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Saturday, October 16, 2021

New music from Sam Fender, Sean McConnell, Shannon Lay, Katherine Aly, The Record Company

Sam Fender: Get You Down

Photo by Charlotte Patmore
This UK singer-songwriter mines adolescent memories for several songs on his just-released second album, Seventeen Going Under. Our pick for the New Music bin, which seems to recall a schoolyard enemy, "erupts in a guitar-saxophone duel and climaxes with a swarm of strings," writes Pitchfork. "There’s no hiding the influence of Springsteen’s lyrical prowess and the E Street Band’s orchestral grandeur on Fender’s work, as well as the Boss’ 21st-century acolytes like the War on Drugs and the Killers." In fact, at times his vocals remind us just a bit of Brandon Flowers.

Sean McConnell: What the Hell Is Wrong With Me?

This Nashville songwriter has written for numerous country, rock and pop artists as well as releasing his own material. His new album, A Horrible Beautiful Dream, is his tenth, featuring his powerful voice and "storyteller style ... a la Springsteen, Prine, and Townes Van Zandt," writes Roughstock in a review that describes this track as "a melodically rollicking look at why someone does the things they do in life. They know they shouldn’t do something yet there they are doing that exact thing."

Shannon Lay: A Thread to Find

A California native who came up through the LA garage-punk scene, Lay has pursued "a radically different solo career steeped in thoughtful, psychedelic-infused indie folk," as AllMusic describes it. Geist is her second LP on the Sub Pop label. This song, Lay says, "is about finding pieces of yourself in unfamiliar places, It is about watching the people around you grow and evolve, and admiring the chaos and the beauty of discovering new worlds within ourselves.” The lyric concludes: "You're on your own but not alone."

Katherine Aly: Pariah

This is the latest in a string of singles leading up to a planned debut EP by this Edinburgh-based alt-pop artist. The song has a message of tolerance - or of intolerance for intolerance. Born in Greece, Aly tells On Magazine: "‘Pariah’ is a very special release for me. I finally found the courage as a woman, an immigrant and an artist to talk openly about discrimination and on top of that invite other people to use ‘Pariah’ as a platform to address other forms of prejudice."

The Record Company: Gotta Be Movin'

We've been spinning the single "How High," and now with the release of the LP Play Loud we're featuring another boisterous track from the LA trio. Bassist Alex Stiff says: “We totally flipped the process on this record to allow for every idea and possibility, so it wasn’t just the three of us closed off in our bubble. It was like, ‘Let’s take some risks and see what we can really do.'” That approach included hiring outside songwriters as collaborators, including producer Dave Sardy, and using overdubs to fatten the sound, reports American Songwriter, adding: "There’s enough grit mixed with the slicker production to keep existing fans happy while possibly bringing new ones to the table." 

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