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Saturday, January 28, 2023

The latest: Dave Matthews Band, Rubblebucket, July Talk, Sorcha Richardson, The Bad Ends

Dave Matthews Band: Madman's Eyes

The 10th DMB studio album, Walk Around the Moon, is due in May and is billed as "a reflection on the current times [and] an urge to find common ground." This first single begins with a mournful sax solo and develops into a hard-edged lament about the threat of violence that seems to be part of the background of society. Bass Magazine writes that it "weaves Middle Eastern textures with heavy horns and strings as Matthews asks unflinchingly, 'When it’s too late to untwist the knife / How do we face hatred with the love inside us.'"

Rubblebucket: Geometry

How did we miss the release a few months ago of a new album by Kalmia Traver, Alex Toth and their band? Four years after the Brooklyn-based group's last album, Sun Machine, we now have Earth Worship, which "once again mixes their danceable beats and weird ideas," as QRO Magazine puts it. Weird in a good way - unusual and inventive, in instrumentation and verbal twists. We had a hard time picking one of the album's 13 tracks to feature in our New Music bin, and you can expect to hear many more sprinkled into our big mix.

July Talk: Hold

The Toronto group's brand-new album provides a good example of a band maintaining its recognizable sound while pushing into new territory. "Remember Never Before is perhaps July Talk’s most refined collection of music yet," writes Spill Magazine. "On their fourth record, the now expanded band is approaching their songwriting in a nearly compositional manner, resulting in fuller arrangements and cinematic tones organically clashing with alternative rock riffs and beats." Exclaim chimes in: "The raw energy and chemistry captured on earlier albums has been refined and paired with new skills. The band consists of songwriters and co-lead vocalists Leah Fay Goldstein and Peter Dreimanis, guitarists Ian Docherty and Josh Warburton, and drummers Danny Miles and Dani Nash.

Sorcha Richardson: Jackpot

"You know I almost kissed you on the front step / Was worried of you waking up with regret / So I just sat beside you, still." Lyrics like that, exquisitely capturing moments of vulnerability and uncertainty, are a hallmark of this Irish singer-songwriter. We previously featured "Shark Eyes" and "Archie" from her second album, Smiling Like an Idiot, and now reach back in for another gem. "It’s about the very earliest days of a relationship, when ... you’re still on very unsteady footing. ... It’s my way of saying 'don’t you think we’d be worth it?' And wincing as I wait for the answer."

The Bad Ends: Mile Marker 29

Veterans of the Athens, Georgia music scene, including drummer Bill Berry from R.E.M. and vocalist/guitarist Mike Mantione from Five Eight, come together in this new band that just released its debut album, The Power And The Glory. The LP "not only serves as a celebration of all things garage and jangle, it effectively continues a story begun over 40 years ago," writes AllMusic, adding, "this is music that exists entirely in its own moment, not as part of the past."

Saturday, January 21, 2023

New sounds from Belle and Sebastian, Daughter, Dizzy, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Goose

Belle and Sebastian: I Don't Know What You See In Me

According to frontman Stuart Murdoch, the veteran indie band from Glasgow entered the recording sessions for last year's A Bit of Previous with a trove of song ideas built up during lockdown. "I just said to the band, ‘Come on, let’s make it two LPs!” he told NME. "Let’s give the record company what they want first, and then keep the second one back as a secret. ... The second LP is the fun LP." Titled Late Developers, it was just released along with this single. "With a strong electronic-pop and '90s power ballad' influence, the song breaks new ground for the band," NME writes.

Daughter: Be On Your Way

The upcoming album Stereo Mind Games is billed as the "most optimistic record yet" from the trio of Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella, "after more than a decade spent depicting the darkest emotions." This song stems from a romantic connection that's fated to be temporary, but resulting in "not a loss of hope but a confidence in and acceptance of the passage of time," as the band describes it. Atwood Magazine calls the track "a shimmering standout single."

Dizzy: Birthmark

There's no word yet of a new album from this Toronto-area indie-pop band, but this is the second single they've released in three months. Under The Radar writes that behind the track's "soaring melodies, shimmering guitar hooks, and intoxicating groove ... the lyrics find vocalist Katie Munshaw sifting through the wreckage of a broken relationship." Says Munshaw: "The song is from the point of view of someone I love who went through their first heartbreak last year."

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: Easy Now

Along with this single comes word that Council Skies, the fourth album from these British rockers, will arrive in June. “It’s going back to the beginning," Gallagher says of the new collection. "Daydreaming, looking up at the sky and wondering about what life could be … that’s as true to me now as it was in the early ‘90s. When I was growing up in poverty and unemployment, music took me out of that.” Music Radar calls this track "a vintage slice of [Gallagher's] songwriting ... It's Noel back in his rightful place as the peoples' troubadour."

