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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Arkells, Justin Saladino Band, Screens 4 Eyes, Hannah Jadagu, Van Go Go in the New Music bin

Arkells, Wesley Schultz, Jake Clemons: Nowhere To Go

One year after Blink Once, the Ontario-based rockers just released Blink Twice, featuring collaborations with other artists on six of its ten tracks. In this case, says frontman Max Kerman, the band called on Wesley Schultz of the Lumineers, after they had met on tour and bonded over shared musical faves, including Bruce Springsteen. Schultz "recorded his part at home in Denver and added a narrative and sense of imagery that is so distinctly him," says Kerman. As they tried to work out an instrumental section of the song, "we decided to go right to the source and reach out to Jake Clemons of the E Street Band. And boy did he deliver."

Justin Saladino Band: Blind Faith

We recently featured lead single "Sink or Swim," and now with the release of the Honest Lies album we're pulling out this cut that starts with a funky bass line and gradually builds to a climax, with Saladino's blazing electric guitar coming to the fore. The album title is the central theme connecting the songs, the guitarist and songwriter says: "It’s about the stories we tell ourselves. It’s not necessarily about straight-up dishonesty but the idea that we brainwash ourselves, consciously or unconsciously, into believing we are being truthful when we are being insincere on a fundamental level with ourselves."

Screens 4 Eyes: The Deal

This is the title song from the newest EP by Yael Brener's Tel Aviv-based dream-pop project, which we have featured several times in the past five-years-plus. The track features layered, smoky vocals, nervous percussion, and a lyric that suggests a romantic triangle leading to a compromise: "Now the deal's been made you can't go back / It will expand your mind / But it will shrink your soul."

Hannah Jadagu: Say It Now

Following her debut EP, last year's What Is Going On?, the 20-year-old is said to be working on her first full-length for release next year. Meantime comes this single, which she describes as "my sort of inner reflection on where things have gone wrong in my past interactions and relationships with other people. Sonically and lyrically, I feel as though this song signifies me venturing into a new world that is even more intense and vulnerable.”

Van Go Go: Get Up To You

Here's the latest single from this emerging rock band from Michigan, following "Watch It Burn," which we featured six months ago. "We really wanted to explore a new-wave retro sound with this recording," the band says. "We feel like we are finding a new sound within an old sound by challenging ourselves to embrace the sounds of legacy artists we love while blending our sound with new ideas and sentiment from today."

Saturday, September 17, 2022

What's new: Ringo Starr, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Monica Moser, Marcus Mumford, Death Cab

Ringo Starr: World Go Round

The champion of peace and love refuses to surrender the optimism of the '60s. All four songs on his new EP3 call on listeners to join him in fighting off the darkness. "I know it's hard to carry on / So for you I wrote this song." Starr recalls that during his Beatles days, "thanks to the hippies, a lot of us had a change of mind, and peace and love and helping each other and being kind if you can became our goal. So I always look for songs that speak to that."

Tedeschi Trucks Band: Last Night In The Rain

This is the opening track on I Am the Moon: IV. Farewell, the final installment of the Florida-based band's new 24-song concept album, a collaborative masterwork inspired by the 12th century Persian love poem "The Story of Layla and Majnun." AllMusic writes that this track "weds punchy guitars, sweeping soulful horns, and a soaring backing chorus [as] Susan Tedeschi delivers a brokenhearted vocal."

Monica Moser: Headlines

We have featured a few songs by this Nashville-based indie singer-songwriter over the past several years, and are pleased to be among the first to spin her latest single. "The song walks through vivid stories of misleading scenarios and pleads for obvious honesty in relationships," Moser says. It's the first single to spin out ahead of an album to be released next year. Mixes well with the likes of Maggie Rogers and Phoebe Bridgers.

Marcus Mumford: Grace

The new solo album by the frontman of & Sons is an exercise in artistic catharsis, touching on childhood abuse, battles with drugs and alcohol, the relief that comes with disclosing troubling secrets, optimism for the future. "I hear there's healing just around this corner," Mumford sings on this track, one of the more upbeat on the self-titled LP. "I'm still trying / Still getting used to this grace."

