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Saturday, March 27, 2021

New from Dumpstaphunk, Soda Blonde, June Star, Pete Yorn, Shayla McDaniel


Dumpstaphunk: United Nations Stomp


Take a fiery Buddy Miles classic from 1973, give it to a hot New Orleans funk jam band led by members of the Neville family, bring in Marcus King and Waddy Wachtel for extra guitar power, and you get a powerful anthem of peace and brotherhood that will raise the roof and shake the floor. The band, formed in the early 2000s by cousins Ivan and Ian Neville, will release it's third album, Where Do We Go From Here, next month. It's billed as Dumstaphunk's "most powerful and politically pointed album." Says Ivan Neville: “We hope people can hear the new songs and are inclined to dance, and inspired to think at the same time.”

Soda Blonde: Small Talk


We've featured this Dublin band a couple of times before, and now as it prepares to release its debut album, Small Talk, we bring you the title track. Lead singer Faye O'Rourke says the LP is a collection of songs "about life in our 20’s. ... Every part of us is in here, both subliminally and literally. Lyrically, this record is like a collection of my flaws and insecurities. They’re lingering awkwardly by the bar at a crowded social gathering, waiting to integrate with the wider world.” Far from the only ones making music on those themes (cf. Middle Kids), they bring a seasoned sound to this self-produced album.

Pete Yorn: Rooftop


Photo by Jim Wright
Marking the 20th anniversary of his debut album, musicforthemorningafter, Yorn is about to release an EP consisting of three live versions of mftma songs -- and this "lost song," an outtake from those 1991 sessions. The New Jersey native was living in Los Angeles and writing music for movies and TV when he recorded the album. "We made it in garages in California, in Van Nuys and Culver City… I just made music that I liked and I knew that there were no guarantees of where it would get me…but twenty years later I am really proud of the impact the record has had and it still carries a deep emotional resonance for me.”.

June Star: How We See It Now


Photo by Shane Gardner
This is the title track from the latest release by Andrew Grimm's roots-rock project. Glide Magazine writes: "Pedal-steel-laden laments sway drunkenly next to folk-rock foot-stompers and [Grimm's] vocal performances ache with the same existential doubt we all feel at the moment." His voice reminds our ear of The Airborne Toxic Event's Mikel Jollett while the lyrics and modern-country arrangement bear similarity to James McMurtry. This song "is a reflection on the inevitable change we agree to when your status shifts from single to in a relationship to it’s complicated,"  says Grimm. "There’s a fine line between compromise and sacrifice.”

Shayla McDaniel: Let Me Breathe (How to Break Our Hearts)


This is the latest in a string of singles this Knoxville, Tenn., singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has released over the past five years. Each is a gem, featuring thoughtful lyrics and McDaniel's warm, expressive voice. This song, she says, "is about figuring out if a relationship is challenging but healthy, or tough and unnecessary." It was composed over a drumbeat laid down by Peter Mansen of Deep Sea Diver.

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