5 songs you must hear this week: 11 January 2021

While most big names eschew doing much early in January, other artists realize that there’s an opportunity to grab some attention while everyone else is still getting their act together for 2021.

1. Eddie Vedder, Growin’ Up
Matter of Time EP (Republic Records)
Recommended If You Like: The idea of Eddie covering Springsteen

Eddie has never made a secret of his love for Bruce Springsteen, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Eddie has covered one of his songs (it’s from 1973’s Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ) for an expanded version of his latest EP, which now includes five acoustic tracks. The other three are Future Days, a track originally from Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt album, which he performed for the 2020 Game Awards. There’s also Porch and Just Breathe, both recorded at home.

2. Black Pistol Fire, Look Alive
Look Alive (Black Hill Records)
RIYL: Two-piece bands

I’ve long been a fan of Eric Own and Kevin McKeown, a couple of Canadian boys now working out of Austin, Texas. Their sixth album, due on the 29th, has a more expansive, almost cinematic sound. There’s lots of bluesy garage rock goodness to come. More guitar effects? Check. Bass synth? Yep. Electronic drums? Why not?

3. AJR, My Play
OK Orchestra (WMG)
RIYL: Bands of brothers

The brothers in AJR have been dripping out singles from their fourth album for several months now and with some excellent success with tracks like BANG! And Bummerland. OK Orchestra has now been confirmed for a March 29 release. This track shows a slightly different side of the band. Hey, they promised that they’d do some experimenting with this record.

4. Shame, Water in the Well
Drunk Tank Pink (Dead Oceans)
RIYL: Shouty singing and big guitars

Written and recorded amidst the UK’s lockdown, this South London five-piece had to adapt to staying in one place rather than constantly driving around in a van. Their first album, Songs of Praise (2018) got great reviews from the indie cognoscenti, so much is expected from The Difficult Second Album™.

5. Mush, Blunt Instruments
Redacted (Memphis Instruments)
RIYL: Anyone who can rhyme something with “palindrome.”

Things were really looking up for this Leeds trio. A new album was coming in February and this song was setting things up nicely. But then just before Christmas, guitarist and founding member Steven Tyson passed away. No cause of death has been given. Sad, given this band’s potential to shake up the UK indie scene.

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