Archive for the ‘New music 2018’ Category

Well, it was inevitable that I would miss a week here or there. I think I’ve done well to get this far into the year without a break, not to brag or anything like. And that gave me a much larger pool to draw from, which may have resulted in an even stronger list than usual, and one that has a few more songs on it. You will have to let your own ears determine whether they are for you.

(Spotify link below)

Plastic Hamburgers—Fantastic Negrito

Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz (try pronouncing that) says that he makes “black roots music for everybody”. That could be true, because to my ears this track sounds like blues-ROCK that, between the riffs and the voice, puts me in mind of a certain band named after a heavy dirigible.  From the album “Please Don’t Be Dead”, out June 15th

Sweet Sensation—Flo Rida

Yes, OK, it’s unashamedly a hit pop song, but it’s got such a great “get up and dance” groove to it, which to a large extent is aided by a first-class pumping production job. Sometimes it’s OK to just let go and enjoy the sounds.

Philly Forget Me Not—Hall & Oates (with Train)

Millennials will be saying “Who???” but those of us of a certain age will remember this once auspicious hit machine which was much better than the long overplayed “Maneater” would have us believe.  This one is more in line with their Philadelphia soul roots than that other aforementioned hit. It’s their first new track in 15 years but, alas, it isn’t a prelude to an album, or even another single. For now anyway.

Change—Charlie Puth, James Taylor

A June-December match that is more Charlie than James in vocals, I think, but definitely has a James Taylor feel to it. Lyrically it’s basically about accepting each other for who we are, which some would say is a modern message, but being old enough to remember the 60’s I can assure you is not. From Puth’s upcoming, collaboration filled album “Voicenotes”.

that was then—Isaac Gracie

Isaac sure can hit those high notes. This song takes a few seconds to get going, but once it does it pulls you in with a decent melody  and a feeling of longing and regret.

the broken hearts club—gnash

There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to like this song because of the subject matter, which is basically come join us because misery loves company. But it is kind of a catchy song. So I’m hoping this is at least partially tongue in cheek.

By the way, what’s with all the lower case song titles?

Lost in Paris—Tom Misch, GoldLink

Kind of jazzy,  with some slinky guitar work. Feels pretty smooth.

Lash Out—Alice Merton

Alice sounds a bit frustrated, but she’s rocking it in an Indie sort of way.

Sugar & Spice—Hatchie

A nice mix of girl-group, 60’s style, Indie sensibilities with hooks, harmonies, and a nice production wash that’s full sounding without being overproduced.

The Walking Wounded—Roseanne Cash

Roseanne Cash is surely country, but as this song suggests it’s more country in a Springsteen sort of way than her daddy Johnny’s way.  The lyrics try to cover so many bases they’re nearly generic, but there are some good lines. Ultimately it feels quietly anthemic

Unusual Boy—Bernie and the Believers

Singer/songwriter Bernie is looking for love with someone who is as much of a misfit as she is. A lot of yearning going on, but the song does get under your skin. Someone did a great job with the string arrangement, which does a great job of building up the song dynamically as it goes along.

Start Over Again—New Hope Club

The New Hope Club’s singer wishes he had put just a little more effort into making that all-important first impression with his date. That sounds like a downer, but the lyrics are decent enough, and we’re talking about not splitting the bill and saying you look beautiful instead of nice, as opposed to say getting wasted and dancing naked in the fountain, so it wasn’t a horrible first impression. Musically the song really pops along with a semi-acoustic guitar-band arrangement and a light touch on the lead guitar.

In My View—Young Fathers

The Young Fathers have an interesting album out, “Cocoa Sugar” that has had tracks coming dangerously close to making the list over the past month or two. This is the first I’ve picked, and considering this list is compiled from two weeks it’s fair to say it’s not cause the competition is weak. Also, some of the other stuff on the album, while being different, hasn’t really connected with me on an emotional level. This song is a bit cynical like some of the others, but the groove caught me, the’re a nice melodic shift going into the chorus, and the singer’s voice is just the right kind of off-kilter to pull of the track.

