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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. Noisetrade.com 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!

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