Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New songs for October 19th, 2016

here they are:

"Just Your Fool" by The Rolling Stones: It is in this song that The Stones have gone back to doing what they do best. Playin' the blues! "Just Your Fool" is a straight up blues number that sounds like something that could have easily been from the mid to late '60s. Using the same basic chord progression as many blues-rock numbers, such as Bob Dylan's "Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat", "Just Your Fool" is an earthy but catchy shuffle that could be lauded, in the musical sense, as the "sequel" song to their much longer and more grisly '69 blues-rock romp, "Midnight Rambler".

"Let Me Get There" by Hope Sandoval (featuring Kurt Vile): What do you get when you cross the lead singer of the blissful yet angst-y '90s avant-folk-rock group Mazzy Star with the lead singer of 2010's avant-folk-rock group The War on Drugs? You end up with something that recalls what a psychedelic, fuzz-drenched Fleetwood Mac might have been like, which is an accurate description for Mazzy Star as well. "Let Me Get There" creates a musical bridge between blissful soft rock harmonies and droning, strung-out psychedelia. This song is essentially a magic carpet ride for the mind that lasts for 7 and a half minutes. Hope's honey-sweet vocals tend to contrast a bit with the deep, creaky "dude" vocals of Kurt, but for anyone who wants to relive Woodstock and/or the Monterey Pop Festival, "Let Me Get There" will probably be a treat.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

2 Girls, A Blog, and October

How much better can you get?! Anyway, here are this week's songs:

"Emotions And Math" by Margaret Glaspy: Emotions and math?! I thought those were two completely different things!! That's like saying "chemistry and Shakespeare" to me. I guess the concept of two radically different heads being better than one is a good way to describe "Emotions And Math", the second single from raspy, angst-ridden indie gal, Margaret Glaspy. The song would fit pretty well lyrically with any song from Liz Phair's "Exile In Guyville", yet it also has a funky bass line that one might not typically associate with a musician like Phair. The title comes from Glaspy's description of what she thinks her love life is in the chorus of the song: "an ice cold bath of emotions and math". In other words, love is confusing and hard to handle. Yeah, we hear ya loud and clear, Maggie.

"Not Gonna Let You Walk Away" by LoLo: No, the name "LoLo" has nothing to do with "LOL" or any other sort of Internet slang. It is actually a nickname for the name "Lauren", singer Lauren Pritchard, specifically. LoLo's sound is as memorable as her unique moniker. Her debut single, "Not Gonna Let You Walk Away", mixes Alabama Shakes-ish distortion and alterna-soul vibes with the choppy syncopation on every even numbered beat that reggae music is known for having. LoLo's smoky, husky white-girl-with-soul vocals are the cherry on top of the cake that is "Not Gonna Let You Walk Away", a yearning mid-tempo ballad that put's LoLo's ex in a corner of guilt in a way that sounds more lovesick than it does accusatory.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

New songs for October 5th, 2016

here they are:

"Classic Masher" by The Pixies: "Classic" is right when it comes to describing the music of The Pixies! Bands like Nirvana, R.E.M., Radiohead, and even Weezer wouldn't exactly be where they are without 'em. Their last album wasn't actually released that long ago, but it didn't receive near as much attention as this one has. The Pixies' odd but endearing combo of arena rock sized hooks and garage rock distortion and attitude returns big time with their latest song, "Classic Masher". Like many Pixies songs, this one doesn't exactly have a clear narrative upon its first listen, but with a band as innovative and quirky as they are, what does it matter?! As The Smashing Pumpkins (yet another Pixies influenced group) once said in their song, "Cherub Rock", "Hipsters, unite!"

"Longer" by Lydia Loveless: Lydia is a musician who really puts the "rock" in country-rock! She is loved by alt-rock legends, The Replacements, and even met their bassist, and the opening to Lydia's latest song, "Longer", sounds a bit like the roots-y indie group, The Gaslight Anthem. Those awesomely cheesy guitar riffs that play in between each line also make this song well worth the listen, I think. "Longer" is as bittersweet as it is just plain bitter, as if Lydia can't decide whether to be "Loveless" (get it?) or love-lost!

