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Saturday, November 17, 2018

New from Wyland, Mark Knopfler, The Daybreaks, The Story So Far and introducing Dream Reporter

Photo by Kelsey Ayres
New Jersey indie band Wyland recently spent a month in Ireland working with producer Phil Magee on an EP due early next year. The first taste is a just-released single, "Nowhere Now." Frontman Ryan Sloan cites influences including U2, Coldplay, Elbow and Noel Gallagher. He told Ones To Watch that the beginnings of this song came to him in an Austin, Texas, hotel room during SXSW and "the rest of the tune came together back in New Jersey as the band put their spice to it." Keyboardist/backing vocalist Ariella Mastroianni says the Nowhere of the title is a place of escape, "where the laws of the universe just don’t quite apply" and there is "infinite possibility." The band is about to start a tour of Canada and the Eastern U.S. with Toronto-based indie band Valley.

On Birch Street Radio, we specialize in mixing indie artists with established acts. So we turn next to Mark Knopfler, the guitar master who rose to fame with Dire Straits and now works independently. From his ninth solo album, Down The Road Wherever, we previously featured the single "Good On You Son." We now have the full collection, which AllMusic aptly calls "A classic Knopfler grab-bag of elegant fretwork, crafty melodies, and dryly delivered storytelling." Our latest pick for the New Music bin is one of the perkier numbers, "Nobody Does That."

Also from the U.K., we have the debut of London-based Dream Reporter. We don't know the name, or much else about, the singer-songwriter-producer behind this indie-rock/dream-pop project. But the debut EP is quite promising. It includes an Elliot Smith cover along with a few original songs, including our featured pick, title track "White Horse." It combines quirky beats with lush synths and a powerful vocal. In the lyric, the singer spurns someone's attempt to "rescue" her: "You're no white horse / no escape ladder."

The Daybreaks are a Nashville-based group that sometimes describe their music as "retro synth pop." (Synth pop can already be retro?) They've just released their second album, The Idea of You, and we're picking up on the title track, a six-minute excursion that starts with quiet synths and dreamy vocals that then float atop waves of urgent electronic, guitar and piano sounds to an arena-rock-style crest.

And now we jump to the West Coast and the pop-punk quintet The Story So Far. Proper Dose is the fourth studio album by the California outfit, and its first release in more than three years. Our music mix doesn't include much in the punk direction, but The Story goes in some different directions on this release, blending in acoustic and electronic elements. We're picking up "Take Me As You Please," which features chiming guitars and a laid-back attitude: "She says that I'm crazy / but I don't let it faze me."

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