Wednesday, June 23, 2010

new songs for June 23rd, 2010

four of 'em - Enjoy!

"Compliments" by Band of Horses: Though "Laredo" is still a hot item on the Adult Alt. charts, "Compliments", the second single off of BOH's "Infinite Arms" is rapidly getting attention on adult alt. stations as well. Longtime fans of BOH will probably take more of a liking to this song than "Laredo" since it goes more for a '60s pop/rock sound (a la The Beatles' "Getting Better" and Three Dog Night's "One", at least rhythmically) than "Laredo"'s John Fogerty/Neil Young-ish vibe. Lyrically, I can't tell whether it is supposed to be sincere or tongue-in-cheek, especially during the somewhat ambiguously worded lyrics in the chorus ("If there's a God up there/Someone looking over everyone, at least you've got someone to fall back on"). Apparently, many of BOH's most loyal fans seem to have taken both the lyrics and the song itself to be a vain attempt for the band to garner more radio airplay than they've previously had, though personally, I think "Laredo" already took care of that. I still wouldn't call BOH "sellouts", though. They still have good music, it's just going in a slightly different direction at the moment.

"Crossfire" by Brandon Flowers: Of all the "indie" bands out there, Brandon Flowers' band, The Killers (who aren't always viewed as "indie" due to their popularity among listeners of more "mainstream" modern rock stations), is probably the one that is most influenced by that crop of bands who tend to overlap the boundaries of musical time by being played on both classic rock and alternative rock stations (i.e. The Police, U2, The Pretenders, etc.) Flowers seems to have only gotten MORE intent on displaying these influences with each new record he makes. It's not as though this is a bad thing, necessarily (as I much prefer the U2-ish "Read My Mind" to the more Depeche Mode-ish sounds of "Somebody Told Me"), but in "Crossfire", it seems like he's trying a bit TOO hard to emulate the U2 sound. He also seems to employ the use of pseudo-philosophical lyrics whenever possible (like the chorus's "lay your body down"), in what seems like a desperate, almost fanboy-ish effort to please Bono and maybe Bruce Springsteen as well. In spite of how harsh this review might sound, though, I must admit that I LIKE this song! Flowers might not rank so high on originality in "Crossfire", but he gets an A for effort, catchiness, and accessibility.

"If You Let Me" by JP, Chrissie, and The Fairground Boys: During The Pretenders' reign of popularity, Chrissie Hynde was almost like a female Neil Young in her ways of alternating between heartfelt, bittersweet songs like "Kid", "Talk of the Town", and "2000 Miles" and tough, unapologetic rockers like "Tattooed Love Boys", "Mystery Achievement", and "Middle of the Road". These days, Chrissie seems to want to go more in between the two moods. In her latest effort, "If You Let Me", she pulls off a distinctly classic rock vibe a la The Rolling Stones and Tom Petty, just as she pulled off a decent Chuck Berry/Bo Diddley in her 2008 songs, "Boots of Chinese Plastic" and "Break Up the Concrete" with The Pretenders. While "If You Let Me" lacks the in-your-face vibe of her nearly punk-ish early days in The Pretenders, it is certainly no "Kid", "Talk of the Town", or "2000 Miles" either! It is clearly a rock and roll song, from beginning to end, complete with a catchy, memorable guitar riff. Welcome aboard the S.S. Classic Rock Renaissance of 2010, Chrissie!

"Stranger Here" by Cowboy Junkies: In spite of their name, Cowboy Junkies are not called "Cowboy Junkies" because of their love for country music. It was basically just a random name they came up with, supposedly (see also The Grateful Dead, R.E.M., and Indigo Girls, each of whom got their names by flipping through a dictionary). However, Cowboy Junkies are basically a country-rock band masquerading as an alt/indie band. Even on their debut album, they covered a Hank Williams tune, as well as a Patsy Cline song. Their latest song, "Stranger Here", is also pretty country-rock influenced, but with the past 5 or so years of adult alt. radio being dominated by indie groups, it seems as though the sound of this song is probably more commonplace than it would've been during their debut in 1988. Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley, in particular (and perhaps the whole band) would probably appreciate a song like this, since she knows from the blatantly country-rock sound of "Carpetbaggers" (which she did with Elvis Costello) what it's like to be an indie/alt act with country influences. Personally, I would have preferred Cowboy Junkies to release something more along the lines of their bittersweet, lushly orchestrated 2007 song "Brand New World", but "Stranger Here" is still a good song nonetheless.