Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New songs for January 17th 2018

here they are:

"Connected By Love" by Jack White: The eerie synths that open the latest song from the famed White Stripes frontman don't exactly define this song. About 15 seconds into the song, those instruments get supplanted by Jack's soulful delivery, both vocally and instrumentally. The chorus almost seems gospel influenced, and it uses female backing vocals that wouldn't sound too out of place in an actual gospel song. The organ solo in the song further accentuates its spiritual fervor. I have said before that music is like a religion to me. "Connected By Love" makes me feel like I'm in a church listening to a choir and soaking in each note and the overall passionate message of the song!

"Dream" by Bishop Briggs: In the summer of 2016, Bishop Briggs (then known simply by her first name) won over the alt and adult alt charts with "River", a song that combined soulful, impassioned vocal delivery, folk-rock guitar instrumentation, electronica ambience, and stomp-and-holler rhythms into a neat little musical package. On "Dream", Bishop uses this same combination of elements and manages to win over her target audience once again! Perhaps the biggest attraction, though, for "Dream", is in its lyrics. Bishop bares her heart and soul with lyrics like, "I wanna wake up where your love is, 'cause your love is always waking mine", and "I wanna break down where your heart gets so torn it's breaking mine". Bishop could be speaking to a lover, a close friend, or a higher power, but it's up to the listener to decide which suits them the best, ultimately. Such is the beauty and impact of music!

"Feels Like Lightning" by Josh Ritter: From the clippety-clop rhythm in the opening, you know that folk-rocker Josh Ritter wants to make "Feels Like Lightning", well, feel like lightning! The song's unique, memorable rhythm feels like a horse trampling through a field at lightning speed. Though horses aren't mentioned anywhere in the lyrics, there is quite a bit of nature related imagery in the song nonetheless. Wind, cherry blossoms, bluebirds, and fields are among the many choice words Josh uses to evoke the mood of being surrounded by scenery that is at once vibrant and pastoral. So let your heart run free and stir up some excitement whenever you listen to this one!

"Taste" by Rhye: It's rare these days for an electronic song to be so poignant and emotionally bare, but this is what Rhye excels at. They seemed destined for one-hit-wonder status in spring 2013 with their intimate and aptly titled song, "Open", but "Taste" has proven me wrong. "Taste" has a bit more energy than "Open" did, but still manages to have a calming, ethereal atmosphere nonetheless. The words "I'll lick your wounds. I'll lay you down" are repeated during certain sections of the song, illustrating the song's intent of comfort and reassurance to the individual who happens to be listening to it. Just as they did with "Open", Rhye have once again managed to succeed at making music perfect for wanting to escape into a world full of billowy clouds!

"You Worry Me" by Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats: Nathaniel and his spunky, blues-y, R & B revival group don't worry ME, that's for sure! As with most of their material, this song makes me wanna get up and dance! Along with Jack White's latest song, "You Worry Me" is one of the most heavily anticipated new songs of the week, and it's not hard to see why! Though the song might not have the fiery, no-frills attitude of their breakthrough song, "S.O.B.", "You Worry Me" has still managed to win me over and remind me of why I like this group so much! Though the song is written in a minor key (a first for the group, as far as their better known songs are concerned), it still feels more like a major key song for its sheer exuberance and fervor. Well, what are ya waitin' for?! Let's boogie down!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

New songs for January 10th, 2018

here they are:

"Everybody's Coming to My House" by David Byrne: From his distinctive vocals to his odd lyrics (the song opens with, "I wish I was a camera/I wish I was a postcard") and the eclectic mix of seemingly disparate musical elements as jazz, electronica, and rock, you can tell from the get-go that "Everybody's Coming to My House" is a David Byrne song! The Talking Heads frontman was last heard collaborating with the equally mysterious and eclectic musician, St. Vincent, and it appears that their collaboration together has had somewhat of an impact on him musically. The jazz/electronica fusion on this song was also present on Byrne's album with St. Vincent, "Love This Giant". "Everybody's coming to my house and we're never gonna go back home", sings Byrne during the chorus. He sounds paranoid and overjoyed all at once. Even into his mid 60's, Byrne is just the same as he ever was decades ago, and that's just the way we like him!

"Get It While You Can" by Robert Finley: The name of this song is not to be confused for the Janis Joplin song of the same name, but it sure maintains the fiery R & B style Janis had! Jazzy R & B musician Robert Finley has actually been alive for quite a while (he is 63 years old) and has been a musician for a long time as well, but he did not release any albums until two years ago. His debut album was fittingly titled "Age Don't Mean A Thing", and on his first big song, "Get It While You Can", he shows that age really doesn't mean a thing, as he pours his heart out into the catchy, spirited soul song with reckless abandon and fervor to make something that sounds both retro and modern all at once. Like Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles before him, Finley is blind, which makes his dedicated musicianship all the more powerful. His song might be called "Get It While You Can", but you can get the earthy, expressive passion of this song any time you want!

