Album Review: Brendan Benson – Low Key – mxdwn.com

January 23rd, 2023 – 9:00 AM
Brendan Benson does it all

Nashville-based songman and multi-instrumentalist Brendan Benson has released his follow-up – or, according to an interview with Tinnitist, in his words, coda – to his 2020 record Dear Life, cleverly titled Low Key. And low key it is, running at just a few seconds over the 30 minute mark with eight songs to its name.
The power pop maestro known mostly for his collaborations with Jack White and their band The Raconteurs draws from a number of influences, allowing Benson to deftly portray his musical versatility – from 2000s R&B to McCartney tinged ballads, Benson doesn’t miss a beat.
Intricately layered harmonies shimmer throughout the opener, titled “Ain’t No Good” as a clipped Fatboy Slim-esque piano motif meshes with vocals saturated with vibrato as Benson climbs into his falsetto, exhibiting a range he seldom features elsewhere on the album. The beat is easy and simple, throbbing throughout at a steady pace before leading into the mellower, Elliott Smith imbued “I Missed the Plane.”
The ballad lives in a minor key, appropriately setting the scene as Benson details the bittersweet regret he feels as he laments “I miss the meaning, I miss the pain.” The song inches towards what the listener might believe to be a climax, though it, rather fittingly, never actually comes – just as what may happen when reminiscing on past failures, regrets and grievances, there is often no answer.
“People Grow Apart” continues the stripped-down feel of the previous track until an electric guitar and cymbals crash in at the chorus, the simplicity of the lyricism mostly giving way to the instrumental. It’s the longest original track on the album, giving way to the actual lengthiest number, a cover of Gerry Rafferty’s ‘70s hit “Right Down the Line,” a tune which enjoyed a resurgence in popularity after utilized in HBO’s hit series Euphoria, though Benson seems apprehensive to put his own spin on the song. While his vocals certainly differ from Rafferty’s, stylistically the two don’t stray far from one another.
The other cover on the record, however, Benson takes creative liberty by the reigns and puts his own spin on rapper Nasty C’s “All In,” exchanging Nasty C’s yearning strings for a driving chord progression on the electric guitar, but maintaining the head-bopping percussion woven through the original. 
The final track on the record is by and large the most sonically and texturally gripping, taking a break from windmill guitars and the indie rock sound Benson has made his name in. A swanky, early ‘00s R&B strum creeps in as Benson, much like the beginning, stacks harmonies atop of one another as he concedes, “And everything we need is all right here, yeah / So let the good times roll and let’s both disappear.” His falsetto reappears, appearing as yet another parallel to the opener, perfectly bookending the record as the tune melancholically fades out.
Low Key leaves a bit to be desired, though it certainly makes an impressive mark on Benson’s discography, as each of the tracks have only his name to credit aside from the two covers. That being said, the listener can’t help but wish for a bit of a lengthier follow-up considering it had been over two years since his 2020 release. All in all, Benson makes it clear that he is more than proficient in his craft as a song-maker – instrumentalist, producer, vocalist and all – and there’s still lots to be devoured and dissected, making for a worthwhile half hour.

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Matt Maltese announces new album 'Driving Just To Drive' – Far Out Magazine

