Renée Reed - Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band - PACKS - Jane Inc - Susan Gibson

Renée Reed - Neboj.

Lafayette, Louisiana musician Renée Reed shares "Neboj" from her self-titled debut album out March 26, 2021 via Keeled Scales.

The song follows the hazy psych of the French single "Où est la fée" released in February, and the spell-binding earworm "Fast One" released in January.

"Neboj" is originally a Czech word that Renée came across while diving into Czech animation. For Renée, this is a song about letting go and not being afraid to fall in love, to just trust her heart. The song gently unspools with brilliantly finger-picked guitar and Renée's dreamlike vocals.

Renée grew up on the accordion-bending knee of her grandfather Harry Trahan, in the middle of countless jam sessions at the one-stop Cajun shop owned by her parents Lisa Trahan and Mitch Reed, and soaked in the storytelling of her great uncle, the folklorist Revon Reed and his infamous brothers from Mamou. She was surrounded by a litany of Cajun and Creole music legends, both backstage at the many festivals of Southwest Louisiana, and on the porch of her family home.


Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band - Too Cool To Dance.

The new album from Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Dance Songs for Hard Times, is scheduled for independent release April 9, 2021 via Thirty Tigers. Ahead of that, the band released a video (“Ways and Means”) last month and a second single, “Too Cool to Dance,” this week.

Of the “Ways and Means” song and video, Rev. Peyton explains: “It’s a personal song, like all of my songs, but the song ‘Ways and Means’ is written for all those folks that have the moves, the style, the substance, the talent, but maybe not the seed money or the famous last name.  All those people that had to work extra hard, because they didn’t get to start way ahead. Folks that have been playing catch up since they were born, and had to get really good just to make it to zero. The idea for the video was born from the lyrics, but also as a wink and a nod to those folks that know what it’s like inside of a Laundromat. There could be a lot of magic hidden inside the people that you interact with in places like a Laundromat, and my hope was to convey that.”

“‘Too Cool to Dance,’” he says, “might be interpreted as the album’s centerpiece for its message of not taking things for granted. The seize-the-moment anthem offers the chorus, ‘We may not get another chance. Oh, please don’t tell me you’re too cool to dance.’ I was thinking about all the times where I’ve been somewhere and felt too cool to dance. I didn’t want to be that way. Not being able to do anything last year, I had this feeling of, ‘Man, I’m not going to waste any moment like this in my life — ever.’”

The album as a whole conveys the hopes and fears of pandemic living. Rev. Peyton, the Big Damn Band’s vocalist and world-class fingerstyle guitarist, details bleak financial challenges in “Ways and Means” and “Dirty Hustlin’.” He pines for in-person reunions with loved ones on “No Tellin’ When,” and pleads for celestial relief on the album-closing “Come Down Angels.”


PACKS - Silvertongue.

PACKS were an increasingly visible presence in Toronto in the first part of 2020. A string of intriguing lo-fi singles, appearing once every month or so on Bandcamp through 2019 had begun to persuade people to take notice in their hometown, where the band were sharing stages with people like Squirrel Flower and Odetta Hartman, and outside of it. Despite having rarely ventured outside of the city, and having never crossed the border into the US as a band, these early tracks caught the attention of the rising Brooklyn label Fire Talk Records, who have recently introduced celebrated acts like Dehd, Patio, Deeper and Mamalarky. Today, the band are formally announcing their debut LP take the cake, which will be released by Fire Talk in partnership with the Toronto indie Royal Mountain Records (Alvvays, Wild Pink, Mac Demarco) on May 21st.

To mark the announce the band are sharing the album's first single "Silvertongue," a track that captures PACKS at their fuzzed-out best.

"It’s easy to be lured into the comforts of past relationships," says PACKS leader Madeline Link. "What’s harder is dealing with years of exhaustion, mistrust, and always hoping. Ditch the whiplash of manipulation and decide what YOU want out of love! "

PACKS was initially a solo songwriting project of Madeline Link that she pursued between gigs as a set dresser for commercials, the band is now a four piece, composed of Shane Hooper (drums), Noah O’Neil (bass), and Dexter Nash (lead guitar). Together they turn Link’s melodically adventurous and introspective songs into the purest and brightest kind of indie rock. Anchored by Link’s voice, which brings such an easy charm to her songs that it’s easy to miss her keen ear for acrobatic vocal lines, the band’s debut is a collection of songs that marry the loose but incisive jangle of early Pavement with the barbed sweetness of Sebadoh and the wide-eyed wonder of the first Shins LP.

Written in two different settings, between the city limits of Toronto where Link was living in 2019, and the Ottawa suburbs where she was quarantined with her parents in the spring 2020, both remain complementary emblems of self-reflection and wry observation of the mundanity of daily life.

