It’s been three weeks since my last Fresh New Tracks post, so I’m long overdue for a new one. For my 16th installment in this series, I’ve chosen three wonderful new songs by (in alphabetical order) Canadian indie rock duo Burn the Louvre, British rock artist The Petal Falls, and Tacoma, Washington-based psychedelic pop-rock artist Soda Cracker Jesus. So, without further ado…
BURN THE LOUVRE – “Driving In The Rain”
Burn The Louvre are a Canadian indie rock duo based in Hamilton, Ontario, and comprised of Jordan Speare (vocals/guitar) and Sean Cooper (guitar/vocals), although the act originally began as a duo consisting of Jordan and his brother Dylan. From what I can tell, they first released Post-Romance EP in late 2014, then followed in 2017 with a second EP We’ll Be Just Fine. By 2018, Burn the Louvre became Jordan’s solo project, at which time he began work on a full-length album Silhouettes with the help of his friend Andrew Billone, of indie rock band Silvertone Hills, on lead guitar and bass. The album was recorded, mixed & mastered by engineer/producer Mickey Ellsworth, and is finally being released in 2022 as 11 separate singles, at the rate of one song per month over a period of 11 months. “Driving In The Rain“, which dropped April 26th, is the fourth single to be released.
Rather serendipitously, after he and Mickey finished recording Silhouettes in late 2018, Jordan received an email from guitarist Sean Cooper, in response to an old “musicians wanted” ad he’d forgotten to take down. The two immediately hit it off, and began jamming together on the already-recorded songs. Jordan recalls “The way he was able to come up with his own unique leads to songs that were already recorded, giving them different nuances while maintaining the vibe of each song…I mean, I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad practice. I felt this was a perfect opportunity to re-imagine Burn The Louvre as a duo and I am very happy he wanted to be a part of this.”
“Driving In The Rain” has a pleasing folk-rock vibe, driven by a colorful blend of twangy and jangly guitars, accompanied by subtle bass and percussion that allow the wonderful guitars to shine. Jordan’s vocals have an endearing singer-songwriter quality that work to great effect as he sings the lyrics describing a man driving through a rainstorm to see his girlfriend, with whom he has a troubled relationship: “I’m 15 minutes out, the sky is darker than her hair. And all Beck’s “Modern Guilt” has got me way too self-aware. The weather’s getting worse, man it’s really coming down. It’s just the second verse, but I think I’m gunna drown. Conventional conversation is ringing in my ears. I want to kiss her in the rain, so I can’t see the tears. Seven hundred fourteen thousand, she’s the only voice I hear. I’d call her just to listen if I didn’t have to steer.” It’s a fine song, as are the three previously-released tracks “Wish We Were”, “Nice Guy” and “Alison”, giving us a good indication that Silhouettes promises to be a winner.
THE PETAL FALLS – “Somebody To Love Me”
Last August, I first wrote about British rock act The Petal Falls, the music project of Kent-based singer-songwriter Keith Leahy, when I reviewed his single “I Won’t Be There” (read the review here). To briefly reiterate some of what I previously detailed about The Petal Falls’ unfortunate history, Leahy formed the band in the mid 1990s as a performance platform for his music. Consisting of Leahy, who sings vocals as well as plays guitar and keyboards, and four other musicians: Robert Harpum (guitar), Dave Richards (guitar), Marius Ryndziewicz (bass) and Robin Tucker (drums), they signed with a mid-tier music label in the hopes it would lead to greater success, but it instead resulted in their ultimate undoing. The label stifled their creativity and stalled their career for several years, leading to a great deal of frustration among band members and their eventual demise, without ever being given the opportunity to publicly release any of their prodigious output of songs.
Thankfully, a few years ago their music catalog once again became available for release, and Keith jumped at the opportunity to re-master the original The Petal Falls recordings into four albums, with help of his friend and producer/engineer/drummer John King. The first of those albums, Workin All Night Workin All Day, was released in July 2020 to positive fan and critical response, an amazing feat for an act that had long been given up for dead. The album’s success inspired Keith to resurrect The Petal Falls as a solo project, recording and releasing new music in collaboration with King. They followed with a second album All These Years in September 2021, and are now planning to release a third album Everything About You this coming September. The first single from that forthcoming album, “Somebody To Love Me“, was released April 29th.
The song is a rousing upbeat stomper, with a hard-driving heartland rock groove that calls to mind some of the great mid-80s music of John Mellencamp. The lively guitar work is terrific, accompanied by sparkling keyboards and supported by a powerful rhythm section that keeps the song’s energy going full throttle. With his commanding vocal style, Leahy sings of his strong desire for a woman to call his own, wondering why he can’t seem to attract one: “I bought a new suit, shirt and tie. My hair wet down looking sharp through and high. Thought I’d impress with a twinkle in my eye. One look at me, she said ‘baby, bye bye’. I can’t pretend I understand what makes a woman love a man. I’ve seen your love in the face of a stranger. It seems to me, some girls are real dangerous. Am I a fool to think this way? I can’t be a loser every day. I need somebody, somebody, somebody to love me, yeah.”
SODA CRACKER JESUS – “Hoping For The Best”
Soda Cracker Jesus is the solo music project of the wildly imaginative, enormously talented and flamboyant singer-songwriter and producer Regan Lane. Based in Tacoma, Washington, Regan has been actively involved in the Pacific Northwest music scene for nearly 40 years, with his hands in many projects, including serving as front man and ringmaster for psychedelic punk-rock band Strangely Alright. He’s also been honest and candid on his social media about his former struggles with alcohol and substance abuse, and the happiness and joy that sobriety now brings him. With an unwavering sense of optimism, he creates music that looks to the future, but also understands the power of the past, and that duality helps shape his unique and signature sound.
I’ve featured both Strangely Alright and Soda Cracker Jesus on this blog numerous times over the past three or so years, most recently last October when I reviewed his wonderful single “Kaleidoscope”, a heartwarming song inspired by the memory of his late father. Now he’s back with “Hoping For The Best“, his fifth single under the Soda Cracker Jesus moniker.
Ever the optimist, Regan says the song is about “finding one’s way, the sadness that hits sometimes, and trying to see a glass that’s half full”, expressed by the refrain “I don’t know why I’m sad. Hoping for the Best.” Musically, the song is an exuberant power-pop banger, infused with generous helpings of punk and psychedelia. Over a heavy stomping groove, Regan layers fuzz-coated gnarly riffs, spacey synths, and lots of crashing cymbals to create a high-energy psychedelic backdrop for his reverby vocals that sound like a cross between 1970s John Lennon and David Bowie. “Hoping For The Best” is another outstanding entry in an unbroken string of superb singles.