Well folks, it’s that time again. 15 new tunes that have been spinning in our lives for the last few weeks, neatly compiled into a nice Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.
In this the latest edition of the MOR New Tunes series, we are featuring some great new tunes from all across the spectrum of Rock and Roll. As always, they are streaming free in the Spotify player below.
Don’t have Spotify? Do yourself a favor and download it, it’s free and quite wonderful. If you like the music, please go out and by it and support the artists, I hear those Spotify royalties aren’t putting much food on the table.
Laura Marling will release her new album Once I Was An Eagle on May 28th in the US and from the sounds of things it’ll be a good one. Marling’s first official single “Where Can I Go?” can be heard below plus you can watch a live performance of fellow new track “Pray For Me” that was previewed last year for WNYC.
Low has been teasing songs for their new album The Invisible Way due out March 19th, but the newest release “So Blue” really caught my attention and not just because it was produced by Jeff Tweedy. The song’s slow build and pounding piano along with Mimi Parker’s vocal make from one stunning track. Check it out below.
If you are even a casual fan of My Morning Jacket or the band’s enigmatic frontman Jim James then you have probably already read the many articles describing James’ inspiration for his new the album, the parallels his life made to the 1929 graphic novel God’s Man and his deep love for the ever charismatic Bruce Springsteen. A simple google search will bring up plenty of that information so we’ll skip the background and go straight to the main event, Regions of Light and Sound of God. James’ first official solo album is a testament to his creativity and ability to write beautiful songs that somehow push the boundaries of popular music but remain likable at first listen. Combining highly danceable back beats with soulful instrumentation and James’ trademark vocals Regions is everything you would expect from the frontman of My Morning Jacket without actually sounding like a Jacket album. Notoriously eccentric yet accessible James seems to be coming into his own these days and Regions is a perfect example of this new shift in positive energy and complete confidence; an artist who is firing on all cylinders and making timeless music at every turn.
James’ love for experimenting with production shines through with tracks like “Know Til Now and “State of the Art,” yet he takes a more straight forward approach with songs like “Of The Mother Again” that is all stripped down sweetness. Clocking in under 35 minutes and just 9 songs in length the album is far too short for my tastes, but when one of those songs is as beautiful as “A New Life” I am willing to forgive and forget. The only slightly weak moment on the album comes at the very end with the final two songs. “All Is Forgiven” and “God’s Love to Deliver,” may have lyrics that dig deep and resonate days after, but their melodies never really live up to the bar set by the rest of the album. That being said, repeat listens (like the 50+ I have now given the album) soften this opinion and you become accustomed to their sad tones and off-kilter instrumentals.
Regions of Light and Sound of God was recorded over a 2 and a half year period whenever James had time off from MMJ, but has ended up as something much more than a simple distraction from boredom. The album as a whole tells a complete story and the music feels incredibly fresh and original yet familiar. James is solidifying himself as one of today’s most prolific and talented songwriters who is constantly reinventing the mold but managing to stay relatable. James is the type of unexpected songwriter that always leaves you wanting more and with my Morning Jacket returning to the studio this summer I’m anxious to see what’s next.
Having caught Kurt Vile live a few years back I was instantly drawn to his moody vocals and catchy melodies. I immediately dove into his back catalog and as a fan of his last album Smoke Ring for My Halo, I was anxious to hear the new single, which did not disappoint. Perfectly titled “Wakin’ On a Pretty Day” the new tune is airy and meandering at 9+minutes with the kind of guitar work and vocal softness you have come to love from Vile. Get in the mood for Spring with the new tune below.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden has been churning out tunes since the 90’s and his newest effort, Us Alone, is due out on February 5th. While you wait, enjoy the stripped down sounds of his new single “Rainy Saturday” below.
Floating Action’s sound has been called everything from dreamy reggae to sun drenched cali pop, to classic soul to indie rock, but the one thing we know for sure is that Seth Kauffman has certainly created something original with Fake Blood. Kauffman is the brains behind the rather successful music experiment known as Floating Action, which Kauffman himself describes as “lo-fi Carolina funk,” (I’m pretty sure that’s a new genre). Kauffman has become known as the man with all the right friends, Jim James, Band of Horses and Dr. Dog to name a few, but maybe he’s just the man with the right sound.