Shiggy—Stephen Malkmus

I’ve come to like this guy a lot over the last couple of years. This one is mid-tempo heavy without being overbearing, and an alt-pop sensibility to the lyrics and the melody supported by Stephen’s enjoyable but not ready for X-Factor vocal style. Think Todd Rundgren meets Nirvana. Plus it’s another track with some decent, melodic lead guitar. It’s a banner week for that, relatively speaking.

Raining in Kyoto—The Wonder Years

I should warn you that you will have an urge to turn up the volume as soon as this track starts, but the volume will kick in and rock this out shortly into this track, so be kind to your ears, or speakers and neighbors, and wait it out. When it gets going it’s like standing under a downpour of sound

Seagull—Aquilo

The intro almost feels like David Crosby to me, but it soon opens into a smooth, mid-tempo, guitar band arrangement of a nice melodic track that might be more Christopher Cros than Crosby, now that I hear it again.

Sweet Coffee—Mullaly, Bassette

A love song, or possible a mutual lust song, that floats along like two might if they were able to enjoy that first cup of coffee with the luxury of watching each other instead of the clock.

Ultralight Beam—Naaz

There’s something seductive from this track from female, Dutch singer Naaz. It’s essentially a slow rap track that seems to have a dreamlike free-association quality to it, supported by a solo piano that sometimes punctuates the track at rhythmically odd but appropriate angles

Here We Are—Lowes

I think it’s really the soaring chorus with all those drums that caught my attention, but it’s a good enough hook to make the list.

Love is Madness—Thirty Seconds to Mars (feat. Halsey)

You’re not good for me, I’m no good for you, let’s get together and be perfect for each other in what is probably an unhealthy but totally obsessive way, and be possessive of each other while not wanting to be possessed, or perhaps even faithful. And now you know why love is madness. It’s a heavy sounding mid-tempo pop song that might cross over to rock despite the lack of guitars, But it has drums that are probably a prelude to the inevitable breakup.

We Can Do Better—Matt Simmons

This is a happy little, big sounding, pop song about relationships, and not making the same mistakes as the couples who you’ve observed previously. And you can sing along to the chorus.

Velvet Elvis—Kacey Musgraves

It’s kind of a cotton candy pop/rock track, appropriately enough, since it’s a young woman comparing her boyfriend to a velvet Elvis, as a compliment of course. But it’s pleasant and poppy with a good backbeat. So kinda Shania Twain. Could do well with the masses.

Over It—Bullet for my Valentine

And here is the heaviest song of the week, or at least the heaviest one allowed on the list. Unlike some people, I suppose, I prefer having some melodic elements mixed in with the screaming. And like the Ed Norton version of the Incridable Hulk, the screaming is only there when absolutely necessary.

Opener—Hookworms

Counter-intuitive as it is, we’ll close with “Opener”, which might not be to everyone’s liking, but I find has a certain hypnotic presence. For me Hookworms have made a journey from what I would call ambient psychedelic rock to ambient psychedelic rock with actual songs in it, which is far more interesting. It does go on a bit though, so if you don’t make it to the end I’ll understand.

 

 

 

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(Spotofy link below)

Between the Easter holiday and the school’s mid-term break, it’s hard keeping on track at the moment. So a couple of days later than usual here is this week’s list of music that appealed to me over the last week or so, starting with a Leon Bridges track that, between the voice, feel and pristine production quality just feels so good.  David Byrne gives us some comfortable familiarity in his own way. Sandro Cavazza makes great use of whistling on happy little tune. There’s a sing-along anthem from Panic! At the disco. And Genghar gives us some beautiful, next-generation, classic guitar rock.

There’s plenty else to like, I just don’t have the time to wax on about it, Although I should warn you not to skip over Superorganism’s take on “Havana” because they have definitely made it their own.  The DMA’s are sounding very much like classic Oasis, if not quite as nasally. Thunderpussy is a great name for a hard-rock band of women. And Shawn Mendes, I’m giving you a chance here partly because my daughter liked your last album so much, so don’t let me down.

At the end there are three instrumentals from completely different genres I had to include.  “Call and Response” is an acoustic guitar workout with percussion that is immersed in mid-east influences. Joshua Redman and Brian Blade have a great track that is more challenging than some of the jazz I’ve listed this year, and finally “Mass (Re-Imagined)” is somewhere between classical piano and chill out music.

