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Monday, January 1, 2018

Our first picks of 2018: Icicle, Calexico, The Georgia Flood and more

Happy New Year to all our listeners around the world! Our New Music picks for the first week of the year include a few tracks from upcoming 2018 albums along with a couple of late-2017 releases.

We were recently introduced to Icicle, the project of Montreal-based Krassy Halatchev. Growing up in Bulgaria, he studied the music of bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Depeche Mode and The Cure before emigrating in 1990. He was a member of a couple of bands before releasing his first solo album in 2014. His fifth LP, Silence, is due in March, but we have an early taste. We're featuring "My Heart," a mid-tempo rocker built on a heartbeat bass groove.

Calexico's ninth studio album, The Thread that Keeps Us, is due out in a couple of weeks. We've been playing the first single, "End of the World With You," for several weeks, and now we're featuring "Voices in the Field." The Tucson, Arizona-based band brings a sense of tension and unease to its latest work. “There’s a little more chaos and noise in the mix than what we’ve done in the past,” says co-founder Joey Burns, reflecting “where we’re at right now as a planet” as well as the band's desire to keep experimenting musically.

The latest single from The Georgia Flood, an indie-rock band that we've featured before, also has a noisy tension to it. That seems fitting, since it will be part of a collection called Polaroids and Panic Attacks, the Atlanta group's second album. The song, "Illuminations," has a sense of searching for signs in the dark. Founded by brothers Brooks Mason and Lane Kelly, the band has added drummer Damian Navarro and guitarist Gavin Deleshaw since its debut EP in 2016.

A few weeks ago we started spinning Sjowgren's "Stubborn Forces," and now we're adding "High Beam." Both are singles that dropped in November. Are more songs coming in 2018? An album, maybe? Who is in this band, anyhow? We don't know. The California group with the Scandinavian-sounding name has so far maintained an air of mystery. That seems rather gimmicky, but we enjoy the music, so we'll play along.

And we're taking another dip into the December release from The Defending Champions, Don't Stop. With a powerful horn section backed by guitar, bass and percussion, this New Jersey outfit blasts out its own unique brand of punk/ska/soul/rock party music. The title track and "Listen In" are already in our rotation, and now we're adding "Bad Habit."

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