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Saturday, March 10, 2018

New music picks of the week: Naked Sun, Erika Wennerstrom, Slow Roar, Georgia Flood, Chvrches

The Naked Sun plays what it calls "honest rock." The group has also described its sound as "psychedelic indie roots Americana alt-country." Whatever you call it, it's a fresh-sounding blend of rock and folk that's great fun to listen to. After several years of playing around the Philly area and releasing a couple of EPs, this sextet is out with its debut album, War With Shadows. It's produced by Brian McTear, who also has worked with fellow Philadelphians War on Drugs and Kurt Vile. We're featuring the single "Holdin' Back the Heart," which frontman Andrew Wesley Harris says was "the very first song the band wrote together way back in 2010 when we were first starting out." (FYI the band's name is an Isaac Asimov reference.)

After fronting a couple of incarnations of the Heartless Bastards, Erika Wennerstrom took a break for some travel, some hiking, some self-discovery, and a solo project - resulting in her new album, Sweet Unknown. "It was a really freeing experience," she says. "I found my strength in my vulnerability as an artist, and really, just as a person. It kind of forced me to allow myself to be a little more exposed and stand on my own two feet.” Wennerstrom reflects on that process on the opening track, "Twisted Highway," while guitars and drums create a rolling sound that evokes a road trip through wide open spaces.

From Los Angeles comes Slow Roar, the project of multi-instrumentalist writer/producers Rebecca Rosoff and Sonny Lanegan. Their debut EP has been out for a few months and was brought to our attention by therevue.ca, which writes that the track "Honey," our pick for the New Music bin, "drips with rock coolness." Or as Indie Obsessive puts it, "the pair conveys a moody wanton energy through complex percussion arrangements, lustfully jagged guitars, detuned snare hits, and Rosoff's rawly soulful and penetrating vocals."

One of the indie bands you've heard us feature before, The Georgia Flood, has spun out another single in advance of its forthcoming second album, Polaroids and Panic Attacks. Following "Take A Hit" and "Illuminations," the latest is "Empty Houses," featuring a slinky bass line, pounding drums and vaguely angsty lyrics, leading to the refrain, "You gotta lose control to enjoy the night."

Scotland's Chvrches are preparing to bring out their third album, Love Is Dead. That unhappy theme runs through the two singles they've released ahead of the LP. On "My Enemy," Lauren Mayberry trades vocals with Matt Berninger of The National on lyrics of recrimination at the end of an affair. The lyrics in "Get Out" are more ambiguous: Is Lauren telling an ex to go away, or looking for a way out together from an unhappy state? We're adding both tracks to our big mix, and featuring the poppier "Get Out" in our New Music bin.

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