Kauffman is all about making honest true music that speaks volumes, something that makes you stop in your tracks and take notice. In fact, his song “Seized” off the new album speaks directly that that phenomenon, of feeling, witnessing or hearing something that takes hold of you, literally seizes you. Like the title of the album infers Kauffman is not interested in creating fleeting music that can be easily digested and then quickly disposed of. Fake Blood refers to the frustration behind bands creating something that is easily promoted and digestible by the masses, but is in the end nothing more than a soulless imitation of the real thing. Kauffman is interested in real blood, the stuff that creeps up on you slow and seeps into your sub conscience but stays for the long haul.
A seemingly equal mix of Buddha’s gentle wisdom and Kurt Vonnegut’s satire Kauffman writes about everything from touring the country to child abuse, but is mainly interested in just creating something honest and fearless. Fake Blood is one of the more original and interesting albums to emerge this year – there is real passion behind Kauffman’s strange music and it shows.
It seems like forever since we last heard from Josh Ritter and his not-so-newly-minted Royal City Band. Coming almost three years after the sweeping grandeur that was So Runs The World Away, comes The Beast in It’s Tracks, the latest full length due in stores 3/5/13. In addition to a little down home album teaser, Josh has released the album’s first single “Joy To You Baby”, streaming in the player below.
It’s a beautiful little tune of a detached, and admittedly heartbroken narrator doing his best to keep things moving on . Written and recorded in the months following Ritter’s divorce, surely the album’s press will garner it’s fare share of Blood on the Tracks references. To me, this sounds like a return to the simple, stark production I always loved in Ritter’s early albums.
It’s always great to see one of your favorite songwriters come out of the box with such strong material following a long absence, here’s to 10 or 11 more great tracks this spring.
When Jim James announced his solo album, as a My Morning Jacket fan I had mixed emotions. Would this solo venture take away from the MMJ I know and love? Does this mean the band will stop touring? What if it creates a riff where the other band mates feel left out and it ripples into a “Stillwater Effect” where the band eventually dissolves? (Obligatory Cameron Crowe daily reference fulfilled). Then I heard the first single and understood. “Know Til Now” is not the type of song that could come from My Morning Jacket, this could only come from Jim James and although James’s trademark vocal is there, this is a new and exciting direction for someone who is already such a big fan of what he does. With a combination of sonic textures, R&B instrumentals and dance-like beats “Know Til Now” creates a whole new musical world to explore. Psychedelic and groovy all at the same time, you don’t know if you should dance or sit absolutely still and let the sound wash over you. The more I listen to this single the more I can’t wait to hear the entire statement, and by the title, Regions of Light and Sound of God, it seems we are all in for some mind blowing material.
The Walkmen released their new album Heaven not too long ago, but that won’t stop them from hooking up fans with two new tunes to enjoy. “Dance With Your Partner” and “Vermeer ’65” were recorded at the time of the album and would have fit in seamlessly with the other 13 tracks, but for some reason did not make the final cut. Check out the songs below and pick up the very limited edition 7″ on The Walkmen’s tour this fall.
Jeff Lynne may have been in hiding for awhile, but it looks like he’s back with avengence. Although Lynne has mainly been a producer in recent years he has some good news for all his patient Electric Light Orchestra fans out there. Apparently Lynne has be remastering ELO’s greatest hits in his spare time and he liked the way the tunes were turning out so much that he decided to rerelease Mr. Blue Sky, which is good news for anyone with ears and good taste. You can get the newly remastered album on October 9th, along with a covers collection entitled Long Wave, featuring “Mercy, Mercy” which you can enjoy below. As if this wasn’t enough, next year Lynne will also be releasing a concert recording, ELO Live!, expanded reissues of Zoom and Armchair Theater, AND a new solo album with all new material. Looks like 2013 is going to be the year of Lynne! Check out the video below and go here for the whole Rolling Stone article.
Today, a little more than 50 years after the start of his recording career Bob Dylan released “Duquesne Whistle,” the first track from his LP #36, Tempest. Penned with Robert Hunter of Grateful Dead fame the new tune finds Dylan alive and well and more than whets the whistle for the upcoming album. Fans of Dylan’s late career renaissance should find this one right in the wheelhouse, building on a wonderful arc that started with 1998s Time Out of Mind.
As for me, I listened to the new track on loop for an hour and I love it. As far as I am concerned, what is now going on a 15 year encore for Dylan couldn’t be scripted any better – and this jam fits right in. I can’t wait to drop the needle on what will undoubtedly be an immaculately pressed chunk of vinyl in just a few weeks time.
Click here to hear the new tune via NPR. Tempest drops on 9/11 via Columbia Records.