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Saturday, March 26, 2022

New Music: Common Deer, Sharon van Etten, Timothy B. Schmit, Foals, Chair Warriors

Common Deer: 90 Days

This Toronto band emerged in 2017 with two EP's. We featured the single "Wait!" and several other tracks, but hadn't heard anything more - until now. "Following an immense period of growth and reflection, Common Deer returns with a new line-up and their first full-length LP, Maximalist," says their press release, which describes their music as "synth-driven alternative pop" combining "new wave and pop-punk influences." The group still features Sheila Hart-Owens on keyboards and lead vocals. This track is one of two singles from the new album; we don't have a date yet for the full release.

Sharon van Etten: Porta

This new single is "a powerful, synth-heavy track that recreates the feeling of working through tough emotions," writes NPR Music. In a statement, the singer-songwriter says it's about "bouts of depression and anxiety and coping mechanisms." In the lyric, she seems to speak to depression directly: "I want to live my life / But you won't allow ... I want to be myself / Stay out of my life."

Timothy B. Schmit: Simple Man

The veteran of Poco and the Eagles has put out a string of his own albums over the years (while continuing to join the Eagles on tour), and the forthcoming Day By Day is at least his seventh solo release. This first single is a gentle flashback to the 70s Laurel Canyon folk-rock sound. Along with Schmit's distinctive tenor vocals, it features electric guitar leads from Lindsey Buckingham and vocal harmonies from Beach Boys alumni Chris Farmer and Matt Jardine. The lyrics reflect on the past and on making the most of the time one has left: "I'm a simple man, and I'm on my way / To whatever lies ahead while aging day by day."

Foals: 2AM

"Nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m.," goes the old line from How I Met Your Mother. This song seems to pick up on that theme: "It's 2 a.m. and I've gone and lost my friends / But I can't sleep alone again." And yet as the lyric continues, the narrator ends up by himself in the middle of the night, regretting things he's said and done that caused him to be alone. "I lost myself again, I just need time to mend ... forget the things I said then, at 2 a.m." This lyrical angst is set to a bouncy, percussion-driven, very danceable soundtrack - likely to be played at closing time in many bars and clubs! 

Chair Warriors: Control (Lies, Lies, Lies)

We add a fresh touch of progressive rock to our mix with a new track from this Montreal-based band we've featured several times over the past five years. This is the latest in a series of singles the trio began releasing in late 2020, which will eventually form a full-length album "with several concepts and themes that will loosely tie them together," says drummer Gopal Devanathan. This song, he says, "is the band's musing on the state of world affairs, which seem to have taken a turn for the worse these last two years specifically. Freedom vs Fascism seems to be very apparent."

Saturday, March 19, 2022

New music from Arcade Fire, Mondo Cozmo, Jewel, Van Go Go and introducing Mister Green

Arcade Fire: The Lightning I, II

The first taste of the upcoming album We "is the sound of a great Arcade Fire song, one that makes the band come alive for the first time in years," exults Pitchfork. "What begins like an introductory hymn revs up into their most heart-racing tempo since 'Month of May' over a decade ago. The clammy synth-disco of the previous two albums is replaced by drum sticks hitting drum heads and [Regine] Chassagne’s bright piano, stretching the sound of the band back to its full width. Most blessedly, there is some actual and wonderful singing from [Win] Butler and Chassagne about never quitting on each other and waiting for light and the lightning—big broad things about which to feel things broadly."

Mondo Cozmo: Electrify My Love

The latest blast of fun from Josh Ostrander's project will lead off his new LP, This Is for the Barbarians. Broadway World writes: "The track centers on hope for the post-pandemic world, guided by a mesh of electronic burble and guitar grind." Ostrander says the track was "the last song to make the record but it was specifically written to be the first song on the album." The opening lyric -- "Good evening everyone / I hope this finds you well" -- is "a sincere check in on everyone after what we have all been through."

Jewel: Long Way 'Round

It surprises us to realize that we haven't previously added any of Jewel Kilcher's music. Her records have tended to be on the poppy end of the music spectrum, yet this new single from the upcoming album Freewheelin' Woman catches our attention. The press release for her first studio album in seven years calls it "Jewel’s boldest and most unbridled body of work to date" and boasts that this first single features "a soul-infused horn-driven track that is the perfect vehicle for her unmistakable vocals."

Van Go Go: Watch It Burn

This Michigan band consists of Nathan Mackinder (vocals/guitar), Jason Schaller (lead guitar/vocals) Paxton Olney (bass/vocals) and Jonah Brockman (drums/vocals). The latest single, says MacKinder, "may sound like it's about giving up, but it's more about moving on from a toxic situation. ... I initially wrote the song about the current political divide in the US but it can easily translate to a failing relationship, a dead-end job or struggle with addiction."

