Wednesday, March 21, 2018

New songs for March 21st, 2018

here they are:

"Bad Bad News" by Leon Bridges: "Bad bad news" is probably what some of Leon Bridges' fans think of this song! After all, it doesn't have the warm, nostalgic Sam Cooke-ish vibes that the stuff from his debut album did. However, Leon's new direction is still an interesting one. Going about a decade forward in his musical time machine, "Bad Bad News" is more derivative of the music of people like Gil Scott Heron, who provided a "missing link" between jazz and hip-hop during the '70s, back when "hip-hop" wasn't exactly the buzzword it is today. Like a lot of today's contemporary rock and alt acts, Leon seems to be eschewing the guitar of his previous work in favor of a more keyboard based sound, but instead of giving it an '80s synthesizer flavor, he puts his own twist on it by making it sound jazzy!

"Can't Deny Me" by Pearl Jam: In yet another controversial political era, rock and roll fans were probably wondering what, if anything, would end up being the next "American Idiot". Well, Pearl Jam might just have the answer to that question! In their charged new song, "Can't Deny Me", Eddie and the boys point their fingers towards a business tycoon who later starred in a reality show and then somehow became president. "You may be rich, but you can't deny me", Eddie Vedder snarls at his opponent during the chorus. The anti-Robin Hood mentality of the man currently running the U.S.A. is what Pearl Jam appear to be protesting here. In an era where rock and roll has become an endangered species, Pearl Jam remain one of the last known survivors!

"Today Is the Day" by Eels: A happy song with angry lyrics?! I wouldn't expect anything else from Mark Everett (better known simply as "E"), whose music seems to be based around irony. To more naive listeners, this song might seem like it's about having a great day, but make no mistake! Right from the start, E declares this day to be the day when he throws everything out the door, and then wonders why he's even alive. The "Get out of the f**king road!" spoken by E in the middle of the song would probably have me shaking my head and cringing if it weren't for E's effortlessly sardonic delivery. The Eels are truly unique. They're like Barenaked Ladies for "South Park" fans!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

New songs for March 14th 2018

here they are:

"Found the One" by Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite: For almost 25 years, Ben Harper has made a long journey from soul inflected folk-rocker to a musician who can do just about anything. It was only a few years ago that Ben first got together with blues musician Charlie Musselwhite to create powerhouse blues-rock songs. With "Found the One", Ben and Charlie continue to pound out some mean blues riffs, using a typical blues chord progression accompanied by a rhythm similar to that of "I'm Waiting For the Man" by The Velvet Underground. Ben is quite talented at whatever he does, really, but I kinda like it when he goes blues-y, so "Found the One" works for me!

"Short Court Style" by Natalie Prass: Natalie Prass was originally one of many female singer-songwriters in the "indie" format influenced by folk-rock. Maybe this is why "Short Court Style" sounds so distinctive in comparison! You've gotta distinguish yourself somehow, right?! Surprisingly, Natalie turns to early '90s R & B (of all things) for musical inspiration for her latest song, "Short Court Style". The YouTube comments for the song compare her to performers like Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson. It probably sounds unbelievable for those already familiar with Prass' music, but it's true! There appears to be a late '70s disco/funk influence in this song, too, as evidenced by its chunky, rhythmic guitar grooves. While the song doesn't have much to offer lyrically, what it does have to offer in terms of lyrical content is reflective of the breezy dance-pop vibes it gives off, centering largely around dancing and having a good time!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

New songs for March 7th, 2018

here they are:

"Can We Hang On?" by Cold War Kids: Cold War Kids return with a third single from "L.A. Divine" with "Can We Hang On?" Once again, Cold War Kids mix U2-ish guitars with Coldplay style pianos to create the soundscape for "Can We Hang On?" It is nothing new for CWK, musically. However, it does present an interesting lyrical theme of how looking back nostalgically at the past can make one more uncertain about the future. It's almost the opposite point of view of "Best Days" by Lissie, from earlier this year. Where Lissie wants more best days in the here and now, Cold War Kids are left wondering if they can hang on long enough for a bright future to greet them.

