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Saturday, July 4, 2020

New releases from Michael Stipe, Elvis Costello, The Sea The Sea, Ray LaMontagne, Dizzy

Michael Stipe & Big Red Machine: No Time For Love Like Now

Big Red Machine, a collaboration between Aaron Dessner of The National and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, joins with the former R.E.M. frontman on this song that feels well suited to the moment. Dessner told Rolling Stone: “Michael wrote the lyrics last fall, but when the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic and social-distancing and self-isolation descended, they felt like they were written about this time all along and perhaps the message resonates especially now.” There's a line about "lockdown memories" that we're guessing was added later.

Elvis Costello: No Flag

His first release since 2018's Look Now with The Imposters finds Costello working alone at a studio in Helsinki. "I wanted to go somewhere nobody knew me. So, this is 'The Helsinki Sound,'" he says. The credits say he plays "mouth, drum, Fender Jazzmaster, Hammond organ and bass. Filled with nervous energy, the song lashes out at a world where nothing seems worthy of allegiance. "No time for this kind of love / No flag waving high above / No sign for the dark place that I live / No god for the damn that I don’t give.”

The Sea The Sea: A Thousand Years

This peaceful track arrives ahead of Stumbling Home, the third album from the Upstate New York-based duo of Chuck and Mira Costa. The couple said this song grew out of a songwriting retreat in the West Texas desert. "No cell service. No internet. It’s beautiful. It’s quiet. At night out there we often found ourselves under an unimaginable blanket of stars, just listening to the silence. Listening to nothing. It sounded thousands of years old. A clear and peaceful sound.” We've been playing another single, "Parachute," on The Birch Street Bistro, and look forward to hearing the rest of the LP later this summer. 

Ray LaMontagne: Misty Morning Rain

On his eighth album, Monovision, this New England-based singer-songwriter works largely alone, playing all the instruments. But he brings with him a cast of masters whose influences can be clearly heard. On this track, the steady strumming of the rhythm guitar, the raspy vocal and grounding percussion recall Moondance-era Van Morrison. AllMusic writes that LaMontagne's latest collection "revives the classic weathered troubadour vibe at the heart of his music," and its references to Morrison, Cat Stevens and even mellow Led Zeppelin "are there as cultural touchstones as much as specific influences, helping guide the listener through an album that feels as comforting as a hug from an old friend."

Dizzy: Sunflower

We previously featured "The Magician" from the upcoming LP The Sun and her Scorch, and now we're catching up with this upbeat number that was released a few months back. Lead singer Katie Munshaw calls it "a three and a half minute 'snap out of it!' to myself when I'm feeling low, unconfident or not myself." That's a tonic we're sure many listeners could use right now. On their new album, Munshaw and brothers Alex, Mackenzie and Charlie Spencer bring "a more kinetic energy into their sound through their lavish use of live instrumentation," the band says.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Immediate Family, The Killers, Rorie Kelly, Jane's Party and introducing Sheerbuzz

The Immediate Family: Cruel Twist

A supergroup of sidemen, The Immediate Family consists of musicians whose names are famous in the LA music scene - and to anyone who read the liner notes on albums from the likes of James Taylor, Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, Warren Zevon... the list goes on. After nearly a half-century of playing together in various combinations, Danny Kortchmar (guitar and vocals), Waddy Wachtel (guitar and vocals), Leland Sklar (bass), Russ Kunkel (drums) and Steve Postell (guitar and vocals) have released their very first single as a group, and have an EP coming out in the fall. Kortchmar provides the vocal on this track, which he calls "a blues song about what can happen if one gets too confident and too full of oneself." Something Else Reviews writes that Sklar’s bass and Kunkel’s drums "give the song a feel that’s no longer common on the radio. The expert shuffle propels the melody, while Watchel, Kortchmar and Postell’s guitars dance a delicate yet forceful dance. Touches of organ by Jim Cox add to the punch."

The Killers: My Own Soul's Warning

This new single is quintessential Killers - a solid, energetic rocker that fits squarely in the band's repertoire. It will be the opening track on the upcoming LP Imploding the Mirage, and Rolling Stone calls it "a fittingly grand first statement. A big drum beat drives the song and it boasts a lead synth hook that sounds like it could’ve been plucked straight out of an Eighties arena show. As always, frontman Brandon Flowers delivers a vocal performance to match the occasion." 

