Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New songs for April 26th 2017

here they are:

"In My World" by Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie: Not surprisingly, this duet from half of Fleetwood Mac sounds like, well, Fleetwood Mac. The throbbing bass line and its accompanying beat recall Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams", although the guitar arrangements for the song are entirely acoustic, unlike the acoustic/electric mix Fleetwood Mac is typically known for. The lyrical content could be viewed as a long awaited sequel to their infamous "Rumours" album. In contrast with the rock and roll soap opera "Rumours" was, "In My World" is more of a "what could have been" scenario, with words like, "In my world everybody stays. Nobody wishes for words they couldn't say."

"On My Mind" by The Outdoor Type: If the word "hipster" weren't such a pejorative term, it would probably be used to describe songs like this one. "On My Mind" by The Outdoor Type is a song that is laid back but still sleek and trendy. The song also name drops three cities during the chorus: New York, Berlin, and Paris, all three of which are known for being popular tourist attractions. This song is as hip as it is heavenly, and so far there isn't another song quite like it.

"Total Entertainment Forever" by Father John Misty: Nothing says "hipster" (in a bad way) like providing snide commentary on the current music scene, and that's exactly what Father John Misty's "Total Entertainment Forever" does. Why even bother to like this song, then? Well, first of all, Father John Misty has that odd but irresistible combination of coupling sarcastic and/or abstract lyrics with happy, pleasant musical arrangements, which keeps a lot of his fans appealed to his style of musicianship. Second of all, though his commentary might be a little harsh, it's also very RIGHT! "Total Entertainment Forever" is basically about how the current generation of youngsters has access to whatever they want whenever they want. FJM's ability to poke fun at millennials while still being fully aware that he is one himself seems comparable to how people like Randy Newman viewed Generation X-ers back when they were the current generation.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Blast from the past!! (And one more song)

Blondie and Red Hot Chili Peppers are two thirds of the new entries for the week?! Did I just take a trip in a time machine?! Nope, and even the third entry on this list sounds like it's from an older musician even though it isn't! Old is the new new, and here we go with this week's entries!

"Goodbye Angels" by Red Hot Chili Peppers: Not as reflective and soulful as "Dark Necessities" and not as much of a happy-go-lucky funk-rocker as "Go Robot", "Goodbye Angels", the third single from Red Hot Chili Peppers' latest album, is a song defined by its use of double-octave chords that gradually builds up into a faster song with fuller chords by the time the last 30 seconds or so kick in. Knowing the Peppers, "Angels" is probably a reference to their hometown (and mine), Los Angeles. The reference has occurred in a few of their songs, perhaps most famously "Under the Bridge", in which L.A. is referred to as the "City of Angels". The lyrics suggest it's about a girl(s), but the use of such imagery could be metaphorical for all I know. What is apparent is that the "goodbye" part of the song is a painful one, as the word "suicide" is mentioned a few times in the song. Whether this is the suicide of an actual person or the "suicide" (societal decay, perhaps?) of Los Angeles itself is unclear, but it's a bittersweet song nonetheless. I could do without the crazy buildup at the end, though.

"Long Time" by Blondie: Blondie?! Yes, THAT Blondie, the punk-cum-new-wave band from New York that pretty much screamed "girl power" in the late '70s and early '80s is back on the bandwagon!! Don't expect a powerful, gutsy rocker in the vein of "One Way Or Another", though. Debbie has mellowed out this time around, although this makes sense given how she is now 71 years old. No longer interested in melding the attitude of The Ramones with the harmonies of The Ronettes, she now turns to current electro-rock groups like TV on the Radio and Future Islands as her main musical inspirations for her latest song. Given how she has collaborated with both groups recently, this is hardly surprising, though perhaps slightly disappointing for those who might have wanted her to never be too old to rock and roll. Her voice, once young enough to sound like she was forever in her early 20's, now sounds a bit more motherly, but in a cool kinda way that only Debbie can truly pull off!

"River" by Leon Bridges": Not an old musician, but definitely an old soul, Leon Bridges has earned rightful comparisons to musicians like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding since his debut back in spring 2015, but in Leon's latest song, "River", he pulls off a feat that neither Sam nor Otis did. The song is a rare but sublime hybrid of folk music and soul music that is usually only able to be pulled off successfully by people like Tracy Chapman. During a lyrical journey that equates romantic love with spiritual love, a la Al Green, Leon passionately pleads the words "Take me to your river. I wanna know." What he wants to "know" is love, and it appears to be both that of a woman and that of God. Whichever one you prefer, though, "River" is a song with a smooth, quiet flow as steady as its title would suggest it has.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New songs for April 12th 2017

here they are:

"Don't Take the Money" by Bleachers: An indie-pop band led by Jack Antonoff from 2010's alt-pop group, fun., Bleachers debuted in spring 2014. They took the new wave influences fun. had and ran with 'em in songs like the bubblegum-y, infectious, "I Wanna Get Better" and the Springsteen-goes-new-wave sounding song, "Rollercoaster". Three springs later, Bleachers have returned with yet another new wave influenced indie-pop tune, "Don't Take the Money". What's interesting about this song isn't the sound so much as the subject matter! It is actually about his relationship with "Girls" actress Lena Dunham. Here's another bit of music pop culture trivia behind the song that might just throw you for a loop. It was written by New Zealand alt-pop songstress, Lorde (best known for "Royals"). Being that Jack and Lena's relationship is a movie star/music star one, I dunno how long it's gonna last, but I guess one can always hope for the best!

