Wednesday, July 11, 2018

new songs for July 11th 2018

here they are:

"Salvation" by Tash Sultana: I don't know much about Tash Sultana, but the chorus of her latest song, "Salvation", pretty much tells all about who she is and what her music is like. "I guess I'm just changing with the wind/Turning in a different direction again and again", Sultana smoothly croons over a chilled out electro-pop musical landscape. True to its what its title would suggest, "Salvation" offers just that. It's a very dreamy tune that invites listeners to take a much needed break from their long, hard days. The song has an interesting twist towards the end, as a guitar solo slinkily makes its way into the song, first with a smooth, jazzy sound, and eventually building up to a more distorted rock sound that fits in surprisingly with the rest of the song.

"Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" by Sheryl Crow and St. Vincent: Sheryl Crow was known in the '90s for her insouciant pop/rock, slightly reminiscent of the lighter side of classic rock, like The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Jackson Browne. Her first two albums were a breath of fresh air for people who wanted a break from the sullen, grungy sound of most '90s rock. She seemed to struggle to stay relevant to the rock scene ever since then, becoming more of an adult contemporary pop musician at the dawn of the new millennium. So who in the world would have thought she'd have a song that was an Arctic Monkeys soundalike?! I sure wouldn't have! Yet here she is, nearly two decades after her eponymous album from 1996, doing exactly that! "Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" sounds a little like Arctic Monkeys' "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?" with a guitar that sounds like it came from a St. Vincent song (fitting, since she's a guest on this song). If you told me 20 years ago that Sheryl Crow was going to have an edgy electro-pop song that was worth hearing, I would have looked at you like you had bugs crawling out of your ears. The times sure are changing!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

New songs for the 4th of July 2018!!

It's a Wednesday AND the 4th?! Let the celebration begin!!

"Apollo" by St. Paul and The Broken Bones: There seems to be a trend this year for contemporary musicians who emulated '60s R & B previously to go one decade forward for their next release. Leon Bridges has already done it this year, and now it's St. Paul and The Broken Bones' turn. It's a bit disappointing to hear the Alabama sextet go from an Otis Redding styled sound to a more disco influenced one, but "Apollo" is not a bad song. For one thing, it still contains the horns that SPATBB's other songs are known for having. However, the resulting song still sounds like what it'd be like if Wilson Pickett tried covering "Rock With You" by Michael Jackson. Something here just doesn't add up. At least it has a groovy rhythm, though.

"Humility" by Gorillaz: The Gorillaz and The Monkees have a few things in common. Aside from the obvious fact that both groups are named after primates (and how they're also perpussly myspelld rokgr├╝ps), they're also both bands who...well...aren't really bands! The Monkees were originally marketed as a "TV band", and Gorillaz are a cartoon band. Yes, a cartoon band, similar in concept to The Archies and The Chipmunks, but far more edgy and modern than either one. Among their best known songs is the aptly named "Feel Good Inc.", the feel-good techno-pop summer jam of 2005. "Humility" is another feel-good summer jam for the band (or faux-band, rather), although it has a slower, more chilled out sound than "Feel Good Inc." The lyrics of "Humility", centering largely around isolation, are also darker in tone than "Feel Good Inc." They both SOUND like feel-good songs, though!

"Miracle Man" by M. Ward: M. Ward's musical style has always felt a little out of step with current trends, but that's part of his charm. His latest song, "Miracle Man", sounds a bit like Roy Orbison's "(Oh) Pretty Woman", especially in the beginning. Another thing "Miracle Man" shares in common with Ward's other material is its short length, barely measuring up to a mere 3 minutes. The song itself isn't exactly a miracle, but the way it was released kinda was. It arrived quietly, without any real hype surrounding it. How perfect, then, that we're hearing this one for the first time on the 4th of July, so it can start off life with a bang!

