here they are:
"Live It Up" by Chris Isaak: For those who forgot Chris Isaak is more than just the seductive balladeer who did smooth songs like "Wicked Game", his latest song, "Live It Up" is a reminder that Chris also has a rockin' side that easily brings to mind the pioneers of rock 'n' roll like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis! Frankly I'm quite surprised Chris's most recent song sounds the way it does, as he seemed to focus almost entirely on ballads throughout the 2000's ("Let Me Down Easy", "King Without A Castle", and "We Let Her Down" are three such examples). As someone who thought his sound got increasingly more generic with each attempt at a slower song he did in the 2000's, "Live It Up" is quite a refreshing song to hear!! '50s rock 'n' roll music was one of the first forms of popular music I was exposed to as a kid, so "Live It Up" is also very fun and nostalgic for me to hear! I hope Chris focuses more on his rock 'n' roll side as the 2010's progress!!
"Miss K" by Deer Tick: There have been plenty of bands that have attempted to emulate the "jam band" side of The Grateful Dead (Phish and Widespread Panic are two of the best known in this category), but not many are known for evoking The Dead's more country-folk-rock influenced side. "Miss K" by alt-country rockers Deer Tick might just be a first, then. Musically, it seems like what could have been the missing cut from The Dead's "American Beauty", with its slight resemblance to songs like "Friend of the Devil" and "Ripple" (though the beat of the song sounds more like "Bertha", which is from a different album and centers more around electric guitar than it does acoustic). Even the vocalist sounds a little like Jerry Garcia to me (though that comparison might be stretching it a bit for some people). So what are sleazy lyrics like "talk dirty, turn me on" doing in an otherwise beautiful song?! Oh well, "Miss K" is still very much worth listening to, I think!
"Second Song" by TV on the Radio: Really, they couldn't come up with a better title?! Don't get me wrong, TV on the Radio is great (well, their latest songs are anyway), but "Second Song"?! The words "second song" aren't found anywhere in the lyrics, and it is actually the FIRST song off their CD "Nine Types of Light". The only way in which the title is appropriate is that it IS the "second song" they've released as a SINGLE from "Nine Types of Light". Well, now that I've gotten that out of the way, on with the song itself. I can't help but be reminded of how "Alive And Kicking" by '80s new wave group Simple Minds might sound if it came out in the 21st century, as it uses practically the same chords and rhythm (though "Second Song" has a B flat that "Alive And Kicking" doesn't have). TVOTR also manages to set "Second Song" apart from "Alive And Kicking" with the saxophone solos that happen during various parts of the song. As for the lyrics? Well, let's just say that when Tunde Adebimpe sings parts of the song like, "Shaking hands move to tear my face away/And when the night comes I'm flaming like a pyro", it bears similarity to a song about a certain drug beginning with "H" that the grandaddy of all alt-rock bands, The Velvet Underground, sang about on their debut.