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The Atlanta-based rock trio the Head, comprised of Jacob Morrell (guitar) and brothers Jack and Mike Shaw (drums and bass/vocals, respectively), has been dubbed with the title “Atlanta’s youngest rock ‘n’ roll veterans” by Blurt. These chaps may all be in their early 20s, but what they lack in years they more than make up for in their energetic brand of ‘90s-inspired rock music.

The Head are also not one to shy from thought-provoking topics in their songwriting. Below you can stream “It Ain’t Easy”, a tune which finds the trio exploring the sensitive and troubling topic of the Newtown school shooting. For more on this, read the band’s statement on the song.

Blue Blood started out as a solo venture for musician Hunter Morris, who conceived the idea after his previous band, Gift Horse, parted ways. The Athens, Georgia-based Morris then spent a year working as a fly fishing guide on the trout streams of North Georgia, a creatively fruitful time that spawned the songs that now form This Is the Life, Morris’ debut as Blue Blood.

Morris ended up not going at it all by himself, though. Hank Sullivant, the guitarist for MGMT and the frontman of Kuroma, worked as producer/instrumentalist for the recording. Rounded out by J.J. Bower (Dead Confederate) on drums and Dave Spivey on keys, Blue Blood is a fine example of how an artist can create a new avenue through artistic exploration in the wake of a finished project. Morris’ vision was rich enough on its own; with the addition of players such as Sullivant, Spivey, and Bower, his initial idea has blossomed into a mind-enveloping collection of introspective gloom pop.

With their tune “Frayed”, the Oakland, CA group Waterstrider had a task. The tune, which is featured on a compilation LP by the new label OIM Records, was recorded in label co-owner Jeff Saltzman’s studio, where they only had three days to finish recording. You could hardly tell the time constraints from the sound of “Frayed”, however; with its hum along-able vocals and its catchy rhythm, the song becomes all the more impressive given its limited timeframe of creation.

With Begin the Begone, the Orange Peels embark from a new home base in the redwooded Santa Cruz Mountains with a new lease on life, after a brush with death in a near-tragic car crash. At the end of touring Sun Moon, the band’s 2013 LP, members Allen Clapp and Jil Pries were involved in a car accident that they were both lucky to survive, as they were hit by a drunk driver going 60 miles per hour. Out of such a close call with the grim reaper the Orange Peels crafted Begin the Begone, an album that finds these creative Californians taking pop song structures and amalgamating them with prog, post-rock, and psychedelic, among others.

Originally hailing from Yellowknife, the capital city of Canada’s chilly Northwest Territories, Dana Sipos has crafted an interesting musical path for herself, one that brings to mind phrases like “off the beaten path.” This is not merely a metaphorical observation; having lived nomadically for some years now, she’s traveled Canada through various non-motorized forms of transportation, including bicycle and tall ship.

The uniqueness of her life’s experience is borne out rather beautifully on Roll Up the Night Sky, her latest full-length record. Below you can stream the dreamy little nocturne “Portraits”, which shows Sipos’ knack for smart chord progressions—check the tonal shift that comes in when the D major chord shines a little light on the otherwise somber minor key of the song.

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Double Take: Marty (1955)

// Short Ends and Leader

"Paddy Chayefsky's adaptation of Marty may be a period piece, but it's a heck of a piece nonetheless.

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