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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Our latest picks: Modest Mouse, Grand Splendid, Dentist, Soda Blonde, Coldplay in New Music bin

Modest Mouse: We Are Between

The Portland, Ore.-based band plans a June release of The Golden Casket, their first album since 2015's Strangers to Ourselves. On the new collection, frontman Isaac Brock “explores themes ranging from the degradation of our psychic landscapes and invisible technology, to fatherhood,” according to a press release. This first single uses a simple refrain to suggest bigger ideas about life, the universe and everything: "We are between, yeah, we are / Somewhere between dust and the stars / Swung open, then slammed shut, yeah, but here we are."

Grand Splendid: Magic

Here's the second single from this Montreal indie-rock band's upcoming album, its first full-length release. Who are these guys?  Julian Buchbinder (lead vocals, guitar), Alex Pilla (bass, keyboards), Mathias Fugen (guitar, vocal harmonies) and Renaud Viero (drums). In November we featured the first single, "You Are the Universe," which eventually reached #1 on the Canadian Online Radio Chart and remains in the top 10 at this writing.

Dentist: Let Me Let Go

We featured the single “Don’t Let Me Catch You” when it came out in February, and this latest entry to our New Music bin is the next bit to emerge from their upcoming fourth album. Impose Magazine writes that the track "cruises on what Dentist does best; infectious hooks, driving bass and loud guitars." It's a song aboug getting away from a bad relationship, as vocalist Emily Bornemann told the mag: "I often find myself writing about heartbreak I can’t control, because it is something that just sticks with me."

Sold Blonde: In The Heat Of The Night

Singer Faye O'Rourke, guitarist Adam O’Regan, drummer Dylan Lynch and bassist Donagh Seaver-O’Leary are former members of Little Green Cars. When that Dublin band broke up in early 2019, they reformed as a quartet and have already released two EPs and a couple of singles. We recently featured "Small Talk," the title track of an upcoming album that will also include this new single. "It’s a song about conflict -- and getting a kick out of it," says O'Rourke. "The thrill of the fight."

Coldplay: Higher Power

The band teamed with Swedish pop producer Max Martin, who has worked on hits with the likes of Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake, on this new single. Frontman Chris Martin told the BBC that it's one of several new tracks Coldplay recorded over the past year, while jumping through hoops to comply with pandemic restrictions. "We had to find countries where we were able to get in with permission, and then be in a recording bubble - and we did that three or four times," he said. He told the network that lockdowns forced him to look at his relationship with fame. "Last year was a quite an eye opener," he said. "I was like, 'Who am I without Wembley Stadium, saying you're awesome?'"

Saturday, May 1, 2021

New releases by Carsie Blanton, Screens 4 Eyes, Edgar Road, WKNDR, Dumpstaphunk

Carsie Blanton: Sufferin' Fools

With her unique sound and view of the world, this indie singer-songwriter that we've been following for years is drawing well-deserved attention with her new album, Love & Rage. Across its 11 tracks, Blanton's subjects range from love and lust to injustice and protest. We can't do a better job of capturing the album's spirit than this review by National Public Radio or this one by PopMatters. We previously featured singles "Party at the End of the World" and "Be Good," and with the release of the LP we're picking this cheerfully bittersweet song about a brief affair: "Knowin' it was just one night / Why'd it have to feel so right?"

Screens 4 Eyes: At Dawn

This is the latest single from the Tel Aviv synth-pop group's pandemic-delayed-but-still-forthcoming third EP. On this track, dawn brings darkness as keyboardist-vocalist Yael Brener sings of finding a lover missing at morning: "Why did you walk away? / This is how it feels, a fading presence walks away." Bright piano notes and sharp drumbeats accent the moody synths, creating a mesmerizing sonic atmosphere.

Edgar Road: Breakout

Here's the latest track from another indie band we've been following and featuring for a few years now. The five-piece from northern Scotland has released several singles in recent months, building toward its planned third EP. The band features vocalist-guitarist Mark Conti, Magdalena Wellenger on keyboards and vocals, Simon Watterson on guitar, Michael Byiers on bass and Allan Hall on drums.

WKNDR: Rising

Photo: Nick Wasch Photography
The title track from Richmond, Virginia-based "alterna-folk-rock" band grabs us right away with its opening flute notes (we always enjoy a rockin' flute) and then busts out into a joyful sound suitable for dancing on the lawn at a summer music festival (Can we have those again, please?). The band consists of Jim Wright (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Ali Foley Shenk (vocals, flute, bass, ukulele), Adam Powell (drums and percussion) and Elliot Johnson (lead guitar, keys, bass, vocals). In their words, they play "original music deriving from their conviction that life is beautiful, love wins, and mean people suck."

Dumpstaphunk: Make It After All

This is the title track from the New Orleans band's jam-packed new album. From their bio: "Founding members Ivan Neville (vocals/keyboards) Ian Neville (guitar) Tony Hall (bass/guitar/vocals) and Nick Daniels (bass/vocals) along with newest members Alex Wasily (trombone) and Deven Trusclair (drums), have built upon the Neville family’s iconic NOLA legacy, as they’ve transformed into the city’s pre-eminent 21st-century funk-fusion export, after being birthed originally from a spontaneous set during New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2003." We only wish we could get down to Tipitina's and catch their shows this weekend!