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Sunday, March 18, 2018

'Bad Bad News' and other good things - Here are our New Music Picks of the Week

As usual, our New Music picks for the week cover a wide range of styles, from jazzy soul to bouncy pop, because we're all about variety.

Leon Bridges' second album, due in May, is called Good Thing, and the first single is called "Bad, Bad News." The lyric ties those phrases together: "They tell me I was born to lose / But I made a good thing out of bad, bad news." It's a song of confidence and assertiveness in the face of adversity, and includes our favorite couplet of the week: "Ain't got no name, ain't got no fancy education / But I can see right through a powdered face on a painted fool." The track features a strutting bass line, a danceable drum beat, guitar and horn accents and a terrific, jazzy instrumental closer.

We recently featured "Roots" from the debut album by Carmanah, and couldn't wait much longer to showcase another tune. The band brews a unique blend of folk, blues and other influences, and "Send It To Me" is on the bluesier side, with hints of R&B and even Motown. Speak in Rhymes, produced by Gus Van Go (The Arkells, Whitehorse, Fast Romantics) is a very impressive first effort, from a band that sounds like it has been refining its sound for years.

Next we jump to London and Coralcrown, a new indie-pop project led by Luis Gotor. He's preparing to roll out his first EP in May. Gotor describes his music as "influenced by modern indie rock mixed with disco music from the 70s and pop music from the 80s." We're featuring the just-released single, the irresistibly catchy "Between The Lights."

Another emerging artist with just a couple of singles out so far is Australia's Hatchie. Brisbane-based multi-instrumentalist Harriette Pillbeam was among the many artists featured at SXSW last week, where the Austin Chronicle says she presented an "enveloping half-hour of lush, gauzy, glimmering pop." Her new single "Sure" opens with a guitar strum that takes us back to Sixpence None the Richer's "Kiss Me," and the Hatchie sound has also been compared with The Sundays, Cocteau Twins and The Cranberries. Not bad company.

We have trouble categorizing the music of Lake Street Dive. Is it rock, pop, soul, jazz, maybe even cabaret? There's some of all that in Rachel Price's dynamite vocals and the tight playing of Mike "McDuck" Olson (trumpet, guitar), Bridget Kearney (upright bass), and Mike Calabrese (drums) - now augmented by keyboardist Akie Bermiss. They cite influences that run the gamut from swing-era jazz through The Beatles to Motown. Ahead of the forthcoming album Free Yourself Up, we're spinning the single "Good Kisser."

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