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Saturday, September 11, 2021

New sounds from Eddie Vedder, Amos Lee, The Churchhill Garden, The High Loves, Millie Manders


Eddie Vedder: Long Way


Photo by Danny Clinch
On our first listen to this new single, we noticed a strong Tom Petty influence - from the song's structure and lyrics to Vedder's vocal ("She took the long way / On the free-ee-ee-way.") So it wasn't surprising to learn that Benmont Tench of The Heartbreakers is part of the backing band (playing Hammond organ), along with guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and drummer Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This is the first track from the Pearl Jam frontman's upcoming solo LP, The Earthling.

Amos Lee: Worry No More


This soothing song seems perfectly timed for these anxious days of pandemic, climate change, political turmoil and the continuing repercussions of 9/11. It's the Philadelphia singer-songwriter's first release in four years. Local music blog The Key writes: "The music swells as Lee mixes in finger snaps and layered vocals that build up into visceral rush of tranquility. It makes you actually believe that everything will eventually fall into place." Lee says the song plays off a Bob Marley line: "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.”

The Churchhill Garden: Grounded


They've been referred to as a shoegaze band, but they're really a duo, and their latest single isn't really shoegaze. The Churchhill Garden began in 2010 as a solo project by Andy Jossi at his home in Switzerland. He collaborated with various vocalists, and in 2016 connected with American singer Krissy Vanderwoude. The trans-Atlantic pairing has become known for dreamy, melancholic music, but takes a more upbeat pop approach on this track, billed as "a toe tapping, hand clapping anthem which will speak to fans of bands like Lush and The Primitives."

The High Loves: Sometime


Earlier this summer we featured "Call Me Back"  by this Toronto-based indie-rock band. Here's another single from its upcoming Too Much of a Good Thing collection. Lead singer Noah Mockton says the lyrics were imagined as a goodbye letter to an ex. “It's about being okay with change, and letting someone you love go.” The other band members are lead guitarist Marko Stojanovic, keyboardist Jeremy Ugro, bassist Jake St. Jean and drummer Jaden Spanier. Elise Mariah adds backing vocals on this track.

Millie Manders and The Shutup: Your Story


This London band first hit our ears last month, and we featured the single "Broken Record." Now we're dipping back into their debut LP, Telling Truths, Breaking Ties, to drop another chunk of their punk-ish rock-and-roll into our New Music bin. Full disclosure: The album came out last year - but it's new to us, and we're betting it's new to most of our listeners. It's getting a fresh publicity push as the band embarks on an extensive U.K. tour. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

The Latest: They Might Be Giants, Dar Williams, Idle Dream, Emperor of Ice Cream, Dear Boy


They Might Be Giants: I Can't Remember The Dream


John Linnell, John Flansburgh and company will release their 22nd album, Book, in late October, along with... a book, of artwork. Linnell says the new songs are "humorously germane to the catastrophe going on around us.” This preview single describes TFW you wake up from a very pleasant dream and wish you could go back and live in it.

Dar Williams: Today And Every Day


The second single from the upcoming I'll Meet You Here LP is part of Williams' effort to encourage individual action to save the planet. She's inviting fans to share a link to the video (stop-action animation by Antje Duvekot) on their social-media accounts along with "3-5 things you do to save the world a little every day." The song's optimism is a counterpoint to the anger and cynicism in many current songs about the state of the world.

Idle Dream: The First Time


"I wanna know you when the party's over / I wanna know you when I am sober." As sung by Chris McGrath, what could be an awkward pickup line sounds like a genuine sentiment, a mix of anxiety and hope for romance. This Dublin duo formed in early 2020 when Connor McCabe joined what had been McGrath's solo project. They put out one single before the pandemic forced them to work together from separate locations. The word is the built up a repertoire of songs to be released in coming months, starting with this one.

Emperor of Ice Cream: Weather Vane


This Irish indie-rock band, which released a few EPs in the 1990s, re-emerged last year with its first full-length album, No Sound Ever Dies. Having pressed on through covid lockdowns, they're back with this single, described as a song about "a tornado of emotions when a relationship hits a rocky patch." The track is a trans-Atlantic production, assembled from parts recorded in home studios in Cork and Waterford, edited and mixed in New York and mastered in New Jersey.

Dear Boy: (On My) Mind


Photo by Matthew Reeves
Los Angeles music site Buzzbands.la calls this group "L.A.'s favorite Britpop band who aren't actually from Britain." The quartet consists of singer-guitarist Ben Grey, guitarist Austin Hayman, drummer Keith Cooper and bassist Lucy Lawrence. They have released a couple of EPs since 2013 and are working on their first long-player, to come out next year. This single, Grey says, "is about distance, and the complexities of being in love and apart.”