What I’ve Been Listening To: Summer 2019

I’m back again with another quarterly edition of What I’ve Been Listening To, a series of posts where I share new music from the past couple of months that has caught my attention.

In this blog post, I’ll be talking about two new albums, an EP, and a bunch of new songs, all from 12 different musicians! Let’s get started!

1. Caught in the Middle – Aly Cook

I’ll be posting my interview with Aly soon on the blog, but in the meantime, I’ll share my thoughts on her new album, which I was generously sent to review (Thanks Aly!). This album has some eclectic sounds and that’s where the title comes from, being “caught in the middle” of country and blues. There are three covers on the album: “Steal Your Love” (by Lucinda Williams), “Not Pretty Enough” (by Kasey Chambers), and “Angel From Montgomery” (by John Prine).

The album was crowdfunded by Aly’s loyal fans and features contributions from Australian rock legend, Buzz Bidstrup, of The Angels, The Party Boys, and GANGgajang.

My favourite songs on the album are the upbeat “Red Dirt Road Trip”, “First to Throw a Stone”, “The Garden Swing” (reminds me a lot of Irish/Celtic music), the empowering “We Hold Up Half The Sky”, and the bluesy “Caught in the Middle”.

Overall, an excellent album and I see a lot of crossover appeal here. You don’t have to be a huge country fan to love this album, there’s plenty of rock in it. No matter what kind of music is your favourite, you’ll find something you like on Caught in the Middle.

The album comes out on September 27th, but the music video and first single, “Red Dirt Road Trip” comes out on September 20th.

You can listen to one of the tracks, “Steal Your Love”, below now:

The album is out now! Stream it here:

2. In Between The Lions – Little Man

Leo season may be over, but if you’re still in that roaring Leo mood and want to hear some fresh energetic glam/hard rock inspired music, In Between The Lions may be the right album for you. This long-awaited album has been a year of hard work for the Minnesota based band. Thank you Chris for sending this album to me to review! 🙂

You may have heard the singles: “BLVD”, “As One”, “Listen to Me”, “Sometimes Solitude”, and “Body to Body”. I like that he released a bunch of singles beforehand to build up hype for the album and keep the fans engaged.

The album opens up strong with the hard rock Deep Purple/Led Zeppelin-esque title track. Make sure to play this album loud, especially for songs like “BLVD”, “Listen To Me”, and “Magician”.

My favourite songs on the album are: the opening track “In Between the Lions”, “BLVD”, the psychedelic “As One”, “Destined to be Dead”, “Listen To Me”, “Magician”, and “Step Up To Be Tall” (a really cool combination of sound inspirations that remind me of Oasis and T. Rex).

As I am writing this blog post, Chris of Little Man is in London now and he will be playing a solo set for the Marc Bolan T. Rex London Bop at The Claddagh Ring on September 16th.

Mark your calendars because the album will be out on Spotify on the 27th of September!

Below, you can stream Little Man’s latest single, “Body to Body”.

The album is out now! You can stream it here:

3. Badlands – Toria Wooff

I recently interviewed Toria and you can check out my interview with her here. Last month, she released her first professionally-recorded EP, Badlands. Her inspirations are gothic literature and Americana and it’s really cool hearing her take on it. I like every track on this EP and I’m looking forward to hearing more music from her.

4. Rosalie Cunningham – Rosalie Cunningham

The former lead singer of Purson has released an album! After a few bumps in the road with crowdfunding, the wait is over. If you like witchy, gothic, trippy, hard rock you’ll love Rosalie’s music and if you miss the music of Purson and were saddened by the news of the band’s breakup, you’ll be happy to hear this album. Beautifully produced, I love the songs “Ride On My Bike”, “Riddles and Games”, “Butterflies”, and the epic “A Yarn From The Wheel”. If you like Coven, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, Temples, and Purson, you’ll like this album.

5. “Money” and “You Ain’t The Problem” – Michael Kiwanuka

London born R&B influenced indie/folk singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka recently released a single, “You Ain’t The Problem” from his upcoming album, Kiwanuka, which will be released on October 25th. I first found out about his music because a couple of his songs were on the soundtrack of the Netflix series, The Get Down. His musical influences are diverse and include legendary names like Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Richie Havens, and Funkadelic.

