Aaron Lee Tasjan – End Of The Day

Most people know Aaron Lee Tasjan as one of the wittiest, most offbeat, brilliant Americana troubadours writing and singing songs today. And the New York Times, NPR and Rolling Stone will all gladly corroborate. But steel yourselves, folk fans, because heís about to follow his restless muse straight out from under the weight of everyoneís expectations into the kind of glammy, jingle-jangle power-pop- and- psych-tinged sounds he hasnít dabbled in since his younger days playing lead guitar for a late-period incarnation of The New York Dolls. Really, the roots of Tasjanís new record, Karma for Cheap, stretch even deeper, drinking up the sounds of a Southern California childhood spent listening to The Beatles while riding around with his mom at the wheel of their navy blue Volvo station wagonóback to the very first pre-teen year he picked up a six-string and started figuring out all the pretty little chords in those Lennon-McCartney tunes. Back to the pure, blissful unfiltered innocence of falling in love with music for the first time. Aaron Lee Tasjan says he aims to use his music for good, but heís no protest singer. And Karma for Cheap isnít some heavy-handed, didactic political record cramming a set of talking points down anyoneís throat. Itís a finely tuned rock & roll seismograph measuring the dark and uncertain vibrations of the time in which it was created.

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Citizen Cope – Justice

Ask him how he knew it was time to record his first new studio album in seven years, and Clarence Greenwood, the trailblazing artist and producer better known as Citizen Cope, has a simple answer: “It was time.”Cope has built an entire career on trusting his gut and following his muse, and if his new album, ‘Heroin & Helicopters,’is any indication, his instincts are sharper now than ever before. As technically innovative as it is emotionally resonant, the record arrives at a uniquely challenging moment in modern American culture, when profound political polarization and social divisions seem to grow deeper by the day. Rather than dwell on our differences, though, Cope tunes into what unites us here, drawing one very thing from Chuck Brown and The Beatles to Randy Newman and Bill Withers, aiming his unique brand of urban folk inwards to reflecton the personal journeys we all undertake to embrace ourselves despite our flaws. “I think we’re all on a mission to find some inner peace,” he reflects. “We’re all going towards this collective consciousness, and even though it’s dark right now, I believe we’re going to reach that place together. Peace and harmony and understanding, that’s how you combat the darkness, and that’s what this record is all about.”

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Hodera – For Heaven’s Sake

Hodera has made a career out of taking the feelings expressed above and dissecting them through song. The band, whose members hail from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, has spent the better part of the past decade taking the moments in life where time stand still and transcribing them to a song. Hodera’s material reads like the diaries of people who spend too much time in their heads recounting every action they took on nights they wish they could have made last forever.

It’s a collection of the highest highs and lowest lows one can experience, with each heartbeat wrung out like a rag holding water to ensure every last drop of nuance spills onto the page where their music is born.

 

 

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Kurt Deemer Band – Shadows Pass

Kurt Deemer Band is a union of indie-rock musicians who emerged from the Baltimore club scene and coalesced around the melodic pop songs of frontman Kurt Deemer. Many years of songwriting have given Kurt’s compositions a rich and timeless feel.

They draw from the same American musical heritage as Tom Petty, Dave Grohl, and Paul Westerberg to name a few. There is an unmistakable style that has been well honed yet resists the stereotypes.

KDB is a shambolic mess of Rock Optimism — a glitch in the matrix of today’s musical landscape: Real Songs played with Real Instruments by Real People.

 

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Jack Drag – New Number One

It’s been 16 years since John Dragonetti called himself Jack Drag. Hard as it is to believe, the last time The Submarines singer and co-founder released a full album under his solo moniker was 2002’s The Sun Inside—the last of his earnest, Boston-based college-rock albums, including 2000’s Soft Sounds LP: Aviating, 1998’s Dope Box, 1995’s Self-Titled.

In addition to his solo material, Dragonetti is perhaps best known for performing in the on-again off-again indie-pop duo The Submarines, which he co-founded with ex-wife Blake Hazard in Los Angeles. After finishing their 2011 album, Love Notes/Letter Bombs, Dragonetti turned his focus to composing for film and TV (he recently scored the 2018 comedy All About Nina, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Common).

 

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Juliana Hatfield – It’s So Weird

Fast on the heels of April 2018’s acclaimed “Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John” comes Juliana Hatfield’s new self-produced all-originals album “Weird”. Freda Love Smith (Blake Babies, Sunshine Boys) and Todd Philips (Lemonheads, The Juliana Hatfield Three) each played drums on multiple songs while Hatfield played all of the other instruments (and some additional drums). “Weird” drops worldwide January 18th on American Laundromat Records.

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Charlie Mars – Beach Town

Mississippi-born singer/songwriter Charlie Mars is a country- and folk-inflected pop artist blessed with a warm vocal croon and a knack for crafting poignant, earthy songs. Born in 1974 in Laurel, Mississippi, Mars grew up listening to various styles of pop/rock, from Michael Jackson to the Violent Femmes. Just prior to his senior year of high school, Mars moved with his family to Jackson, Mississippi, where he attended Jackson Preparatory School and played in the band Adley Madidafus. After graduating high school in 1992, he attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. During this time, he began seriously pursuing a music career, often playing with fellow SMU student, singer/songwriter Jack Ingram. It was also while at SMU that Mars formed the Charlie Mars Band and released several albums, including 1995’s Broken Arrow, 1997’s Born & Razed, and 1999’s End of Romance.

