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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Brand-new music by Pearl Jam, Surge, Hemming, Katie Pruitt, John Lewitt

Pearl Jam: Dance of the Clairvoyants

Photo: Danny Clinch
On this first single from the upcoming LP Gigaton, Eddie Vedder channels David Byrne and the band draws on New Wave and dance-rock influences to create what Rolling Stone calls the band's "funkiest song in forever." (When Vedder sings in the first verse, "Burn your assumptions," the echo of "Burning Down the House" is strong.) Bassist Jeff Ament says making this track "was a perfect storm of experimentation and real collaboration, mixing up the instrumentation and building a great song, and Ed writing some of my favorite words yet, around Matt's killer drum pattern. Did I mention Mike's (McCready) insane guitar part and that Stone (Gossard) is playing bass on this one?"

Surge: Smash the Clocks

From the Essex seaside town of Clacton-on-Sea comes this indie-pop band and its debut EP, Colours, due for release in March. The foursome sets out to "combine swirling synths and chiming guitars with complimenting beats." The guitars are more prominent on this track, with its catchy chorus and relatable theme about the passage of time and our impossible wish to slow it down. "I blinked and I was 33," sings lead vocalist George King. "It's something you can outrun / You can’t undo what is done."

Hemming: Airport Security

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Candice Martello is joined by two other members of the Philadelphia indie-music scene - Adam Shumski on drums and Joshua Chase Miller on bass - for this latest release by her Hemming indie-rock project. Her music tends toward dark themes, and this track starts out that way, ruminating on time and distance and separation in a plaintive, tremulous vocal: "Nothing feels right since you walked out the door / I hate calendars and airport security / all the things that take you away from me." But it takes a hopeful turn at the end: "Let my heart unthaw / cause I can feel you near."

Katie Pruitt: Expectations

Originally from the Atlanta suburbs, this emerging artist is now based in Nashville, and her debut album, Expectations, is soon to be released by Rounder Records. The title track, says American Songwriter, "demonstrates what Pruitt does best: blend indie rock, Americana and solid songwriting." Rolling Stone has described her as “a soulful, acrobatic vocalist with a strong sense of melody and even stronger knack for crafting an affecting narrative.” This song is about casting off the weight of your own or other people's expectations: "We are conditioned from an early age to feel that we need to have our whole lives figured out, right this second," Pruitt says. "When often times, we’d get there quicker if we’d only learn to relax."

John Lewitt: I've Got A Lot of Friends

We featured this Toronto-based musician in our New Music bin about a year ago and on The Birch Street Bistro numerous times. He describes his new EP, Acoustically Inclined, as a collection of laid-back songs "perfect for those weekend mornings where you just want to relax with a cup of coffee and doing nothing." This traveling song evokes classic folk in the keep-on-the-sunny-side vein: "I've got a lot of friends / Like the leaves in the trees / Like the stars in the night / Shining down, guiding me."

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