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Monday, May 30, 2016

The newest music in our Marvelous Mix

This week we've caught up with recent releases by Bob Mould and Mary Chapin Carpenter, picked up a new single by Joseph and received an exclusive new track from SteppingSTONE Band.

Bob Mould's Patch the Sky continues the late-career success of a middle-aged punk rocker. He's reflective in the opening track, "Voices In My Head" - "Time to say farewell/To all the ghosts and demons ... I decide to listen to myself." Good plan.

Mary Chapin Carpenter's new release, The Things That We Are Made Of, is full of beautiful, contemplative songs. The album is probably best listened to as a whole on a quiet, rainy afternoon. But we've plucked the most upbeat song, "Map of My Heart," for our New Music rotation.

You've heard us play New Jersey indie outfit SteppingSTONE Band, who combine rock with touches of country fiddle and very personal lyrics. Their brand-new track "Long Road" is a slow-building song of loss that evokes the effort to find hope at a moment of tragedy.

SteppingSTONE Band
SteppingSTONE Band also uses music to raise funds for an important cause, the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

From Portland, Ore., come sisters Natalie, Allison and Meegan Closner, who perform under the name Joseph. (Because, why not.) Their new single "White Flag" is a no-retreat/no-surrender anthem. They're not waving the white flag, they're burning it. Their album I'm Alone, No You're Not is due in August.

We've also added more tracks from the latest albums by Eric Clapton and Mudcrutch and from the debut EP of Hannah Gill & The Hours.

Let us know what you think of our mix of new and classic rock & folk & indie & alternative music. Leave a comment here or find us on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks for listening!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hello (again) to listeners in Canada!

Open Sign Blinking photo OpenSignNeonLightGODell2005sm.gifAfter being blocked for a few weeks, Birch Street Radio is again available for listeners in Canada.

Try any of the players on this website - find us in online directories - or enter this URL in any media player:

The temporary outage was due to some sort of rights dispute involving our streaming host, Radionomy. We're glad it's apparently been resolved. We produce the Birch Street Radio program for Radionomy, which transmits it on the internet and is responsible for technical, legal and financial aspects, including payment of music-streaming rights.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

New additions to the musical variety at BSR

Our newest discoveries include The Wind + The Wave, the duo of Dwight Baker and Patricia Lynn. Emerging from Austin, they made their recorded debut in 2014 but recently switched labels to Island Records and just released a single, "Grand Canyon," from their forthcoming sophomore effort. The refrain is "I can tell ya this ain't working out for anyone." But the track works just fine for us.

We've also caught up with Danielle Nicole, a blues-rocking bass player from Kansas City. Her recent album Wolf's Den has been named Blues & Soul Magazine's “Blues Album of the Year.” The song we've added also has a kind of this-ain't-working lyric: "You Only Need Me When You're Down."

In our home area of New Jersey we recently got to see a young singer-songwriter/jazz-guitarist named Bryan Hansen play a show along with bassist William Blakey. Hansen has self-released a couple of albums and has a third on the way. From the sophomore effort, Brothers Among Wolves, we've picked "Parallel" as a good example of his high-energy singing and guitar work - and the tight playing of Blakey and the rest of his band.

Also added to our New Music rotation this week: Another track from the new Mudcrutch album, "Dreams of Flying."

And we've bumped up a track by Bern and the Brights (another NJ outfit) that was already in our rotation - because we just decided we want to hear it more! It's called "I See Red." Yes, as in anger!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

What's new this week on Birch Street Radio

Seratones is a rocking quartet from Shreveport, La. Their debut album Get Gone features energetic, raucous garage rock -- made special by the powerful voice of lead singer/guitarist A.J. Haynes.

TBH we're not crazy about the album's punkish opening track -- but we're glad we kept listening, because the rest of the album is good loud rock-n-roll with touches of blues, funk and '60s flashback. "Headtrip" in particular sounds like it belongs in the Fillmore West circa 1967. We're featuring that track in our New Releases rotation, and you'll hear others popping up in our Marvelous Mix. (Hat tip to WFUV for calling our attention to this band.)

Tom Petty is back with his pre-Heartbreakers band, Mudcrutch. Petty plays bass in this outfit, with guitarists Mike Campbell and Tom Leadon, drummer Randall Marsh and Benmont Tench on keyboards. Following up a 2008 reunion album, they will release a second -- simply called 2 -- later this month. Our pick of the tracks released so far is "Beautiful World."

How about a singer-songwriter-supergroup? Neko Case, k.d. lang and Laura Veirs have collaborated on an album, case/lang/veirs, and will be touring behind it this summer. We've added the lead track "Atomic Number," which weaves all three voices, to our New Music bin.

