Wednesday, July 27, 2011

new songs for July 27th, 2011

here they are:

"Different" by Ximena Sariñana: I don't even know how to pronounce this gal's first name (I'm guessing "shee-MAY-nah", but it's hard to know because of the initial "X"), and she's pretty new to the music scene (in English speaking countries, at least) but I'm already in love with her!! "Different" has two different music videos (one of which is a "lyric" video), and they're BOTH really good!! The "lyric" version revolves around a puppet that looks a little like a cross between Fozzie Bear and the typical "Sesame Street" monster, whose name is "Larry Puppe". He even has his own Facebook page, as seen in the video!! ( The second version features only humans (sorry, no puppets this time!) and revolves around Ximena at a pool party in which most of the girls there are wearing bikinis, but Ximena wears what appear to be mostly cocktail dresses made suitable for swimming, most likely because she is trying to express her individuality (like in the lyrics of the song), regardless of how "old-fashioned" everyone else thinks they look on her. The song itself could serve as an "outsider anthem", especially with lyrics like, "keep in mind I'm not here, I'm in a different world". Great song, great videos, and a cute girl!! Could it get any better?!? The "lyric" version can be viewed here (, and the "music video" version can be viewed here ( Enjoy!!

"Honeypot" by Bob Schneider: With only two chords (D and G) used throughout the entire song, "Honeypot" manages to be pretty memorable nonetheless! Its mellow, soothing vibes and '90s style folk-rock guitar sound easily bring to mind the earlier material of bands like Counting Crows, and the repetitive but infectious "la-la, la-la"'s at the end of the song add to the catchiness of an otherwise gentle but somewhat substance-less song. This is a good song, but for me, there will be no finer Bob Schneider moment than his indie-pop masterpiece of '09, "40 Dogs (Like Romeo And Juliet)". Kinda wish he'd release more material like that one, but in the meantime, songs like "Honeypot" aren't bad replacements.

"King of Diamonds" by Motopony: Just about everything in this song basically SCREAMS "quirky", and the band's name (which I'm guessing is pronounced "MOE-toe-poe-nee", though it could also be "MAH-toe-poe-nee) is just the tip of the iceberg here! The lyrics of the song seem to revolve around metaphors dealing with card games, its sound seems like a trip-hop/folk-rock combination that brings to mind many of the songs that Beck (the quirk-master himself) did, and even the video to the song is somewhat random, with its appearances from a Pee-Wee Herman lookalike and a man dressed in a Mickey Mouse costume wandering around the streets of Vegas. Dunno how any of this information relates to each other (other than how they are all aspects of this song), but I'm thinking that a lot of these aspects were purposely eccentric, which makes me like this song all the more!!

"Losers" by The Belle Brigade: Of all the songs that have been released so far in 2011, I don't think there has been more of an "outsider anthem" (see also "Different" by Ximena Sariñana, reviewed earlier in this article) than this song!! Even the opening lyrics ("There will always be someone better than you, even if you're the best") suggest this! Musically, this song is a melancholy neo-folk-rock tune, but lyrically, it's a rant, especially in the chorus, during which lead singer Barbara Gruska sings about how she doesn't care about being a "winner" OR a "loser", and how she rejects many aspects of "popularity" (i.e. "being the life of parties", "going out on Fridays", etc.) "Nerds", "geeks", "dorks", and any other sort of "outsiders" should take refuge in the lyrics of this song, knowing (once again) they're not the only ones out there that have felt ostracized by the "normal" crowd!!