Rorie Kelly: Lying Streak

This singer-songwriter considers it her mission "to create music that inspires others to love themselves fiercely and become their own heroes." She tours mostly in the New York metro area, and we caught one of her shows a few years ago and added some of her "ladybeast music" to our mix. This new single features a refined and polished sound, with strings, backing vocals and finger-snaps putting a smooth sheen on powerful lyrics. "I wrote this song about what my coming-out process was like ... which is an ongoing process as many people can tell you!" Kelly says. This verse sums it up: "It was never my idea to go in any closets / People just stuff you in there in tight storage boxes / I fight my way out again and again  / and still you think it was me who was confused." 

Jane's Party: Change Her Mind

This Toronto alt-rock quartet follows up its 2019 LP Casual Party with a new single describing the confusion and uncertainty of young love. "We wanted to capture this feeling of naive youth, not just in the lyrics, but in the musical and instrumental delivery as well," the band says. "So the guitars were recorded on a cheap, slightly-out-of-tune Squier guitar, while the crowd of backup vocals sound like all your best buds at your university house party." 

Sheerbuzz: Crazy In Name

The members of this group from Donegal, Ireland, are still in their teens, but have been playing together for several years and have developed a very distinctive sound. This track is from the band's crowd-funded debut EP - which was released last year, but just reached our ears, so we're putting it in the New Music bin. It's a fun, high-energy concoction of classic rock riffs (a repeated chord echoes The Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Runnin") and ragged garage-punk with cheeky lyrics: "I can be anything you want me to be / unless it's taller or stronger." Expect to hear more from this band in our mix.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

New Hornsby & Mercer, Suzi Kory, Alison Solo, Boston Manor and The Know added to our big mix

Bruce Hornsby & James Mercer: My Resolve

Bruce Hornsby's upcoming album, Non-Secure Connection, reportedly will include a number of collaborations, and on this first single, Hornsby shares the billing and the vocals with James Mercer, of The Shins and Broken Bells. Consequence of Sound says the track "recalls Hornsby’s pre-Grateful Dead days, when he combined rock with power pop hooks... It uses hand drums and richly-layered strings to add texture to a track that, otherwise, could have come across as too smooth." Hornsby calls the song “a Sisyphean tale of the creative life, sung with a fellow climber.” 

Suzi Kory: Love Revolution

Music was a first love but second career for Toronto-based Suzi Kory. While keeping her "day job" in the airline industry, she began performing and recording a few years ago, pursuing a dream that goes back to seeing her first concert (Guns n Roses) at age 13. "Despite popular belief that one should be ‘all-in’ when pursuing artistic endeavours, my advice is to maintain a steady source of income," Kory told FYI Music News. "The ability to fund my musical project allowed for complete creative control." Kory has released a string of singles, including country songs, rockers and blends of the two. She takes inspiration from the hippie ethos of the 1967 Summer of Love on this new song. 

Alison Solo: Chiron

Born in London, raised in Canada, Alison Solo returned to England for a year in 2018 and "rediscovered her British rock roots," according to her bio. She brings those influences to bear on her new album, Plutonian, recorded in both countries and mixed by Ron Nevison, whose credits include Led Zeppelin and The Who. 
Vancouver-based Solo describes her music as Classic Rock with undertones of blues and psychedelia. Our featured track references the wisest of the Centaurs in Greek mythology. Music blog Rock the Body Electric says it "displays all of Solo's style, climbing to 70's rock radio heights around wah-wah'ing guitar solos and a singalong-ready outro." 

Boston Manor: Plasticine Dreams

This punk-rock crew from Blackpool just released its third full-length, Glue. Many of its tracks are more hard-edged than this one - a reviewer at describes it as "a more grunge-inspired sound, with frontman Henry Cox’s elegant yet somewhat laid-back vocal melodies drifting comfortably atop tight instrumentation." (The opening reverberating chord echoes "How Soon Is Now," but the resemblance is fleeting.) Cox says: “Plasticine Dreams is about the throwaway culture of media. How art is treated as ‘content’; one minute something is plastered everywhere you look and the next it’s faded into obscurity. ... We’re getting so much information constantly thrown at us that nothing is really absorbed or appreciated, you just click next when it’s finished.” 

