Best of What’s New

A selection of newly released music that caught my attention

Usually, I keep my forays into newly released music to four tunes. This installment includes two more tracks. Why? Easy, ‘coz I can! On a more serious note, unlike other weeks where I feel more challenged to find music that sufficiently speaks to me, I discovered these tracks fairly quickly. And since I couldn’t quite decide on four, I ended up taking all six. Except for the final song, all tunes are included on releases that appeared yesterday (March 19).

Mason Lively/Love Ain’t Done a Damn Thing

Mason Lively is a country/Americana artist from Victoria, Texas. According to his website, he grew up in a country music atmosphere. His appreciation for the genre can be traced back to his childhood. Though he enjoyed and was exposed to many types of music, he would listen to artists like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price to name a few. Growing up, while also being influenced by Blues and Classic Rock, Mason started to take interest and study the songwriting of artists from his home state’s music scene like Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green, Hayes Carll, and many more. As a result, when he started playing guitar at age 14, Mason claims that song-writing “sort of snuck up on him” not long after that. Lively’s debut album Stronger Ties appeared in April 2018. Love Ain’t Done a Damn Thing is a track from his new eponymous sophomore album.

Michigander/Let Down

Jason Singer, performing as Michigander, is a singer-songwriter hailing from Midland, Mich., who has been active since 2014. His artist profile on Apple Music describes Michigander’s music as a rich blend of hook-driven and radio-ready indie rock with electronic flourishes and earnest, big-hearted storytelling that invokes names like Lord Huron and Mumford & Sons. He is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist who spent his formative years building a sonic persona that looked to a wide array of influencers, including Coldplay, Rush, James Taylor, and the White Stripes. After honing his skills playing solo sets, Singer relocated to Kalamazoo in 2014 and began operating under the Michigander moniker. In 2016 he issued the nostalgia-driven single “Nineties,” which garnered over a million online streams. Looking to capitalize on the success of the single, Singer turned his one-man solo project into a fully-fledged rock & roll band and hit the road, sharing bills with contemporaries like Ra Ra Riot, Tokyo Police Club, and Twin Peaks, and released the group’s debut EP, Midland, in 2018. The following year saw the band ink a deal with C3 Records and issue a second EP, Where Do We Go from Here? Well, I suppose the answer is Everything Will Be Ok Eventually, Michigander’s latest EP. Here’s lead single Let Down. I have to say I find this tune quite catchy.

Alice Phoebe Lou/Dusk

South African singer-songwriter Alice Phoebe Lou first entered my radar screen in July 2020, when I covered her then-latest single Touch in a previous Best of What’s New installment. As noted there, Lou grew up on a mountainside in South Africa, attending a local Waldorf school that cultivated her innate love of music and the arts. She made her first visit to Europe at 16, a life-changing journey that first saw her taking her songs to the streets. Lou returned home to finish school but as soon as she was able made her way back to Europe, specifically Berlin. Armed with just her guitar, a small amp, a passel of distinctive original songs, and an utterly intoxicating voice and charm, she soon built a devoted fan following, not just in Berlin but around the world as tourists and passers-by from faraway places were so captivated by her music that they began sharing it amongst friends and social media. Lou self-released her debut EP, Momentum, in 2014, followed two years later by her acclaimed first full-length, Orbit. Dusk, written by Lou, is from her new album Glow. Just like I felt previously, her music falls outside my core wheelhouse but there’s just something about it.

Ringo Starr/Waiting For the Tide to Turn

Just like his ex-Beatles mate Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr kept busy during the pandemic. One of the results is a new EP titled Zoom In. A statement on his website notes it features 5 songs all of which were recorded at Starr’s home studio between April-October 2020...Joining Starr were musicians Nathan East (bass), Steve Lukather (guitar), Bruce Sugar (synth guitar), Benmont Tench (piano), Charlie Bisharat (violin), Jacob Braun (cello), and Jim Cox (string arrangements and synth strings). Dave Grohl, Ben Harper and Jenny Lewis also joined Starr in the home studio, and all contributed to the first single, Here’s To The NightsI previously covered it hereRingo co-wrote “Waiting For The Tide to Turn” with his engineer Bruce Sugar, adding Tony Chen and his extensive reggae roots; “This was something my engineer Bruce Sugar started, but it didn’t have a lot of words, so we wrote it together. I did my version of reggae and what was great was we had Tony Chen, who played with Bob Marley and lives here in LA, come over and play on it. He said, ‘hey Mon, that you on drums mon?’ and I said yes, and he said ‘great drums mon, very reggae!’ and my heart swelled! It was so great coming from him.” Ringo and reggae was something I didn’t expect, but I think it came out pretty well!

Joyce Wrice/Chandler

Joyce Wrice is an R&B and soul artist from Los Angeles. There isn’t any background on her website and Facebook page, so I’m relying on a news story by MTV. Chandler is the opener of Wrice’s debut album Overgrown. The release follows a series of EPs and publishing covers on YouTube for 10 years. Some of her influences include Missy Elliott, Aaliyah and Sade. Apparently, she is also influenced by her Japanese heritage and Buddhism. “One of the things that I’ve learned through my Buddhist practice is to create opportunities within the obstacle or the struggle,” Wrice pointed out to MTV News. “It’s actually helped me to dig deeper and not be swayed by the situation and keep pushing through.” This tune has a cool vibe. I can hear some early ’70s Marvin Gaye in here.

