The Shinola | The Courettes, Sun Ra, Jockstrap, Neal Francis & More Mood Elevators

Every day I get hundreds of new singles, videos, EPs and albums from artists, publicists, managers and record labels around the world. And here’s the honest truth: Most of them are crap. You know it. I know it. Even the people pitching me know it, whether or not they’ll admit it. But within that avalanche of mediocrity, I sometimes find nuggets of awesomeness. And I compile them into this all-killer, no-filler rundown. You’re welcome. Let’s get to it:


The Courettes | Tough Like That

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Courettes (singer-guitarist Flavia Couri and drummer Martin Couri), aka the “hardest-working band in showbiz,” are thrilled to be playing their first headline shows in the U.S. this month! Expect excitement, danger, sweat, explosive performances, and most importantly, GREAT tunes! An explosive (husband-and-wife) rock duo from Denmark and Brazil, they’ve been touring nonstop throughout Europe since 2015, bringing their perfect blend of garage-rock, ’60s girl groups, Wall of Sound, surf music and doo-wop to the delight of any audience even remotely interested in rock ’n’ roll. A special North American compilation, Boom! Dynamite (An Introduction To The Fabulous Courettes), is out now, featuring material from the duo’s previously released albums, including the track Tough Like That.”

Sun Ra | Astroblack Orunmilá (ft. Orquestra Afrosinfônica and Jazzmeia Horn) + Nine Rocket For the Planet (ft. Metá Metá and Edgar)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Dive into the eternal cycle symbolized by the Ouroboros, echoing in the rich rhythms of Brazil’s Candomblé. With the Orquestra Afrosinfônica steering our ship, we journey through time, resonating with the tales of Orixás and Sun Ra’s celestial lore. Jazzmeia Horn’s ethereal vocals elevate this classic, guiding us to astral realms. Then Embark on a raucous trip with Meta Meta’s avant-garde trio. With dystopian narratives and electrifying instrumental performances, this piece is a sonic rocket propelling listeners beyond our stratosphere.”

Jockstrap & Taylor Skye | Red Eye (ft. Ian Starr)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Jockstrap & Taylor Skye have announced I<3UQTINVU, a fully remixed version of the Mercury Prize shortlisted 2022 album I Love You Jennifer B. I<3UQTINVU — aka I Love You Cutie, I Envy You — is set for release on Nov. 3, and its lead single Red Eye (feat. Ian Starr) is out now. The remix record is the brainchild of Skye, who was making multiple versions of the album’s original track listing to stay inspired during the writing of I Love You Jennifer B. Skye explains more about I<3UQTINVU, saying, “Some of these remixes are almost three years old and some are only six months old. I made most of them really quickly, in a day or so. It keeps me sane to do this whilst mixing the album. I don’t really remember making them. It’s like eating too much and then throwing up and this is what comes out. It’s a weird feeling but also really fun. I felt very happy making some of this music and live it will be quite the show.”

Neal Francis | Changes, Pts. 1 & 2 (Live)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Changes, Pts. 1 & 2 (Live) previews the Neal Francis live album Francis Comes Alive, out Nov. 3. The album was recorded to tape at a sold-out show at Thalia Hall in Chicago on March 25, 2023.”

John Francis Flynn | Mole In The Ground

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Award-winning singer and multi-instrumentalist John Francis Flynn shares new single Mole In The Ground and its video, alongside news of his new album Look Over The Wall, See The Sky, which will be released Nov. 10. Flynn’s music evolves around traditional and folk material from Ireland, but that is only the starting point. On Mole In The Ground, a cover of an American anti-establishment folk song recorded by Bascom Lamar Lunsford in 1928, John evokes the rebellious energy he felt in his home of Dublin during a time when it was being “torn to shreds by property developers and vulture funds.” As John explains, “I was drawn to this song for its almost hallucinatory, anti-authoritian spirit at a time when Dublin was being torn to shreds by property developers and vulture funds. Nothing much has changed there if I’m honest, but there’s always hope when people are willing to fight for their communities. I wanted to get to grips with the rebellious energy I felt in the city through the jagged arrangement and to highlight the visceral language used in the song by speaking the lyrics as opposed to singing them.”

Gonzales Smith | She’s My Girl

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Jay Gonzalez and Pete Smith are like a modern-day Bacharach/David, if Burt spent his nights tearing it up with one of the best live rock bands in America, and Hal was a writer for Space Ghost Coast to Coast and The Brak Show. Their debut album as Gonzalez Smith, Roll Up A Song, is a seamless fusion of power pop, piano ballads, bossa nova, and pure spun sugar confection. Jay brings the same multi-instrumental compositional skills found on his first three solo albums, and Pete pens lyrics by turns honest, romantic, arch and comedic, sometimes in the same verse. The results are so stellar, it’s a shock to find out that the Drive-By Truckers guitarist/keyboardist and the Adult Swim comedy scribe haven’t been writing together for decades. Arriving Dec. 1, Roll Up A Song transcends eras and genres. It’s a harmonious journey, uniting melodies and lyrics into a timeless masterpiece. Get set to roll up the music, immersing in captivating soundscapes.”