"Mama Can't Help You" by Doyle Bramhall II: You may not know who Doyle Bramhall II is, but he has worked with rock legends like Eric Clapton and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, and he also happens to be Renee Zellweger's current boyfriend. How's THAT for credibility?! Bramhall II is a smooth, slick combination of rock and soul that doesn't sound too far off from Eric Clapton and also bears similarity to other '60s and '70s blues-rock acts like Canned Heat, The Allman Brothers Band, and Little Feat. If this doesn't get your toes a-tappin', I dunno what will! This is the perfect song to satisfy both your groovy side and your rockin' side!

"33 God" by Bon Iver: This song is about as weird as its title sounds! I mean what does "33 God" even MEAN?! However, it is weird in a good way (kind of), I assure you! To give you an idea of how weird this song is, imagine if a Kate Bush song was being remixed by an electronica group led by Alvin and The Chipmunks. Ummm...yeah. I could do without the electronic remixing and those messed up chipmunk vocals, but the soft, delicate piano is definitely something I would both expect and welcome from Bon Iver. This is a good song, but I'd kinda like Justin Vernon and co to release a "piano-and-Justin-Vernon-vocals-only" version of this song. If they did, I'd gladly start playing that in regular rotation instead of this version. I guess good things come to those who wait, though.

"Washed Up Together" by Knox Hamilton: Knox Hamilton are proof that the "sophomore slump" is still goin' on. Their first song, "Work It Out", was kind of a pop-y song, but with plenty of juicy guitar riffs to please a guitarist like me. "Washed Up Together" has guitar hooks as well, but they don't sound near as distinct as the ones from "Work It Out" (and no unusual instruments like xylophones in the intro to "Washed Up Together" either). Perhaps it was KH's desire to win the approval of Katy Perry (which they did) for "Washed Up Together" that makes it sound...well...washed up! Oh well, at least they sound washed up TOGETHER! Besides, nothing wrong with liking catchy pop songs once in awhile, is there?!

"Wasting Time" by Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats: More sophomore slumps here, and with a band who has made just one ALBUM, at that! Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats have now had three singles in a row with a solid gold Memphis soul influenced sound (most notably the enjoyably rowdy "S.O.B.") Their not-yet-a-single, "Howlin' At Nothin'", is pretty solid retro-soul music as well. So why, then, is the fourth single from NRATNS the super-mellow, country influenced, "Wasting Time"? As a fifth single, it probably wouldn't have been a bad choice, but come on! Part of the reason I dig their music so much in the first place is for their relentlessly high energy that they have in their songs, of which "Wasting Time" has none. I'm not hating on this song, though. "Wasting Time" has a similar acoustic guitar riff to one of my fave folk/country-rock tunes, "The Weight" by The Band, and it's a good song to just chill to after a long, hard, busy day. "Wasting Time" is not a waste of time, but it is the weak little runt in a litter of otherwise rowdy piglets.

"We Don't Know" by The Strumbellas: We don't know if you'll like the latest song from folk-pop group, The Strumbellas. What we do know, though, is that if bands like The Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men are up your alley, that you'll probably like "We Don't Know". The same could probably be said if you happen to be a fan of groups like Imagine Dragons and Kaleo, which combine folk, rock, and electronica into one catchy, alt-pop-y package. Despite the uncertainty indicated in the song's title, "We Don't Know" is largely a song of hope, particularly during the part where they say, "If there's hope then we'll be okay." Pleasant, buoyant, optimistic folk-pop has been done many times before now, but it doesn't hurt to hear something like that again every now and then.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New songs for September 28th, 2016

here they are:

"Breath And Burning" by Phish: Who knew that one of the catchiest and most anticipated songs of the week would come from a band who has become known for being a Grateful Dead soundalike band?! Perhaps that's because there's not a lot of folk and bluegrass influence to be found on "Breath And Burning" as much as there is Stax R & B influence, with more than a passing resemblance to Van Morrison's jazz-rock ditty, "Domino". The lyrics of "Breath And Burning" are typical Phish, containing quasi-philosophical musings on how we come in and out of existence, but it's the musical delivery of "Breath And Burning" that truly makes it worth listening to. It is a soulful rock 'n' roll party unlike any other you may experience this year!

