It’s Friday, which means it’s time for Spark’s music expert and legendary L.A. radio DJ Nic Harcourt to weigh in on what new music he’s got on repeat at the moment. Below, he shares his newest picks added to his Spark Radio playlist and shares a spotlight on his favorite earworm of the week.
New this week:
The Connells: Steadman’s Wake
Sleigh Bells: Locust Laced
Zella Day: Golden
Tkay Maidza: Kim (with Yung Baby Tate)
Arlo Parks: Too Good (Unknown Mortal Orchestra Remix)
Parcels: Coming Back
Indigo De Souza: Hold U
Lila Iké: Batty Rider Shorts
Buffalo Nichols: Lost & Lonesome
Bleachers: Secret Life (feat. Lana Del Rey)
A Great Big Pile of Leaves: Hit Reset
Jamila Woods: Fast Car
Bomba Estero, Yemi Alade: Conexión Total
SPOTLIGHT: The Connells: Steadman’s Wake
Back in the late ’80s thru the ’90s when I was living in Woodstock, New York, I would occasionally find myself in one of the area’s well-known recording studios Bearsville or Dreamland, checking out who was in town working on new material. Some of the folks I met and heard during my time there? REM, Jack DeJohnette, Jeff Buckley, Suzanne Vega, Robert Fripp, 10,000 Maniacs, and in 1993 The Connells out of Raleigh, North Carolina. The band were college radio and alternative rock mainstays at the time with a series of melodic jangly singles like “Scotty’s Lament,” “Stone Cold Yesterday,” and “Fun and Games”. When I met them they were recording their fifth album, Ring, which delivered the hit single “74-75”, and I have to say they were most definitely one of the coolest and fun bands I ever spent time with. Though pretty much dormant since 2001, they’ve never officially broken up, performing occasional gigs, but no new material, until now. 2021 finds the band emerging from hibernation with songwriter and guitarist Mike Connell getting back into the studio with brother David and frontman Doug MacMillan, and recording their first new album in 20 years, Steadman’s Wake due on September 24.
Mike Connell explains the process: “I generally find writing lyrics to be the most challenging aspect of songwriting and with “Steadman’s Wake” that certainly proved to be the case. I set out with the modest ambition of tackling the opioid crisis, the futility of war, and the events in Charlottesville, VA a couple of years ago, all in the context of a four-minute pop song (being facetious, obviously). While I am never truly happy with my work, the other guys in the band really liked it, and felt that of all the tunes we were working on it best expressed where we “are” individually and as a band.”
The title track at the top of this week’s playlist adds, finds the Connells picking up right where they left off. Welcome back, fellas.