Mildlife | Return To Centaurus

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Widely beloved and critically celebrated award-winning Naarm/Melbourne psychedelic jazz outfit Mildlife return with new single and video Return to Centaurus, the band’s first new material since the release of their lauded, ARIA-winning 2020 album Automatic. Opening with droning synths and a wall of horizontal, Kraftwerk-esque vocoders, Return to Centaurus evolves from psychedelic space rock into a gloriously hook-heavy acid funk meltdown over the course of its 10-minute trip. Luxuriating in loping, velvet-draped bass lines, sparkling, funk-laced guitar riffs and intricate, morphological percussion, it distills Mildlife’s unwavering adoration for the beguiling realms of ’70s psychedelic and cosmic sounds, owing as much to Sun Ra and Alice Coltrane as it does Ennio Morricone and Giorgio Moroder.”

Maiiah & The Angels Of Libra | Kava

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Kava is the latest single from Maiiah’s debut album, which will be released Oct. 20 and which she recorded together with The Angels Of Libra. Accompanied by Carsten “Erobique” Meyer on the organ and in bogaloo party mode, she sings here in Croatian, which not least reflects the longings and feelings for her family roots. The spirited singer grew up as a child of guest workers in Düsseldorf, the city of the legendary Unique Club and label of the same name, which meant that soul left its mark on her early on. Her move to Hamburg and the collaboration with producer Dennis Rux and The Angels Of Libra have now enabled her to realize her first own record, a successful combination of to-the-point arrangements with tight horn sections and the spirit of the golden age of soul music.”

Leyla McCalla | Crown

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Artist and activist Leyla McCalla has released the second in a series of singles which serve as a meditation on the struggle for freedom in our society. McCalla says she felt compelled to record this solo cover of Kendrick Lamar’s Crown due to the power of its recurring refrain “you can’t please everybody.” The song became a mantra as she navigated heartbreak, outrage, grief and hope. “When I first heard Crown from Kendrick Lamar’s 2022 album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, I was gripped by the feeling of the song. It was a pure emotional connection,” McCalla says. The heaviness of the things we carry — sometimes with pride and sometimes with shame — is something that has weighed on my mind these past few years, thriving despite all of the rough terrain. “It was a song that I had on repeat for a while,” McCalla continued. “It pulled me to my guitar and I found that the chords sat comfortably in my fingers. I always wondered how the song would hit, coming from a Black woman’s perspective. I’m grateful that I was able to actualize my dream of recording this stripped-down version of the song with my guitar and layers of bowed cello. Hope it speaks to you and all that you may be carrying.”

Cat Power | She Belongs To Me + Ballad Of A Thin Man (Live at the Royal Albert Hall)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Renowned singer-songwriter Cat Power is set to release her captivating new live album, Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert on Nov. 10. Recorded Nov. 5, 2022 at London’s vaunted Royal Albert Hall, the LP sees the artist otherwise known as Chan Marshall delivering a song-for-song recreation of one of the most fabled and transformative live sets of all time. Held at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in May 1966 — but long known as the “Royal Albert Hall Concert” due to a mislabeled bootleg — the original performance saw Dylan switching from acoustic to electric midway through the show, drawing the ire of folk purists. Cat Power Sings Dylan both lovingly honors Dylan’s imprint on history and brings an enchanting vitality to many of his most revered songs, including She Belongs to Me and Ballad Of A Thin Man, both of which premiere today.”

Pouty | Virgos Need More Love

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Pouty began in 2013 when Rachel Gagliardi and Michelle Zauner (Japanese Breakfast) collaborated on a solo-song-a-day-project. At the time, Gagliardi was one-half of Slutever, whose bratty punk songs continue to captivate new audiences on social media. She later joined Upset, which featured former members of Hole and Vivian Girls. Pouty’s debut EP Take Me to Honey Island came out in 2016, and over the following years, Gagliardi shared a handful of EPs and singles. Now she returns with the single Virgos Need More Love. This power-grunge hit combines all of Pouty’s favorite things — ’90s nostalgia, obsessively singable hooks, and, of course, the zodiac. Gagliardi’s rich soprano rises, then dives and drives the Michelle Williams-inspired track home. Her signature layered vocal harmonies pair with a sickly sweet Sugarcubes-type beat. Pop-punk like this hits when it can speak for roughly a twelfth of us. Yep. Astrology has never been this catchy, this angsty, this Pouty.”

Superchunk | February Punk

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Superchunk are set to release Misfits & Mistakes: Singles, B-sides & Strays 2007–2023 on Oct. 27. Today’s dive into the collection’s 50 songs yields February Punk. A prime cut of “how-have-I-not-heard-this-before?” Superchunk, February Punk was the B-side of Majesty Shredding’s lead single, Digging for Something. No longer bound to that 7-inch’s 1,000 copies, it is now available wherever you listen to music, ready to become your new favorite Superchunk deep cut! “It’s about it never being too late to get into cool stuff,” Mac McCaughan says of February Punk, which was among the first songs Superchunk recorded with co-producer Scott Solter, who “helped us find new space and depth in our sound that we hadn’t had before without losing the energy the songs used to have.”

