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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Catfish and the Bottlemen, Grouplove, Real Estate, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Keeton Coffman

Catfish and the Bottlemen: Showtime

Van McCann and his crew are back with this single, their first release since the 2019 album The Balance. "Sometimes when the thing you love is right in front of your eyes / Don’t blink or you’ll miss/ Showtime" he sings in the chorus of what NME calls an "anthemic track along a booming medley of percussion and jangly guitars."

Grouplove: Chances

Image by Brantley Gutierrez
This single follows the LA band's 2023 album I Want It All Right Now and comes as they launch a cross-country tour. Their press release says "With the band’s vocalist/keyboardist Hannah Hooper at the helm, the new offering is an overstimulated, hallucinogenic, aggressive singsong." Can't disagree. 

Real Estate: Market Street

The New Jersey-based band led by Martin Courtney just released its sixth album, titled Daniel (which might or might not have to do with being helmed by Nashville producer Daniel Tashian). We've been playing the advance single "Water Underground," and now we're dropping track 10 into our New Music bin. AllMusic writes that the song taps into a "combination of existential uneasiness and reflective joy," which we say is summed up by the refrain: "Things don't seem right / Bathed in sunlight / I feel uptight."

Hurray for the Riff Raff: Alibi

Band leader Alynda Segarra says this track from the new album The Past Is Still Alive is "a plea, a last ditch effort to get through to someone you already know you’re gonna lose. It’s a song to myself, to my Father [who died last year], almost fooling myself because I know what’s done is done. But it feels good to beg. A reckoning with time and memory. The song is exhausted with loving someone so much it hurts.”

Keeton Coffman: Kathryn

It's great to hear new music from this very indie Texas singer-songwriter who has been in our mix since 2016. About this track he says: "Kathryn is the one who haunts you. And the hope that still guides you. She is both memories past, and mystery present. I was feeling very nostalgic about a certain someone when I wrote it… and the memories of her felt so visceral and real, that I’m honestly not even sure how I wrote the song. When we play it live, I lose myself in that moment every time."

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Our latest adds: Middle Kids, Bridget Kearney, Maggie Rogers, Marcus King, Pearl Jam

Middle Kids: Terrible News

Photo by Pooneh Ghana
We can't resist saying that the release of this Australian band's latest LP, Faith Crisis Pt. 1, is actually good news to our ears. The trio of singer/guitarist Hannah Joy, bassist Tim Fitz (her husband) and drummer Harry Day continue to make buoyant pop-rock songs out of Joy's angsty thoughts. "And I can’t take it / Sitting in this noisy room / With all these wound up people / Giving terrible news ... I don’t know who I am or what I’m supposed to prove."

Bridget Kearney: Security Camera

More good news: The bassist from Lake Street Dive will release her second solo album, Comeback Kid, in April. This sprightly number imagines being able to rewatch a happy memory of a past romance. "Security camera, roll back the tape / I wanna see that day that he stole my heart." Says Kearney: "The moral of the story is that even though life is ephemeral, these fleeting moments of bliss that come and go are actually ours forever because we carry them with us in our minds."

Maggie Rogers: Don't Forget Me

This is the title track from the singer-songwriter's third studio album, also coming in April. She says she wrote the songs in a burst of creativity over five days in December 2022 and January 2023. She credits co-producer Ian Fitchuk with co-writing eight of its ten songs and playing most of the instruments on the album.

Marcus King: Mood Swings

The guitar phenom is prepping his third solo album, this one produced by Rick Rubin at his Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, Calif. Variety magazine writes that the LP "promises to probe new depths for King, both musically and psychologically, as Rubin encouraged him to dig deeper into his soulful side as a musician, as well as explore his personal demons as someone who is finding his way away from self-medicating. ... [T]he album can overall best be described as: What if Al Green also played a mean axe and made a record about dealing with anxiety and depression?"

Pearl Jam: Dark Matter

Photo by Danny Clinch
Rounding out this week's New Music bin is this hard-hitting title song from the grunge-scene veterans' upcoming 12th studio album. Consequence of Sound writes that the track "opens with thunderous drums from Matt Cameron that would do Phil Collins proud, before Jeff Ament’s baritone guitar comes purring in. [Producer Andrew] Watt highlights some phrases with guitar reverb so intense it approaches static, while [Eddie] Vedder’s voice explores the 'strange' days 'when everybody else pays for someone else’s mistake.'"

