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!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

New songs for August 24th 2016

here they are:

"City Lights" by The White Stripes: Meg and Jack haven't done anything together since 2007! Actually, "City Lights" is a previously unreleased song by the dynamic duo of modern garage rock that was first recorded in 2005 that never got an official album release until now. Fans of The White Stripes were probably anticipating a fuzzy blast of punk-blues, but "City Lights" is kind of the opposite of that. It is a bittersweet sounding folk-rock song with acoustic guitar at the forefront, light percussion in the background, and not much else (aside from Jack's vocals, of course). As for what the song is all about? A few fans have interpreted as a sad breakup letter that Jack wrote to Meg.

"Move" by Saint Motel: Sometimes it only takes one word to set things in motion, and in this case, that word is "move"! "Move" is exactly what you will want to do to Saint Motel's latest song, which deftly combines disco and alt-pop, much like their 2015 smash hit, "My Type", did. The disco element is a bit more emphasized in "Move", from its funky rhythm to its heavy use of brass, right down to how the "gotta get up" in the chorus sounds like a vocalized version of the sax riff in The Average White Band's "Pick Up the Pieces". Let's get down tonight!

"When the Tequila Runs Out" by Dawes: This is the second time that Dawes have had a song with the word "when" as the first word in the title of one of their songs, the first being "When My Time Comes". If you play the two songs back to back, though, you'd swear you were hearing two different bands! It seems as though, through their 7 years together so far, Dawes have really progressed as a band, going from the roots-y folk-rock of their debut to the pseudo-psychedelic pop sound of their latest song. "When the Tequila Runs Out", fittingly, has a rather boozy vibe, at least as far as its fuzz drenched guitars are concerned. The song is basically an ode to getting drunk, as the words that follow the title of the song are "we'll be drinking champagne". Drinking alcohol has never quite appealed to me, but it's still been a staple of rock songs for quite a long time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New songs for August 17th, 2016

Here they are:

"After Dark" by Eliot Sumner: In spite of her name, Eliot Sumner is, in fact, a gal, not a dude. Speaking of dudes, her dad happens to be one of the biggest in the music business. His name is Gordon and he is best known by the moniker "Sting". Yes. THAT Sting. The man who combined reggae with rock in a trio who released five albums and then went on more of a straight jazz slant on his own. Eliot is picking up where her dad left off back in his heyday with "After Dark". Picture, if you will, a song like "Message In A Bottle" if it used more conventional chords and had more synth to back it up. That's pretty much "After Dark" in a nutshell. If Andy and Stewart still backed Sting up into the '90s and the 21st century, he'd sound an awful lot like his own kid! The Sumners are actually a musical family. Sting's son, Jake, had a minor adult alt hit with the reggae/rock fusion song with "Two Sisters" back in 2007. I wonder what his other kids have in store for us!

"Help Me Out" by Wild Feathers: Wild Feathers' second single from "Lonely Is A Lifetime", "Help Me Out", opts once again for a vibe that is more straight "indie" than it is country-rock. "Help Me Out" is a bit more slowed down than their previous single, "Overnight", but it still rocks in its own little way. On the surface, "Help Me Out" might sound like a lovesick plea, but the type of love that the song centers around is more platonic than romantic. According to one of the band members, it's basically their equivalent, lyrically, to a song like "Lean On Me", with its universal message urging people to stand by one another through the good times and the bad.

"New Song" by Warpaint: You couldn't come up with a better title of your song than what your song is, eh?! Actually, "new song" doesn't refer to the song itself, but is instead a cute nickname for the lead singer's object of affection. I can't help but feel a little bad that this is the first Warpaint song I've really heard. They've been a cult fave for a long time among indie fans and were (from what I heard) more experimental. "New Song" isn't really all that experimental. It doesn't stray too far from the C minor note that starts it off, which is also used heavily in the verses and chorus. Its electronica sound isn't anything new or different either, but I suppose I should still give credit where credit is due. This song is probably just a vehicle for Warpaint to get a larger audience, and if so, I think they will probably succeed in doing so.

"Real Love Baby" by Father John Misty: The title of this song just sounds like some sort of laid back hippie phrase, doesn't it?! If it does, then what you see is what you get here. FJM dials back the odd sort of experimentation he's done with his last few songs and returns to a more basic folk-rock sound with "Real Love Baby". As you might expect with a song with this title, the message of "Real Love Baby" is simple but still satisfying. "Real Love Baby" also tends to tone down the irony and sarcasm that FJM seems to use in a lot of his songs. This song, in contrast, is a very sincere one, and quite possibly the most sincere so far in his catalog.

