Boston band the Shills have created an interesting hybrid of sounds on their latest album Keep Your Hands Busy, Vol. 2, enough to frustrate any critic from making quick reference points for readers. There’s a touch of the angularity of post-hardcore, the effervescence of indie pop, the abstract nature of psychedelic rock, and the technical proficiency of progressive rock. A great example is the album’s first track “Oh, This Devilish Place”, a glossy, shimmering ear worm of a track that wriggles its way into your head with its sunny melodies and harmonies, not to mention some fantastic hand-claps at one point.
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With deep roots in folk music Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller offer an authentic look at America’s rich folk heritage on their latest album Deep End Sessions. With Milnes’s fiddle and Miller’s guitar—not to mention a harmonizing voice that echoes ancient recording of the Carter Family—the West Virginia-based duo are absolutely convincing on the classic traditional “Roving Gambler”.
Los Angeles-based singer-songriter Haroula Rose is preparing to record her third album, which is slated for a 2016 release, but in the meantime she’s recorded a series of covers for the fun of it. One in particular is noteworthy, that being her gently playful bluegrass rendition of the classic Loudon Wainwright III composition “The Swimming Song”.
In preparation for his chamber ensemble’s debut album, Maine native Will Mason headed to a cabin in the northern part of his home state. With no electricity, running water, phone (and of course no internet) he immersed himself in the idea of how powerful and at times frightening and overwhelming it can feel being completely isolated in nature. Beauty and dread walk hand in hand, and the mood can turn on a dime, which exactly the feeling you get on “Finn”, an extraordinary free-form 16-and-a-half-minute composition that forms the heart of the new album Beams of the Huge Night.
His first album since 2013’s covers collection Excitement at Your Feet and his first album of original material since 2011, prolific power pop veteran Tommy Keene is back with a new full length called Laugh in the Dark. One of the standout tracks is the roaring “Last of the Twilight Girls”, which plays right into Keene’s wheelhouse: jangly pop music juxtaposed with robust garage rock. If you’re not familiar with Keene’s music, this will serve as a wonderful introduction. If you are, you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.