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NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: Releases For The Week of July 26, 2019

A good Chance for huge action.

The big day of the week is finally here… so many fresh releases to choose from, including titles by both established and new artists. From rap to rock and everything in-between, here are the top new albums and singles hitting stores this Friday:

CHANCE THE RAPPER – The Big Day (iTunes)
Features: Collaborations with Nicki Minaj, Shawn Mendes and more

NF – The Search (iTunes)
Features: “Time”, approaching the top 50 on the Top 40 chart after earning a second place finish on Tuesday’s adds report

OF MONSTERS AND MEN – Fever Dream (iTunes)
Features: “Alligator”, the current #1 hit on the Triple A chart that also ranks in the top five at Alternative radio

Notable albums out this week: Andy Grammer‘s Naive (iTunes), Angie McMahon‘s Salt (iTunes), Big Data‘s 3.0 (iTunes), BJ The Chicago Kid‘s 1123 (iTunes), Bryce Vine‘s Carnival (iTunes), Casey Donahew‘s One Light Town (iTunes), DJ Snake‘s Carte Blanche (iTunes), Justin Moore‘s Late Nights And Longnecks (iTunes), Kaiser Chiefs‘s Duck (iTunes), Neon Dreams‘s Sweet Dreams Til Sunbeams (iTunes), Pop Smoke‘s Meet The Woo (iTunes), Rich Brian‘s The Sailor (iTunes), YBN Cordae‘s The Lost Boy (iTunes), Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Soundtrack) (iTunes)

Notable EPs out this week: Black Saint‘s Everybody Wants You (iTunes), Call Me Karizma‘s The Gloomy Tapes, Vol. 2 (iTunes), Harrison Storm‘s Falling Down (iTunes), Lykke Li‘s Still Sad Still Sexy (iTunes), Mason Ramsey‘s Twang (iTunes), Matt Nathanson‘s Postcards (From Chicago) (iTunes), Overstreet‘s Man On The Moon (iTunes), Sachi‘s Nights With Ruby (iTunes)

