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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Duos and solos: The latest in our New Music bin

As we check out new or indie bands, we seem to be finding a lot of musical duos - whether couples, ex-couples, siblings or just friends. Just off the top of our heads we can name Wild Belle (siblings), Ruen Brothers (siblings), The Wind & The Wave (couple), Fialta (two couples), Falls (not a couple anymore but still a band)... And now we add to the list:

Horses Heaven is a couple, Bijou and Analise, from the Northern California town of Sebastopol. turned us on to their debut album Before The Breakdown. It's an enjoyable collection of alt-folk-pop music, with Analise's clear and expressive voice backed by an interesting array of sounds and instruments - such as the muted trumpet that accents "Hello World," our pick for our New Music rotation. We expect to work more tracks into our playlist soon.

Merlot Embargo is a band that's built around a couple - songwriter/producers Scarlet and Geoff - and also includes a pair of brothers. They call themselves "a collective of human beings from Los Angeles who use guitars, voices, glockenspiels, fiddles, drum kits, horns, pianos, and bits of junk to create anthems for 21st century ailments." Their debut album is Don't Look Back, and "We All Fall Down" is our first taste (ha ha).

Meanwhile, British trio Bear's Den has become a duo and shifted a bit from the folk-rock sound of its first album to a more expansive, synth-y sound that's been compared to War On Drugs. We're adding the title track of its new release, "Red Earth and Pouring Rain."

Also this week, we're picking another track from the new Pretenders LP, Alone. This is really a Chrissy Hynde album, produced by the ubiquitous Dan Auerbach, with tracks like "Holy Commotion" and "Lets Get Lost" ready-made to be pop hits. We're putting "Never Be Together," with its somewhat heavier sound, into our New Music bin.

From a different vein - somewhere in the realm of gospel-soul-rock - comes Danielia Cotton. She's been recording for more than a decade, and we're just catching up, but when we heard her new single, "A Prayer," we were knocked out. Her powerful voice leads us through a thought-provoking lyric -- from an ominous opening ("There's a war in the world/it's getting closer to you/even in the red white & blue") through optimism ("Surely my world will be OK") to a question ("What God do you pray to?"). Hers is a voice to be reckoned with.

We hope you enjoy the variety in our mix. Let us know what you think, and tip us off to music you think we should check out. Comment on this page, or find us on Facebook or Twitter. And keep listening!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

This week: Old music is new again, and more

Sooner or later, many veteran artists record cover albums that pay tributes to their music roots or to artists they admire. Bob Dylan covering Sinatra tunes is one of the more unusual examples. The upcoming album from The Rolling Stones, Blue & Lonesome, is a bit less jarring, since the blues obviously paid a major role in the development of the Stones' sound, not to mention rock'n'roll as a whole.

The first track to be released, "Just Your Fool," originated as an early rhythm'n'blues song, written and recorded by Buddy Johnson and His Orchestra in 1953. It was given a Chicago-blues treatment by Little Walter, and that 1962 release on Chess Records no doubt came to the attention of the Stones and other British bands who were huge fans of American blues and R&B. Good music lives on!

While the Stones keep rolling, the American band Yellowcard has announced that its latest album and current tour are its last. From the tenth and final album, called simply Yellowcard, we're adding "The Hurt Is Gone" to our New Music rotation.

Other additions to our New Music bin this week include additional tracks from the latest albums by:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Latest music by Jim, Joy, Johnny and more

Again this week we're adding new music by established and emerging artists alike.
Jim James of My Morning Jacket wrote "Here In Spirit" after the Orlando night club shootings. "It’s a song about speaking out and trying to be there for people in spirit even if you can’t be at every rally and battle," James said. "We have such a duty to speak out for equality and for each other." It will be on his solo album, Eternally Even, scheduled for release in November.
The Los Angeles-based duo Johnnyswim is about to release its second full-length album, Georgica Pond. Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano (daughter of Donna Summer) mix folk, R&B and other influences in their work. We're featuring "Let It Matter," a touching song about letting oneself mourn a healing from loss.
Keeton Coffman is a singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter from Houston. His second collection of originals is called Killer Eyes. We've picked up a track called "Ellie," a solid addition to the long line of girl-name rock songs, from "Hello Mary Lou" to "Rosalita" and beyond.
Out of the blue came a new EP from The Joy Formidable, called Sleep Is Day. Its release followed quickly on the heels of the Welsh/British trio's third full-length album, Hitch. TBH we're just catching up with this band, but hey, better late than never. To start, we've added the EP's title track, "Sleep Is Day."
Also this week, we dip further into this summer's release from Sara Watkins, Young In All The Wrong Ways. We've added "Say So" to our New Music bin, and will also be giving some spins to the slow burner "Without A Word."

Thanks for tuning in! Let us know what you think we should add to our Marvelous Mix. And keep listening!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Another wide-ranging batch of new music

The new album from Phish, Big Boat, is getting somewhat mixed reviews, which isn't unusual for a band that enjoys trying different approaches from song to song and album to album. Not all of it is to our taste, but we've enjoyed playing the first single, ""Breath and Burning," and now that the full LP is out we'll be adding more tracks to our playlist - starting with "Blaze On."

Speaking of mixed reviews, Green Day's new Revolution Radio is being hailed by some as a rebirth of this punk-revival band and dismissed by others as just a recycling. To be honest we've always found these Rock Hall of Famers talented but a bit sophomoric, and this release fits right in. But it has its moments, and we're picking up on the keep-on-keeping-on anthem "Still Breathing."

This week brought another chance to add new music by a "classic" artist - David Bromberg. His latest album, The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothing But The Blues. consists mainly of covers of his favorite old blues songs. But our pick for the New Music bin is a Bromberg original, the uptempo "You Don't Have To Go."

We're also adding "Same Old Blues" - but this ain't no old blues song. It's a track from Phantogram's new release, Three, with a similar sound to the previously released single, You Don't Get Me High Anymore.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Our latest adds: Pretenders, Stoop Kids & more!

The Pretenders are back, bringing out their first album in eight years. The first single from the Dan Auerbach-produced Alone is "Holy Commotion," an I-just-want-to-dance-all-night number heavy on synths and percussion. Just a hunch, but we wouldn't be surprised if Chrissie Hynde & Co. try out a variety of sounds on this album.
To be honest we don't remember how we came upon Stoop Kids, but our instant reaction was - "OK, this is different!" This New Orleans-based band describes itself as "a psychedelic jukebox: they write and play inside a melting pot of genres, re-imagining the last 75 years of popular music."

This is music that doesn't exactly "fit" any particular radio format - so that makes it just right for us, eh? We've picked up their three latest singles: You'll hear "Motions" in our new-music rotation and "Good Enough" and "Quit You" will pop into the mix now and then.

Our other latest entries in the New Music Bin are additional tracks - in fact, the title tracks - from The Wind and The Wave's second album, Happiness Is Not A Place, and Van Morrison's 36th (!) studio album, Keep Me Singing.
Remember, we want to hear from you! Tell us what you think of our mix, and what music you think we should add. Comment on this page or reach us on Facebook or Twitter.