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Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Wringing out the year with more 2023 releases

As one year gives way to another, we're taking a holiday break from picking out new releases to feature at the top of each hour. Instead, we're showcasing tracks that came out in 2023 but didn't quite make it into our New Music Bin. Many are from indie artists; many are additional tracks from albums that we sampled during the year.

They include:
Adult Leisure - You Weren't There When I Needed | Autogramm - Born Losers | boygenius - Cool About It | Crown Lands - Dreamer of the Dawn | Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors - Find Your People | Great Lake Swimmers - When The Storm Has Passed | Green Day - The American Dream Is Killing Me | July Talk - When You Stop | Mackenzie Shivers - a cautionary tale | Nation of Language - Sole Obsession | New West - Based on a True Story | Night Talks - Shake Me Awake | Peter Gabriel - i/o (Bright Side Mix) | Sarah Kinsley - Oh No Darling! | Shayla McDaniel - Depend On | Sorcha Richardson - Stalemate | Terra Lightfoot - Cross Border Lovers | The Regrettes - Dancing On My Own | The Rolling Stones - Mess It Up | Thompson Springs - She Loves Me To Death (But I'm Still Livin') | Vanishing Shores - Doubt, Nothing At All

Birch Street Radio began broadcasting on the internet in April 2013 and rebooted in January 2016 with its unique Marvelous Mix of new and classic, indie and major-label music from a wide variety of rock-related genres. It moved to its current home on the TorontoCast streaming platform in January 2018 and added a stream on the revived Live365 service in the USA in January 2019. With more than 16,000 songs currently in its playlist, Birch Street Radio now rolls on into 2024 - streaming 24/7, completely free and commercial-free! 

Saturday, December 16, 2023

New Music: Sheryl Crow, Sam Roberts Band, Nation of Language, and introducing Justine Giles, The Moons of Jupiter

Sheryl Crow: Alarm Clock

Freshly inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Crow announced that her 11th studio album, Evolution, will be out in March. “I said I’d never make another record, thought there was no point to it. But this music comes from my soul," she says. This first single is a co-write with Mike Elizondo, the album's producer, and Emily Weisband. (Photo by Mark Seliger)

Sam Roberts Band: The Ballad of Ben Blank

The title track of the Montreal band's latest LP introduces the "narrator" of the stories to come: "A rock and roll singer / A real humdinger," who frankly describes himself as "a bona fide loose cannon." No regrets, it seems, for being who he is: "You gotta listen for the life that's calling you."

Nation of Language: Too Much, Enough

"There's no listening to Nation of Language without hearing the 1980s," Pitchfork writes in its review of its third album, Strange Disciple, and that gets no argument from us. "With  LCD Soundsystem’s Nick Millhiser producing the album, the group incorporates new sounds into their typically minimalist compositions." The Brooklyn band consists of Ian Richard Devaney (lead vocals, guitar, synthesizer, percussion), Aidan Noell (synthesizer, backing vocals), and Alex MacKay (bass guitar). 

Justine Giles: Before It's Too Late

The Calgary-based singer-songwriter "successfully combines emotive lyrics with a bluesy rock arrangement" on this new single, writes Canadian Beats. After starting out as a teenage folk-pop singer-songwriter, her style has taken on more of a rock edge. “I felt like a different beast was coming out of me,” she says, “But at the same time, I felt ready to embrace my strength and power and I’m really proud of these vocals. They’re the strongest I’ve ever delivered.”

The Moons of Jupiter: Until The End Of Time

From a suburb of Birmingham, UK, comes this duo of multi-instrumentalist Nicky Rowe and vocalist James Harris. They describe their music as "soulful and uplifting, classic-sounding British electropop." We're adding this track from their debut EP Ghosts to our New Music bin.

This is the time of year when record releases are mostly re-issues and holiday music - so we're taking a break from our weekly new-music-picking. We'll be back at it next month. Meanwhile our Marvelous Mix rolls on 24/7, free and commercial-free. 

