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Saturday, July 21, 2018

New tracks from Muse, Richard Thompson; introducing Akiva, Lewisburg and La Force

"The song comes from when you do get a bit burnt out from being on the road for too long," Muse's Matt Bellamy said in an interview with Billboard about the band's new single, "Something Human." Muse began work on its eighth album as it wound down a long, grueling tour. The Drones album and road show "had a dark vibe, which is good, but when you’ve been doing that for a while the natural result was that as soon as I came off the road, [he wrote] “Something Human” ... a more tender, down-to-earth, simplistic song about ... wanting to get home to a more normal life after being on the road for a couple years."

Richard Thompson has been a major force in the folk-rock world since the 1960s. The guitar master and songwriter is about to bring out his 19th solo album, 13 Rivers. NPR writes that Thompson is "not stuck in any one era, and his solo records continue to influence younger musicians with [his] deft playing and the way he spins a tale." Two songs have been released so far, and our choice for the New Music bin is the tension-filled "The Storm Won't Come." The lyric speaks of a longing for dramatic change - a cleansing, transforming storm - that will only come in its own good time: "The storm must come to me / and the storm won't come."

English alternative-rock band Akiva draws on influences ranging from the Rolling Stones to The Charlatans, Primal Scream - and U.K. current-affairs programs like Newsnight and Question Time. "We were recently described as ‘George Orwell-meets-The Killers’ - which is not far off," frontman Dave MacKenzie said in an interview with Music Musings and Such. We're picking up Akiva's new single "Ammunition," a protest against "the decision makers in positions of power, who take lethal decisions with little care of the consequences."

For obvious reasons, commentary on current events is a frequent theme in music these days.
Lewisburg, a North London outfit led by singer-songwriter Ali Robertson, brings a gentle approach to a message of healing divisions, in "Clear The Air." Now that we've been introduced to this band, we'll be adding more tracks to our mix, including "Wasted," a reflective, acoustic number on which Robertson's vocal reminds us a bit of Jason Isbell.

La Force is the solo project of Montreal singer-songwriter Ariel Engle, who is also a member of the Broken Social Scene collective. From her forthcoming debut album comes "Ready to Run," a deceptively upbeat pop song which also has a serious message. "This is a song about the refugee crisis and the politicians who claim moral superiority while doing nothing to help their fellow humans," Engle says. "The crisis is biblical in scope, and yet even self-avowed Christian politicians are not moved by compassion. What does it take?”

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