All kinds of new music was released this week. Arcade Fire got together with Mavis Staples on a stirring new single. Austin rockers Spoon are back with a new song for the first time since 2014’s They Want My Soul. Foxygen’s Hang came out today. They reportedly employed the help of a 40-piece orchestra, and man, does that extra step pay off. And Maggie Rogerswho I recently stumbled onto – added a third song to her slight but impressive body of work.

Here’s the full playlist of this week’s favorites!

Fruition – “Labor of Love”

I’ve been listening to a whole lot of Hiss Golden Messenger recently, and that’s led me into a strange place musically I’d never expect to be. Hiss Golden Messenger doesn’t explicitly make country music – a genre I cannot and will likely never warm up to – but you can definitely hear country elements in their lyrics and twangy guitars. Alt-country / new country / southern rock…whatever you want to call it, I’m into it and surprised to find myself here.

This kinda-country kick led me to Fruition, a quintet from Portland, Oregon that is difficult to categorize. “Labor of Love” is the title track and opener of the band’s 2016 album. It features smooth transitions between banjos, mandolins and bluesy electric guitar riffs, and highlights the call-and-response and harmonies of Fruition’s three very capable vocalists.

Fruition and its unique blend of bluegrass and rock and roll will be in Philly soon, playing Union Transfer with Greensky Bluegrass on February 1st.

John Mayer – “Moving On and Getting Over”

Touring with Dead & Company has kept John Mayer busy for the past couple of years. The guitar virtuoso finally gave fans fresh music of his own on Friday with four new songs – the first batch of tracks dubbed Wave One off a new project called The Search for Everything

Mayer went in-depth with Rolling Stone to explain the creative process behind the new tunes. In the interview he also explains the choice of unrolling the record in pieces at a time:

“The price of admission is four songs,” he says. “If you don’t like these, don’t get the next four. But if I’ve engendered some kind of trust that you think i’m onto something, get the next four, and come along with me on every single wave.”

Each of the four songs addresses the pain and frustration induced by a broken heart. “Moving On and Getting Over” is the oddball of Wave One, though. Mayer’s guitar is still guiding us along for the most part, but it’s the R&B-inspired boom-tick-tap beat that you’ll find yourself nodding along to long after the song’s four minutes are up.

You’ve earned my trust, John. I’m eagerly awaiting the next wave.

Tuxedo – “Special”

As far as I’m concerned, Mayer Hawthorne can do no wrong.

The neo-soul artist from Detroit released some of the finest modern funk of 2016 with Man About Town. And out the blue, Party of One – a three-song EP just dripping with cool – appeared later the same year.

Hawthorne is back again with a few new songs from Tuxedo, the duo he forms with hip-hop producer Jake One. It is called Fux with the Tux. Really, that should be all I need to tell you to catch your interest.

“Special” has the same driving funky guitar riff heard on parts of Party of One – see “Time For Love” – but is dipped in an extra layer of late-night, low-light swagger.

-Mike Still

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