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Saturday, February 20, 2021

Bill Toms & Hard Rain, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Manchester Orchestra, Fly the Nest, Lake Street Dive in our New Music Bin

Bill Toms & Hard Rain: Everybody's Talking

This Pittsburgh-based blues-rock-roots band will release it's tenth "studio" album, Keep Movin' On, in April, and we're glad to get the chance to spin this early single. We put studio in quotes because, as with many recent releases, guitarist/frontman Toms, his band and The Soulville Horns put it together from remote locations. It was an unusual experience for a group that's used to playing live - and whose previous release was, in fact, 2019's Live. The new LP was pulled together with help from producer Rick Witkowski, long-time member of Crack the Sky, another band with ties to the Pittsburgh area. The result is solid, soulful rock'n'roll from a veteran band, led by the one-time lead guitarist for Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers.

Edie Brickell and New Bohemians: I Don't Know

Singer-songwriter Brickell and the New Bos have been an on-and-off project for more than three decades, releasing just three albums after their 1998 debut, Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars. But after reuniting in 2017 and releasing Rocket the following year, they are back relatively quickly with Hunter and the Dog Star. It's filled with a collection of short-story-like songs backed by the inventive playing of guitarist Kenny Withrow, bassist Brad Houser, drummer Brandon Aly, percussionist John Bush and keyboardist Matt Hubbard. Band members told Relix that most of the tracks were the result of improvisation in the studio. Of our pick for the New Music bin, Withrow said it was built around one riff that emerged from three hours of jamming.

Manchester Orchestra: Bed Head

Photo: Shervin Lainez
On The Million Masks of God, the sixth album by this Atlanta-based alt-rock band, "singer-guitarist Andy Hull, guitarist Robert McDowell, drummer Tim Very, and bassist Andy Prince aimed to create a cinematic, immersive experience that’s meant to be listened to in one sitting," writes Consequence of Sound. That will have to wait until the LP's release in April, but in the meantime they've carved out this single. "Over a distorted drum pattern that glitches at various points, Manchester Orchestra race through a brooding melody about being caught in tough situations and grappling with grief."

Fly the Nest: Old Street Lover

Several months ago, we featured "Borrowed Time" by this Dublin-based singer-songwriter, a.k.a. Stephen Cooper. As a frequent writer of music for films and television, he brings a wide-screen sound and dramatic energy to his songs. “This song is about having a connection with someone that’s ultimately lost," Cooper says. "Though it hurts to see it end, you really do wish them the best and hope they find what they’re looking for.”

Lake Street Dive: Hypotheticals

Ahead of the upcoming album Obviously comes this song about the hopeful early days of a relationship. writes: "After a fascinating intro from [lead singer Rachel] Price, the band locks into a groove-heavy R&B vibe. From Bridget Kearney’s funky acoustic bass trimmings to the spacey synthesizer solo, Lake Street Dive and [producer Mike] Elizondo are firmly on the same page. And the lyrics about yearning for a positive romantic outcome are ear tantalizing: Hypothetically, yes / Theoretically, forever / We'll see what happens / But I hope we will never be apart.”

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