here they are:
"Holocene" by Bon Iver: Of all the songs I'm reviewing this week, this is by far the most serene, bittersweet, and just plain awe inspiring! Earlier, in June of this year, their latest album was released, and the song "Calgary" became the first song off of the album to get airplay on adult alt stations. Though I love Bon Iver dearly, "Calgary" seemed like their attempt at a pop song (albeit with Bon Iver's trademark icy yet ethereal emotional quality attached to it). The most recent song to get attention in Bon Iver's catalog, "Holocene", is a much better song, I think, due in large part to how stark, yet still hauntingly beautiful its instrumentation is. Justin Vernon's high pitched but breathy vocals also add a unique touch to to this song, and his echoing in the chorus of "I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles" might even outdo Pete Townshend's similarly worded chorus to The Who's "I Can See For Miles" (though probably not many people will agree with me on this).
"Knots" by Lisa Hannigan: The artist formerly known as Damien Rice's backing vocalist first made a name for herself as a solo artist about two and a half years ago, with a charming, lighthearted folk-pop ditty called "I Don't Know". In Lisa's latest song, "Knots", the folky part is still there, but the pop part? Well, not so much here, as "Knots" delves into more thought provoking sounds and more complex chord structures (especially how she goes from a regularly used chord and immediately leaps into a more exotic one afterwards during the verses). The music video for this song REALLY makes it stand out, though! It is a synesthetic treat, in which Lisa makes various colors in a paint set come to life as musical instruments, resulting in a fun, artsy mess!! The video for "Knots" can be viewed here (http://www.twentyfourbit.com/post/10447707906/lisa-hannigan-knots-video-weve-seen-this-new)
"Same Mistake" by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: With "Same Mistake", the cumbersomely named indie-pop group, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, brings catchy, buoyant, somewhat Beatlesque three-chord pop 'n' roll to the table. Though it's obvious from listening that "Same Mistake" is a recent song, I can't help but feel like CYHSY are using 12-string guitars (which were more popular in the '60s than in other decades) in it, even though I know they really aren't (and that the trick they are using to make this song sound so "retro" and 12-string-ish is using the third fret of the thin "E" string for each chord, as well as the groovy distortion this song has). Vocally, "Same Mistake" also seems to be a time twister, in that, although the vocals sound too "modern" to have come from, say, Ray Davies, Roger McGuinn, Brian Wilson, or Paul McCartney, the way the harmony of the vocals flow in this song does seem to be influenced by such performers. Though sunny, happy songs like this seem to be getting increasingly more common within the indie world, there's really nothing wrong with 'em, and "Same Mistake" is certainly NOT a mistake, as far as I'm concerned!
"Simple Girl" by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.: Before I get to reviewing this song, let me inform you, you are NOT hallucinating, and I did NOT make a typo, his name really IS Dale Earnhardt "Jr. Jr.", with the word "junior" repeated twice! And now, back to the song. "Simple Girl" is a simple song. In a good way, though, since it's one of the many indie-pop songs that have come out in the last couple years with an irresistible, somewhat childlike ambiance to it. It is also simple in its length, at slightly less than two and a half minutes. And the vocals are (here comes that word again) SIMPLE, with the repeating, infectious, "ba-da-ba, ba-da-ba-da-ba-ba-ba"'s in the chorus. This song totally fits its title, but like I said earlier, in a good way! I can only assume that the lyrics are, well, simple (but hopefully also somewhat clever).