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Saturday, March 23, 2024

New indie music: Carsie Blanton, Bryan Hansen, Lightning Bug, Basement Revolver, Joywave

Our picks this week are all by indie artists, hailing from New Jersey (Carsie Blanton, Bryan Hansen Band), Brooklyn (Lightning Bug), Rochester, N.Y. (Joywave), and Hamilton, Ont. (Basement Revolver). All within a 9- to 10-hour drive. Let's go!

Carsie Blanton: Right In The Middle Of It

Her latest album, After The Revolution, encompasses the various strains of the singer-songwriter-bandleader's writing: political protest, humor, romance and - in this song for example - friendship. "When it don't work out / Well you know who to run to ... I'll be knocking at your front door / Cause that's what a friend′s for." Produced by Tyler Chester, the album features Blanton's regular bandmates - bassist Joe Plowman and keyboardist Patrick Firth - along with Griffin Goldsmith (Taylor's brother) and Sean Trischka (Tony's son) sharing drum/percussion duties, plus other guests.

Bryan Hansen Band: Poison

Ahead of an album expected later this spring comes this funky lament about "poison in the water, poison in the air" and other symptoms of environmental degradation. "What do I tell my grandkids / About the world we gave them?" The quick tempo aside, it brings to mind Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me."

Lightning Bug: Opus

This single from the upcoming album No Paradise is based on a ghost story written by band member Audrey Kang. "We imagined ‘Opus’ as a dystopian folk song written for a post-apocalyptic fantasy saga," the group says. "Or maybe it’s for the saga we’re all living in, as every year our humanity resigns itself to a world turning faster towards destruction." The track has hints of the flavor of '60s English folk rock, mixed with harder-edged guitar and electronic effects.

Basement Revolver: Red Light

This band was formed in 2020 by bassist-keyboardist Nim Agalawatte and guitarist-vocalist Chrisy Hurn, joined by lead guitarist Jonathan Malström and drummer Levi Kertesz. They say this song was inspired when Hurn got a traffic ticket "which was extremely frustrating because it was for a greater amount than their recent paycheck." Says Agalawatte: "Hopefully we’ve all learned to be a little more careful while driving!"

Joywave: Scared

About this lead single from the trio's upcoming fifth album, Permanent Pleasure, vocalist Daniel Armbruster says: "When I was growing up, every song about intimacy from the male perspective was oozing with confidence and sexual prowess. That just never felt honest or real to me and I wanted to make something for the next person growing up. ... There’s not something wrong with you."

Saturday, March 16, 2024

New music by Willow, Alice Merton, Cadet Carter, Cloud Nothings, Dead Root Revival

Willow: Symptom Of Life

The LA-based musician has explored various styles of pop and rock over five albums, and takes a jazzy turn on this new single. “The song has a very beautiful whimsical nature but holds a lot of mystery,” says the 23-year-old daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith. “There’s this beautiful light coming in through the piano, but also this syncopated rhythm of the bass bringing in that mysterious element. A juxtaposition of light and dark.”

Alice Merton: Run Away Girl

Remembering her breakout song "No Roots," it's not surprising to hear Merton singing "Where the hell am I supposed to be? ... Who the hell am I supposed to be?" She says this new song "comes from an introspective look at oneself and feeling lost in the outside world, but especially feeling lost on the inside."

Cadet Carter: My Favourite Place (feat. Kayleigh Goldsworthy)

Although they describe themselves as an emo/punk band, their latest single fits solidly in what one might call the alternative mainstream (oxymoron much?). The Munich-based band, fronted by Welsh lead singer Nick Sauter, is joined by Philadelphia-based singer Goldsworthy on this track from its upcoming album Self Maintenance.

Cloud Nothings: Running Through The Campus

Photo by Errick Easterday
The Cleveland band’s eighth full-length album, Final Summer, comes out in a few weeks. This is the second pre-released single, which bandleader Dylan Baldi says was inspired by his own daily runs through a college campus near his home. He says the song "is about an intrusive thought I can have on those late-night runs, about whether or not it’s slightly depressing that I’m out running around alone while everyone else is gone and actually doing something, probably with other people."

