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Saturday, May 14, 2022

New from Florence + The Machine, Arkells, Andrew Leahey & The Homestead, Mt. Joy, Camp Cope

Florence + The Machine: Free

The new album from Florence Welch and company, Dance Fever, is co-produced by Welch and Jack Antonoff. NME writes that it packs "an invigorated spirit into powerful, sneakily thrilling pop," This track "channels the intensity of Welch’s previous work, but in a more euphoric direction. Its twitchy percussion arrangements heighten one of the most ecstatic choruses of the band’s career, and Welch approaches the subject of overcoming anxiety with sustained wonder that such happiness is even possible."  

Arkells: Past Life (feat. Cold War Kids)

This is the second single released ahead of the Ontario-based band's upcoming album Blink Twice (the follow up to last year's Blink Once). “Last fall we were in LA working on music and had this driving 80’s song about being present in the moment, and liberating yourself from the past,” says frontman Max Kerman. “We wrote the first verse and left the second one open, hoping that Nathan (Willett) from Cold War Kids might be drawn to the collaboration. CWK were one of our early influences when we started our band, and we’ve been lucky enough to share the stage with them over the years, and honoured to record this tune with them.”

Andrew Leahey & The Homestead: Caught Like a Fire

The newly released American Static, Vol. 2 completes an 18-track collection from this Nashville band. Entertainment Focus writes that the group "started out with a fair amount of Americana in the mix of what they were doing, but they’ve pared that back and become more of a straight-ahead rock band." We're featuring the opening track of Vol. 2, which AllMusic says "ignites into a rousing chorus of ringing guitars and harmonies, setting a confident tone that carries for the rest of the set." 

Mt. Joy: Evergreen

Formed by Philadelphia natives and high school friends Matt Quinn (vocals, guitar) and Sam Cooper (guitar),and now a five-piece band based in Los Angeles, the group is preparing to release its third full-length album, Orange Blood. "Evergreen is the shot of tequila on this record," says Quinn. "It’s a love song about trusting what you have during times when the world seems to be changing faster than we can keep up."

Camp Cope: Running With The Hurricane

This is the title track from the third album by the Melbourne, Australia trio of singer-songwriter-guitarist Georgia Maq, bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich and drummer Sarah Thompson. NME says "it marks a change of pace for a band who made their name with self-described ‘power emo’ songs that often addressed pressing issues head-on." Maq tells the website: “It’s just a change in perspective because of what the world has experienced the last few years. In Australia, we had the bushfires and I was like, ‘how can anything be worse than this? This is terrible.’ And then Covid happened. The hurricane really felt like a metaphor for chaos and loss of control, and just going with that.”

Saturday, May 7, 2022

New music variety from Maggie Rogers, Wilco, Grand Splendid, Bear's Den, Sally Dige

Maggie Rogers: That's Where I Am

The singer-songwriter's second album (or fourth, if you count two self-released sets) won't be out until late July, but this first single is moving quickly up the charts. NPR writes: "Stuttering electronics and handclaps underpin the momentum that builds through the song's first minute, but then Rogers opens a floodgate of sleek guitar distortion, bassy synth and gated reverb on crashing drums." At heart, it's a simple love song, about a relationship that starts out a bit rocky but works out well: "Wish we could do this forever / And never remember mistakes that we made ... It all works out in the end / Wherever you go, that’s where I am."

Wilco: Falling Apart (Right Now)

Wilco has long lived along the vague border between alt-country and indie-rock. They veer sharply to one side of the line on their upcoming album, a 21-track extravaganza called Cruel Country. Bandleader Jeff Tweedy says country music "has always been the ideal place to comment on what most troubles my mind – which for more than a little while now has been the country where I was born, these United States." Most of the album was recorded in live takes at the Loft in Chicago.

Grand Splendid: Heartstrings

This Montreal indie-rock band is back with its third single, leading up to an album expected later this year. The three songs so far demonstrate a good range of sounds: A touch of cosmic rock on "You Are the Universe," traces of Beatles influence on "Magic" and an echo of 80s bands like Dream Academy on this new track. Lead vocalist Julian Buchbinder says overall, the LP features "a lot of guitars and vocal melodies," with some upbeat songs and some more melancholic. "We think that they work well together as a whole."

Bear's Den: Blue Hours

The U.K.-based band is about to release its fourth studio album, Blue Hours. The songwriting duo of Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones say the title track "is a song about communicating with someone that’s hard to reach. It’s this idea of trying to have a conversation with someone through one-way glass, where they can’t even see you and there’s a real disconnect with how you’re communicating. On one level, it’s also an internal thing, where you’re trying to get through to yourself.” .

Sally Dige: I Will Be the Sun for You

A Danish-Canadian artist based in Berlin, Germany, Dige has released two albums and a handful of singles over the past several years, but this is the first to reach our ears. We're told her sound has evolved over time from disco-inspired electro, to post-punk, to synth-based "ethereal new romantic" and now to indie pop. After releasing an album composed and recorded entirely on one synthesizer, Dige says, “the natural form of self-rebellion was to pick up instruments that didn't need electricity to function, and play with strings and the hands again." Mandolin and balalaika are among the instruments heard on this upbeat, uplifting song.