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Sunday, August 28, 2022

New Music Variety: Justin Saladino Band, Katie Guillen & The Drive, The Commonheart, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Danielia Cotton

Justin Saladino Band: Sink Or Swim

Here's the lead single and opening track from Honest Lies, coming next month from this guitar-driven Montreal group. American Blues Scene writes that the song "boasts a delicious cornucopia of distinctive blues, roots, and Southern rock textures." The album was recorded using 1970s-era studio gear, with Saladino backed by long-term band members Gabriel Forget on bass and Denis Paquin on drums.

Katy Guillen & The Drive: Bottom Of Your Belly

We dip back into Another One Gained, the recent release from the Kansas City-based duo of singer-songwriter Katy Guillen and drummer Stephanie Williams. This track, Guillen says, "is an anthemic push forward to overcome fear and embrace the unknown. Written in a time of transition, the song is about that agonizing pit in the core of our stomachs." Under the Radar writes that it features "effortless instrumental chemistry, locking into an easygoing groove that gives both members a chance to shine" and builds to "Guillen’s standout climactic guitar solo."

The Commonheart: Trying to Get Over

This roots-soul band from Pittsburgh brings a big sound, with guitars, drums, keyboard, horns, backup singers - and Clinton Clegg, described by review site Tinnitist as "a lightning-bolt charismatic frontman with dynamically expressive pipes that effortlessly traverse bluesy pleading and honeyed balladeering." American Blues Scene describes this single from the upcoming LP For Work or Love as a grooving track with "fat blues guitar and a driving hypnotic rhythm that won’t quit."

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness: Stars

It's been four years since this indie artist released Upside Down Flowers, and there's no word yet of another album on the way. But the arrival of this new single on a new label (Netwerk) suggests there is. The song has an expansive sound, with McMahon's vocal and piano fleshed out by guitarist Bobby Anderson, Jay McMillan on drums, Mikey Wagner on bass, Zac Clark on keyboards and Ella Vos on backup vocals. “The song is really about how loving someone can be both beautiful and painful," says McMahon. "When you really love someone, you love them baggage and all."

Danielia Cotton: Elysian Plains

This versatile, genre-crossing artist brings rich gospel flavor to this track from her latest album, Good Day. Co-written with Nashville songwriter Jeff Cohen after both had lost family members to the Covid-19 pandemic, it's a hopeful song about the promise of heavenly reunion with loved ones.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

New sounds from Julian Lennon, Derek Christie, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Empire of Light, The Beths

Julian Lennon: Lucky Ones

Photo by Robert Ascroft
His upcoming album is his seventh overall, but first in more than a decade. "Many of these songs have been in the works for several years, so it almost feels like a coming-of-age album," says Lennon, who will turn 60 next year (can it be??). And the album title nods to the musical gift he received as a child from Paul McCartney. "With great respect for the overwhelming significance of the song written for me, the title Jude conveys the very real journey of my life that these tracks represent.” This song combines deep concern about the state of the world with optimism that those of us on earth today can save it.

Tedeschi Trucks Band: Yes We Will

This song expresses a similar sentiment to Lennon's: "Our planet is changing fast / And the way things have gone, it just won't last ... Gonna get it right this time, I hope we will / Oh, hope we figure it out this time around, I hope we will." The band is deep in its blues-rock groove, and this six-and-a-half-minute number flies by. It's from the third installment of the I Am the Moon magnum opus. The fourth part, Farewell, is due this week.

Derek Christie: Chains

This veteran of the Toronto music scene explores various musical styles on his recent album, DC. "I wanted to reflect a diverse taste in my love for music," Christie says. "Each song is unique, but there is a common thread throughout." The album leads off with this track, which "uses the metaphor of sobriety to celebrate redemption and change." It blends Christie's Fender Telecaster and gravel-tinged voice with Memphis-style horns and backing vocals by Laurelle Augustyn and Michelle White. “Gonna lose these blues / Shake this sin / The monkey on your back / This is where we begin.”

Empire of Light: I Don't Care Anymore

This Brooklyn-based band's bio says it draws "inspiration from the first wave of Alt Country (early Wilco, Alejandro Escovedo, Ryan Adams & Whiskeytown, Old 97's) along with traditional Rock (Neil Young, The Band & The Stones)." It's led by singer/guitarist Peter Hutchison and guitarist Brian Wilkens, both formerly of Upstate N.Y. roots-rockers Subduing Mara. This single is the title track from the group's forthcoming second album, and is billed as "an anthem for everyone who’s been around the block enough times to know better."

