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Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Waeve debuts, plus Bully w/Soccer Mommy, Kenny Hughes, The Whythouse, True Lies

The Waeve: Sleepwalking

Guitarist Graham Coxon, from the veteran British band Blur, and singer-songwriter Rose Elinor Dougall have teamed up and just released their debut album, also called The Waeve. DIY Magazine calls it "a curious collection of contrasts. Most notably, that between the protagonists’ own voices: Rose’s a strong, smooth and often deep one ... Graham’s his signature twang, faltering and vulnerable. ...  Cinematic in scope, often luscious in its arrangements, [the album is] a singular gem." This track features Dougall's voice, with percussion, string and wind instruments building gradually behind her and finally joined by Coxon's guitar.

Bully: Lose You (feat. Soccer Mommy)

Compared with a track like "I Don't Know Where To Start" from Sugaregg, this new single pushes Bully's raw garage-rock sound into a more pop direction, as Alicia Bognanno teams up with another Nashville artist, Soccer Mommy's Sophie Allison. aking her rocket-fueled garage rock to dynamic new heights. Today she’s back with a new standalone single, billed as a precursor to a new album coming later this year. Stereogum writes: "It meets in the midpoint between the two bands’ aesthetics, trading out Bully’s usual rapid-speed intensity for an ambling ’90s alt-rock vibes while holding onto the raw power. It might be the most purely catchy Bully song to date."

Kenny Hughes: Midnight Man

This South African blues-rocker has been a traveling musician for the past six years, periodically releasing singles. This is the first one to find its way to our ears. It starts with some gentle struming and winds up rocking hard. The inspiration for the lyric is simple: "the fact that I do most of my best work after midnight," says Hughes. "When the rest of the world is asleep, our creativity as musicians keeps us awake."

The Whythouse: Breathe

Fronted by Chris Hale, a multi-genre artist from Waterloo, Ontario, this group is touted as an urban-country collective creating "their own lane of feel-good music." There's a bit of country flavor here, but to our ears this song has echoes of Jack Johnson blended with traces of Barenaked Ladies. The result is a fun, loose-limbed shuffle.

True Lies: Landmine

This blast of 80's-style jangle pop (the intro reminds us of The Bangles) comes to us from Malmoe, Sweden. The band formed back in 1987 and has been touring and building a fan bace throughout Scandanavia. This single is from the group's seventh album, New World Blues.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Our latest picks - from The Revivalists, Inhaler, Feist, King Tuff, The New Pornographers

The Revivalists: Kid

Photo by Zackery Michael
Coming in June: Pour It Out Into The Night, the fifth studio album from this New Orleans-based roots-rock band. This first single is a little more laid-back than some of their hits. It's described as "a hopeful anthem about finding the zest for life, self-belief and 'just living for the spirit.'" Grateful Web writes: "With an infectious melody and piano peeking through bright acoustic guitar, intricate layers of the band's distinctive instrumentation power a euphoric chantable chorus."

Inhaler: Just To Keep You Satisfied

The follow-up to 2021's It Won't Always Be Like This suggests that, in fact, this band is staying its alt-pop course. Here's the opening track from their sophomore album, Cuts and Bruises, which also contains the recent singles "These Are The Days" and "Love Will Get You There." The Independent writes: "The Irish four-piece make music that is uncomplicated, hooky and very listenable – if a little commercial. ... [The new album] may not offer anything new to music, but there’s no denying its appeal." The band gets some flack over nepotism, what with singer Elijah Hewson being Bono's son. But NME says "they’re fast carving out their own worthy place in the scene."

Feist: In Lightning

While her sixth solo album, Multitudes, is due in April, this Nova Scotia native and art-pop artist just released a quarter of it - a trio of singles, including this track that will be the LP's opener. We agree with Pitchfork that this is "the most striking of the three." The mag calls it "wonderfully ramshackle in a way that fits her milieu ... It all retains the common feeling in her music of pieces falling together, each element getting its own space to shine."

King Tuff: Tell Me

Photo by Wyndham Garnett
Originally from Vermont and now based in Los Angeles, Kyle Thomas is about to release Smalltown Stardust, his third album for the SubPop label under the King Tuff moniker. It was written and recorded with another LA indie musician, Sasami. This single is unabashedly a love song. Says Thomas: "Almost every song in the world is about love, yet somehow there’s still not enough love songs ... Love is an endless well, you can do love songs about people, nature, passion, frustration, animals, joy, madness." This one is pretty clearly about a person.

The New Pornographers: Angelcover

Here's the second single from Continue As A Guest, the upcoming ninth album by this badly named but highly accomplished indie-rock collective. We previously featured lead single "Really Really Light." Stereogum calls this new track "an elegant chug with a bit of ’80s new wave in its chorus." Frontman A.C. Newman says: "A shared experience we all have is the fever dream ... This one is about an angel that sat at the foot of my bed and explained to me how most people listen to music. They were kind of right. It is also a pop song."

