Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New songs for April 18th, 2018

here they are:

"Bad Luck" by Neko Case: Neko Case is a clever musician riddled with contradictions. She's a folk-rocker with the attitude of a punk musician, not to mention a musician with honey sweet vocals that sing to rather dark and world weary lyrics. "Bad Luck" is yet another example of what a contradictory performer and songwriter Neko can be. The title of the song already lets you know this is not going to be a happy song, yet that's exactly what it sounds like it is! It's the closest she's gotten so far to a straight up alt-pop song. One more thing. She states early on in the song that she's "tired of trying to make everyone happy", yet it sounds like her aim in the song, as far as its sound is concerned, IS to make everyone happy. Talk about bad luck!

"Heart Killer" by Dr. Dog: This song opens with a weird but interesting sounding psychedelic keyboard sound making a rather dissonant note, but perhaps that part is only there to lure the listener in with a, "Whoa! That was trippy!" reaction to make them keep listening, as the rest of the song isn't really like that. The remainder of Dr. Dog's latest song, "Heart Killer", sounds more like a Wilco-esque attempt at glam rock. Throughout the song, one of Dr. Dog's two lead vocalists tells the tale of a girl who did him wrong, in an urgent "stay away from this person" vibe slightly reminiscent of songs like Lou Reed's "Vicious", which this song might just have been influenced by. What else is there to say? Sometimes the best way to warn someone about a contemptible person is to turn that warning into a catchy rock and roll anthem!

"Wildfire" by Big Something: Jam band rock makes a comeback with the cleverly named Big Something. Their breakthrough song, "Wildfire", is a whopping 8 and a half minutes long and, much to the delight of Deadheads and Phish-heads the world over, their album will be officially released two days from now, which just so happens to be 4-20. There's nothing too druggy or hazy about this song, but "Wildfire"'s incredible length and guitar/keyboard noodling are both staples of jam band material. The song also bears similarity to prog-rock with its Moog dominated sound, as well as its slight change of time signature midway through the song. To those who want to relive the album rock glory days when groups like The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd ruled the FM rock airwaves, go ahead and jam on to all 8 and a half minutes of this song. To those who prefer their songs a bit less lengthy and ambitious, stop this song at around 4 and a half minutes and you should be fine. Either way, Big Something's retro sound is a welcome breath of fresh rock and roll air to the increasingly pop music dominated airwaves of today!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New songs for April 11th, 2018

here they are:

"Fever Pitch" by Rainbow Kitten Surprise: In a decade where a "My Little Pony" reboot has proven to be one of the most successful cartoons, it only makes sense that someone would name their band something like "Rainbow Kitten Surprise". So, is their music as cute as their band name makes it sound?! Well...not exactly. It's kinda funky. Their lead singer bears a slight resemblance to Nathaniel Rateliff in terms of how he looks, and it sounds like his music does too. This song will not make you go "aww" like a rainbow or a kitten would. Instead, it's "surprise"-ingly soulful and groovy!

"Lash Out" by Alice Merton: Our next entry is pretty funky as well. Having already gained major success on the alt and adult alt charts during Autumn 2017 with "No Roots", Alice Merton returns to the charts for Spring 2018 with "Lash Out". Propelled by thick, funky guitars and a pulsating beat, "Lash Out" is a song about what pretty much everyone desires to do at some point when they feel under pressure. The impassioned, pent up anger released in Alice's voice during the chorus of the song makes us wanna lash out too. It also makes us wanna dance!