Eli Paperboy Reed | Do It Again

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Eli Paperboy Reed releases Do It Again, the third single from his forthcoming album Hits And Misses: The Singles, out Oct. 20. A noirish R&B take on Steely Dan’s 1972 hit, Do It Again is among the 11 tracks remastered for this collection of vividly reimagined covers spanning every genre and a trio of originals not on any album and previously only available as 45 rpm singles at the merch table during Reed’s international tours. Of the track, Reed offers, “Sometimes it pays when things don’t work out. From time to time, I get asked to do things for movies, television, and commercials. In this instance, I was asked to put my spin on Steely Dan’s Do It Again. My concept (inspired by the sounds of my friend Nick Waterhouse) came fast. I took my Brooklyn crew into my favorite all-analog studio at the time, Stockholm Street Sound and we got to work. The powers that be, however, didn’t like it. I knew, however, that my friend, the legendary soul DJ of WFMU’s Downtown Soulville, Mr. Finewine, would love it. What I didn’t know was that he would love it so much as to put it out on a 45, a 45 which sold out almost immediately!”

Sharkswimmer | Head Is A Hideout

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With guitar music arguably in its most creatively rich period in at least two decades, bands are at long last reclaiming the sense of identity that made rock such a potent force in the first place. Fittingly, Brooklyn quartet Sharkswimmer have identity in abundance, and their unique brand of introspective, melodic post-hardcore informed alt-rock is a worthy entry into the emerging canon. On their debut LP Serenity, Sharkswimmer call forth the aggressive melodicism of ’90s greats like Planes Mistaken For Stars, the hook-heavy punch of 2010s alt-rock acts such as Basement, and the gritty emotional vulnerability of contemporaries like Fiddlehead for a stunning full-length effort that is dripping with personality.”

Chemtrails | Business Class War Paint

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The post-garage-punk and psychedelic power pop anomaly that is Chemtrails started out as the DIY bedroom recording project of romantic partners Mia Lust and Laura Orlova, evolving into a full band in 2016. After relocating from London to Manchester in 2019, Lust and Orlova joined forces with a ferocious new rhythm section, putting the final piece of the puzzle into place. The Chemtrails machine is now souped up with a turbocharged rhythmic engine, propelling the hook-filled songs to new levels of raw power, as the band sashays between sleazy punk, frantic krautrock and sardonically sassy grooves. Business Class War Paint is the first taste of their their upcoming third album (expected early 2024), which promises to be their boldest yet, as Chemtrails return with a more danceable and rhythm-driven style, armed to the teeth with their trademark fuzzy guitars and playfully sinister melodies.”

Hey Jetman | Michael Burnham

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “This song is about the sibling love between the Star Trek characters Spock and Michael Burnham. Spock is half human, half Vulcan. Vulcans are logical, trying to control their emotions through years of training. Spock has always tried to suppress his human, emotional side in order to be accepted as a full member of Vulcan society. Michael was taken in by Spock’s family after her parents disappeared. She has also tried to control the pain through Vulcan, logical behaviour. But she is encouraged by Spock’s father to live her human side. Spock is always denied this. They resolve this conflict and misunderstanding over time. Also, Michael’s mother is not dead but helps Michael to construct a space/time suit with which she travels back from the future to certain points in time. She saves the people who are destined for the continuity of the universe. Once also herself and Spock, when they are children. And once also when Spock is accused of murder because of false evidence. So she appears as a red angel in glistening light. In the end she saves the universe with the crew of the spaceship Discovery by travelling 900 years into the future. Spock thus has to say goodbye to his newly won sister.”

Moron’s Moron’s | Cadillac Eyes

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Warsaw-based roaring lo-fi garage destroyers.”

Izzy and the Black Trees | Shutdown City

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The bastard child of Patti Smith & Roisin Murphy with a pinch of fuzzzzzz.”

Ndox Electrique | T​ë​dd ak Mame Coumba Lamba ak Mame Coumba Mbang

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Ndox Electrique result from the collaboration between François R. Cambuzat, Gianna Greco (also known for their work with Ifriqiyya Electrique), and the n’doëp community in Senegal. The project originated from the duo’s quest to trace the origins of North African rituals, which led them to the Lebu community in Cap-Vert, an isolated region at Africa’s westernmost point. The album seamlessly blends the duo’s electronically infused avant-rock with the intense, ritualistic vocal chants and rhythmic percussion of the n’doëp ceremony. It serves as a captivating bridge between these two musical worlds, capturing the essence of this cross-cultural collaboration. The text also highlights the challenges of merging Western rock and experimental influences with the sensibilities of their Senegalese collaborators, ultimately resulting in a unique and powerful musical experience. Ndox Electrique transcend cultural boundaries, immersing listeners in the enchanting sounds and mystical narratives of Western Africa.”