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Saturday, August 29, 2020

New Old 97s, plus fresh picks from Jason Isbell, Land of Talk, Larkin Poe, Subshine

Old 97s: The Dropouts

It's impressive when a band has been playing together for a quarter century. The alt-country quartet of Rhett Miller, Ken Bethea, Murray Hammond and Philip Peeples has just released its 12th album, called, um, Twelfth. American Songwriter says this opening track is "classic Old 97s every step of the way, yet pulses with the energy of a band making their debut, with unstoppable musical swagger and Miller’s effortless lyrical eloquence on full display. The song honors society’s underdogs, to whom Miller still feels a kinship despite the band’s success." 

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: Running With Our Eyes Closed

The influence of Jackson Browne seems strong on this track from Reunions. The verses follow a melody similar to "Lives in the Balance." And while the lyrics don't deal with social or political issues (as other tracks on the album do), they would fit well with many of Browne's songs describing the highs and lows of relationships. "And we can never go back and be strangers / All our secrets are mixed and distilled / But you've taught me to temper my anger / And you've learned it's alright to be still." 

Land of Talk: Footnotes

Eavesdrop with us on another of the Indistinct Conversations in the new LP from Montreal-based Elizabeth Powell and her band. “The music itself is the very sound of people connecting," Powell says. "Lush and layered with swirling synths and dreamy guitar noise, driving drums – I envision us all sweatily, joyfully performing together on stage. Lyrically, though, this song has revealed itself to be about loneliness ... and the wish-hope-struggle to reach out and connect with others. The chorus promise, ‘I’ll be there night after night,’ is at once comforting and threatening. Is it a loved one talking, or the loneliness itself?” 

Larkin Poe: Every Bird That Flies

We previously featured "Holy Ghost Fire" from Self Made Man, the latest release by this Nashville-based rock-and-roll duo. Sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell bring a dark, ominous atmosphere to this track. The refrain "Suddenly you're free as / Every bird that flies" sounds liberating - but not when it's preceded by lines like "When all you got is nothing / And you're waiting 'round to die." 

Subshine: Living Like It's Real

Music from this solo project of Norway's Ole Gunnar Gundersen, former lead vocalist of a band called Lorraine, has been in our playlist since last year. We began playing this track a few months ago on The Detour, and enjoyed the '80s flashbacks so much that we decided to move it into the New Music bin. The opening of this song strongly reminds us of ... some record from the late 80s or early 90s that we've been racking our brains to identify. Contact us if you can help make the connection. 

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