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Sunday, February 19, 2017

We go West for this week's new music

We didn't plan it this way, but when we picked five songs to highlight in our New Music bin this week, it turned out the artists all happen to come from either western Canada or California.

Start with Cold War Kids. They hail from the Los Angeles area, which they name-check in the title of their sixth album, L.A. Divine. It's due in April on Capitol Records (so I guess we can't call them "indie" anymore). We've got the first single, "Love Is Mystical," and it's an upbeat affirmation of the power of love. Vocalist Nathan Willett says it's about "looking for inspiration and meaning, surrendering to feeling - love calling out your name, and that journey we must go on to find it."

Speaking of which, Little Hurricane's Tone Catalano seems to have gone on a spiritual journey that resulted in him and his musical partner, C.C. Spina, becoming life partners. They married in 2016 while working in their San Diego studio on their third album, Same Sun, Same Moon, expected this spring. You can read about Catalano's "vision quest" at
The first single is "OTL," as in One True Love.

Now, we've got nothing against love songs, but we hope the rest of both albums have more of the edgy sounds of those two bands' previous works.

A California listener pointed us to Bakersfield-based indie outfit Lonely Avenue, which released its debut self-title album last summer. They may hail from the northern part of the state, but some of their music is reminiscent of the country-influenced Southern California sound of the 70s - and that's a good thing, in our opinion. Our pick for the New Releases bin is the pedal-steel infused "Real Art."

Continuing up the West Coast to Vancouver, B.C., we find Japandroids, who've just released their third album, "Near To The Wild Heart Of Life." The title track is a rousing barroom shouter about breaking out of your rut and taking risks.

Our listeners know that we don't like to get stuck in any musical rut, which is why our big mix ranges from the noisy post-punk of bands like Japandroids to...

...the lyrical folk-rock of musicians like Scott Cook. This is another case of music that's not really new, but new to us. "Pass It Along" is a great song released a couple of years ago by this singer-songwriter from Edmonton, Alberta, who's been called the "prairie balladeer." We were led to this song when we came upon a video of a cover by Shawna Caspi, a Toronto singer-songwriter that you hear frequently in our mix.

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