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Saturday, November 2, 2019

New from Van Morrison, A. Billi Free, Marcus King, The Blue Stones and The Rallies

Van Morrison - March Wind in February

The amazingly prolific songwriter, singer and rock pioneer has just released his 41st album, Three Chords and the Truth. Perhaps more surprisingly, it's the sixth LP in four years from the 74-year-old Morrison. And it's filled with original songs. And that voice - a bit mellowed with age but unmistakably Van. We're featuring the lead-off track, which like much of the album would segue perfectly with classics from Tupelo Honey or Astral Weeks.

A. Billi Free: "Feel It Coming"

Vocalist A. Billi Free teams up with Chicago production crew Tensei to create a one-of-a-kind mixture of R&B, hip-hop, electronica and jazz. Exclaim! calls Free's debut album, I Luma, "a vibe ... that washes over listeners" in 11 tracks that "orbit around an overarching theme of self-discovery." KEXP praises Free's "expressive, elastic, enveloping vocal style." We've sampled the album on our Sunday free-form show The Detour, and now we're featuring "Feel It Coming" in our New Music bin.

Marcus King: The Well

Stepping apart from his band, this 23-year-old electric guitar wizard has recorded a solo album, El Dorado, produced by the ubiquitous Dan Auerbach. Recorded in three days of sessions with backing musicians assembled by Auerbach at his Nashville studio, the album is billed as a “contemporary genre-bending sonic exploration of classic rock, blues, southern R&B and country-soul.” King says of this lead single that it "symbolizes the source of all my influences. It is everything that has happened to me to make me the man I am today.”

The Blue Stones: Shakin' Off The Rust

Just about a year after the reissue of its debut album (Black Holes), this Ontario guitar-and-drums duo is out with a new single and is on tour across Europe. The track a straightforward dose of classic-style indie rock. "This song is about battling the thoughts in your head that make you doubt yourself, and coming through with the confidence to make something great,” says vocalist/guitarist Tarek Jafar.

The Rallies: If You Do

The Seattle area isn't exactly known for sunny beaches, but from that area comes this band with a sound that evokes California dreamin'. The quartet's new, second album, Upside Down, features jangly guitars, tight vocal harmonies and cheerful 80s-pop-style tunes. Powerpop News says our featured track has "an uplifting message, a monster hook, glorious harmonies and some beautiful Beatlesque guitar touches." Mixes well with: early-90s Matthew Sweet.

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