An ambitious, stylistically diverse and frequently surprising collection, Corb Lund returns October 9, 2015 with his highly-anticipated new studio album, Things That Can’t Be Undone (New West Records). Helmed by white-hot producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson) at his Nashville studio Low Country Sound, the record marks Lund’s first new studio LP in five years and finds the acclaimed Canadian songwriter pushing his wry observations, darkly biting tales, rural balladry and keen storytelling into musically and thematically new terrain, resulting in the best album of his accomplished career. Lund’s previous album, 2012’s Cabin Fever, hit #1 in Canada its first week, was certified gold, made the Polaris Music Prize longlist and led to him making big strides in the U.S. In addition to helping him secure a foothold in America, avowed fan Miranda Lambert invited Lund to open several stadium shows for her and Dierks Bentley and record made an impression with the media; raves came from NPR, Uncut (9 out of 10) the New York Times and the Washington Post, which exclaimed: “Lund is a revelation, laconic and scary smart, with a devil’s eye for details.” [Rolling Stone via artist website]

Sounds like: The Smalls, Robert Earl Keen, Ian Tyson


Zachary Cole Smith’s mother was a Vogue editor, and he grew up in Connecticut where her boyfriend taught him to play guitar as a weapon against boredom. It’s certainly one way to get into making music, but perhaps no longer the most popular route. “On tour a couple years ago, there was lots of dark electronic music out. I saw bands out there with guitars, and I was like, That’s it. No more guitars,” says Smith. “I tried for a week and I was like, Wait. I only play guitar.” After some time living on the West Coast and touring with the New York-based Beach Fossils, Smith returned to the East Coast last spring, moved into a cheap apartment in Brooklyn with no running water, and found the city had continued on without him. “I could have called my friends to hang out, but I felt invisible,” Smith says. He stayed home listening to spacious free jazz. Writing songs seriously gave him something to talk to other people about so, as social stimulus, he booked a show. DIIV was born and a band was assembled, featuring onetime Smith Westerns drummer Colby Hewitt, grade school friend Andrew Bailey and bassist Devin Ruben Perez. The show turned into an unofficial residency, with DIIV playing house band around DIY venues like 285 Kent and Shea Stadium, sometimes three nights a week. “New York is like the end of the world,” says Perez. “All the partying, the drugs, they’re all in New York. It’s like running away and joining the circus, all these shows and freaky people and things to do.” A NYC native adopted by the Brooklyn scene after his parents abandoned him at 16, Perez had booked shows, worked the door and played at home, but he had never actually been in a band before DIIV. “Sometimes you just find compatible people. We don’t have to talk, we just know what’s bothering each other,” he says. Smith designed DIIV to travel well. “I wanted a band that would be really easy to set up and play. There’s nothing that can go wrong—we can play a basement or Webster Hall, and everything would be the same.” But the band’s debut, Oshin, on Captured Tracks, is not just a screw-around good time. “The whole lo-fi explosion was cool because it allowed people to get their music heard and new songwriters to emerge,” Smith says, “but those records won’t last.” Oshin may be unabashedly guitar-driven, but it eschews traditional rock structure. Much of Oshin is just finely textured, forward-moving sprawl. Smith places the songs into three categories: “happy, Kraut and sad,” and sequenced the record to conclude with a string of the latter, one heavy-hearted jam after the next. Whether or not it’ll encourage kids to pick up guitars in 2030 is yet to be determined, right now it’s perfect for lying on the pavement, staring down at your sandals and back up at the sky. [The Fader]

Sounds like: Beach Fossils, Wild Nothing, Craft Spells


Ed Schrader’s Music Beat is a two-piece: One weirdo with a floor tom and a basso profundo voice tht turns into a Frank Black shriek—that’d be Ed Schrader—and another weirdo, named Devin Rice, who plays bass guitar. Together, they record vivid little tantrums that produce a whole lot of tension and foreboding from very elemental sounds. [Pitchfork] In 2008/09 many had seen Ed “live” with just a floor tom, one light, plenty of jokes, and commanding voice. This era often left people with a sense that they had just seen a man unhinged trying to tell them something sacred in the form of a song, or something, they weren’t too sure what they saw. After a few tours on his own, in 2010 Ed asked Devlin to help him expand the songs with his limited knowledge of the bass guitar. Now the “live” show is one guy playing a drum with a light shining, singing his ass off and another dude with a bass, in the dark laughing at the other guy’s jokes. This era (which still continues) tends to leave people with that same fascination of the sacred unhinged but now it seems a little less scary, more familiar and they can can bring their dates to see this “cool band that you might not have heard of.” This union shortly brought about the release of Jazz Mind on Load Records which featured collaborations with Randy Randall of No Age and Baltimore sound gurus Matmos. Jazz Mind captured the raw and jarring “live” show with songs that seem equally loud and destructive, pensive and haunting. Since the albums release the duo have been touring non-stop through North America and Europe, by themselves mostly but have also been seen in opening slots with Dan Deacon, Future Islands and hardcore luminaries Ceremony. Party Jail picks up where Jazz Mind left off with a greater focus on making the listener aware that Ed Schrader’s Music Beat are not nut jobs who just play their best guess at punk. They wish to reveal that they are secretly a band that write pop songs, whether you know it or not. [Infinity Cat Recordings]

Sounds like: Room Runner, Naomi Punk, Double Dagger


Little Fevers is a sweet and crunchy amalgamation of pop rock that has formed, much like a pearl, over many years around a tiny grain of sand. Little Fevers emerged in 2013, floating up out of the ocean to walk around on land. Comprised of two guys and two girls who, having operated as longtime collaborators, have honed their craft traveling the country together for several years. The group is a project curated by the eyes and ears of those that sit on the same little raft, letting the sun wash over them as they paddle and splash to their next port of call. The first whispers of an album were passed back and forth, cross-country, as the parts came together to form something distinctly whole. Much of the album was laid down at Vacation Island in Brooklyn with the remaining bits assembled at Old Blackberry Way in Minneapolis. Invoking the playfulness of bands like Pavement and the Violent Femmes, and vocal textures of idols such as Peter Gabriel and The Microphones to form something all their own, Little Fevers is delighted to funnel all of the color and excitement into your ear holes in 2015.

Sounds like: The Royalty, Foxes!


Rock group Bronze Radio Return were formed in Hartford, Connecticut by singer/songwriter/guitarist Chris Henderson after he attended the Hartt School of Music. Henderson recruited guitarist Patrick Fetkowitz, keyboard player Matt Warner, bassist Dan Travis, and drummer Rob Griffith, and the band began to play around New England and in New York, attracting fans and management. They released their self-titled debut EP on March 18, 2008, followed in 2009 by their first full-length, Old Time Speaker. For their next studio outing, the band headed to Norman, Oklahoma with OTS producer Chad Copelin. The resulting Shake! Shake! Shake! helped further establish the band’s profile, eliciting a bevy of licensing opportunities in both film and television. The group returned to the East Coast, again with Copelin, for their third long-player, 2013’s Up, On & Over. [Billboard]

Sounds like: Royal Teeth, Young The Giant, Milo Greene

Blog by Gina Reis