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Friday, December 31, 2021

Our New Year's Special is now streaming!

We're ringing in 2022 by playing the songs that were featured in our New Music Bin in 2021.

Every week we pick five new releases, and each gets about a dozen top-of-the-hour spins during the next three weeks before settling back into our big, big mix.

We're playing our 2021 picks - in random order - from 6pm New Year's Eve until Noon on New Year's Day (Eastern Standard Time).

Join us for a great variety of current music, including lots of indie artists. As always, our stream is free and commercial-free!

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Last batch of New Music before the New Year: Superchunk, Bully, Parcels, Beach House, Lake 22

Superchunk: Endless Summer

Dubbed an "indie-rock institution" by Paste Magazine, this North Carlolina-based band will release its 12th studio LP, Wild Loneliness, in February. The album features several guest performers, such as Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley, who provide harmony vocals on this first single. The song, says co-founder and singer-songwriter Mac McCaughan, "was written on New Year’s Day 2020, which was unseasonably warm here in North Carolina." From the lyric: "I miss the cold and I miss looking out for spring ... I'm not ready for an endless summer."

Bully: Just For Love

This new single was recorded during the sessions for Bully's 2020 album, Sugareggg. Stereogum writes that it "fits the same general mood as the tracks from that album. On its own, though, 'Just For Love' works as a noisy, nervy, hooky jam with a bittersweet undercurrent. It’s a prime example of what Bully does well." The stand-alone single was released in early December as the Alicia Bognanno-fronted band started a brief Eastern U.S. tour. No word if there's more to come.

Parcels: Somethinggreater

This track from the Australian band's second album was released last month and we've been spinning it on our nightly free-form show, The Detour. It's wormed itself into our ears, so we're moving it to the New Music bin. The NME calls Day/Night "a sprawling and inventive double album" that expands the band's sound beyond the first album's disco formula - although some of that remains in this track, a "reclined and understated '70s anthem with a Chic guitar line and a bouncy bassline."

Beach House: New Romance

The third of four chapters of Once Twice Melody is due in mid-January, but meanwhile we're featuring another track from chapter two. This number rolls along in a dreamy, Beach House-y groove, while the lyrics suggest turmoil. Victoria Legrand told Apple Music: "'New Romance' existed, just the music, for quite a long time. It really had this intensity to it. It was like a pop song, but it was more psychotic, a little bit scary." For the lyrics, "I really wanted to write something that felt so visual and large. So, the song actually is pretty wild, like new romance, which is, in theory, it's such an exciting feeling. It's also terrifying, because you don't know what's going to happen."

Lake 22: Control

As '21 comes to a close we want to pull out another track from '22's midyear release. This Seattle-area quintet draws on many musical influences on its self-titled debut album. This track has a throwback sound, and we don't mean to the 90s. Maybe the 40s? The band describes it as "a hybrid of rock, pop and Broadway" that deals with "the challenges of staying in control of things in your life from health concerns to relationship issues." The already high energy level jumps even higher when the horns kick in midway through.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Best Coast + Joe Bonamassa + Small Town Sindrome + Animal Collective + Lala Lala = New Music Variety

Best Coast: Leading

The duo of Beverly Cosentino and Bobb Bruno released Always Tomorrow in early 2020, but their planned tour was scrubbed due to the pandemic. As they prepare to try again (fingers crossed), they're issuing a deluxe edition of the album with several new tracks, including this single. "As Always Tomorrow turns two years old, and we finally set out to tour the album the way it was meant to be toured in the first place, the album evolves into something brand new," Cosentino says. Paste Magazine says this track "has trembling guitar, brash drums and lively vocals that reimagine the band’s power-pop sound as more 'power' and less 'pop' than before." It also features backing vocals by teenage rockers The Linda Lindas.

Joe Bonamassa: Notches

We're catching up with the blues-rock guitarist's latest album, Time Clocks, which came out a couple of months ago. Blues Rock Review writes that "Bonamassa really digs deep lyrically on this album and it feels more personal. Of course, there is great guitar, but Joe’s songwriting has never been better." This track is a co-write with Charlie Starr of Blackberry Smoke. We're featuring a 4-minute "radio edit" in our New Music rotation, but promise we'll also play the full 7-minute track.

Small Town Sindrome: On My Own

From Grand Rapids, Minnesota (pop. 11,000, not to be confused with the Michigan city of 199,000) comes this "high-energy pop-punk / alt-rock band." We're featuring just one of the catchy tracks on its recently released second album, It Only Gets Worse. The LP was produced, recorded and mixed by Pete Steinkopf of The Bouncing Souls.

Animal Collective: Walker

This track is a tribute to pop-turned-avant-garde musician Scott Walker. Band member Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) has said it was written around the time of Walker’s death in 2019, adding, "he’ll always be a big inspiration.” The trippy track will be included on the band's 11th album, Time Skiffs, due in February. Stereogum reviewer Tom Breihan calls the song "a sunny, mind-blown piece of mutant pop ... [with] a loping beat and echoed-out percussion; the backing track reminds me a bit of Remain In Light-era Talking Heads."

