INDISPENSABLE NEW MUSIC PICKS
Apr 30, 2023
Amelia Baker, aka Cinder Well, bridges the distance between two west coasts -- those of her native California and acopted Ireland -- on her latest album. Irish folkloric elements inhabit the moody songs, with haunting strings from Cormac MacDiarmada of the Dublin-based folk group Lankum. It’s lovely. “Cadence consistently finds the dark places and, rather than bring them to light, finds beauty in them.” (No Depression)
FEATURED TRACK: “Two Heads, Grey Mare”
Midnight Control Sessions: Night 2 EP
The Huntington Beach, CA alt-rock-reggae released the first three planned EPs for 2023, with Night 2 documenting some of the upcoming Midnight Control sessions (thus the title) as well as some remixes and special guests. The lead single (and featured track) is a hip-hop love letter to California, which the group describes as a “flipped Red Hot Chili Peppers hook.”
FEATURED TRACK: “Rescue Me”
Louisiana native JaRon Marshall began playing piano at age 11 and began experimenting with tape loops in middle school. His original plan was to be a music producer, but he slowly drifted toward jazz, performing in clubs throughout college. After moving to Austin, he fell in with a group of artists, including Adrian Quesada who eventually formed Black Pumas. He was there for the group’s meteoric rise but never strayed too far from jazz. He assembled a stellar group of musicians to record his full-length debut “live to tape,” and the energy is inescapable.
FEATURED TRACK: “Water Flows”
Vanished in Transition
Guitarist Daniel Barnett was a member of the award-winning Welsh rock group Samoans. Drummer/producer Andrew Sanders is the proprietor of Cardiff’s Kings Road Studio. Together, they are Ritual Cloak, a duo who explore piano-laden ambient soundscapes with jazz and Indian flavors. The EP features guest collaborators Rob Smith of Wonderbrass, Wylderness’ Harri Rees, and Karl Griffiths of Morning Arcade. The title track wouldn’t be out of place on Bowie’s Low album.
FEATURED TRACK: "Vanished in Transition"
The post-punk band from Malmo, Sweden dropped its third album this month, and it’s a banger. Putting the unplanned break of the pandemic to good use, using the time to break in new guitarist Jacob Olson and crafting songs that are “unashamedly honest, defiantly raw and represents Fews at their bracing, brutal best.” (Tinnitist)
FEATURED TRACK: "Get Out"
Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning “humanity to others” and the founding principle of a philosophy of communal responsibility. South African singer Jonathan Butler celebrates that spirit on his latest record. Butler has been making R&B, jazz, and gospel music from the mid-70s, much of it from exile due to South Africa’s racist system of Apartheid. Here he has worked with local musicians to create a funky and deeply personal record.
FEATURED TRACK: "Ubuntu"
Rose City Band
One of the great things about indie artists is that they take chances, mix genres, and ultimately serve up music that is fun, refreshing or something quite unexpected. So get ready for summer with a record of psychedelic country rock from Rose City Band, “a magical slow burn, a bit of homespun cosmic bliss…” (Psychedelic Baby Magazine)
FEATURED TRACK: "Slow Burn"
Everything Is Going to Be OK
The title is surprisingly optimistic considering the recent turmoil and upheaval experienced by the band. Bassist Nick Blacka suffered the deaths of both his mother and brother within months of each other as pianist Chris Illingworth mourned the passing of his grandmother. Drummer Rob Turner left the group as well. The music naturally reflects some of this dark time, with “unmistakably a more melancholic, bittersweet feel to these songs. “ (All Music) But with tracks like "You're Stronger Than You Think," the trio (with new drummer Jon Scott) are here to assure us that everything really is going to be ok.
FEATURED TRACK: “Everything is Going To Be OK”