Goose: Hungersite

This Connecticut band's fourth album, Dripfield, was released last year, and we previously featured the title song. After a recent appearance on late-night network TV, this track has been picking up airplay on adult-alternative radio, prompting us to give it another listen and pop it into our New Music bin. Glide magazine wrote that it's "among the album’s many standout tracks thanks to an infectious guitar riff and overall jaunty demeanor." The lyrics carry a more serious tone: "Is it time to shed our weapons yet, my friend? ... Can we step out of the wreckage yet, my friend?”

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Peter Gabriel returns, new New Pornographers, plus Ferna, Ripe, Vanishing Shores

Peter Gabriel: Panopticon

Photo by Nadav Kander
The first album of new material from this prog-rock veteran, titled i/o, is coming this year. On this initial single, he's accompanied by bassist Tony Levin, drummer Manu Katché, guitarist David Rhodes, Brian Eno on "electronics" and Ríoghnach Connolly on backing vocals. Gabriel says this song refers to an idea for "the creation of an infinitely expandable accessible data globe. ... to allow the world to see itself better and understand more of what’s really going on.” (Um, like, the internet?) He hasn't announced an album release date, but says a new song will be revealed each full moon.

The New Pornographers: Really Really Light

Continue as a Guest will be the ninth album from this indie-rock conglomerate that formed some 25 years ago in British Columbia. The lineup of A.C. Newman, Neko Case, Kathryn Calder, John Collins, Todd Fancey and Joe Seiders is joined this time by saxophonist Zach Djanikian, and former member 
Dan Bejar gets co-writing credit on this first single. FYI Music News writes: "The mid-tempo cut features a clever interplay of male and female vocals, a group signature, plus ringing guitar and a gradually insinuating melody."

ferna: New City

New to our ears is the music of Hannah McPhillimy, aka ferna (feer'-nah). This track comes to us ahead of her debut album Understudy, due this spring. The song was inspired by her experience of relocating to the U.S. for two years to complete a masters degree in composition at the University of Michigan. “Trying to hold onto a sense of who you are, while also shedding an old skin. It’s the tension between those things,” she says.

Ripe: Noise in the Forest

This Boston-based funk-pop band's sophomore LP, Bright Blues, is due to arrive in March. The group formed at Berklee College of Music and became known for boisterous live shows. The past few years have seen lineup changes and pandemic shutdown - but also saw them sign with Glassnote Records. Wulfson says of the album: "It's joyful music, which is very exciting given that it was made in the middle of getting hit in the stomach." 

Vanishing Shores: Edge of the World (Far Enough)

We've featured the project of Cleveland's Kevin Bianchi several times in the past five years, and now pick up this new single. The track was recorded a couple of years ago and a demo circulated, but since then it's been mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London and was just officially released. Bianchi plays guitar, bass and drums, with synths and harmonies by Robbie Hamilton. They create a wistful atmosphere as the lyric suggests growing distance between two people.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

The News from Paramore, Sloan, The Teskey Brothers, Echo Northstar, The Cathodes

Paramore: The News

The second single ahead of next month's release of This Is Why describes the anxiety induced by news of war and other tragedies around the world and our inability to prevent them. "I'm far, so far from a front line / Quite the opposite I'm safe inside," Haley Williams sings. "But I worry and I give money / And I feel useless behind this computer." 

Sloan: Scratch the Surface

Thirty years after the release of this Toronto-based group's first album comes their 13th, aptly named Steady. "The band still features the same four guys, and their ability to create magic in the studio hasn't failed them," writes AllMusic. Chris Murphy (bass), Andrew Scott (drums), Patrick Pentland (guitar) and Jay Ferguson (guitar) formed the band in Nova Scotia in 1991. Notes Murphy: "They say if you want to go fast, go alone - but if you want to go far, go together."

The Teskey Brothers: This Will Be Our Year

An Australian band covers a 1968 song by an English band and the single lands on the Americana charts. Is music universal, or what? Brothers Josh (vocalist) and Sam (guitarist-engineer) formed the band with bassist Brendon Love and drummer Liam Gough in their home area on the outskirts of Melbourne, and issued their debut album, Half Mile Harvest, in 2017. Since then they've released another studio album and two live LPs, winning several Australian Recording Industry Association awards. Josh Teskey calls this Zombies song "one of the most beautiful and interesting songs of all time, that everyone should know but not many people have really heard of."

Echo Northstar: Silent Fears

With just two singles out so far, Echo Northstar has popped up on several Irish music best-of-2022 lists. According to Breaking Tunes, it's the project of Paddy Northstar Hennessy, "an artist, songwriter and producer from southeast Ireland now living, making music and painting in Southeast London." In the works is an EP called things i wish i could say. He says of this song, "silent fears is letting go of what you hold the closest. The track has roots in 80s gothic aesthetics, branching forward to ethereal unknowns for new ideas and sounds."

The Cathodes: In From The Cold

From the Manchester area in the UK comes the synth-pop trio of Dave Forward (vocals and guitar), Barbara Verrall (keyboards) and Paul Cargill (bass). Each had extensive experience playing live music and recording before they started working together as a band in 2018. They describe their music as "influenced by the melodies and sounds from the 80's with a small dash of the 60's thrown in." This single is from their debut album, So Clear.