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Sunday, August 27, 2017

This week's new music picks: Lynne & Moorer, Kacy & Clayton, Dream Syndicate and more

Photo by Jacob Blickenstaff
Sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer both have established careers as singer-songwriters, but haven't recorded together until now. They did a joint tour in 2012, then started a project together but shelved it for a while before trying again. "Despite the buildup of anticipation," NPR wrote, the "long-awaited joint album feels unburdened by expectations." Not Dark Yet features one original tune and a selection of covers that, along with "the sparseness of Teddy Thompson's production, helps place the focus squarely on the voices, how phenomenally well-matched they are in their suppleness, how they resist and yield to each other." We're spinning the title track, a cover of a Bob Dylan song from his 1997 album Time Out Of Mind.

Photo by Chris Sikich
When The Dream Syndicate came around the first time in the early 1980s they were part of the punk/underground/garage reaction to mainstream electronic pop. The band ended before that decade did - but frontman Steve Wynn and drummer Dennis Duck revived it in recent years for sporadic live shows, then headed into the studio and came out with How Did I Find Myself Here? “It sounds like everything that I loved about the Dream Syndicate and yet sounds unlike any other record we made,” said Wynn. The Syndicate stands out, again, amid today's current wave of electronic pop. But the raw jangle of its early days has morphed into a fuller, more rounded sound, with jam-band elements - especially in the 11-minute title track. You'll hear that occasionally in our mix, but our pick for the New Music bin, "Glide," clocks in at a mere 6:22.

The Canadian duo Kacy & Clayton take us back to an even earlier time, with a sound that evokes the 1960s English folk revival, with a dash of California folk-rock from the same period. The Siren's Song is the third album from vocalist Kacy Anderson and fingerstyle guitarist Clayton Linthicum, and even the cover looks like it belongs in a rack of 60s vinyl. You'll get a good taste of their sound from our pick for the New Music bin, "The Light Of Day."

Our other New Music picks were actually released a few months back, but it's not too late to catch up:

Courtney Barnett's "How To Boil An Egg" is a reworking of one of her earliest songs, with the self-deprecating worldview that we've come to know well. "I've been dreamin', dreamin' of a brand-new start," she sings, voicing the passive approach to life of so many 20-somethings. As it happens, her tales of the mundane struck chords around the world, bringing her more success than she could have been dreaming of back then. On this recording, she gave the song a full-band treatment, but played every instrument herself.

BNQT (pron: banquet) brings together members of indie bands Franz Ferdinand, Grandaddy, Band of Horses, Travis, and Midlake. Eric Pulido of Midlake conceived this project, and each of the members contributed a couple of songs to an album they optimistically entitled Volume 1. They've described themselves as a "poor man's version of the Traveling Wilburys," and the song we're adding to our New Music playlist - one of Pulido's contributions, "Real Love" - has a similar easygoing vibe.

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