"Up Up Up" by Givers: Well, it's official. Now, Vampire Weekend aren't the only indie band to be influenced by Latin jazz and reggae wrapped up into a contagiously sunshiny package. Newcomers The Givers are doing the exact same thing with "Up Up Up". I wouldn't call it a "ripoff" of Vampire Weekend's material, though, as the vocalists in the song definitely sound different than Ezra Koenig does, and the guitars in the song have lighter distortion than the typical VW song. It's also quite apt that "Up Up Up" was released in the summer of this year, with its tropical sound, and cheery optimistic chorus. "Up Up Up" does exactly what its title suggests it's supposed to - it makes me feel "up up up" every time I listen to it!! I officially declare this song to be the "summer jam" of 2011!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

new songs for July 20th, 2011

here they are:

"Junk of the Heart (Happy)" by The Kooks: I love how happy, free-spirited, and melodic The Kooks are!! That being said, when I heard they released a new song, I was pretty excited! The best part?! "Junk of the Heart (Happy)" sounds even BETTER than I expected it to sound!! In addition to the Beatles/Kinks-ish bouncy Britpop sound The Kooks typically have, there are also some Burt Bacharach-esque major 7th chords in this song that set it apart from The Kooks' other material. It's only fitting that lead singer Luke Pritchard's refrain in this song consists of the words "I wanna make you happy", because he does exactly that, and quite successfully, too!!

"Miracle Worker" by Super Heavy: What do Mick Jagger, Bob Marley's son Damian, neo-soul songstress Joss Stone, and The Eurythmics' Dave Stewart all have in common?! Well, aside from being rock 'n' roll royalty, they're also part of the aptly named supergroup, Super Heavy! Their first big song, "Miracle Worker" (which, in case any of you are wondering, is NOT about the biographical Helen Keller film of the same name), seems like it is clearly Damian's song, with its reggae beat and pulsating, syncopated guitars. Damian, Joss, and Mick all share vocals on the song, though (albeit, at different parts of it). With all that being said, this song ultimately comes out being a three-star song, despite the big names involved in it. Something just seems missing in this song! Perhaps it's that Damian just doesn't have the forceful, dynamic delivery his dad typically did, or that Mick doesn't seem to be maintaining the same amount of energy and fervor he typically had in The Stones. Well, nevertheless, "Miracle Worker" isn't a bad song, and the four people involved in its performance all seem like they tried giving it their best efforts.

"Someone's Gonna Break Your Heart" by Fountains of Wayne: I still find it fascinating how Fountains of Wayne's best known song has become the Cars-esque "Stacy's Mom". It really isn't that representative of their typical sound, which is more like The Beatles or The Kinks (see also The Kooks' "Junk of the Heart", reviewed earlier in this article). "Someone's Gonna Break Your Heart" continues in the direction of The Fountains' typical sound, which I really like! Nothing particularly special about this one, musically, but what can I say, I'm a sucker for songs with a great melody and a catchy beat, and Fountains of Wayne seem to be experts at that! Perhaps another thing they're good at is just being quirky, as evidenced by the fact that the opening lyrics to this song are, "Staring at the sun with no pants on". Makes me wonder if the pants-less one they're referring to is Adam Schlesinger (the lead singer) himself or a girl he really likes.

"The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie" by Red Hot Chili Peppers: Before I get into the song itself, let me just state that I LOVE the title to this song!! It sounds like the name of a comic book series of some sort! Well, now, on with the song! The title is really better than the song itself, which seems vaguely similar to one of those half-disco/half-rock type songs The Rolling Stones did in the late '70s/early '80s. It IS a catchy song, in typical Chili Peppers fashion, but I personally think they've done better material than this one. One advantage "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie" has is its seemingly random, stream-of-consciousness lyrics. I can't quite figure out what this song is about, but it almost seems like that's the point of it!

"Walk" by Foo Fighters: Of the two songs released of The Foos' latest CD, "Wasting Light", "Walk" seems like the better song so far! "Rope" just seemed too full of anger and intensity for me to fully appreciate it. "Walk", however, leans more towards the melodic side of their catalog! It's still a rocker, but more in the even-keeled, steady manner of "Learn to Fly" and "Times Like These" than the frenzied, frantic one of "All My Life" and "I'll Stick Around". The echo-y, jangly guitars in the beginning of "Walk" already indicate a more positive theme in the song. And lyrically, "learning to walk again" sound like words that can lead in a more positive direction than the more desperate, disconnected delivery of "gimme some rope I'm coming loose" (from "Rope", released earlier this year). My one complaint about this song is that sometimes Dave Grohl sounds like he's a bit TOO enthusiastic, as though he's about to scream his head off (mostly in the middle of the song), but other than that, I think this one's a winner!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

new songs for July 6th, 2011

here they are:

