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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Sunny War, Scott Krokoff, Bruce Springsteen, Emperor of Ice Cream, Lily Monaghan: New Music

Sunny War: No Reason

Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins
This Nashville artist with a background in the LA punk scene recently signed with New West Records, which will release her latest album, Anarchist Gospel, early next year. The collection, and this first single, draw on her battles with what she describes as her self-destructive side. “You’re an angel / you’re a demon / ain’t got no rhyme / ain’t got no reason.” WXPN radio calls of this track "a twangy country road song powered by the momentum of Sunny’s guitar, which has as much personality and presence as her rough-hewn voice."

Bruce Springsteen: Turn Back the Hands of Time

As Paste Magazine writes, "It’s easy to be skeptical: Here comes the rock ’n‘ roll avatar of the working class, wrapping himself in nostalgia for the music of his, er, glory days, blah blah blah. ... [But this} is no mawkish tribute album ... Springsteen sings here with self-assured power. ... the guy can flat-out sing." The album is a co-production with Ron Aniello, who plays many of the instruments and, says AllMusic, "expertly re-creates the sounds of Motown, Philadelphia International, Stax, and Chicago's uptown soul." This song was a hit single in 1970 for R&B singer Tyrone Davis. 

Scott Krokoff: Almost There

Our regular listeners know we've long been fans of this New York singer-songwriter, who writes very personal, relatable songs with catchy tunes. Here he's singing about the frustrations of trying to make it in the music biz, but the lyric can apply to any endeavor: "Like the skier in the slalom who missed the final gate ... Like the swimmer in the last lap who touched the wall too late / I'm almost there yet never quite."

Emperor of Ice Cream: Winter Pages

We recently featured "I See You Everywhere" by this band from Cork, Ireland, and now comes another single that's seasonably cool (sorry). UK website Click Roll Boom says it "features raw, honest vocals, understated drums and sparkling riffs. It's both grand and low key. There's elegance, confidence and epicness while retaining a beautifully underproduced sound." No word yet on whether the two singles indicate another LP will soon follow last year's No Sound Ever Dies.

Lily Monaghan: On Hold

This Edmonton-based singer-songwriter's debut EP, Introspection, is expected early in the new year. She says this song "was written during a time when I felt as if I was being placed on the back burner and being used as a backup plan." We were struck by this metaphoric description of two people heading in opposite directions in a relationship: "Just as I begin to tattoo your skin / You're wishing you could wash me off."

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Animal Logic returns + Weird Nightmare, Gladie, Siren, Danielle Ponder in the New Music bin

Animal Logic: Can You Tell Me

Back in 1987, drummer Steward Copeland from The Police, jazz bassist Stanley Clarke and singer-songwriter Deborah Holland surprised their disparate fan bases by coming together as a band called Animal Logic. After releasing two albums, then went on to their separate projects. Now, just over 30 years later, they surprise again with a pair of new singles. Copeland told ABC Audio it's not really a band reunion, but rather part of an ongoing, casual remote collaboration. This track is billed as exploring "the need for people to move on instead of wallowing in misery when faced with untenable circumstances."

Weird Nightmare: So Far Gone

The solo project of guitarist Alex Edkins, frontman of the Toronto band METZ, debuted earlier this year with the eponymous Weird Nightmare. Stereogum wrote that his music under that name "is considerably more tuneful than what Edkins does with METZ. It’s a muscular, gritty take on power-pop, and it rocks pretty hard in its own way." Now he follows up with this single, which the music blog calls "a driving, hip-swinging rocker with a whole lot of Paul Westerberg in its frayed vocals."

Gladie: Nothing

Augusta Koch, the Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter-guitarist formerly of Cayetana, just released her second LP with her current quintet. Bandcamp Daily writes that Koch’s voice "is magnetic, with a sandpapery timbre that makes every line sound fierce and determined. The band matches it with ... razor-edged indie rock." Of this song, Koch says, "[W]hether it’s relationships, consumerism, or any other constant desire, there is always this push from external and internal forces telling you, ‘More, More, More’ but is that really a healthy way to live?" 

Siren: High Wire

Strains of progressive rock, metal and blues mix in the music of this Florida band. tells us that after short-lived success in the 1980s, the band broke up, but lead singer Rob Phillips and drummer Mike Cupino reformed it several years ago with new members. Phillips says of this metaphorical song: "On the surface it is about a clown in love with the high-wire girl and the great lengths he will go to win her love. The reality is about a musician who is trying to reach fame with the record labels, above and out of reach."  

Danielle Ponder: So Long

We dip back into Some Of Us Are Brave, the debut album from this former public defender, which is filled with anthems of feminism, empowerment, and in this song, overcoming fears. Glide Magazine writes: "Ponder is a vocal powerhouse with a commanding presence as a live performer, inspired both by contemporary artists such as Lauryn Hill and The Roots and vocally by passionate blues artists such as Big Mama Thornton and Koko Taylor."