Lala Lala: Color of the Pool

We return to I Want the Door to Open, this fall's release from Chicago musician Lillie West. She delivers the cryptic lyrics (Driving through the fog / I couldn't tell which way was down / Three rabbits on the road / A message from a different realm) over a looping rhythm track, bubbling synth and layered backing vocals, ending with a sax solo by Adam Schatz.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Frank Turner, The Wild Feathers, Momma, Houndmouth, Coco added to our New Music bin

Frank Turner: Haven't Been Doing So Well

The title of his upcoming ninth album, FTHC, stands for Frank Turner Hard Core, and this advance single is one of his harder-rocking numbers. Consequence of Sound calls it "a rousing, cathartic track capturing the emotions many people have experienced during the pandemic." Turner says "It’s been a difficult time for a lot of people and their mental health, myself included, and discussing that openly is important to me. So this is a song about anxiety and the struggles that come with that.” It ends with a good reminder not to suffer in silence: "And maybe, just maybe / I'll admit that I could use a little help."

The Wild Feathers: Side Street Shakedown

We previously featured a couple of early singles from Alvarado, the Nashville-based band's fourth LP and the first to be self-produced. We're dipping into it again to pull out this this rollicking track. New Noise magazine says "there is a rawness and immediacy to Alvarado that has never been as obvious before on any of their earlier efforts. The driving, guitar-heavy 'Side Street Shakedown' is solid proof that this is much more than just another traditional Americana band."

Momma: Medicine

Love is the drug, lifting me higher, hooked on a feeling, addicted to love... Is there room for one more song comparing infatuation to intoxication? Sure, why not? "One hit / And I'm higher than I've ever been / One kiss / And I'm hooked on your medicine." The duo of Etta Friedman and Allegra Weingarten previously released two indie albums. They're joined by bassist Aron Kobayashi Ritch and drummer Zach CapittiFenton for this first single on the Polyvinyl label.

Houndmouth: Miracle Mile

The new album Good for You marks a return to the band's Indiana roots, as NPR puts it. "The trio avoided a recording studio in favor of their longtime headquarters, a shotgun house from the 1850s, and recruited producer Brad Cook, who helped them take a less-is-more approach in those recording sessions. The result is a recharged band and a refined batch of songs." But No Depression reports the fresh departure of bassist Zak Appleby, reducing Houndmouth to the duo of guitarist-vocalist Matt Myers and drummer Shane Cody, and describes the album as a potential farewell. It's filled with reminiscences from years of crossing the country on tour, like this song that references several cities along the way.

Coco: Last of the Loving

The members of this band kept their identities secret while releasing a few singles over the past year, wanting the music to speak for itself (or was it just to generate buzz?). With the recent release of their self-titled debut LP, we learn they are a trio of musicians from other bands: Maia Friedman (of Dirty Projectors, Uni Ika Ai), Dan Molad (of Lucius, Chimney), and Oliver Hill (of Pavo Pavo, Dustrider). This song, they say, "portrays the feelings and sentiments of a blossoming relationship.” Although it was written before the pandemic, some lines seem very timely: “The world turns and moves while you exist in a new little bubble."

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Latest new-music picks: Dentist, NHC, Yard Arms, North Mississippi Allstars, Northern Quarter

Dentist: Spilled Coffee

Here come fresh greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., where this trio formed in 2013 and has been rolling out "surf-punk" music ever since. This is their third single this year; their next album, following 2018's Night Swimming, is expected in the coming year. Under the Radar writes that "the band’s fuzzy surf guitar riffs are now met with dark, churning basslines and anxious lyricism." Says the band: “For this single, we wanted to release something that coincides with the feeling you get moving from fall into winter. ‘Spilled Coffee’ has an ominous vibe, but it’s also something you’d want to dance to, to help move away from your upcoming seasonal depression.”

NHC: Devil That You Know

Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins and Jane’s Addiction’s members Dave Navarro (lead guitar) and Chris Chaney (bass) combine their talents (and initials) in this band that's planning an album for 2022 release. Navarro has said it will have 12 tracks and a wide "emotional range." Loudwire writes that this single "starts with a fiery, squalling guitar line from Navarro but pulls back into more melodically hypnotic verses sung by Hawkins."

Yard Arms: Pirouettes

The Bristol, U.K., band built around the duo of Noah Villeneuve and Billy Golding continues refining a sound that its publicity says evokes "classic '80s influence of The Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen with more present-day indie acts such as The National, Bleachers and Death Cab For Cutie." This new single "playfully explores the concept of Karma and the fragility of modern day brain health."
Brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson and a rotating cast of collaborators have been making a blend of blues, rock, bluegrass and other ingredients since the mid-90s, producing a dozen albums and collecting four Grammy nominations. Their latest album, Set Sail, is set for release next month. This track features vocals by Lamar Williams Jr. and Sharisse Norman. Williams' late father was the bassist in the Allman Brothers Band in the mid-70s. The Dickinsons and Williams Jr. met while playing on the Allman Family Revival tour with The Allman Betts Band, Robert Randolph and others.

Northern Quarter: Perfect Fit

Hailing from "the charming Albertan mountain town of Canmore," this indie-pop quartet draws from genres "ranging from indie folk to jazzy lounge-style vibes." Vocalist and lyricist Kerry Hunter often draws on her own life experiences - as on this track. The band's drummer-producer, David Crewe, told Mountain FM that the song "was actually written by Kerry as a gift for her husband, and she sang it to him on their wedding day as a surprise. They have a lot of friends who play music so they had kind of an open mic going on at the wedding, so she surprised him by getting up and singing the song that she wrote."