Dead Root Revival: Got In Store

This classic-rock-style band from Kingston, Ont., has released a handful of live albums over the years and now has finally gotten around to putting out a studio LP. But The Controller's Exam was recorded mostly live-off-the-floor with producer David Barbe in Athens, Georgia. "Our goal with this record was to capture the energy of our live show, and really give DRR fans something special," says singer-songwriter-guitarist Tom Savage. The other band members are Tony Silvestri on keyboards, drummer Bonz Bowering and bassist Richard Piche.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Dear Rouge, Two Door Cinema Club, San Fermin, Lake Street Dive, Forest Sun in the New Music bin

Dear Rogue: Goon

The Vancouver alt-rock duo of Danielle and Drew McTaggart just released this single about "people in our lives that we'd like to forget" but who keep turning up, often in the most uncomfortable ways. Danielle says Drew "had a great idea of putting the line “go on” together to make the title of the song: “GOON” ... So this song goes out to everyone who has a “GOON” person in their life who just won’t leave you alone. It’s time to go away!"

Two Door Cinema Club: Sure Enough

This trio from Northern Ireland just released a new single - but this isn't it. We decided instead to catch up with their release from last fall, which NME called "an explosion of energy, featuring fizzing synths reminiscent of retro video games and spry electric guitar lines." The club's brand-new track, "Happy Customers," will find its way into our mix as well.

San Fermin: Weird Environment

This single comes from the new album Arms, the fifth studio LP by the eight-piece band from Brooklyn. Leader Ellis Ludwig-Leone says the song "is about the disorientation of a breakup, how your whole world feels suddenly fake and unpleasant." The video puts various A-I versions of Leone through various fantastic settings.

Lake Street Dive: Good Together

Some 20 years after the band was formed at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, it's preparing to release its eighth studio album in June - preceded by this, the title track. "We’ve been calling this record a 'joyful rebellion,'" the group said in a post. "There’s so much to be sad or angry or scared about in the world right now, but joy keeps you going." Relix calls this track "pitch-perfect power pop, featuring a duet between Rachel Price and Akie Bermiss atop a bouncing staccato synth riff, completed by exultant horns and an undeniably funky danceable backbeat."

Forest Sun: Never Been

We can't keep up with the prolific output of this troubadour from the San Francisco Bay area, who puts out new songs on a monthly basis between occasional albums. As we add this February track to the New Music Bin, we realize he's already released another, on Bandcamp and through Patreon. The litany-style lyric here starts with a nod to Paul Simon - "Never been laid so low" - and continues with a litany of experiences that may come as "Life keeps singing no matter what we say."

Saturday, March 2, 2024

New music by Elephant Stone, Joywave, MGMT, The Greeting Committee, Teles

Elephant Stone: Going Underground

From the Montreal group's sixth studio album, Back Into The Dream, comes this track that Broadway World calls "a slice of high-powered jangle-pop with an infectious hook." Montreal Rocks writes that this song as "The Spark" (which we featured as a single in October) " showcase Rishi Dhir and the band's "ability to seamlessly blend elements of psych-pop with hints of folk and even jazz, resulting in a sound that is at once familiar and refreshingly original."

Joywave: Brain Damage

"A song about the absurdity of trying to be ‘ok’ in a time when everything is clearly not,” is how singer Daniel Armruster describes his band's new single. It comes as the group from Rochester, N.Y., launches a tour with Two Door Cinema Club.

MGMT: Nothing To Declare

Photo by Johan Freeman
The new album Loss of Life, the fifth from this Brooklyn duo, is described by AllMusic as "sounding like '70s soft rock and FM pop radio beaming in from an alternate galaxy where psychedelic thoughts were the norm."

The Greeting Committee: Popmoneyhits

We're not sure just how tongue-and-cheekily we're supposed to take a lyric that basically says, "You bet  I want to sell out and get rich," but we can certainly understand that sentiment coming from an indie band. This single comes from the Kansas City duo of Addie Sartino and Pierce Turcotte, who we're told are working on their third album.

Teles: Olivia

This group from Huddersfield, in West Yorkshire, UK, began in 2018 as The Boxteles. Its four members have been in the music business for years, we're told, and their band has been growing its sound "with heavier riffs, bigger hooks and serious sentiments." They describe this single as "a heartfelt 60’s-inspired Brit-Pop anthem" in which the protagonist urges a woman to break free from a bad relationship.