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London musician Matt Maltese has announced the release of his fourth album, Driving Just To Drive, set to be released on Friday, 28th April, through Nettwerk. The album is Maltese’s first since the 2021 critically acclaimed effort Good Morning It’s Now Tomorrow. Maltese also shared the title track from the forthcoming album.
With over 5.3million weekly listeners, Maltese has already amassed half a billion streams across all platforms, with over 270 million coming from his viral track ‘As The World Caves In’. His social media following is also expanding, with 500,000 followers on TikTok, where the likes of Doja Cat and Kim Taehyung have become ardent supporters. In fact, Doja Cat even organised an Instagram Live singalong for Maltese’s track, ‘Curl Up And Die’. On top of this, Frank Ocean featured the artist’s song, ‘Rom-Com Gone Wrong’, on his Blonded radio show.
Along with gaining fans among global superstars, Maltese has gained support closer to home, appearing as a credited songwriter on Jamie T’s 2022 bestselling record, All Good Time, with Jamie T touting him as one of the UK’s best new songwriters. Additionally, Maltese has recently co-written music with Celeste and Joy Crookes for their recent records. Maltese hasn’t just won over his fellow musicians; he has also won over the music press. ‘Mother’, a previous single from Driving Just To Drive, further pushed his sound to the mainstream masses.
Talking about his upcoming release, Maltese says: “I think getting older and busier, you can sometimes create a rewards system in your brain, where every action needs to have a reason for doing that action. But there’s also a whole new fresh load of doom out there that sometimes can put our obsession with personal ‘growth’ into perspective. I often live in a building-block mindset where I need to do this thing so I can do that thing, and that means I’ll have a chance at that other thing. In the meantime, there are all these uncontrollable (and maybe even unchangeable) realities, like a wealth-bias financial system and an exponentially heating world, that could render all the productivity pointless.”
He continues: “I thought a lot back to being younger and how much more I used to do things just to do them. Playing on a playground as a kid or just going for a drive and listening to music in the car. I used to love stuff with no sense of an outcome, with no sense of self-imposed necessity. I think it’s important to have some of that in our lives.”
Driving Just To Drive finds Maltese looking back to look forward. Maltese casts an eye on his past, pondering the meaning of where he grew up. The musician adds: “When I was younger, I was über earnest – when I was 18 and got my heart broken I lost this ego thing in me, and it brought back earnestness in a way,” The emotions resulting from this journey has helped Maltese push his work to new levels. “I’d pushed that earnestness away as I felt self-conscious, but as time goes on, there’s no time anymore for self-deprecation. I think the way I lived my life before 2021 was all thinking. I now try to think less, and be less precious with what I write.”
His collaboration with Crooks and Celeste had left him feeling he was ready to enlist the help of a producer to record the new record. With first-time producer Josh Scarbrow on board, Maltese found himself in that thriving songwriting space he was craving. “I’m bad at letting go to make someone else help me, but I’ve got better,” Maltese says. “Sharing those moments in real life with another person is just really nice. Josh hadn’t made an album before which I loved, and also working with someone my age ended up being really important.”
The journey recording Driving Just To Drive finds Maltese at his most relaxed and free, pushing the boundaries of his sound but not straying too far from what has gained him fans worldwide, producing something heartbreaking and genuinely, deeply heartfelt.
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Kelsey Hart Signs With Curb Records – musicrow.com

Pictured (L-R, top row): Curb | Word Music Publishing VP, Country Publishing & Creative Colt Murski and Curb Records SVP, Promotion RJ Meacham; (L-R, bottom row): Curb Records VP, A&R Ciara Shortridge; Kelsey Hart; Brackin Law’s Josh Brackin; and Curb Records SVP, Marketing & Creative Jeff Tuerff
Singer-songwriter Kelsey Hart has signed with Curb Records.
The Kentucky native is already a member of the Curb family, signing to Curb | Word Music Publishing two years ago and penning songs recorded by Jake Owen, Dylan Scott and Trace Adkins, among others.
Hart landed his first gig at 19 as the lead singer of a local country band, and garnered his first album cut in 2017. Upon moving to Nashville, he established himself as a sought-after co-writer, vocalist and artist on the rise. He has already amassed nearly four million streams with a handful of tracks he released independently.
In partnership with Curb, Hart has already released two originals–“Forget To Remember You” and “My Daddy’s Fault.” This Friday (Jan. 27), he’ll release his new breakup track, “6-Pack Gone.”
“We are proud to continue our wonderful relationship with Kelsey Hart,” shares Curb Records Chairman Mike Curb. “We are excited to welcome him to the roster as a recording artist and look forward to the future.”
“The most important thing to me as an artist has always been to stay true to myself and create music I believe in,” adds Hart. “Curb Records shares that vision and has built a team that I’m honored to officially be a part of. This is just the beginning and I’m looking forward to many years of creating and sharing my music with y’all.”

