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Saturday, August 4, 2018

This week's picks: Jeen, The Sea The Sea, Three Star Revival, Just A Jester, Snow Patrol

Toronto-based Jeen O'Brien has written songs for artists such as Serena Ryder and Great Big Sea, collaborated with Broken Social Scene's Brendan Canning in his side project Cookie Duster, and released her own music simply as Jeen. Ahead of her latest album, Gift Shop, she's just released "Any Moment," an energetic alt-rock-pop number featuring the co-producer of her project, veteran Toronto musician Ian Blurton, on guitar. "Lyrically this song, simply put, is about perseverance," Jeen said. "You will never know what might be just around the corner if you give up before you get there.”

The Sea The Sea calls itself an "indie folk-pop duo-band" -- that is, a band formed around the duo of Chuck and Mira Costa. The new album from this upstate New York group, From The Light, expands on their original acoustic sound to include additional vocals, synthesizer and percussion. Drowned In Sound calls it "folk-tinged pop of the highest order." We're featuring "Ricochet," a dynamic track that, as the DiS reviewer says, "skitters around, giving each member of the band the opportunity to truly shine."

We previously featured the sinuous "Move A Little Bit" by Tennessee's Three Star Revival, and now we're dipping back into the recent Fade Away EP for a funky number called "Wait." By all accounts this band puts on a great live show, but so far it has toured mostly in the U.S. Southeast. We're rooting for them to get more widespread notice and hit some bigger stages.

Just A Jester is the project of London singer-songwriter Timothy Daniel Whitaker, who has been part of the UK music scene since the 1980s. Over the years he formed a number of bands with his brother Simon, ranging from prog rock to acoustic outfits. The latest single from his solo project is "Make It Easier." It has a relaxed vibe and vocal style that puts us in mind of late-70s Gerry Rafferty.

We've been playing "Don't Give In" from Snow Patrol's latest album, Wildness, and now we're featuring another track, "Empress." It's an uplifting anthem extolling human connection - "hands just reaching out for hands" - in a troubled world. "Friends and foes and princes / are all just human in the end," Gary Lightbody sings. "This is so damn simple, yeah / It's so damn simple."

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