We had a suggestion on socials that with all the “Record-of-the-Year!” level praise rolling around for Big Thief’s double album Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You out this week, we should devote the entire show to them. Not a bad idea. But while we love Big Thief and just pressing play would be fun and easy, it would overlook so many other, worthy new songs and albums including tracks from Orion Sun, Portugal the Man, Caroline Polachek, Foals, Wesley Joseph and the Beths.
Nashville “News” and Notes
We hear from Jack White and the brash, pysch-rock title track of the first of two new albums he has coming this year (he also hs two big shows at Ascend). Former Nashville Artist of the Month Briston Maroney is back as a guest vocalist on the new song by Kansas City based band The Greeting Committee. Flipping the script is Nashville-based artist Caroline Spence who brings a “National” guest in on her gorgeous new song “I Know You Know Me.” Caroline will be playing Mercy Lounge in March. Kathleen Edwards comes through with a cover John Lennon’s “Love” for a new EP on the Nashville based Dualtone records with proceeds going to an organization in Edwards’ home country of Canada helping those experiencing homelessness. We debuted Nashville artist Devon Gilfillian new one “What a Time” which is being used in the trailer for the upcoming Apple+ documentary series Lincoln’s Dilemma debuting Feb. 18.
The show begins with a band who may be the most consistent indie rock crew ever. As fans we usually get, at most, 2 or 3 very good or maybe excellent albums over the course of a band’s career, but Spoon has already defied that trend and they’ve done it again with Lucifer on the Sofa. Just scan the reviews – Brooklyn Vegan says Spoon still has “the spark on their 10th album.” The Guardian calls it “timeless perfection” and Rolling Stone says “it might be their best record ever.” We’ll being hearing more this coming week as Spoon celebrates Public Radio and we celebrate them.
On their new single “Good Day” Louisiana’s own Seratones bring positivity in the face of brutality. It’s the first song out from their new album Love and Algorythms coming in April on the Nashville-based New West Records. Front-woman and activist A.J. Haynes says it’s “a protest album” but one built on “the form of protest she’s most interested in at this moment: getting present and sitting through difficult things with abundant joy.”
You know those songs that shift and bend in unexpected ways, fusing seemingly disparate elements but still managing to crystalize into inescapably sticky melodies? Omar Apollo pulled off that trick with help of Daniel Caesar on “Invincible.” It leans into the Frank Ocean/Moses Sumney influences but layers in spaced out sidebars, gut-grabbing bass lines and kinetic break beats. As unpredictable a sonic and lyrical journey as we’ve heard since Remi Wolf.
One of the best narrative songwriters right now Andy Shauf takes us on another trip with “Satan.” Shauf says when he was young, there were times when he wasn’t allowed to celebrate Halloween because the church he grew up in believed the holiday had its roots in “satanic rituals.” He says with this song he was thinking back to that time and “trying to take this cartoon-like simplification of life (and death)” and pair it with “a cartoon-like version” of the devil and hell. Shauf is playing Big Ears in Knoxville in March.
NME PLAYLIST 021122
- Spoon “My Babe”
- Jack White “Fear of the Dawn”
- Seratones “Good Day”
- The Beths “A Real Thing”
- Greeting Committee feat. Briston Maroney “Sort of Stranger”
- Omar Apollo feat. Daniel Caesar “Invincible”
- Foals “2AM”
- Orion Sun “Dirty Dancer”
- Caroline Polachek “Billions”
- Portugal. The Man “What Me Worry?”
- Caroline Spence feat. Matt Berninger “I Know You Know Me”
- Devon Gilfillian “What a Time”
- Andy Shauf “Satan”
- Big Thief “Love Love Love”
- Kathleen Edwards “Love”
- Wesley Joseph “Cold Summer”