By Dave Hughes
Periodically, this column will spotlight a handful of recent local music releases. All music mentioned can be found on all major streaming platforms and online music retailers. To find quick links to these recent releases and more, visit ConcordRockCity.com
NEW ALBUM: (July 30, 2021)
Keep a Weather Eye
M Jones and the Melee
It’s not common these days for local independent artists to release a full-on front-to-back album, but that’s exactly what Oakland-based M Jones and the Melee have done with Keep a Weather Eye.
The debut release carries the listener through over 40 minutes of rich songwriting from Margaret Jones, delivered both ferociously and tenderly through the no-frills rock band that she’s assembled. The band’s sound is largely driven by distorted guitar, bass guitar, and tom-heavy drums, though acoustic guitar, synthesizer, violin, and cello all play important roles.
Keep a Weather Eye is a gritty unapologetic rock record with notable range and gravity. There’s a bold sense of urgency, anxious suspense, and sincere assuredness throughout the 10-song journey. Expect elements of Misfits, David Bowie, Fugazi, and Queen.
NEW EP: (June 30, 2021)
Concord-based artist New Sense recently dropped a self-titled EP featuring guest appearances by Hear in Color, Uncle Eli, TJ McCarty, Valente McNamer, Faith Donithan, and Austin.
Appropriately released in late June, New Sense is rich with “summer jam” vibes. All five tracks will have you bobbing your head to the luscious funky beats, catchy hooks, and slick lyrical flow.
Several of these tracks would work well on the dance floor of a nightclub, but there’s something very shiny and bright about the overall sound that makes for a great soundtrack to a care-free time with friends on one of those memorable summer days you never forget. Or maybe it’s some of the elements from the opening track’s beat and guest vocals that conjure up the nostalgic feel of Banarama’s “Cruel Summer.” Who knows? To quote the song “Lavender” (track 3) “I don’t know how you do it, but you do it so gracefully.”
NEW SINGLE: (August 9, 2021)
“Carried Me Away”
Spirit Drive & Deuce Eclipse
The new single from Spirit Drive is a re-imagination of his own 2020 rock song from the album X, featuring Deuce Eclipse (of Bang Data).
Xavier Guerrero’s new version of “Carried Me Away” is built upon a reggae beat. The more open landscape of this framework allows for some fun production, which Guerrero takes advantage of with some disciplined textural layering to help emulate some of the emotion and tension found in its original rock format.
Moreover, this beat-driven version sets the table perfectly for singer/emcee Deuce Eclipse to spit an exquisite guest verse. Deuce’s faster-paced rapping momentarily snaps the listener out of the hypnotic trance set by Spirit Drive to further build on the theme of friendship abandonment.
The combination of Spirit Drive and Deuce Eclipse feels like a very natural complimentary fit, as if each artist knows the other inside and out, which makes sense considering these two Concord artists are literally brothers.
NEW SINGLE: (August 7, 2021)
“Resilience With A Touch Of Resentment”
Accidents at Sundown
The new single from the fairly recently formed East Bay rock group Accidents at Sundown opens with a somewhat misleading sense of optimism and hope. The intro’s synthetic soundscape and electronic beat seem to be setting up a motivational power ballad. That all gets up-ended in just half a minute, slowing to a halt, not unlike pulling the plug on a turntable at a life-coaching seminar to announce that the building is on fire.
A melancholy piano and naked electric guitar emerge to give the listener some guidance. The epic nature of this “secondary intro” feels somewhat like the opening act of a rock opera that takes place in a haunted house. We, the audience, are figuratively led down the hall and eventually handed off to our host, singer Tyler McClellan, who urgently informs “What we need is to break out!”
From here on, “Resilience with a Touch of Resentment” takes consistent shape. A chugging distorted rhythm and driving drums support McClellan’s shouted declarations, which sound kinda like a really upset Joe Strummer in a good way. The haunty piano overlay adds a nice element of continuity to the earlier introduction. The new single fits well with Accidents at Sundown’s growing catalog.
Catch Accidents At Sundown on August 7th at Toot’s Tavern in Crockett, Calif.