"River" by Bishop: Bishop Briggs, if you want to know her alliterative full name. This slinky combination of soul, rock, and electronica is just the right track to make your sizzlin' summer more steamy! "Shut your mouth and rock me like a river", Bishop saucily croons during the chorus of the song. With "River"'s electronic beats coming off as sultry as Bishop's own voice, "rock (her) like a river" is probably exactly what many of her male fans would like to do to her. Add this one to your soundtrack of love-makin' music if you have one!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New songs for August 10th, 2016

here they are:

"A Thousand Times" by Hamilton Leithauser: The Walkmen's lead singer sure has come a long way from where he started off! I never would have predicted that a band known for mixing surf and garage rock sounds during the 21st century would end up having a lead singer who was capable of making a song as romantic as this one! The old-time-y sounding piano and organs that dominate this song make it seem like it's from another time (that is, until the guitars come in towards the end). The message of the song is pretty simple. Leithauser has a dream that the one he desires the most was his "a thousand times". No matter how many times the message is repeated, though, (which it is quite a few times) it's still a very heartfelt sentiment, don't ya think?

"Comeback Kids" by The Jayhawks: Moving away from their more traditional country and folk influences, The Jayhawks have decided to have more of an "indie" sound in their latest song, "Comeback Kids". Here, Gary Louris and co join the ranks of fellow alt-country-cum-indie band, Wilco, in having a song that sounds like a cross between Big Star and Television, in which jangle-pop meets post-punk. Despite the rougher edges this song has in comparison to the 'Hawks other material, "Comeback Kids" is still sentimental in the lyrical sense. It is a song about reminiscing over a former girlfriend.

"I'm Still Here" by Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings: Sharon Jones is definitely still here, that's for sure! In her latest song, "I'm Still Here", Sharon delivers a powerful blast of soul music as only she can! Drums, bass, sax, and of course, Jones' powerful vocals propel this song, which seems to be a tale of both survival and triumph. No other "neo-soul" artist sounds both so funky and so authentically 1960's as Sharon Jones does. The song switches between quieter verses and louder chorus sections, although "loud", in this case, is something celebratory and free of distortion.

"Love Is A Burden" by Jamestown Revival: The Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down" is a painfully obvious influence this song has, at least during the verses. On the plus side, though, the overall sound of "Love Is A Burden" is a step closer to a 2010's alt-rock-ish sound than the bluegrass-y Jamestown Revival previously had two years ago, so perhaps certain younger listeners might find this song to be an easier way to get into Jamestown Revival's music than "California (Cast Iron Soul)" was. Love may be a burden, but clearly nothing is stopping Jamestown Revival from using bright, catchy instrumentation to mask its lovelorn lyrics.

"Shut Up Kiss Me" by Angel Olsen: No, she is not the third Olsen twin (triplet?!) Far from it, really. Her music is like an unlikely cross between Tom Petty and PJ Harvey, and she's about as clear to understand vocally as either of them are (in other words, she's hard to understand). She sings "Shut up kiss me, hold me tight" so fast that you can barely tell what she's saying! At least it's somewhat easy to tell what it's about lyrically. It seems to be about an unrequited love of sorts, albeit as more of a defiant declaration of love than as a "no one understands me, I'm sad" statement.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New songs for August 3rd, 2016

here they are:

"Bleeding Heart" by Regina Spektor: Is it just me, or has Regina Spektor gotten more synth-heavy lately?! Her latest song, "Bleeding Heart" certainly seems to indicate this. This sounds a bit more like a latter-day Lily Allen song than it does like something from quirk-folk queen Regina Spektor. Part of Regina's charm initially was her unabashed love of composing Tori Amos-esque tunes during a time when it wasn't exactly "hip" to do so. Of course, offbeat lyrics are another part of what makes Regina so fascinating to listen to, and those are present on "Bleeding Heart". The chorus simply consists of the phrases "never mind" and "bleeding heart" repeated a few times, which seems like a pretty Regina-esque thing to do. "Bleeding Heart" leaves something more to be desired, though. I was expecting something either more sad or more enjoyably weird, and "Bleeding Heart" is neither.

"Let Love Be (With U)" by Kula Shaker: Ah, to be a part of a British rock group in the '90s. Oasis and Radiohead reigned supreme in the middle of the decade. Millions of other names in British rock of the '90s went under the radar, though, and Kula Shaker were one such band. Much like Oasis, Kula Shaker were a band that were more indebted to timeless upbeat classic rock during a time of gloomy alternative rock. Kula Shaker even covered Deep Purple's "Hush" and seemed to have a minor hit with it too. "Let Love Be (With U)" has a retro flavor as well, but its sound is more blue-eyed soul (white R & B) than it is rock. It has a happy, toe tapping sound defined by brass and rhythm, and the electric guitar takes a backseat until towards the end of the song. Kula Shaker were never a product of their times, but that's probably why their small but significant fanbase likes them.

"Rita Mae Young" by The Record Company: One of the biggest shocks of the year was to know that a song that wouldn't have sounded out of place among Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin songs was one of THE top selling adult alt songs of the year ("Off the Ground"). "Rita Mae Young" is a lighter song than "Off the Ground", but its smoky, gritty, soulful sound would probably still appeal to fans of '60s rock. This song really puts the "blues" in blues-rock. The lead singer of The Record Company mourns the loss of his relationship with a woman named Rita Mae Young throughout the song, but does so in such a way that it becomes upbeat instead of sad. What a way to sing the blues!