four of 'em this time - enjoy!!
"Dead American Writers" by Tired Pony: What do you get when you mix Snow Patrol, R.E.M., and Belle and Sebastian in a blender (with Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody in the lead)? You get indie rock supergroup Tired Pony!! This is a group that combines alumni of the three aforementioned bands, and kinda sounds like all three of them as well! Their first single, "Dead American Writers" takes the typical "twangy" guitar sound of fellow rock supergroup Traveling Wilburys and combines it with bittersweet minor key indie/alt instrumentation. All in all, this song is like an indie rock fruit salad - it combines the best flavors of bands with many different approaches to music with delightful results!
"If It Wasn't For Bad" by Elton John and Leon Russell: Never thought Sir Elton would make a grand comeback to rock 'n' roll after the mid-'70s, but after many years, he has! Well, kind of. It still has the trademark piano sound Elton has become known for, but with Leon Russell on board, Elton's latest track gets jazzed up a bit (and even has a brief guitar solo!) With their combined musical efforts, "If It Wasn't For Bad" ends up sounding more like Van Morrison, Joe Cocker, The Band, and Jackson Browne than it does Billy Joel or James Taylor like one might expect at first. Anyone who liked the more upbeat performances on "The Last Waltz" would probably dig this song! I know I did.
"People Say" by Portugal. The Man: OK, first of all, to clear up any confusion you might have, the name of this band IS, in fact, "Portugal. The Man" (complete with the period and the capital "T" in "The"). With a name as quirky as this, I figured that Portugal. The Man, were an indie group, and I was right. However, they are not a folk-rock-y indie like most of the acts that get classified under such a label. In fact, hardcore punk bands like Suicidal Tendencies and Fugazi are some of their biggest influences! However, "People Say" is NOT a hardcore punk song. Instead, it's almost like R & B-inflected indie, with chords that seem to echo The Beatles' "Let It Be" (think of a more laid-back version of Gnarls Barkley). If I had to sum up "People Say" in just a couple words, I'd say that it adds a more unique, almost gospel-influence flavor to the ever expanding world of indie rock!
"The Sweetest Thing" by JJ Grey and Mofro: Much like their '08 adult alt. radio hit, "Orange Blossoms", "The Sweetest Thing" once again showcases the unique brand of R & B, jazz, and blues influence JJ Grey and Mofro have (probably) made trademark in their music. For adult alt. radio stations themselves, "The Sweetest Thing" is like a breath of fresh air! It has a vigorous, youthful toe-tapping energy that the mostly wistful and melancholy lineup of such stations seem to lack (for the most part, at least). Sometimes us R.E.M. and Snow Patrol fans need something to get up and boogie down to to shake off our blues! Songs like "The Sweetest Thing" give us a perfect opportunity to do so!