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Saturday, January 15, 2022

New music from Night Talks, Nation of Language, Broken Social Scene, Gang of Youths, Lucius

Night Talks: On and On

A line in this latest single is also the title of the Los Angeles indie band's new album, Same Time Tomorrow, due in late February. The danceable song's lyrics have to do with repeating patterns in relationships, suggesting they can become a rut: "You and I doing the same dance time after time." Lead singer Soraya Sebghati says: "The phrase 'same time tomorrow' represents a willingness to show up and put in the work to fix or maintain a relationship, especially when you're in a rough patch. Things might be difficult, but that doesn't mean you're done-- it just means that you'll show up the next day and try again."

Nation of Language: Across That Fine Line

This Brooklyn synth-pop trio comes to our attention with a fresh remix of a track from its second album, A Way Forward. Everything Is Noise writes: "Somewhere between Future Islands’ dramatic hyper-earnest presentation and LCD Soundsystem’s bleeding cool self awareness, this trio finds a way to make every note sound warm, infectious, and danceable." The reviewer adds that the LP is "just such a ridiculously fun album to play back to back." Nation of Language songwriter Ian Devaney says it's "an exploration of the band’s relationship to the music of the 70s, through the lenses of krautrock and early electronic music."

Broken Social Scene: Curse Your Fail

This track falls in the category of not-really-new-but-new-to-us - and to most listeners. It was on a limited-release 7-inch during a 2009 tour, and now it's part of the Toronto group's latest release, Old Dead Young: B-sides and Rarities. Review site Tinnitist writes that this isn't just a collection of scraps from the cutting-room floor - that most of the tracks "are every bit as good as anything that made the cut on their five official albums. ... Considering that these cuts span 15 years, multiple producers, studios and lineups, the whole thing holds almost together well enough to qualify as a new BSS studio album."

Gang of Youths: In the Wake of Your Leave

Albums tend to dribble out these days, with multiple singles emerging before the LP arrives almost as an afterthought. So with Angel in Realtime, the forthcoming release from this band of Australian expats in London. This fifth single includes backing vocals by the Auckland Gospel Choir and percussion by drummers from the Cook Islands. The lyrics here, and on some of the other tracks, deal with the passing of frontman Dave Le'aupepe's father: “I wanted to reflect on how I became dependent on grief for solace and inspiration.”

Lucius: Next to Normal

Vocal duo Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig and their band will release their third full-length album, Second Nature, in April, and this is the first single to spin out in advance. The singers also recently appeared on War on Drugs ' "I Don't Live Here Anymore" and Brandi Carlile's "You and Me on the Rock." Carlile co-produced the album with Dave Cobb. Longtime band members Dan Molad (drums) and Peter Lalish (lead guitar) are joined by bassist Solomon Dorsey and other musicians, while Carlile and Sheryl Crow contribute additional vocals. Says Wolfe: “It is a record that begs you not to sit in the difficult moments, but to dance through them.”

Saturday, January 8, 2022

New from Eels, Elvis Costello, Aaron and the Lord, Big Wreck, Laura Lee Lovely

Eels: Amateur Hour

Early last year, Eels frontman Mark Oliver Everett rang up producer John Parish, who worked with him on 2002's Souljacker. Ideas and tracks began flowing between Paris' studio in Bristol UK and Everett in LA, resulting in Extreme Witchcraft, due later this month. This opening track on the 14th Eels album is "a taut piece of indie rock with a raw feel," writes Clash Magazine. "The production is kept simple, the arrangement unadorned, allowing Eels to run rampant in the studio."

Elvis Costello: Farewell,  OK

Just ahead of the release of The Boy Named If (And Other Children's Stories) comes this latest single. “Like a lot of good rock and roll songs this began with a drummer down in a basement and a singer howling outside the backdoor,” Costello says of the track. “It’s a blurred gaze, a drink too much, an accidental punch and a kiss goodnight, all in the tumult of a dancehall.”

