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Saturday, September 5, 2020

New Music picks: Smashing Pumpkins, Bastile, Shayla McDaniel, Hannah Georgas, Nothing But Thieves

Smashing Pumpkins: CYR

Dystopic nightmare seems to be the prevailing theme of 2020, and this is Billy Corgan's contribution. He describes the song as “one-soul-against-the-world sort of stuff, set against a backdrop of shifting loyalties and sped-up time." The single is a forerunner to a yet-untitled album that will be the band's second release since Corgan got back together with founding Pumpkins James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin, along with longtime guitarist Jeff Schroeder, in 2018. (CYR is supposedly pronounced "seer," although neither word appears in the lyrics.) 

Bastille: What You Gonna Do???

The South London quartet gets an assist from Blur's Graham Coxon on this guitar-and-drum-heavy rocker that marks a stylistic shift. "Gone are the polished production and synth-laden pop choruses, replaced instead with a punk sensibility," writes Atwood Magazine. The lyrics deal with the constant distraction and potential menace of social media: "You got control, got my attention / Make me tap and scroll ...You got us listening, so what you gonna do? / Now what you gonna do with it?" Following last year's Doom Days LP, frontman Dan Smith says this single is part of "a new beginning” for Bastille. “It’s about completely tearing up our process, being spontaneous and starting again."

Shayla McDaniel: Worth Living

The new single from this Tennessee songwriter and musician counsels against despair, whether brought on by current events or private anxieties. "Please don’t believe the lies / Lodged inside of your mind / Your life is worth living / Please don’t leave me behind." The song's release is timed to World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10) and U.S. National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 6-12). McDaniel, a multi-instrumentalist who self-produced this track, brings keen observation and an open-hearted warmth to her songs, delivered in a style that blends pop, R&B and jazz. 

Hannah Georgas: Dreams

The fourth album from this Juno-nominated artist, All That Emotion, is "a subdued, low-contrast set that leans into timbres like piano, muffled drums, humming keyboards, and rich guitar tones as accompaniment for Georgas' yearning, soft-spoken reflections," writes AllMusic. We previously featured the single "That Emotion," and with the release of the full LP, we're picking up one of the more upbeat tracks, with "an insistent, sixteenth-note bass line and spacy, layered textures." An Ontario native who moved to British Columbia for university and began her career there, Georgas is now based in Toronto. The album was produced by The National's Aaron Dessner at his upstate New York studio.

Nothing But Thieves: Real Love Song

We introduced this song on The Detour and now move it to the New Music bin. It strikes our ear as Killers-esque. The U.K. five-piece band will release its third full-length album, Moral Panic, this fall. The group describes this track as "an attempt to write a song about love from a self-aware perspective. It’s about the darker side of love – the painful, unrequited kind. It’s love lost or love never gained."

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