New digital singles that you can buy this week include:
“21”, H.E.R. (iTunes)
“Ain’t Thinkin Bout You (Stripped)”, KREAM & Eden Prince featuring Louisa (iTunes)
“Another Lover (Toby Romeo Remix)”, Leland (iTunes)
“Anything She Says”, Mitchell Tenpenny featuring Seaforth (iTunes)
“Back To Myself”, Hero The Band (iTunes)
“Bad Behaviour”, Mabel (iTunes)
“Be Here For You”, Sam Tinnesz (iTunes)
“Best Day (Remix)”, Kesha (iTunes)
“Big Time”, Louis The Child (iTunes)
“Blow My Mind”, DaVido featuring Chris Brown (iTunes)
“Boywontcry”, Brakence (iTunes)
“Breathe For You”, Monsta X (iTunes)
“Burned by The Love (James Carter Remix)”, Juke Ross (iTunes)
“Buttafly”, Luke Christopher (iTunes)
“Caught Up”, Majid Jordan featuring Khalid (iTunes)
“City Of Stars”, Tom Grennan (iTunes)
“Crack The Shutters (Reworked)”, Snow Patrol (iTunes)
“Crowded Table”, The Highwomen (iTunes)
“Darkside”, Blink-182 (iTunes)
“Deal”, Thomston (iTunes)
“Don’t Be Lazy”, Emotional Oranges (iTunes)
“Edison”, Adam Barnes (iTunes)
“Emily”, Delacey (iTunes)
“Feel The Same”, Hayden Wells (iTunes)
“First Last Name”, Madison Kozak (iTunes)
“Float”, 7715 featuring JRM (iTunes)
“Gold Roses”, Rick Ross featuring Drake (iTunes)
“Happy Now”, Kyle Lionhart (iTunes)
“Honest”, The Band CAMINO (iTunes)
“Humans”, The Faim (iTunes)
“I Don’t Wanna Die”, Girl Wilde (iTunes)
“I Like It”, Kent Jones (iTunes)
“I Still Do”, Why Don’t We (iTunes)
“I’ll Be Back Someday”, Tegan & Sara (iTunes)
“I’ll Be There”, Bad Wolves (iTunes)
“Indigo”, Alice Gray (iTunes)
“Kiss My Fat Ass”, Sheppard (iTunes)
“Laneswitch”, Lil Tjay (iTunes)
“Live Fast”, Alan Walker featuring A$AP Rocky (iTunes)
“Lost”, End Of The World featuring Clean Bandit (iTunes)
“Magic”, Lil Skies (iTunes)
“Miles To Your Heart”, Sultan + Shepard, Rock Mafia & Bahari (iTunes)
“Missing Each Other”, Caroline Kole (iTunes)
“Monday”, Filous & Ashe (iTunes)
“Need You”, Faustix (iTunes)
“Never Be Alone”, David Guetta & MORTEN featuring Aloe Blacc (iTunes)
“Never Be Sorry”, Old Dominion (iTunes)
“Next Mistake”, Icona Pop (iTunes)
“No L’s”, Hit-Boy featuring Saweetie (iTunes)
“Nowhere To Go (Dom Dolla Remix)”, Hayden James (iTunes)
“Ocean Away”, Jake Miller (iTunes)
“Ocean Of Tears”, Caroline Polachek (iTunes)
“Oh, Mexico”, Jeremy Zucker (iTunes)
“Open Door”, Jake Troth (iTunes)
“Overtime”, Big Sean (iTunes)
“PAY ME BACK!”, ILIRA (iTunes)
“Ready”, Alessia Cara (iTunes)
“Ritual (Acoustic)”, Tiësto, Jonas Blue & Rita Ora (iTunes)
“Run Like The River”, Meghan Trainor (iTunes)
“Runaway”, SAFIA (iTunes)
“Screamer”, Third Eye Blind featuring Alexis Krauss (iTunes)
“Self-Lovin”, The WLDLFE (iTunes)
“Self-Sacrifice”, James Droll (iTunes)
“Selfish”, Sophie Simmons (iTunes)
“Seoul Town Road”, Lil Nas X featuring RM (iTunes)
“Snitch”, Netsky featuring Aloe Blacc (iTunes)
“So Am I (Zane Lowe Remix)”, Ava Max (iTunes)
“Sofia”, Clairo (iTunes)
“Stupid”, G Flip (iTunes)
“Sufi Woman” and “Tribe”, Jidenna (iTunes)
“Summer At 7”, Russ (iTunes)
“Sunflowers”, Matthew Chaim (iTunes)
“SZNS”, Dinah Jane featuring A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie (iTunes)
“Takeaway”, The Chainsmokers & Illenium featuring Lennon Stella (iTunes)
“Tattooed On My Heart”, Bishop Briggs (iTunes)
“That Thing That You Do”, Cody Fry (iTunes)
“The 1975”, The 1975 (iTunes)
“The Archer”, Taylor Swift (iTunes)
“The Greatest”, Six60 (iTunes)
“The Hunted”, Saint Asonia featuring Sully Erna (iTunes)
“Time Flies”, Rico Nasty (iTunes)
“Undefeated”, Future featuring Lil Keed (iTunes)
“Velvet Sea”, WAVE & ROME (iTunes)
“Want Me To”, Carlos Vara (iTunes)
“Waves (Live At The Forum)” and “Waves (Timbaland Remix)”, Dean Lewis (iTunes)
“Went For A While”, Ilse DeLange (iTunes)
“Wild”, The Avener featuring Tiwayo (iTunes)
“Wish You’d Make Me Cry”, UPSAHL (iTunes)
“You Take”, GoldFord (iTunes)

Next week, look out for new albums from artists like Mabel, Skillet and more. For Adam’s personal picks of the week, listen to the PGTC Friday Faves list on Spotify!

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TURN IT UP MONDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (June 8)

Drones approach the throne.

Drones approach the throne.