Aaron and the Lord: This Love Ain't Dead

Singer-guitarist Aaron Perrino, formerly of  Boston indie band Sheila Divine and solo project Dear Leader, began collaborating remotely during pandemic lockdown with multi-instrumentalist Steven Lord of Dirty Bangs, resulting in the recent release of Aaron and the Lord. Guest vocalists include Tanya Donelly of Belly, featured on this track, which harks back to the sound of female-fronted 80s bands. The LP is billed as "a ten-spot of vivid, slicing indie rock songs, with nods back to the chiming guitars and stentorian vocals of the bands [Perrino] grew up on and forward to a new kind of pop-rock future."

Big Wreck: Fields

"Everything about the latest release by longtime Canadian-American rock fixtures Big Wreck is on a huge scale," CanadianBeats writes in its review of Big Wreck 7.1, the first installment of a planned three-part album. The website calls the EP "loud and energetic, smooth at the core with just the right amount of roughness to its edges," and says this track "has an especially warm, upbeat feel."

Laura Lee Lovely: Allandale

Adding a dose of dreamy pop to this week's New Music bin is this emerging New Zealand artist, aka Laura Watson. The Revue calls her an artist to watch in 2022, and says this track will have you "basking in the superb synths, the occasional dissonant guitar stroke, and pulsating 808s [electronic percussion]. ... Watson’s ethereal vocals add to the song’s mysticism and escapism quality."

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Greeting 2022 with New Music by Sarah Borges, Mitski, Shout Out Louds, Edgar Road, Tame Impala

Sarah Borges: Wouldn't Know You

Our first batch of new-music picks for the new year includes a brand-new track from Together Alone, expected in February. Like so many musicians in the Time of Covid, this Boston-based alt-country-Americana artist recorded the album remotely, with New York producer Eric Ambel. Borges told local news outlet The Patriot Ledger that the new LP leans more toward rock. "My sound has changed. I was big into indie rock when I started ... Then I fell in love with country music and wrote that way for a while. I play a couple of different styles now, but I don’t consciously try to write in any one style." The lyric here tells of a fellow who's looking worse for the wear of rough living: "I'd be willing to bet / that if you're mom and you met / she wouldn't know you."

Mitski: The Only Heartbreaker

Another early-2022 release will be this Japanese-American pop-rock musician's Laurel Hell. This single was co-written with Semisonic's Dan Wilson. NPR says it "enlists an '80s sound in classic 'Take On Me' style that emphasizes the histrionics of intentionally sabotaging something or someone. Simple in its attempt to process the dreadful stomach-pit feeling of being the only passionate one in a relationship - even if it means knowingly invoking pain - 'The Only Heartbreaker' succeeds in its sing(or scream at the top of your lungs)-along potential and aching honesty."

Shout Out Louds: As Far Away as Possible

Also due in February is House, the first album in five years by this indie band from Sweden. It was produced in Stockholm by Bj√∂rn Yttling of Peter Bjorn & John. Of this advance single, the band says it "had to do with that sensation of being stuck, of longing for a break from the hum-drum of the day-to-day. Maybe a drink, a night out, a simple slip out the back door. Or something more. Anything really. Anything other than this. By dreaming of being as far away as possible, this song shines a light in the expansive darkness.”

Edgar Road: Little Man

The latest single by this indie band from northeastern Scotland took a little while to make its way across the water, but it's fresh enough to land in our New Music bin. The track features the five-piece band's signature sound, combining a solid rock foundation with airy keyboards and Mark Conti's from-the-heart lead vocal.

Tame Impala: No Choice

Building on the success of last year's Slow Rush, Kevin Parker and company are bringing out a deluxe edition next month, and this new single will be one of the added tracks. Australian music site TripleJ writes: "Obviously, it's sonically in line with The Slow Rush material - mixing dance music momentum with psych rock flair."