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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Indie and mainstream artists mix in our latest big batch of new music

After taking a late-summer break, we're back to updating the New Music bin -- and we're making up for lost time by adding a big batch of fresh tracks. Some are by big names (including a couple of Pauls), and we'll get to those, but first we want to introduce a newcomer to our playlist.

Monique Sherrell Brown started her musical career in New York City's cabarets, then took on a sideline as a backup singer in a Country/Blues band. She describes her new EP, Life After the Blues, as a fusion of jazz and country-rock. It's her jazz-singing side that dominates in our featured track, "Useless Nights." With Brown's soulful voice over a soft guitar-bass-drum background, it lands in a groove with the likes of Sade and Joan Armatrading.

The Marcus King Band could still be placed in the "emerging artist" category, but it's definitely gaining more and more attention. King's combination of mad guitar skills and songwriting ability, plus the top-notch band he's put together, have pushed him to the forefront of Southern-flavored roots rock. After opening for Tedeschi Trucks Band this summer (we got to see one of those great shows), TMKB is headlining a tour this fall. We're featuring "Where I'm Headed," a mid-tempo, bluesy single from the band's upcoming second album, Carolina Confessions.

Next up we have a couple of artists that we've featured before:

The oddly-named French quartet Kill the Moose with "From Here To Now," a captivating piece of shoegaze topped by Elisabeth Massena's vocals ...

... And U.K. singer-songwriter Ramona Rose, whose latest single, "High Water," starts as a slow burner and builds to a rocking crescendo.

Elle King's new single, "Shame," is high-energy from the jump. "I can make you shake, rattle your bones," King sings, and this track from the upcoming Shake The Spirit LP is designed to do just that.

Which brings us to a couple of other get-up-and-move numbers:

The latest single from In The Valley Below, in which the alt-rock duo takes a dance-pop turn with "Desperate Dance."

And "Back Down" by Vancouver-via-LA duo Bob Moses. It's the lead single from their second album, Battle Lines.

Amos Lee takes a contemplative turn on his seventh studio album, My New Moon. He cites the high school shootings in Parkland, Fla., as the inspiration for "No More Darkness, No More Light," saying he hopes to find "constructive feeling about this tragedy."

As mentioned, we round out our picks with a couple of famous Pauls:

Egypt Station, the new album by Paul McCartney, is "a deeply eccentric song cycle in the Ram mode," as Rolling Stone puts it. Like many of his albums, it's uneven. We previously featured the first single, "Come On To Me," but we've already grown tired of it. And after hearing the septuagenarian's juvenile "Fuh You" once, we hope never to hear it again. But we agree with RS that there are also excellent songs here, like our current pick, "Dominoes." "An eerie acoustic guitar hook, worthy of the White Album, builds for almost five minutes, complete with an old-school backwards guitar solo and the disarming farewell line, 'It’s been a blast.' ... [I]t has the unmistakable McCartney touch everybody else keeps failing to copy, yet it feels totally fresh and new.

Paul Simon copies himself on In The Blue Light, his new compilation of 10 reworkings of songs from his catalog. In some cases, the changes are subtle - a perfectionist painter trying to get the shading just right. But other tracks are given new vitality. We're featuring "Can't Run But," in which, working with chamber-music ensemble yMusic, Simon replaces the 1990 original's world-music vibe with a more stark, modern-classical sound.

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