The Know: 143

The Know is a Los Angeles dream-pop duo consisting of husband and wife Daniel Knowles and Jennifer Farmer. Their self-titled debut album has just arrived, although this single was pre-released a few months back. Clearly influenced by the likes of Beach House and Mazzy Star, they also cite influences ranging from '60s girl groups to The National. The title "143" refers to a shorthand for "I Love You" that was popular for couples messaging each other on pagers 'way back in the 1990s. "Lyrically, it’s set during the time period we first fell in love ourselves," the couple told Flood Magazine. "Back then, we spent a lot of time exploring LA by night and watching the sunrise. The song draws on events and hazy recollections from then."

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Danielia Cotton, Norah Jones, Larkin Poe, Neil Young and introducing The Allen Lewitt Project

Danielia Cotton and the Church Boys: A Different War

The times, they must change."Yesterday ain't tomorrow" is the refrain of the exceedingly timely title track from New York-based New Jersey native Danielia Cotton. It's a mid-tempo blues-rocker driven by Cotton's powerful voice and her solid band, interspersed with bits of rap by New York hip-hop artist Mickey Factz. The lyrics tackle racial inequality head-on: "Your color opens doors / Mine's fighting a different war / Don't you believe we deserve the same view?" Cotton told American Songwriter that for the new six-song EP, she set out to write songs that were "deeply personal -- reflective of my own highly subjective mood, spirit, history, etc. ... But looking at the songs as a whole now, I see that those larger themes, both political and cultural, of course were influencing me.”

Norah Jones: To Live

The cover photo for Pick Me Up Off The Floor suggests that the title refers to a need for a helping hand to get on one's feet. But it also describes the way the album came about: Jones selected tracks that were left on the cutting-room floor, so to speak, from the sessions for last year's Begin Again. The result is surprisingly cohesive. Sonically, as AllMusic writes, it is "firmly rooted in the after-hours jazz-folk-pop hybrid that's Jones' calling card." Thematically, it deals with the interrelation of social and personal struggles. On this deceptively smooth-and-easy piano ballad, the lyric describes the difficulty of finding a smooth-and-easy way "to live in this moment / find peace in my mind."

Larkin Poe: Holy Ghost Fire

Don't be fooled, as we once were, by the name of this female duo, which seems to hint at songbirds and poetry. Rebecca and Megan Lovell are Nashville-based, Georgia bred rockers who produce their own records and play most of the instruments, primarily electric and slide guitar. The result is "intricate rock and roll, with country pop, metal, and any other style that’s caught their ear, all slotting in perfectly," writes Blues Rock Review. The title track from Self Made Man is the lead single, but we're featuring the next number, a celebration of the power of music-making: "Burn, burn baby burn / With that holy ghost fire / From your fingers to the frets / Gonna testify - Sing / Sing baby sing / Let your soul take flight." (Footnote: Larkin Poe was the name of one of the sisters' ancestors.)

Neil Young: Vacancy

Yes it's a brand-new release, and yes it sounds like classic Neil Young - because it is. Recorded circa 1974 but never released, Homegrown is "the missing link between Harvest, Comes A Time, Old Ways, and Harvest Moon," Young has said. Stereogum says Young "withdrew it from the release schedule on the grounds that it was 'too personal.'" (Instead, he issued 1975's Tonight's the Night. "Since then, rumors of the album’s existence have swirled among Young’s diehard fans, giving it the sheen of legend." The blog adds: "It actually lives up to the legend."
Restored and remastered on analog equipment, it's now due for release this week. This single sounds like it's coming through a time warp - like it should be playing on a mid-70s hi-fi receiver with wood finish and luminescent dial. And, it's solid proof that a good rock record is timeless.

The Allen Lewitt Project: Meant to Be

We've played various tracks from Toronto-based singer-songwriter John Lewitt in our big mix and on The Birch Street Bistro. Early this year he released Acoustically Inclined - but he tilts more toward plugged-in rock in his new collaboration with New Jersey musician Jeff Allen. As the story goes, the two met just once, in a city far from their homes, but made a musical connection that led to them working together from 476 Miles apart. "We record everything in our own studios and send the files back and forth," Lewitt tells us. The two were planning to meet up and tour behind the record, but - well, we all know what happened to plans this year. And hey, virtual collaboration is all the rage now. The optimistic, self-affirming message of this song about "finding yourself" is a welcome tonic.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

New tracks from R.O. Shapiro, Muzz, Secret Treehouse, KOYO and HAIM added to our big mix

R.O. Shapiro: Younger Then

Feelings of nostalgia, foreboding and acceptance of aging mix together in this bittersweet single from a singer-songwriter who counts as his heroes the likes of John Prine, Jackson Browne, Gillian Welch and Joni Mitchell. Here he succeeds in making the personal seem universal, weaving private jokes ("She's got an eye for anthills / And I've got anthills for eyes") and nightmares ("I’m smellin' armageddon / Smells like sulfur, smells like wine") with the musings we all have about the passage of time: "I guess this is growing up / And time ain’t slowing down for no one / Lemme be ok with the grays and the great unknown.” Harmonies by Lauren Tronick and Micah Motenko and a band of top-notch Austin-based musicians give the track a suitably intimate-yet-expansive sound.

