North Mississippi Allstars roll on, Kendell Marvell speaks the truth, Big Takeover play shy, Surprises keep ’em coming and more in today’s Roundup. Get your ya-ya’s out:
1 There are few things I look forward to more than a new album from Luther Dickinson and North Mississippi Allstars. Except perhaps a new album from Dickinson and NMA that also features Mavis Staples, Jason Isbell, Cedric Burnside, Duane Betts and Sharde Thomas — as their Oct. 3 release Up and Rolling does. Get in the mood with the laid-back beauty of the title cut and accompanying video, shot at their recording studio compound and in Otha Turner’s driveway. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Up and Rolling is about good times and despite the heat, we genuinely enjoyed ourselves, goofing around, dancing to the tune blasting out of our Ford van. The nighttime dancing in head light shoot ran J.B.’s car battery down but our van’s faithful jumper cables saved the day and we went our separate ways, hot, exhausted, and only beginning to itch.” Scratch it:
2 Whether or not you’ve heard of Kendell Marvel, you’ve probably heard his work. The Nashville singer-songwriter has penned tunes with and for Gary Allan, Brothers Osborne, Jamey Johnson, Jake Owen, Lee Ann Womack, George Strait and Chris Stapleton (including Stapleton’s Grammy-winning Either Way), along with plenty more. On his Oct. 11 album Solid Gold Sounds, he’s doing it for himself — with the help of producer Dan Auerbach of Black Keys. Based on first single Hard Time With the Truth, you’ll want to hear what he’s got in store. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “As a professional songwriter, you have to get on the radio. That’s your job,” he explains. “There came a time when the stuff you had to write to get on the radio, I wasn’t willing to do anymore. I’d done pretty well as a songwriter up until that point, and made a few decisions where I didn’t have to put myself in that position. So I said, ‘I think I’ll make a record.’ ” Sounds good:
3 New York reggae-popsters The Big Takeover hit the fictional airwaves — and adopt an Amy Winehouse-inspired retro-soul vibe — in the kitschy cool video for their latest single Shy. Don’t be … you know. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Fronted by the charismatic Jamaican-born singer/songwriter Nee Nee Rushie, The Big Takeover’s sound is rooted in popular Jamaican music combined with the big hooks and arrangements that recall the spirit of Motown and the modern soul/R&B revival. Rushie has released four albums with The Big Takeover and shared the stage with major recording artists such as The Wailers, Pete Seeger, and Sister Sparrow – all while balancing her career as a first-grade teacher.” Talk about a class act:
4 Brooks Paschal never runs out of surprises. More than two months after the Sullivan singer-guitarist dropped Natural Disasters, the debut album from his solo project Surprises — which was preceded by umpteen singles and videos — he’s still working it with more tracks and clips. Today’s offering: The new horror-inspired vid for the emo-rocker I Can’t See You Em. Hide behind the couch and peek through your fingers. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “My main objective was to capture the inescapability of anxiety. I knew that I didn’t want to make a traditional music video in that the performance had to be part of the landscape. I wanted the viewer/listener to feel that I was trapped in whatever space I was in. I had the idea of using the old footage while watching Kingdom of the Spiders. There was something that was authentic and completely unrepeatable about it.” Scary, kids:
5 Some bands are not afraid to ask the important questions. Like darkly hypnotic Icelandic post-punks Kælan Mikla. To promote their upcoming tour dates, they just dropped a live video that dares to ask something that’s been on all our minds: Hvernig kemst ég upp? Hvernig, indeed? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “From Reykjavik, Kælan Mikla is a uniquely thrilling band on the rise, marrying raw punk aggression, thumping beats, and a dark, fairy-tale vision specific to its native Iceland. Third album Nótt eftir nótt was released in 2018 on Artoffact Records, to wide acclaim.” Eg upp or get out:
6 Some artists can’t see the forest for the trees. Alberta singer-songwriter Bobby Tenderloin and his Universe do not have that problem in the twisted video for their alt-country single Sandpaper One Side, Rubber on the Other. But Tenderloin does have plenty of other concerns. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “There is a resurgence happening; a remembrance, a reawakening that will see old structures and paradigms crumble. Sandpaper One Side, Rubber on the Other is my contribution – an ode if you will – to the complete and total transformation of what it means to be a man. The song breathes life into the ever-expanding expression of modern masculinity.” You’re the puppet:
7 A hammock, a harp, a red leather jacket and some thigh-high boots. What more do you need for a video? Except maybe a song as hooky as Touch, the latest single from 17-year-old New York indie-rocker and vocal powerhouse Alex McArtor. Check out her EP Spoken Word for more of the same. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Touch is about being alone in your own head and in a big city. It’s a deeply personal song filled with angst and self-reflection. I wanted to create a video that conveyed those things in an edgy, urban environment like Brooklyn & NYC.” No singing in the car!
