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Saturday, May 27, 2023

New Foo Fighters + The Empty Pockets + Ålesund + Vanishing Shores + introducing Jacob Weil

Foo Fighters: Show Me How

The latest single from the upcoming album But Here We Are is a surprisingly subdued number featuring a father-daughter vocal duet. Stereogum writes that the track "sounds like a Foo Fighters take on early-’90s shoegaze, and Dave and Violet Grohl’s vocals mesh with the queasy rush of melodic guitars."

The Empty Pockets: Make It Through

A new single from the Chicago band that made a big splash last year with its Outside Spectrum album. "This song is for the person who helps you through the darkest hours."

Ålesund: Rode Off Into The Sun

This is the title single of an upcoming EP from the band fronted by British-Norwegian singer-songwriter Alba Torriset. She says the song "was written with a lot of joy. I tried to capture that feeling of new excitement bubbling, of turning over a new chapter and feeling really good about it all."

Vanishing Shores: I Wouldn't Change a Thing

With the latest single from this Cleveland-based band comes word that a new LP, Possible Light, is in the works. Frontman Kevin Bianchi says he wrote this song "in response to the question, Does the length of a relationship determine how ‘real’ it is? – and I wanted it to express that love, all love, is real and powerful in the moment, regardless of how long or short the relationship may be.”

Jacob Weil: Beginnings

After half a decade touring with various Canadian roots and alternative bands, this multi-instrumentalist from Vancouver, B.C., traveled to the Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, Texas, where he and his quartet laid down live-off-the-floor tracks that will become his debut album. We're catching up with the first single.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

New from Red Matter, Spoon, Deer Tick, Nanna, KIDSØ & Natascha Polké

Red Matter: Light of the Moon

This "genre-blending jam band," formerly known as Terrapin, is relaunching itself with a new name and a new album, Northbound Train. The seven-piece group hails from Greenwich, Connecticut, a short northbound train ride from New York City. The LP delivers on the promise of mixing genres, including rock, blues, Americana and occasional Latin rhythms, with both male and female vocals. The group cites influences such as Grateful Dead, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Santana and another Connecticut band, Goose.

Spoon: Sugar Babies

After last year's release of Lucifer on the Sofa, the band went back to the studio to revisit some unfinished tracks. The result is a EP due next month called Memory Dust, consisting of this and two other songs.

Deer Tick: Once in a Lifetime

Photo by CJ Harvey
From the upcoming album Emotional Contracts comes this mid-tempo rocker with a live-while-you-can theme. The Rhode Island-based quartet, fronted by singer-guitarist John McCauley, is joined here by a chorus of five backing vocalists: Courtney Marie Andrews, Vanessa Carlton, Angela Miller, Sheree Smith and Kam Franklin.

Nanna: Crybaby

Of Monsters and Men's Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir has released a solo album, How to Start a Garden, featuring this single. Atwood Magazine calls the LP a "fragile indie folk record of fracture and friction," and describes this track as "sonically and emotionally charged ... a churning fever dream soaked in heavy feelings and tastefully overdriven guitars."

KIDSØ & Natascha Polké: Bloom in the Cold

This dose of European electronica comes from Munich-based synthesizer/percussion duo KIDSØ and Swiss producer/singer-songwriter Natascha Polké. They teamed up to release an EP called What If I earlier this year, and now this track has worked its way into our New Music bin. 

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Danielle Ponder + Yukon Blonde + Local Natives + The Chelsea Curve + Thirty Seconds to Mars

Danielle Ponder: Roll the Credits

Photo by Robert Gentler
Following up her debut LP, last year's Some Of Us Are Brave, the singer-songwriter from Rochester, N.Y., has just released this song, which she says speaks of "our ability to find God in all things if we are paying attention.” The New Sounds website says the track "has an unexpected trip-hop vibe, with a floating keyboard and cycling bass line. There are also wordless vocal effects and what sound like swooping sine wave tones. But Ponder is a powerful soul singer, and the combination of vocals and production yields something earthy yet also unearthly."

Yukon Blonde: Up 2 U

Photo by Raunie Mae Baker
The Vancouver-based band seems to be a four-piece again, as the publicity for this new single makes no reference to keyboardist and vocalist Rebecca Gray, who was on their last two albums. The original quartet of Jeffrey Innes, Brandon Scott, Graham Jones and James Younger is said to have a new album coming later this year. CanadianBeats says of this track: "Classic synths and rocksteady cowbells anchor the shimmering guitar licks and vocal harmonies, which all come together to deliver an irresistibly fun and catchy tune."

