FOLK ROCK | Howl in the Valley

Rock Candy Sessions, the latest EP from Spartanburg trio Howl in the Valley, offers up three easy-going, salt-of-the-earth Americana tunes fit for rambling men and women everywhere. With one new original, one stripped-down reimagining of a previously recorded track, and one cover, the album serves as a solid primer to the band. Rock Candy Sessions begins with “Bear Creek,” an emotive ballad about a cabin in Caesar’s Head. According to the band, the song began life as an ode to a place of refuge, but upon discovering a picture of the cabin’s deceased owner, they wrote the final verse to give him the chance to say goodbye. “Drive” rewrites history, taking a high-energy folk rock tune from their last album, and scaling it back. Subtlety suits the lyrics and music well, but the band still plays it louder than the other two tracks, struggling to contain the excitement for their original music. Howl in the Valley rounds things out with a cover of Eleventyseven’s “Appalachian Wine.” The band’s subdued Americana rock sound is a fitting complement to the track’s lyrical themes and chord progressions. Rock Candy Sessions is a quick listen, but also serves as a mellow distraction from life’s faster moments. Howl in the Valley’s latest can be heard on Spotify. —Heath Ellison


INDIE ROCK | Beach Tiger

Charleston music veteran Taylor McCleskey, better known as the leader of indie rock band Beach Tiger, released a collection of his band’s early singles titled Hamburg (The Early Efforts) on April 24. The collection plays two roles in Beach Tiger’s discography: a retrospective of singles never put on a proper release and a preamble to Beach Tiger’s ambitious “Beatles Ten” project, in which McCleskey will drop a new album every six months through the decade. Hamburg is a fitting title for this release since the Fab Four famously kickstarted the band by taking up residency in Hamburg, Germany. Hamburg consists of almost every track Beach Tiger has released, including fan favorites like “Companion” and “Dead of Night,” as well as various demos and remixes of the songs. It’s a means of remembering the beginning of Beach Tiger while setting everything up for the project’s ambitions. McCleskey certainly seems set on ensuring that a lot more Beach Tiger is to come. In his words, “this will be the perfect chance to take a look back at what the project has been before you brace yourself for where it’s going.” Hamburg (The Early Efforts) is currently available for streaming on Spotify. —Alex Peeples

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