Saturday, November 12, 2022

The Latest: New tracks from Larkin Poe, Inhaler, Chasing Kites, Dizzy, Brkn Love

Larkin Poe: Strike Gold

The new album from this roots-rock duo "affirms Larkin Poe as a powerful force in contemporary roots rock," writes Rock and Blues Muse. "Their strength as independent women, highly talented vocalists, songwriters and musicians, fuel what is surely their best album to date." Sisters Rebecca (vocals, guitars, keys) and Megan Lovell (harmony vocals, lap steel, resonator guitar), are joined on Blood Harmony by drummer Kevin McGowan and bassist Tarka Layman. The LP is filled with dynamite tracks, so it was a tough choice to pick one for the New Music Bin.

Inhaler: Love Will Get You There

Photo by Lewis Evans
Following "These Are The Days," here's another single in advance of Cuts & Bruises, the second album from the Dublin quartet of Elijah Hewson (guitar, vocals), Robert Keating (bass), Josh Jenkinson (guitar) and Ryan McMahon (drums). NME calls it "bittersweet indie pop euphoria." Listening to Elijah (son of Bono) is a bit like listening to Dani Harrison (son of George): He's making his own music in his own way, but it's impossible to ignore the echoes of his dad's sound.

Chasing Kites: Shiver

Another indie-rock quartet emerged this year from Bristol, UK, with a series of singles, and their latest has found its way into our New Music Bin. Led by vocalist-guitarist Matt Donnelly, they're billed as combining "dynamic hooks, 80s synth textures and vivid narratives," with this song exploring "the feelings of frustration and heartbreak at play when looking in on a loved one’s dysfunctional relationship."

Dizzy: Barking Dog

Photo by Boy Wonder
In the category of sad-songs-that-sound-soothing is this new single from Katie Munshaw and her band from Ontario. The theme is the difficulty in letting go of leftover pain from one's past. The title is a reference to a family pet that had been abused by a previous owner: "And no amount of loving / can stop the dog from barking / when she’s in pain." Dizzy debuted with 2018's acclaimed Baby Teeth and followed with The Sun And Her Scorch in 2020. There's no word on whether a new album is in the works.

Brkn Love: Dead Weight

This band from Toronto is doing what it can to keep the Rock in Alt-Rock. The group just released Black Box, compiling tracks from two previous EPs with new material, including this song. Songwriter and frontman Justin Benlolo says it's a product of the pandemic shutdown. “We all had a moment in the last few years, where we felt useless. There was nowhere to go and nothing to do. ... What I had once felt as an angst-ridden teenager was coming back again and this song became a way to channel my inner dialogue."

Saturday, November 5, 2022

New from Autopilot, RHCP, The Lone Bellow, Secret Treehouse, So Much 4 Gravity

Autopilot: Feverish Dreams

This Saskatoon-based trio emerged from its pandemic hiatus this summer with a hard-edged cover of The Cure's "In Between Days." Now they're back with this energetic original track. The band says it "was written at a time of loss -- saying goodbye for the last time. The driving instrumental came from the emotion of sorting through everything left behind." Review site Mendowerks calls it "an accessible uptempo alt-rock jam. The opening drum grooves are reminiscent of The Strokes while we can hear hints of Arctic Monkeys and Interpol throughout."

Red Hot Chili Peppers: The Drummer

At a time when many artists release music one track at a time, this band has chosen to put out two super-sized albums in the same year. Pepper Chad Smith told U.K.'s RadioX that Return of the Dream Canteen is "another 17-song album from the quarantine year 2021. ... We just made all these songs and we wanted to put them all out because we loved them." This cut is a bit more melodic and less frantic than the advance single "Tippa My Tongue."

The Lone Bellow: Caught Me Thinkin'

This track from the new album Love Songs for Losers "nods to vintage R&B and gospel à la the Band," writes "It offers strutting horns, pumping pianos, seamless, resonant vocal harmonies, and a searing lyric that speaks to the painful memories associated with lost love."

Secret Treehouse: Lovers In The Streets

We've featured this group from Bergen, Norway, numerous times over the past several years, and with each release they catch our ears again. The band says this is a song about rekindled romance -- "about the feeling of rediscovered love in a relationship and the feeling of being free wandering the streets together."

So Much 4 Gravity: I Know A Place

This track comes to us from Mechelen, Belgium. After playing with several bands in the U.K. and Belgium, snger-songwriter-guitarist Wouter Vlaminckx started this group in 2019, featuring his sister Veerle Vlaminckx on vocals. They're joined by Frank Willems (bass), Jelle Ghys (keyboards), Joris Compeers (violin) and Stat De Waal (drums). They say this song "translates a feeling of alienation into a somewhat dreamy story of someone looking for a place to feel at home."