"Go Robot" by Red Hot Chili Peppers: Though "Dark Necessities" was a rather reflective and dialed back song for RHCP, it became one of the biggest hits of 2016. Can "Go Robot" manage to top the success of that song?! Knowing how loudly Flea turns up his bass on this track and how catchy the rhythm of the song is, there's every chance that it might! Aside from how funky the music of "Go Robot" is, its music video is funky as well! As a matter of fact, the video appears to be a spoof of "Saturday Night Fever". The video can be viewed here:

"True Sadness" by The Avett Brothers: For a song with the word "sadness" in the title, "True Sadness" sure is upbeat! What is wrong with Scott and Seth that has made them release a happy song with a sad title?! Well, nothing really. It's been done before. This is one of those songs where you just wouldn't know the real nature of it unless you listened closely enough to the lyrics of the song. "True Sadness" seems to mark the leap for The Avett Brothers from being alt-country to being more of a Southern rock group, which is interesting considering that other previously alt-country groups like Jamestown Revival and Shovels & Rope have taken the same route. Perhaps The Avetts are trendsetters of sorts in that regard.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New songs for September 14th 2016

here they are:

"Holy Commotion" by The Pretenders: Yes, THOSE Pretenders! The legendary rock group led by the sometimes sassy and sometimes sentimental Chrissie Hynde. Chrissie attempted a side project in 2010 and released a solo album two years ago, but she hasn't been on the scene with The Pretenders in 8 years! Just about everything she's done within those 8 years has echoes of her rock and roll past. "Holy Commotion" is kinda rock, but with a different twist than one might expect from The Pretenders. The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach has decided to produce their latest album, resulting in a fuzzy neo-psychedelic sound that also has synthesizers masquerading as skittering steel drums. I currently have mixed feelings about this song, but it's not a bad one, and I think in time it'll probably grow on me like many of the songs I've reviewed have.

"Packed Powder" by Blind Pilot: After hearing the buoyant but glossy "Umpqua Rushing" from earlier this summer, "Packed Powder" is a more straight-up folk-rock tune that seems to encapsulate the simplistic yet alluring sound that Blind Pilot are typically known for. It also provides a more subtle, autumnal song for the upcoming season as the happy, blissful "Umpqua Rushing" did for the summer. "Packed Powder" also has a fittingly introspective lyrical theme about trying to find yourself and knowing your strengths. The electric guitar solo and horn solo towards the end don't seem too out of place for this song, actually, even though it is primarily an acoustic rock tune.

"Radio" by Sylvan Esso: Lyrically, this is basically Elvis Costello's "Radio Radio" minus the repetition of the titular word, with its mentions of being a "slave to the radio" and its claims that the subject of the song is "sucking American d**k". Musically, though, "Radio" is neither punk nor power pop. Instead, it's more of a glammed out techno-pop song. Both the fast beat of this song and its scathing (albeit still quirky) lyrics are quite a surprise coming from the indie-pop duo who was previously best known for the quaint, slow pseudo-baroque-pop summer singalong known as "Coffee".

"Sure And Certain" by Jimmy Eat World: Though Jimmy Eat World's biggest hit, "The Middle", came out in 2001, the song quickly became a favorite of the last remaining fans of the post-grunge genre. Unlike most of the post-grunge influenced bands of the early '00s, Jimmy Eat World was not "nu-metal". Instead, they were an emo group, albeit with more of a subtle sense of humor than most groups who carried such a label. "Sure And Certain" might as well have come out DURING the post-grunge era. It wouldn't sound out of place on a rock radio station that was popular in 1996, '97, or '98. If it weren't for Jim Adkins' distinctive vocals, "Sure And Certain" could easily be in the hands of a band like Semisonic, Third Eye Blind, or Everclear. Familiar '90s rock hits like Dishwalla's "Counting Blue Cars" and Tonic's "If You Could Only See" are both pretty similar to "Sure And Certain" as well. So grab some flannel, put on your Doc Martens, and let's rock!

