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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Modest Mouse, Middle Kids, Sail By Summer, Blue October and The Good Water in our New Music Bin

Modest Mouse is back and sounding angry. The band's first release since 2015 is a single called "Poison the Well." It's two and a half minutes of high-energy rock with Isaac Brock railing against oppressive systems and profiteers: "Whoever prints the money says where you spend it / and just like magic it's right back in their pockets."

It's good to hear new music from Australia's Middle Kids, who have an EP called New Songs for Old Problems coming out in May as the follow-up to last year's debut LP, Lost Friends. The first single to emerge is "Real Thing" - which singer Hannah Joy describes as nothing less than a song about the “lifelong quest for meaning. ... It’s the quiet, persistent voice in the stillness that constantly checks to see if you truly think you’ve found the thing you’re looking for." If that sounds grandiose, the track itself is a very down-to-earth modern-rock number.

A quick spin of the globe takes us to Scandinavia, where we discover Sail By Summer, consisting of Norwegian singer-songwriter William Hut and Danish keyboardist Jens Kristian. We're picking up "Casual Drive," which is billed as one of the more rock-leaning songs from their upcoming debut album of "melancholic indie" music. The track is more driving than casual, with a propulsive drumbeat behind layered synths and reverb-heavy guitar.

Veteran Texas alt-rockers Blue October, in the midst of a tour now headed for the Eastern U.S., have broken out another single from their most recent release, I Hope You're Happy. "King" is a romantic ballad that Justin Furstenfeld sings with an desperate-sounding passion: "Hold me close, closer than ever before / Just love me like you won't let go."

For pure fun we turn to The Good Water and their latest single, "Colours." This band from Birmingham in the U.K. recaptures the sound of 60s psychedelic rock. Even this description of the track by frontman Rob Clements takes us back to the flower-power days: "A trip through a lucid dream, with kaleidoscope patterns floating down from the sky, and a perpetual feeling of elation." For those of us of a certain age, the opening line, "Bend me, break me, tear me apart." immediately recalls The American Breed's "Bend Me, Shape Me."

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