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Someone made a music record so tiny, it fits inside the groove of a … – TechRadar

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Miniature disc measures just 15 x 15 micrometres
Plenty of us have shrunk the space taken up by our music collection with the advent of digital and streaming services, but scientists at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) have taken that to the limit.
In a feat of miniaturization, the research team at DTU has managed to create what it claims to be the world’s smallest music record.
Measuring just 15 x 15 micrometres in size – that’s 40 μm/micrometres or microns in diameter, which is almost half the diameter of an average human hair – the tiny disc can barely be seen without the use of a magnifying glass. 
Able to hold just 25 seconds of the opening bars of the festive classic Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, the record is unsurprisingly unplayable on a standard record player.
The disc was created using a process which saw the audio inscribed into polymer film using DTU’s new Nanofrazor Scholar 3D lithography technology, which is a series of words we definitely understand.
Emphasizing just how tiny the record is, Postdoc Nolan Lassaline explained “It’s so small that the entire thing we’re patterning can fit within one single groove of a regular vinyl record”.
DTU Physics researcher Peter Bøggild added: “The Nanofrazor was put to work as a record-cutting lathe – converting an audio signal into a spiralled groove on the surface of the medium. In this case, the medium is a different polymer than vinyl.” 
“I have done lithography for 30 years, and although we’ve had this machine for a while, it still feels like science fiction,” he added.
Unsurprisingly, DTU doesn’t envisage the technique being developed further as a music format, but instead sees the technology being used to help provide breakthroughs in scientific research.
“While we make these kinds of grooves here with nanometre precision, we can transfer these to a number of other materials, where that will fundamentally allow us to manipulate material properties on a nanoscale,” Professor Bøggild explained. 
“We are doing something that we have never really been able to do in physics and material science before now.
“Another thing that also we would use this for is to make tiny magnetic field sensors that allows us to measure the currents in the brain, and for that we are hoping in the long term to create some affordable technology that would allow us to answer questions pertaining to Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s.”
So it looks like the best portable music players portable music players will remain larger than a human hair, and able to play more than 25 seconds per song.
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Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist. The author of Steve Jobs: A Biographic Portrait, Kevin is a regular feature writer for a number of tech sites and the former Technology Editor for the Daily Mirror. He has also served as editor of GuinnessWorldRecords.com (opens in new tab) and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards. Alongside reviewing the latest AV gear, smartphones and computers, Kevin also specialises in music tech and can often be found putting the latest DAWs, MIDI controllers and guitar modellers through their paces. Born within the sound of Bow Bells, Kevin is also a lifelong West Ham fan for his troubles.
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Fall Out Boy on new album 'So Much (For) Stardust': 'It's a matter-of … – Rolling Stone UK

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23 January 2023 4:42 PM
By Nick Reilly
As Fall Out Boy prepare to release their eighth studio album So Much (For) Stardust, frontman Patrick Stump has told Rolling Stone UK how global upheaval and pain in recent years directly shaped the record.
The emo-rock icons announced the record last week, as well as sharing the lead single ‘Love From The Other Side’. The song sees the group eschewing the electro-rock sound they debuted on their last album (2018’s Mania) to head back to their rockier beginnings.
Speaking to Rolling Stone UK, Stump explained how the overall sound of the record emerged when they reunited with Neal Avron, the producer responsible for the band’s first three albums.
“It’s funny, because it wasn’t a conscious thing,” explained Stump of their latest sound. “But working with Neal was one of the biggest things. It’s just the way he mixed songs, there’s a lot less layers so it becomes more about this drum, this guitar, and whatever it might be.”
“The other thing was our manager, who has these great little Yoda moments. He said to me: ‘your songs used to ramble a lot. You haven’t rambled in a while!’ I went home from that conversation and this song spilled out. There was something about experimenting, a lot of our older songs have this run-on quality so I just kinda followed that and this song came out.”
As for the spirit of the record, Stump explained that it shares similarities with Folie à Deux, their third album from 2009.
“I wanted to get back to this feeling that I had with Folie, that it was very self guided. We weren’t worried about outside influences or making hits,” he said.
‘That wasn’t really where our heads were with that record and I wanted to make something that followed that. It isn’t a rock record overall, it’s more like the next record from that band that made Folie.”
While reluctant to label the whole album as “bleak”, Stump admitted that bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz has channelled the turbulence of the last five years in the album songs.
“There’s a through line throughout all of it. I don’t want to say it’s a bleak record but Pete was in this place where y’know, it’s been a weird five years, so it really deals with that,” he said.
“There’s something interesting about making a pop record in very not-pop times.”
Asked if the record could be considered Wentz’ response to pandemic times, Stump said: “Yeah, I think it’s his personal perspectives on those things, because it’s a weird time to be looking at them.
“We’re all a bit older as a band and I really love his voice as a writer on this record because he’s found this place where there’s a resignation you get as you’re older where you’re like ‘well this is what I’m dealing with’.
“It’s not exactly hopeless, but it’s matter-of-fact and I love that.”
As well as the announcement of the album, last week saw Fall Out Boy confirm that founding guitarist Joe Trohman is “stepping away” from the group in order to focus on his mental health.
“It’s not a departure and he’ll be back in the band at some point,” said Stump of Trohman’s break.
“He called us and said ‘hey, my doctor says I need to take a break for a minute’. It was as simple as that.”
Stump added: “Being in a band is a strange thing, because if you work in an office and you have a surgery or something, you request the time off and then you come back a week later and it’s not really notable. But when you’re in a band and something like that happens, it’s like are you ever coming back? He’s 100 percent in the band, he’s all over the record and it’s his as much as it is ours, he just needs a little rest. So that’s it.”
‘So Much (For) Stardust’ is out March 24.
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Ernest Says His Upcoming Deluxe Album Is “An Ode To The Stuff I … – Whiskey Riff