Local Natives: NYE

The band released a few singles last year, and now comes word that its fifth album, Time Will Wait For No One, will be released in July. It will include this lively number, which guitarist Ray Hahn says came from the laid-back Los Angeles group's desire to try their hands at a "fast and wild song." Never mind that this isn't really the right time of year for a song about New Year's Eve.

The Chelsea Curve: How Can I (Resist You)

Billed as a "mod-pop" trio, bassist/vocalist Linda Pardee, guitarist/vocalist Tim Gillis and drummer Ron Belanger named their band after a zig-zag stretch of highway just north of their native Boston. They started dropping singles in 2021 and last year released their debut LP, All The Things. This 80s-flavored single is the first taste of an EP due in the fall.

Thirty Seconds to Mars: Stuck

This song of physical attraction is the lead single from It's the End of the World but It's a Beautiful Day, the sixth studio album from Jared and Shannon Leto's band, due in September. Loudwire notes that while 30STM started out as a rock band, it has moved toward electro-pop, and "apart from a dollop of guitar, [this track] is assuredly not a rock song."

Saturday, May 6, 2023

New Music: Autopilot, Bailen, Bethany Cosentino, Don't Believe in Ghosts, Silent Thieves

Autopilot: Say Something

This Saskatoon-based trio's latest single arrives ahead of an album expected this fall. Guitarist-vocalist Marlon Harder says it's "a song about the carefree nature of youth and the feeling of not wanting to be tied down by responsibilities or expectations. The lyrics speak of the desire to live in the moment and enjoy life without any worries or concerns. It celebrates the carefree nature of youth and encourages listeners to embrace this spirit and not take life too seriously."

Bailen: Nothing Left to Give

Julia, David, and Daniel Bailen just released their Tired Hearts LP, including the single "Call It Like It Is," which we featured previously. We're picking this lilting, cheerful-sounding song that Daniel tells Flood Magazine emerged from a dark place - a time of "feeling so overwhelmed that you no longer care if everything goes wrong. The song is a mantra to help me crawl out of a depression hole."

Bethany Cosentino: It's Fine

The release of this single comes with the news that Best Coast is now on "indefinite hiatus" and that Bethany Cosentino's first solo album, Natural Disaster, is due in late July. "I am excited about being just Bethany Cosentino for a while and figuring out who I am outside of the ‘Bethany from Best Coast’ box I’ve lived in for such a long time.” We hope "it's fine" for long-time bandmate Bobb Bruno, too.

Don't Believe in Ghosts: Makes No Difference

The latest single from this New York band "is about finding it harder to play along with the expectations and pressures of life," says lead singer Steven Nathan. The new LP Solutions comes out this week.

Silent Thieves: Burst

From Inverness, Scotland, comes the duo of Mark Allison on guitar and vocals and David McIntosh on drums. Veterans of other bands, they got together last year with producer Iain McLaughlin to start recording new songs, and this is their fourth single release.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Latest picks: Josh Ritter, The Gaslight Anthem, Natalie Merchant, ferna, Matt Epp

Josh Ritter: For Your Soul

On his tenth album, Spectral Lines, Josh Ritter experiments with field recordings - this track opens with the sound of a playground swing - and gap-less transitions from song to song. He describes it as “some kind of trip down the river, just to be carried along by this thing.” Many of the songs are quiet, even hushed. Our pick for the New Music bin is one of the more upbeat tracks, featuring "a chorus that could have come straight from the Traveling Wilburys," as AmericanaUK puts it.

The Gaslight Anthem: Positive Charge

Photo by Casey McAllister
Brian Fallon put the band back together for a tour last year, and the New Jersey quartet has released its first single in nine years to launch another tour this summer. Fallon says the song "began as a message of joy to ourselves and to our audience. The central theme is about looking at the things you’ve come through and feeling like you want to go ahead with an open heart toward the future, believing that the best years are not behind any of us and the good we have is worth something.”

Natalie Merchant: Tower of Babel

From her new album, Keep Your Courage, comes this song that ties the Biblical myth about language barriers to modern miscommunication. “See this house is divided / see we’re broken in two / ... Everybody's so confused,” Merchant sings over piano, simple percussion and backing vocals - punctuated by dynamic horn breaks arranged by trombone player Steve Davis.