"Like A Motherless Child" by Moby: After famously attempting to add a rock/alternative flavor to his previously electronic music in the late '90s and into the early 21st century, Moby has decided to return to the electronica sound that first put him on the map with his latest song, "Like A Motherless Child". The title of the song, adapted from black folksinger Odetta (who is also lyrically sampled on Moby's "Run On"), is frigidly chanted almost entirely in monotone by Raquel Rodriguez during the song's chorus, which both opens and closes it. Moby "sing-speaks", also in monotone, during the verses with lyrics that revolve around the struggle between the sacred and the profane, further adding to the icy chill the song already gives off before he joins in vocally. To feel "like a motherless child" probably means to feel lonely, like something is missing, so Moby does a good job of emulating how that feels in the context of this song!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

First new songs of 2018

Actually these are pretty much all leftover from late 2017, but better late than never, right? Here goes:

"Creature Comfort" by Arcade Fire: First The Killers jumped onto the anti-sexual abuse bandwagon with "Run For Cover", and now Arcade Fire have issued a statement in defense of sexual abuse survivors with their latest song, "Creature Comfort". A key line in this song is, "Some boys get too much. Too much love, too much touch", and another is "some girls hate their bodies, stand in the mirror, and wait for feedback", taking the issue from both a male and female point of view. "All in all, I don't know if I want it" is another line in the song that is important to consider. AF have definitely taken on some serious issues in 2017, which started with the current state of politics in the surprisingly dark, "I Give You Power", and has extended into more personal issues with "Creature Comfort". When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

"Way With Words" by Bahamas: Could it be?! The Bahamas are no longer just a secret among indie fans?! Apparently, if Taylor Swift knows about 'em, they're no longer relegated to just a quirky, left-of-center audience! However, their music still sounds just as odd. Well, kind of. "Way With Words" sounds like The Police filtered through an indie-pop lens, with its swaying, reggae inspired groove. Perhaps it was because of Taylor Swift spreading the word about this song online that this song was streamed millions of times in just two weeks, but Bahamas still sounds just as chill and groovy as ever. They haven't changed their sound, as far as I can tell.

"World Gone Mad" by Bastille: Bastille's latest songs, such as "Good Grief", have noticeably more guitar than the songs on their debut. "World Gone Mad" is yet another first for the band, as it not only contains a guitar, but an acoustic guitar! The guitar quickly becomes obscured by a string section within the first minute, but that's not necessarily a bad thing here, since it makes for what is quite possibly the most poignant song in Bastille's catalog so far, which is mostly danceable alterna-pop, like "Pompeii". As you can probably tell from the title alone, "World Gone Mad" is a dark song, but it is more sad than it is scary or mean.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Top 20 of 2017!!!

Here it is, folks! The moment you've all been waiting for! Let's count down the songs I played the most that came out this year from 20 to 1!! Here we go...

20. "The Night We Met" - Lord Huron
19. "In A Drawer" - Band of Horses
18. "Shine" - Mondo Cozmo
17. "Love Is Mystical" - Cold War Kids
16. "High Ticket Attractions" - The New Pornographers
15. "Lay It On Me" - Vance Joy
14. "Can I Sit Next to You?" - Spoon
13. "Two High" - Moon Taxi
12. "Baby I'm Broken" - The Record Company
11. "The Man" - The Killers
10. "The Gold" - Manchester Orchestra
9. "You're the Best Thing About Me" - U2
8. "Up All Night" - Beck
7. "Rhythm And Blues" - The Head and The Heart
6. "Shine On Me" - Dan Auerbach (Black Keys)
5. "The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness" - The National
4. "Everything Now" - Arcade Fire
3. "Name For You" - The Shins
2. "Hot Thoughts" - Spoon

annnnddd...the Number 1 song of 2017 is....


Happy Holidays and New Years, folks, and see ya next year!! :)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

New songs for December 6th 2017

here they are:

"Midnight Train to Memphis" by Chris Stapleton: "Southern rock" might not be a thing anymore to most musicians, but to Chris Stapleton, it is! Having already stormed the adult alt radio charts with "Second One to Know" in the summer of this year, Chris is now back a second time around with "Midnight Train to Memphis", a song whose sound used to be just plain ol' country that Chris has now spruced up with more of a rock sound. The title alone of this song conjures up the typical Southern rock and country imagery of traveling down the highway (or railway) at night. It may be getting close to winter, but Chris Stapleton still wants to fire up the barbecue grills down a blazing hot road right now!