"Pink Lemonade" by James Bay: In an amazing switch from sounding less like Sheeran and more like The Strokes, "Pink Lemonade" marks singer/songwriter James Bay's first real dip into rock music. Opening with a propulsive guitar riff in F sharp minor, "Pink Lemonade" is enough to make fans out of people who weren't previously James Bay fans. From beginning to end, the song grips the listener and doesn't let go, especially once the drums kick in at about 15 seconds into it. The song appears to be about indecision regarding what to do in a relationship, and its title is only mentioned once in the song when James says he "want(s) to drink pink lemonade and watch movie trailers 'till it's late". I'm not one for drinking lemonade, regardless of its color, but this song sure makes me wanna dance all night!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

New songs for April 4th 2018

here they are:

"A Little Honey" by Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats: A soulful, spirited song, as usual, from Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, "A Little Honey" is more spicy than it is sweet. It has an interesting sound, as though The Band was attempting to cover Elton John's "Bennie and The Jets". As you can imagine, "A Little Honey" is a love song, but an energetic, impassioned one as only Nathaniel can deliver it. Nathaniel manages to pour more than just a little honey onto this song. Instead, he pours out all his heart and soul, and how!

"Alfie's Song (Not So Typical Love Song)" by Bleachers: What's it all about, Alfie? Well, here's what it's about. "Alfie's Song" is a song from the movie "Love, Simon" that encapsulates what it's like when a romance first blossoms in someone's life. If it's a song accompanying a movie where the character's name is Simon, then why did Jack Antonoff choose the name "Alfie"? Jack did so because "Alfie" is the name of his godson and he wanted to dedicate this song to him. Unlike what the title might lead you to believe, it's a pretty typical love song as far as its sound goes. It's a happy, optimistic song with pop music influenced instrumentation. Jack explains why it's a "not so typical love song" in the lyrics, since the romance he's singing about "hurt him again and again". Jack Antonoff believes in love, Alfie, although it's not a typical kind of love, apparently!

"Colors" by Beck: Is Beck a synesthete? Well, I don't know the answer to that question, but between the aptly colorful video for this song ( and its message, urging people to "feel the colors" (as opposed to just seeing them), I'm willing to bet he just might be one! "Sesame Street" nostalgics might even compare the wild, vibrant display of color (as well as the new wave-y music) to the "Wet Paint" video they had in the '80s! Watch and be amazed as a hand (Beck's, presumably) plays with colorful clay throughout the video of "Colors". Perhaps Beck should change his name to "Roy" in "Roy G. Biv", the acronym people use to teach the colors of the rainbow!

"Glory" by Dermot Kennedy: Dermot Kennedy is an Irish folk-rock musician, so naturally (being of Irish heritage myself), I wanted to know more about him upon finding this out! I have mixed feelings about this song, though, as it seems like Dermot doesn't know whether he wants to go for a bittersweet sound like Bon Iver or a more pop-y sound like Ed Sheeran. Dermot's debut single, "Glory", mixes moody acoustic guitars and impassioned vocals with pop music beats and production. Still, the way Dermot sings the title of the song is worth something, as he does so with a yearning passion that sticks in your head after you hear it!

"Into the Wild" by Phillip Phillips: The redundantly named 21st century folk-rocker continues to wow his audience with "Into the Wild", perhaps his most rocking song to date. This is the first Phillip Phillips song I can recall that really uses electric guitar the way it does, in a way that almost recalls the work of The Edge from U2. The song also uses interesting meter, in a similar manner to songs like Jethro Tull's "Thick As A Brick" (bet you weren't expecting THAT comparison, were you?!) As usual, Phillips' earnestness grips the listener from the moment the song is heard for the first time. The nature based imagery ("roll me like thunder", "I can be your landslide"), is also quite charming and adds to the appeal of this song.

"Over And Over And Over" by Jack White: Jack treated us to a blues and gospel influenced number earlier this year with "Connected By Love". "Over And Over And Over" is rock and roll, though, at its finest! Opening with a chunky riff that could easily be used in a Red Hot Chili Peppers song, Jack White plays a mean electric guitar pattern in E major that he, fittingly, uses over and over and over during this song! This is a song defined more by its musical power than it is by its lyrics. For people looking to resurrect the classic rock sound, look no further!

