Let’s be honest, some playlists are better than others. While we do our best to always choose the best new music around, we don’t always have the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Jack White to choose from. This latest new tunes playlist features the aforementioned Rock Gods and several others who fall firmly into the not-too-shabby category.
Great music all around with some of our favorite songs of the year to date. Choosing tracks from the wonderful Springsteen and Jack White albums was no easy task, but we have had some time to let the dust settle and choose some winners. Rounding out this, our sixth New Tunes Spotify Playlist are Damien Jurado, Michael Kiwanuka, Delta Spirit, Lee Fields, Justin Townes Earle, Zeus, Dr. John, The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men, M. Ward, Father John Misty, Turnpike Troubadours, and John Fullbright.
Take some time with these jams and let them settle in, there are some good ones for sure!
Don’t have Spotify? Do yourself a favor and download it, it’s free and quite wonderful. Why don’t you follow us while you’re at it?
Our friends over at NPR seem to always have the heads up on new albums and this week is no different. M. Ward’s highly anticipated A Wasteland Companion is due out April 10th, but you can give the whole thing a spin right here. After just one listen it’s clear that this is the Ward we have come to know and love – melodic, grim at times, and always smooth, I’ll be giving this one another spin for sure. As if that wasn’t enough NPR is also streaming Of Monsters and Men’s debut album My Head is An Animal here. Having only heard one of their tunes before I didn’t have a lot of preconceived notions, but this Icelandic band is onto something for sure. With a joyful sound that’s a little bit The Head and the Heart meets Fleet Foxes, this one just might win you over as well. Happy listening.
M. Ward’s new album A Wasteland Companion is out April 10th but we already have two new tunes to get excited about. No awkward adjustments here as “The First Time I Ran Away” and “Primitive Girl” both sound like classic M. Ward. Ward’s trademark smooth-as-silk vocals and plucky guitar along with some well placed oohs and ahhhs make for two very enjoyable tunes. Check both out below.
Have an hour to kill in front of the computer (or internet TV)? Then check out our favorite supergroup, the Monsters of Folk live on Austin City Limits. Jim James, M. Ward and the gang turn in a rock solid 12 song set in the lonestar state capital. Having never before seen MOF’s live show, I was pretty impressed. It is one thing to pull together in the studio, but its really great to see so many talented individuals work so well together as a whole on stage. Watch the video, or just stream it for the sound, either way it’s an hour well spent.
She and Him is the latest participant in a really cool new web series called Pioneer Sessions, where artists cover songs that inspired their sound. Each song comes complete with an in studio video, and a free MP3 download.
In this session Zooey and M. Ward cover the classic “Fools Rush In”, previously recorded by the likes of Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and Rick Nelson. Check out the stripped down session complete with some pretty impressive guitar from M. Ward below.
“Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)”, the lead track from the Monsters of Folk debut album is getting another turn thanks to a new track from Hip Hop group extraordinaire The Roots. The track from The Roots upcoming album, How I Got Over features a seemingly unaltered version of Jim James’ hook over a slowed down beat and a few rather somber verses from MC Black Thought. While James’ vocal is featured, word is that Oberst, Mogis, and M. Ward also contributed to the new track. Check out the track below, in advance of the album which drops 6/22.
Portland, Oregon indie rockers Blitzen Trapper have announced the follow up to 2008′s Furr. The new album Destroyer of the Void, will be released on June 8th, just in time for summer. The album will be released on Sub Pop records and was produced by Mike Coykendall, who has also recently worked with Bright Eyes and M. Ward.
The band has released the first track from the album “Heaven and Earth”, and made it available for free download on their website. The track is a slow, piano tune that doesn’t do much in peaking my interest for the album. But then again with the release months away, we wouldn’t want to much to soon.
The band also released their tour dates for this summer:
03-28 Portland, OR – McMenamins Kennedy School
05-15 Minehead, England – ATP Festival
05-17 London, England – Borderline
05-18 Utrecht, Netherlands – Tivoli
05-19 Antwerp, Belgium – Trix
05-20 Groningen, Netherlands – Vera
06-02 Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory Concert House
06-03 Missoula, MT – The Palace
06-04 Bozeman, MT – The Filling Station
06-06 Fargo, ND – The Aquarium
06-07 Omaha, NE – Slowdown
06-09 Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
06-10 Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo Music Festival
06-13 Charlotte, NC – Casbah at Tremont Music Hall
06-14 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
06-15 Philadelphia, PA – Trocadero Theatre
06-16 New York, NY – Webster Hall
06-18 Lancaster, PA – TBA
06-19 Pittsburgh, PA – Diesel Club
06-20 Cincinnati, OH – TBA
06-21 St. Louis, MO – Off Broadway
06-22 Kansas City, MO – Record Bar
06-24 Aspen, CO – TBA
06-27 Albuquerque, NM – TBA
06-28 Phoenix, AZ – TBA
06-29 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre
07-01-02 Quincy, CA – High Sierra Music Festival
08-01 Montreal, Quebec – Osheaga Festival
We all know the story of She & Him, an impossibly adorable actress with a 50’s throwback vibe (Zooey Deschanel/She) and an indie gentleman with tremendous scene cred (M. Ward/Him) meet, fall in love and create beautiful music together. OK, so maybe I editorialized slightly there since their relationship is strictly business, but seriously we haven’t seen a pairing like this since The Princess Bride went tumbling down the hill after the man in black. Their sophomore effort is met with serious anticipation and high hopes for the once obscure “I never heard of them” indie band gone practically global. Write ups in supermarket magazines such as Entertainment Weekly completely blew their underground status, but don’t be fooled because this twosome has stayed true to the sound that made people fall in love with them on their first album two years ago.
