here they are:
"Architects And Engineers" by Guster: As if this song wasn't cool enough (which it is), the music video for this song seems to indicate that this song will become this year's "Tighten Up"!! Much like the (initial) video for that song (which eventually became my number one song of 2010), it features a singing puppet that has a name - Sing-Along-Paul. He looks somewhat like a cross between the later "Star Wars" movies' Jar-Jar Binks and the smart-mouthed goat puppet Rufus Leaking from the indie music showcase and quasi-children's show "Pancake Mountain". Musically, all the trademark folk-rock instrumentation and sunny Beach Boys-esque harmonies of the typical Guster song are present, but seriously, the music video for this song just takes the cake!! Someone needs to convince Guster to make a guest appearance on "Sesame Street" - between their quirky sense of humor and their charmingly child-like melodies, they'd be perfect for it!! You can find it on this link:
"Booty City" by Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears: 2009's best James Brown imitation is back!! Two songs made the adult alt airwaves from these funky retro-soul men back then, "Sugarfoot" and "I'm Broke", but I much preferred the former for its boogie vibe and James Brown-ish vocals and instrumentation. "I'm Broke" just wasn't as catchy, so I didn't know what to anticipate for "Booty City" (though the title alone seemed to indicate it'd be a pretty catchy song)! "Booty City" not only brings back the danceable, funky rhythm of "Sugarfoot", but it's also a bit more heavy on the guitar parts, which makes me happy! "Booty City" is a great song to get yer groove on if you ever feel like doing so!!
"Everybody Needs Love" by Drive-By Truckers: Just the name of this band automatically evokes images of a country influenced group, doesn't it? Well, more accurately, Drive-By Truckers are more of a country-rock group than just plain old country. They're a bit like The Black Crowes with their influences mixing hard rock with country and Southern rock, though "Everybody Needs Love", which is so far their breakthrough song, is a bit more like a "softer" Eagles song (think "Peaceful Easy Feeling", "Lyin' Eyes", etc.). That is, until it gets to the guitar solo midway through (and towards the end, for a second time around) the song, where it takes on more of an Allman Brothers-ish quality, a la "Blue Sky", "Midnight Rider", and "Melissa". "Everybody Needs Love" is a real tearjerker, and it manages to capture the feel of your typical '70s Southern rock/country-rock ballad pretty well, so I would highly recommend it for the fans of the more countrified side of The Allmans, Skynyrd, The Eagles, etc.
"Flirted With You All My Life" by Cowboy Junkies: What a neat concept, an indie-folk band covering indie-folk artist Vic Chestnutt (who, unfortunately, passed away last year). Having not heard Vic's version, I get the idea it's probably a pretty good song given the bittersweet vibe Cowboy Junkies have given it (plus I have a couple indie music loving friends who really seem to like both Vic and Cowboy Junkies). Cowboy Junkies' version almost seems to come off like Rilo Kiley covering The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" (it has practically the same chord sequence - A, E, B minor, D, with an F sharp minor occasionally replacing the D in "Flirted With You All My Life"). "Flirted With You All My Life" seems like one of those "drinking coffee on a Sunday morning" type of songs if you know what I mean (despite the fact I don't actually drink coffee).
"He Don't Live Here No More" by Robbie Robertson: Is it just me, or has Robbie Robertson wanted to stray farther and farther away from The Band's roots-rock sound ever since he left them? His two '80s solo hits, "Showdown At Big Sky" and "Somewhere Down the Crazy River" both sounded more like Peter Gabriel and the material from Paul Simon's "Graceland" album than they did like The Band. Though the "world music rock" trend that Gabriel, Simon, Joni Mitchell, Sting, and occasionally David Byrne from Talking Heads made possible in the '80s has pretty much faded by now, Robbie Robertson keeps the "world music rock" torch flaming in his latest, "He Don't Live Here No More". Robbie adds even more world music influence in "He Don't Live Here No More" with its flamenco guitar solo in the middle. But don't assume Robbie's forgotten how to rock, the beat of the song is still rock 'n' roll underneath it all!
"On Main Street" by Los Lobos: It seems odd to me that the rather somber, autumnal "Burn It Down" from Los Lobos' latest album ("Tin Can Trust") got noticed in the summer, yet it's taken until winter for the more summery, somewhat '60s rock influenced "On Main Street" to receive airplay on stations besides LA's KCSN. Perhaps I shouldn't let the "seasonal moods" of the two songs get in the way, though, as "On Main Street" is an easygoing feel-good kinda song. The fuzzy electric guitar riffs on "On Main Street" also provide interesting contrast with the mostly acoustic (until the end) "Burn It Down". The summery vibe of "On Main Street" evokes images of laying down underneath the sun on the beach just relaxing the day away. Could Los Lobos' next song be a stormy, ice-cold, wintry one?! I guess we'll find out!
"Second Chance" by Peter Bjorn and John: What do you get if you take the fuzz guitars of '60s psych-pop band Love's "7 And 7 Is", cowbells to keep the rhythm, and add just a dash of the new wave-y indie rock of Phoenix?! You get Peter Bjorn and John's latest song, "Second Chance"!! This is a pretty cool song coming from a band whose only other hit (so far) was the more subdued, quiet (except for the drum intro) indie-pop tune from '06, "Young Folks". Somehow I get the impression that the three Swedish indie-popsters were listening to The Black Keys' latest album, "Brothers" when they made "Second Chance", as it has practically the same sort of "fuzz guitars" as many of the songs on that CD! "Young Folks" was a mostly keyboard oriented song, so I was pretty surprised to hear not only that "Second Chance" even had a guitar to begin with, but that the solos seemed to be taken straight out of one of Led Zeppelin's songs!! Way to go, Peter Bjorn and John! Between this song and the video for "Architects and Engineers", I can't decide which one is my fave song of the week!!