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Saturday, December 26, 2020

New sounds from EWAH & TVOP, Maggie Rogers, The Spyrals, The Corks, Semisonic

Our final selection of New Music for 2020 includes our usual wide range of musical styles. Some of these are brand-new releases and some are a few months old, but worth catching up with before the January rush of releases.

EWAH & The Vision of Paradise: Vanishing Point

We can't claim to be familiar with the music scene in Tasmania, but 2020 introduced us to this indie quartet based in its capital city of Hobart and fronted by Emma Waters. They describe their music as "cinematic post-punk merging with new wave and a lick of gothic." Listeners to our nightly free-form show The Detour have heard a few of their recent releases, and now their latest single lands in our New Music bin. UK review site Backseat Mafia calls the track "mesmerising, hypnotic and crystalline. ... Guitars scythe their way through the wash of keyboards, and Ewah’s voice is cold, distant and emotive at the same time."

Maggie Rogers: Celadon & Gold

Although this is a brand-new release, it was recorded in 2016, just before Rogers broke out to national attention with her hit single "Alaska." It's the opening track on Notes from the Archive: Recordings 2011-2016, which draws together 16 songs from her late teens and early 20s, some previously self-released and others, like "Celadon & Gold," available for the first time. Stereogum writes that the collection proves Rogers "could just as easily pivot [from pop] to languorous guitar-driven alt-rock or coffeehouse folk-rock if she so chose." This track fits more in the alt-rock category.

The Spyrals: Same Old Line

This is the title track from the fourth album under this band name, but the first with its current lineup. Frontman Jeff Lewis moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles and reformed The Spyrals with Michael McDougal and Dash Borinstein. Shindig Magazine says the new LP "features influences from The Stooges, The Stones and classic era Creedence, all distilled through a haze of Crazy Horse smoke and mirrors." The Neil Young influence is particularly strong on this title track.

The Corks: Already Gone

This Montreal group formed when its members met at university about five years ago. They're a bit hard to categorize, as their releases have varied in style from fuzzy garage rock through shades of blues, funk and pop-rock. "We don't really feel the need to commit to just one style of music," the band says. "We kind of just start jamming, and if we like what we hear, we'll write a song off it." This recent single is solid, hook-y alt-rock.

Semisonic: Basement Tapes

We jump back a few months to pull another track from You're Not Alone, the first release in nearly 20 years from Dan Wilson, John Munson and Jacob Slichter. Under The Radar calls the EP a collection of "straightforward power pop songs filled with hope, emptied of pretense." This track seems to reminisce about early days of touring by a young band "just living the Big Star dream," with scenes like this: "So we tool down to Kansas City to sleep on a sofa / and we're cool temporarily 'cos we're from Minnesota."

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

We don't play Christmas music - until Christmas! Join us for an all-instrumental holiday morning

While Christmas music is everywhere you turn, we're giving you an alternative by sticking to our year-round Marvelous Mix of new music, indie music, classic rock and more -- right up until ... 

... Christmas morning, Midnight-Noon EST (0500-1700 UTC), when we'll play a continuous stream of instrumental holiday music. 

Enjoy a mix of jazz, folk-acoustic and pop-orchestral versions of Christmas and Yuletide tunes - all free and commercial-free - here on your favorite independent, noncommercial internet music station.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Christmas Wrapping 2020 Pandemic Update

Here's a little holiday treat: The Bryan Hansen Band, joined by singer Kim Boyko, put a 2020 dumpster-fire spin on The Waitresses' 1981 classic "Christmas Wrapping." Happy Socially Distanced Holidays!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

New Paul McCartney, Matthew Sweet, Matt Cook, The Thank Yous, Phoenix and the Silvervoodoos

Paul McCartney: Find My Way

What's a veteran songwriter / musician / recording artist to do while in pandemic-induced isolation at home? Write and play and record, what else? In the tradition of 1970's McCartney and 1980's McCartney II comes 2020's McCartney III. The album wanders through different style and moods, so no one track is representative of the whole. Our choice for the New Music Bin "sounds like indie-rock filtered through his more traditional instincts," says

The influence of McCartney and The Beatles runs deep in other tracks in our New Music bin this week.

Matthew Sweet: Stars Explode

The Nebraska native's first two albums were solo efforts, before he hit it big with the full-band sound of Girlfriend. His upcoming release, Catspaw,is nearly a one-man project as well, as Sweet handles the guitar, bass and vocal parts, joined by Ric Menck on drums. Sweet tells American Songwriter that he named this track after a North Carolina indie band after hearing them do a song called "Matthew Sweet." “I was flattered and liked the song and their band name ... I’ve always been interested in Space and that greater nature of things; I love the concept that “we are all stardust.” I explored that idea in the lyrics." (Of course we had to check out the band called The Stars Explode; we may pick up some of their music, too.)

Matt Cook: Too Much

This singer-songwriter based in the Asbury Park, N.J., area cites the likes of Brian Wilson and Ben Folds among his influences. Reviewing his latest album, #AlbumNumber5Sessions, Asbury Park Vibes writes: "There’s a jaunty energy to the lush and warm piano-driven number 'Too Much' that allows it to wash over listeners." The album features a stellar cast of NJ musicians, including bassist William Blakey from another group you've heard us feature, The Bryan Hansen Band. Expect to hear more of Cook's music on our midday show The Birch Street Bistro.

