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Saturday, July 30, 2022

New: The Lone Bellow, The Churchhill Garden, Sally Dige, Michigander, The Wombats

The Lone Bellow: Gold

The Nashville trio is out with its first new music since 2020's Half Moon Light. The song addresses the opioid crisis in small-town USA, using prospectors' hunt for riches as a metaphor: "It’s in my blood, it’s in the water / It’s calling me still / I could leave, I know I oughta / But there’s gold in them hills." Says guitarist Brian Elmquist: "The idea was to tell the story from the perspective of someone in a hard situation - in this case, a guy who’s stuck in the downward spiral of addiction. We’ve sung ‘Gold’ as a folk song in the past, but for the recording we wanted to really experiment and push our sound as far as it could go.”

The Churchhill Garden: Always There

The latest single from Switzerland's Andy Jossi and American Krissy Vanderwoude is a beautiful piece of dream-pop. The duo shared it with us along with a note that describes it as "a sweet song about true friendship and the gratitude and reassurance that comes along with finding those loyal friends in life."

Sally Dige: You

Here's the second single released this year by this independent solo artist, following "I Will Be The Sun for You," which we featured a couple of months ago. Born in Canada and now based in Berlin, Dige writes, plays and records her own music. The lyric, she says, arose from thinking about "past relationships in our lives - ones that were significant during a part of our own history, but no longer are present in our current lives. We are left only with the memory and reflection."

Michigander: Stay Out Of It

Michigander is the project of songwriter-singer-guitarist Jason Singer from, er, guess which US state. He started self-releasing music in 2014, formed a band that released its first EP in 2018, then signed with C3 records and released another EP in 2019. This new single is described as a co-write with Danen Reed Rector and Singer's bandmates Aaron Senor and Jake LeMond. Singer describes it as "a song about speaking up and saying how you feel even when sometimes it’s best to keep quiet.”

The Wombats: This Car Drives All By Itself

The band told DIY Magazine that this song is "kind of a metaphor for 'maybe we’re not as in control of our lives as we think we are,' and time and entropy are pretty f---ing powerful things." The veteran Liverpool indie-rockers released their latest album, Fix Yourself, Not The World, back in January, but just spun out this track as a single, and we're using that as an excuse to put it in our New Music Bin.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Silversun Pickups, Marcus King, Brooke Annibale, Ben Harper, Pool Kids now in our New Music bin

Silversun Pickups: Scared Together

Like so much of today's music, the songs on the LA band's sixth album, Physical Thrills, were written during the pandemic. It's pretty clear how that inspired this song - which frontman Brian Aubert says “is about becoming close and intimate with someone through hardship. Being thrown into something quite frightening brings out some shared qualities that connect them.” The album, produced by Butch Vig, is due in a few weeks.

Marcus King: Blood on the Tracks

Here's the latest single from the upcoming Young Blood, King's second album in collaboration with Dan Auerbach. The track features "a swampy groove, gritty guitars and a thumping bass sound," writes Rock & Blues Muse. King says the song "essentially tells the story of moving forward or being taken down by the trouble you are facing - catching the train, or the bloodier alternative.” (No relation, it seems, to the Dylan album title.)

Brooke Annibale: Better By Now

The title track from the singer-songwriter's latest album is another reflection on the pandemic and social turmoil: "This last year took / A while lot of life out of us." In a Facebook post, Annibale says: "Sure, this song is inspired by world events, but it’s also deeply personal and about my journey with mental health. ... Reflecting on that time, I think it taught me that expecting a perfect external outcome will not make me feel better. I’ve got to do the internal work to have any kind of peace with the roller coaster of life."

Ben Harper: Where Did We Go Wrong

On his new album, Bloodline Maintenance, Harper blends the personal ("More Than Love") and the political ("We Need To Talk About It," namely, slavery's stain on America.) AllMusic writes that "most of the record finds social commentary and soul intertwining in a smooth, vibrant fashion reminiscent of the prime Curtis Mayfield albums of the 1970s." We definitely hear that influence in this track, with perhaps a lyrical echo of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On."