It’s time to take another flight into the Monday musical mists for the latest new releases, from rock to country to dance. (NOTE: some of the items listed below may not be available until Monday night based on label response time.) Here are the albums and singles that are new in stores for the week of June 8/9:

  • The English trio Muse has never had an album reach the top spot on the Billboard 200, though their last two studio sets have debuted and peaked at #3 and #2, respectfully. Drones may be the one to capture that top spot next week, as “Dead Inside” lands another week atop the Alternative survey. However, this concept album is very much alive. (iTunes)
  • From Iceland, the group called Of Monsters and Men are back with their first album in just over three years, Beneath The Skin. It features the single “Crystals”, currently a top ten hit on the Alternative chart. Of course, their first era led the quintet to four charting singles at the format. We’ll see if this set can do the same. (iTunes)
  • Aided by an iHeartMedia deal, Nashville newcomers A Thousand Horses rose to #1 on the Country airwaves last week with “Smoke”. Their album Southernality, featuring that tune and second single “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial”, is out now. It’ll likely have a medium-sized debut. (iTunes)
  • Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw make up the duo Galantis, and their album Pharmacy is a good prescription for the dance music fan this week. Single “Runaway (U & I)” is currently at CHR radio and broke the top ten in many countries in Europe. (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: FFS‘s FFS (iTunes), HoneyHoney‘s 3 (iTunes), Montgomery Gentry‘s Folks Like Us (iTunes), Ryan Adams‘s Ten Songs from Live at Carnegie Hall (iTunes), Tamia‘s Love Life (iTunes), The Rolling Stones‘s reissue of Sticky Fingers (iTunes), The Karma Killers‘s Strange Therapy (EP) (iTunes), Tove Stryke‘s Kiddo (iTunes), Troy Ave‘s Major Without A Deal (iTunes), Young Guns‘s Ones And Zeros (iTunes) and the Various Artists compilation, Finding Neverland: The Album (Songs From the Broadway Musical) (iTunes).

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

  • “Around The World”, new from Natalie La Rose and Fetty Wap. (iTunes)
  • “Family Is Family”, an instant grat track from Kacey Musgraves. (iTunes)
  • “Sweet Love Of Mine”, an instant grat track from Joy Williams. (iTunes)

Next week, Adam Lambert, James Taylor and Nate Ruess are among the acts with prominent new releases in what should be one of the summer’s busier weeks. Who takes the top? A full preview is coming on Monday night.

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What The Pluck? The Rise (and Inevitable Fall) of Folk Music on Mainstream Radio

They've made this place their "Home".

They’ve made this place their “Home”.

From mandolins to violins, there’s no denying that folk is the hot genre now both at radio and at retail. Once a music style that could only make Alternative listeners happy, it’s now fully made its way into the mainstream through key records like “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers and “Home” by Phillip Phillips, which have both made the top ten. It’s refreshing to many listeners who are tired of hearing the same old dance and pop material on their regular station, who can now skip seamlessly from a booming beat to a banjo. I feel as though I’m in that category, to an extent. However, it’s also very polarizing at a format which typically caters to teens; it’s not as though Mumford & Sons have the boyish looks of One Direction or The Wanted. With lots of recent GRAMMY nominations (and a few wins by Mumford & Sons) as well as a continual push of other new folk-based acts to crossover, it seems that 2013 will be an even bigger year for the genre in terms of its wider success. Yet, it’s bound to fall at some point. How long will this folk explosion last? Here’s why I think a backlash is coming sooner than you think.

Folk’s transition into pop music is a complicated thing because it’s technically two trends coming together at once. One is the genre itself, which I’ve already talked about: more organic sounds, more attention to lyrics, minimalistic arrangements and final product, etc. It’s far different from your glossy 3 1/2 minute pop single by Rihanna or Taylor Swift. The second of the two is a more basic item found in the composition: the incorporation of one-syllable words used as a call-and-response measure. In the aforementioned “Ho Hey”, we hear the emphatic “HO!” followed by a “HEY!” and these are repeated for the duration of the single. In “Little Talks” by Of Monsters And Men, it’s reduced to just a “HEY!” which is heard several times in the post-chorus exclusively. It’s just like any other temporary fad as of recent; remember the saxophone solos in songs like Katy Perry‘s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” and the whistling in Foster The People‘s “Pumped Up Kicks”? Exactly like that. It makes the song catchier while bucking a popular trend that’s blown up at the time. However, unless someone new comes along that tries to recreate this concept in the same sort of pattern, this is where it ends. The followup to “Little Talks” is “Mountain Sound”, which uses claps, but it’s not as distinct as the shouts. “Stubborn Love”, however, does have a sort of call-and-response section, but it’s not nearly as catchy as the one in “Ho Hey”. At least “Keep your HEAD UP!” and “LOVE!” don’t strike me that way. I don’t think either one will do well at mainstream radio for that and a number of other reasons, but that’s just my opinion. Point is, once one domino falls, so does the other. If the sing-along songs go, folk will eventually retreat.