"Queens of the Breakers" by The Barr Brothers: The only other track for this week is a country-rock song as well, but more in a sentimental way than in a rockin' one. The song was actually named for band member Brad Barr's group of friends he hung out with when he was a teenager. Not exactly sure what the origin of the name "Queens of the Breakers" is, but that's not as important as the overall bittersweet nostalgia the song tends to evoke. Over the course of 5 and a half minutes, The Barr Brothers meld country, bluegrass, jam band sounds, and rock to create a yearning, winsome story in this song.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Holidays Rule Volume 2 songs!!

The sequel to 2012's indie holiday extravaganza, "Holidays Rule", has arrived! And I've got 6 songs to review from it, so here goes!

"Baby It's Cold Outside" by Barns Courtney: There's a certain roots-y, earthy, soulful quality to pretty much all the songs Barns Courtney has put out so far (especially his first and biggest hit, "Fire"). His rendition of the lyrically questionable but musically fun Christmas tune, "Baby It's Cold Outside", attempts to inject some soulfulness, but ends up sounding more like a 2010's alt-pop song with a hip-hop beat. It starts off sounding like an old jazz standard, but as soon as the percussion comes in, it becomes a whole different song. And yes, as with all versions of this oddly charming holiday song, there is a female vocalist in here as well, and her name is Lennon Stella, best known as one half of the country-pop internet sensations, Lennon and Maisy.

"I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas" by Lake Street Dive: Undoubtedly one of the goofiest Christmas songs of all time, soul/blues-rock combo, Lake Street Dive, add a Latin twist to this song, making it stand out even more among holiday songs than it already did! This is the first time Lake Street Dive have sounded more like rhumba than R & B, but they do a good job at it! With a "shaka-laka" percussion section and sultry horn section, I can guarantee that a song about hoping for hippos on the holidays has never sounded more unique than this one! Make no mistake. Rachael Price does NOT want crocodiles or rhinoceroses, she only wants hippopotamuses. Nothing wrong with that, right?!

"Jesus Christ" by The Decemberists: Unless you're a big fan of Big Star, who are probably the only "proto-alternative" band besides The Velvet Underground to gain a large cult following among alternative rock fans despite having zero chart success, you might not know the original version of this song, an unusually reverent song for a somewhat irreverent and quirky band. It only makes sense, then, that The Decemberists, who are quirky, irreverent, and have a huge cult following themselves, would cover Big Star's "Jesus Christ", the only Christmas song that Big Star ever did. Like Joni Mitchell's "River", "Jesus Christ" might not have been intended to be a Christmas song, but has been viewed as one anyway ever since its release. This version stays faithful (no pun intended) to the original until its solo, which uses guitars in place of the sax solo on the original. As a side note, "Jesus Christ" might have also been the only Big Star song to use a saxophone. Most of the others I've heard by them don't use that instrument.

"Pipes of Peace" by Muna: Yet another cover of a modern Christmas song, as opposed to a "traditional" one. Many people know (and are sometimes somewhat averse to) Paul McCartney's uber-happy "Wonderful Christmastime". They might not know that Sir Paul also released a quieter, more reflective Christmas song in 1983 called "Pipes of Peace". This is that song, performed by indie-pop group, Muna. Muna seem to have a thing for middle-of-the-road classic rock, as they have also covered Stevie Nicks' "Edge of Seventeen" and U2's "With Or Without You" in concert, which is interesting considering how Muna sound more influenced by electronica than they do rock. Muna maintain the quietness and reflectiveness of the original, molding a bittersweet holiday rock song into an equally bittersweet holiday indie song.

"The Christmas Song" by Judah and The Lion: Not since Mumford and Sons has there been an indie-pop band known for playing banjo. Judah and The Lion typically take it one step further than Mumford and Sons by using a pop music framework to showcase their mad banjo skills, as opposed to a more folky one. Here, Judah and The Lion use the same technique on "The Christmas Song", a song first made popular by Nat King Cole in 1945 and covered many times since. JATL's rendition of this Christmas classic is a fun one, to be sure, but the banjo solos might just be the best part of this whole song!

