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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."

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