Best of What’s New

A selection of newly released music that caught my attention

I can’t believe it’s Saturday again. It was a busy week that hardly left any opportunity for blogging, both writing and reading. I’m glad the time has come for another installment of Best of What’s New. I also look forward to catching up on the latest posts from my fellow bloggers soon! I’m quite happy with my picks this week and hope you’ll find something you like. Unless noted otherwise, all tunes are included on albums that were released yesterday (March 4).

Melissa Aldana/12 Stars

I’d like to kick off this week’s new music review with relaxing jazz music by Melissa Aldana, a tenor saxophonist from Chile. According to her Apple Music profile, she is known for her fluid harmonic lines and strong sense for the acoustic post-bop tradition. Discovered by pianist Danilo Pérez while still a teenager, Aldana debuted with Free Fall in 2010. She then earned wider acclaim winning the 2013 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. Busy as a leader and sideman, she has recorded with Terri Lyne Carrington and Cécile McLorin Salvant, and issued her own albums including 2014’s Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio and 2016’s Back Home. Aldana, the daughter of renowned tenor saxophonist Marcos Aldana, began formal saxophone instruction at the age of six. By the time she was 16, she already headlined jazz clubs in Santiago. With the help of Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez, Aldana auditioned at Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory and subsequently won a scholarship to Berklee. Following her above-noted debut in 2010, Aldana has released five additional albums including her latest 12 Stars. Here’s the title track.

Johnny Burke/Hold On

It’s always great to see when a musician you personally know is releasing new music you dig – and when they have no idea (yet) you’re writing about them. 🙂 Such is the case with Johnny Burke, the drummer of New Jersey jam rock band Resurrextion aka ResX. It turns out Burke isn’t only talented manning the skins, but also is a capable guitarist and singer-songwriter who on February 13 released his first solo album, Johnny. He had a little help from some friends, including ResX bandmates Joey Herr (guitar), Billy Gutch (guitar) and Phil Ippolito (keyboards), as well as Mike Flynn (guitar), Sandy Mack (harmonica) and Lou Perillo (bass). And let’s not forget Johnny’s wife MaryBeth Burke who supports vocals on some of the songs. Hold On is a nice, warm-sounding Americana-style rock tune with a neat guitar solo.

Guided By Voices/Eye City

And on we go with more rock by indie rock group Guided By Voices. Initially, they were founded in 1983 in Dayton, Ohio. After releasing 15 albums between 1987 and 2004, the band broke up in December 2004. Six years later, they reunited and over a two-year span released an impressive five albums. In September 2014, they disbanded for the second time only to come together again in February 2016. Since that second reunion, 13 additional records have appeared including the band’s latest, Crystal Nuns Cathedral. Guided By Voices’ line-up has changed many times over their long history. The one constant member has been lead vocalist and guitarist Robert Pollard, who is the group’s principal songwriter. The current line-up also features Doug Gillard (guitar, backing vocals), Bobby Bare Jr. (guitar, backing vocals), Mark Shue (bass, backing vocals) and Kevin March (drums, backing vocals). Here’s the opener Eye City. Based on this and listening to some of the other tunes on the album, they remind me a bit of Son Volt.

The Weather Station/Marsh

The Weather Station is the project of Canadian singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman. According to her Apple Music profile, her songs are too musically and emotionally nimble to be easily classified. On Lindeman’s earliest albums, like 2011’s All of It Was Mine, she cultivated a down-to-earth style informed by her time in Toronto’s folk scene and driven by her guitar, banjo, and confessional lyrics. By the time she released 2015’s Loyalty, however, her music had grown more abstract. Later, Lindeman matched the intricacy of her words with equally ambitious music, pairing her version of rock & roll with feminist insights on 2017’s The Weather Station, and combining musings on climate change with luxurious jazz and soft rock on 2021’s Ignorance. Amidst the Weather Station’s changes, Lindeman’s silvery voice and clear-eyed songwriting remained consistently compelling, proving the comparisons to forebears like Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen and contemporaries such as Weyes Blood and Bill Callahan were more than warranted. This brings me to Marsh, a tune from The Weather Station’s new album How Is It That I Should Look at the Stars. I find this pretty relaxing.

Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs/Wicked Man

Mike Campbell’s band The Dirty Knobs, now officially Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs, are back with a new album. External Combustion comes only 16 months after the release of their debut Wreckless Abandon, which I reviewed here at the time. Campbell formed the group in the early 2000s as a side project to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, where he played guitar at the time. The Dirty Knobs were active in-between Heartbreakers tours and studio projects. They played small venues and did some recordings but weren’t looking for a record deal. After Tom Petty had passed away in 2017, Campbell decided to focus on The Dirty Knobs. The current line-up of the band also includes Jason Sinay (guitar), Lance Morrison (bass) and Matt Laug (drums). “About half of the songs are new songs,” Campbell told American Songwriter about the new record. “I went back through my whole analog tape vault and found a few songs from maybe even twenty years ago that I’d forgotten about that were pretty good, so I included them on the album.” Based on my initial impression, External Combustion is a solid record. I could definitely see some of the tunes on Tom Petty albums. Check out Wicked Mind!

Last but not least, here’s a Spotify list featuring the above and a few other songs.


Sources: Wikipedia; Apple Music; American Songwriter; YouTube; Spotify

13 thoughts on “Best of What’s New”

  1. Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knob… You can hear the Tom Petty influence…but you can almost say listening to Tom Petty you can hear Mike Campbell also. They grew together and made that sound…this sounds great and a cool video.
    I like the sound of Johnny Burke also man… that is really cool that you know him.

    Like

  2. I get some classic rock vibes off Guided By Voices – they’re not miles away from The Who at times. Robert Pollard is pretty prolific and I’ve only heard a fraction of what he’s released.

    I was surprised there was another Weather Station record so soon after the last one. Her voice reminds me a little of Joni Mitchell on the acoustic tracks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Based on what I’ve seen Guided By Voices have released an enormous amount of albums. Other than the tune I featured and some of the other trucks, I haven’t had a chance to check out their music. Based on what I’ve heard, I like their sound.

      And, yep, it looks like Tamara Lindeman’s last album came out just over a year ago. Do you know her music? Again, she’s another artist who is entirely new to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. All good selections here. Having followed your blog for a while, I note with some interest there was a time when you never or rarely had a jazz tune. But you started off with one here. Good choice. You mentioned Terri Lynne Carrington. I met her once years ago when she was maybe 16 or 17. She was dating a guy I was working with and since I was playing in a band, thought it might be interesting for us to meet. But she was a pure jazzer and I was a rocker. I follow her career and she’s done quite well. Still lives in this area.

    As to Mike Campbell, I was just watching a video where he explained how his solo on ‘American Girl.’ I love hearing directly from the source. He also has one talking about ‘Boys of Summer.’ Anyway, thought you might find this interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jim! I bet you won’t be surprised that Mike Campbell clip is totally up my alley. It’s such a great song, and it’s nice to have it broken down. Plus, I guess the geek in me finds it interesting when a cool musician explains how they are playing certian things.

      As to Terri Lynne Carrington, I actually had not heard of her, so just quickly looked her up. A female jazz drummer certainly isn’t something you see everyday. I have to check her out!

      The funny thing about jazz and me is while I’ve always liked a good deal of jazz, for some reason, I rarely listened to it and even less wrote about it.

      Things started to change when I introduced my “Sunday Six” feature, which I generally like to kick off on the lighter side with an instrumental. Plus, I also like these posts to be a bit eclectic.

      Like

      1. I guess Campbell has been doing stuff on Instagram. A Covid silver lining is bored musicians sharing stuff. I watched Brian May demonstrate his “Rhapsody” solo.

        I suspect one day I’ll run into Terri Lynne somewhere and (re)introduce myself. I wonder how she feels about that old boyfriend.

        You’ll have to help me carry the jazz message now that CB has, sadly, retired.

        Liked by 1 person

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