“The album is a meeting of old and new,” says Link. “Old songs from a year ago where I'm having really horrifyingly awful days at work, getting doored while biking in Toronto and flying into the middle of the street, or going on dates with guys who I'm either instantly in love with, or who end up creeping me out a bit. Those songs are more packed with that feeling of hurtling-through-time-and-space-at-breakneck-speed, manic energy. The newer songs are infused with a foggier, slower-paced disillusionment, and deal with the strangeness of a reality morphing before my eyes every day. I still try to be optimistic obviously, but these songs are really glorified coping mechanisms.”


Jane Inc - Obliterated.

Toronto-based Jane Inc., the solo project of Carlyn Bezic who is also known for her work as part of U.S. Girls, Ice Cream and Darlene Shrugg is today sharing the widescreen, cinematic-pop of "Obliterated" – listen here. The new single, taken from Bezic's forthcoming debut album, Number One – out via Telephone Explosion Records on March 19, 2021 – follows on from previous tracks which have found tips at Brooklyn Vegan, The Line of Best Fit and Earmilk.

Written and produced by Bezic, the new project is unlike anything she has been part of previously. Beginning as a one-woman show, Carlyn wrote and produced the early songs for Number One by layering multiple instruments on top of samples and drum breaks. She later recruited recording engineer, Steve Chahley to co-produce and record drum and drum machine with Toronto drummer, Evan J. Cartwright (Tasseomancy, U.S Girls, Eucalyptus), adding saxophone by Nick Dourado (BUDi Band, Aquakultre, Fiver) and Wurlitzer by Scott Harwood (Scott Hardware).

In a lot of ways, this album is a constant self-assessment. How do our surroundings impact our depression? Does outside imagery warp our ideas of beauty and self-worth? How do we manage our unhealthy connections to social media? What can we do to better our planet? This internal dialogue often leads Number One into vulnerable territory. “I think a lot of the songs on the album deal with how we form ourselves and how that gets fragmented and complicated by the societal structures we interact with”, says Bezic. “It felt right to make a collage of pictures of me (and ads from magazines) for the cover of the album. It’s like a weird fragmented self, building up an idea of who you are based on other people's ideas of you”.

This new cut, "Obliterated" marks the closing track on the forthcoming album and an adventure into this brightly colored, syrupy alt-pop which is fashioned around downtempo percussion and woozy synthesizers. As a single, "Obliterated" continues to explore some of the album's wider themes that look at our digital footprint and how we appear to others in an online world: "Obliterated" imagines the moment that the IRL self is overtaken by the online self," says Carlyn, "leaving a serene melancholy and calm resignation"

Themes around how self-image affects our decisions and everyday lives are central Number One. Within its lyrics and boisterous rhythms is an exploration of the difficulties of self-reflection when our sense of self is constantly shifting in each new context. Jane Inc. is an outlet to escape real-world bummers and forge fantasies, a sonic journey through a complex reality. It is an extension of Bezic, a solo persona used to explore the different facets of herself and her artistry.


Susan Gibson - Compassionate Combat.

Texas songwriter, Susan Gibson released the new single, “Compassionate Combat”, today to celebrate, thank and benefit nurses across the country and the world. Produced by Billy Crockett and recorded at his Blue Rock Studio late last year, the song speaks to the hard work, and dedication that nurses put into helping those in need. Never in our lifetime has this work been more at the forefront of our thoughts than it has been over the last year and Gibson’s song captures the feelings that so many of us share about them. So often we struggle to find a way to thank those people that do so much for us and “Compassionate Combat” serves as the perfect way to show them that we all care. It is officially available on all streaming platforms today. The video directed by Brent Tallent (linked below) is also now posted.

The song itself has had quite a journey. In the spring of 2020 as our country was realizing the impact the pandemic was having and going to continue to have, Susan was one of the songwriters approached by Carolyn Philips of Songs For The Soul, an organization that strives to support caregivers through the power of music. Carolyn asked Susan to write a thank you song to the nurses that were working so diligently to help steer the nation through these unprecedented times. Once “Compassionate Combat” was written and a demo distributed to Songs for the Soul’s network it began to take on a life of its own. 

Shortly after, a friend asked Susan to record a video telegram of the song to send to nurses in the Houston area. With no plans to record a new album and the touring industry at a halt, Gibson spent the rest of the summer and early fall in Montana on her family cabin. A November online show from The Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio would prove to be a pivotal moment in this song’s life. With no other new songs to showcase but having never performed the song live, Gibson decided to throw “Compassionate Combat” into the set list.