On time for once, here’s this weeks play list.

(Spotify link below)

 

Saviour—George Ezra, First Aid Kit

George Ezra and First Aid Kit both seem to be having a good year so far. this song seems to be more focused on the former than the latter. after all, it’s from his latest album “Staying at Tamara’s, which features a number of strong tracks.

Sugartown—the Fratellis

This is a mix of 60’s rock ballad, old-school, mid tempo love song with an indie feel and updated lyrical sensibilities. From the album “In Your Own Sweet Time”. Hey, it’s only been a couple of years since the last one.

Blackout—Frank Turner

Probably the poppiest thing I’ve heard from Frank turner, who I have sometimes compared to Billy Bragg. But not this time. Lyrically rich and ready for radio.  From the soon to be released “Be More Kind”, which has at least one other great track I can vouch for.

Can’t Deny Me—Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam are back to rocking out with a track from their upcoming album that they recently dedicated to the Parkland students. And it is political protest to those currently in charge of America, but you’ll be nodding your head to it first and parsing the lyrics second.

Bittersweet—George Glew

relative newcomer George give us a nice ballad about letting go when you don’t want to, with a bit of bounce and some decent lead guitar work.

Do it Like You Do—Kawala

This upbeat, predominantly acoustic track moves along nicely and features some subtle African style guitar inflections despite being a couple of young white lads from Leeds.

Habibi—Tamino

Here’s a darkly haunting song from new artist Tamino. Habibi translates from arabic as “my love”. this is Tamino’s first single.

Strawberry and Cigarettes—Troye Sivan

I’ve been hearing Troye a fair bit in the various new music lists this year, but this is the first one I’ve picked. It’s firmly in the pop category, but the imagery of strawberry and cigarettes kind of caught my attention. This is from the soundtrack of “Love, Simon” a film which I believe is due out soon.

Slippin’—The Magic Gang

This song starts off as a slow burner and makes you wait a bit before building up a head of indie steam. From their self-titled debut album. The guys seem rather unassuming, and it’s not the greatest band name in the world, but the music is pretty good. If you like this you’ll like the rest of the album.

Take It Up—Wilkisnon, Sub Focus

This one just felt good. It’s pretty much a dance track, but it does have a bit of a soul foundation.

Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand—Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges is a young man with an old-school soul approach to music. This one is a ballad from the album “Good thing” which is out early next month.

90 Degrees—Yazmin Lacey

This is a bit of a soul/jazz fusion from Yazmin, who seems to have been self-producing her own groove for the last four or five years. there should be an EP out soon.

Celebration—Larry Carlton

Even if you don’t listen to jazz, anyone who has ever heard Steely Dan’s “Aja” album has heard the tasteful and deceptively easy-going guitar of Larry Carlton, since it was all over most of the album. This track has near enough the same feel to some of that, although it’s an instrumental. God stuff.

Shedding—The Fin.

Some mid-tempo modern Indie/pop from Japanese band the fin. The album is called “There”, and it’s their third.

All Fall Down—Fangclub

Finally getting to some more hard rock, Fangclub are back with a single to support their upcoming tour. they’re still working on material for the album so no release date is set yet.

All I’ve Got To Do Is Forget You—TRASH

OK, I’m confused. These guys allegedly broke up in December and are now releasing a three-song single, the largest number of songs they’ve released in one go. What gives? Is this a marketing ploy? Well, anyway, it’s a pretty decent Indie song.

After Bach:flux Brad Mehldau

And now for something completely different, because we all need to cleanse our palates from time to time. I mainly know Brad Mehldau as a jazz musician, but his latest album, “After Bach”,  obviously leans more towards classical than jazz. This seems to be a solo effort, judging from this track. The man can play.

Need a Little time—Courtney Barnett

Australian Courtney Barnett has her second album coming out mid-May. This is my favorite of the two tracks that have been pre-released so far, a mid-tempo, Indie “taking a break from you” song. Now it would be nice to hear a little something as grab you where it hurts as “Pedestrian at Best” from her first album.

