Fall Into Tunes 2017

Ordinarily, I would start off my annual Fall Into Tunes edition with something about the changing colours and cooling weather that comes with the autumn season. At the time of this writing though, lawns are still crunchy and golden here in the (supposed) rainforests of Canada. And unfortunately, the smoke of forest fires is still hovering over many parts of the region. It’s like we’re living on an entirely different planet these days, Good People! What’s the weather like where you are? Whatever it is, I hope it suits your state of mind.

No matter where climate change may take us in the future, there will always be music in some form or another. A good tune can sustain us like a gentle rain. Although, I wouldn’t say no to a gentle rain, too. To tide us all over during this fall of 2017, a time that will never be repeated (so enjoy it to its fullest, everyone!), here is a selection of new music to serve as a soundtrack while scratching one’s head about the state of things, or just for the sheer sake of the music itself while pushing all other thoughts aside.

As is our custom down here at the lavish offices of the Delete Bin, tell me your favourites among these gems. And in turn, tell me what new artists you’ve discovered this summer now past who do not appear here.

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Mazzy Star Play “Fade Into You”

Listen to this track by languid Santa Monica lo-fi outfit Mazzy Star. It’s “Fade Into You”, their hit single that features on their 1994 breakthrough album So Tonight That I Might See . This song  remains to be their signature tune, noted for the sleepy, soporific vocal performance by singer Hope Sandoval.

After a decade in the eighties of big glossy production-driven records, a song like this that seems to evoke the spirit of desolate early seventies folk-rock seems like an unlikely formula for success. This approach fit pretty well to the new decade, with a lot of bands then freed up to reference older musical streams after the eighties’ emphasis on hyper-newness and burying the past was over. Even if that’s true, Mazzy Star came by those influences pretty honestly before it was fashionable anyway.

Joining Sandoval in the band was guitarist David Roback, late of Paisley Underground band The Rain Parade and follow-up band Opal, the latter of which Sandoval was also a part. That scene largely ignored (and was ignored by) the mainstream in the eighties, with references to the warm tones of sixties and early seventies psych and folk arenas more so than to the jittery new wave, sparkly dance pop, or bombastic arena rock of the time. So what helped to make this song a sleeper (and sleepy!) hit by the following decade? Just this, I think; everyone loves a mystery.
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Spring For Tunes 2017

After what seemed to be an endless winter this year, Spring is finally here. On the West Coast of Canuckistan, we’re used to bragging about spring flowers in February, posting Facebook pictures to torment our friends and family back east. Goshdarn it, it’s a tradition! Not so this year, though. In fact, it was balmy back east when we were still shoveling sidewalks. Thanks, global climate change!

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Still, even if winter didn’t take the hint that it was time to hit the road as fast as I would have liked, what remains is the music. For every thing, said Pete Seeger (or was it the Bible?), there is a season, turn, turn, turn. And so as if to fall in line with that as the buds on the trees are finally making good on their promises, here is a collection of new tunes just for spring 2017.

Lend an ear and drink in the life-giving splendour of each. And as always, tell me all about your favourites in the comments section, Good People.

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The Essex Green Play “Don’t Know Why (You Stay)”

the Essex Green Cannibal SeaListen to this track by one-time Elephant 6-affiliated power pop psych trio The Essex Green. It’s “Don’t Know Why (You Stay)”, a crackling power pop tune as taken from the band’s third album, 2006’s Cannibal Sea. The group is connected to a web of many indie bands, most notably Guppyboy, once based in Burlington, Vermont. Upon the dissolution of that band, members Jeff Baron, Sasha Bell and Chris Ziter moved to New York to start anew and with a fresh moniker to define them; The Essex Green.

Their sound is clearly based in sixties and seventies jangle pop, power pop, and folk pop. That’s a lot of pop! On this third album and on this song, those influences are apparent, although much more integrated than they are on earlier releases. A big part of this is down to producer Britt Meyers and his more elaborate studio set up and mixing skills. Another part of course is a step up in the songwriting and performance department, as good as the previous album, The Long Goodbye, was. Perhaps this was because the band had recently come off of a big tour by then. It could also be that each member was concurrently involved in making music with other bands (Ladybug Transistor, The Sixth Great Lake) allowing new ideas to flow from one project to another.

Overall, The Essex Green provided an example of what it is to be indie in a post-major label era. In this new paradigm musicians have to be constantly on the move to cover their bases in various side projects, holding down day jobs while honing their craft, and knowing where to find their audience in the absence of big label budgets and in the light of fragmented media. Read more

Noisettes Play “Don’t Give Up”

Noisettes_-_What's_the_Time_Mr._WolfListen to this track by Croydon London three-piece Noisettes. It’s “Don’t Give up”, a single which would eventually appear on their 2007 debut album What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf? .