Volume Two starts strong with the two singles released several weeks ago; a lamenting 50’s inspired “Thieves,” and an upbeat singalong “In the Sun.” Then we move along to the it-fits-so-good-you’d-never-know-it-was-a-cover-song “Riding in My Car,” which must have NRBQ scratching their heads as to why this song was never a big success for them. The hits keep coming with “Lingering Still,” “Home” and “Over It Over Again,” that all show the twosome gaining confidence and adding more harmonies than the first album. Some might find all the back up vocals and extra bells and whistles they use this time a bit distracting, but that’s probably because the melodies are so catchy that they don’t seem to need extra flair. The album does slow down a bit with a few forgettable songs like “Me and You,” “Brand New Shoes” and the a cappella “If You Can’t Sleep” (which lives up to it’s name), but in the context of the album they provide a needed rest from the retro inspired pop songs. Zooey’s voice may become a bit TOO sweet at times and using lyrics like “sock it to ya” might send some listeners into sugar shock but it never feels phony so she gets away with it.
All and all a great second effort from a band that started as a small side project and although they were probably feeling the pressure after such a successful first album, they never let you see them sweat. In the end Volume Two mixes Zooey’s uber-sweet vocals and M. Ward’s guitar riffs like a good cocktail and out comes a record that skips along like a summer’s day. So if you’re a She & Him fan, a music lover in search of a return to the retro pop sound of the old days or just someone trying to find an upbeat quirky album to help pass the time I would recommend checking out Volume Two.
With today being the last day of winter, and tomorrow marking the first day of spring, we wanted to pull together a playlist to mark the occasion. Open some windows, turn up the volume, and say goodbye to Old Man Winter. Hopefully the weather will follow our lead. Some songs are old, and some are new, but they are all great tunes for that perfect Spring day.
Great news to start off a monday morning, She and Him’s latest album “Volume 2″ is streaming in it’s entirety on NPR’s website. The album which was posted today, will be available for listening until it’s release date next Tuesday. Well enough chit chat, we are going to get listening! Here is the link, enjoy!
We are hoping for a big year of good music in 2010. With a few great releases already behind us, here’s looking forward to the rest of the year. Some albums on this list are confirmed, recorded, and ready to go, while others are still in the rumor mill. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to start looking forward to some great new music. Here are the albums that we are most eager to check out in the coming year.
Arcade Fire – TBD – May
Win Butler and Co. sold over a million copies with their first two records, can they follow up the success on their as-yet-untitled 2010 album. “Funeral” was great, “Neon Bible” was well, not as great, but we are pretty amped for the next episode.
Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame – 4/6
Dr. Dog is on a roll with back to back great albums, “We all Belong” and “Fate”, will this one follow suit? The band has hinted towards something more upbeat and akin to their live shows. Sounds good to me. The first single from the album, “Shadow People” is streaming for free, and available for The band recently talked with Paste Magazine in detail about the new album.
Drive By Truckers – The Big To Do – 3/16
Their first release for ATO Records (owned by Dave Matthews), and second release since the departure of Jason Isbell. “It’s very much a rock album,” Headman Patterson Hood said. “Very melodic and more rocking than anything we’ve done since disc 2 of Southern Rock Opera.” Two tracks from this album are currently available for free download at the Drive By Truckers Website.
Josh Ritter – So Runs the World Away – 5/4
Josh Ritter’s new album will be released this Spring, and with a little over 3 years since his last album it’s just in time. The first single “Change of Time” seems to be right in line with what we’ve come to love about Ritter and it only makes us hope for Spring that much more. The single is available for a free download on Josh’s website.
The National – TBD – May
If my ipod was a walkmen, The National’s last album “Boxer” would be worn pretty thin. To say I am “looking forward” to their upcoming release is a bit of an understatement as I am pretty much freaking out to hear new material from the best band in NYC. The band discussed the new album last month with Paste Magazine.
Radiohead - TBD
First, guitarist Ed O’Brien told UK Magazine, NME last Fall that a new Radiohead album was in the works, and now comes the report from LA Times writer Jia-Rui Cook that the band recently held a “wrap party” after three weeks recording their new album with Nigel Godrich. Things are shaping up nicely for a 2010 Radiohead album.
She and Him – Volume 2 – 5/23
She & Him is following up their incredibly promising first album with Volume two, out on May 23rd, and the duo say the new record is better, smoother, brighter, darker, and all together more intricate than the first. They have already released the first single “In The Sun” (download free here) and it certainly does whet the appetite.
The Strokes – TBD
While rumors of a new Stroke’s record have surfaced pretty much every year since their last record in 2006, a release actually seems real this time. The band’s website confirmed on 1/31 they will be Headlining the Isle of Wight festival this summer(first gig since 2006), and a new post on 2/1 stated they are in the studio recording. Also, a new video of the strokes in the studio has surfaced on Youtube. Looks like we are in luck for a 2010 release.
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – TBD
Coming off the success of the Documentary/Super Bowl Performance/Live Anthology things are good in Heartbreaker land. The band has been hard at work in their San Fernando Valley warehouse/practice space for what is rumored to be a summer/fall release.
U2 – Songs of Ascent - TBD
Both Bono and The Edge have thrown around with a 2010 album in several interviews over the past month but you never know. Whether it’s leftover material from No Line or something completely new, it’s hard to be sure. The Irish rockers go back on the road in May so we’ll look to see if they have anything new in their arsenal.