I Know a Place—Muna

There seems to be an epidemic of releases of acoustic version of hit songs by the same artist, but every once in a while something like this comes along that actually adds a new dimension to a track, as opposed to just milking it. So it’s worth a listen.

Freaky Friday—Lil Dicky, Chris Brown

NSFW. I’m not much of a rap fan, but this one was too much fun to ignore. I’m sure we’ve all seen, or are at least familiar with the concept of, the various versions of the Disney movie “Freaky Friday”, in which a mother and daughter exchange and are forced to live each other’s lives. Hilarity ensues. Now apply that to Lil Dicky and Chris Brown. I suppose this could have turned into an earnest track about what it’s like for a white man to suddenly be black and vice versa, and there is a small allusion to that. But mostly it’s about these two guys taking the piss out of each other, as each other. Hilarity ensues. Somehow Ed Sheeran and Kendall Jenner find their way into this before it’s over. that last bit really isn’t safe for the workplace.

 

Here’s another list of floating to the top for me in the way of new music these days, although special mention should go to Paloma Faith for giving us a version of “Make You’re Own Kind of Music” that feels so authentic you’d swear you could look outside your window and see 1960. We also have probably the best James Bay song evah (so far), a song by the Neighbourhood that I almost ignored but got under my skin, another earwigger from Sinai that I like despite the questionable race horse analogy, and…well, it’s all good.

And late. Slipped from Monday to Tuesday and now Wednesday. Going to have to try to get back on track.

 

And so we may get into pockets where I am still screening music, but usually on the run, or while working on other projects, and I may not have a couple of hours to put into writing the liner notes. That is the case this week. But there is still a list of new music for your enjoyment. On at least a few tracks I think there is a spring looking forward to summer vibe with Pale Waves giving us the first proper beach song of the year and the Vaccines sounding a bit like Buddy Holly. Elsewhere Jack White rips it up in a good way and Banfi seems to be channeling Peter Gabriel (maybe that’s just me). Finally we end with a 12 ethereal goddess epic. Enjoy.

 

 

A day later than usual. The snow slows everything down, or at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Anyway, here is this week’s track list.

(Spotify link below)

Make Me Feel—Janelle Monáe

We may no longer have Prince to funk us up with innuendos, but Janelle seems quite capable of stepping up to fill the gap if this track is anything to go by. This is a preview of the concept album “Dirty Computer” due out April 28th, and looking to be one of the albums of the year from what I’ve seen so far.

Word of Mouth—Metroplane, Bree Runway

I love the acapella opening and the chorus hook is pretty good too. A pretty upbeat-sounding, danceable song considering it’s about being cheated on. Metroplane are DJs Aeroplane and Alex Metric, so Bree Runway is only a special guest on this one.

Mr. Tillman—Father John Misty

A sleepy chord progression, slow and subtle pop arrangement and laid back vocal delivery belie this rather amusing vignette about someone who sounds like the hotel guest from hell, sung from the POV of the concierge I assume. I’m sure the fact that Mr. Tillman is Father John’s real last name is just a coincidence. From the album “Pure Comedy”, which sounds like an appropriate description based on this track.  It’s out April 7th

I take American—the Vegan Leather

Here’s a bit of Indie pop rock from a UK band hailing from Paisley that, while I’m not quite sure what it’s about, seems to be a bit of a piss take on how Americans speak. Imagine! (rolls eyes and laughs). With a name like the Vegan Leather they’re bound to be smart arses. The song is pretty catchy though.

Lover Man—Jimi Hendrix

Here is your obligatory Hendrix track for the week. Sorry, but they keep getting better with each single release. Hopefully there will be a few chestnuts left to discover when “Both Sides of the Sky” is released in a few days (March 9th).

 Loveless—the Pale White

You could be forgiven for thinking this is Muse with the mid-tempo heavy rock bounce to this track, but it’s actually a relatively new (couple of years) Newcastle band mining similar musical territory, at least on this new single.

Empty House—Billy Lockett

I admit I’ve not heard of UK singer / songwriter Billy Locket, but apparently he got a fair bit of attention a couple of years ago with his EP “Burn it Down”, where his songwriting was compared to that of Ed Sheeran. “Empty House” feels like a big ballad, musically capturing the sadness of the lyrics and polishing that music with first rate “make it a hit” production. Whether or not it is will probably say more about who we are as a listening public than who Billy is.

