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!! (http://www.facebook.com/people/Larry-Puppe/100002175551158) 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 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF6wBFh3BII), and the "music video" version can be viewed here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNB2Cw5y66o&feature=channel_video_title). 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!!