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Friday, July 12, 2024

Phish, Rubblebucket, Aurora, Rise Bailey Rise, plus Don McLean in our New Music Bin

Phish: Wave Of Hope

For those of us who have not avidly followed them over the decades, the release of Evolve provides an excellent way to catch up with the veteran jam band. Many of its 12 tracks have been turning up in their live-show playlists in recent years, and a recording of this song previously appeared on Trey Anastasio's 2020 solo release Lonely Trip. Dave Campbell of The Associated Press calls the track "‘70s-style rock with space for Page McConnell to pound on the keys amid racing guitar riffs." The hopeful-ish refrain: "This too shall pass, this too shall pass."

Rubblebucket: Rattlesnake

The Brooklyn art-pop project's new single derives from a poem vocalist Kalmia Traver wrote after a bike ride with her mother: "Just off the path we spotted a massive rattlesnake lounging in the dappled forest sunlight. It was my first time ever seeing one and my instinct was to stop and get a good look. My mom’s instinct was to get the hell out of there, and we laughed later about this dynamic." Relix writes the the track "builds to neo-disco pop perfection with a chorus of horns, prowling congas and the first string arrangement featured on an entry from the band since 2014’s 'Carousel Ride.'" 

Aurora: To Be Alright

"The world has grown so accustomed to being apathetic," the Norwegian alt-pop artist told NME about the thought-process behind her fifth album, What Happened To The Heart?’ The mag calls the album a "career high" and "a heavy, rave-y call for humanity." It's filled with imagery of the heart and blood representing love and emotions. "What is life worth living / if you don’t bleed for anything?” she sings here.

Rise Bailey Rise: Never Know

Coming to us from Buckinghamshire, England, is the latest single by singer-songwriter-producer-remixer Rich Patmore. After playing with various bands, he quit that scene to focus on fatherhood - but soon returned to making music, this time in a home studio. He's released several singles and EPs in recent years, drawing on influences from 80's UK pop and 90's grunge as well as edgy alternative artists like Radiohead and NIN. 

Don McLean: Thunderstorm Girl

The title track of the new album American Boys celebrates and name-checks rock'n'roll pioneers. He doesn't list himself, but the LP is filled with 60s-style songs, including this ditty that's landed in our New Music bin. Like much of the album, it's relaxed fun, although not terribly original - a bit like recent Ringo Starr songs. As Spill Magazine says, this and some other tracks "are performed and recorded well, but McLean seems to be playing it safe with the content. One should not go looking for McLean’s poetry and poignant observations of albums past. It is largely absent here."

Saturday, July 6, 2024

New indie music by The Rift, Ravenhall, Kasha, Alanna Matty, Washed Out

The Rift: Just Fine

This Southern California indie-rock band says the phrase "'Just Fine' has become a humorous motto for us, reflecting our philosophy of resilience and defiance even when things aren't going our way. Drawing inspiration from Monty Python's iconic 'flesh wound' scene, the song embodies a spirit of gallows humor and unwavering determination."

Ravenhall: A Traveling Story

The Auckland, New Zealand, duo of Joe Ravenhall and Chris Brebner has been releasing singles since 2015, and brought out its debut LP, Brother, earlier this year. This track has now found its way around the globe and landed in our New Music bin. We hear a hint of Bob Seger in the vocal on the refrain 'The road keeps calling / Freedom come to me now."

Kasha: Do Me So

It's a hint of Sade that hits our ear as we listen to this single by an artist born in the Congo and raised in Norway. Her music is a blend of neo-soul, R'n'B, pop, and Afropop. "I wrote this song to deal with the sorrow and joy of emerging stronger from psychological abuse. It's painful, frightening, but most of all, it's satisfying to finally understand more."

Alanna Matty: Restless

Originally from Toronto, now living in Halifax, this singer-songwriter-producer (and video-game sound designer) brings am-I-working-hard-enough anxiety to this new single. She explains: "Everyone says ‘you need to take time off’ or ‘you have to recharge’ but how can you? What if that moment you spent sitting on the couch decompressing is the moment where you could have created the thing that was going to catapult you to the next stage of your career?" Such as, perhaps, her upcoming album, Subject to Change.

Washed Out: The Hardest Part

Once dubbed "the godfather of chillwave" by Pitchfork, Ernest Greene just released his fifth album (and first in four years), Notes from a Quiet Life. In 2021, he moved from Atlanta to a 20-acre former horse farm in the Georgia countryside, not far from where he grew up, and where he presumably is living quietly. This track's smooth, shiny sound belies its lyric about pining for an ex: "I hope that you've noticed I've tried to move on / Still can't admit that our time is done."