Best of What’s New

A selection of newly released music that caught my attention

Happy Saturday! The new music show must go on. Here’s what I found this week. All tunes are on releases that appeared yesterday (Nov 30).

Warren Zeiders/One Hell of an Angel

My first pick is by Warren Zeiders, a young country singer-songwriter from Pennsylvania. From his website: Warren Zeiders’ distinctive, high energy country music is powered by a steady supply of youthful grit, honesty, and muscle. Hailing from Hershey, Pennsylvania, the 22-year-old singer/ songwriter delivers outlaw sermons in a gravelly, world-weary voice that belies his young age. His music is suited more to the vast wilderness of his home state than the bright lights of Nashville, injecting a healthy dose of Heartland ethos into the honky tonks of Music City. But it’s that space he lives in—between lonesome outsider and magnetic performer—that helps him relate to listeners from all walks of life through songs fueled by unshakeable soul-searching. This brings me to 717 Tapes The Album, Zeiders’ new release, which combines songs from two previous 717 Tapes EPs (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) with four new tunes. Here’s one of the latter, One Hell of an Angel, co-written by Zeiders, Benjy Davis and Josh Jenkins – nice country rocker!

Pixies/Vault of Heaven

Pixies are an alternative rock band from Boston, associated with the ’90s alternative rock boom. During their initial phase from 1986 until 1993, they released four albums. They broke up in early 1993 and reunited 10 years later. Their current line-up includes co-founding members Black Francis (lead and backing vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar, backing vocals) and David Lovering (drums, percussion, backing vocals), together with Paz Lenchantin (bass, violin, backing and lead vocals), who became a member of the group after they reunited. Vault of Heaven, penned by Francis (credited as Charles Thompson, his birth name), is a track from Pixies’ eighth and latest studio album Doggerel. Good song. The video is a bit odd!

Snarky Puppy/Keep It On Your Mind

While I didn’t know any of their music, I had heard of Snarky Puppy before and based on their name pictured a punk band – well, not exactly! From their AllMusic bio: An acclaimed fusion-influenced jam band, Snarky Puppy have built a loyal following with their adventurous blend of jazz, rock, and funk. Led by bassist Michael League, the Texas group emerged in the mid-2000s and garnered buzz with albums like 2006’s The Only Constant, 2010’s Tell Your Friends, and 2013’s Family Dinner, Vol. 1, which took home the Grammy for Best R&B Performance for their cover of the Brenda Russell song “Something” featuring singer Lalah Hathaway. More accolades followed, including further Grammy Awards for 2015’s Sylva and 2016’s Culcha Vulcha, the latter of which also topped Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart. The band again reached the Top Ten of the jazz charts with 2019’s Immigrance and picked up their fourth Grammy Award for 2020’s Live at the Royal Albert Hall. Empire Central is the group’s new live-recorded album that thematically revolves around the Texas city of Dallas. Here’s Keep It On Your Mind – definitely very different from what I expected. That said, I like it!

Dropkick Murphys/Talking Jukebox

What a coincidence – only three weeks ago, I featured some new music by Irish-American Celtic punk band Flogging Molly. Now it’s the turn of their Boston area cousins Dropkick Murphys who were formed in 1996, the year before Flogging Molly. Since their January 1998 debut Do or Die, the Murphys have released 10 additional albums, including their latest This Machine Still Kills Fascists. The all-acoustic album is composed of unused lyrics and words by Woody Guthrie and is the group’s first without lead vocalist Al Barr who was on hiatus from the band to take care of his ailing mother. In addition to Barr, Dropkick Murphys feature Ken Casey (lead and backing vocals, bass), Tim Brennan (accordion, mandolin, bouzouki, keyboard, piano, tin whistle, backing vocals, lead guitar), James Lynch (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Jeff DaRosa (banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, guitar, keyboard, piano, harmonica, tin whistle, backing vocals) and Matt Kelly (drums, bodhrán, backing vocals). Here’s Talking Jukebox. The music is credited to the band.

This post wouldn’t be complete with a Spotify playlist of the above songs and a few additional tunes by each of the featured artists.

Sources: Wikipedia; Warren Zeiders website; AllMusic; YouTube; Spotify

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17 thoughts on “Best of What’s New”

    1. Thanks, I still know very little about them as well. When it comes to music blogging and probably any other thing you get into, I’m, constantly reminded of George Harrison’s wise lyrics from “The Inner Light”, a song I really love: The farther one travels/The less knows/The less one really knows…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks again for filling us in on things that we might be missing! New Pixies – who woulda guessed? I have never been a real big fan of theirs but I do like a couple of their original songs and this one sounds quite good…not their best but far from their worst too. Fun video too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never really followed the Pixies, not for any reason other than neglect, but I really like “Vault of Heaven”, and what a great video! The Snarky Puppy tune is pretty interesting, with hints of progressive jazz, and the Dropkick Murphys song is great.

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  3. Snarky Puppy is really interesting I listened to it a few times…it’s really different. I also like The Dropkick Murphys…very interesting mix you have today, Christian.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree, Max. While Snarky Puppy definitely isn’t as accessible to me as say blues, garage rock or jangly pop rock, their music is interesting. I also still cannot get over their great name. Don’t you agree it sounds like a punk band? Fusion really was the last thing on my mind!

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  4. Two from Boston! Good deal. Reminds me of the good old days. I like the country one more than I expected. Pixies are always good but I’ve never been a huge fan. I know Snarky Puppy’s stuff to some extent. They’re on my to-post list someday. Dropkick Murphys are always reliable. You think you’d hear more about them around here but they just crop up every now and again.

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    1. Warren Zeiders isn’t your typical country artist, though with country having become such a broad genre with plenty of crossover action, it would be fair to ask what “typical” nowadays means anyway when it comes to country. There’s a certain edginess to his voice I like. And he writes good songs!

      Even with so-called traditional country artists there can be eye-opening moments. One that happened to me earlier today is Loretta Lynn, who I had known by name only and always associated with old style traditional country. Sure, much of the music of the tunes I’ve heard thus far have a traditional country sound. But everything else about this courageous and feisty was everything but traditional, at least at the time she started out. She shook up that good ole’ white boys country club quite a bit!

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