Country music is the lifeblood of Whiskey Riff, and we pride ourselves on standing firmly in the corner of the independent artists, and those few in the mainstream still doing it the right way. Whether it’s Waylon, Willie and legends of the past, or superstars in the making like Zach Bryan, our finger is always on the pulse of true country music. From Texas to Tennessee, Appalachia to Bakersfield, Whiskey Riff is THE unapologetic voice of the country music fan.
A RIFF on what makes the great outdoors…great.
“Country” is more than just a steel guitar. It’s a lifestyle. A mindset. A cold beer, hot grill and the great outdoors. A lifestyle so perfectly captured by the country greats of yesterday, but still alive and well today in artists who truly get it.
Whiskey Riff is that lifestyle.
Say goodbye to boredom.
The best playlists in country music…period.
On ‘Whiskey Riff Raff,’ Steve Gazibara and Wes Langeler give an unfiltered and unapologetic take on country music, life, and all the craziness that comes with it. Laugh with us. Rant with us. Drink with us.
February 10th can’t get here soon enough.
Earlier this month, the songwriter turned top flight artist Ernest announced Flower Shops: Two Dozen Roses Deluxe Recordwhich will include 13 new songs on top of the 11 released as part of his second country album, Flower Shops (The Album)from March of 2022. He’s a co-writer on every single song.
In the lead up to the release, he’s dropped 3 singles, “Unhang The Moon”, “Miss That Girl”, and my favorite “Songs We Used To Sing”, which he also included as part of his ongoing Salvage Sessions series.
His career as an artist has been on a steady increase ever since he and Morgan Wallen lit the genre on fire with their George Jones-inspired hit “Flower Shops,” and this upcoming deluxe project is sure to add fuel to that rise.
The other day, Ernest opened up about where this project came from and gave us a teaser of a pretty cool feature that will be included.
“Every song on this album has been true at one point or another in the last year.
It’s been a lot of ups and downs and I tried writing through it all. I owe a lot to country music and those that laid the road before me, so this album is an ode to the stuff I loved growing up.”
Every song on this album has been true at one point or another in the last year. It’s been a lot of ups and downs and I tried writing through it all. I owe a lot to country music and those that laid the road before me, so this album is an ode to the stuff I loved growing up.
— ERNEST 🌹 (@ernest615) January 22, 2023
He later added to this Tweet, letting us know that a Dean Dillon feature will also be coming.
Oh… I got a DEAN DILLON feature. https://t.co/cw11H0KHjC
— ERNEST 🌹 (@ernest615) January 22, 2023
If you’re somehow NOT familiar with Dean, you certainly are well versed in his work.
Dean is one of the most prolific songwriters in country music history, having been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2020.
His earliest success was co-writing David Allan Coe’s “Tennessee Whiskey,” and he went on to co-write a TON of George Strait’s hits, including “Ocean Front Property”, “The Chair”, and “Nobody In His Right Mind Would Have Left Her”. He also co-wrote Keith Whitley’s “Miami, My Amy”, Toby Keith’s “A Little To Late”, and Vern Gosdin’s “Set ‘Em Up, Joe”, just to name a few.
Yeah, the guy knows how to pen a tune…
Absolutely pumped for this project. Ernest has quickly turned into one of my favorite Nashville artists and I can’t wait to play this sucker front to back in a few weeks.
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GREY GOOSE® VODKA AND THE RECORDING ACADEMY … – PR Newswire