Muzz: Red Western Sky

Muzz consists of Interpol's Paul Banks, producer and multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman of Bonny Light Horseman and former Walkmen drummer Matt Barrick. They've been working on and off for several years on this side project - Pitchfork says the earliest sessions "occurred around 2015; later, the band convened at various studios and practice spaces, letting the project evolve at a leisurely pace. Muzz’s music sounds similarly unhurried." This track has a quicker tempo and punchier sound than most - "rattling Americana," writes NME, which says the band plays "with a warm classic rock vibe that calls to mind the crackling of vinyl as the needle drops."

Secret Treehouse: Ice Turns to Ash

This band from Norway joins our "five-timers club," making its fifth appearance in our New Music bin. The five-piece group, including guitarist-songwriter Sveinung Fossan Bukve and vocalist Anja Bere, first caught our ear with its blend of guitar rock and electro-pop in early 2019, and keeps catching it with each new release. This is the latest single from ST's forthcoming, yet-untitled second album. The band says the lyrics "are about the loneliness that one can feel in a relationship when the other person does not see who you are ... and then meeting a person who sees you for who you are and makes you laugh."

KOYO: Out Of Control

Just ahead of this month's release of its sophomore album, the Leeds, U.K.-based band rolls out this high-energy single. The group describes its sound as gritty psych-rock with prog influences. As for this track: "It’s about wanderlust; getting itchy feet. When you feel like you just need to get away to have new experiences ... It’s also about the frustration that comes with not being able to do these things" -- which much of the world can relate to in a time of pandemic.

HAIM: Don't Wanna

The third single to be released ahead of the third album by the sisters Haim, Women in Music, Pt. III (never mind that the previous albums were not parts I and II) is another catchy piece of pop-rock, following up "The Steps." In this episode, the protagonist realizes her relationship is rocky, but she "don't wanna" break it off.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Dizzy, Selfish Bodies, Kathleen Edwards, Sam Gifford, Sunset Jet featured in our New Music bin

Dizzy: Magician

When your debut album wins the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year (2018's Baby Teeth), you might feel rather daunted. But Dizzy came right back last year with a couple of stand-alone singles, and the early tracks from their upcoming sophomore effort The Sun and Her Scorch indicate Katie Munshaw and the brothers Spencer are only getting stronger. This upbeat song has a sad background: Munshaw said it's about "wanting to magically bring a friend of mine who passed away back to life. ... It's a really emotional song for me but is masked by tricky, pretty production to make it sound almost joyful."

Selfish Bodies: Waitress

We swing out to Edmonton to find this quintet of musicians from across Canada with varying musical backgrounds and interests who came together in 2018 and quickly gelled as a band. CanadianBeats writes: "Their songs are written collaboratively; they’re adamant everyone is listened to and is able to bring their unique ideas to the table. They note their sound has taken more of a pop glaze over time, but still maintains the alt-rock edge they began with." This song about infatuation showcases their self-professed aim to combine "poppy choruses ... [and] driving melodic verses ... with unconventional rhythms to keep things interesting and fun."

Kathleen Edwards: Options Open

After four albums, this singer-songwriter felt the need for a break from the pressure to "keep the ball rolling." So she suspended her music career and opened a coffee shop in Ottawa, dubbing it Quitters. "It allowed me all the time and space I needed to even just enjoy listening to music again. There were so many times where, if I was thinking about my own writing or playing, my heart just wasn’t in it," Edwards says. "I realized I’m entirely in control and deciding what my course of action is.” Now after her eight-year pause, Edwards returns with Total Freedom, expected in August. The refrain of this single sums up her outlook: "For 39 years I've been keeping my options open."