Ferna: Open Up

We previously featured the single "New City" from Belfast-based singer-songwriter Hannah McPhillimy, aka Ferna. Now she's released her debut LP, Understudy. She says the collection "is all about what’s going on beneath the surface. Who is not getting to speak? What nuances are we not picking up on? And what happens then, when we become spectators, rather than players, in our own lives?”

Matt Epp: Live Free

The 13th studio album from this Toronto singer-songwriter, Rolling Wave, was mostly self-recorded in a converted rural church on the shore of Lake Huron during the second winter of the pandemic. Music blogger Darryl Sterdan calls this song an "uplifting roots-pop gem ... a testament to following life’s calls to adventure, while shaking off the fear of getting hurt in the process”

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Foo Fighters carry on + new music by All Tvvins, Reevah, Joe Marcinek Band, Weyes Blood

Foo Fighters: Rescued

The band's first release since the devastating death of drummer Taylor Hawkins, this single is also the first taste of a new LP, But Here We Are, due in June. The announcement describes the album as "a brutally honest and emotionally raw response to everything Foo Fighters endured over the last year [and] a testament to the healing powers of music, friendship and family." Billboard calls this track a "rager propelled by the band’s signature mix of Dave Grohl’s primal scream emotion and lyrical elegance," while noting there's no word so far on whether Grohl or someone else played the drums.

All Tvvins: What's Happening

The Dublin-based indie-electronic duo of Conor Adams and Lar Kaye produces the sound of a large ensemble on this first single from an upcoming EP. Adams says the song "captures the sense of confusion and foreboding that many people feel in these turbulent times."

Reevah: Without You

From Dublin we jump up to Derry and find this single by Aoife Boyle, a singer-songwriter developing an alternative-pop sound. She says the song is about "losing and finding yourself. ... A serious subject paired with an upbeat disco pop-tune is my specialty."

Joe Marcinek Band: Fever Dream

This band is constantly evolving, as guitarist Joe Marcinek puts together a different line-up every time he hits the road or the studio. His latest release, Dead Funk Summit, was mainly recorded in New Orleans with bassist George Porter Jr. (of The Meters) and his trio, with additional parts added by keyboardist Melvin Seals of the Jerry Garcia Band and others.

Weyes Blood: Children of the Empire

The latest album from Natalie Mering's project, And in the The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, came out late last year, but as she tours the world to support it, we're dipping back in for this sumptuous track. 

Saturday, April 15, 2023

New music by Bailen, The Darcys, Temples, Michigander, Rachel Hickey

Bailen: Call It Like It Is

From the upcoming album Tired Hearts.

The Darcys: Trouble Found Me

The first taste of an album due later this year. 

Temples: Gamma Rays

The band's new album, Exotico, was produced by Sean Ono Lennon.

Michigander: Superglue

The opening track from Jason Singer's new LP, It Will Never Be The Same.

Rachel Hickey: High

The latest single from this Toronto-based folk-rocker.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

New from City and Colour, Bruce Cockburn, boygenius, Vanishing Shores, The Beths

City and Colour: Hard, Hard Time

On his sixth City of Colour studio album, Dallas Green deals with bereavement and the struggle to get through it. The loss of his best friend, and then of a cousin, was followed by the pandemic, leaving him alone with the pain. "Composing songs to process his grief, Green created his most powerful album yet," writes Americana Highways, adding that our pick for the New Music bin has "the album’s catchiest, most upbeat groove, with a bad-ass breakdown and a psychedelic guitar solo." The message of the lyric is to make the most of life while we live.

Bruce Cockburn: On a Roll

Soon to be the opening track on the 77-year-old folk-rock veteran's upcoming album, O Sun O Moon, this song reckons with fate while putting a positive spin on aging: "Here comes the future / Here comes the fall / Time takes its toll / But in my soul / I’m on a roll." Shawn Colvin adds vocals, along with Ann & Regina McCrary.

boygenius: Not Strong Enough

Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker first put their talents together in 2018, dashing off an EP. Since then they've each seen success with separate projects, but now they're back with their first full-length as a trio. AllMusic writes: "What's remarkable about The Record is how these three idiosyncratic songwriters consciously decide to subsume their quirks within a group voice. Individual traits haven't been erased so much as they've been sanded so they can fit neatly together," with a result that "feels heftier and hookier" than their individual works.