"1950" by King Princess: Both the title of the song and the name of the performer here are somewhat enigmatic. I mean, what's a "king princess"?! Is it a king or is it a princess...and does that mean there's a Queen Prince as well?! The title of the song also seems somewhat arbitrary. 1950 wasn't really known for being a particularly memorable year, after all. Turns out, there's an explanation for both, and they're both discussed in the song! The moniker "King Princess" comes from how the performer is a lesbian, and therefore a "princess" by gender, yet a "king" in terms of what people expect her behavior to be like. As for the year that gives the song its title?! Well, it actually represents the decade of the 1950's, when LGBTQ people were far more oppressed than they are today. The song is a protest against people who are not open minded about those whose sexual orientations aren't "traditional". So has society now gone back to "playing 1950", as King Princess says in her song?! Yes and no, to be honest. However, the point of the song is to challenge societal norms more than it is about asking whether we have truly made progress in our points of view about sexuality.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

New songs for June 27th 2018

here they are:

"Castles" by Lissie: "Castles" pretty much represents the essence of indie-folk songstress, Lissie. It is a quiet, reflective song that fuses brass instruments, acoustic guitar (with an electric guitar solo), and piano into a tasty treat for Lissie fans that feels as billowy as a warm summer breeze. It has lyrics that are both quirky and meaningful, and a sound that is both hip enough for Lorde fans and nostalgic enough for Carole King fans. When Joni Mitchell sang of "ice cream castles in the air" on "Both Sides Now", perhaps the castles described in this song were the ones she was talking about. Dreamy imagery that still somehow manages to stay down to earth. Lissie's sound seems to have matured as she's gotten older. Perhaps her lyrics have, too.

"Come On To Me" by Paul McCartney: The legendary Sir Paul just doesn't want to quit making music...and that's a good thing! A VERY good thing! His latest song, "Come On To Me", is a sunny but kickin' power pop song, in true Macca fashion. The song is both upbeat enough and quirky enough to be mistaken for a Beatles number (at least it would be if it weren't for the shimmering, contemporary production techniques used for this song). The song is a silly love song (pun intended) about his current wife, Nancy Shevell. As Sir Paul himself once asked, though, "What's wrong with silly love songs?" Well, in the case of "Come On To Me", absolutely nothing!

"Disappointing Diamonds Are the Rarest of Them All" by Father John Misty: With a total of eight words in the title of this song, Father John Misty would certainly win the award this week for "song with the longest title"!! It's kind of a random title too, but as FJM's fans probably know, that's just how he rolls. The song is both weird and edgy, as many of his songs are. Who ELSE would open a song with the lyrics, "Like a pervert on a crowded bus, the glare of love bears down on us"? There aren't too many songs I know that even USE the word "pervert" (perhaps that's a good thing, though). This baroque pop track is only two and a half minutes long. Songs of absurdly short or absurdly long lengths seems to be a FJM trademark as well. To paraphrase a line from Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets", Father John Misty is so weird and he's wonderful!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

New songs for June 20th 2018

here they are:

"Forever" by Billy Raffoul: Poised to be Billy's second hit after last summer's "Driver", "Forever" showcases Billy Raffoul's robust vocals, much like "Driver" did. The instrumentation on "Forever" isn't quite as powerful as the quiet-to-loud dynamics of "Driver", instead opting for a quirkier brand of instrumentation that still fits loosely into the indie-pop format. The lyrics are a bit more formulaic than "Driver" as well, as "Forever" conveys the simple but effective message that him and his current love interest will "last forever". What I wanna know is if this song will last forever.

