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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Introducing Arthur Buck, River Whyless, Three Star Revival + new music from Super Doppler and Maggie Rogers

Former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur have crossed paths numerous times over the years, with Arthur opening for R.E.M. shows, Buck sometimes backing Arthur, and Arthur playing at Buck's Todos Santos Music Festival in Mexico. Last year, they spent some time together at a house Buck owns in Todos Santos, and the result is a collaboration, called simply Arthur Buck, and an album of the same name. Considering the folk-rock background of both performers, the sound is a bit surprising. The opening track, "I Am the Moment," begins with a bit of Buck's guitar that instantly evokes his former band. But as Arthur begins to sing, the track suddenly expands with sound samples, electronic overdubs and layered vocals in a style more similar to Beck. It's an intriguing sound that fits well into our eclectic mix.

Likewise blending folk-rock with other sounds -- a bit of dream-pop, a touch of psychedelia -- is River Whyless with their new song "Darkness In Mind." Thanks to the great music website The Revue for introducing us to this quartet from Asheville, N.C. After releasing a self-titled EP in 2015, the quartet "enthralled the audience at the prestigious Newport Folk Festival," The Revue wrote. "They continued down this path on their debut album, We All the Light, but it seems like they’re going in a slightly different direction for their sophomore LP," called Kindness, A Rebel. "Ryan O’Keefe (guitars, vocals) and Halli Anderson (violin, vocals) ... tell us to keep our heads up and move forward, to keep coming up with new ideas, to listen for the bells, and believe that better things will come." Alex McWalters (drums, percussion), and Daniel Shearin (bass, vocals, harmonium, cello, banjo) round out the line-up and the sound.

From Asheville we drive six hours or so east to Norfolk, Va., to catch up again with Super Doppler, a band we've featured before. There's some psychedelic influence in their music too, along with old-school rock-and-roll and a bit of country. We hear a lot of The Beatles in tracks like their latest single, "Oh Yeah," with its close harmonies, Magical-Mystery-era swirling sound and a long Hey Jude-ish outro. Since we grew up on The Beatles, that sounds good to us.
Still in the Southeast U.S., but jumping west to Tennessee, we meet up with Three Star Revival. Formed in 2015 by singer-songwriter Ben Gaines and guitarist Cameron Moore, this five-piece describes itself as "incorporating sounds from across the Americana landscape and beyond, with forays into funk, soul, R&B and jazz." The five tracks on their new EP, Fade Away, all go in different directions. We're featuring the slow-dance soul number "Move A Little Bit." (Hat tip to Noisetrade for turning us on to this band.)

Last year, Maggie Rogers saw sudden success with the single "Alaska" and EP Now That the Light is Fading. Now signed to Capitol Records and currently on tour in Europe with HAIM, she's expected to release an album soon, and in the meantime has just spun out a single "Fallingwater." "Call it folktronica or electro-folk, whatever the term her music is engaging," says The Revue, adding that on this track, "Rogers' voice is much fuller and even more stunning than before."

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