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Saturday, March 13, 2021

New sounds from Veronica Lewis, Crown Lands, Middle Kids, Wild Tibetan Monks, Lake Street Dive

Veronica Lewis: You Ain't Unlucky

Somehow at age 17, this New Hampshire native sounds like she came up in New Orleans or maybe Chicago in the 1950s. The Boston Music Awards' Blues Artist of the Year 2020, she recently released her debut album, with six original songs and two covers. On this title track, her honky-tonk piano and crystal-clear voice are accented by saxophonist Don Davis. "One of the lyrics in the song says ‘Some people think it’s bad every cherry has a pit, but honey, inside every pit is a whole ‘nother tree,’" Lewis said in an interview with Americana Highways. "This is definitely an overarching theme of the song which is, in life something may seem bad, or like an obstacle in your way, but if you look at it from a different point of view, you can at least try to find something to appreciate and be grateful for."

Crown Lands: Right Way Back

After releasing their blues-rock-oriented debut album, this duo from Oshawa, Ontario, began reworking a prog-style song they'd written previously. They demoed "Context: Fearless Pt. 1" with the help of former Rush producer Terry Brown. Then they traveled to Nashville to work with former Rush producer Nick Raskulinecz. See a pattern here? Drummer-vocalist Cody Bowles and guitarist Kevin Comeau acknowledge Rush as their prime inspiration. Raskulinecz pulled out drums that Neal Peart had used on the 2007 Snakes & Arrows album for the session. Along with the nearly-eight-minute "Context...," they created our featured track as a tribute to Peart.

Wild Tibetan Monks: Lying Next To You

This trio from Dublin moved to Western Australia for a couple of years of touring and developing their music, then returned to Ireland as the pandemic took hold. Last fall we featured their single "Cartoons," recorded in Perth; this single is their first release since their return. They describe it as a "nostalgic indie-rock song [with] semi-sweet vocals and a spacey instrumental arrangement. ... The song is about not just physically lying next to someone, but lying in not telling them the truth.”

Middle Kids: Stacking Chairs

Just ahead of the release of their second album, Today We're the Greatest, this Sydney-based band has spun out a fourth single - a chiming love song that reflects on singer-songwriter Hannah Joy’s marriage with bandmate Tim Fitz. Joy's lyrics are typically self-critical - "I'm wrapped up in all these weird theories / Running in circles, chased by bees" - but there is real tenderness and appreciation here. "When the wheels come off, I'll be your spare / When the party's over, I'll be stacking the chairs / When the world turns on you, I will be there."

Lake Street Dive: Hush Money

This is perhaps the most-rollicking track on the band's new album, Obviously. It mocks crooked politicians from the cynical point of view of someone looking to make a buck off scandal. "I got a whistle, and I think I'll blow it / And now you want me to be quiet, you won't get it for free / 
So let me get some of that hush money."

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