"Go Out Fighting" by Dr. Dog: After the perils of doubt from the last song, it might be nice to ease into a song with a more positive message. This is where Dr. Dog come in, with their latest song, "Go Out Fighting", which opens with the lyrics, "Never give up. Go out fighting". This "fighting", of course, is not the physical kind, but the metaphorical kind. In other words, to "go out fighting" for what you think is right and for what you want out of life! Just as Dr. Dog did with "Listening In" from earlier this year, "Go Out Fighting" also uses major influence from 1960's psychedelic rock, using swirly, tremolo laden guitar feedback with a reverberating vintage organ sound. Fight the good fight, guys!

"Good Kisser" by Lake Street Dive: "If you're gonna tell them anything, tell 'em I'm a good kisser", Rachael Price croons in a sultry manner on the opening lyrics of this soulful tune that sounds both retro and modern. With a rhythm as syncopated as it is slinky, "Good Kisser" is a bit like receiving a kiss. It sneaks up on you, wraps itself around you, and leaves you with a puckering, vibrant, "Wow!" feeling afterwards. Rachael, if you're available, please, come give me a good kiss! I bet you're great at it!

"Shiny One" by Belly: An early '90s alt-rock quartet that is half female and half male, Belly are considered by many to be a one-hit wonder for their quirky yet enchanting, "Feed the Tree", from 1993. It's amazing to think that their next big hit took 25 years for them to make, but better late than never, I suppose! "Shiny One" is enchanting, just as "Feed the Tree" was, yet there's something oddly hippie-ish about it. Not what you'd expect from a band from Kurt Cobain's heyday, but it does manage to work here! Tanya Donnelly's languid but sweet vocals are enough to lure in listeners from miles around on this track. "Shine on, sparkly one. My shiny, my shiny one" almost sounds like a Donovan lyric to me. Let your mind wander and gaze at your "belly" (get it?) as you take a 5 and a half minute trip upon Belly's magic swirling ship!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

New songs for February 28th, 2018

here they are:

"Happiness Jones" by The Wood Brothers: Before I heard this song, I wasn't sure if "Happiness Jones" was the name of a person or if it was a desire (a "jones") for happiness. As it turns out, it is the latter. True to its title, "Happiness Jones" will give you a happiness jones. It's just so darn catchy! In "Happiness Jones", The Wood Brothers take a break from their usual quaint folky sound and try a more upbeat, soul inflected one. Clearly, this worked for them, as it has scored them their first true adult alt radio hit (If you don't count their cover of the seasonal Jackson Browne song, "The Rebel Jesus", that is). If you're happy and you know it, sing this song, and listen to it!

"Kids These Days" by Shakey Graves: Crossing the threshold of country-rock and indie-pop, Shakey Graves have now scored their second big hit on adult alt radio with "Kids These Days", a song that's as roots-y as it is catchy. The added use of synthesizer on this song gives it a bit more of a pop sound than their previous Triple A radio hit, "Dearly Departed". Lyrically, the song seems to be built on cliches, including (but not limited to) the title phrase, "gonna live forever", and "mirror mirror on the wall". The title of the song made me think it was going to be a tongue in cheek complaint about millennials, but it actually just seems to be a random phrase thrown into what is basically a word salad song, as far as I can tell. Kids these days. They just don't make songs that make sense like they used to, do they?!

"Mr. Tillman" by Father John Misty: Just when you thought Father John Misty couldn't get more bizarre or hipster-y, he sings a song about (gasp!) HIMSELF!! That's right! "Mr. Tillman" IS Father John Misty, whose real name is Josh Tillman. He literally talks to himself during the opening verse of the song ("Mr. Tillman, good to see you again"). He even manages to name-drop fellow indie-folk-rocker, Jason Isbell, during the first verse. What is the occasion that causes him to speak to himself?! Perhaps it's some words he took from random bits of conversation somebody had with him, presumably a tour manager. We may never know the answer to this one. Such is the mystery, and therefore the appeal, of Mr. mean Father John Misty!