Pool Kids: Comes in Waves

This Florida-based band, which grabbed our attention last month with the single "That's Physics, Baby," has just released its self-titled second album and broken out another single, "Arms Length." We'll give that raucous track some play, but we're picking this relatively dreamy number for our New Music bin.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

The Latest: Dawes, Kiwi Jr., Sorcha Richardson, Superorganism, The Black Keys

Dawes: Ghost in the Machine

Screencap from official video
The latest single ahead of Misadventures of Doomscroller is a six-minute sprint, mostly recorded in one live take (with two drum kits) and then embellished with some extra keyboard and still more percussion. The lyrics, according to the group, "are about the early days of a band. Playing small clubs and going on small tours. As hard as it is in the moment, it’s hard not to look back at those times through rose colored glasses. It’s all a lot more romantic now. And it’s also what built our foundational faith in what we do." They add that the propulsive song "feels like it's gonna be a mainstay in the live show for a long time to come."

Kiwi Jr.: Unspeakable Things

Following up "Night Vision," which we featured in May, the Toronto group spins out another single from its upcoming third album, Chopper. On this upbeat, synth-y track, Jeremy Gaudet sings about the losing battle for privacy in our webbed world: "Everything that you've done / Laid out here one by one / Caught on tape and compiled." Says Gaudet: “People are always trying to sign into my email. What do they think they’re gonna find? The public appetite for dirty laundry is wild. Having moved the world online has not helped."

Sorcha Richardson: Shark Eyes

The Irish singer-songwriter's second album, Smiling Like An Idiot, is coming in September. We previously featured the first single, "Archie," and now we're adding the follow-up to our New Music bin. It gets off to a quiet start and gradually builds up with layers of keys, drums and reverbed vocals. It's a song "about being totally infatuated with someone who you know isn’t as interested in you as you are in them. ... I think I wrote it as a way of admitting to myself that that relationship would never be anything more than it already was, but I wanted it to still have the sweetness of a love song."

Superorganism: On & On

Photo Credit: Jack Bridgland
This London-based group is out with its second album, some four years after its self-titled debut. It's called Worldwide Pop, which seems less pretentious given that the band members and guest musicians hail from the UK, New Zealand, the USA, France and Japan. The song is a bouncy bit of pop that reminds us just a bit of Rubblebucket. The lyric "is a bit of an analogy between the ground-hog day effect touring can have, and the cyclical nature of growing as a person and repeating the same mistakes along the way,” says Harry, the stage name of founding member Christopher Young.

The Black Keys: It Ain't Over

Here's another slice from the Keys' upcoming 11th studio album, Dropout Boogie. The duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney is completing its 20th year, and that "blows my mind," Auerbach said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “The odds were so stacked against us. I can’t imagine if this was a five-person band. That would have been insanity. We’re so lucky it’s just the two of us.” But they brought in various collaborators for the new album. "We approach every record as if it were a full band, I guess,” said Carney said. "A band that’s a duo, like Steely Dan or whatever.”

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Our latest New Music picks are by Metric, Inhaler, Don't Believe in Ghosts, Martin Courtney, Jeen

Metric: What Feels Like Eternity

Photo credit: Alysse Gafkjen
We've been spinning the single "All Comes Crashing," and now with the release of the Toronto bands' eighth album, Formentera, we pick another track to feature in our New Music bin. NME writes that this number "grows in strength, its chorus adopting a tunnel vision approach as [Emily] Haines narrates over zipping guitars: 'Head down / Don’t look up / I grind along.' When chiming guitar melodies burst through towards its end, it feels like a breakthrough; like the battle to get through to better days is almost won."

Inhaler: These Are the Days

The band made a big splash last year with their debut album, It Won't Always Be Like This. Now the Dublin-based quartet of singer-guitarist Eli Hewson, bassist Robert Keating, guitarist Josh Jenkinson and drummer Ryan McMahon are back with a single that joins the current wave of Post-Lockdown Get-Out-And-Have-Fun songs. "These are the days / I don't miss the feeling of being alone ... These days /
I think we're gonna be okay."

