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Saturday, April 10, 2021

The latest: The Wallflowers, Carsie Blanton, Whitehorse, Flock of Dimes, Van Go Go

The Wallflowers: Roots and Wings

Photo: Yasmin Than
The first release from Jakob Dylan since 2012's Glad All Over is this single from a new LP, Exit Wounds, due in July. Paste Magazine tells us he put together a new group of musicians for the album, and has scheduled a tour to begin in the summer. JD says of the album title: "Nobody is the same as they were four years ago. That, to me, is what Exit Wounds signifies. And it’s not meant to be negative at all. It just means that wherever you’re headed, even if it’s to a better place, you leave people and things behind, and you think about those people and those things and you carry them with you. Those are your exit wounds. And right now, we’re swimming in them."

Carsie Blanton: Party at the End of the World

Our regular listeners are familiar with this singer-songwriter, whose upcoming album Love and Rage expresses her primary messages: Love one another, and rage against hatred. "About half the time, I think the human race is doomed and there’s nothing we can do about it. On those days I alternate between despair and hedonism. This [song's] about hedonism." She's pictured here with long-time band members Joe Plowman (bass) and Patrick Firth (keyboards), who podded together and produced the album through the pandemic.

Whitehorse: Relic in the New Age

The Ontario-based duo of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland recently released Modern Love, the first album the couple also produced. Their sound has been described as folk-rock, Western noir, "space cowboy" and, in a publicity blurb, "a fully immersive experience of interpersonal harmonics in ultra rich waveshape sonics." Ok, then. The LP's theme is described as a "blueprint for love in the digital age," and this song expresses a sense of trying to adapt humanity to technology: "You've got me by the barcode, baby /  I know I’m just a demo failed / But somehow I prevailed / It’s evolutionary."

Flock of Dimes: Two

Photo: Graham Tolbert
Jenn Wasner, who is half of the indie-pop duo Wye Oak and a touring member of Bon Iver, has released her second solo album under the Flock of Dimes name. For Head of Roses, Wassner "assembles a different group of collaborators, but she sounds more confident than ever in her own voice," Paste writes, resulting in "an album that’s equal parts intricate, exploratory pop and thoughtful, experimental indie folk." The refrain in this song expresses the tension between independence and partnership: "Can I be one? / Can we be two? / Can I be for myself? / Still be still with you?"

Van Go Go: Both of Us

The quartet of Nathan Mackinder (vocals), Jason Schaller (guitar), Paxton Olney (bass) and Jonah Brockman (drums) formed in Michigan in 2007, recorded some demos in 2008 - then took a hiatus that turned into 12 years of pursuing other careers. Amid the pandemic, their bio says, they decided "they had unfinished business, as well as unfinished music from 2008, and they collectively decided that it was time to finish the stories that they had begun to tell before separating." They returned to Pearl Sound Studios, finished off those early songs and added  new ones. We're not sure if this one was written in '08, but to our ears it has a bit of an '80 sound.

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