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Saturday, May 4, 2019

Introducing Orwells 84; Lenny Bull's debut; plus new Bleached, Black Keys and Bruce Hornsby

From Dundalk in Ireland, the sound of Orwell's 84 reached our ears recently - and grabbed hold of them with the band's new single, "Cailín." This six-piece outfit came together and refined its sound gradually over the past few years, releasing just a couple of singles along the way. With this new release, they've stirred many flavors of music into a joyous brew that's hard to categorize but fascinating to hear. It's folk-rock with Celtic flavor, neo-psychedelica meets trad, guitar-bass-drums mixed with violin, cello - and a bouzouki solo. We'll be very interested to see and hear where this band's musical journey takes it next.

The former frontwoman of Toronto roots-rock band Torero just released her debut EP as a solo artist. Lenny Bull has assembled a tight four-piece rock'n'roll band for this project and delivers songs she describes as reminders "to be bold, strong and unapologetic." We're hearing a bit of a Pretenders vibe in songs like "Somebody's Girl," our pick for the New Music bin.

The upcoming album from Bleached, the pop-punk duo of sisters Jennifer and Jessie Clavin, is called Don't You Think You've Had Enough? It's described as their first LP written from the perspective of sobriety, after facing down addiction. The lead single, "Hard to Kill," celebrates that turn-around: "After all the damage that we've done / Turns out I'm very hard to kill."

Now we go off in another direction with the latest from Bruce Hornsby. If you know him mostly for his 80s singles you might be surprised by the avant-garde jazz, progressive and classical sounds that mix together in his new album, Absolute Zero. We're featuring "Voyager One," inspired by the NASA probe that's now some 13.5 billion miles away. NPR calls this number "pleasantly frantic, propelled by a tight funk-fusion groove and Hornsby's playfully spry vamping on the piano."

We round out the New Music bin this week with the latest piece of blues-rock from The Black Keys. "Eagle Birds" is the second single, following Lo-Hi, to spin out ahead of the band's ninth LP, Let's Rock. The two songs, and the album title, make it pretty clear that - after the Danger Mouse-produced Turn Blue and a five-year gap filled with side projects - Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are back to playing straightforward guitar rock.

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