Don't Believe in Ghosts: This Is Paradise

This new single comes a bit more than a year after the New York band's first LP, Solutions. “This song is about the mental pitfalls of self-doubt and pushing yourself 'til you finally crack,” says lead singer/producer Steven Nathan. The HotLunchMusic blog calls it "an anthemic track that has an intense energy that is highly sensual while also being very controlled and dark."

Martin Courtney: Sailboat

The second solo album by the lead singer of Real Estate, titled Magic Sign, is filled with reminiscences of growing up in New Jersey - riding his bike, or cruising aimless in a car with friends, or just killing time in vacant lots. Our featured track has The Walkmen’s Matt Barrick on drums and "travels at a brisker pace than we are usually used to from Courtney," writes Far Out Magazine. Courtney himself says: “Lyrically this song is kind of about keeping things in perspective and attempting to stay positive in the face of all of the bullshit. An increasingly difficult task." The song's setting seems to be a vacant house. So where does the title come from? "I just thought ‘Sailboat’ was a funny name.”

Jeen: Mountain

Many new songs reflect the trauma of the pandemic, and on battling through the fear and isolation.  Says this Toronto-based singer: “I wrote ‘Mountain’ in early spring 2021 after spending too much time fixating on the irreparable parts of everything... all while dipping in and out of lockdowns... I started getting panic attacks a lot and just needed to chill out. I guess this track was my attempt to try and keep things in perspective.” 

Saturday, July 2, 2022

What's new: Tedeschi Trucks Band, Roanoke, Pete Yorn, Umphrey's McGee, Stand Up And Say No

Tedeschi Trucks Band: Playing With My Emotions

Here's the lead track from I Am the Moon II - Ascension, the second phase of the magnum opus the Florida-based band is releasing in four installments this summer. Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and their ensemble are known for blending many musical styles, and on this track they lean into vintage Memphis soul, with big contributions from their horn section. The lyrics have a man and woman each complaining that the other is playing games, with Tedeschi singing from both perspectives.

Roanoke: Selene

Speaking of the Moon... This is "a song about the moon goddess, who represents women everywhere," says its lead singer, Taylor Dupis. She and Joey Beesley write, sing and play guitars for this Nashville-based indie band, backed by Richard Bennett (bass), Chris Elvidge (drums) and B.L. Reed (electric guitar). The 70s influence is strong on this track, with shades of "Rhiannon." Dupis says: "We wanted to sonically call back to the music of the 70’s and early 80’s, while also adding some more modern sounds to create something familiar yet nostalgic. Our intention ... was to write something that felt magickal, mystical, powerful, and relatable."

Pete Yorn: Never Go

Dubbed a "roots rock torchbearer" by AllMusic, Yorn has just released his ninth studio album, Hawaii. He worked on it with California musician/producer Jackson Phillips, and says it turned out to be "one of my most favorite projects I’ve ever been a part of." Paste Magazine calls it "one of his most memorable collections ... It’s a deft, dazzling display, revealing a songwriter firing on all inventive six, 20 years into his risk-taking career." 

Umphrey's McGee: Small Strides

Photo credit: Tara Gracer
Although they're renowned on the jam-band circuit, this group that emerged from Indiana in the late '90s gets a lot less attention from radio - present company included. We're looking to remedy that by featuring this track from the new album, Asking for a Friend. Guitarist Brendan Bayliss tells Jambase that the band, best known for its live shows, has been refining its approach to record-making. "When we were starting, we were trying to prove that we could play as many notes as possible and do acrobatic things – not making necessarily the choice that would serve a song. ... Over time, we started to see the studio as the opportunity to develop and craft an actual song ... and the stage is the place to play with it." 

Stand Up and Say No: Tame the Wild

This track landed in our inbox, grabbed our ears and moved quickly to our New Music bin. Then we realized the song originally came out in 2016 - but this is a new mix, and anyhow, it's new to us! "I always felt the original recording never lived up to the live version," says songwriter  Andrew Nault, frontman for the post-punk indie band from Quebec. "Hopefully, people will agree that this new version rocks!”