"Real Love" by Lo Moon: After proclaiming "This Is It" during autumn of last year, indie-pop trio Lo Moon return for late winter/early spring 2018 with "Real Love". "Real Love" and "This Is It" are similar songs, since they're both influenced by the more atmospheric side of '80s synth-pop and they both have choruses that are louder than their verses. The beat of "Real Love" sets it apart from Lo Moon's previous hit. It's an average pop/rock beat written in C minor, which kind of takes away from the mystique that "This Is It" it had. Fans of groups like The xx, Future Islands, and Rhye should find this well suited to their electro-pop taste, though.

"Wait By the River" by Lord Huron: Lord Huron fans, the wait is over! The Los Angeles indie-folk band now has a new album to follow in the footsteps of their surprisingly successful "Strange Trails" album, which yielded the band four adult alt radio hits. "Wait By the River", the first single from Lord Huron's latest album, deftly weaves together psychedelic rock, folk-rock, and doo-wop into a deliciously hypnotic indie-pop swirl! Though the song provides nostalgic, misty eyed vibes akin to doo-wop classics like "I Only Have Eyes For You", "Wait By the River" is not a love song, at least not in the positive sense. It is actually about a man who has lost his partner, perhaps out of his life or perhaps out of life itself. Knowing Lord Huron's preoccupation with morbid subject matter, it could easily be either one!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

New songs for February 21st, 2018

here they are:

"Baby I Love You" by Ryan Adams: Ryan Adams is known for having a bit of a hard heart, esp. when a fan requested BRYAN Adams' "Summer of '69" by mistake at one of Ryan's concerts. In recent years, however, Ryan has softened up, even performing a cover of the aforementioned song to poke fun at himself. Nothing has proven his sentimentality more than "Baby I Love You" so far, though. Ryan purposely released the song a few days after Valentine's Day. Using a lilting, jangly, Byrds-y melody and chord progression over a song whose title is the same as a Ronettes song, Ryan gives us one of his sweetest songs yet, without succumbing to being sappy in the process, thankfully.

"Extraordinary Love" by Erika Wennerstrom (from Heartless B*st*rds): Upon my first time hearing Heartless B*st*rds' music, I had thought their lead singer was a male, but it's actually a female. "Extraordinary Love" marks the first time that HB's lead singer has gone solo, and it also manages to be significantly longer than any song she did with her band, clocking in at a total of 6 minutes and 49 seconds. "Extraordinary Love" certainly lives up to its name in that aspect! It is a very adventurous song for someone whose band was known for its country-rock and roots-rock sounds. "Extraordinary Love" doesn't sound like either. Instead, it is a psychedelic and progressive rock fusion, evoking the sounds of such symphonic rock groups as King Crimson, The Moody Blues, and the Syd Barrett era of Pink Floyd. Each verse seems to take two minutes to complete, but with the enrapturing vibe of this song, each of those two minute intervals feels more like one minute to me!

"Nameless, Faceless" by Courtney Barnett: With its forceful intro bearing similarity to Devo's "Jocko Homo" in terms of its series of half step chords going progressively downward, Courtney Barnett proves herself once again as a force to be reckoned with in her latest song, "Nameless, Faceless". As with most of her material, it's not just the song that proves itself to be tough as nails, but the lyrics as well, particularly the part during the second verse where she says, "I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup and spit out better words than you", which is as scathing as it is funny! Another similarity "Nameless, Faceless" bears to "Jocko Homo" is how it is both hilarious and confrontational. Where Devo challenged the idea of man truly being an "evolved" creature, Courtney challenges the idea of gender harmony and tears it apart mercilessly when she says, "Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them." Are we not women?! WE ARE DEVO!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Val-"N"-tines Day!!

