Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New songs for Feb. 17th

Got 5 new ones just waitin' to be reviewed!! And here they are:

"Ain't No Grave" by Johnny Cash: Yes, it's another Johnny Cash cover song released after his death. This one's a little different than the others that have been released since "Hurt", in that it's a traditional folk song, rather than an alternative rock song, that is being covered. It really makes me wonder just how many songs Cash recorded in the double zeroes. Oh well, it's still a good song.

"Beat the Devil's Tattoo" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: It's interesting how ever since BRMC broke through with "Shuffle Your Feet" and "Ain't No Easy Way" back in 2004, all their songs since have sounded like an attempt to mix The White Stripes with acoustic blues. Supposedly, that's not the way they sounded before those songs came out (though I don't know this for sure). But "Beat the Devil's Tattoo" continues in the tradition of mixing The White Stripes with acoustic blues. I like the primal rhythm in this song 'cause it kinda reminds me of "Wild Thing" by The Troggs. Perhaps BRMC have been listening to The Raconteurs, since "Beat the Devil's Tattoo" starts out (vaguely) acoustic, and then picks up with an electric guitar backing it up in the middle - much like The Raconteurs' "Old Enough" and "Top Yourself"

"In the Sun" by She And Him: You know I love my Zooey Deschanel!! And she's back (with M. Ward) with a new song. I have only heard one other song from this dynamic duo, "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?" and this one sounds significantly different. In "...Stay Here", Zooey went for an old-fashioned sound that almost sounded like it belonged in another decade - like a very happy, piano-based country-rock sound. Zooey gets her indie on, so to speak, in "In the Sun" (not to be confused with the poignant Joseph Arthur song of the same name). It's still bright, happy, and toe-tapping, like "...Stay Here", but it uses more instruments and production techniques that make it sound more like sunshiny indie-pop a la "Silver Lining" by Rilo Kiley. That being said, "In the Sun" is probably the one I like less out of the two songs I've heard from She And Him, but it's still worth checking out!

"Lisztomania" by Phoenix: If you've heard Phoenix's other big song, the mega-hit, "1901", you probably know one thing about Phoenix - they love making rhythmic music! "Lisztomania" picks up where "1901" left off. Instead of having techno inspired beats and a chunky guitar sound like "1901" did, "Lisztomania" has a more happy, toe-tapping sound, a looser guitar sound, and a tinkly piano sound added in for good measure. Interestingly, both songs are in the key of C major, though "Lisztomania" is consistent about this, whereas "1901" had A minor verses with a C major chorus. It's interesting to compare the two songs, since they are the only two so far I've heard by Phoenix, but the diversity of influence between the two songs proves what a talented band Phoenix are! So I highly recommend checking "Lisztomania" out, if you haven't already!

"Valleys of Neptune" by Jimi Hendrix: Interesting that both the song I began with AND ended with this time are "undiscovered" releases by dead rock stars! I almost held off on this one (it actually debuted last week), because it's just so darn weird having a Hendrix song on so many adult alt. stations. Guess there's a ringer every year, though (last year's was Depeche Mode's "Wrong", which also came out around February). Not that I have anything against Hendrix (after all, classic rock was my main musical love before I discovered adult alt. music), but most of his material seems a bit too heavy to be included on most adult alt. stations. What's even more perplexing is that "Valleys of Neptune" is no "Wind Cries Mary" or "Castles Made of Sand" - it sounds a bit more like a "faster" Hendrix track, like "Crosstown Traffic". Perhaps the stations that are playing this want to move beyond their standard fare of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam to show that they also have equal respect for those who influenced them. Could a new Led Zeppelin or Who track be far behind?!?