by Christopher Treacy
Do you find it weird when people tell you they don’t pay attention to music? I only hear it once in a while, but it always gives me pause. Though, love of music does require maintenance. For those of us that choose to soundtrack our lives, there’s an insatiable thirst for new discoveries. Which is part of what makes the CQ Roundup so handy: we’ve done some of the vetting for you. While working to help artists get more exposure within a specific demographic, we’re also keeping our readers (and ourselves) immersed in new tunes. Even if you don’t like any choices on a given week, they may serve as a jumping off point for finding a song or an artist that becomes part of your inner world. Knowing that can happen makes it all worthwhile.
Song of The Week: Mariel Buckley – “Shooting at The Moon”
It’s been four years since Buckley’s last album and a lot has changed. The first track released from her new Everywhere I Used to Be (Birthday Cake Records, 8/12) is a shimmering pop gem. It’s driving AF and gallops with country flair, but it’s low on twang. And that’s just fine – Buckley sounds very much in charge in her new sonic digs, coupled with the production styling of Marcus Paquin (Julia Jacklin, Arcade Fire, The National), who seems to have successfully expanded her sonic palate in all the best ways. The narrative of the song is curious, so we asked Buckley some questions about it. Check back here at CQ for her answers before week’s end.
Emma Guzman – “Bullfrog”
Detroit-based Guzman’s debut single from her forthcoming Something Less Than Alone, out June 17, is a waltzing slice of lilted indie-folk that sources strength from admitting weakness. “The song was my way of saying I don’t owe anybody anything. If you’re going to rely on me so heavily, I’m just going to let you down,” she told us in an accompanying press release. ” The source of the album’s title, “Bullfrog” is apparently Guzman’s personal favorite from her new album. “It was a moment of confidence for me, and I don’t see a lot of that within my music,” she noted. We can hear it, though.
Tall Poppy String Band – “Springtime of Life”
Here’s a truly captivating tale of queer love and loss told in staccato-plucked Appalachian tones from clawhammer banjo player Cameron DeWhitt’s string trio. The old-timey feel is matched by a lyric that recounts a love heightened by its forbidden nature – something many of us can identify with. The contrast between the masculine vocal and the queer love story with the finely-aged instrumentation makes this track inarguably striking, and it’s just the first taste of what’s to come: in March, DeWhitt and Co. reached their Kickstarter goal to record and release their debut album, which arrives in late July. More about that here.
Hayden Joseph – “As Close As I Can Get To You”
Joseph may seem a tad cloying at times, but there’s no denying his raw talent. His new single will strike a chord with anyone that’s ever spent time pining for an ex, as he describes looking for someone that’s absent in the characteristics of others – coming up with substitutes and stand-ins for a former lover. It’s a sweet sentiment, not to mention a fairly universal one that hits home. This tune begs for some remixing: a few adjustments and it could become a club banger.
Bo Armstrong – “Cool”
We tend to try and stick with original songs for the Roundup, but Armstrong has concocted a fantastic cover of Dua Lipa’s “Cool.” By stripping the tune of it’s electronic slap, Armstrong underscores the tenderness in the lyric. There’s also a fun gender-flip going on: the more aggressive version of the song is delivered by a strong woman (losing all her cool), whereas the more subdued version comes in the form of Armstrong’s mild-mannered delivery. It attests to the strength of the song that it can survive radically different treatments and still deliver emotional resonance.
CJ Wiley – “Running Backwards”
A fun-loving, summery romp that marries elements of garage rock with country overtones, Wiley’s playful new single seems made for the season. Based in Toronto, Wiley will release their debut EP, All Our Love, on June 16. “This EP has a few themes;” they explain. “It tells a story of teen nostalgia, finding humor in hardship and reflecting on push and pull relationships.” Wiley has a sound all their own, but this seems like an easy match for the Sharon Van Etten/Courtney Barnett crew.
Christopher Treacy has been writing about music and the music industry for 20 years. He’s contributed to The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Herald, Nashville Scene, and Berklee College of Music’s quarterly journal, as well as myriad LGBTQ+ outlets including the Edge Media Network, Between the Lines/Pride Source, Bay Windows and In Newsweekly. He lives in Waitsfield, VT.
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