The band appeared in a new paradigm of pop music when songs had a life on more than one platform simultaneously. This is a good example of that, making it a true 21st century track. The song would also appear in other media as well, most notably on television shows and movie soundtracks, and in video games. It seems to lend itself to alternate media, being a particularly propulsive song, full of frenetic energy that made it a pretty common choice for montage scenes. The one I remember it from was the aborted Bionic Woman series, in a scene wherein (a very, very grim) Jamie Sommers is in training with her new bionic limbs as this song cheers her on. Maybe too that the idea of “don’t give up” is pretty applicable across many different contexts. It fits within the drama, whatever that drama happens to be.

Another thing to which this song connects on a basic level is the idea of struggle and conflict in general, attached to the musical traditions, and their social origins, from which this band draws. Read more

Spring For Tunes 2016

640px-Waterhouse_Hylas_and_the_Nymphs_Manchester_Art_Gallery_1896.15

After a particularly bitter winter on the east coast, and a pretty rainy one here on the west coast of B.C, a sense of renewal is required, whatever the weather. Everyone likes that feeling of moving on to the next phase. And when it coincides with the arrival of a new season, then all the better, right?

Even if you find yourself still entangled in winter’s morass, renewal can still be a thing. Of course (and you knew I was going to get to this) new music helps with that. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how lucky we are living in this age, when so much great music is being made, and being made so readily available. Our playlists are our own. But, perhaps this new list of tunes can help you form your own playlist for a new season, and for a new season and era in your life, too.

Take a listen, Good People.

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New Year New Tunes 2016

winter fairy 2016
(image: Alice Popkorn)

New years and new beginnings. In the dead of winter here in the northern hemisphere, we need that sense of a clean, snow-swept slate. But, I’m not necessarily talking about ambitious resolutions and grand statements of changing one’s ways. If that’s your position and you are committed, I applaud you. Sometimes though, it’s the small and un-Facebookable changes we make that make the most difference, and tend to be the ones that we stick with. The examples of these are many. But, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and talk about your soundtracks for 2016 as you change your life or build upon what’s best about it. What will you be listening to this winter 2016, good people?

To help you answer that question, or at least give you a wider field of play, here is a selection of new sounds from independent artists from across the musical and geographical spectrum for you to consider as you shake off the remaining rags of Yuletide, and don your New Year apparel. Read, listen, and tell me your favourites in the comments section. And perhaps what you change first this new year 2016 is your new favourite artist.

As Billy Shakespeare once said: lend me your ears!

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Fall Into Tunes 2015

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It’s been a dry and hot summer; the hottest on record, ever. On this coast, we’ve spent the summer watching lawns die, and breathing in the smoke of forest fires. As I write this, it’s raining, sending down life-giving waters as a new season dawns; fall. Or autumn. Whichever you prefer.

In any case, like the rains that are currently quenching the thirst of a parched West coast landscape as I write this, it’s new tunes that help to bring life and health to our spirits during a season when the natural world is thinking about turning in for a long night of winter. For that, as usual, the ‘Bin has got your cure right here.

Here are sixteen new songs to let trickle down into your thirsty souls. Read, listen, and as always, let me know your favourites! Read more

June Tunes Digest 2015

Fairy_Rings_and_Toadstools_by_R_Doyle

Summertime. And the livin’ is easy.

Well, I hope it is for you. If it isn’t right now, maybe all you need until things pick up are some new tunes. Well, if that sounds about right, then you’ve come to the right place. And if the livin’ really is easy for you, then – tunes. Same deal, folks!

So, as is our custom here at the ‘Bin, here are a selection of tunes from across the pop music spectrum and from around the world; something here for everyone. Dig in!

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Spring For Tunes 2015

spring fairies

Winter has been hard, Good People. I know. I know. Well, I would if I didn’t live in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Don’t hate me.

The world has been blanketed in white, which was pretty at first. But, it got old real fast.  Some of you have had to tunnel your way to the car, or from it, sometimes using nothing but your ice-crusted mittens to do so. You have suffered that thing when you step into deep snow and it gets in your boots and soaks your socks.

Old Man Winter is a jerk.

Things (hopefully!) are getting green where you are, and a new and lush season of spring has by now sprung in your neck of the desert. If not, then maybe all you need are some new tunes to warm up your world while you wait! Well, as is becoming a custom around here at The ‘Bin, I have just the thing; a list of new songs from acts across the musical spectrum and the world.

New music is like the sunshine and April-ish showers for the soul. Drink it in, Good People!

Take a look! Or more accurately – a listen! Read more