I’m really enjoying this funky track called “Money”. Beautifully combines funk and rock.

“You Ain’t The Problem” is one of those songs I could visualise Soul Train dancers dancing to and I love the Jimi Hendrix-esque touches like the fuzzy,distorted guitars.

6. “Hot Motion” and “You’re Either On Something” – Temples

Psychedelic band Temples’ new album, Hot Motion, will be coming out on September 27th and I can’t wait to hear it. They have released two songs that will be on the album to whet fans’ appetites.

As always, I’m impressed and I am always looking forward to what’s next for the band. “Hot Motion”, the title track is an evolved form of the classic psychedelic sound of theirs I came to love from their debut, Sun Structures. It must sound amazing live!

I like how the artwork is of an ankh, and they have an earlier song with that title. A softer, more ethereal sounding song than “Hot Motion”, reminding me more of the vibes I get when I listen to “Certainty”, but with that psychedelic sound I know and love. Temples are an amazing example of how there is still great music coming out now.

7. “In The Air” and “Polar Love” – Allah-Las

“In The Air” reminds me of surf rock and garage rock. I’m always impressed with everything I hear from the Allah-Las. It’s a very summery song, but it’s perfect for any time. It’s my favourite season and I need to hear music that reminds me of it to brighten my days in rainy, gloomy Ireland.

“Polar Onion” is their latest release, released last month. Also worth giving a listen.

8. “Borders” – Flare Voyant

I remember hearing about this London based, borderless band either on Facebook or Instagram and I was wowed. Recently, they met up with Jimmy Page and he praised their performance at the Troubadour in London. Jimmy Page said of them: “I saw Flare Voyant at the Troubadour in London. They are a superb live band. Check them out!”

The band have a little under 5,000 followers on Facebook and just under 1,700 on Instagram and they deserve way more! Just goes to show you that it isn’t the follower count that indicates talent and value. Give their music a listen and give them a follow.

Recently, they released a music video for their funky blues-rock political song, “Borders”, very relevant to the time we live in, a time of fascist right wing governments and it seems like everywhere you turn you hear that racist, xenophobic rhetoric. Doesn’t help hearing this stuff when you’re an immigrant and of Latin American descent. The band are an international band with members from 6 different nationalities.

These lyrics particularly resonated with me:

“You close the borders, you close your eyes
You may overlook the problem but it does not mean it’s not still there”

You can watch the video below:

9. “Taker” and “Skin Game” – Diiv

Diiv have only released two albums, Oshin and Is The Is Are. In October, their third album, Deceiver, will be released. This song has more of a grungy 90s inspired sound rather than their 80s shoegaze influenced sound. “Taker” definitely reminds me of songs from the game, Life is Strange. “Skin Game” has more of a familiar Diiv sound, with a bit more edge.

10. “Power Player” – Blame Candy

The b-side to their latest single, “MommyDaddyMoney”, this song is modernised, fresh glam rock with a bit of metal/hard rock influence. I love the guitar solo! If you like The Struts The Darkness, The Strokes, Van Halen, and Queen you might like Blame Candy. Definitely a band I want to keep my eye on because I’m really hoping to hear a full length album from them. They also are underappreciated and deserve way more than 9,300 Instagram followers! I also recommend their songs “Pathetic” and “Sweet Tooth”.

11. “Ponte Bajo El Sol” – Mystic Braves

Mystic Braves are another one of those bands that I love a lot of their work. I found out about this new release last weekend when I was on the bus between my husband’s hometown and the town we live in. Always great to hear music in Spanish. I love the surf/garage rock sound of this song and I could totally picture this song being used in a 60s movie.

12. “Always There” – Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet have been very busy and have been going places! They have released a new song that is on the soundtrack for the movie, A Million Little Pieces. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, the song was recorded during the sessions for their last album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army, but wasn’t released at the time of the album’s release. I’m always in the mood for Greta Van Fleet and I can’t wait to hear their next album, which is supposed to be coming out later this year.

Jake and Sam Kiszka say that it will be “something quite different”. I have a lot of hope for this album to dispel the myth that they are a Millennial/Zoomer Led Zeppelin copy. Nothing wrong with being Led Zeppelin influenced though! They never fail to impress me.

Shout out to my good friend and Topaz level Patron, Patrick and my friend Matt.

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