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Saturday, October 10, 2020

New from Janelle Monáe, The War and Treaty, Marin Patenaude, Future Islands, Mäya Mäya

Janelle Monáe: Turntables 

Songs of political protest have become as common recently as they were in the late 60s, as reactionary forces try to reverse the past five decades of progress. This new single is part of the soundtrack for a documentary called All In: The Fight for Democracy that looks at the history of voter suppression in the U.S. Monáe says she's not trying to lead a movement, but to lend her voice. "I’m simply watching, examining, and wanting to highlight all of the people who are on the frontlines fighting for our democracy, fighting against racial inequalities, fighting against white supremacy, fighting against systemic racism, and systemic oppression. So, this song is to keep us motivated."

The War And Treaty: Five More Minutes

This is shaping up as a breakthrough hit for the Nashville-based duo of Michael Trotter and Tanya Blount Trotter. Rolling Stone calls their second album, Hearts Town, a "huge leap forward ... expand[ing] on the rootsy textures of their 2018 debut, Healing Tide. This song's title and refrain grew from a dark moment, and turning point, when Trotter, an Iraq veteran with PTSD, was feeling suicidal but heeded his wife's plea to stay with her. "Transforming trauma into catharsis has become the pair's calling card as they've turned into one of Nashville's most thrilling new acts," RS writes in a feature article in its October issue. 

Marin Patenaude: The Build

Ariana Flynn Photography
On the surface, this song is about building a house on one's own: "All of it’s crooked, nothing sits square, it’s a carpenters nightmare / I filled in the cracks but the breeze always tracks me down." We're inclined to think of it as a metaphor for constructing one's own idiosyncratic life. The track is from Sight Unseen, the second album from this British Columbia-based singer-songwriter. We began playing it over the summer on the Birch Street Bistro (our program of singer-songwriters and music on the softer side, daily at Noon ET/9am PT). Now we're moving it into the New Music bin, never mind that it's been out for several months. Other tracks from the LP will also turn up in our big mix. 

Future Islands: Walking

With the release of As Long As You Are, the Baltimore-based Islands "take another step further from their trademark sound of nimble bass lines, gloomy synth washes, pulsing rhythms, and Samuel T. Herring's desperately cajoling vocals towards something grander and more epic," writes AllMusic. We previously featured the single "For Sure," and now we're featuring another of the album's more upbeat tracks, which review calls "probably the closest to classic Islands, with Herring's ripped-from-the-heart words and voice riding the music like a beatnik crowd surfer." 

Mäya Mäya: Both Names

We dip back into this Glasgow-based band's debut release for another taste of what Words for Music calls its "striking and original" sound. On this track, the indie-music blog says, "The quirky guitar part from guitarist Tony Miller reverberates throughout with Clara Robb singing in synergy. The lyrics are imaginative, conveying a sense of yearning and longing." We previously featured "Lifeguard" in the New Music bin, and we're stirring the rest of the four-track EP, Cutting Teeth, into our mix as well.

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