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Saturday, October 19, 2019

New music from Rorie Kelly, The West Coast Feed, Jimmy Eat World, Foals, Beck

We're pleased to present our latest, wide-ranging selection of New Musick. Read, and listen!

Rorie Kelly - Magick Comin'

This singer-songwriter from New York's Long Island describes her genre as "ladybeast music." Her latest single, she says, is "a song about purposely stepping into your power." The theme of empowerment - of recognizing one's own strength and becoming one's own hero - runs through many of her songs, delivered in an earnest, powerful voice with an alt-rock backing.

The West Coast Feed - Blame It On Me

The latest single from this powerful nine-piece Seattle outfit starts out rocking and builds to an "explosion in slow motion" about half way through. Frontman Jesse Butterworth says the track is about dealing with a narcissist ("You've got a way of taking all the fault you see / You take it all off you and put it all on me") and about "finding freedom from that vicious circle."

Jimmy Eat World - Love Never

This Arizona-based group just released its 10th album, Surviving. AllMusic calls it "a late-career peak" and says it "continues the band's sonic evolution with maturity and confidence, taking the glimmers of moody experimentation from [2016's Integrity Blues] and cranking up the urgency." We're featuring the high-energy "Love Never" in our New Music bin.

Foals - Wash Off

"Complex" is the adjective most often used to describe the music of this band from Oxford, England. For example, The Associated Press describes this year's two-part opus, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, as "complex, brilliant music" from a band at the top of its game. The two albums form a song cycle about destruction and survival. From the just-released Part 2, we're featuring one of the more straightforward tracks, "Wash Off." NME says it "takes the band’s signature math-rock dance vibes and piles on the muscle and bravado with zero fucks given: “because life’s a lie / so roll the die.”

Beck - Uneventful Days

His upcoming 14th album Hyperspace is being pitched as "new colors" from a "cultural chameleon." But the sound is certainly recognizable as the maverick master of post-modern pop. Like his spring release “Saw Lightning,” this track was co-written and co-produced by Pharrell Williams. Rolling Stone says "While the previous single blended Beck’s slacker folk leanings with Williams’ upbeat hip-hop productions, their latest collaboration takes a more polished, synth-heavy approach."

Saturday, October 12, 2019

New sounds from Bonnie Bishop, Bryan Hansen Band, Van Andrew, Seratones, Swearingen & Kelli

Bonnie Bishop: "Every Happiness Under The Sun"
We became big fans of Bishop as soon as we heard her 2016 album Ain't Who I Was, featuring great soulful-Americana songs like "Too Late" and "Mercy." This track from her brand-new collection, The Walk, is now our favorite. Strains of gospel, blues and funk weave together in this paean to the sunny side of life. "In the valleys I walk through / in the shadows I come to / I just want to say thank you for the happiness under the sun." By the end of its four and a half minutes, you'll want to be clapping and singing along to that refrain. The album wins this praise from American Songwriter: "It’s a powerful, likely career-defining work that will hopefully bring the talented Bishop the popular recognition she undoubtedly deserves." Mixes well with: Amy Helm, Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Bryan Hansen Band: "Untitled #3"
We've previously featured a couple of singles from this New Jersey indie band's new LP, Gas Money. With its official release this week, we're now jumping on the opening track. Despite indecision about what to call the song, the band has made it a staple of its high-energy live shows. "We thought it’d be funny to have the first song on our album technically be #3," says bassist Will Blakey. He and drummer Cwan Merritt provide the funk-rock backing to Hansen's jazzy vocal. Mixes well with: Dave Matthews Band.

Van Andrew: "Highwire" This singer-songwriter from the Northwest corner of Washington State has been self-releasing music for a couple of years, mostly acoustic ballads. (We recently featured his "Building a Home" on The Birch Street Bistro.) This new single is more of a rocker - opening with a bit of electronic keyboard, joined by electric guitars and drums that build to an anthemic crescendo behind Andrews' warm-with-a-touch-of-grit vocal.

