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Sunday, November 26, 2017

'80s echoes and more indie sounds added to our New Music bin

On first listen to The Heroic Enthusiasts, one might wonder if they're an overlooked New Wave band. This Rochester, N.Y.-based quartet embraces "the ethos of '80s new romanticism." Although the band is relatively new - formed in 2014 by singer/guitarist James Tabbi and guitarist Thomas Ferrara and now rounded out by Mike James and Anthony Molina - its members aren't youngsters trying to be retro. In an early interview with Rochester's City Newspaper, Tabbi said of the band's sound: "If I had to make some parallels through history it would be like Echo and the Bunnymen, Radiohead, Coldplay. ... We know and lived those decades musically and physically, so we draw on all that history." They've just released their first LP, self-titled. Our featured pick is "New York Made Me," a paean to that big city at the other end of the New York Thruway.

We previously featured the single "Lights Out" from the latest release by Montreal's Chair Warriors. This trio draws influences from the likes of Muse, Coldplay and Smashing Pumpkins. The seven-track EP has been out for a few months now, and we're dipping back into it to pull out an uplifting, anthemic track, "So Alive."

Speaking of dipping back into a recent release by a Montreal band, we're adding "Real Thing" by Stars to our New Music bin this week. We've been playing "Fluorescent Light" since the October release of There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light. As it happens, "Real Thing" was actually the first single, and came out back in August. But we follow our own timetable here at BSR, not bound to trivial things like release dates or chart positions. (Or maybe we just missed it, but, better late than never.)

Continuing our usual genre-jumping, we turn to New York singer-songwriter Holly Miranda, whose next album, Mutual Horse, is due next year. The first track to drop, "Exquisite," features Miranda's frequent collaborator, Kyp Malone of TV On The Radio. Miranda told Consequence of Sound that the co-written song is her “favorite thing we have ever done together,” and is “partly about our longtime friendship and conversations about taking inventory and responsibility for your mistakes and shortcomings.”

Another male-female duet we're featuring this week has a more country/folk sound. Swearingen & Kelli are a musical couple: Pennsylvania native AJ Swearingen met Michigan-born Jayne Kelli at a writers' showcase in Florida and ended up "partners in life and music." Of their new album, The Marrying Kind, Swearingen says, "We really dialed in our Americana country sound on this album. I used lap-steel on many of the songs." Our featured pick, "You Run Away," has its share of steel and country flavor, but with a late-70s pop sensibility that would blend nicely with Eagles or even some Fleetwood Mac.

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