"Can't Get You Out of My Head" by Dave Stewart: Of the two leading members of The Eurythmics, Annie Lennox, of course, has been the one to have more hits (both with and without the band) and is the more recognizable of the way she looks. Now it's the lesser known member, Dave Stewart's turn to take his stab at the spotlight. And what a fantastic job he does! Stewart's INXS-ish rock and roll sound and energy he puts into "Can't Get You Out of My Head" balances out the more reflective, somber Kate Bush/Sinead O'Connor type sound Lennox typically had in her solo hits. And here I thought the only real rock song Dave put out was "Would I Lie to You?" with The Eurythmics!! "Can't Get You Out of My Head" picks up where "Would I Lie to You?" left off, and it lives up to its title too. I mean what can I say, I can't get this song out of my head!!

"Hard Lesson" by The Burned: This song's been out for about three months now, but it seems like it hasn't gotten too much attention until recently. This song is basically a one chord (E minor) vamp built around a sleek, seductive, T. Rex-y guitar groove (with the exception of the rather grungy bridge in G major), and a slightly psychedelic organ sound in the chorus. Despite the fact that "Hard Lesson" is built around a single chord (well, two chords, really, as C7 is also used, albeit in a subtle manner), it manages to deliver a catchy, memorable hook nonetheless.

"I Might" by Wilco: Wilco has pretty much never failed to amaze me, and their latest, "I Might" is certainly no exception! For starting out as a country-rock group almost 15 years ago, they sure have come a long way!! Ever since their 2003 "breakthrough" album, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot", they've gone from having a roots-y earthy rock sound to a more experimental one that somehow manages to combine the whimsy of The Beatles, the "anything goes" attitude of The Velvet Underground, and the carefully crafted guitar solos of some of the earlier Steely Dan songs! "I Might" doesn't have the Steely Dan-ish element some of Wilco's material has, but it does start off with a vaguely Velvets-ish guitar hook, and throws in some shiny, cheerful psychedelic organ sounds this side of "Sgt. Pepper" shortly afterwards! Every song Wilco does has a unique flavor to it, and "I Might" only continues in this direction! Way to go Wilco!!

"She Walks In So Many Ways" by The Jayhawks: It only makes sense that a band whose sound is basically a combination of The Byrds and (the mellower material of) The Eagles would also have the name of a bird (hawk) in their name! "She Walks In So Many Ways" really emphasizes the more Byrds-y element of their music, though, with its jangly, echo-y, folk-rock-y sound and well crafted harmonies. The Jayhawks' last major album (among adult alt/indie fans, at least) came out 8 years ago, and had such wonderful songs as the bittersweet "Save It For A Rainy Day", the country-rocker "Tailspin", and the melancholy "All the Right Reasons", which were all great songs. It made me wonder if the 'Hawks were ever going to come out with anything that great again, and if so, when. "She Walks In So Many Ways" would have fit perfectly with the three aforementioned songs. It's a pleasure to listen to, and its bright sunny melodies never fail to make me smile when I hear them!!

"The Way It Goes" by Gillian Welch: Yet another long-awaited "comeback" album (or, in this case, a "breakthrough" album as well) comes from the bittersweet bluegrass songstress Gillian Welch, whose rustic sounds probably make a lot of her more familiar listeners forget she's really an L.A. native (like me!) It was none other than my own father who introduced me to Gillian's music back in my late elementary school years, and a song she did called "Caleb Meyer" had a stark, haunting enough sound that I remember it to this very day! "The Way It Goes" doesn't quite have the same mystique that surrounded "Caleb Meyer", but it does have the basic elements that make Gillian's music so appealing to folks like me. It has rather bare, simple arrangement in its instrumentation, yet it's also captivating, confessional, and distinct enough to be memorable. Frankly I'm quite surprised Gillian hasn't gotten airplay on adult alt stations with any of her other material (with the exception of L.A.'s KCSN).