Hope your Saturday is groovy and welcome to another installment of my weekly feature, in which I’m taking a look at newly-released music. Except for one track, all tunes featured in this post appear on releases that came out yesterday (November 18).
Weyes Blood/It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody
Kicking off this Best of What’s New is Weyes Blood (born Natalie Laura Mering), a versatile singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has been active since 2003. Starting out with noise and experimental rock, her music has evolved into more traditional folk and soft rock. At the age of 15, Mering started writing songs under the moniker Wise Blood, a reference to a novel by Flannery O’Connor. After studying music in college for one year in Portland, Ore., Mering dropped out and subsequently played bass in experimental rock group Jackie-O Motherfucker and keyboards in noise rock band Satanized. In 2011, she released her debut album The Outside Room as Weyes Blood And The Dark Juices. Since her 2014 sophomore release The Innocents, Mering’s albums have appeared under the Weyes Blood moniker. This brings me to her fifth and latest album And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow and the opener It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody. Like all other tunes, it was written by Mering. The great sound and Mering’s captivating vocals drew me in right away. This is gorgeous music!
The Winston Brothers/Think
The Winston Brothers are an all-instrumental funk outfit from Germany. From the website of their record label Colemine Records: The Winston Brothers are a modular studio project by Hamburg-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Sebastian Nagel (The Mighty Mocambos, Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band) and drummer / percussionist extraordinaire Lucas Kochbeck (The KBCS, Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, Hamburg Spinners). Industry veterans with a penchant for analog music production, the two combine a boom bap state of mind with well-rounded funk acumen and able frequent collaborators to create dynamic arrangements that are both an audible nod to the genre’s past as well as a contemporary blend of like-minded organic styles. Here’s Think, a groovy track from their debut album Drift.
The Wombats/Dressed to Kill
I first came across The Wombats from Liverpool, England in August 2019 when they opened for The Rolling Stones at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Here’s more from their AllMusic bio: British indie rock trio the Wombats make driving post-punk and new wave-influenced pop marked by their cheeky, satirically sharp-tongued point of view. The band initially broke through with their 2007 debut album, A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation, which hit the Top 20 in the U.K. They have continued to mature, balancing chart success with artful productions like 2011’s This Modern Glitch, 2015’s Glitterbug, and 2018’s Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, each of which reached the Top Five on the U.K. albums chart. In 2022, the group released their fifth studio album, Fix Yourself, Not the World. Now The Wombats are back with a new EP titled Is This What It Feels to Feel Like This? Here’s Dressed to Kill.
Nyack, N.Y.-based ShwizZ released their latest single Static Blue on November 11. The group, which I featured before here and here, draws substantial influence from classic progressive rock and funk. Their Spotify profile puts it like this: If Zappa, Yes, P-Funk and King Crimson had a love child, it would be named…ShwizZ. The band, which has been around for about 10 years, features Ryan Liatsis (guitar, vocals), Will Burgaletta (keyboards, vocals), Scott Hogan (bass, vocals) and Andrew Boxer (drums, vocals). Static Blue, credited to the entire group, rocks nicely and has a great sound. Check it out!
Neil Young & Crazy Horse/Chevrolet
I’m particularly thrilled to close out this new music revue with Neil Young, one of my longtime favorite artists, who last Sunday turned 77 and isn’t slowing down. Coming less than a year after Barn (December 10, 2021), which I reviewed here, World Record is the latest studio album by the Canadian-American singer-songwriter with his longtime backing band Crazy Horse. In between, Young put out five other albums: Archives release Toast (July 8, 2022), originally recorded with Crazy Horse in 2001 and subsequently shelved (see my review here); and four live albums, including Noise & Flowers with Promise of the Real (August 5, 2022), as well as Citizen Kane Jr. Blues (May 2022), Royce Hall 1971 (May 2022) and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion 1971, which all appeared on May 6, 2022. It’s almost impossible to keep up with Neil who appears to be on a mission to publish music, new and old, perhaps realizing he doesn’t have an infinite amount of time left. World Record, which has a loose and spontaneous feel, was co-produced by Rick Rubin and Young. Here’s the official video for Chevrolet, where you can hear Neil talk about the tune in the beginning – kind of fun to watch. If you want to skip ahead, the crunchy rocker starts at around the 2-minute mark.
Last but not least, this post wouldn’t be complete without a Spotify playlist of the above and a few additional tunes – sans Neil Young who asked Spotify to remove his music in April, protesting the company’s hosting of controversial podcaster Joe Rogan.
Sources: Wikipedia; Colemine Records website; AllMusic; YouTube; Spotify