Secret Powers-More Songs About Her. The men from Missoula are back with what has become an annual tradition: a new album. More Songs About Her makes five releases in five years and Shmed Manes & Co. never manage to disappoint. But there are some subtle differences here from the previous releases, although they open as usual with a killer track from Schmed: like last year's strong opener "Generation Ship", "Dragon Slide" is Secret Powers at its ELO/Jellyfish best. The differences kick in with John Brownell taking more of the lead vocal duties starting with the melodically frenetic "Impossible Girl" (complete with timpani and bells) that recalls Bryan Scary, and the Jellyfishesque "Post War". In fact, Schmed drops out for three straight tracks before re-appearing with "Drip Drop Drip", which might be the quintessential Secret Powers track with its driving melody, changing time signatures and on-its-sleeve wit. And his piano ballad "Hard to Be Someone" might be his best slower number. All in all, we see Secret Powers functioning more as a democracy this time around, and the results are just as strong. Here's looking forward to their 2013 release.
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The Riffbrokers-The Green Key Will Let You In EP. While on the topic of prolific bands from the US Northwest, the Riffbrokers are back with a brand new EP on the heels of last year's Every Pilot's Blinded by the Sun. Featuring more of the Petty/Replacements-style rock we've come to know and love over the years, the EP features several strong tracks including the opener "Around Too Long" and the closing rave-up "Re-Entry". But its the contemplative middle that makes this a special release; "An Extra in a Cowboy Film" and the title track show that it's not all loud guitars and heartland rock with these guys. And the best part is that this EP, along with apparently the rest of the Riffbrokers' back catalog, is free for download at Bandcamp.
Free download of all Riffbrokers albums from Bandcamp