"Surrender Under Protest" by Drive-by Truckers: "Southern rock" is usually remembered specifically as a musical phenomenon of the 1970's. The three biggest names within the genre, after all, are typically The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and ZZ Top. The only other time it was really kept alive was in the early '90s by The Black Crowes. This basically makes Drive-by Truckers seem like a 21st century answer to The Black Crowes to me. There haven't been a whole lot of other groups from the past 16 years who have really kept the Southern rock sound so fresh and alive. Their latest song, "Surrender Under Protest", in spite of its overall Southern sound, does not evoke the music of a Southerner, but rather, a Canadian. Both the vocals and the instrumentation of "Surrender Under Protest" sound like Neil Young. In spite of DBT's Southern nationality, they are not right-wingers, but left-wingers, and "Surrender Under Protest" reflects their left-wing politics like no other song they've done so far. The song contains anti-slavery and anti-Second Amendment sentiments that would probably bode better with Neil Young fans than it would with Lynyrd Skynyrd fans.

"Waste A Moment" by Kings of Leon: In true rock fashion, Kings of Leon make a dynamic musical declaration using only two chords with their latest song, "Waste A Moment". Caleb Followill's urgent message of "take your time, don't waste a moment" during the chorus pretty much states what the point of the song is. KOL do not waste a single moment making a buzzingly catchy song like they usually do here. This is one of those songs that is just ripe and ready for radio airplay from the moment it is released, so it'll probably wind up being one of the biggest hits of Fall 2016!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

New songs for September 7th, 2016

here they are:

"I Can't Stop Thinking About You" by Sting: Seems to me that this song is proof that Sting doesn't really wanna be thought of as a "new age" solo artist anymore! Instead he turns up the amps on his latest tune, the somewhat U2-ish "I Can't Stop Thinking About You", which is kinda funny considering how his own daughter released a vaguely Police-influenced tune just a month before! It may not rock as hard as, say, "Roxanne" or "Message In A Bottle", but it still comes awfully close to sounding like a "Synchronicity" outtake, which is not a bad thing by any means! I can't help but wonder who the "you" is in the song, also. At the end of the chorus, he says, "I don't even care if you exist", even though he can't stop thinking about the person in question. Perhaps this song is a philosophical rumination of sorts?! Well, I guess the more I get to know this song, the more I'll find out about it, and I'm sure I'll hear it plenty more times since it's already on its way to making the Top 20 of the Adult Alt charts for the fall season!

"Wish That You Were Here" by Florence and The Machine: Flo meets Tim Burton!! An epic combination if there ever was one!! No, I'm not saying that Tim Burton is duetting with Florence Welch (though that'd probably be pretty cool, too). I'm saying that FATM's latest song, "Wish That You Were Here", was made specifically for the soundtrack of Tim Burton's latest film, "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children". "Wish That You Were Here" is a melancholy plea for love and acceptance that lasts for 6 and a half minutes, despite only consisting of two verses and a bridge. The minor key the song is written in, the sweeping effect of the baroque-pop styled orchestral instruments, and its chilling, lonesome atmosphere all add up to a song that feels like a trip into the sadder side of Florence Welch's mind, and perhaps that of Tim Burton's as well.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New songs for August 31st 2016

here they are:

"Ain't Nothin' Wrong With That" by The Marcus King Band: Marcus maybe a South Carolinian 19-year-old, but he plays like a New Orleans jazzman that's at least as old as '70s swamp-rock sensation, Dr. John. Marcus' debut song, "Ain't Nothin' Wrong With That", is guaranteed to have your feet movin' within minutes, if not seconds! This song is so authentic in its emulation of New Orleans jazz that it makes you feel like you're right there in Louisiana, even if you've never been there! (Confession: I haven't been there). Can ya dig it?!

"I Can't Believe I Found You In That Town" by Mike Doughty: You never know what to expect with a musician like Mike Doughty, do you?! It's usually something vaguely folk-y, but typically mixed with some other genre(s) as well. Doughty's latest song, which bears the nine-word-long title, "I Can't Believe I Found You In That Town", is a jaunty country-rock stomper that is slightly reminiscent of old Johnny Cash songs, albeit with an indie-folk slant. "I Can't Believe I Found You..." could be said to be the ultimate failed romance song, lyrically. It centers around someone whom Mike found attractive but came on too strong around, both of which supposedly happened within a 36-hour time span. Talk about a one-shot romance!