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Saturday, May 11, 2024

Frank Turner, Bryan Hansen Band, Valley, Camera Obscura, Alastair Greene in the New Music Bin

Frank Turner: International Hide and Seek Champions

Photo by Shannon Shumaker
Some of the tracks on his brand-newm, 10th studio album, Undefeated, are angry about the state of the world. Some are just fun (e.g. the single "Girl From The Record Shop"). This one is a humorous take on feeling "trapped in a time of hysteria" and wanting to escape: "I've got two parachutes and a caseload of cash ... I can't wait to disappear with you / Let's take the leap before the world goes down in flames."

Bryan Hansen Band: Kissing My Love

This New Jersey band's music was once described by a New York DJ as "blue-eyed soul." With bassist Will Blakey providing the funky propulsion and Bryan Hansen's high-register voice recalling soul singers of the past, there's no arguing with that. Joined here by Pete Andrews on drums and Matt Cook on piano, they do a fine job with a 1972 Bill Withers song.

Valley: When You Know Someone

We've been keeping an ear on this Toronto indie-pop band since catching them live back in 2018, before the release of their first LP, Maybe, and have a dozen or so of their songs in our huge playlist. This new single strikes us as having a bit more grown-up sound (compared to, say, "Sucks to See You Doing Better"). It's the first release since the departure of guitarist Mickey Brandolino to focus on producing and writing. Drummer Karah James says the remaining members wrote the song with Nashville singer-songwriter Trent Dabbs, "who helped us channel the emptiness we were feeling."

Camera Obscura: Big Love

Photo by Robert Perry
The Scottish band's new album is its first since Desire Lines in 2013, and since the death of keyboardist and singer Carey Lander from cancer in 2015. Paste magazine reports the group reconvened in 2018 for a handful of gigs and, after a pandemic-elongated delay, have returned with Look to the East, Look to the West. "Although the band retains a knack for lush songs that are at once dreamy and catchy, the 11 tracks here are subtler than in years past," the mag writes. "In place of the bold string charts and sweeping orchestrations [are] a more basic sound that favors keyboards, particularly organ and piano." On this track, a warning to a lovesick friend, "warm pedal steel guitar slides around underneath a marching beat and grainy electric guitar."

Alastair Greene: Standing Out Loud

Here's the title track from the latest LP, due this week, by this blues-rock guitarist. Born in California, now living in Texas, he decamped to guitarist/producer JD Simo's House of Grease studio in Nashville, to record most of the tracks on the album, with Greene and Simo co-producing.

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