New Music Friday: 1/31/20

Kesha, Blossoms, Drive-By Truckers, and more highlight this week's edition of New Music Friday, brought to you by Steven McCash.

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It’s finally Super Bowl weekend and you’re either thinking about how much guacamole you need for your party or which prop bets you’re going to bet. While you are pondering these great life decisions, push play on some of the amazing music out this week. Side note: Bet tails to win the coin toss and you can thank me later.

Kesha High Road

The opening track of Kesha’s High Road, “Tonight,” begins sounding a lot like something off of her last album Rainbow, but quickly switches into something reminiscent of her debut album Animal. Rainbow showed a more mature Kesha as she transitioned away from party anthems to songs more biographical that showed that life is messy and complicated. High Road is a perfect combination of both sides of Kesha and shows that she is still an important part of pop music.

Her nasty, public split from long time producer Dr. Luke is behind her now and High Road proves that she does not have to rely on a ‘super producer’ to create an amazing record. The Nashville native shows off her country roots on “Resentment” while sharing the spotlight with Brian Wilson, Sturgill Simpson and up and coming singer/songwriter Wrabel. 

The party anthems that made the former Dollar Sign Girl famous are there for those that long for the next “TiK Tok” or “Blow.” “Tonight” and “Birthday Suit” should fill the appetite for everyone looking to dance the night away at a club.

Kesha’s fourth studio album is her most complete album to date and truly captures what her sound truly is. Kesha’s Weird and Wonderful Rainbow Ride 2 cruise sets sail this October for the Bahamas and features live performances from The Struts, K. Flay, Misterwives, Kesha and many more. If you can’t wait that long you can catch Kesha along with Big Freedia at Ascend Amphitheater May 16. @KeshaRose

Blossoms Foolish Loving Spaces

It’s not at all rare in music for it to take a few albums before a band fully finds its sound. Such is the case for English indie pop band Blossoms with the release of their third album Foolish Loving Spaces. The new record is their most mature and ambitious album to date. Lyrically, love rings throughout every track, but also musically as well, as the album just feels to sway back and forth from beginning to end. 

The band spent the summer of 2019 working on the album while listening to only The Talking Heads, U2 and Primal Scream. The influences of these legendary groups are stamped all over Foolish Loving Spaces. 

“The album is a pure celebration of love in all of its splendid and baffling guises, toying with the so-called sins of lust and forbidden infatuation.”

The energetic and groovy opener “If You Think This Is real Life” is a song longing for a drive with the windows down and the volume turned way up. Blossoms has a busy March as they tour throughout the UK in support of the new album. If you’d like to catch them in the UK take a trip to Glasgow in early July as they are featured on the TRNSMT Festival bill along with Little Simz, Liam Gallagher, Rita Ora, Snow Patrol, and many more. @BlossomsBand

Drive-By Truckers The Unraveling 

When you’re a band that’s been making music for over 20 years, you naturally have to start asking yourself: what else is there to sing about? That is definitely not the case with Athens, GA based Drive-By Truckers. 2020 brings an election year and so much for the band to sing about. The Unraveling tackles dividing topics such as immigration, gun violence, racism, and the ongoing drug crisis. 

The emotions run all over on this album as vocalist and songwriter Patterson Hood accepts the darkness of the world while also looking past all of the ugliness and recognizing the beauty that life still has to offer. The politically charged theme matter of The Unraveling might be off-putting for some, but it’s albums like this that could open a dialogue between people with different identities and maybe help them understand a viewpoint other than their own.

Drive-By Truckers have amassed a dedicated following over the past two decades that will thoroughly enjoy the new album they’ve had to wait four years for. Highlights of the album include “Thoughts and Prayers,” “21st Century USA,” and “Babies In Cages.” DBT is about to embark on a massive tour in support of the new release that includes a stop at the Ryman on April 25. @drivebytruckers

Smoke Fairies Darkness Brings The Wonders Home

English duo Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire better known as Smoke Fairies return with their first album in four years. 2015s Wild Winter, a Christmas album, was their last album and showed that the duo enjoys the cold weather. Darkness shows Smoke Fairies have fully embraced the bleak winter weather. 

The album, while brilliantly displaying their dual vocals and pitching guitar lines, has a very dark, somber feel to it. Darkness is a very stripped down album that allows Jessica and Katherine to fly high through the use of blues-inspired guitars and their haunting vocals. The darkness of the album can be contributed to their English upbringing as well as the time spent in the Pacific Northwest while recording the album. The Seattle recording sessions with producer Phil Ek, who has worked with the likes of FleetFoxes and The Shins, helped give the album a singular sonic tone.

Smoke Fairies drew inspiration form the world of mystery during the making of the album including sea monsters, bird formations, and other strange creatures. @smokefairies

Tre Burt Caught It From the Rye

Without looking at the album artwork or Googling the artist, push play on Tre Burt’s new album. Close your eyes and try to hear anything else but a young Bob Dylan. Upon first listen of the album, it feels as if you have been taken back in time to 1962, when Dylan was establishing himself in the folk revival of the 1960s. Making the comparison to someone so influential in the history of American music is a daunting task to behold on someone, but Burt’s debut album shows the comparison is warranted.

Tre spends the album singing about the issues that people are dealing with in today’s world, but in his own poetic language. The nine tracks are extremely stripped down as Tre sings accompanied only by a harmonica, guitar and the occasional backup singer. 

Burt identifies legendary singer songwriter John Prine as a huge influence on his music, so it’s only fitting that Prine’s label, Oh Boy Records, discovered Tre’s music on Spotify. The soon-to-be-your-favorite-singer spoke about working with his label on his Facebook page.

“This is easily the most surreal thing to happen to me, seeing as John has played one of the most significant roles as veritable mentor to my songwriting throughout my life and to now be releasing music alongside such a tower in my skies is enough to make me fall flat on my face.”

You can catch Tre Burt at 3rd and Lindsley Friday, January 31 at 1:30 for his Record Release Show. If you can’t get out of work for the show, you can listen to it live on 89.5FM WMOT/Roots Radio. Tre will be at Standard Deluxe Inc. in Waverly, AL on February 1. @treburtofficial 

Check out the other great music coming out this week

  • Destroyer Have We Met
  • Dune Rats Hurry Up and Wait
  • Frances Quinlan Likewise
  • Louis Tomlinson Walls
  • Mint Julep Stray Fantasies
  • Nik Freitas Cavalo Marto
  • Polica When We Stay Alive
  • Possessed By Paul James As We Go Wandering
  • Son Little Aloha
  • Squirrel Flower I Was Born Swimming
  • Theory of a Deadman Say Nothing
  • Dustbowl Revival Is It You, Is It Me
  • Kirra Redefine
  • Krewellla Zer0
  • Lorna Shore Immortal
  • Russ Shake the Snow Globe
  • Serenity The Last Knight
  • Spencer Brown Stream of Consciousness

Steven McCash is the Music Columnist for SoBros Network. He is the pioneer of New Music Friday, highlighting each week’s new releases in the world of music, in addition to the occasional live show review. Follow on Twitter: @MC_Cash75

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