Be More Kind—Frank Turner

This is a simple, positive message song that manages to avoid sounding sweet or drippy. It’s delivered in Frank’s rough and ready voice and accompanied by a subtle arrangement that, while containing strings, piano and drums, still comes off sounding primarily acoustic. I’d love to hear this in regular rotation on somebody’s radio station. I still say his voice and songwriting remind me of Billy Bragg, but I could say worse things about a person. This is the title track of the album due out Star Wars Day (May the fourth).

Shadow—Alexandra Burke

Alexandra Burke gives us a bit of old-school, mid-tempo soul that might sound at home on an Amy Winehouse album. I find myself nodding my head to this one. Alexandra won the X-Factor ten years ago and, as is often the course of these things, started fading away a year or two later. Now she’s back with a new record contract (Decca) and her first headline tour since 2010. So this cat is on her second life anyway. The new album is out on the 18th of this month.

 Blinded (Laurent Pepper rework)—Avishai Cohan, Laurent Pepper

Avishai is, uniquely enough, a jazz artist and songwriter. This fine example is taken from last year’s album “1970” and beefed up this year with the help of Laurent Pepper. Whether that will get this song air time remains to be seen, but it is definitely one of the most distinctive things you’ll hear this week. That’s worth listening to I mean.

HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T—fall Out Boy

From the Spotify sessions, this is a semi-acoustic live version of the track from their recent release “Mania” that brings out the accents the Latin feel of the song.

Human Way—Declan J Donovan

Essex singer/songwriter Declan J Donovan is another relative newcomer. This son was written during a bout of anxiety and depression, that was put into perspective by the birth of his nephew. There’s an EP coming later in the year.

Hallelujah (So Low)—Editors

Here’s another band suspected of having a few Muse alums in their collection, who they don’t list as an influence, but they do list R.E.M, Joy Division, Elbow and Echo and the Bunnymen. This is their second release from Violence, which is due out on the 9th.

Mekong Glitter—Insecure Men

Here’s a track that stars out with a “We Will Rock You” Feel that immediately changes into a 60’s psychedelic Brittish pop vibe as the lyrics kick in. But wait, maybe the real news here is that this is about Gary Glitter and his unrepentant misadventures and how people must have known but said nothing. “Why don’t you ever ask why?”  I’m still trying to make up my mind whether I like this or just find it interesting. The eponymously titled debut album is out now if you want to find out for yourself.

Day of the child—Le Galaxie

This Dublin based band plays what I would call electronic Indie-pop—it sounds like pop music, but good luck finding it outside of college radio. So definitely left of center, but easy to listen to as well. This is from “Pleasuer” which I due out April 6th.

 Moonlight—Allman Brown

A quiet, contemplative full-band ballad that has a full-bottomed edge while retaining a chilled-out feel. It kind of works on my solar plexus in a good way. This is a new single on the heels of the 2017 album “1,000 Years”. Hopefully it won’t be as long before the next album.

 Magenta Riddim—DJ Snake

This is essentially a dance track sneaking onto this week’s list, but it’s got this sort of mid-east tribal vibe going on that sets it apart from the usual four-on-the-floor dance tracks. I’d be more likely to dance to something like this at the disco, but maybe that’s just me.

 Need Somebody to Love—Ady Suleiman

Ady Suleiman has a great voice, and the songs are usually sound pleasant and chilled out, but often I just don’t connect for what are probably small but unsettling reasons. However, I find this one works quite well for me. Not the most exciting song of the week, but a nice little track.

Twentytwo—sunflower Bean

This track from the New York band is kind of reminiscent of that jangly guitar-band sound we used to hear a lot in the 80’s from early R.E.M. or, more similarly, 10,000 Maniacs.  Whether it’s a hit for now instead of 30 years ago we’ll have to wait and see. I like it well enough. From the album “Twentytwo in Blue” out later this month.

