Here they are:
"Brothers" by The War On Drugs: If Bob Dylan were the lead singer (and sole harmonica player) of Arcade Fire, it would probably sound like "Brothers" by The War On Drugs. The Dylan influence shouldn't come as too much of a surprise for those who know the solo work of The War On Drug's lead singer, Kurt Vile, who has a bit less of an electronic/ambient influence on his solo records. The depth of the lyrical content and the melancholy feel of "Brothers" is contrasted by how there are only 3 chords throughout the entire song. Kurt Vile and co manage to deliver a bittersweet, affecting, memorable song nonetheless, though, with "Brothers".
"Gotta Be Wrong Sometimes" by O.A.R.: O.A.R. are one of those "hit-or-miss" bands for me. This has been especially apparent ever since they switched their sound from jam band to alt-pop back in 2008. Sometimes O.A.R. still manage to deliver a relatively decent song, though, and "Gotta Be Wrong Sometimes" is one such song. "Gotta Be Wrong Sometimes" also adds a new musical facet to O.A.R.'s catalog - reggae. The throbbing bass sound and pulsating guitar riffs indicate this. Much like The Police and The Clash (among others), O.A.R. add a more rock 'n' roll element to "Gotta Be Wrong Sometimes" once the chorus comes around (and also during the bridge). The song also wraps up nicely with acoustic guitars being strummed.
"Love Interruption" by Jack White: So when's the White Stripes reunion gonna be?! Yeah, I know, Jack White announced the breakup of his one man/one woman rock band last year, but I think he's just pulling our leg. Jack released the moderately successful "Two Against One" with Danger Mouse around May of last year, and now he's got an entire solo ALBUM!! "Love Interruption" is also the most anticipated new song this week, zooming up both the adult alternative and "regular" alternative charts! Amazing how Jack started with rough, garage rock-ish songs like "Fell In Love With A Girl", and now he's progressed to Dylan-esque folk-rock with "Love Interruption". Acoustic guitar is one of the only instruments in "Love Interruption", actually, supported only by Jack's vocals, female backing vocals, and an organ (perhaps the best part of this song). Sadly, "Love Interruption" is only about two and a half minutes long. Why couldn't it have been longer?! Oh well, better that than nothing at all, I say!
"Midnight In Harlem" by The Tedeschi-Trucks Band: What's this?! Susan and Derek now have a FOURTH song hitting the adult alt airwaves?!? Never would've expected THAT!! Neither of them have gotten this much success before! Perhaps it's the diversity of musical influences they've chosen, from gospel, to hard rock, to straight up blues, that has gotten Tedeschi and Trucks this much attention. "Midnight In Harlem" seems to recall the melancholy country-rock of people like Bonnie Raitt (likely one of Susan Tedeschi's biggest influences). Certainly a change of pace from the relentless energy of the other three songs that have gotten attention from The Tedeschi-Trucks band, but "Midnight In Harlem" definitely gels, especially due to the honest, heartfelt emotion that Susan Tedeschi puts into the song! Derek Trucks also puts about as much emotion into his guitar playing as Tedeschi puts into the vocal parts of this song, making for a winning combination once again!
"Old Lady" by Sinead O'Connor: With The Cranberries having also released a new song just three months before this one, I think I can officially say that Irish alt-rock gals are taking over once again! "Old Lady" marks a couple high points for Sinead, I think. First of all, the lyrics to the song are probably some of the most pensive, most reflective I've ever heard from her, revolving around hope that her relationship will literally last a lifetime. Instrumentally, "Old Lady" delivers too. Sinead seemed to move away from alternative rock and more into pop and folk by the time her popularity started to fade away around the mid-'90s, but "Old Lady" picks up where songs like "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "Mandinka" left off. It doesn't have as much of a propulsive, rocking sound as either of those songs, but it does make it sound as though Sinead has gotten more attuned to newer alt-pop/rockers like Snow Patrol, (early) Coldplay, and Travis. Perhaps not what most Sinead fans were expecting, but it seems to be pretty well received so far nonetheless, and, might I add, quite deservedly so
"Rainy Day Girl" by The Villains: The Villains aren't very villainous, are they?! Quite the opposite, really. They have a very benign, accessible sound, and they don't really sound as spectacular or memorable as most of the songs/performers on this week's list, but the faux-U2 sound of this song has still managed to please me, perhaps because it just sounds natural to me, and not so over the top like most of the modern bands influenced by U2. The electric guitar solo in the middle (and end) of "Rainy Day Girl" came as a bit of a surprise to me since most of the song seems more mellow than that. Yeah, the lyrics are pretty generic, but there's still something about this song I like!
"Save Your Best Bits" by The Parlotones: The Parlotones seemed like they got their first taste of attention when they decided to be a supporting act for Coldplay one of their tours, but this sounds more like Cold War Kids than Coldplay. This song is also a far cry from the surging, urgent, energetic feel of The Parlotones' first big song, "Should We Fight Back?" "Save Your Best Bits" is a slower, more heartfelt song. The 'Tones still have some backbone on this song, though. "Save Your Best Bits" is backed by electric guitars that seem to have a "U2 goes indie" sort of sound. That being said, "Save Your Best Bits" really has only one major flaw. Why isn't it longer than three minutes?!? Oh well, it's still likable, and that's what matters the most here.
"You As You Were" by Shearwater: This song comes off like a "piano-rock" version of bands like Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear. The lead singer of Shearwater sounds like a cross between Morrissey from The Smiths and Pete Townshend from The Who on this song. So far, this is probably an odd description for "You As You Were", but it's actually one of the best songs on this list as far as I'm concerned! But why?! Well, perhaps because the passionate vocals of the lead singer match almost perfectly with the song's equally passionate piano playing. "You As You Were" seems like it's as much of a sad song as it is a "rush of energy" song. Not many have been able to pull both of those aspects off in such a powerful manner, but Shearwater does so on "You As You Were" with tremendous effort and commitment!