Juliana Hatfield wasn’t even planning a new album, but then Donald Trump got elected President, and everything changed. If anyone questions whether the musical world could rise to the occasion and create thoughtful art in response, 2017 should erase those doubts. “I wasn’t planning on making a record,” says Juliana Hatfield. “All of these songs just started pouring out of me. And I felt an urgency to record them, to get them down, and get them out there.”
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We are pleased to premiere the video for “A Place Where There’s No More Pain”, the title track from the latest by Life of Agony, due out April 28. The LP is the first new effort from the group in 12 years and the first to feature Mina (formerly Keith) Caputo as the front person. Life of Agony’s emotionally-charged lyrics remain a focal point within the music and a beacon for fans who have come to rely on LOA’s honest portrayal of everyday struggles.
Toronto’s Wild Rivers began life as folk duo Devan & Khalid, named for Devan Glover and Khalid Yassein, two fabulous singers who harmonize perfectly like two people born to perform together. Building out their indie folk sound to a band, the duo added Ben Labenski (drums) and Andrew Oliver (bass, guitar) and now Wild Rivers inhabit folk rock perfectly, their Fleetwood Mac influences worn proudly on their sleeves. But Wild River is no tribute or retro act as their music feels completely contemporary and fresh. Witness “Do Right”, an earworm of a folk-pop tune with a hit-single chorus. If Nashville the show featured music like this, more people might still be watching it. Well, Nashville the city can’t have this band as Canada has a proud Canadiana tradition and Wild Rivers are waving that flag high.
Iceland’s Sólstafir will release Berdreyminn on 26 May via Season of Mist but we are pleased to premiere the single “Isafold” now. Over its 22-year history, the group has confounded those seeking easy comparisons. They’ve come often, over the years, but in many ways have failed to fully express the group’s tastes and influences. Sigur Rós, Ennio Morricone, and Fields of the Nephilim are but three names that have been mentioned and guitarist/vocalist Aðalbjörn Tryggvason offers more when discussing this latest track.
Gift of Gab, a.k.a. Tim Parker is one-half of the seminal hip-hop duo Blackalicious who have released a bevy of critically acclaimed albums throughout their career. Gab also has a highly successful solo career dating back to 2004, and he’s set to release a new solo EP, Rejoice! Rappers Are Rapping Again, in April. Gab’s style is pure classic hip-hop with dazzling rhyme schemes, soulful production from Jumbo, and politically and socially relevant critique. Gab says, “the new batch of songs I’m working on is all about lyricism for heads who love it. I’m in a place in my career right now where I’m hearing a lot of talk that hip-hop isn’t as lyrical as it once was. I come from the school of Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and rappers that are really intensely rhyming. With this new slew of music I am doing, it’s almost like I’m rhyming for other rappers.”