"Plastic Hamburgers" by Fantastic Negrito: "Fantastic Negrito" was not just some random indie band name that Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz chose for his band. He is, in fact, black (he didn't choose the "Negrito" part just to sound cool), and Xavier himself IS "Fantastic Negrito". His breakthrough song, "Plastic Hamburgers", can easily be described as Led Zeppelin meets Funkadelic. Melding chunky, blues-rock guitar riffs with neo-psychedelic organ sounds, "Plastic Hamburgers" is about Xavier's identity as a black man, and how he fears it will impact the identities of his children, and this is the fire that fuels the musical grills of "Plastic Hamburgers". His aim in the song is to destroy the walls that separate different sections of the human race from one another and to come to terms with the reality that ethnic minorities are facing. Here's hoping the message of songs like this one create a brighter future for our species!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

New songs for March 28th 2018

here they are:

"Before I Found You" by Van William: Before I found this song by Van William, he was merely the guy who had a song where the Swedish folk-rock group First Aid Kit provided guest vocals on one verse. Now that I've found "Before I Found You", though, I can see why so many adult alt radio stations have latched onto it! It combines acoustic instrumentation with catchy rock/pop beats. It has a heck of a catchy chorus, too. "I never knew who I was before I found you", Van declares during the chorus of the song, and then adds, "Don't let me sleep tonight". New love is full of exciting moments, isn't it?!

"Blackout" by Frank Turner: Frank Turner might just be one of the most eclectic musicians of the 2010's. From folk-rock to folk-punk to Bruce Springsteen-esque roots rock, he seems to have done it all! "Blackout" adds a new dimension to Frank's music. A sort of post-punk-cum-pop sound akin to groups like Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys is what drives Frank's latest song, "Blackout". The song centers around "the darkness" and how Frank is afraid of it, like he presumes the listener to be. What darkness is he talking about? We may never know the answer to that one. What we do know, however, is that this song is yet another reason to admire Frank Turner, just as I did when I first heard his music 5 years ago!

"Don't Give In" by Snow Patrol: Gary Lightbody's voice sounds a bit strained during the first verse of this song, but it does become more recognizable to Snow Patrol fans as it progresses. Choosing to perform their latest song in the not so commonly used key of D sharp minor (or E flat minor, depending on where you go in the musical scale), "Don't Give In" is a unique song for the part Irish and part Scottish indie-pop quintet. Perhaps the urgency here in Gary's voice is due to his addressing the problems with depression he has faced since he was young. Like many Snow Patrol songs, there is a sense of vulnerability in "Don't Give In". For a band who has not released a new album in 7 years, this is a pretty strong comeback!

"Fool Me Once" by Lukas Nelson: I've only heard a handful of Lukas Nelson songs, but this is probably the one where he sounds the closest to his legendary dad, Willie, in terms of both his vocals and his musical style. The song may be about someone's cheatin' heart, in true country-rock fashion, but it has a rather upbeat, happy-go-lucky sound in the spirit of groups like The Allman Brothers Band or Little Feat. Funny that Lukas chose to release this song as a single so close to April Fool's Day, isn't it? Considering its title, I mean...

"If Your Prayers Don't Get to Heaven" by Brian Fallon (lead singer of Gaslight Anthem): The Gaslight Anthem are like what you'd get if you mixed Bruce Springsteen with The Clash. Both Springsteen and The Clash had a hidden fondness for Motown and early soul music that occasionally surfaced in their music, so it only figures that The Gaslight Anthem's lead singer, Brian Fallon, would make a soul inflected tune of his own. That tune is "If Your Prayers Don't Get to Heaven". Given the bleak and desperate tone of most Gaslight Anthem songs, you might think the title to this song is a sarcastic one, but from what I can tell from the lyrics, it isn't. It just seems to be a song of reassurance to whoever Brian's current lover is. If your prayers don't get to heaven, the power of good music will!

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!