, what with singer Elijah Hewson being Bono's son. But NME says "they’re fast carving out their own worthy place in the scene."

Feist: In Lightning

While her sixth solo album, Multitudes, is due in April, this Nova Scotia native and art-pop artist just released a quarter of it - a trio of singles, including this track that will be the LP's opener. We agree with Pitchfork that this is "the most striking of the three." The mag calls it "wonderfully ramshackle in a way that fits her milieu ... It all retains the common feeling in her music of pieces falling together, each element getting its own space to shine."

King Tuff: Tell Me

Photo by Wyndham Garnett
Originally from Vermont and now based in Los Angeles, Kyle Thomas is about to release Smalltown Stardust, his third album for the SubPop label under the King Tuff moniker. It was written and recorded with another LA indie musician, Sasami. This single is unabashedly a love song. Says Thomas: "Almost every song in the world is about love, yet somehow there’s still not enough love songs ... Love is an endless well, you can do love songs about people, nature, passion, frustration, animals, joy, madness." This one is pretty clearly about a person.

The New Pornographers: Angelcover

Here's the second single from Continue As A Guest, the upcoming ninth album by this badly named but highly accomplished indie-rock collective. We previously featured lead single "Really Really Light." Stereogum calls this new track "an elegant chug with a bit of ’80s new wave in its chorus." Frontman A.C. Newman says: "A shared experience we all have is the fever dream ... This one is about an angel that sat at the foot of my bed and explained to me how most people listen to music. They were kind of right. It is also a pop song."