Remember: Nothing has been proven more effective against Music Boredom than Birch Street Radio. Possible side effects include altering your mood, distracting you from what you should be doing, and causing flashbacks to the first time you heard that song. Please listen responsibly!

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Fresh tracks from Terra Lightfoot + The Killers + Real Estate + Grand Splendid + Cadet Carter

Terra Lightfoot: Come Back Around

The singer-songwriter from Hamilton, Ont., just released Healing Power, a collection that PopMatters writes "deals with the serious issues of love and romance in the modern world with a light touch." It's filled with great tunes that will be turning up in our mix. Lightfoot says the point of this song "is that it’s helpful to know that you can always get back up after you make a mistake. The lesson you were supposed to learn will still be there waiting for you until you’re ready to try again." (Photo by Lyle Bell)

The Killers: Spirit

On its just-released greatest-hits album, Rebel Diamonds, the band includes a new studio version of this song that they've previously played on tour. "The icy and anthemic three-minute single leans all the way into the synth-pop side of the band’s sound," writes Stereogum. (Photo by Todd Weaver) 

Real Estate: Water Underground

“This song is about writing songs,” says frontman Martin Courtney of the first single from the band's upcoming sixth album. “I think ‘Water Underground’ is like the unconscious, the mysterious part of your brain where creativity comes from. The constant flow of music in the back of your head." The LP is titled Daniel, because the band thought it would be funny to name an album like a person. And it may not be a coincidence that it's produced by Daniel Tashian.

Grand Splendid: The Storm Is Over

The Montreal band has just issued its latest album, Planetarium, and the photo above is from its hometown release party at l'Hémisphère Gauche last month. The LP includes singles that we've featured over the past couple of years, including "Heartstrings," "Magic" and "You Are the Universe."

Cadet Carter: Lift Me Up

Billed as an "emo punk" band, this Munich-based quartet features Welsh lead singer Nick Saute. This catchy number is from their just-released third album, Self Maintenance. Saute says many of its songs "are about keeping yourself together, and the mundane activities we do to keep ourselves alive and function adequately in society."

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Peter Gabriel completes I/O; Mighty One debuts; plus Autogramm, Thompson Springs, Big Thief

Peter Gabriel: Live and Let Live (Dark-Side Mix)

This 7-minute-plus number completes the I/O album, a 24-track opus consisting of Bright-Side and Dark-Side mixes of 12 original songs that were released over the past 12 months. "It takes courage / To learn to forgive / To be brave enough to listen / To live and let live," Gabriel sings. He acknowledges that given the conflicts raging around the world, "preaching forgiveness seems trite and pathetic, maybe. But in the long run, I think people have to find a way."

Mighty One: Wake The Dead

From South West England comes the duo of singers-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Emma Kingston and Mark Stidson. This is their debut single as Mighty One - not to be confused with the Vancouver metal band of the same name! They tell us this song "centres itself around the notions of regret, and all of the emotions that come with it. ... [I]t's a bittersweet yet uplifting anthem."

Autogramm: WannaBe

This "new wave-inspired" group is made up of three musicians, veterans of multiple bands hailing from Vancouver, Seattle and Chicago, who use pseudonyms for this project. They "draw unapologetically on power-pop with a vibe that evokes the late ’70s and early ’80s," writes Paste Magazine, which says their new album, Music That Humans Can Play, is filled with "catchy songs that split the difference between bright synthesizers and punchy guitar riffs." (Photo by Tyler McLeod)

Thompson Springs: Out of Range

This Chicago outfit, which has been popping up in our mix since its debut LP in 2020, just released its latest collection, Standby. We previously featured "All I Wanna Do," and now add this track to our New Music bin (never mind that it was issued as a single earlier this year). 

Big Thief: Born For Loving You

Long part of their live shows, this song was recently released in a studio version and has been getting extensive radio play. It's a surprisingly sweet and sentimental number from the edgy Brooklyn band, packaged as a "double single" with the angry, toxic-relationship-blues of "Vampire Empire."