here they are:
“After the Gold Rush” by Thom Yorke: Radiohead’s enigmatic but passionate frontman performed his cover of the classic Neil Young song, “After the Gold Rush”, at Neil’s own Bridge School Benefit Concert, which are held annually to benefit children with disabilities who attend Bridge School (a school in Mountain View, California). I am a huge fan of both Radiohead and Neil Young, so I was very curious in knowing if their two musical worlds would meet or drift apart in Thom Yorke’s cover of “After the Gold Rush”. Though not as good as the Neil Young original, Yorke does “After the Gold Rush” justice by maintaining the melancholy but earnest feel of the original tune (and Yorke’s reedy tenor vocals match Young’s quite well, though perhaps unintentionally).
“Feeding Line” by Boy and Bear: This song does not really have any factors that distinguish it from other indie songs, but I like it anyway! I’m always a sucker for smooth harmonies, random whistling (which “Feeding Line” has towards the middle of it), and acoustic and electric guitars complementing each other in their sound. And, what can I say, I’ve become accustomed to the “lyrical dissonance” songs like this feature (lyrics like “Nevertheless when this pain in my chest seems to grow…” are juxtaposed against a catchy, vibrant melody in A major). Yeah, like I said, nothing particularly special about “Feeding Line”, but it’s still a fun song to listen to and sing along to.
“Games People Play” by Lissie: The folk-pop/rock musician known simply as “Lissie” onstage has made huge strides for herself this year! Up until last month, she was merely a two-hit wonder (for “In Sleep” and “When I’m Alone”), known among the indie circles but not much outside of that. In October of this year, though, she toured with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers in order to boost the ratings of Los Angeles adult alt outlet, KCSN, which plays both Lissie’s and Tom Petty’s music on a regular basis! As if THAT weren’t enough major star power for Lissie, her latest CD is an all covers album, encompassing everything from country songs to heavy metal songs within the process! The first song off her collection of covers is “Games People Play”. No, this is not a cover of the Alan Parsons song, for those wondering, it is actually a cover of a song by country musician Joe South. Lissie does a fine job at covering it, though, remaining faithful to the original song by performing it in A major like Joe did, and even adding in the sitar-sounding instruments that his version had!
“Look Around” by Red Hot Chili Peppers: And now, we come to yet another musical act that has gotten major attention for their latest album this year! “Look Around” marks the FOURTH song to get attention from The Chili Peppers’ “I’m With You” (quite a lot of songs to get noticed from an album that came out only 4 and a half months ago)! “Look Around” seems to bridge the gaps between the original funk-rock sound The Chilis had in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, and the more melodic rock sound they developed ever since then. Flea’s bass playing is spectacular (and wild) enough here to win back their initial fanbase, yet Anthony Kiedis’ vocals shine enough here (especially during the title-only chorus) that I can’t help but want to harmonize with him when he sings! 25 years and still going strong!! Few other rock and roll bands have achieved such a feat, so congrats to them!
“No Spare Parts” by The Rolling Stones: And speaking of long-standing rock bands, The Stones have GOT to be one of the LONGEST lasting of them all!! Mick Jagger and co started rolling in the mid-‘60s and haven’t given up ever since! Their latest, “No Spare Parts”, has a rather country-rock sound to it. Not the first thing that comes to mind when The Stones are mentioned, but they’re certainly no strangers to country-rock (though it took them until “Wild Horses” was released to do a song that wasn’t a mockery of the genre). Being that this song was an “outtake” from the largely sarcastic, misogynistic, angst-ridden “Some Girls” album, “No Spare Parts” is probably more mockery than it is a “serious” song. Mick’s rather detached, weary sounding vocals on “No Spare Parts” also seems to hint at the insincerity this song might have. Yeah, I know, it’s (kind of) “only rock and roll” of them to pull off a half-hearted song like “No Spare Parts”, but I like it!
“Should We Fight Back?” by The Parlotones: Before I actually sat down and listened to “Should We Fight Back?” I was a bit skeptical as to whether or not I would enjoy it since I only knew The Parlotones for being a band that Coldplay selected to play with them on their latest tour prior to this song’s release to adult alt radio stations. The Parlotones, however, do not have a contrived, overproduced, adult-contemporary-meets-alt-pop type sound like Coldplay’s later (and latest) album(s) do. Instead, they are more an “indie-dance-pop/rock” band in the vein of The Killers, Phoenix, and Foster the People, all three of whom seemed to have instance success, both commercially and among more independent minded audiences, upon their debuts! So far, The Parlotones haven’t made quite the same impact with “Should We Fight Back?” but the way the guitars, drums, and vocals blend together seamlessly on this song seems to indicate it will do pretty well! Listener, beware, though. Beneath the irresistibly catchy sound of “Should We Fight Back?” are lyrics of political dissatisfaction. That shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the song, though!!
“Tomorrow” by The Cranberries: And last, but certainly not least, how can you have a great November without some “Cranberries”?!? Dolores O’Riordan and her band of merry Irish alt-rockers haven’t had a successful record in 10 years (see also Ben Folds Five’s “House”, which I reviewed last week), but it’s definitely been worth the wait!! Unlike other major ‘90s rockers like Counting Crows and Goo Goo Dolls, The Cranberries haven’t veered an inch from the Smiths-meets-Sinead O’Connor type sound that made them famous! “Tomorrow” is a bittersweet but memorable slice of jangle-pop that recalls The Smiths’ “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” throughout, albeit with a more hopeful sounding message. So what if it doesn’t have the “sonic-boom” guitar sound of “Dreams” or the pseudo-hard-rock sound of “Zombie”?! “Tomorrow” is STILL a great song, and probably my fave song of the week!! Highly recommended!!!