8 Who among us has not yearned to go shirtless in the forest while wearing a raven-head mask and bowing a fiddle? North Carolina duo Violet Bell — Lizzy Ross and Omar Ruiz-Lopez — understand your fantasies. And they make them a reality in the woodsy video for their enchanting and rustic folk number Howl, from their Oct. 11 debut album Honey in My Heart. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Howl is a song for anyone who’s been told who they have to be and how to live their lives based on the body they were born into. Yes, it’s about our mothers, but more so it’s about humans being allowed to be who they are regardless of gender, orientation, color, and dis/ability.” How sweet it is:
9 Some people think strength is measured by how much you can lift. But Peterborough singer-songwriter Evangeline Gentle knows it’s really about how much you can tolerate without losing your humanity and soul — as she explains beautifully in the achingly powerful ballad The Strongest People Have Tender Hearts, the latest preview of her self-titled Sept. 13 album. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The Strongest People Have Tender Hearts reflects on the time the #MeToo movement was taking off. “I mustered up every drop of compassion I could find and wrote that song to honour the ridiculous amount of strength it takes to stay soft in a world that can harden you with a single headline,” says Gentle.” One from the heart:
10 Near as I can tell, California’s East Bay is some sort of sanctuary for ska-punk. So as soon as I heard the herky-jerk rhythms, scratchy guitars and ragged vocals of Horizontal Aggression, the first single from up-and-coming outfit Omnigone’s Sept. 13 album No Faith, I could guess where they hailed from. But I couldn’t have guessed how much I would enjoy the track. If you’re a Rancid fan, I suspect your reaction will be roughly the same. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Omnigone pick up where Link 80 left off by combining elements of ska, punk, and hardcore that feels quite refreshing in the current state of underground music. It’s like rekindling a friendship with an old friend.” Or at least an old sound:
11 If you can resist listening to a song called Weed It and Weep — from an album titled Bongs of Praise by a band named Gurt — well, you have way better willpower than I do. And it’s your loss, based on the flamethrower vocals and punishingly groovy grind of the U.K. sludge hellraisers’ cut. Behold their might, savour their magnificence and fear their wrath. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The drums are thunderous, the vocals demonic and the guitars down-tuned, down-tempo and down right sexy. This is not doom, this is not sludge: this is Gurt.” You cannot possibly play this loud enough:
12 Over the past couple of decades, New York singer-guitarist Vinnie Caruana has fronted bands like The Movielife, I Am the Avalanche and Peace’d Out. All of which justifies the unflinchingly honest title of his Oct. 4 solo EP: Aging Frontman. And the sincerity he brings to the emotional single Better. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Better is speaking to my friends, my family, my wife, the people that come to see me sing. In the end, when I have no more breath, have I brought joy? Have a made you proud? I’ve made so many mistakes in my life. We all have. I want to be doing everything right until I die, to begin to make up for the wrongs. I want to continue to grow and be there for you.” Older and wiser:
13 We can all use a little help from time to time. Including Fastball. For their upcoming seventh album The Help Machine — out Oct. 18 — the Austin trio best known for the hit single The Way not only enlisted Los Lobos member and veteran producer Steve Berlin behind the glass, but also welcomed contributions from Charlie Sexton and members of Wye Oak and Band of Heathens. Hear the way they roll these days on their disc’s endearing title cut. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “In the past, we’d make a record and then everybody would go their separate ways for awhile,” says Fastball’s Miles Zuniga. “But now, we’re feeling so excited about the music that it’s ‘How soon can we make another record?’ We’re feeling a sense of urgency about the music that’s really refreshing.” Welcome to the machine:
14 You can love your partner. You can love your job. You can love your dog. You can love your life. But first you have to love yourself, as Chicago rapper Matt Muse makes supremely clear in his hooky, flowing single Myself, the latest peek at his Aug. 9 EP Love and Nappyness. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Myself acknowledges that, underneath the machismo, there is pessimism and self-doubt. “If I spend more time intentionally loving myself and acknowledging my flaws, I will be more equipped to love a partner and all others,” explains Matt.” Gotta love it:
15 “Art shouldn’t be explained,” begins the email that German folk-popsters Scotch & Water sent along with their new song Moving On. Well, if you say so. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “We were inspired by moving on in life and how letting go of people + habits is super difficult.” Oh, but it’s OK for YOU to explain it?