Don’t You Know I’m in a Band—Confidence Man

Finally, Just so you can say you’ve heard it, here is a track from the aptly titled Confidence Man—the character “singing” the track definitely has confidence, man, and more than a little ego. To paraphrase Chevy Chase, “I’m in a band, and you’re not” At the same time, this seems to be a nod to a con, at least in the form of a one-hit wonder. But maybe I’ll be surprised further on down the road, because if the title wasn’t enough of a hint, with names like Janet Planet and Sugar Bones these folks probably aren’t taking themselves too seriously after all. But have they got an encore track? We’ll find out when their debut album “Confident Music for Confident People” is released April 13th.

 

A good many things feel old school this week, and some actually are. Being a bit pressed for time, the liner notes are a bit incomplete, and I may get back to them as the week progresses. But since the important thing is the music, and it is Monday. Here is this weeks list.

(Spotify Link Below)

Baby I Love You—Ryan Adams

An upbeat, jangly, guitar-based bit of pop-rock to start us off somewhere between 60’s radio and Marshall Crenshaw, which is kind of the same thing.

Formidable Cool (Edit)—Wolf Alice

This band is growing on me with each release. Another fine  indie track from these folks.

Thought Contagion—Muse

This “progressive” Rock band is back with their trademark full-stadium rock sound.

Again—Kehlani

To bring it down a bit, an acoustic number with a bit of a jazz feel and Khehlani’s sweet voice.

Sister (radio Edit)—Tracey Thorn, Corinne Bailey Rae

This sisterhood song has a kick to it. Even though ti’s a mid tempo 4 on the floor, you can still fee the soul.

Blessing Me Again—Snoop Dogg, Rance Allen

Snoops seems to keep going from strength to strength lately with another track that sounds more like 70’s Stevie Wonder than what we generally expect from a rapper, this time in a gospel vein.

Hear My train a Comin’—Jimi Hendrix

Now this is what I’m talking about. The first pre-release track from “Both Sides of the Sky” (out March 9th) was a just about OK version of “Mannish Boy” that sounded like a warm-up number, but this is vintage Hendrix. OK, it’s not the first time we’ve heard a version of this track, but it is an excellent one.

Los Ageless (Spotify Studios)—St. Vincent

OK, so this is technically from an album released last year, but this solo acoustic version makes it sound like a different song, and the vocals are up front so you can hear the lyrics as they deserve to be heard.

Gold—Mauwe

This feel-good love song with the sing-along chorus just felt like it deserved to be on the list.

Nameless, Faceless—Courtney Barnett

There’s a possibility I included this because “Pedestrian at Best” was one of my favorites of the year from her debut a few years ago. This track is fine if not as unique as that one was. This is a preview from the Australian artist’s third album “Tell Me How You really Feel” do out in May.

Wait By the River—Lord Huron

There’s a slow, soulful groove on this that appealed to me. It’s possible I want this to be greater than it is. It’s not a bad track, just a little rough around the edges. I’m waiting to hear what else they can do.

Glimpse of Love—Franz Ferdinand

Ah Franz, guitar dance band that you are, you’re brand of music is as reliable as ever this time around, but some of your lyrics are so inane on “Always Ascending” that they make me cringe. “You’re not that thing that you’re doing”? Maybe if it was fleshed out a bit more, but as is it kind of sounds like a meme. Of course I could probably make this complaint about a lot of bands, but vocals are so often mixed down against the band it’s not always as obvious as on this album. However, on “Glimpse of Love” I finally found a song I can listen to.

This is That—David Byrne

I was so sure the upcoming “American Utopia” was going to sound like a Talking Heads album based on “Everybody’s Coming to My House” and then this dirge came along to confound my expectations. Imagine a Talking Heads album confounding one’s expectations. Oh, wait, hang on a minute…

What do I make of it? I suspect it’s a grower so I will let it do just that.

In the Air—the DMA’s

Have I told You Enough—Moose Blood

Act Naturally—Happy Accidents

Icarus—Dan Owen

Flora My Fawna—DaVido

Calabassas, California, 91302—Albert Hammond

Come On In My Kitchen—Johnny Winter

The Johnny Winter Compilations keep on coming, and why not? Here’s an extended blues number with plenty of slide guitar to play us out for about ten minutes from the album “Remembrance 2” out now.