Mister Green: Annabelle

This band from Charlotte, North Carolina, is so new that the Soundcloud page we linked above is the only trace of it that we could find on the web. But its debut single came our way with a press release that tells us "Mister Green is collaboration between singer and songwriter Andrew Lindner and producer/co-writer Mark Renk (Helmet, Death By Stereo, P.O.D.) ... [who] found a common thread of influences that range from Rock & Roll, Blues to current Modern Rock trends." The track features some Tom Morello guitar.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Fresh tracks from Georgia Harmer, Caamp, Momma, Florence + The Machine, The Black Keys

Georgia Harmer: All In My Mind

This Toronto-based artist will release her debut album, Stay in Touch, next month. Her bio notes that well-known Canadian singer-songwriter and environmental activist Sarah Harmer is her aunt. Georgia Harmer toured as a vocalist for Alessia Cara before focusing on her own music. This song, she says, is about “being gaslighted in an early relationship.” But the track has an upbeat, cheerful sound. “I had enough sad songs and I just wanted to rock out.”

Caamp: Believe

Photo by Sophia Matinazad
We last heard from the Columbus, Ohio-based band in 2020 with the single "Officer of Love." The group's fourth LP, Lavender Days, is coming in June. The album is said to explore "themes of loss and heartache" brought on by the pandemic and resulting isolation. This track, says lead singer Taylor Meier, is "about sticking through the tough and heading for the sun."

Momma: Rockstar

Photo by Cooper Burton
Described as a "Brooklyn-based and LA-born grunge-pop outfit," the band led by singers-guitarists Allegra Weingarten and Etta Friedman is working on its third album. On this single, the pair sing about the allure of the music industry. "Etta and I wanted to write a song about making it big," says Weingarten. "We didn’t want to take anything too seriously, lyrically or musically. We just wanted the song to sound big."

Florence + The Machine: My Love

Florence Welch and her music-making machine's upcoming fifth album is titled Dance Fever - ringing a bell for anyone who was aware of pop culture in the 80s. Welch says this song began as an acoustic “sad little poem” that she wrote in her kitchen, before being transformed into an energetic dance track. “Sometimes the biggest dance songs, I think, have a really sad core to them,” she said in a BBC Radio 1 interview.

The Black Keys: Wild Child

The 11th album from the team of Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach, Dropout Boogie, is coming in May - just as their debut LP as The Black Keys turns 20 years old. Stereogum tells us this lead single features Reigning Sound’s Greg Cartwright and Kings Of Leon’s Angelo Petraglia. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, the album's songs were written in the studio, and several of its tracks featured are first takes. "That’s always been the beauty of the thing Pat and I do - it’s instant," says Auerbach. "We’ve never really had to work at it ... we’d just do it and it would sound cool."

Saturday, March 5, 2022

The latest from Danielia Cotton, Kate Klim, Arkells, Calexico, Liam Gallagher hit our New Music bin

Danielia Cotton: Follow Me

This singer-songwriter, who has been a regular in our mix, will release her latest LP this month. She says she titled the album Good Day "not because it's the theme but because it's what I wanted most fervently these songs to give me when I listened to them, and thus also my audience." Her music mixes genres including rock, soul and country. In an interview with The Bluegrass Situation, Cotton cited The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Prince, Stevie Wonder and Sly and The Family Stone among her influences. This song tells parallel stories of a woman and man needing help finding their way: "Hey babe, you're going nowhere / When you want to go somewhere, follow me."

Kate Klim: Lines

After a taking a break from performing around the birth of her two sons, this Nashville-based singer-songwriter returned to the studio in early 2020 and began recording new material - just before the pandemic shut everything down. Completed mostly at home, the just-released album is titled Something Green. It tells stories of "change and growth through the lens of her ending marriage," according to Klim's website. “It's an album about hope, love, change, and new growth,” she says. We previously featured the title track, and follow with this song of feeling disoriented by change: "I don’t recognize my life ... I used to feel like I belonged here."

Arkells: Reckoning

Following up 2021's Blink Once, the Ontario-based band has a new album, Blink Twice, on deck for release this year. Frontman Max Kerman says this song "is about privileged people who bury their heads in the sand. It's also about the admiration for those who lead by example, and want justice for people beyond their own kin." Entertainment site Exclaim! writes that the track melds the band's "signature triumphant, horn-heavy clap-alongs and evident hip-hop metrical influences with menacing, grandiose strings."

Calexico: Harness the Wind

The latest album from Joey Burns, John Convertino and company, El Mirador, is due next month. Burns describes this track as "a song about hope and sharing compassion to fellow travelers and dreamers who are trying to find their way." He adds: "When we recorded the track it felt like we tapped into a spark of bright light and positivity. Everything fell together quickly and naturally. With the shiny electric guitar weaving in and out of John and Sergio [Mendoza]’s propelling drums and bass, the song always had a vibe that stood out from the other songs. We sent the tracks to [Iron & Wine's] Sam Beam to add his vocals on the chorus which made the tune float even more."

Liam Gallagher: Everything's Electric

The first single from C'mon You Know, Gallagher's upcoming third solo album, was co-written by Dave Grohl (featured on drums) and producer Greg Kurstin. Gallagher and Grohl, who met several years ago when Oasis and Foo Fighters toured together, say they wanted to meld "the thunderous dynamics of Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’ with the spiraling tension and danger of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter.’ Xsnoize writes: "And that’s what they achieved. With raw, rhythmic phrasing, this is as close as Liam’s iconic snarl comes to rapping and that punk-meets-hip-hop attack is underlined by boisterous bass. Meanwhile, slide guitar, piano flourishes and Liam’s haunting backing vocals pay tribute to arguably The Stones’ finest moment.”