For those of you who believe that history repeats itself, the folk-based movement reminds me a lot of what happened twenty years ago at the CHR format. By the early 90’s, a lot of the hair bands like Mötley CrüePoison and Whitesnake were on their way out of the mainstream consciousness. Some, like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, were able to adapt their sound by promoting softer sounding records, but for the majority of groups, 1991 and 1992 was basically their curtain call. At the same time, a sub-genre of rock out of the Pacific Northwest began gaining attention nationwide and in 1992, this resulted in a hit single that led a movement into the depths of grunge. You can probably guess that I’m referring to Nirvana‘s top ten hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Several months later, the Red Hot Chili Peppers made it to #1 on the format with “Under The Bridge”. While not a grunge band, the song set the mood for other slower tempo songs by bands like Pearl Jam, Radiohead and Stone Temple Pilots to hit the chart, which then led to even more obscure alternative bands making the top 40. I mean, remember when Letters To Cleo and Mazzy Star had top-40 hits? Punk bands also hit the survey: Green Day, The Offspring, etc. Alternative, grunge and punk took over the format, which only furthered CHR’s identity crisis, and led it to dismal ratings for several years. Even Z100 in New York City, the biggest pop station in the United States, had an Alternative lean in the mid-90’s. It was good for fans who wanted to rock, but stacked next to records by Ace Of Base, Elton John and Mariah Carey made it a mess overall. Ratings increased several years later when boy bands and teen female singers became popular and pushed a lot of Alternative crossovers into smaller rotation slots, eventually to Hot Adult Contemporary radio as the 2000’s began.

The same sort of thing is happening now. A lot of crossover rock bands that did particularly well on CHR in the early-to-mid 2000’s (3 Doors Down, Linkin Park, Nickelback, etc.) have seen their last significant success at the format and are now strictly being relegated to the Hot AC chart in addition to some limited Alternative or Active Rock play. This also includes acts like Lifehouse and Matchbox Twenty, and Train will be at this point (again) in another few years. None of these examples are hair bands, it’s true, but they’ve been shafted for our dear folk acts, who I’ve mentioned several times. It started last year with the slow rise of “Home”, the signature record this time around, and has blown up at this point. Pretty soon, new singles by Matt Hires and The Dunwells, twisted around in folky goodness, may be joining them. They’re already picking up station additions at the lighter formats. Yet, again, how do we transition from a Pitbull song to a Mumford & Sons song to a Britney Spears song at Top 40 radio? It sounds awkward as heck. Yes, it’s great that variety has once again shined through, but is too much of something a good thing? Oh, and don’t you try to tell me that every pop song sounds the same and every folk song doesn’t. Same twang. Same instruments. Same slight rasp in the vocals. It’s all there. Some stations are more committed to playing these songs; other radio companies hold off on these kind of singles until they make it up to a certain point in airplay for the sake of maintaining a Rhythm lean. Question is, what will be the shift that takes down folk if there is any? If there’s not, will we be looking at a massive free fall like we did two decades ago?

This post isn’t meant to bad mouth folk music. I think it’s awesome that programmers and fans alike can share in a good song or two and that a genre that’s been under-appreciated at this type of radio in the past can be rejoiced. My main concern is with the CHR format itself and how relevant it can be if it keeps going the way it’s going. While it could once regularly appeal to older listeners just as it is today, it’s not going to be sustained for years to come. There’s no doubt that, in the meantime, established artists will begin to play around with folk instruments in their new material in the same way that rock bands tried out disco-influenced singles in the late 1970’s. However, with the attention span of top-40 radio today, which is quick (albeit, not as quick as in the 70’s and 80’s), folk may be out of fashion tomorrow. Who knows? For the moment, it’s here to strum on, but don’t say I didn’t warn you when radio tells those folk folks to “pluck off”.

How do you feel about folk music’s sudden rise? Do you want it to stay around or go away? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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“Strike” It Up: A Lighter Shade of Alternative

We’re a month and a half into 2013 and it’s already proven to be a spectacular year so far for music, from Pop to R&B to Rock. We’ve seen big returns and great new artists, all with solid singles. Here are three more from a mix of folk and soft rock acts, all chart veterans in their own right and looking to score on their Alternative scene.