The Thank Yous: Feel A Whole Lot Bitter

As the year winds down and the rush of new releases slows, we're going through some of the music that came our way earlier in the year and looking for more tracks to add to our big mix. Back in April, we featured "These Things Happen" from this indie band out of Norway. We now return to their Good Times Killing Us album for this another slice of power pop. The title echoes a classic song by The Byrds, switching "better" to "bitter" (or is that just a typo?) and switching the plot around. This time the singer isn't the one who's been wronged: "You didn't know that all the time / I was just putting you on." Yeah, she's bitter and better off without him.

Phoenix and the Silvervoodoos: Slip Away (remix)

For a solid dose of hard rock we turn to this female-fronted indie band from Asquith, Saskatchewan. They describe their music as "loud and powerful" with a "dark and mysterious sound." Frontwoman/guitarist Phoenix Christa is backed up by guitarist Roland King and drummer Linda King. This track, a remix of a 2019 recording, was released as a single this fall - so it's "new" enough to fit in our New Music bin.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Fresh sounds from The Defending Champions, Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar, Rooks, Days Indoors, The Crayon Set

The Defending Champions: Soundtrack

This should-be-better-known band from New Jersey packs a punch with its brassy brand of indie rock. Its repertoire takes in R&B, punk ska, jazz, Latin rhythms and more. This rolling new single highlights the horn section, as the lyrics comment on our divided society: "Everybody's listening to their own soundtrack, you know / People keep talking with nothing to say / Nobody is listening they just want their way, it shows." 

Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar: Love Is All Around

No, this band is not from the Mississippi Delta, but from Toronto. The new album, The Reckless One, is Martin's sixth and her second with her current group, which Glide Magazine calls "one of the premier soul bands in Canada." Our pick for the New Music bin mixes some funk into its big blues-band sound. Another highlight of the LP that you'll be hearing in our mix is a cover of Bob Dylan's "Meet Me in the Morning" that turns it into the stomping blues number it was meant to be. 

Rooks: The High Road

Jumping across Canada, we pick up on the latest release from this Calgary-based trio. The High Road is the debut LP from Jay Bowcott (vocals, guitar), Brent Rossall (bass, synths) and Darryl Swart (drums), who describe their sound as "unapologetic guitar rock, drawing influences from bands like Thin Lizzy, The Rolling Stones and The Black Keys." We even hear a bit of The Who's influence on this opening, title track.

Days Indoors: Silent Criers

This is the latest single from a London-based band that's preparing a new EP, Tales of Shade & Colour, for release in the spring. They cite influences ranging from Foo Fighters and The Killers to Stereophonics and Coldplay. The group's name seems particularly appropriate in these days of isolation, as does this song's message of encouragement to "all the lonely people." 

The Crayon Set: Moment

Ready for some 2021 music? "Moment" is the next single, set for release in January, from this Dublin alt-pop band's forthcoming album, Downer Disco, The whole LP was scheduled for release this year, but has been delayed by ... you guessed it, the global pandemic that has foiled so many plans in 2020. This track has a sunny sound contrasting with lyrics about trying to overcome anxiety: "I can't get out of bed / There's evil voices in my head."

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Our latest picks: Joy Ike, Vanishing Shores, Local Natives, The Strokes + introducing 26th Avenue

Joy Ike: Wearing Love

The Nigerian-American, Philadelphia-based artist says this song originated with thoughts about her personal life but evolved into "my response to 2020. In the blackhole of identity politics, social media wars, and our country's polarizing responses to racial injustice, this song is a response and a challenge to come up higher and do better - to wear love better than we wear our pride...or our political affiliations." 

Vanishing Shores: Road Less Traveled

This Cleveland-based indie group is about to release its Kickstarter-financed, pandemic-delayed album Maps. We previously featured the early single "Fix Me," and now we're picking up this guitar-driven ode to exploration (with Katie Egan again providing backing vocals). Key lyric: "I don’t care if we get lost / We can always find the stars / I believe in hope unseen / I believe it changes everything."

Local Natives: Statues in the Garden (Arras)

From the Los Angeles band's new EP Sour Lemon comes this sweet track that Rolling Stone calls "an eclectic showcase of the group’s varied talents, featuring shimmering guitars and dreamy melodies, with its swirling, intricate arrangement helping to frame the depiction of someone reconciling changes in themselves with a world that is also constantly changing." 

The Strokes: The Adults Are Talking

This is the opening track on The New Abnormal, which came out back in April, but it has just been spun out as a single, accompanied by an amusing video that has the band playing baseball against robots. Because why not? 

26th Avenue: 2:06

This is the debut single from the debut EP, Fuel the Fire, by a young band of indie-rockers from Sussex, UK. They began playing local gigs in 2018. From the press release: "The band weaves alternative sounds like Paramore’s alt-punk rock influence with the upbeat soft playfulness of Wolf Alice or Yonaka ... [featuring] electrifying high-energy guitar riffs" behind vocalist Demi.