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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Introducing Birds of Bellwoods, Lucy Bell, Bailen & latest from Broken Social Scene, Juliana Hatfield

The Toronto musical collective and force of nature known as Broken Social Scene has followed up 2017's Hug of Thunder with an EP called Let's Try The After, Vol. 1, suggesting that there will be more to come soon. It's a disparate collection of songs and instrumentals, of which our current fave is "Boyfriends." Pitchfork says it "builds on Hug of Thunder’s skyscraping rock motifs as [Kevin Drew] effortlessly slides into the rousing chorus, 'Let’s get you out of here,' a torrent of electric guitar and weighty piano chords arriving perfectly on cue."

Lingering in Toronto, we pick up a track from Victoria, the debut full-length album by Birds of Bellwoods. Exclaim calls it the band's "coming-out party as one of Canada's emerging alternative outfits," adding that it "channels the vibrancy of Only By the Night-era Kings of Leon and combines it with the Lumineers' style of anthemic writing." Our pick for the new music bin is the energetically angsty "Let You Go."

Dropping down to Boston we catch up with the latest from Juliana Hatfield, Weird. As the title suggests, the theme of the album is the feeling of not fitting in, of being out of step with the world. We're featuring "Staying In," a song about retreating from a world where "they keep changing all the rules / and I don't know how to play these games." The refrain: "I'm staying in / My hair's not right / And if I go out / Somebody might take me for / a functioning human being."

We consider ourselves lucky to have been sent an advance copy of a new single by Lucy Bell, an emerging singer-songwriter from Downpatrick, County Down in Northern Ireland. Although just 18 years old, she already has a few years of performance experience, having won Belfast-based Panarts' Young Singer Songwriter of the Year award in 2017. She brings sharp writing skills and a polished delivery to "Lost On The Line."

New York City-based Bailen has broken into the AAA charts with "I Was Wrong," the first single from its upcoming debut album, Thrilled To Be Here. Fraternal twins Daniel and David Bailen and their sister Julia "craft melodies that sound more country than city, laced with dusty guitars and harmonies," says Stereogum. The band says the song "is about coming together and listening to the other side of an argument, hearing another perspective, and being able to say I was wrong.”

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