"Chasing" down another hit single.

“Chasing” down another hit single.

SNOW PATROL – “The Lightning Strike (What If The Storm Ends?)”
Release Date: February 25 (U.S. AAA radio)

Here’s a bit of a surprise from the Scottish band, who haven’t announced any news in terms of a brand new studio album. Likewise, this isn’t going to be the leadoff single from it. “Strike” originates from the band’s 2008 album, A Hundred Million Suns, where it stands at sixteen minutes in length and divided into three segments. Part one of it, given the subtitle that you see above, encompasses about the first five minutes of the song, though even that will likely be reduced further for radio. So, why is a five-year-old song finally being released like it’s new? Well, it’s being promoted with an animated movie entitled Epic, featuring the voice of stars like Amanda Seyfried and Colin Farrell, along with musicians Beyoncé and Pitbull. The film isn’t in theaters until late May, so it looks like their label wants to, ahem, ride out the “storm” (admit it, that one wasn’t as bad as usual) and try to hit the top ten with it, at least on AAA radio. It sounds like a Coldplay record, especially if you go back to their X&Y album, but considering that this was recorded in the summer of 2008, I can see where the band would have drawn from them as an influence. “Strike” is a mellow turned hard and energetic turned mellow again track, where lead singer Gary Lightbody questions, “What if this storm ends/And leaves us nothing/Except a memory/A distant echo?” It’ll do well enough, perhaps providing for a good transition until the band’s next full-length release hits stores.

"King" of anything

“King” of anything.

OF MONSTERS AND MEN – “King And Lionheart”
Release Date: March 4 (U.K.)

Iceland is famous for hot springs, volcanoes, and a really bad banking system, but the music of the country hasn’t made a significant impact on the charts here beyond Björk or Sigur Rós. Last year, we finally had our first mainstream breakthrough from an Icelandic act: Of Monsters and Men, a quintet that first founded in 2010. Their newest release is the third European single from their album My Head Is An Animal, which has already been certified Gold here in the U.S. as well as in several other countries. “King” gets issued as download single in the United Kingdom on March 4, though no Stateside release has been announced yet as their label is busy crossing over “Little Talks” to mainstream radio and promoting “Mountain Sound” at alternative radio. It’ll likely get here just in time for summer. For you history buffs out there, I don’t think this song has anything to do with England’s Richard I, who was sometimes referred to as King Richard the Lionheart. It’s told as more of a fable or a myth, where “howling ghosts they reappear” when “the world comes to an end”, but the protagonist and his companion find a beacon of light in these troubling times that “you’re a king and I’m a lionheart.” It’ll no doubt be another Alternative smash for these rising stars after already hitting #1 in their native country.

Oh say, can't you "See"?

Oh say, can’t you “See”?

THE SCRIPT – “If You Could See Me Now”
Release Date: March 4 (U.K.)

I always like a new track from these guys, one of my favorite bands to get their start in the past few years. “See” is the third single in the United Kingdom for our Irish rockers, who have only seen one of those three hit the U.S. charts so far: their collaboration with will.i.am, “Hall Of Fame”. It appears that song now has a second wind at radio and retail after extensive placement in advertisements for the recent Super Bowl, and even though the game’s long done, the song just keeps on chugging along. Over in Europe, a second single, “Six Degrees Of Separation”, charted a few months ago. It’s unclear if that will be their next single for the States or this song, which gets a download release in the United Kingdom on March 4. It sounds like one of the group members is a fan of Bruce Hornsby & The Range, because the piano melody in this song sounds too close to “The Way It Is”, but I’ll give them a pass for having a good taste in music. Beyond that, it’s a heavily emotional song for the guys about the loss of loved ones and the questions and concerns that exist when thinking about their presence on the other side. For instance, “If you could see me now, would you recognize me?/Would you pat me on the back or would you criticize me?/Would you follow every line on my tear stained face?” It’s a little rap heavy for the trio, which makes me think that it won’t get released here, but it’s still a great song that strikes a chord with a large audience who have been through the same sort of experience.

Do you have a favorite of these three releases? Maybe another song or band that I should take a look at? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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