"Love" by Lana Del Rey: The title of Lana's latest song might be a positive emotion, but the song itself is more of a bittersweet flavor, as are its lyrics. The four chords the song uses are very common in rock and pop music by now, particularly in songs like Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and U2's "With Or Without You". Not even "With Or Without You" is this melancholy, though. Why is this? One reason is because of Lana's whispery, emotional vocals, which don't ever go from being passionately sweet to passionately loud like Bono's has been known to do. Another might be because fans of hers, such as myself, have come to associate her music with sadness. No song I have known of hers so far has been upbeat, and "Love" is not an exception to the rule.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

New songs for April 5th 2017

here they are:

"In Cold Blood" by alt-J: About a month after their initial single for this year, alt-J once again prove their geekiness in "In Cold Blood", in which the opening lyrics are actually binary code. They use this technique a few times in this song. "In Cold Blood" has a bit more of the quirky but funky alt-pop/rock that alt-J's listeners are used to than the surprisingly folk-y "3WW". It's unclear whether this is a love song, murder ballad, or summer song. It seems to be all three, though I don't exactly know how that's even possible. Leave it to alt-J to both stun and entertain their listeners!

"Shine On Me" by Dan Auerbach: The Traveling Blackberries?! That sounds like what the Black Keys frontman is trying to pull off in his latest song, "Shine On Me", which combines a roots-y twang with a retro rock beat in a similar fashion to a lot of Traveling Wilburys songs. The song also has a similar vibe to songs like "Queen of Hearts" by Dave Edmunds, another rock musician who performed roots rock in a retro 1950's style. I don't exactly know what has made Auerbach want to lose the trademark guitar fuzz he's become known for, but this isn't a bad direction for him to go in. Word of advice, Dan. Stick to bluesy garage rock next time. You're good at it!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

New songs for March 29th 2017

here they are:

"Big Boys" by Chuck Berry: Long live the King!! No, we are not talking about Elvis Presley here, we are talking about rock and roll's other King who lived to see 90 until a few weeks ago. If you guessed Chuck Berry, then you're absolutely right! A few weeks after his recent departure into Rock and Roll Heaven, a new song of his, "Big Boys", was released. For fans of the rock 'n' roll pioneer, "Big Boys" is guaranteed to please, as it features the trademark rhythms and guitar licks featured in most of Chuck's material. The song appears to be an ode to being young and having fun, fitting for a man whose music was full of relentless energy no matter when he performed it. Here's to a true rock legend! Without him, other recently deceased performers like Prince and David Bowie just wouldn't have been the same!

"Here Come the Girls" by Trombone Shorty: And speaking of musicians from the 1950's, this next song is actually a cover of a song by early R & B one-hit-wonder Ernie K Doe (best known for "Mother In Law"). How Trombone Shorty knew this song is anyone's guess, but its saucy, jazzy, soulful vibe is right up Trombone Shorty's alley! Shorty does Ernie K justice with his cover version of "Here Come the Girls", which retains the charm and sass of the original. Aside from their musical talent and style, another thing that Ernie K Doe and Trombone Shorty share in common is that they were both born and raised in New Orleans! Hardly surprising, as both versions of this song pack a punch as powerful as Cajun spice, but still worth your musical knowledge, as far as I'm concerned!

"Hope the High Road" by Jason Isbell: If this song is more rock than you're used to than that of the typical Jason Isbell solo song, that's partly because he is using his backing group, The 400 Unit, on it. Part of the reason that Isbell is opting for a rock sound here is because of the political outrage he is currently feeling, along with many other rock, folk, and alternative musicians. The chorus of "Hope the High Road" makes this clear when he says things like, "I know you're tired and you ain't sleeping well", and, "Uninspired and likely mad as hell." Yes, these lines are pointed towards the current leader of the United States. Isbell also hails from Alabama, so if you thought that most Southerners were Republicans, this song (and its musician) will challenge you to think again about things like that!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New songs for March 22nd, 2017

here they are:

"Baby I'm Broken" by The Record Company: Their debut album's only a year old, and already blues-rock outfit, The Record Company, are hot on the heels of a brand new album for this year! Perhaps this was a result of songs like the saucy "Off the Ground" and the sizzlin' "Rita Mae Young" becoming such big hits on adult alt radio stations. The Record Co's third big song, "Baby I'm Broken", seems poised to do the same as its predecessors, and for the same reasons as well. In a year when rock and roll had continued to diminish into a desert island, The Record Company satisfied the thirst of classic rock and blues-rock fans everywhere, and that is why they became such a big hit with their listeners! "Baby I'm Broken" is twice the rock and twice the roll, with a fuzz soaked blues-y sound and vamp that probably brings bands like The Black Keys to mind.