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For its second year as the Official Spirit of the GRAMMY Awards®, the iconic vodka brand has collaborated with the Recording Academy® to premiere a revamped version of their digital series featuring exclusive performances and interviews from award-winning artists
HAMILTON, Bermuda, Jan. 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — GREY GOOSE is kicking off the second year of its partnership with the Recording Academy® as the “Official Spirits Partner of the 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards®” with GREY GOOSE x GRAMMYs®: Sound Sessions, a weekly digital series featuring artists such as current GRAMMY® nominee Muni Long, acclaimed singer-songwriter Pink Sweat$, and GRAMMY winner and current nominee Ella Mai. The series will stream on Instagram and YouTube now through GRAMMY weekend.

“We are thrilled to be continuing our partnership with the Recording Academy for a second year,” said Aleco Azqueta, Vice President of Marketing for GREY GOOSE Vodka. “A celebration of the year’s best music deserves the best cocktails, so GREY GOOSE is honored to toast to all of this year’s nominees. Like the lyrics and melody of a great song, our Sound Sessions series shows just how well music and GREY GOOSE cocktails go together. It features some incredible talent and even a few surprises, so you won’t want to miss each installment.”
“The Recording Academy is dedicated to celebrating excellence in the recording industry and protecting music’s place in our culture,” said Adam Roth, Senior Vice President, Partnerships & Business Development at the Recording Academy. “We firmly believe GREY GOOSE shares this same sentiment, which is why we’re so excited to partner together for a second year. Our Sound Sessions content series is a perfect example of what our two brands stand for when it comes to music: celebrating artistic expression and elevating creative voices.”
The first Sound Sessions episode featuring Muni Long is now available on YouTube and will be followed by Pink Sweat$ on Jan. 26 and Ella Mai on Feb. 2. With every episode, fans can expect to see intimate musical performances and exclusive interviews where each artist will take them through the “ingredients” of their hit songs, while mixing together the ingredients of one of their favorite GREY GOOSE cocktails.
“It’s been a pleasure to be a part of Sound Sessions with GREY GOOSE Vodka and the Recording Academy to celebrate a year of incredible music,” said four-time GRAMMY-nominated recording artist Muni Long. “I’m thrilled to perform my nominated song ‘Hrs and Hrs,’ and I hope it brings joy and inspiration to all my fans as their support means so much to me. It was also so fun to try my hand at making the official cocktail of the GRAMMYs, The Passion Drop!”
In addition to the Sound Sessions series, GREY GOOSE will have a full-scale presence at a variety of events throughout GRAMMY weekend, including the second iteration of their hit Sound Sessions Brunch on Feb. 4. The star-studded affair will be held in Los Angeles and feature a live performance from two-time GRAMMY winner Jazmine Sullivan. The Passion Drop, a citrusy-sweet martini cocktail, will also return as the official drink of the GRAMMY Awards and be served at all Recording Academy events throughout the weekend.
All “GREY GOOSE x GRAMMYs: Sound Sessions” content can be accessed by following each artist, along with @greygoose and @recordingacademy, on all social platforms, as well as on the official GRAMMYs Content Hub.
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The expertise of the GREY GOOSE Cellar Master, François Thibault, ensures unparalleled smoothness and exceptional taste. The GREY GOOSE portfolio is comprised of GREY GOOSE Vodka, GREY GOOSE La Poire, GREY GOOSE L’Orange, and GREY GOOSE Le Citron Flavored Vodkas.
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For more information about the Academy, please visit www.grammy.com. For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @RecordingAcad on Twitter, “like” Recording Academy on Facebook, and join the Recording Academy’s social communities on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and LinkedIn.
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Carin León announces the details of his new album – AL DIA News