"What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" by Andrew McMahon: This song was already covered by The Head and The Heart on the original 2012 edition of "Holidays Rule". I think their version is much better. However, that doesn't mean I'm going to just ignore Andrew McMahon's version of a holiday song originally recorded by jazz musician Ella Fitzgerald in the mid 1940's. Andrew does a decent job, but his version comes off too...well...keyboard-y for my taste. The song is supposed to have piano, which this version does, but he layers it with a synth sound that doesn't exactly sound fitting for this song. Head and The Heart extend the length of this song and add in some guitar in the background. This version has no guitar and is relatively short in comparison. Stick with the original "Holidays Rule" rendition of this song (or the original Ella version) if you want a quality version of this post-Christmas tune. It's not a bad version, though, by any means.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

new songs for November 15th 2017

here they are:

"I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" by Jim James: The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" is widely considered to be one of the greatest rock albums of all time (despite getting virtually no airplay on today's "rock" stations). There's a good reason it is, though. The album, along with The Beatles' "Rubber Soul", which it was inspired by, were some of the first albums to showcase rock as an emotionally diverse art form. With the news spreading that My Morning Jacket's Jim James was going to be covering one of my favorite songs from that album, "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times", my first thoughts were, "You can't top a classic!" As much as I love Jim and MMJ, it's a hard feat to pull off trying to cover the sweet but troubled genius work of Brian Wilson. However, I'll still give Jim credit where credit is due. He doesn't drastically change the song in any way, and he tries his best to stay faithful to the bittersweet, sympathetic tone of the original. He alters the melody of the chorus a bit, and he also adds in some brass instruments where they aren't needed, but other than that it's a pretty decent cover!

"Losing All Sense" by Grizzly Bear: As if by coincidence, our next song is inspired by "Pet Sounds" as well! However, it is not a cover of a song from the album. The ultra eclectic, artsy indie quartet, Grizzly Bear, have always tried experimenting with different sounds on each of their albums. Their latest song, "Losing All Sense", sounds similar to "Two Weeks", the song that first made Grizzly Bear popular among indie fans, and it also contains a brief "slow" section like their song "Sleeping Ute" did. Its happy, piano and orchestra based sound seems like it might be derived from Beach Boys songs like "I Know There's An Answer". "Losing All Sense"'s spacey, psychedelic lyrics (for instance, "Like a rogue wave, you wash right over me") seem like they'd fit right in with some of the best '60s rock songs.

"Motion Sickness" by Phoebe Bridgers: You might not have heard of Phoebe Bridgers yet, but other musicians you might like have heard of her. Her debut record was released under Ryan Adams record label, and she has toured with Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes. Fans of Adams and Oberst would probably be fans of Phoebe Bridgers as well, as she evokes a similar sense of pathos and sensitivity to such musicians. The "motion sickness" she mentions, as she states in the song, is an emotional one. The song is basically Phoebe's sad but sweet sounding attempt to try to right all the wrongs in her life. Between the hushed but weary vocals and the sighing of the instruments in the song, it's pretty easy to tell what's going on here!

"Plastic Soul" by Mondo Cozmo: Mondo Cozmo are a rarity in this decade. On their first album alone they've gone through folk-rock with "Shine" and Beck-ish attempts at blending hip-hop with alternative pop with "Automatic". Their third hit, "Plastic Soul", does not sound like either one of those songs. Instead, it has a piano based '60s R & B sound that samples from an actual '60s R & B song, "Piece of My Heart" by Aretha Franklin's older sister, Erma (yes, this was the same "Piece of My Heart" that Janis Joplin later made famous - Erma did it first). "Plastic Soul" is very soulful, but it sure ain't plastic! This is the real deal, folks!

"Run For Cover" by The Killers: With all the people who have been accused of sexual abuse lately, I'm sure glad The Killers aren't one of 'em! Why am I bringing this up in my review for this song? Because "Run For Cover" is actually a song that speaks out against those who have been sexually abused. In this song, the beat of which is reminiscent of INXS's "Don't Change", Brandon Flowers points a finger at all the carnally depraved men out there, perhaps one in particular, given such lines as, "Are your excuses any better than your senator's?", "It's even harder when the dirtbag's famous", and even a brief mention of "fake news". I don't think it's too hard to figure out who this might be about, but it's ultimately up to your imagination to figure that one out!

"Whatever It Takes" by Imagine Dragons: Imagine Dragons aren't what you'd call a "hard rock" band by any means, but some songs of theirs are still softer and more melodic than others. "Whatever It Takes" just happens to be one of the softer songs in Imagine Dragons' catalog. Starting with a pristine piano that gets taken over by artificial percussion, "Whatever It Takes" has a similar sound to Imagine Dragons' other songs, except for in terms of how it is sung (or rather, delivered). Lead singer, Dan Reynolds, does the closest thing he's ever done to a rap during the verses of the song, speaking a bit too fast for anyone to understand him upon the first few listens of this song. The way Dan rhymes in this song could even be compared to people like Eminem (although Dan is far more wholesome in terms of his lyrical content).