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Saturday, April 6, 2019

New music by Wyland, Only Yours, The Lumineers, Son Volt and introducing Ace of Wands

Photo: Kelsey Ayres
The next album from New Jersey indie band Wyland is still several months away, but a second single just emerged. "Dark Days" applies the band's driving alt-rock sound to a lyric that suggests a struggle between hope and despair: "What if there's still time to get it right," Ryan Sloan sings hopefully, but then: "What if the stars hold no answers, only light for lost souls of the night?" The band, with Pat Viso on guitar, Zach Calidonna on bass, Ariella Mastroianni on keyboard and backing vocals and Chris Luna providing the powerful drumming, builds to cathartic swells on the choruses.

Photo: Andrew Wyatt
Somewhat similar strains of anxiety are heard in "Overrun," the title track from the new album by Toronto's Only Yours. "I try, try to keep my fear inside / I can get by," Lowell Sostomi sings in a voice that sounds like a livelier version of The National's Matt Berninger. Overrun is an impressive debut for the Toronto-based quartet led by Sostomi, the singer-songwriter formerly of The Great Bloomers.

The latest release from The Lumineers continues its run of women's names as song titles (Cleopatra, Ophelia, Angela). The upbeat, almost rollicking sound of "Gloria" belies its subject: singer Wesley Schultz says it's “about love between an addict and her family.” It's the first single ahead of the band's third album, III, expected in September. (The track list also includes a song named Donna.)

Son Volt's "Devil May Care" joins the catalog of songs by musicians about being musicians. The lyric strings together phrases about the experience of setting up and playing shows: "Hit the high hat like a low hat / Open up a wall of sound." It's the breeziest track on Son Volt's latest album, Union, which also includes several explicitly political songs in which Jay Farrar takes on topics such as income inequality, unequal justice and mistreatment of immigrants.

As usual, we include a wide range of styles in our New Music bin and throughout our big mix. We turn now to another Toronto band, Ace of Wands, featuring singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Lee Rose along with Anna Mernieks and drummer Jody Brummel. Their style has been called gothic folk-rock, blending soaring vocals, violin, synth-bass and guitar into music the band says is "inspired by the supernatural, elemental forces and physical sensation." From their debut album Lioness, we're picking up the title track, which Rose described in an interview with Music Musings and Such as "probably our loudest and most aggressive song; heavily inspired by Sleater-Kinney - one of my favourite bands of all time."

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