Best of What’s New

A selection of newly released music that caught my attention

My latest exploration of newly released music includes songs from rock veterans Pretenders and three other artists most readers likely don’t know. Highlighting work from the latter really is what mostly inspired me to introduce this recurring feature six weeks ago, since it’s fair to say the blog mostly focuses on prominent acts. Let’s get to it!

Pretenders/You Can’t Hurt a Fool

Initially, the 11th studio album by the Pretenders was scheduled to be released yesterday, May 1. Because of COVID-19, Hate for Sale (gee, what a cheerful title!) is now slated for July 17. Interestingly, if I see this correctly, their 5-month North American tour with Journey has not been postponed yet and is still scheduled to kick off in Ridgefield, Wash. on May 15. Remember, that’s the one of the first states that became a hotspot for the coronavirus when it wrecked havoc at the local nursing home? Hate for Sale is the Pretenders’ first new album as a band since Break Up the Concrete from October 2008. In October 2016, Chrissie Hynde released the aptly titled Alone under the Pretenders name, but it only featured her with different backing musicians. In addition to Hynde (guitar, vocals), the Pretenders’ current line-up includes co-founding member Martin Chambers (drums), as well as Carwyn Ellis (keyboards), James Walbourne (guitar) and Nick Wilkinson (bass), who all joined sometime after 2000. Released on April 14, You Can’t Hurt a Fool is the third and most recent single from the album. Like all other tunes on Hate for Sale, the ballad was co-written by Hynde and Walbourne.

Robert Francis/Amaretto

Robert Francis is a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles in the indie folk and Americana arena. He released his debut album One by One at age 19 in August 2007. Junebug, the lead single for his sophomore Before Nightfall from October 2009, became successful in Europe, topping the French charts and also charting in various other European countries. Amaretto, Francis’ eighth album, came out yesterday. It features notable guests: Ry Cooder, Marty Stuart and Terry Evans who since passed away. This means that at least some of songs must have been recorded as ealy as 2017, since Evans died in January 2018. Here’s the title track. If you dig Americana, I’d encourage you to check out this tune and the entire album.

Sawyer Fredericks/Flowers For You

In February 2015, Sawyer Fredericks, a soft-spoken 16-year-old teenager from Newtown, Conn., became the youngest winner of The Voice at the time. Meanwhile, that record was broken by a 15-year-old female vocalist in February 2018. Since I dig good vocals, I was watching the TV singing competition frequently back then. About a year or two ago, I stopped since I felt everything had become too predicatble. Unlike American Idol, which sparked the careers of some big-selling artists, such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Adam Lambert, most winners of The Voice haven’t accomplished real breakthroughs. As such, I’m particularly happy to see a previous winner who went on to become a recording artist. Since The Voice, Fredericks has released an EP and four albums, including his latest Flowers For You, which appeared yesterday. The now 21-year-old singer-songwriter definitely has something. Not only is Fredericks a pretty talented musician, but his voice is quite unique, varying from a deeper raspy sound to a very high range. And the young artist writes pretty good songs. Here’s the bluesy title track from the new album.

Resurrextion/Hold On

Resurrextion are a New Jersey jam rock band I follow. Full disclosure: I’m also friends with these guys, but that’s not the reason why I feature them – in fact, they have no idea (yet) that I do. Resurrextion were initially founded in Jersey City in 2006 and started out as a cover band. After beginning to work on own material, they released their studio debut Comin’ Home in 2013. As the band gained more visibility and opened for national acts like Dickey BettsFoghatPoco and Blues Traveler, music increasingly started to interfere with their day jobs and families, so they decided to take a break. In 2018, they reunited and have since performed at many Jersey venues in Asbury Park and beyond. Resurrextion mostly remain a jam rock cover band but also play their own songs – and evidently work on new material. The current lineup includes Phil Ippolito (lead vocals, keyboards),  Joey Herr (guitar, vocals), Billy Gutch (guitar, vocals), Lou Perillo (bass, vocals) and Johnny Burke (drums, vocals). Hold On is a mid-tempo rock tune the band released last month, while laudably practicing social distancing. Each member recorded their part at their respective homes. Thanks to technology, I think everything came nicely together!

Sources: Wikipedia; Resurrextion Facebook page; YouTube

29 thoughts on “Best of What’s New”

      1. WordPress has an embed code for a Facebook video? I routinely use shortcode for YouTube. I’ve never seen another blog that has a Facebook plugin. What is the shortcode? Maybe it doesn’t show up in the Reader?

        I know you can hook your site up to FB to do a simul-post. I’ve just never seen a FB video imbed, before.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What do you use? I use a variety. I learned, as a web programmer, that sites ALWAYS render differently in different browsers.

        So, did you upload the FB video or did you use an embed code?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Gotcha! Cool.

        Yeah. I don’t mess with Chrome. I wouldn’t have it on any of my computers. I HAVE to have it on my Android phone…or it won’t work properly but, I don’t use it. And, I’ve done my level best to shut off everything GOOGLE…that I can…no tracking, no cloud, no drive…narrow location service…

        I can see the FB video in Pale Moon & Waterfox but not Firefox or Brave. Interesting…

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I like Resurrextion… very good feel…loose and not mechanical like some others today. I never watch those shows but Sawyer Fredericks sounds really good.

