Happy Saturday and welcome to the latest installment of my weekly new music revue. The first two picks are on albums that came out yesterday (May 5), while the two final tracks are from April 28 releases.
The Lemon Twigs/Every Day Is the Worst Day of My Life
Kicking things off are The Lemon Twigs, who I first featured in an August 2020 Best of What’s New installment. They were formed by brothers and multi-instrumentalists Brian D’Addario and Michael D’Addario in 2014 when they were still high school students on Long Island, N.Y. The brothers come from an artistic family. Their father is power pop songwriter Ronnie D’Addario, who also plays various instruments. Their mother Susan Hall pursued acting and entertainment in her younger years before becoming a neuropsychologist. At first, Brian and Michael stepped into their mothers feet with a series of theater, entertainment and TV productions before founding The Lemon Twigs. Their first release was a cassette, What We Know, issued as a limited edition in 2015, followed by their debut studio album Do Hollywood from October 2016. It’s hard to put The Lemon Twigs in one genre. Their music has included classic rock, glam rock and pop. One common denominator is a cool retro sound with elements of ’60s and ’70s. Their fourth and latest album Everything Harmony has a strong power pop vibe. Here’s Corner of My Eye, which first appeared in January as the lead single. Their Bandcamp page describes the tune, which was co-written by the two brothers, as channeling an Art Garfunkel-like vocal melody over a moody, vibraphone-tinged backing track suggesting the chamber pop of Brian Wilson. This is just gorgeous!
Olivia Jean/Raving Ghost
Olivia Jean initially became known as the lead vocalist and guitarist of all-female garage goth rock band The Black Belles who came together in Nashville, Tenn. in 2009. The catalyst was Jack White, formerly one-half of The White Stripes, who is also a producer. After White had listened to a demo of solo recordings by Jean, he introduced her to Ruby Rogers (bass), and Shelby Lynn (drums, percussion). The three ladies went into the studio to record some original songs, were encouraged by their chemistry and became The Black Belles. White produced their eponymous debut album, which was released in 2011. It turned out to be their only full-length release. After touring with moderate success, the band went on hiatus the following year. This prompted Jean to launch a solo career. Since her 2014 debut Bathtub Love Killings, she has released two additional albums under her name, including her latest, Raving Ghost. All of her three solo albums have appeared on White’s label Third Man Records. Here’s the title track of Jean’s new album.
John Andrews & The Yawns/Checks In the Mail
John Andrews & The Yawns is a music project by multi-instrumentalist and indie pop artist John Andrews. According to his AllMusic bio, The Yawns were a fictional backing band at first, as Andrews played all the instruments on his debut. He did employ accompanists for his later albums, but his low-key and lo-fi pop vision changed very little once he had a band, with his murmured vocals and subtle, melodic keyboard work still his stylistic hallmarks. 2015’s Bit by the Fang and 2017’s Bad Posture were tuneful exercises in dreamlike indie pop, while 2021’s Cookbook and 2023’s Love for the Underdog tightened the focus on his ’70s California soft rock influences. While pursuing his solo endeavors, Andrews has also played drums in psychedelic indie rock band Quilt and keyboards for folk-rock band Woods. Off his latest album with The Yawns, here’s the pleasant opener Checks In the Mail, which first appeared on February 6 as the lead single.
Alex Caswell/The Kaleidoscopic Lighthouse
My final pick for this week is neo-psychedelic songwriter and Alex Caswell. This talented multi-instrumentalist and studio artist entered my radar screen earlier this week, thanks to fellow blogger Angie Moon who featured an interview with him on her great blog The Diversity of Classic Rock. From his web bio: Alex Caswell is a 30 year old Neo-Psychedelic songwriter from Asheville, NC. Caswell was born and raised in Raleigh, but moved to Asheville in 2016. It is in Asheville that he began studying record producing and record engineering, with the goal of developing these skills to make his own records. He has studied jazz and music theory, as evidenced by the musical flexibility featured on his debut album…He cites Cannonball Adderley and Pat Martino as being influential on his lead guitar playing, which is another fluent skill of his. However, he is quick to point out the influence of classical composers on his songwriting, like Tchaikovsky and Bach, to name a few examples. He wrote all the songs on Visualize [his new debut album – CMM]. He plays all the instruments on Visualize, with the exception of drums. He sang all the songs, including each and every harmony part. He recorded, mixed, and mastered every track on Visualize. Caswell even created the artwork for his debut record. In his above interview with Angie, he noted Pink Floyd and The Beatles among his influences. Since I generally dig psychedelic rock, I didn’t waste much time checking out the entire album, and I think it’s great. I agree with Angie that headphones will give you the best listening experience. Here’s a sample: The Kaleidoscopic Lighthouse.
This post wouldn’t be complete without a Spotify playlist of the above and a few additional tunes by each of the featured artists:
Sources: Wikipedia; The Lemon Twigs Bandcamp page; AllMusic; Alex Caswell website; The Diversity of Classic Rock blog; YouTube; Spotify