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Sunday, July 9, 2017

From Toronto to Melbourne, our latest music picks

Toronto-based Broken Social Scene is often described as a collective rather than a band, as its members have participated in various configurations over the years while in many cases having separate solo careers. Its latest incarnation, after a seven-year hiatus, seems the biggest yet - 15 musicians put together the just-released collection Hug of Thunder. BSS is known for elaborate, multi-layered arrangements and that pattern is followed here. Each of the 12 tracks is distinctive, complex and intriguing. We've picked the title track, with lyrics and vocals by Feist, to feature in our New Music rotation, and many other tracks will be popping up in our mix.

From nearly the opposite side of the planet comes Sienna Wild, a trio from Melbourne that's doing its part to keep straight-ahead guitar rock alive in an era of synth/psych/dream pop. Here at Birch Street Radio we happily mix all styles - as long as we like the sound - and we're glad to help introduce local bands to a wider audience. In this case we start out with "Back Road Honey," which would sound as natural blasting from a barroom in the Southern U.S. as from the Ding Dong Lounge in the band's home town.

We spin the globe again and come to Provo, Utah, where singer-songwriter-harpist Goldmyth has released her debut EP, Faded Dream. Her music blends the delicate sounds of her voice and harp with layers of synth and percussion. We're picking up "Has To Be Better," whose lyric is an "I'm-not-coming-back-unless" message to an ex-lover.

The latest release from Philadelphia's Waxahatchee, Out In The Storm, drops next week, and we're very impressed with what we've heard so far. "Silver" is an immensely catchy track, and belongs in the category of cheerful-sounding songs with dark lyrics: "I went out in the storm / and I'm never returning." This marks the fourth album from Katie Crutchfield, part of a vibrant indie-music scene in the Philadelphia area.
And from Birmingham, England, we introduce you to singer-songwriter Hannah Brown. Her recent EP, Better For This, has been picking up airplay in the UK, particularly for the single, a fine pop tune called "Empty." But a more subdued song called "Stay" really grabbed us with its intimate vocal and a lyric about the confusion of a developing relationship: "If I ask you to go / ask you to stay / I can't explain ... Be bold and stay."

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