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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Our latest picks: Amy Helm, The Record Company, Parker Milsap, Dawes & introducing Jessie Munro

We're very happy to hear that the wonderful Amy Helm has a new album on the way. The title track has just been released and jumped right into a featured slot in our New Music bin. "This Too Shall Light" is co-written by Mike Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger and songwriter-musician-producer Josh Kaufman. Rolling Stone says, "As is typical for the songs that Taylor writes [it] is steeped in the epic struggles of everyday people." Taylor says "It's a really sad song that swings, which is my favorite kind of music." Helm brings her powerful, passionate voice, which draws on the blues, gospel and country traditions that also informed her father Levon's music. Blends well with: Bonnie Raitt, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Delaney & Bonnie.

On their new album All Of This Life, L.A.s' The Record Company continue to bring fresh energy to good ol' rock-and-roll and blues-rock. As puts it, these guys "know their stuff and work together well: Chris Vos' guitar work is both inspired and concise, bassist Alex Stiff and Drummer Marc Cazorla give the music a strong and soulful foundation, and the vocals are full-bodied but generally stop a few notches short of histrionic." We previously featured the lead single, "Life To Fix," and our new fave is the harmonica-fueled stomp "I'm Getting Better (And I'm Feeling It Right Now)."

Parker Millsap is another young artist drawing on old-school rock-and-roll traditions, in his case mixed with country influences. His previous album was in more of a folk vein, but his new release, Other Arrangements, "mixes Millsap's voice - an otherworldly howl, shot through with equal parts Pentecostal punch and Southern swagger - with faster tempos and bursts of electric guitar," says Rolling Stone. That perfectly describes the single "Fine Line," now in our New Music bin.

We've been playing a couple of singles from Passwords, the latest from Dawes, and now that the full album has been released we're adding "Feed the Fire." The band expands a bit here on its California-70s-folk-rock sound, with a poppy groove and a touch of electric sitar. Taylor Goldsmith's lyric is a self-critical reflection on the show-biz life: "Working for attention that I'll eventually resent ... Trying to feed the fire / while hoping that it dies."

Moving a little more in the electro-pop direction, we find the debut single from Jessie Munro. (Thanks to The Revue for the introduction.) This Toronto native attended Berklee College of Music in Boston before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a recording career. From her forthcoming EP, On My Own, we have "Under Fire," a song about coping with social expectations and scrutiny. "It's taken it's toll and I'm stretched to the limit," Munro sings. "I'm thinking I shouldn't care as much as I do."

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