Along with this early success came a hard-partying lifestyle and taste for alcohol that found him disbanding his group and entering rehab for a month. In 2001, looking to start fresh, Mars moved to Sweden where began writing new material. Re-energized, he returned to the United States where he spent time in Austin, Texas and eventually released his 2004 self-titled album on V2 Records. After settling in New York City in 2008, he began work on what would eventually become his “Texas Trilogy.” Recorded with producer Billy Harvey and a core group of musicians in Austin, the trilogy includes 2009’s Like a Bird, Like a Plane and 2012’s Blackberry Light. In 2014, Mars rounded out the trilogy with the release of his seventh studio album, the Harvey-produced Money. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi

Charlie Mars will be returning to The Saint for an Asbury Cafe show on February 22 2019.

 

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Sharon Van Etten – Comeback Kid

Sharon Van Etten’s Remind Me Tomorrow comes four years after Are We There, and reckons with the life that gets lived when you put off the small and inevitable maintenance in favor of something more present. Throughout Remind Me Tomorrow, Sharon Van Etten veers towards the driving, dark glimmer moods that have illuminated the edges of her music and pursues them full force. With curling low vocals and brave intimacy, Remind Me Tomorrow is an ambitious album that provokes our most sensitive impulses: reckless affections, spirited nurturing, and tender courage.

“I wrote this record while going to school, pregnant, after taking the OA audition,” says Van Etten. “I met Katherine Dieckmann while I was in school and writing for her film. She’s a true New Yorker who has lived in her rent controlled west village apartment for over 30 years. Her husband lives across the hall. They raised two kids this way. When I expressed concern about raising a child as an artist in New York City, she said ‘you’re going to be fine. Your kids are going to be fine. If you have the right partner, you’ll figure it out together.’” Van Etten goes on, “I want to be a mom, a singer, an actress, go to school, but yeah, I have a stain on my shirt, oatmeal in my hair and I feel like a mess, but I’m here. Doing it. This record is about pursuing your passions.” The reality is Remind Me Tomorrow was written in stolen time: in scraps of hours wedged between myriad endeavors — Van Etten guest-starred in The OA, and brought her music onstage in David Lynch’s revival of Twin Peaks. Off-screen, she wrote her first score for Katherine Dieckmann’s movie Strange Weather and the closing title song for Tig Notaro’s show Tig. She goes on, “The album title makes me giggle. It occurred to me one night when I, on autopilot, clicked ‘remind me tomorrow’ on the update window that pops up all the time on my computer. I hadn’t updated in months! And it’s the simplest of tasks!”

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Dramarama – Swamp Song

Thirteen years is a long time between releases for Dramarama, but it’s not as though the band, which includes original members/guitarists Peter Wood and Mark “Mr. E. Boy” Englert and the “new guys”– drummer Tony Snow and bassist Mike Davis, aka The Thunder Brothers, who joined twenty or so years ago–have let any dust gather, any moss to grow. On the contrary, the band has been tearing up stages across the country the entire time. As Easdale puts it, “Few things compare to that sense of uninhibitedness you feel during a great show–waving your fist, stomping your feet, singing out and not giving a f*ck about anything but the music. Dramarama shows are fast, tight, loud, sweaty sing-alongs.”
And now a bit of history…
Hailing from the Garden State, three friends and bandmates pack their suitcases, lug their guitars and head west to sunny Southern California. Upon arriving in the Dream Factory Entertainment Capital of the World that is Hollywood, singer/songwriter John Easdale and guitarists Peter Wood and Mark Englert discover their dream is, well, a reality. The “World Famous” KROQ (106.7 FM) is not only playing their song, “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You)” [from their first LP, 1985’s Cinema Verite], but is playing it in heavy rotation! One day you’re working at the local hardware store in Wayne New Jersey, the next you’re being courted by countless record companies and touted to be the next big thing.

 

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Mercy Union – Chips And Vics

Four friends from New Jersey decided to come together over the past year in a basement. Over their countless meetings in the shadow of Manhattan in Jersey City, the four members of Mercy Union – Jared Hart, Rocky Catanese, Nick Jorgensen and Benny Horowitz – pushed their creative limits through endless riffs and backbeats, and in the process, the band was born.

While navigating topics as heavy as the air in that tight basement, these musicians blended their individual styles into a unique and wistful sound that moves one’s soul. From the driving & sweeping centerpieces, “Young Dionysians” and “Silver Dollars,” to the dreamy, romantic twang of “Layovers,” The Quarry is influenced both by the timeless music of the band’s home state as it is the classic tradition of punk, soul and Americana music. There is something familiar about the music presented here; it’s not quite déjà vu or nostalgia but it harkens back to the music cherished during one’s formative years.

The Quarry washes over you – it is nothing you’ve heard before and has the comfort you didn’t know you needed. Hart had the following to share about the album and what it represents to him: “‘The Quarry’ embodies the human thought process. It represents the ability to look at your life and memories from the outside, and hopefully gain some perspective. These songs explore elements of worry, gratitude, loss, and self-worth. It’s a record I’ve been hesitant to approach until the right pieces fell into place.”

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