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The Mexican singer is looking to expand his tour in the United States and Mexico.
In an interview, Mexican singer Carin León revealed that he’s been fine-tuning details of his next album. It will be called Con honores, also the name of his favorite song of the album. When it comes to touring, León also said he wants to visit more venues across the U.S. and Mexico.
The artist told EFE that although his success “has not been quick,” he has gone “at a steady pace, consolidating a concept and creating a solid music base,” which has allowed him to continue with his career under his own music label CL Music, after terminating his contract with Tamarindo Rekordsz, the record company that promoted his solo career.

“Today we are free of the negative things and this year we are taking the bull by the horns,” said the artist, who performed in Los Angeles, California, and Glendale, Arizona this weekend.

León, who has dedicated himself to promoting the regional Mexican genre, began doing his own versions of well-known songs by other artists and little by little, began to lean towards musical fusions with other genres. 
“The one that marked a turning point in my career was the song ‘Tú’ with Jowell y Randy. That was the first thing we did that was a little strange and I knew it was a very big risk, but people connected,” he told EFE.
León expects to release his next album in March. It will feature fusions of flamenco, bluegrass, mariachi, blues and rock, according to the artist
The Mexican artist is currently touring the United States for his album Cura Local, and plans to release more tour dates before his next release. His first concert of the tour, held in Los Angeles, was a sold out show.
“Thank you so much for this first SOLD OUT at the start of the USA tour. Always with so much love and believe me it is well reciprocated,” wrote the artist in a post on Instagram.
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Album Review: The Brian Jonestown Massacre– Fire Doesn’t Grow On Trees – mxdwn.com

January 23rd, 2023 – 8:00 AM
The Brian Jonestown Massacre is an American musical project group that was formed by Anton Newcombe in 1990 in San Francisco, California. Their music is characterized by heavy usage of acoustic and electric guitars that are complemented by the groovy rhythmic patterns on the drums. They have created 19 full length studio albums in their career span of over thirty years. Their latest album is called Fire Doesn’t Grow On Trees. This ten track album was released on June 24, 2022. The Brian Jonestown Massacre has a retrospective rock and roll sound not without some modern experimental elements sprinkled throughout. Their genres consist of alternative, rock, indie rock, country rock and experimental. Some of their greatest influencers have been the Rolling Stones along with other various United Kingdom based rock bands. 

“The Real,” the opening track for this album, pleasantly welcomes its listeners with simplistic vocal melodies, a grooving drum beat that is completely in triplets, and guitar chord progressions that modulate between the parallel major and minor keys. This particular song’s simplicity, catchiness and repetition will leave its listeners humming the song long after it is played. This proves to be an iconic move considering the fact that The Brian Jonestown Massacre is welcoming its listeners not only to a brand new album, but also a brand new era in their long career. 
The track that follows, “Ineffable Mindfuck,” quickly shows its listeners the grungy side of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. This particular song is heavy in guitar distortion and bass compared to most of the other tracks. This track also shows some immense similarities to iconic longstanding United Kingdom groups such as Depeche Mode and U2. This fast paced song has proven to be one of the most memorable pieces of the album and one of the darkest. 
Meanwhile some of the other songs on the album such as “It’s About Being Free Really” and “Don’t Let Me Get In Your Way” have a more country/folk type of sound that proves to be raw, authentic, and easy to listen and groove to. These two tracks, as well as many of the other tracks on the album contain some elements of rock and alternative music from the 90s such as Green Day and The Backstreet Boys. 
It is evident that throughout such a long musical career, The Brian Jonestown Massacre has cleverly cultivated its own original sound, mixing the old with the new. Therefore Fire Doesn’t Grow On Trees is an album that can be enjoyed and appreciated by multiple generations for many years to come.

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