Vanishing Shores: Up All Night

Since releasing the LP Maps in 2021, Cleveland's Kevin Bianchi and his band has brought out a live album, Dead Language, and several singles. This song appeared on the live record, but is given a bit of a peppier treatment on this new studio single. It seems a good guess that another album is on its way. 

The Beths: Watching the Credits

The New Zealand quartet recorded this track during the sessions for 2022's Expert In A Dying Field, but it's only now been released as a single. We're told the song was "born out of songwriter Elizabeth Stokes’ habit of learning everything about movies without actually watching them." 

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Dizzy, Smashing Pumpkins, Gracie and Rachel, The Dust Collectors, The Exies bring new music

Dizzy: Open Up Wide

The latest single from the Toronto alt-pop band comes with word that its third LP - titled DIZZY - is coming in August. Frontwoman Katie Munshaw says the song is "a tongue-in-cheek ode to a music industry we never understood all that well." It seems a producer was suggesting "we write our parts in a simpler, more ‘spoonfed’ fashion for easy listening, when [bassist] Mack [Spenser] piped up cheekily, ‘Open up wide! Here comes the airplane!’" - thus inspiring this snarky song. 

Smashing Pumpkins: Spellbinding

The third and final "act" of ATUM, Billy Corgan and company's 33-song rock opera, is due in May, previewed by this synth-drenched single.

Gracie and Rachel: Selfish

The latest EP from this New York-based chamber-pop duo, Nowhere Now Here, is on its way in May. This is the second single to emerge ahead of it. "Sometimes being selfish is the pathway to freedom. Lean in to those around you and then go forward toward you."

Photo by Landon Yost

The Dust Collectors: Waiting Game

Their debut EP, Filtered Gems, has only been out for a couple of months, but this Calgary-based folk-rock band decided against waiting (haha) before releasing this single. The chorus: "Figure out what your intentions really mean / When you’re ready I’ll be waiting." The press release notes that the group members came from different bands with different influences, and "the result is a blend of country, folk and rock." They share lead-vocal duties and combine in four-part harmonies.

The Exies: Spirits High

The Los Angeles band fronted by Scott Stevens broke up around 2010, but Stevens has revived the name for this grungy new single. The Nirvana echoes are strong here. Stevens says the song "is about believing you are where you’re supposed to be even in the face of life’s adversities."

Saturday, March 25, 2023

New sounds from Grouplove, Feist, Adrienne Nye, Tyler Boone, Stuck on Planet Earth

Grouplove: Hello

The Los Angeles group's sixth album, I Want it All Right Now, is due in July. This single, says vocalist and keyboardist Hannah Hooper, was recorded on the last day in the studio. "We had this demo Ben (Homola, drummer) and I had been working on that wasn’t quite finished and we decided to break it out and mess around with it. ...It feels so lighthearted, like a sing-along, but if you listen it’s all about feeling lost and alone and wanting so badly for people to look up and connect.”

Feist: Borrow Trouble

Here's the fourth single released ahead of the upcoming LP Multitudes. NME calls it "enchanting" and "possibly the most introspective track" released so far. Feist says it "began as a contemplative acoustic morality tale and shape shifted itself into the sound of trouble itself. It’s a mess that holds its own logic.”

Adrienne Nye: I Need the Light

This emerging artist has released just a few singles so far, and this is the first to reach our ears. A Montreal native now based in Vancouver, she has degrees in biology as well as a background in stage and film performance, and released two EPs in 2017-2018 as part of a duo called Fallow State. Her bio says she draws inspiration from artists such as Bjork, Lights, Imogen Heap, Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek. She recently launched her own label, Yaletown Records, which will soon release her debut solo EP, These Winter Skies.

Tyler Boone: Running Sideways

This indie singer-songwriter and alt-rocker has been releasing music since 2012 and has been part of our mix since 2016. The South Carolina native, who has worked with musicians and producers in Nashville and Los Angeles, self-produced this track in California for release on his own Artist Formula label. He says that while his "lane" has been blues-rock and Americana, he wanted to try for a more contemporary, current sound on this new single.

Stuck On Planet Earth: Crack In The Glass

This three-piece alt-rock band from Toronto has one LP to its credit - 2020's Beautiful Nowhere - and returned with a couple of singles last year. The press release for this latest track says it "continues the band’s emphasis on the reinvention of their artistry." The trio has more in store for release this year: "We just got back from Nashville where we got to work with some incredible people. This time around, we have not been hesitant to be our most authentic selves and we believe we are writing the most honest music we have ever created.”