"Restart" by BNQT: Banquet?! No, I think that "Bee-En-Kyoo-Tee", the individual letters of the band's name, is how you pronounce this one, although supposedly, "Banquet" was the original name of the band. BNQT are actually an indie-rock supergroup featuring members of Band of Horses, Grandaddy, Travis, and Franz Ferdinand, the first two of whom collaborated on a Christmas song together a few years back (I suppose that's how they know each other). Anyway, their debut song, "Restart", has a rather T. Rex-ish glam rock groove that none of the other bands the members are in have really achieved aside from possibly Franz Ferdinand. The song's chorus states that, "We could all use a restart". I would say that the phrase "throwback" is more accurate in terms of describing this song than "restart" is, but there's nothing wrong with a good throwback once in a while!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New songs for March 15th 2017

here they are:

"Don't Leave Me Here" by Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo': Two bluesmen, and one epic performance! Taj Mahal has been performing blues music since the 1960's and Keb' has done the same since the '90s. As has long been tradition in the blues, various locations of the U.S. are mentioned throughout the song. Taj and Keb' warn the listeners of the song that "if (they're) going to Mississippi, where the Delta sky is sweet and clear", that they should at least consider not leaving the singers in Chicago, since they are currently stuck there. This song boasts the trick up the blues musicians' sleeves in which they are able to turn sad subject matter into a soulful, toe tappin' tune!

"Face Like Thunder" by The Japanese House: Don't be fooled by the name of this band. There is absolutely nothing Japanese about them, though they probably have at least a few fans who actually are Japanese. Actually, The Japanese House is not even a "they", but one person, 21-year-old Amber Bain from London, England. Her sound is a dreamy, ethereal one which manages to combine "Hejira" era Joni Mitchell with the first few solo records of Annie Lennox. The lyrics, about someone who has a "face like thunder", are almost as alluring and exotic as the music itself. Amber sounds wise far beyond her years in this song. Hard to believe she's only 21!

"Third of May" by Fleet Foxes: It has actually been about 6 years since Fleet Foxes last released a new album. Between 2008 and 2011, they were on a pretty steady roll, but all of the members except for Josh "Father John Misty" Tillman seemed to disappear from the music world after that. This song is pretty much packed with everything Fleet Foxes fans tend to love about the band, so "Third of May" will definitely be hailed as a great "comeback" song within the coming weeks, if not sooner. Instrumentally, it is a beautiful song with folk-rock instrumentation and feedback that sounds more like echoes in a canyon than it does electronic static. It also wins in the lyrical department, at least as far as Fleet Foxes songs are concerned, with its nature related imagery serving as the surface words of a song about some sort of internal struggle between the sacred and the profane. Well, truth be told, this is really more like the first three and a half minutes of the song. After that it turns into a song that sounds like one The Moody Blues might have done had they still been together today. Yes, that's right, a prog-rock Fleet Foxes song! That's a first, specifically of the songs that the band has marketed to adult alt radio stations. It is soft prog-rock, but prog-rock nonetheless, as it meanders into more experimental territory after the first few minutes. This section of the song even has another name, "Odaigahara" (don't ask me to pronounce that, 'cause I haven't a clue). Well at least the the first couple minutes are fun to listen to!

"3WW" by alt-J: How nerdy is alt-J?! Well, they not only named themselves after the computer command for the "delta" symbol, but just take a look at how they came up with the title to this song! To start with, March 3rd (3-3) was when the band first had a tiny section of the song available online, they released the full song 3 days after that, and in 3 months and 3 days from now, the whole album will be released! Perhaps these guys have listened to the old "Schoolhouse Rock" tune, "3 Is A Magic Number", one too many times (three too many times)?! Yet, in spite of all these quirky qualities (or perhaps because of them), alt-J have still managed to score some of the biggest alt/indie hits of the 2010's, like "Breezeblocks" (which is about famed children's book, "Where the Wild Things Are"), and "Left Hand Free". "3WW" itself is actually the calmest song I have heard so far in alt-J's catalog. It is largely acoustic guitar, piano, vocals, and a string section in the background, and not much more. It's not often alt-J release acoustic guitar songs, but I must say that they're pretty good at it! Hope to hear more like this from them in the near future!