Seratones: "Over You"
We haven't had enough yet of Power, the recent album by powerful singer A.J. Haynes and her killer soul-rock band from Louisiana. So after featuring the title track and "Gotta Get to Know Ya" over the summer, we're now dropping this mid-tempo but burning-hot track into the New Music bin.

Swearingen & Kelli: Exile
The indie country-rock duo of AJ Swearingen and Jayne Kelli brings a sense of haunted isolation to this track from the new album Cold-Hearted Truth. (Fittingly, the music video was shot in a Texas ghost town.) S&K describe their third album as inspired "old-school icons of country music" such as Kris Kristofferson, Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris. It was recorded in a series of live takes, Swearingen said, to "capture that 3D sound where you're together in one room, focusing on the songs, and finding that human element."

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Tall Days, Temples, Winston Cook, Son Little, Sturgill Simpson added to our big mix

Here we go with our weekly picks for our New Music bin. As usual, it's a very mixed bag!

Tall Days: "Mr. Man"
This band consists of two guys from New Jersey playing what they call "raw, stripped down, bluesy rock n’ roll." Guitarist-vocalist Graham Hartke and drummer Joe DeAngelus cite influences ranging from Led Zeppelin to the Stooges to Jack White. On this track from the new album No Disguise,we're hearing traces of the proto-punk sneer of early Kinks or Mott the Hoople.

Temples: "Hot Motion"
This U.K. trio evokes the more psychedelic side of 60s British rock. We're spinning the title track from their third album. AllMusic writes that on Hot Motion, the band dispenses with the synths heard on 2017's Volcano, returns to the template of 2014's Sun Structure, and makes it "brighter and shinier. The echo is echo-ier, the hooks are bigger, the performances more assured, and the vocals stronger, while the songs are just as memorable and fun as anything on Temples' immaculate debut."

Winston Cook: "Desert Song"
Cook is an emerging indie-folk singer-songwriter from Texas. He performs regularly in the Austin, Houston and San Antonio areas, issued his first EP, Horizon, late last year and has followed up with a couple of singles this year. We featured him on our Sunday show The Birch Street Bistro a few times this summer, and now we're adding his latest single to our New Music bin. From a gentle finger-picked opening, the song picks up energy as it rolls along like a smooth ride on a desert two-lane.

Son Little: "Hey Rose"
Little, a.k.a. Aaron Livingston, divides his time between collaborations and solo projects. It's just him, singing and playing all the instruments, on his upcoming EP, Invisible. "Blending old-school R&B with modern indie, the new music is right on the line between vintage and contemporary," writes American Songwriter. On this seductive single, Little croons, "Your soul is the picture / But your body is the frame / But the frame is exquisite."

Sturgill Simpson: "Sing Along"
No sooner had Simpson made his mark as a rootsy country-music artist than he rejected that label and started exploring other styles. Rolling Stone calls his new album, Sound and Fury, "the most left-field, decisively non-country offering of Simpson’s career." Simpson himself calls it "a sleazy, steamy rock 'n' roll record." We're not country radio, so his musical shift sends him more in our direction.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Debuts by Cartwheel, Taylor Scott Band, and the latest from New Pornographers, Wyland, Wilco

Sometimes it takes a little while for new music to find its way to our ears. Cartwheel, a trio from Wichita, Kansas, released its debut album Best Days earlier this year, but it has only now come to our attention - and grabbed it. The group is fronted by guitarist Kristyn Chapman, who has played in various bands over the past dozen years but now makes her debut as a songwriter and bandleader. She's joined by William Erickson on drums and Riley Day on bass. Our featured song, "Nothing," was the first Chapman wrote: "The chords, melody, and words came all at once in a rare miracle," she says. Her vocal floats softly through an indie-rock churn of fuzzy guitar and sharp percussion: “We’re so afraid to feel anything,” Chapman sings, “but feeling is what makes life full.”