"Gold Rush" by Death Cab for Cutie: Death Cab for Cutie have returned to the music world after a three year hiatus. And what are my thoughts on the matter?! Well, mixed, to be honest. There are things both to like and not to like about their latest song, "Gold Rush". The song's piano based sound just seems to be further proof that "guitar music" just isn't in vogue anymore (as a guitarist, this makes me kinda sad). However, its sound is unique, providing both a later Beatles influence as well as a more contemporary one. And speaking of The Beatles, one of the best things about this song is that it uses a sample from Yoko Ono's 1971 song, "Mind Train". The lyrics of "Gold Rush" are also interesting, as they tell the story of the slow but steady gentrification of lead singer Ben Gibbard's hometown of Capitol Hill in Seattle, Washington.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

New songs for June 13th, 2018

here they are:

"Back And Forth" by Wild Child: Indie-folk-pop ensemble, Wild Child, continues to experiment with vintage soul music on their latest song, "Back And Forth". Their breakthrough single from earlier this year, "Think It Over", demonstrated some soulful prowess as well. The use of brass instruments to brighten up "Back And Forth" is particularly intriguing. In spite of its bouncy sound, "Back And Forth" is actually about knowing when to walk away from a toxic relationship. Sure is a catchy tune, though!

"Black Moon Rising" by Black Pumas: Bringing back the smooth sounds of early '70s soul and funk music, The Black Pumas land their debut this week with a mighty bang! The lead singer's name is Eric Burton, which is just one letter away from The Animals' Eric Burdon. It's probably just coincidental, but it is interesting to consider how much the blues influenced both Burdon and Burton! As you might have guessed from the title of this song, it has some dark lyrics, but they're deliciously dark, in a way that can make someone feel smooth and sexy as much as they are righteous and empowered. Are you sure that's a moon rising?! 'Cause this song has me feelin' a fever inside as hot as the sun!

"For the Lonely Ones" by Lucero: Tennessee alt-country group, Lucero, have been around for 20 years now, but their song, "For the Lonely Ones", marks the first time that mainstream adult alt radio has taken notice of their music. It has a rough and rowdy alt-country sound like Drive-by Truckers or Old 97's, but with the unique addition of saxophones in the background, which neither the Truckers nor the 97's (to my knowledge) have had in their songs. The song has a lyrical similarity to songs like The Replacements' "Here Comes A Regular", although "For the Lonely Ones" is upbeat and ragged, as opposed to the more melancholy vibe of the 'Mats song. Both songs are essentially tunes for broken hearted drinking buddies to commiserate with one another. The spirited, Skynyrd-esque vibes of this song make that a little hard to tell, though!

"Never Ever" by Lord Huron: Bet you didn't expect a group as sweet and lilting as Lord Huron to cop a Joy Division-esque sound, did you?! Well, that's just what they do on "Never Ever", perhaps the first Lord Huron song to rely on chunkier electric guitar sounds and dark, droning keyboards, as opposed to the folk-rock-y, pastoral guitars that usually dominate their material. Lord Huron's strangely intriguing fascination with death, present throughout their previous album, "Strange Trails", continues to pop up on "Never Ever" as well, with the subject of the song seeming to be an ex lover who is no longer alive. The much gentler "Wait By the River" was also about this, so perhaps "Never Ever" serves as its angry, regretful "sequel song".

"Rolling On" by Israel Nash: Listening to this song for the first time makes me feel like the '60s never ended for Israel Nash. While there have been plenty of '60s throwbacks in the indie-folk realm, none have ever captured the vibes of being out in nature in such an ethereal state as Israel Nash has for his latest song, "Rolling On", and there's a very good reason for this. To make this song (and others for his latest album), Israel recorded out in Dripping Springs, Texas. This is why, if you listen real carefully, the sounds of water rushing and wind blowing, among other things, can be heard in this song. If anyone ever does an "indie rock yoga" session, this song should definitely be part of it!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

New songs for June 6th 2018

here they are:

"Charity" by Courtney Barnett: Don't be fooled by the title. This is not a love ballad from Courtney Barnett (Has she ever done one before in the first place?!) Instead, it's a dour, sarcastic, downtrodden song from Courtney, as per usual. If The Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb" had an "answer" song, it might just be this one. Jagger sang about a woman who was "under his thumb". Courtney IS that woman - well, not Mick's, but certainly one who has felt mistreated in relationships. In "Charity", she sings about how it feels to be treated with disrespect in a relationship, albeit with a cynicism that is unique to Courtney in her songs. "You must be having so much fun. Everything's amazing", she begins during the chorus, and follows these statements with, "So subservient I make myself sick. Are you listening?" In other words, she feels like she's been treated like an object for too long and doesn't want to put up with it anymore. Charity, eh?! Doesn't sound very charitable to me!