Tigers Jaw/New Detroit

American rock band Tigers Shaw were formed in Scranton, Pa. in 2005. The group was started in high school by Ben Walsh, who played drums at the time, and Adam McIlwee (guitar, vocals). A few months later, they were joined by Brianna Collins (keyboards, vocals). The band released their debut album Belongs to the Dead in October 2006. By the time of their eponymous sophomore album from September 2008, Tigers Shaw had grown to a five-piece and Walsh had switched to guitar and vocals. He and Collins remain part of the current formation that also includes Colin Gorman (bass, rhythm guitar) and Theodore Roberts (drums). According to their Apple Music profile, the band’s music evolved from pop punk to Emo to indie rock. New Detroit is from their sixth studio album I Won’t Care How You Remember Me, which appeared on March 5. I really like how melodic and catchy this song is!

Sources: Wikipedia; Mason Lively website; Apple Music; Ringo Starr website; MTV News; YouTube

14 thoughts on “Best of What’s New”

    1. Ringo Starr ist mir einfach ein sympatischer Mensch, dem der Erfolg nicht zu Kopf gestiegen ist. Als langjaehriger Beatles Fan bin ich happy darueber, dass er mit seinen 80 Jahren immer noch neue Musik herausbringt und nach wie vor die Absicht hat, mit seiner All-Starr Band zu touren, wenngleich er gestern weitere Verschiebungen von Konzerten angekuendigte – darunter auch “meine Show” im New Yorker Beacon Theater, die nun im Juni 2022 stattfinden soll.

      Ein wirklich herausragender Song-Schreiber war Ringo ja nie. Sein Schlagzeugspielen ist technisch gesehen zwar nicht allzu anspruchsvoll, war allerdings zu Zeiten der Beatles sehr innovativ, insbesondere in der Spaetphase.

      Nach meinem Eindruck ist Ringo das geborene Bandmitglied. Irgendwo lass ich einmal den Kommentar eines anderen Musikers, der gesagt haben soll, dass jede Band einen Ringo verdient. Ich denke dies bringt es seht gut auf den Punkt.

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      1. Sehr schön gesagt! Ringo Starr galt als ewiger Prügelknabe. Seine Beitrag zur innovativen Musik und zum surrealen Humor der Beatles wird bis heute unterschätzt. Er selbst hat wenig getan, um sein öffentliches Image aufzubessern. Mir gefällt, dass der 80-jährige, trotz Corona ein neues Album eingespielt hat. Und beim Hören von „Zoom In„ hatte ich das erste Mal das Gefühl, dass Ringo doch singen kann.

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    1. Ringo’s just amazing. I was supposed to see him with his All Starr Band in June at the Beacon Theater in New York. A gig that originally was scheduled for last year has now been pushed back for another year!

      Don’t get me wrong, under the circumstances, I think it was the right thing to do. Now I’m keeping fingers crossed June 2022 is going to work out!

      Fortunately, Ringo still appears to be in great shape.

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      1. I’m totally starved for live music! In fact, it’s been such a long time I saw a big ticket show I literally had to search my own blog: Hall & Oates open air in Allentown, Pa. in September 2019 – great show, for which I have to thank my wife who had brought it to my attention and suggested we get tickets.

        The most recent other live gig I went to literally out of dispair was a free summer concert in the park type event in September 2020, featuring a David Bowie tribute band. In order to feel half way comfortable doing that during COVID I was all the way in back with few other people around me. While the band is really great (I had seen them a couple of times before), my physical position all the way in the back diminished the experience.

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      2. There’s one for which I have a ticket that apparently is still on: Steely Dan and Steve Winwood on July 3 at an open air amphitheater style venue not far from my house.

        Part of me wants that they reschedule. The other part wants that it happens, hoping the situation will sufficiently have improved by then.

        I don’t see myself going to any indoor show until the fall or winter. But being outside with masks is something I can imagine, if the numbers have come down by then.

        I love both of these artists and would hate to miss that gig!

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  1. I had a late night reading Christian. Ringo is something else. I do think he gives the best bang for your buck in concert. You get Ringo of course but also you get all of those other musicians.
    I’m happy to hear he has another album come out. He is really releasing them now with regularity.

    I think since he can record at home and it must be a lot cheaper making something with his friends…that we get more music because of it.

    Lennon would have loved the studio at home and then letting the world hear it. He always wanted to write something and get it out quickly…now he could do that without going to the studio etc…

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  2. I have my own New Music Revue coming up. Happily, I’m hearing some good stuff. May have five or so. But as to these, have to start with Ringo. Who knew the drummer in the Beatles would turn out to rival Paul McCartney in being prolific? (Of course, John and George aren’t here but even then). Good tune. I happened to be thinking of him because the radio played an older catchy tune of his called “La De Da.” I’m not much of a country guy but interestingly I may have enjoyed the Mason Lively tune the most. Joyce Wrice’s vibe is cool but her singing, for me, sounds too much like every pop star on the radio.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jim. I have to say I continue to be encouraged with my “new music discoveries.” As long as you’re willing to invest the time to look and accept your findings won’t be as great as Cream, The Beatles, Hendrix and Zeppelin, to throw out some names of the past, it can be fairly rewarding.

      I also try to stay as open-minded as I can. Joyce Wrice may be a good example. Sure, you can find other artists with similar vocals. What drew me in here was the ’70s Marvin Gaye vibe of her tune. I guess this also shows that while I try to go beyond the past, oftentimes, music from the ’60s and ’70s serves as a reference point.

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      1. Sure. I’ve been doing new music stuff since almost since the beginning of my blog and so I know there’s still good stuff out there to be heard. I’m not entirely convinced that there might not still be another Golden Era out there down the road once people sick of singers who can’t sing or auto-tune. If that happens, it will not another Beatles or Elvis-style catalyst. As to Wrice, the vibe is good but I just don’t care for that baby girl style of singing. Give me the full-throated singers any day.

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