Death Cab for Cutie: Asphalt Meadows

Some 25 years into their career, Ben Gibbard and his crew from Washington State are receiving accolades for their new album, Asphalt Meadows. It's as "consistent and satisfying as their early-mid ‘00s career peak," writes NME. "Here are a band still very much in love with what they do." Says AllMusic: "For a group so deep into their careers, the album sounds surprisingly urgent and revitalized, like a band reborn against the tumultuous backdrop of the early 2020s." (We've always considered the band's name a total turn-off, so we ignore it when we listen.)

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Blue October + Robyn Hitchcock + Honey Made + The Kut + Miss Emily = our New Music picks

Blue October: Spinning the Truth Around

Photo by Rachel Ziegler
Here's the title track from a planned double album, recorded at frontman Justin Furstenfeld's studio in San Marcos, Texas, over the past two years. The first part is due next month and the second early next year.

Robyn Hitchcock: The Shuffle Man 

AllMusic calls him "one of England's most enduring contemporary singer/songwriters and live performers" and "among alternative rock's father figures" despite often being "branded as eccentric or quirky." This is the opening track from Shufflemania! - Hitchcock's first LP since 2017, due next month.

Honey Made: Upstairs

This nine-piece band out of Austin, Texas, led by brothers Willie and Christopher Barnes, formed in 2018, released an album called Brand New in 2020 and has another collection on the way. The Colorado Sound blog calls this first single "a fun, funky come-on song that’s a perfect introduction to the R&B group’s full-bodied, dance-friendly sound."

The Kut: And 1 More...

Earlier this year we featured "Satellite" from this UK band's sophomore album, GRIT. This is the appropriately titled last track on the LP. A blog called With Just A Hint of Mayhem calls it "a melodic grungey punk track with hooks to die for," adding, "Joan Jett would be proud of this tune."

Miss Emily: Defined By Love

This bluesy singer from Kingston, Ontario, is about to release her fourth album, Defined By Love, and we're adding the title track to our New Music bin. The LP is touted as "a deeply personal 12-song meditation on deception, pain, resilience, and finding strength among the ruins of heartbreak." 

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Fresh tracks from Dentist, The Northwest, Σtella, Bret McKenzie, Thompson Springs

Dentist: Check the Calendar

The New Jersey shore-area trio of Emily Bornemann (vocals, bass), Justin Bornemann (guitar) and Matt Hockenjos (drums) has just released its latest album, Making A Scene. Over the past 18 months, we've featured three singles that are now part of this collection (Don't Let Me Catch You, Let Me Let Go, Spilled Coffee). A review at ThePunkSite calls the LP "easily this trio’s most accomplished, catchy and engaging album to date, with surf-inspired guitar lines, emotive vocals and pounding drums."

The Northwest: Shoreline

From northwest of Toronto comes this five-piece band and this single from its latest LP, All In. The album title comes from this opening song and its refrain, "And if this world ends tonight / I'm All in." Says guitarist-vocalist Wayne Watkins: "It’s a song about commitment to a cause and banding together to make it through a difficult time and place – It may end but we are going all in to fight another day.”

Σtella: Up and Away

This Athens-based painter, visual artist and performer teams up with UK producer Tom 'Redinho' Calvert on her new album, Up and Away, creating a blend of vintage Greek music and modern pop. That's "modern" as in the past 60 years or so - the title track has a 60s-Motown influence while featuring bouzouki. 

Bret McKenzie: If You Wanna Go

After years in the comedic musical duo Flight of the Conchords and a career writing music for Muppets movies and other films, McKenzie shifts gears on his solo album, Songs Without Jokes. "To try and not be funny was a curious songwriting challenge,” McKenzie told The Guardian from his home studio in Wellington, New Zealand. He cites Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson as influences, and we hear some hints of Billy Joel on this track.

Thompson Springs: Time Goes Through Me

This Chicago indie-folk-rock band's latest album, Homeland, emerged in digital form in the spring, but it has just been released on CD - prompting us to give it another listen, and pull out this track for our New Music bin. It's a laid-back, yet catchy, meditation on fleeting hours: "Time goes through me / Always in a hurry / Can't you feel it scurry?"