Singer-songwriter Daniel Pearson’s music is so imbued with the rust and dust of the grittier side of America that it comes as a surprise that he’s from Yorkshire, not Alabama. But times are as hard in Northern England as it is in the American South, and the poetry and sadness of Pearson’s work is reflected vividly on his past wok, including 2010’s Satellites and 2012’s PopMatters-approved Mercury State. His third album Alone, Together comes out this summer, and as you can hear on the forlorn “As Deep as Love”, he’s a level of minimal majesty similar to that of Jason Isbell, his tenor voice and forlorn lyrics countered by echoes of distorted guitar.
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Under the Tosca name, the duo of Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Hubert has long prided itself on a downtempo brand of electronic music. With their 2014 LP Outta Here, however, Tosca took on a more dance-oriented vibe, although that’s not to say the chill has left the music completely. Take Outta Here opener “Harry Dean”, for instance; although comparatively “dancier” to earlier Tosca tunes, it’s still leagues away from the popular variants of EDM at the present.
In January of 2014, the Oakland-based rockers known as the Tumbleweed Wanderers took to a mansion-turned-home studio to produce what is now called Realize, their latest record. Opening with an invigorating number called “Bad Blood” (between this, Bastille, and Taylor Swift, that title is all the rage as of late), Tumbleweed Wanderers conjure up a dusky, Americana-tinged landscape, captured most distinctly on banjo-led closer “Real Eyes” and the tumbleweed pitter-patter of the snare drum on “Bag of Bones”. The Bay Area may be this band’s home, but their music brings the murky air and scorching heat of California’s Central Valley to mind. Of course, fine music knows no geographical limits, and Realize is no exception.
Classic rock is alive and well in the music of the Brazilian Johnsons, a Brooklyn-based quintet that sounds like it has spent years touring alongside groups such as .38 Special, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Black Crowes. On “I’ll See You Down the Road”, the title cut off their new EP, the band peddles in in a catchy, electric guitar-driven rock that hearkens back to a golden age of radio rock and yet also feels timeless in its appeal. Having played stages along with Iron Maiden and Johnny Winter, the Brazilian Johnson’s rock chops are clearly getting tested alongside the greats, and should they keep on the path “Down the Road”, they’ve got good reason to believe things are looking up.
On the surface, “Life Between the Grooves”, the latest single by the Atlanta-based chanteuse Brooklynn, is an exceptionally catchy, ‘70s disco funk-heavy jam—and that, it certainly is. However, there’s more to this “Groove” than one might initially let on, particularly in the track’s lyrics. There’s a meaning behind this danceable jam.