Sam Gifford: Leave With Nothing

This is the second single to spin out ahead of next month's release of Man Made. It's billed as Gifford's debut EP, although we've been playing tracks from his previous project, Sam Gifford and the Innocent, for a couple of years. The London-based guitarist-singer-songwriter has a sound that would fit well in the current rock scene around Nashville or Austin. This track has a leave-it-all-on-the-floor intensity to match its title.

Sunset Jet: Happiness Is a Work of Art

Hailing from the Isle of Man, this group describes itself as "combining indie-rock and Britpop influences with the classic surf-pop of The Beach Boys." That pretty well sums up the sound of this buoyant single, the band's seventh but the first from its current lineup as a trio. Frontman Brad Meechan says this track "is about making sure not to be overly rational about doing what you think will make you happy, because if you try to force happiness it tends to elude you.” Finding ways to create happiness is certainly a noble cause in these stressful times.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Fresh picks: The Jayhawks, Gracie and Rachel, MBG, July Talk and introducing The Criticals

The Jayhawks: This Forgotten Town

Photo: Vivian Johnson
The upcoming album XOXO represents a deliberate effort by the band to equalize its members' contributions to the music. On this song, written by Marc Perlman and Gary Louris, the lead vocals are shared by Louris and Tim O’Reagan, with Karen Grotberg harmonizing. The band's blend of American roots and 60's pop influences (referenced by the cover art) remains intact. The lyrics of this song are a bit obscure -- "I like to leave space between the lines for interpretation," says Louris -- but the theme of living on the economic edge comes through in lines like "Living in a makeshift tent / Couldn't find money for the rent."

Gracie and Rachel: Trust

The Brooklyn-based duo of keyboardist Gracie Coates and violinist Rachel Ruggles has been part of our mix since they began releasing recordings in 2016 (and we caught one of their live shows). Having toured with Ani DiFranco, they have now signed with her Righteous Babe Records label for their upcoming sophomore album. They just released a pair of singles (remember two-sided 45s?), "Ideas" and this track. As they describe it: "Sprouted from a writer’s block that caused Gracie and Rachel to doubt their songwriting abilities after a lengthy tour, 'Trust' blossomed into an empowered reflection on learning to speak your own language, believe in your instincts, and write your own narrative, regardless of any self-imposed walls your mind builds up."

MBG: Too Slow

Last summer we featured music from this Toronto-area one-woman-rock-band's debut LP,  Have a Alright Day, produced at MB Studios (that is, her house). For her new single, Leena Rodriguez recorded there and at Human Tourist Records (also a house - that of musician Phil Hirst, who engineered the track). Of course, she's back to working at her own home now due to the coronavirus, unable to bring her music to live audiences. A shame, since this track - although it starts slowly - builds into a wild rocker that would liven any club. Webzine Last Day Deaf calls it an "undeniable, garage/alternative rock banger, which gradually picks up to its zenith, unleashing more tension than a classic alt-rock quartet could achieve."

July Talk: Governess Shadow

More Toronto rock: This single from Peter Dreimanis, Leah Fay and their band is billed as a broadside against misogyny and social inequality. “This song is about my great-grandmother Alice and her two sisters Marie and Anna, who were sent to finishing school in Moscow as teenagers to learn how to serve the wealthy families of the day,” Dreimanis told Billboard. “It’s also about the deep imbalances of power in our world, and specifically how people are separated by wealth and gender.”

The Criticals: Talk Now

This Nashville-based band was formed in 2018 by Parker Forbes and Cole Shugart, veterans of that city's DIY music scene. They cite The Stone Roses, Janes Addiction and The Doors among their influences. Their sound has also been compared to The Strokes - and the lead vocal here reminds our ear of Cake's John McCrea. Although they put out a stream of singles last year, this catchy track is the first to reach us, with a boost from Deuce Music.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Jason Isbell, Billy Porter, Badly Drawn Boy, Phantom Planet, Waxahatchee in New Music bin

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: What've I Done to Help

The opening track on the new album Reunions is bound to resonate with people trying to find ways to be helpful in a world gone mad. Written, of course, before the pandemic, it nonetheless captures the sense of survivor's guilt: "The world's on fire and we just climb higher / 'til we're no longer bothered by the smoke and sound." AllMusic writes that the album "is steeped in tales of folks whose lives feel unrooted, not knowing just where fate is taking them and wondering which turn they should take." David Crosby chimes in with Isbell and his wife and bandmate Amanda Shires on the choruses.

