Introducing: New Ruins

The musical landscape is now more fractured than ever, with every genre and sub-genre finding an audience in cyber space and the pubs, clubs and concert halls of the world. However, it’s fun to see mini trends developing, and recently we have noticed a proliferation of synthesisers, programmed drums, and the distinct influence of that most musically heinous of decades, the ‘80s.

Of course, the era that gave us Prince, The Smiths, The Replacements, Husker Du, The Rain Parade, Three O’Clock, Game Theory and many more excellent artists, isn’t all bad, but the production values of the day capsized many a potentially great record, and it’s no coincidence that many of the finest talents of the ‘60s and ‘70s lost their way in the age of Fairlights, explosive snare and kick drums et al. Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan, to name but three, all lost their way before recovering towards the end of the decade or in the ‘90s.

There is always a reaction though…and there has been some excellent music made this past twelve months that is more concerned with that most wonderfully descriptive noun: the vibe. Jonathan Wilson’s masterful Gentle Spirit is a case in point, with it’s introspective lyrics and Laurel Canyon revisited sonic palette, and now we have another addition to the pantheon: New Ruins’ latest effort, This World Is Not Ours To Keep is more modern sounding, but has the vibe.

Wilson’s stoned California persona is an appealing one, but there is an edge to New Ruins, and a certain toughness which betrays their Illinois heritage. The new album is chock full of excellent songs, and here is one of the high points from the record, “Crazy Annie.”

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