The Beths: Knees Deep

Photo by Frances Carter
We previously featured "Silence Is Golden" from the upcoming album Expert in a Dying Field, and now another single pops into our New Music bin. Stereogum calls it "a peppy, fired-up jam about trying to summon personal courage." Band leader Liz Stokes says "I’m the kind of person who wants to go swimming, but takes like 10 minutes to get all the way into the cold water, slowly and painfully. I ... am kind of envious of people who can just jump straight in the deep end."

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Danielle Ponder, The Deer, Broken Bells, Umphrey's McGee in New Music bin

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Burning

This is the second single (after "Spitting Off the Edge of the World") to emerge from the upcoming album Cool It Down. Publicity materials say the track's piano riff was inspired by The Four Seasons’ "Beggin," and the lyrics in part by the wildfires that bore down on Los Angeles in 2020. Singer Karen O says "If the world is on fire I hope the most beloved stay protected and that we do all we can to protect what we cherish most in this life."

Danielle Ponder: The Only Way Out

We've heard through the grapevine that her live performances are terrific, and now we're catching up to this single from the singer's upcoming debut album, Some Of Us Are Brave. Ponder hails from Rochester, New York, and worked as a public defender before turning to music full-time. “This song captures a situation so many people have been in,” says Ponder. “Ignoring red flags and entering into a relationship that you know will end with pain.” 

The Deer: I Wouldn't Recognize Me

This Austin-based quintet fronted by singer-lyricist Grace Rowland will soon release its third album, The Beautiful Undead. This lead single is the first sample of the band's music to reach our ears, but Austin's KTUX tells us The Deer's sound has evolved over the last decade to feature "bigger arrangements, fewer folk-centered acoustic instruments, and more emphasis on psychedelia and indie rock." It calls this track "My Morning Jacket-esque," and we also hear some Fleetwood Mac influence - and an opening riff very reminiscent of Neil Young's "My My, Hey Hey."

Broken Bells: Saturdays

Producer Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) and James Mercer of the Shins put out two albums as Broken Bells in 2010 and 2014, and just a couple of singles since then. They're coming back with an album called Into the Blue in October. It's billed as “a genre- and decade-hopping ode to the duo’s shared musical influences, from The Beatles to Pink Floyd, from '60s psychedelia to '70s rock and AM Gold, from '80s new wave to '90s trip hop, and beyond." Kitchen sink, too?

Umphrey's McGee: I Don't Know What I Want

This is the second track from the veteran jam band's new album, Asking For A Friend, to make its way into our New Music bin - and others will be popping up in our big mix. Grateful Web calls the LP "an astoundingly cohesive fourteen-song album that feels like a fresh statement from a group of world-class musicians and friends re-approaching their craft with a new lens."

Saturday, August 6, 2022

New music: Katy Guillen & The Drive, Bear's Den, Lost Leaders, The Killers, Two Door Cinema Club

Katy Guillen & The Drive: Set in Stone

Back in 2018 we picked up on what turned out to be the last LP from Katy Guillen and the Girls. Since then, Kansas City-based singer-songwriter-guitarist Guillen and drummer Stephanie Williams have been working as a duo, and they just released their first full-length album, Another One Gained. This single is one of the collection's more hard-driving tracks, so to speak. "Many of the songs on the album were a result of a time when I found myself rebuilding and figuring out next steps in my career and personal life," Guillen says. Here she sings "I want to be set in stone again," suggesting a longing for stability.

Bear's Den: Please Don't Hide Yourself Away

Close on the heels of their fourth LP, Blue Hours, the U.K. band led by songwriters Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones has released a soundtrack album of songs composed for a TV series called Trying. They're joined by Jade Bird on this upbeat number, which opens with a sound that reminds us of some of Bruce Hornsby's work. Although written specifically for an episode of the show's third season, the track stands nicely on its own.

Lost Leaders: Jealous Sun

When we featured the single "Long Way Down" in April, we speculated that there might be an album coming from the New York duo of guitarist Peter Cole and bassist (and Lumineers member) Byron Isaacs. It turns out to be a five-track EP, Jealous Sun. and the title track now enters our New Music bin. Another standout that we'll also be spinning: "Daylight."

The Killers: boy

This song, the band's first release following last year's Pressure Machine, actually predates that concept album, but likewise grew from frontman Brandon Flowers' visits to his boyhood home town of Nephi, Utah. "I found that the place I had wanted to get away from so desperately at 16 was now a place that I couldn’t stop returning to," he says. "I have a son approaching the age I was at that time in my life. With [this song], I want to reach out and tell myself – and my sons –  to not overthink it. And to look for the 'white arrows' in their lives."

Two Door Cinema Club: Lucky

Here's the second single to spin out ahead of the Northern Ireland band's upcoming fifth album, Keep On Smiling. The group says the bouncy track "is a reflection about how fast things change. ... We live in such a disposable society, we just need to take the time to think and reflect about why things are there in the first place."