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Saturday, April 20, 2024

New: Pearl Jam, Marcus King, Grace Cummings, Maggie Rogers, introducing The Wesleys

Pearl Jam: Wreckage

Dark Matter,
the band's 12th album, "rages and riffs hard, but there are somber, pared-back, folksy meanders worthy of a long road trip" as well, says Paste Magazine. This track lands somewhere in between, building up in power as it rolls.

Marcus King: Hero

After emerging as a guitar prodigy and leading a rock band, King has been working with producer Rick Rubin and developing as a singer and songwriter as well. This track from Mood Swings is a co-write with Dan Auerbach, and American Songwriter calls it "a seamless blend of country and soul that showcases King’s crystalline vocals."

Grace Cummings: On And On

The Australian actor/singer's new album, Ramona, is made up of "lavishly orchestrated songs and rich, soulful vocals ... reflect[ing] on grief, self-destruction, and emotional violence," writes On this track, the lyrics are obscure, but the powerful voice is heavy with emotion - reminding us of the likes of Laura Marling and Florence Welch. 

Maggie Rogers: The Kill

Here's another track from Don't Forget Me, the singer-songwriter's third album. Pitchfork calls it "her strongest yet, the sound of a wise, clear-eyed, melodious prodigy coming into her own voice." It describes this song as "a churning spin on the push-pull dynamic of a doomed pairing, where Rogers employs the classic songwriter trick of flipping the pronouns in the second chorus."

The Wesleys: A Lot To Lose

This sprightly track comes from the self-titled debut album by a garage-pop quartet from Montreal. It has the uncluttered sound of truly indie rock, reflecting its DIY production in a band member's home studio. They cite the likes of Teenage Fanclub, The Pixies and The Replacements among their influences.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

The latest from Bridget Kearney, Mark Knopfler, The Gaslight Anthem, Crumbs, Cadet Carter

Bridget Kearney: If You're Driving

With the release of the Comeback Kid album, we're featuring the opening track. All Access calls the LP a collection of "memorable songs that are as likable and infectious as anything she's done" as the bassist and main songwriter for Lake Street Dive. The reviewer says this song is one of several on the LP that "nicely recall the '80s work of artists like Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac."

Mark Knopfler: Two Pairs Of Hands

We're also featuring the opening track of the just-released One Deep River. Rock and Blues Muse says the track "finds (Knopfler) again referencing JJ Cale’s nonchalant rhythmic strum, bubbling with congas and his snakelike guitar slithering through a song about the difficulties of leading a band on stage with thousands watching. It’s classic Knopfler."

The Gaslight Anthem: Ocean Eyes

After recording the History Books EP released last year, Brian Fallon says, "We had an idea ... to record some acoustic versions... Then at the same time, I had been listening to this Billie Eilish song my daughter showed me on the way to school one morning called "Ocean Eyes" and I thought, ‘Hey, that would be a great song for The Gaslight Anthem to cover.'" The result is this track included on the band's new EP, History Books - Short Stories.

Crumbs: You're Just Jealous

This is the title and opening track of the upcoming sophomore album by a four-piece band from Leeds that packs punkish energy, driving beats and bouncy lyrics into tight two-minutes-and-change pop songs. This number is billed as "a plea for understanding - and an invitation to dance!"

Cadet Carter: Strangers

Here's another catchy track from the new album, Self-Maintenance, by this Munich-based band fronted by Welsh singer Nick Sauter. This song is a fresh take on the winding down of a relationship: "Maybe we're falling / Out of love and into place /  Maybe we're just strangers now."

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Lenny Kravitz, Gary Clark Jr. & Stevie Wonder, Kaïa Kater, Chasing Kites, teepee bring new music

Lenny Kravitz: Human

His first LP release in a half-dozen years, Blue Electric Light, is due in May. Kravitz told American Songwriter this single is "about us as spiritual beings living this human existence and what that is. When you stop trying to please everybody and do what people are trying to get you to do. ... You find your lane. How freeing that is. That’s the basic message."

Gary Clark Jr. & Stevie Wonder: What About the Children

This is one of several collaborations on Clark's new album, JPEG RAW. As music journal No Depresion puts it, Stevie Wonder co-wrote and performs with him here on a song "whose biting social commentary rides a funky groove that recalls Wonder’s 'Living for the City.'" Not to mention other 70s-era songs like Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues."

Kaïa Kater feat. Allison Russell: In Montreal

Photo by Janice Reid
We have not often heard what we could call a hypnotic banjo tune, but this song from Kater's upcoming album Strange Medicine is exactly that. She and her collaborator on this song, Allison Russell, were born in Montreal, both with fathers from Grenada. Both are singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists. Kater says of this track: "I wanted to write an upbeat song about a poet feeling lost and aimless, tectonic plates stacked in their sink - a nod to Leonard Cohen, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, and all the other incredible songwriters of Montreal."

Chasing Kites: Collide

About a year and a half ago we featured the single "Shiver" by this indie-rock band from Bristol, UK. This latest single is a love song with a twist. Vocalist and lyricist Matt Donnelly says: "The track tells the story of how my parents fell in love in somewhat unusual circumstances, in that my dad was already married, and my mum in a long-term relationship. I find it incredibly romantic how their love for one another was strong enough to overcome this."

teepee: broken silence

This is the second single to emerge ahead of blue moon rising, the third album from the Czech dream-pop duo of Tereza Lavičková and Miroslav Patočka. The press release says they draw inspiration from the likes of Beach House in crafting an ethereal vibe on the track. "The song delves into the depths of inner emotions, expressing the desire for open communication and the longing for resolution in a beautifully poetic way."

Monday, April 1, 2024

New music picks: AWOLNation, Shayla McDaniel, Church of Trees, Local Natives, The Forever Now

AWOLNation: Panoramic View

We're not sure why this single is credited to "AWOLNATION & Aaron Bruno," since he's the guy behind the band name. He says he wrote the song at the beginning of the pandemic. "I wrote it to my scared little kid that I didn’t even have yet. I have twin boys now but we weren’t pregnant yet when I wrote it. Basically, I’m saying I’ll protect you, everything’s gonna be okay."

Shayla McDaniel: Falling

We continue to follow this prolific indie singer-songwriter from Knoxville, Tennessee. Her latest single speaks of trying to help someone who's caught in a downward spiral. "You’re falling / I can’t stop your motion / Though I'm trying to break your fall."

Church of Trees: That's All

This self-described synth-pop band from Ottawa debuted in 2017, but we're just catching up with them as they release their sixth studio album, Transience. Spill Magazine calls it "a dark album, musically and lyrically ... produced and arranged to perfection." The group consists of Bernard Frazer (vocals, synths, programming), Stella Panacci (vocals), Heather Brazeau (vocals), and Bob Prendergast (guitar), while Kellii Scott drums on this track.

Local Natives: April

Photo by Elizabeth Miiranda
The Los Angeles band is following up last year's Time Will Wait For No One with But I'll Wait For You - “Maybe not an answer to a question but an exhale to an inhale," says the band. "There is so little that’s in our control but among all this chaos, we can choose to be there for each other.” This is the first track from the album, which is set for release in (whaddyaknow) April.

The Forever Now ft. Raene: Grounded Satellites

Here's some more synthy music, from the project headed by Monty de Luna, a Canadian-Filipino writer and musician now based in Copenhagen. Its sound has drawn comparisons to M83, MGMT and Chvrches. De Luna is joined here by London singer Raene.