The Hold Steady was the last band (part of) our team saw before the world has changed, in a year that started recreational, but ended kinda medical. Our yearly pilgrimage to London will unfortunately not happen in 2021, but they’re making up for it with their first proper album since 2014 (not counting 2019’s single collection “Thrashing Thru the Passion”). Our favourite rock band is back. Let’s celebrate like it’s early March 2020, minus the getting ourselves crammed inside a room with no masks on. At least for now.
Feel-good pop doesn’t seem to fulfil its promise these days. But Arlo Parks‘s debut album, “Collapsed in Sunbeams”, manages to bring a little bit of sunlight-infused pop into our hearts and ears. Extra points for the poetic-feel and the whimsical but very accurate Portra 400 reference.
Aaron Frazer is best known as the drummer (and singer) for soul outfit Durand Jones & the Indications. Like so many songwriters in the past few years, he teamed up with the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and got his debut solo album, “Introducing…”, ready in no time. We’re not even halfway through January and we already have our first highlight of 2021. Feels good to be back.
Toronto experimental jazz outfit Badge Époque Ensemble is back with “Self Help”. Just like in their 2019 debut, the collective has channeled selected vocalists to voice some of the tracks – one of them one of our favorite Canadian singer-songwriters, Jennifer Castle.