    The Pretenders I’m always happy to hear from. I’ve been listening to them recently after seeing them on the Kampuchea video. I’m glad some of these older artists are still doing the albums.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree with you on all fronts! Always nice seeing some of the older artists coming out with new music. The three tunes that are already available from the new Pretenders album sound promising.

      After I essentially had given up on contemporary music as recently as last year, I also find it reassuring to see there’re still some young artists out there, who don’t play the kind of generic and soulless music that dominates the charts these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Souless is a perfect description. Some of them make the Partridge Family sound like James Brown.
        It’s promising to hear new guitar based stuff…played by young people

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It really sounds like you and I are on the same wavelength!

        I’m a huge fan of real instruments played by real musicians, instead of music that’s essentially all computer-generated!

        I also dig great vocals and harmony singing. In part, I guess this explains why I like The Beatles as much as I do!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The very same wavelength. You described me also.

        I remember even in the eighties when I was a teen…I just didn’t like some of the fake drum sounds…so to hear these new artists playing real instruments…it’s promising. The future looks in good hands.

        When John and Paul would sing harmony it was like an added voice.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good selections. Boy, Chrissie Hynde sounds as good as ever. Who knew The Pretenders were still even active? I like everything here, my favorite (outside of the Pretenders) being the Voice guy. I used to be a big American Idol fan back when it was first on. I used to even record it and watch it later. So I saw all those early contestants and winners. It’s amazing to see the kind of success Clarkson and Underwood have had. Then I just got saturated with reality TV and lost interest entirely. I’ve never watched The Voice. Wonder why nobody’s broken out from that. What’s the point?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is indeed a big puzzling that after 18 seasons, The Voice does not appear to have produced an artist who enjoyed broader success following their win. I’ve seen pretty compelling contestants on that program, so I doubt lack of talent is a primary reason. While I don’t know, I could see a number of other factors:

      – Kelly Clarkson an Carrie Underwood won in 2002 and 2005, respectively. The Voice premiered in 2012. While I’m not saying it was easier for Clarkson and Underwood, I think if anything, it’s gotten only harder for unknown/first-time recording artists to break through, given all the changes in the music business.

      – Idol appeared to have had a larger viewership than The Voice, based on seasonal audience numbers Wikipedia mentions

      – Ultimately, success also depends on what kind of record deal the winner gets and to what extent the record company is promoting the artist. Maybe Idol has done a better job to line up their winners with the “right record companies.”

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      1. Sorry. To continue… I hadn’t been following Voice at all and so somewhat assumed someone had broken out. Idol has a couple others who have done ok like Daughtry and Adam Lambert who has done very well indeed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s true, forgot about Lambert. Didn’t know Daughtry had any affiliation with Idol.

        Strangely, I never watched Idol. Not sure why, frankly.

        I think I watched The Voice from sometime in 2012 until one or two years ago.

        In general, I’ve never been a fan of reality TV shows. I guess The Voice attracted me because I like vocals.

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      3. The interesting thing about Idol is that sometimes the also-rans did better than the winners. Daughtry didn’t win but has done well. He’ll, Lambert didn’t even win. Nostalgia time here for me. I’d forgotten how much I was into Idol in its early days. That might have been as much to hear what kind of shit Cowell might say or listening to him fight with Randy Jackson.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The “fights” between the coaches was also part of the reason why I watched The Voice as long as I did. The problem is it all became very predictable, even though they rotated some of their coaches fairly frequently and also changed some of the rules.

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      5. Yes, reality TV is not very real. We used to love Survivor but they learned how to make it into good guys and bad guys and edit accordingly. My wife still watches stuff like Project Runway and cooking shows where people compete. They’re all the same and they’re all a drag.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yeah, it’s all staged reality. I think I watched one episode of “Survivor” together with my wife.

        Shamefully, I also did the same with “The Apprentice” and frankly founded guy who fired people ridiculous. If he could just all do us a favor and fire himself now, that would be beautiful. I’d even be willing to watch another episode of his third-rate show in exchange!

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      7. Oddly, while I’ve never liked Mr. Apprentice guy, we found that show entertaining. I wish he had stayed on it. Now he’s doing to America what he did to his businesses – totally fucking it up.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Usually, I don’t discuss politics. Sadly, this isn’t even about politics, but an utterly incompetent individual who is a pathological liar and seeks constant admiration from others.

        Frankly, I never thought I would see something like this in America. I’m afraid the bar has been lowered forever. But enough of it!

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      9. Yes, as if we don’t have enough problems. We’ve tried to get rid if him every other way, all we have left is the ballot box.

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      10. BTW, Trump couldn’t be where he is without enablers. 63 million people voted for him and if the polls are correct, 90% of those still would. He has a right-wing media that support him no matter what he does as they have their own interests. He has supporters who will take his Twitter cues and create bogus protests. He has a craven Senate that should have removed him from office but did not. And despite all this, he could conceivably get re-elected. So it’s not just him that’s sick – it’s America. We are not what we were and may never be again.

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