four of 'em - enjoy folks!
"Amongst the Waves" by Pearl Jam: This song seemed like it was long overdue for making its way onto the adult alt. airwaves, as Sirius XM's Spectrum has been playing this one since January. Other stations, however, seemed to have taken until now to catch up with this song. Of the three songs on Pearl Jam's latest CD, "Backspacer", this might just end up being the one I like best if it doesn't receive overkill airplay like the other two ("Just Breathe" and "The Fixer") did. However, it's more than just airplay that makes (or would make?) "Amongst the Waves" better than those songs. It serves as a perfect balance between "The Fixer"'s rough garage rock sound and "Just Breathe"'s gentle folk-rock sound, as a sound that seems to hearken back to classic Pearl Jam songs like "Black" and "Yellow Ledbetter", with its melancholy blues-rock inspired vibe. Here's to hoping "Amongst the Waves" will do well, but hopefully not TOO well on adult alt. stations!
"Call Back" by Truth & Salvage Co.: With both well-established bands like My Morning Jacket, The Hold Steady, and Wilco and newcomers like Alberta Cross and Dawes, it seems like classic rock revivalism is becoming increasingly more common in indie rock (if it can even be called that anymore...) Truth & Salvage Co. are the latest to jump onto this bandwagon with their song, "Call Back". The feel of this song is not only rootsy, but very earthy as well. Add to that its well-produced sound, and it comes off sounding like the typical Joe Walsh-less Eagles song (think "Take It Easy", "Peaceful Easy Feeling", "Lyin' Eyes", etc.) Perhaps "alt-country" would be a better way of describing this song than "indie" since that's just how organic (for lack of a better term) this song comes across.
"Fixed" by Stars: Amazingly, this is probably the only song I'm reviewing for this week that DOESN'T have a classic rock-ish feel to it (unless of course you consider Depeche Mode and/or The Cranberries classic rock, which I don't). To give a background to what Stars generally sound like, they often sing chirpy songs with dark subject matter ("Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" is a good example of this). "Fixed" is a departure, both lyrically and musically, from the typical Stars song. Instead of sounding like a somewhat macabre Burt Bacharach type of song, "Fixed" takes on a sound that more suggests, like I pointed out earlier, a cross between Depeche Mode and The Cranberries (with a bit of a Killers sound mixed in there for good measure). Lyrically, the subject matter isn't exactly positive, but it seems to deal with more general subject matter (a crumbling relationship, from what I can tell) than their other songs. This isn't the Stars that I'm used to, but it's still a good song.
"North" by Widespread Panic: In the '90s, there were two major "cult" jam bands - Phish and Widespread Panic. The former could easily be likened to a modern-day Grateful Dead, while the latter typically take on a more Allman Brothers-ish sound. "North", however, seems to trade in the bluesy improv of the typical Widespread Panic song for a more radio-friendly Southern rock sound that is especially evident in many Lynyrd Skynyrd songs. The philosophical lyrics of "North" tend to provide an interesting contrast to its barn-burnin' Southern rock sound (much like how Skynyrd used their typical upbeat bar band sound to disguise the dark nature of "That Smell"). For people hoping for an epic worthy of a song like "That Smell", "Freebird", or "Sweet Home Alabama", you might be a little disappointed in "North" since it's only three and a half minutes long. It does, however, give off the general vibe of such songs (particuarly "Sweet Home Alabama").