Best of What’s New

A selection of newly released music that caught my attention

It’s Saturday and as such time to take another look at new music. In most cases, Best of What’s New features artists who are new to me. This week’s installment is a bit different, including two relatively young acts and two artists who have been around for more than 45 years. Let’s get to it!

Jackson Browne/Still Looking For Something

I’d like to kick things off with Jackson Browne, one of my favorite American singer-songwriters. If I recall it correctly, Browne entered my radar screen ca. 1980, when I first listened to Running on Empty, his fifth studio record from December 1977. I love it to this day, and it remains Browne’s album I’m best familiar with. He has since released 10 additional studio albums including his latest, Downhill From Everywhere. It appeared yesterday (July 23) and is his first new album in nearly seven years. While I haven’t had sufficient time to explore the ten tracks in greater detail, based on sampling a few tunes, I like what I’m hearing so far. Vocally, Browne still pretty much sounds like on Running On Empty, which is remarkable. Back then, he was 29 years old. He’s turning 73 this October. Here’s the opener, Still Looking For Something, one of four tracks that were solely written by Browne.

David Crosby/Ships in the Night

I trust David Crosby doesn’t need much of an introduction. He’s best known as co-founder of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash. In February 1971, Crosby released his debut solo album If I Could Only Remember My Name. Only two additional solo records followed until 1993. Since his fourth studio album Croz from January 2014, Crosby has substantially increased the pace of his solo releases. Four albums have since appeared including his new one titled For Free, which also came out yesterday. Similar to Jackson Browne, I’ve yet to more closely explore Crosby’s latest work. Fellow blogger Music Enthusiast featured one of the tracks, Rodriguez For a Night, in a recent post dedicated to Crosby. Written together with Donald Fagen and Crosby’s son James Raymond, the tune has a cool Steely Dan vibe. As American Songwriter notes in this review, Crosby doesn’t play any guitar on the album and instead sticks to singing. Here’s another song I like from the album: Ships in the Night. Check it out!

Ida Mae/Click Click Domino

Ida Mae are a British alternative folk and blues rock husband-and-wife duo from Norfolk, England, featuring Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean. Here’s an excerpt from their Apple Music profile. Delivering romantic and atmospheric songs with resonant guitar and passionate vocals, the pair owe their influences to the sound of Americana and deep South blues-rock…The duo decided to work together after Turpin had put out three albums with his former act, Kill It Kid, in Bath, Somerset. He decided to try something new with Jean and the pair spent time writing and recording their own material — it was quite a sonic departure from Kill It Kid (who were more influenced by alternative rock and grunge). After having amassed enough material, the pair put out their debut single, “Reaching,” in early 2019. The track found the duo delving more deeply into the sound of country blues pioneers such as Son House and Robert Johnson. The song was featured on their first LP, Chasing Lights, which arrived in June of that year. Click Click Domino, co-written by the couple, is the title track of their sophomore album released on July 16. It features Marcus King on electric guitar. I dig the energy of this tune and the raw guitar sound.

Crown Lands/White Buffalo

Crown Lands are a Canadian rock duo from Oshawa, Ontario. According to their artist profile on Apple Music, they mix the influences of hard rock with progressive and psychedelic sensibilities…Crown Lands were formed in 2015 by Kevin Comeau, who handles guitar, bass, and drums, and Cody Bowles, who sings lead and plays drums. Both men were raised in Southwestern Ontario, though when they first met, Comeau had been living in Los Angeles and trying to make a career in music, playing in a reggae band. Comeau was back home visiting family for the holidays when he met Bowles, and the two quickly bonded over their shared love of vintage rock sounds, especially Rush. Comeau moved back to Ontario, and the two were soon jamming regularly and started playing out with their material. They chose the name Crown Lands as a reference to Bowles’ First Nations heritage (he’s a member of the Mi’kmaq nation), the name referring to territory seized from the indigenous peoples by the government. In August 2016, they independently released their debut EP Mantra. After two additional EPs that appeared in 2017 and 2020, Crown Lands released their eponymous first full-length album in August 2020. White Buffalo, co-written by Bowles and Comeau, is the title track of their latest EP that came out on July 8. When listening to this catchy rocker, one would never guess Crown Lands is a two-man act. Bowles’ vocals remind me a bit of Greta Van Fleet’s Josh Kiszka.

Sources: Wikipedia; American Songwriter; Apple Music; YouTube

21 thoughts on “Best of What’s New”

  1. Crosby and Browne releasing albums on the same day is weird timing. Crosby’s last few albums have been pretty well received, and I liked that track Jim featured. That Rush influence on Crown Lands is pretty clear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve listened to some of the other tracks on the Crosby album in addition to “Ships in the Night” and the Donald Fagen co-written “Rodriguez For a Night”. It’s pretty good, in my opinion. Crosby has been on a late stage career productivity burst with five albums released since 2014.

      I also like what I’ve heard thus far from the Jackson Browne album. It’s kind of remarkable that vocally he still sounds the same like on his ’70s albums.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ida Mae’s track is really interesting. Love the music to it.

    I like Jackson Browne’s track. It’s good to see him and Crosby still making music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Max. I can’t say I’ve been a huge fan of David Crosby, but his new album is really enjoyable, as is Jackson Browne’s. Like you I think it’s great seeing artists like them still putting out new music.

      It also seems like Ida Mae is striking a chord. I dig the rawness of their sound and want to hear more. Unfortunately, I’ve had very little time. This includes reading other blogs as well. Hope to be back later.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Remember when I said I try to separate the artist from the art? Crosby is a grouchy guy but I do like some of his stuff…like you I’m not a huge fan.

        Ida Mae….that guitar tremolo or whatever it is….is great.

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  3. Hey, now. This is a strong set! Are you sure the Music Enthusiast didn’t come up with these? 🤣 I like Jackson Browne but I wouldn’t call myself a major-league fan. But that’s a good tune. And yeah, he’s still hittin’ those notes. Even McCartney isn’t these days. There’s nothing wrong the Crosby tune (and thanks for the shout-out). He has his own particular groove. The last two songs are killer. Ida Mae? Fuck. Does she play drums and he the guitar? Are they the latest incarnation of White Stripes? Crown Lands sounds great too. It’s so odd that since White Stripes you have these two-person ensembles. If I were in a band I’d want more pieces and definitely a sax. But that’s just me. I’m old.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jim. Your White Stripes comparison is a great observation. I might steal it! 🙂

      I guess in part it’s accessible recording technology that makes these two-person bands possible. Of course, you still need the talent to write decent songs and play various instruments.

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      1. We are in the neutral zone for stealing! You’re right, though. I am old enough to remember the good old days. Technology aside, having had a taste of playing in a band last year, there’s nothing like having that thundering drum herd behind you as you’re jamming. A friend of mine who is a drummer recently took up bass. He wants to know if I want to jam. I guess so but I am not sure exactly what to play or do. Have you ever just jammed with a guitarist?

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      2. My buddy Bill is an excellent singer. But in order to get anywhere we have to practice songs. Too lazy, no time. So we just wind up jamming on simple blues. I wanted to jam with him on “Blue Sky” or “Liz Reed” but he didn’t feel comfortable.

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      1. Yeah I agree looks like they turned the YouTube channel into an album of covers that came out last year. Was checking it out on Spotify yesterday. Called Kindred Spirits

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