The punny title comes from how all three songs for this week begin with the letter N. Here they are:

"Neighbors" by Lucius: Female-centric indie-pop group, Lucius, walk the line between juicy pop goodness and folk-rock bittersweetness. Their latest song, "Neighbors", is the latter. It is also a bit paranoia fueled, as far as the lyrics go. The song even opens with the lyrics, "I always lock the door 'cause you never know for sure who your neighbors are, real suspicious." The minor key of the song adds to its paranoia, but it probably isn't something that can be easily detected until listening to the song all the way through at least a few times.

"No Hard Feelings" by The Avett Brothers: The Avett Brothers did not release a new album yet this year. This one is actually a leftover from their 2016 album. "No Hard Feelings" is probably the saddest and slowest song to be released as a single from that album so far. The song is a farewell of some sort, but whether it's farewell to a girl, to a family member(s), or even to life itself, is hard to tell. The song closes with the line "I have no enemies" sung four times. All in all, it's a very sad song to listen to, but a good one. Now whoever's been chopping up onions in here, please stop!

"Not Too Late" by Moon Taxi: Almost all of Moon Taxi's songs so far have had a "tropical" vibe to them. This one does not. "Not Too Late" has a bit more of a straight up indie-pop sound, complete with both U2-ish guitars in the verses and club worthy synth in the chorus, the latter of which isn't exactly a common instrument yet in Moon Taxi's songs. Not as remarkable as most Moon Taxi songs, but certainly not bad either.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

New songs for February 7th, 2018

here they are:

"Need Your Love" by Curtis Harding: Smooth soul singer Curtis Harding returns to the adult alt charts just in time for Valentine's Day with "Need Your Love". Like his previous hit, "On And On", "Need Your Love" is defined by its fast rhythm and funky riffs, in a similar vein to most Motown songs. The backing synthesizer on this song separates it from "On And On". The relentless energy and passionate pleas in this song make it a winner for the same reason Curtis' previous hit song won me over. Hopefully it'll do the same to whoever listens to it!

"Saturday Sun" by Vance Joy: The use of ukulele and upbeat vibes on Vance Joy's latest song, "Saturday Sun", hearken back to Vance's first (and so far, biggest) hit, "Riptide". Most of his songs that have come out since that one evoke a bittersweet sense of melancholia, but "Saturday Sun" does not, at least not musically. Lyrically, it maintains a positive theme as well, about falling in love with someone for the first time. This might just be the first Vance song that's more sweet than bittersweet, since even "Riptide" had some anguished lyrics. Not bad, I say!

"Silver Lining" by Mt. Joy: Copping a similar acoustic guitar riff to Bon Iver's "Skinny Love", Mt. Joy's breakthrough song, "Silver Lining" is an interesting song. Like Bon Iver's material, "Silver Lining" is about the downside to college life and how easy it can be to get burned out as a 20-something. The title of the song is mentioned as a way for the lead singer to find some good among the pressure and turmoil one can experience during their young adult years. Watch out. This song will be coming soon to a university near you!

"Think It Over" by Wild Child: 7 is a lucky number for Austin, Texas indie-pop group, Wild Child! The group have 7 members, and it's taken 7 years for them to score a hit on adult alt radio stations. Well, now that I've gotten that out of the way, "Think It Over" is a rather soulful, upbeat song. You probably would have never suspected that it was produced by someone like Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla, but it was. Vocally, it sounds like Feist trying to do a disco song (which she DID once, covering the Bee Gees' song, "Inside And Out").

"Under the Wheels" by Calexico: Calexico's latest album is certainly their most adventurous yet! First, we had the horn-less "End of the World With You", and now we have the upbeat and slightly psychedelic sounding, "Under the Wheels". Calexico's trademark mariachi sound is back in this song, but make no mistake. The song marks yet another first for the band, in that its sound is fast enough to be danceable! Normally, Calexico are like other indie-folk and alt-country groups as far as their ability to be booty shakin' is concerned, but "Under the Wheels" is different than that! Lyrically, the song continues along the lines of being apocalyptic, like "End of the World With You" was, but unlike that song, it sounds happy enough to mask its moroseness!