Happy Saturday and welcome to another Best of What’s New installment. To me, my last music revue feels like it just happened rather than a week ago. Anyway, all picks except for the final tune, which I say upfront is the gem here, are from albums that came out yesterday (April 7).
Blondshell is the moniker of Los Angeles-based indie pop rock-oriented singer-songwriter Sabrina Teitelbaum. After starting out in 2016 with a more pop-focused project named BAUM, Teitelbaum began writing more rock-oriented music during the COVID-19 pandemic. This culminated in the launch of Blondshell in June 2022 with her single Olympus. Teitelbaum followed it up with two other singles, Kiss City and Sepsis, in July and August, respectively. In December, she signed with independent label Partisan Records and is now out with her eponymous debut album. Here’s the opener Veronica Mars, which first appeared as a single in December. Like most tracks on the album, it was solely written by Teitelbaum. The building guitar sound that explodes into hard-charging rock at around 54 seconds into the song provides an intriguing contrast to Teitelbaum’s mellow vocals.
Ruston Kelly/Holy Shit
Singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly, who I first covered in July 2020, was born in Georgetown, S.C., grew up in Wyoming, Ohio and is now based in Nashville. He got into music at a young age and, according to Wikipedia, had a full album in high school with songs like “Bluebird” and “I’m Leavin’”. After signing a publishing deal with BMG Nashville in 2013, he co-wrote the song Nashville Without You recorded by Tim McGraw for his studio album Two Lanes of Freedom, which appeared in February that year. In 2017, Kelly released his debut EP Halloween. His first full-length album Dying Star came out the following year. Holy Shit is track from Kelly’s third and latest album The Weakness. Good tune!
Wednesday/Hot Rotten Grass Smell
Wednesday are a band from Ashville, N.C., who started out in 2017 as a songwriting project by guitarist Karly Hartzman. While attending college in Ashville, she met vocalist Daniel Gorham and recorded with him yep definitely, the first album as Wednesday. The moniker was inspired by British alternative rock band The Sundays, who were active from 1988 to 1997. Subsequently, Hartzman formed another group, Diva Sweetly. When her bandmates didn’t want to make shoegaze, she assembled new members for Wednesday and released their sophomore album, I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone, in February 2020. This brings me to the group’s new album Rat Saw God, which is their fifth. In addition to Hartzman (guitar, vocals), it features MJ Lenderman (guitar, backing vocals), Xandy Chelmis (lap steel), Margo Schultz (bass) and Alan Miller (drums). Here’s the opener Hot Rotten Grass Smell, credited to the entire band.
Lucinda Williams/New York Comeback
I’m particularly excited about my last pick for this week, New York Comeback by Lucinda Williams, the lead single single from her upcoming album Stories From a Rock n Roll Heart. Released on April 4, the great tune features Bruce Springsteen and his wife and E Street Band member Patti Scialfa. Williams first entered my radar screen in June 2022 when I saw her open up for Bonnie Raitt in Philadelphia, a great concert you can read more about here. In November 2020, Williams suffered a stroke from which she has recovered, though during the aforementioned gig, she still seemed to have some mobility challenges and did not play guitar. Stories From a Rock n Roll Heart, set for release on June 30, is Williams’ 15th studio album and the first since her stroke. According to this review by Consequence Sound, the album was recorded during her stroke recovery: At the time, she wasn’t able to write songs using her guitar and continued collaborating with her husband/manager Tom Overby while also bringing in singer-songwriter Jessie Malin to co-write three tracks and flesh out melodies. Williams’ longtime road manager, Travis Stephens, also co-wrote six songs on the album. Man, I love New York Comeback, which is credited to Williams, Overby and Malin, and I can’t wait to hear more music from the album!
Of course, the post wouldn’t be complete with a Spotify playlist featuring the above and some additional tunes!
Sources: Wikipedia; Consequence Sound; YouTube; Spotify