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Sarah Jarosz, Dentist, Bleachers, Blitzen Trapper + introducing Brigitte Calls Me Baby

Sarah Jaroz: Take The High Road

The lyrics of this song "are almost a thesis" for her new album, Polaroid Lovers, Jarosz told The New York Times. "You know, ‘I’m tired of being quiet — time to face up to the fear.’" The newspaper's veteran music critic Jon Pareles says that on her seventh studio album, "Jarosz reaches toward a broader audience while still maintaining her individuality. The songs are more plugged in, muscular and reverberant than her past albums, which were intimate and largely acoustic. But her particular perspective — at once clearheaded, thoughtful, vulnerable and open to desire — comes through."

Dentist: Random Numbers Shapes and Colors

Here's the first new song from the Asbury Park, N.J., indie-rock trio since its 2022 album Make A Scene. The band says that, when invited by Shore Points Records to be included on a compilation album, "we agreed even though we had no new songs in the can. After going through voice memos and old demos, we were coming up empty, so with just a couple days before our recording session, we decided to write a song from scratch. It was all very spontaneous, but we’re super happy with the result and we hope you enjoy it too."

Bleachers: Tiny Moves

This single from the upcoming album Bleachers is basically a love letter from its frontman, the ubiquitous Jack Antonoff, to his bride, actress Margaret Qualley. "The tiniest moves you make / The whole damn world shakes." The accompanying video features ballet-trained Qualley performing a modern dance beside the Hudson River and then embracing Antonoff as the sun rises over Manhattan in the background. 

Blitzen Trapper: Cosmic Backseat Education

From the Portland, Ore., band's upcoming album, 100’s of 1000’s, Millions of Billions, comes this single that lead singer-songwriter Eric Earley says recalls "lying in the backseat of my parents’ car as a kid and just listening to the radio, which I think is where I got most of the education that I’ve used in my life and my career." And yes, the lyric also mentions another type of education gained in the backseat of a Chevy.

Brigitte Calls Me Baby: Impressively Average

Wes Leavins, leader of this emerging Chicago band, says that as a young teen he listened to records by Roy Orbison, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley at his grandparents' house, and to the likes of The Strokes and Radiohead with his friends. "I fell in love with both worlds simultaneously," he told NME. "It’s strong voices that I think I really love, just voices with a lot of character." Those influences come together on the group's debut album, This House Is Made of Corners, and this lead single.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

New Music: Brittany Howard, Night Talks, Cage the Elephant, Norah Jones - and yes, Billy Joel

Brittany Howard: Prove It To You

The second solo album from the Alabama Shakes alumna, What Now, grew from songs she wrote during the pandemic. “[M]y heart was going through so many things," she tells The New York Times. "There was all this sorrow about seeing the world on fire, seeing people the same color as you getting beaten in the streets. On the other hand, I was falling in love.” This song speaks of the early stages of love (although that romance didn't last). Howard's soft vocal is backed by a disco beat, just one of many musical styles she explores on the LP. 

Night Talks: Double Vision

We managed to catch one of our favorite indie bands playing at a club in their home town of Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, and heard this song just before it was released. The performance filled the room with energy and had fans singing along with frontwoman Soraya Sebghati. As with their other recordings, this latest single manages to capture a lot of that energy in-studio.

Cage The Elephant: Neon Pill

Photo by Neil Krug
The song title and the lyric - "It’s a hit and run, oh no / Double-crossed by a neon pill" - seems to refer to sudden intoxication, whether from a literal pill or a love affair. Is Matthew Shultz is singing about past troubles with drugs or romance? Perhaps both. NME calls the band's first new music in five years an "angsty" single. 

Norah Jones: Running

The multi-Grammy-winning singer-songwriter-pianist will release her ninth studio album, Visions, next month. It's a collaboration with producer and multi-instrumentalist Leon Michels, who also co-write this first single and adds drums and baritone sax to Jones's vocals, piano, guitar, and bass. Says Jones: "The reason I called the album Visions is because a lot of the ideas came in the middle of the night or in that moment right before sleep, and ‘Running’ was one of them where you're half asleep and kind of jolted awake."

Billy Joel: Turn The Lights Back On

Not that he ever went away - as he has continued to tour and to make New York's Madison Square Garden his personal listening room - but Joel is back as a recording artist with his first original song in 17 years. The lyric certainly plays off the idea of comeback, but in the context of relationship: "I’m late / But I’m here right now / ... I see you now / As we’re laying in the darkness / Did I wait too long / To turn the lights back on?" Consequence of Sound writes that the single demonstrates Joel's enduring talent: "The recording is surprisingly raw. Never mind autotune — Joel allows his voice to wobble and occasionally brush against a wrong note, which only further highlights how nearly perfect the 74-year-old sounds."