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Introducing Meredith Moon, + new from The Heavy, Yo La Tengo, Beach Riot, The Wind and The Wave

Meredith Moon: Constellations

Photo by Laura-Lynn Petrick
This is the title track of a new LP by a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who comes from a musical family - but has preferred to leave it at that, until now. The publicity for her signing to True North Records and next month's album release reveals that Moon is the daughter of Gordon Lightfoot. This gently reflective song "was written in 2017 about the wanderlust of her younger days — not that those days are done." Moon told Canadian Beats that the album's songs are "all about completely different circumstances and different people who have passed thtrough my life these past few years."

The Heavy: Hurricane Coming

This funk-rock band originally from Bath, England, will release its sixth album, Amen, this spring. "Containing funky riffs, jazz nuances, and the smooth vocal stylings of frontman Kelvin Swaby, [this first single] gives us a hint at where the band is sonically for this new album," writes Melodic Mag.  "Lyrically, the song is inspired by Kelvin’s experience with Hurricane Irma in 2017, which happened to hit just after he moved to the U.S."

Yo La Tengo: Fallout

Photo by Cheryl Dunn
The title of this track really should be spelled as two words. Over an insistent, fuzzy guitar riff, Ira Kaplan sings: “I want to fall out of time / Reach back, unwind. ... Everyday it hurts to look / I'd turn away if I could." That's in keeping with the general theme of the Hoboken, New Jersey-based band's 17th studio album: trying to make the best of This Stupid World. The LP is winning critical praise, with Variety writing: "nearly 40 years into their career as a band ... Yo La Tengo have reached another peak."

Beach Riot: Tramlines

We previously featured a couple of tracks from this Brighton, U.K.-based alt-pop band's 2021 debut album, Subatomic Party Cool. This single is their first release since, and Joyzine calls it "a fuzzed up rockslide of a track with a wall of guitars ... punctuated by front-and-centre hi-hat and the repeated howl of a guitar in distress." Lyrically, the band says it's "about escaping from a place of worry with someone you hold dear."

The Wind and the Wave: Racing Hearts

Photo by Abby Matthews
Here's the title track from the recently released album by the Austin-based duo of Dwight Baker and Patty Lynn. It's a mid-tempo tune that starts with handclaps, guitar and Lynn's country-tinged vocal and builds into a full-band rocker. We previously featured "Keep Your Head Down," and other tracks from the LP will find their way into our big mix.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

New indie music by John Lewitt, Softlung, Faded Paper Figures, Lucy Bell, The Hourglass Effect

John Lewitt: Aim High

This is the title track from a new EP by a Toronto singer-songwriter who's been in our big mix for several years. His music ranges from acoustic folk to driving rock, and this track starts out with gentle strumming before building to an electrified finish. He's teamed up again with Jeff Allen (aka Piewackit), a New Jersey-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist; a few years back, they released an album as The Allen Lewitt Project. The lyric to this upbeat rocker encourages us to pursue our aspirations: "You never know until you try ... so take the shot, aim high."

Softlung: Don't Say No

From the flatlands of Saskatchewan comes this new single from the alt-rock project of S.J. Kardash. Written about "keeping an open mind in the face of change," it's billed as "featuring surfy-wet guitar riffs and lo-fi boot-stomping drums." Maybe it's just us, but we hear a touch of Beatles/Wings influence in the distorted bridge and in the refrain "Say maybe / But don't say no" (remember "say anything, but don't say goodnight tonight"?).

Faded Paper Figures: New City

This indie pop-rock trio is a collaboration among Kael and Heather Alden and R. John Williams. They began releasing music in 2008 when they were all in Los Angeles. Before long, Williams relocated to Connecticut, where he's an associate professor at Yale; more recently, the Aldens moved to Salt Lake City, where Heather is a family physician, while Kael writes music for film and TV. Working either remotely or in person, they've continued to produce their unique blend of electronic and acoustic instruments, literate lyrics, and John and Heather's overlapping vocals. Here they sing of someone who moved to New York "to find me."   

Lucy Bell: Love Me The Most

Photo by Abbie Wilmott
Back in 2019, we featured a couple of singles ("Lost on the Line," "Fools") by this then-19-year-old singer-songwriter from County Down in Northern Ireland. She's now preparing to release an EP, Emotion Pending, and this is the first taste. It's the song of a woman's frustration with a supposed partner who professes love but does things like standing her up at a restaurant ("The waiters are talking behind my back / They said they wanna go home and relax"). 

The Hourglass Effect: But Anyways

Full disclosure, this track is a over a year old, but just reached our ears via a fresh publicity push - and we're willing to bet it's new to most listeners. It's from the self-titled debut album by a Charlotte, North Carolina-based group consisting of songwriter-musician Drew Brashear, multi-instrumentalist Dave Hardman and vocalist Erin Fox-Clough. They describe themselves as combining "Southern roots with rock to create unforgettable feel-good tunes, underpinned by a bluesy soul."