New Music Revue – 11.2.17

An occasional feature wherein I talk about a couple of tunes I listened to and dug lately. (Pictured above, Letters to Lions.)

First up, the band Scenic Route to Alaska. From their Facebook page: The easygoing Edmonton-based trio, comprised of Trevor Mann on lead vocals and guitar, drummer Shea Connor, and bassist Murray Wood, effortlessly weaves catchy vocals and memorable melodies through rich arrangements – instantly engaging but begging to be heard again and again. 

In early 2016, the band entered Monarch Studios in Vancouver with Howard Redekopp (Tegan & Sara, The New Pornographers) to cut the 11 tracks comprising Long Walk Home, their latest LP.

This tune is called “Slow Down” and it’s about the “inherent struggle of maintaining balance while always on the move. The song was inspired after burning rubber on the road for the majority of 2016/2017. The lyrics also hint at attempting to maintain relationships and a healthy lifestyle and is met by a big ol’ “I don’t think I’m ready for it.”

I like the feel. It’s a good rocker with a nice, hooky chorus.

“Everybody’s tellin’ me to stop
Take a breath and slow down.”


Spotify link

Next up is a band named Runabay. Here’s something from their press release: Hailing from the Glens of Antrim and Belfast, Runabay has existed since February 2014 and has received acclaim from Hot Press Magazine, ChordBlossom and Culture Hub NI.

They have been described as alt-folk or indie, but the intricate and adventurous nature of their songwriting means they rarely fit into predictable pigeonholes – as Creative Spotlights commented in a recent review, ‘they are so much more than a genre category could ever describe.’

“Too Soon (Reverie) is primarily about missing opportunities due to hesitance,” explains frontman John McManus. “The ‘it’s too soon, so I’ll wait’ line is an internal struggle many of us feel, as we wait to find the ‘perfect’ time to decide on things – knowing full well that perfect timing doesn’t necessarily exist. It’s an introspective song about the implications of indecision.”

This is a really nice midtempo song with great vocals.


From the online substream magazine: “Letters to Lions is poised to be the indie band of 2018. The band has the truly remarkable ability of being able to write these huge, arena-ready rock songs that sound like if Matt Healy of The 1975 teamed up with Young The Giant to create the super-group the genre didn’t know that it needed.

The Sydney, Australia based quartet is currently working on the follow up to their 2015 EP, Clean Eating, and it’s shaping up to be the record that catapults them into the limelight.

When asked about the song, the band said “We went out with “Come Around” as our first single for the record as it’s the most upbeat and driven of the songs. It’s a feel-good song about life change and the anxiety that accompanies it.

We were all living together in a house at the time experiencing some pretty heavy life circumstances, the general vibe of the song is about overcoming adversity and clawing our way out of the hole we had dug.”

Another tune with a good feel, great drums, great vocals.


12 thoughts on “New Music Revue – 11.2.17

  1. Three cuts, three good ones. Really liked the tone / feel of Scenic Route to Alaska – good guitar sounds and nice bit of bass in the mix too and the chilled out vibe of the Runabay is just spot on

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  2. Yeah, they hung together as a set when I thought about them. Funny but the vibe and sound of these songs aren’t in my wheelhouse ordinarily. And so that’s exactly why I wanted to feature them. Get outside my musical comfort zone a little bit, you know? I find I can’t get the words “take a breath and slow down,” out of my head.

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    1. Yeah. They’re songs that aren’t typically in my or I think your, wheelhouse. But I like to hear and feature new stuff and, like I told Tony, get out of my comfort zone once in a while. When I do I often hear something good.

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  3. Thanks for highlighting these tunes, Jim, I like all of them.

    I’m always up for a good rocker with a great groove and an old-fashioned guitar solo. But as somebody who digs 60s music where in addition to great music it was also about the singing, I always value a catchy melody. I think the second and third song are particularly convincing and that context.

    With all the mediocre “computer-generated” crap that tends to dominate the charts these days, it’s always nice to hear when relatively young bands embrace true craftsmanship!

    I’ve said it many times and I say it again. Music should rely on real instruments and real singing, not somebody who essentially is programming a computer mixing together some shit and calling that music!


    1. Amen to all that. It’s funny but if you think about it, for the 10 or so years of rock ‘n roll history till, say, Cream and Hendrix came along, the song was focused on the SONG and not the solo. And while I love a great solo as much as anyone else, it isn’t 100% necessary to make the tune. And to your point about real instruments, etc., what gets me is how many albums are recorded virtually, with different people in different parts of the globe. I like it when an album is a bunch of guys in a studio recording it like it’s live, feeding off each other.

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  4. If Letters to Lions is ‘indie’, I feel like indie has come to mean something very different to what it used to.
    To misquote the Princess Bride, “That word you keep using, ‘indie’, I don’t think it means what you think it means.”


    1. Yeah, that of course is their quote, not mine. It’s kind of like ‘alternative rock.’ What the fuck does THAT mean? I think it was initially meant to refer to alternative to non-blues-based rock. But now I don’t know.

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    1. Yeah, I like ’em all even though they’re not my typical listening. As I mentioned to another commenter, it’s good to land outside of one’s musical comfort zone now and again.


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