And we've picked up another track from Beth Orton's forthcoming Kidsticks. Called "1973," it's a bouncy electro-pop tune but with a grown-up feel.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Radiohead, RHCP, Hemming & more new music

To be honest, Radiohead has not had much presence on Birch Street Radio up to now, but when the new track "Burn the Witch" was released last week we found it intriguing, then captivating. We slipped it into our New Music rotation right away.

The band followed up a few days later with the release of its full album, A Moon Shaped Pool, and it's a good bet more of it will work its way onto our playlist.

Another veteran band with new material is Red Hot Chili Peppers. (Interestingly, bassist Flea has been part of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke's side project, Atoms for Peace.)

The single "Dark Necessities" will be part of the California band's 11th studio album, The Getaway. After an intro that might have you wondering what you're hearing, Flea's bass kicks in and it's unmistakable. The song is a rich mix of beats, guitar, piano, strings and effects. Yep, these peppers are still hot.

Singer-songwriter Hemming took part in an interesting project run by Weathervane Music, a nonprofit in her home town of Philadelphia that supports independent music. It has a documentary series called Shaking Through that shows the process of making a recording, and then not only releases the music but provides the unmixed tracks to Weathervane members so they can create and share their own remixes.

Hemming collaborated with friends from two Philly bands, Cayetana and Three Man Cannon, to record her song "All I Want." The result: Hemming's heartfelt singing is well supported by band that sounds like it's been playing together for years. The track is now in our New Music rotation. (There's a good article about all this on WXPN's blog The Key. We also featured Hemming in a previous post.)

Other new additions to our playlist this week:

The Jayhawks are out with their ninth album, Paging Mr. Proust. We've been playing the single for several weeks and we're adding several more tracks from this mostly laid-back album. The most upbeat of the bunch, "The Dust of Long-Dead Stars," is our current favorite and is now in our New Music rotation,

And we're a little late to add "Rebel Heart" by LA garage-rockers The Shelters. But it's a catchy tune and hey, it caught us.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

More trouble for webcasters? Stay tuned!

There's new uncertainty in the air about the future of internet radio stations. Our streaming host -- home to tens of thousands of independent broadcasters like us -- may be going through some changes in the coming days.

We plan to do our best to keep on keeping on! If anything changes about ways to tune in our Marvelous Music Mix, we'll let you know on this page and on Facebook and Twitter. And if you have any questions or problems, please let us know.

Currently it seems that some parts of the world are having trouble connecting. If that includes you, please try this YourMuze player, which seems to be getting through whatever is causing the problem. Click the image and a pop-up player will open.

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So, what's going on? Continue reading for more details.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Globetrotting Mumford & more new music added

The new music we've added to our Marvelous Mix this week includes a bit of a surprise release from Mumford & Sons.

While touring in South Africa, the British folk-rockers linked up with vocalist Baaba Maal from Senegal; The Very Best, fronted by Malawi singer Esau Mwamwaya; and Cape Town pop group Beatenberg. Over two days, they recorded several tracks that will be released as an EP next month.

We're spinning the first release, "There Will Be Time," which features Baaba Maal. It's a track that you have to let work on you: From a slow start it builds to a powerful, rocking piece. To Western ears not often exposed to African music, it will of course bring to mind the work that Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel have done with African musicians. Give it your attention and you will be rewarded.

That's just one example of the wide range of styles in our New Music bin (you know how we like variety).

Marian Hill is a Philadelphia-based group that creates a distinct jazzy-pop sound, fronted by Samantha Gongol's breathy vocals. Their first album came out early in 2015, and later in the year the single "One Time" broke out as an alternative-radio hit. From their upcoming second album, Act One, we've added "I Want You."

From Roc City (Rochester, N.Y.) by way of Brooklyn comes Maybird, a quintet that formed a few years ago around brothers Josh (vocals, guitar) and Adam Netsky (drums). It's one of many bands these days whose musical style is hard to categorize. A blurb on Sonicbids calls it "twangy psychedelia with a funhouse bounce" and "blissful space-rock with a playful sense of pop songwriting." Whatever. Decide for yourself when you hear us play the single "Turning Into Water," the title track from their debut EP.

Sara Hartman also joins our Marvelous Mix this week with "Satellite," the title song from her debut EP. This singer-songwriter hails from Sag Harbor, N.Y. (one of our favorite places in the world!) but relocated to Berlin to work with a producer and that seems to have jump-started her career. Right now she's in the States for tour dates in May, opening for X Ambassadors. Then it's back to Europe for a tour of her own.

Los Angeles band Local Natives is said to be working on a third album after a quiet few years. The first single is "Past Lives." They have an expansive sound blending acoustic and electronic instrumentation with vocal harmony.

We'd like to get your comments on the new music - and all the music - we play on Birch Street Radio. Comment on this page, e-mail us, or reach us on Facebook or @BirchStRadio on Twitter.