Billy Porter: For What It's Worth

The song isn't new - it's instantly recognizable from the very first note - but Billy Porter demonstrates that Stephen Stills' lyrics about social unrest are just as relevant now as when the Buffalo Springfield recorded it in 1966. "There was a time where the artists of the day were really responding to what was going on in their world, and I wanted to, as a very engaged political person, speak to what's going on in the world today," Porter told USA Today. At the end of the track, he adds a call for "change." He told Rolling Stone that was improvised: “I knew I wanted to say something and it needed to be positive and hopeful ...Yes, things are happening, but how do you change it for the good?”

Badly Drawn Boy: Is This a Dream

So many songs emerging these days reflect the sense that the world is off kilter. Here's another, from the new album by British singer/songwriter Damon Gough, Banana Skin Shoes, the first Badly Drawn Boy release in seven years. The lyrics are at least as hallucinatory as "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream." Gough calls the track "a sound collage of chaos and confusion to reflect the ridiculous times we live in. A deliberately cartoonesque sonic poke in the eye, to those in whom we place trust, yet instead supply constant barrage of misinformation followed by bad decisions.” Come to think of it, the world seemed quite crazy at the time of Dylan's 1965 song, too. Not sure if that's good (we've been through this before) or bad (we're no better off).

Phantom Planet: Only One

This Los Angeles indie-rock outfit returned from a roughly decade-long hiatus with a single last year, and has now put together its fifth studio album, Devastator, due for release next month. After working on various other projects, the band members "feel like we’re returning home,” says singer and chief songwriter Alex Greenwald. “The boys in Phantom Planet are my brothers, and we figured it was time for a full-fledged family reunion.” This single is a easy-rolling, you're-the-one-for-me song with a summery, tropical lilt.

Waxahatchee: Lilacs

We previously featured "Can't Do Much" in the New Music bin, and we've been spinning this track from Saint Cloud on the Birch Street Bistro. Katie Crutchfield’s lyrics fit the theme of the album - a struggle to set aside self-doubt and worry and find contentment. She describes a day in the life as like a movie she's playing in her head: "I run it like I'm happy, baby / Like I got everything I want."

Saturday, May 9, 2020

New releases by Cassie Noble, Peter Serrado, Nick Lowe, Arkells and No Time for Reason

Cassie Noble: Move On, Grow

Ontario artist Cassie Noble is about to release her second EP, Madness, described as "a thoughtful collection of mixed metaphors and strong emotions," dealing with "how it feels to be utterly taken aback by the beautiful nature of chaos." Noble's debut EP, Find a Way, came out just last October and has been featured on The Birch Street Bistro. On this new track, her folk-rock, singer-guitarist sound is rounded out with ringing electric guitar, bass and subtle percussion.

Peter Serrado: Run

This Toronto native with Portuguese roots has just released his debut album, Sunset and a City. His bio says Serrado "gravitated to music at an early age, discovering a deep love of retro soul and funk, European crooners, Americana roots and R&B." He's developed a sound described as "soulful acoustic pop" that drew attention in a Eurovision TV competition and won him “Best New Artist” honors at the 2019 International Portuguese Music Awards. On this track, his raspy voice grounds the bright, easy-going guitar and keyboard accompaniment.

Nick Lowe: Don't Be Nice To Me

Another breezy mid-tempo rocker, this one with a retro sound, is this single from the upcoming album by veteran singer-songwriter-producer Nick Lowe. Lay It On Me is his third LP with Los Straitjackets, a Nashville-based combo that specializes in 60s-style instrumentals. The lyric is the lament of someone who just lost at love but doesn't want any sympathy. "When I find a rock big enough for me to crawl under / I'm gonna hang a sign outside to the world: Stay away."

Arkells: Years In The Making

Someday when stadium concerts are a thing again, songs like this will have crowds dancing and chanting together. Frontman Max Kerman says the track "is meant to encourage us to find ways to embrace the bumps in the road, because all of our challenges are ultimately there to help us work towards the dream – whatever that may be."

(By the way, we didn't plan to have three Ontario artists among this week's five picks for the New Music Bin; it just turned out that way.)

No Time for Reason: Supersonic Nightmare

Over to the UK now for a crank-it-up anthem from this Newcastle-based alt-rock quartet. This is the latest in a planned string of singles, a couple of which we've featured on The Detour. Frontman David Stoker says this song "describes how the younger generation are being affected by political decisions and media coverage. The whole song is very political, and tackles subjects that we haven't previously addressed as a band."