"On My Knees" by Middle Kids: It's been a long time since rock and roll. Even the so called "indie kids" feel that way now. "On My Knees" is the closest that Australian indie-pop trio, Middle Kids, have gotten to a rock song so far, so perhaps that's why it's gotten more attention so far than their other tunes have. The sound seems a little rushed and haphazard and gives off vibes of what it'd be like if Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros tried making a garage rock song. The attempt at sounding more like a rock group than an indie-pop band was probably intentional in this song, as it is basically about how much the members felt they have suffered as a band, and their search to find a silver lining in their situation.

"Sucker's Prayer" by The Decemberists: If the synth laden blitzkrieg of "Severed" from earlier this year didn't sit well with you, then perhaps the calmer roots-y guitar sound of "Sucker's Prayer" might be more for you. Lyrically, it is a classic Decemberists tune which juxtaposes sweet melodies and harmonies with dark lyrics. It's a song about someone who wants to commit suicide, but that might not be apparent to those listening to the song for the first time who want to focus more on the way the song sounds than its lyrical content. It's not the first time Colin Meloy and his indie-folk-rock ensemble have pulled this off. "The Rake's Song", for instance, was a grisly murder ballad, but its catchy beat seemed to lead people away from assuming that's what the song was about. Well done, Decemberists. You still have it in ya!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

New songs for May 30th 2018

here they are:

"Happy Man" by Jungle: This is not the first time Jungle have had a hit, but it is the first time that adult alt radio stations are starting to take notice of them. The British alt-dance septet create synthetic funk for the modern age with their latest song, "Happy Man". This track is an interesting one, with philosophical lyrics questioning whether "living the dream" is really worth it in the end. Also, although the song is called "Happy Man", the opening lyrics are, "I'm a troubled man". The narrator wants to FIND happiness, in spite of what the title indicates.

"No Expectations" by Bahamas: Accidental pregnancy was a common subject for rock and alternative songs of the 1990's. "The Freshmen" by The Verve Pipe, "Slide" by The Goo Goo Dolls, and "Brick" by Ben Folds Five all revolved around the subject. The topic hasn't been near as popular since then, but it seems like Bahamas are attempting to bring it back with "No Expectations". The narrator of this song seems to want to lure his lover back into his life, but she feels like she's made a mistake with him. Though it's not entirely clear whether this song is actually about unplanned pregnancy, there are hints to it in lyrics like, "A life that's worth livin' is just some mouth to feed", and "you carried a baby". Bahamas' lead singer follows up the latter with the phrase, "that baby was me", which is a bit of a weird lyric, but he then follows that up with, "I'm carrying a baby. One you'll never mean." The bite and sting of alternative rock from the '90s is nowhere near what this song sounds like, but there does appear to be similarity between the lyrics of such songs and this one.

"Soul No. 5" by Caroline Rose: Most of Caroline Rose's songs are country-rock, but not this one! "Soul No. 5" combines sassy attitude, tongue-in-cheek lyrics, and catchy indie rock beats made fresh for the late 2010's! There is no "number 5" mentioned anywhere in the lyrics, and it's also the only song of hers with the word "soul" in the title so far, so the number tacked on to the end of the title doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Caroline's caustic yet kooky delivery of the song helps to compensate for its odd title, though. The innuendo within some of the lyrics (which, might I add, is not very subtle) is sung in such a spoiled yet silly manner that you can't help but sing along with it!