There is a distinct anticipating in the air as the artists and the record companies are gearing up for the summer season.
Auckland, NZ’s four-piece, The Beths, has released a new video for “Expert In A Dying Field” from the album of the same name to be released in September.
Singer-songwriter Beth Orton has released “Forever Young,” no not that one, in advance of an August release date.
And, The Black Angels are zooming up our radar with the intoxicating “Firefly.”
But, don’t change the channel just yet. Here are 5 choice nuggets for your listening pleasure.
Beabadoobee – Beatopia
Beabadoobee is Indie DIY singer songwriter Bea Kristi. Famous for theTic Toc hit single, “Coffee,” her sophomore full-length is very much a fully formed affair.
Part Pop, part Psychedelic, there is even a distinct ‘90s Indie Rock feel on “10:36.” With “Talk” a summer anthem for those of a certain age.
This record is as perfect a pairing of singer-songwriter fare and Pop sheen as you will find all year.
Arlo McKinley – This Mess We’re In
Emerging out of the other side of a tough year of personal losses in the last couple of years, Arlo McKinley’s second effort is, more than anything else, about change.
“Dancing Days” mourns the death of his mother, and “Back Home” laments the death of his Beth friend to addiction.
The songwriting is crisp, the vocals front and center in the mix, and the messaging circling around addiction and mental health is perfect for the times.
Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters – Heavy Denim
One of those bands that built their chops on touring with a Grateful Dead-worthy road dog mentality, and if you would be so lucky as to stumble into a bar where they happened to be playing.
The songs presented here, gritty and character-driven, have been stripped down from their usual barroom fare to a more laid-back approach with a flavor of Dire Straits carrying the day.
“Doing Wrong For All The Right Reasons” has a real Sturgill Simpson aura about it, while “… Turned and Walked Away” is a strong vocal turn in the Charley Crockett mold.
Elf Power – Artificial Countrysides
Elf Power, out of Athens Ga., is another of the bands along with Apples (In Stereo) and Neutral Milk Hotel associated with the Elephant 6 collective. With hints of early R.E.M. as well as Vic Chestnutt, a former band collaborator, there is a pastoral cohesiveness to the record that makes for a pleasant listen.
The title track “Artificial Countrysides” would have fit in quite nicely on R.E.M.’s Murmer, and “Dark Rays” could have been on any of the self-titled Peter Gabriel albums.
A nice pastoral listen with hints of progressive rock and British folk to make things a bit more relaxing.
Tami Neilson – Kingmaker
Don’t let the Bond-theme swagger of “Kingmaker” the title track on Tami Neilson’s eclectically pleasing latest release sway your opinion. Shirley Bassey Bombast aside, there is a dangerous curve around every corner on this one. “Careless Woman” has a bit of R&B girl-group gravitas while “Baby, You’re A Gun” would be perfect fare for Kill Bill 3 should Tarrantino ever design to make another one.
The great Willie Nelson is even on board and featured on “Beyond the Stars,” while ’60s mojo in the dojo vibes is essenced on “Mama’s Talkin’.” Things even go lower and slower into Laura Nyro’s territory on “I Can’t Forget.”
If you are scoring at home, this record ticks off many of the cool genre boxes including Classic Country, ’60s Chanteuse, R&B, Rockabilly, Western-Noir, ’70s Rock, and more. Highly eclectic, indeed.