Another new-ish record that took its time reaching us is All We Have, the first full-length release by the Denver blues-rock-funk outfit Taylor Scott Band. Scott's powerful lead guitar and soulful tenor voice are backed up by the tight combo of Jon Wirtz on keys, Chris Harris on bass and Lem Williams on drums. Steve Berlin of Los Lobos produced the record. Our featured track is the solid opener, “Somebody Told Me.”

It's always hard to discern what their songs are about, but on the just-released album from The New Pornographers, In the Morse Code of Brake Lights, images of falling, collapse and disorder keep cropping up. We previously featured the single "Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile," where the plunging is emotional. Now entering our New Music bin is "Colossus of Rhodes," which isn't actually about the ancient statue that collapsed in an earthquake, but has a things-aren't-going-well theme: "There is no food left in the house / There is no air left in the room," Neko Case sings. "Change the locks on every door / We've had break-ins before." Slant Magazine describes the song as "the band’s blusteriest track to date," featuring "concert-style piano, gurgling synths, and dramatic string swells." Rolling Stone calls the album "panic-attack pop."

Another brand-new album, Wyland's In a Circuitry of Lonely, is also filled with soaring but unsettling songs - with titles like "Lost," "Dark Days" and "Nowhere Now." We've been spinning those tracks as the New Jersey-based indie band released them over the past year, and now that the full collection is out, we're featuring "Remote Control Heart." Lead singer and songwriter Ryan Sloan conjures disaffection and disconnection: "And life just keeps moving / While our hearts lie in ruins."

On the verge of releasing their 11th album, Wilco has dropped the single "Everyone Hides," and we're picking it up to round out our New Music bin this week. It's a meditation on how we construct narratives for ourselves that don't contain the whole truth. "You're selling yourself on a vision / a dream of who you are," Jeff Tweedy sings. "Remember, it can't be denied / everyone hides."

Saturday, September 21, 2019

WHO plus new music from Foals, Leela Gilday, John Otto Young and Scott Krokoff

Our latest wide-ranging batch of New Music:

The Who: "Ball and Chain"
Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry are getting ready to release their first new album in 13 years. “I think we’ve made our best album since Quadrophenia in 1973,” singer Roger Daltrey said in a statement. “Pete hasn’t lost it. He’s still a fabulous songwriter, and he’s still got that cutting edge.” Called simply WHO, the LP consists of 11 songs Townshend says he and his brother Simon wrote "to give Roger Daltrey some inspiration, challenges and scope for his newly revived singing voice." The first single is "Ball and Chain," one of several tracks Townshend says "refer to the explosive state of things today."

Foals: "The Runner"
This UK indie band will soon release it's second album of the year - or really, the second part of a double-album, Everything That Is Not Saved Will Be Lost. Frontman Yannis Philippakis told NME: "Part one ended with a lot of fire and destructive imagery, part two is trying to respond to that: how you can continue in the wreckage and through the scorched earth?” Of this single, Philippakis says, “It’s a call to find a sense of purpose and perseverance despite the odds and despite the troubles we may find inside or outside ourselves.”

Leela Gilday: "Rolling Thunder"
From Canada's Northwest Territories comes North Star Calling, the new album by Dene-Canadian singer-songwriter Leela Gilday. MusicLifeMagazine calls it "a deeply spiritual album ... invoking the experiences, the imagery, the faith and the powerful connection to the natural environment so imbued in her Dene heritage and culture." Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq contributes to our featured track, a power-to-the-people song called "Rolling Thunder."

John Otto Young: "Timeline"
For this keyboardist and songwriter from Connecticut, music was his hobby for years, then his side gig, but always his passion. Now retired from his "day job," he released his first solo album, Sunset Tour, earlier this year. It includes a range of musical styles, and our pick is this jazz-influenced meditation on our fleeting trip through time.

Scott Krokoff: "Groundhog"
As far as we know, this New York singer-songwriter is still keeping his day job, but he continues making music a priority. He's been a fixture on our virtual airwaves for years with his very relatable songs. Many, like this new single, are about the challenge of breaking out of one's shell and making the most of life.