Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Under the Radar Heroes Thrill on New Releases

The world is full of artists waiting to be discovered, as well as those worth rediscovering. Australia's The Church, Kansas City blues great Samantha Fish, Canadian icon Bruce Cockburn and Southern California's own The Red Button all have outstanding new audio collections available now.

Artist: The Church
Title: Man Woman Life Death Infinity (Unorthodox)
You might like if you enjoy: The Cure, Interpol
Tell me more: Although Man Woman Life Death Infinity is the 26th album from Australia's the Church, lovers of intelligent alt rock will be happy to hear the band continues to challenge listeners with creative and expansive song craft. There is a dreamy and textured otherworldly sound that ties the disc's 10 songs together; hypnotic rhythms and shimmering guitar textures surround Steve Kilbey's rich baritone. The songs themselves often focus on ideas or themes surrounding water; the affecting "Submarine," lush "Undersea," propulsive "Before the Deluge" and goth-tinged "In Your Fog" invite the listener to join the Church in the depths of this sonic soundscape. And it is a musical journey worth taking to be sure. Information:

Artist: Samantha Fish
Title: Belle of the West (Ruf)
You might like if you enjoy: Samantha Fish, Rhiannon Giddens
Tell me more: A gifted singer, songwriter and lead guitarist, Samantha Fish is releasing her second great album of 2017. Having issued the intoxicating top 10 Billboard Blues LP Chills & Fever back in March 2017, now comes the equally-rousing Belle of the West. This time out, Fish (aided by producer Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars fame) has recorded an album at Zebra Ranch Studios in the North Hills of Mississippi and blended the rich traditions of Delta blues with her own Kansas City roots. The songs are steeped in the region's authentic sounds and includes material that is at times joyful and and elsewhere decidedly introspective. The album kicks off with "American Dream," a breezy song featuring Fish's strong soprano and relatively sparse but propulsive groove locked in with a strong drum pattern. More representative of the traditional Mississippi sound is "Blood in the Water," with Fish's soulful vocals positioned amidst a soundscape of slide guitar and evocative harmonica. The lovely and graceful folk blues of "Need You More," countrified "Cowtown," the gorgeous title track and free wheeling "No Angels" shine elsewhere on this wonderful disc. Information:

Artist: Bruce Cockburn
Title: Bone on Bone (True North)
You might like if you enjoy: Neil Young, Nils Lofgren
Tell me more: Master singer-songwriter-guitarist Bruce Cockburn has returned with the epic "Bone on Bone," his first new full-length album since 2011's "Small Source Of Comfort." Always an artist difficult to pigeonhole, Cockburn's new album finds the 72-year-old Canadian great once exploring roots, folk, blues and more with a master's touch. The gorgeous folk song "Forty Years in the Wilderness" is one of the beautiful songs in his extensive discography. His songs are rich in alluring textures and melodies, and the probing and confessional lyrics challenge in ways that vastly outdistance the cliches and trite observations too common in the digital age. "Cafe Society" somehow brings in the timely topics of refugees, drug use, police violence and dozens of other topics without sounding calculated; the jazz-tinged spoken word heavy "3 Al Purdys," introspective "Looking and Waiting" and instrumental finger style guitar work "Bone on Bone" collectively serve to remind long-time and new fans of Cockburn's brilliant and wide-ranging talents. Information:

Artist: The Red Button
Title: Now It's All This! (Jem Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The. Beatles, Fountains of Wayne
Tell me more: Listening to the wonderful Red Button 33-track retrospective Now It's All This! is to be awed that the musical duo of Seth Swirsky and Mike Ruekberg have written and recorded a slew of songs that fully recall the magic of the Beatles with a unique voice of their own. The rocking "Cruel Girl" and "Can't Let Candy Go" have the energy and feel of Fab Four cuts such as "You Can't Do That" and "I Call Your Name" but have original melodies; the wistful "Floating By" and "Picture" each sound as if Paul McCartney and Burt Bacharach had teamed up in the mid-1960s to pen a few songs together. As if the songs aren't great enough, the musical performances and stellar harmonies further bolster the material across the collection. Now It's All This! contains a new six-song EP and four unplugged rarities in addition to The Red Button's previously-released masterworks (2007's She's About to Cross My Mind and 2011's As Far As Yesterday Goes). Information:

Robert Kinsler

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