Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New songs for March 14th, 2012

here they are:

"Alone" by Trampled by Turtles: The name ALONE of this band is enough to make me like them!! Anyway, this is one of two "bluegrass rock" songs I'm reviewing this week, though they are very distinct from one another. This song is by FAR the more relaxed of the two. It recalls bluegrass instrumentation, while also bringing to mind the arpeggiated patterns of many a folk-rock song. The peak of "Alone" is probably towards the middle of it, in which the fiddle section swells up to the point of sounding like a full blown orchestra. The fiddles are actually the most intense instruments used in "Alone" (though they are probably also the most enjoyable part of it).

"Country Girl" by Carolina Chocolate Drops: As if by coincidence, this is the second out of two "bluegrass rock" songs I'm reviewing this week! The Chocolate Drops seem to add a bit of "hipness" into the few songs I've heard from them so far, whether by covering a song from early '00s pop chanteuse Blu Cantrell ("Hit 'Em Up Style"), or, in this case, adding a slight bit of hip-hop influence to an otherwise bluegrass-y song. The Carolina Chocolate Drops' lead vocalist is also quite talented in terms of her singing range. The CCD's lead singer might be telling a story about how she was raised a "country girl", but I think she enjoys mixing a bit of city life into this song for good measure. Sure makes for a unique, memorable song!

"Isn't That So?" by Lyle Lovett: A man of many talents, you never know what kind of Lyle Lovett song you're gonna get next! His musical style ranges from country, jazz, vocal standards, rock, blues, folk, and more (and, in addition, he is also a skilled actor). I tend to prefer Mr. Lovett when he's more energetic, though, and "Isn't That So?" most CERTAINLY is!! It starts out with a vaguely country-ish acoustic guitar emulating the beat of The Fixx's "One Thing Leads to Another", but the brass section, drums, and electric guitar kick in merely seconds later. The lyrics are typical for Lyle Lovett, concerning relationship advice, but the musical aspects of "Isn't That So?" are fantastic! Makes me think Lyle and his band are probably really good live with the instrumentation they have set up for this song!

"Revolution" by Dr. John: In Louisiana, Mac Rebennack, better known by his stage name, "Dr. John", is a living legend! His mix of blues, jazz, and rock 'n' roll are often combined into a spicy musical gumbo that New Orleans just can't seem to get enough of! Outside of Louisiana, Dr. John is best known for his lone classic rock radio hit, "Right Place, Wrong Time". That being said, this is probably the first time since that song came out (which was back in 1972), that he's gotten this much attention for a song of his, rather than his performances! His latest song, "Revolution" (not to be confused for the Beatles song of the same name), somehow manages to combine the swampy '50s blues-rock sound of Screamin' Jay Hawkins with the "retro soul" sound of people like Amy Winehouse. The organ solo in the middle of this song is both the most exotic and most enjoyable part of this song! It's a fun sounding song, but the lyrical content strays far from the stream-of-consciousness vibe of "Right Place, Wrong Time", and instead focuses more on protesting the current state of politics and religion. But still, it's one of the most distinct sounding songs so far of the 21st century, and that's something worth listening to!!

"Towers" by Bon Iver: A bit more uptempo than most of Bon Iver's material, "Towers" almost seems like Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer" with a Snow Patrol-ish "softened" electric guitar sound instead of an acoustic guitar sound. It has a similar rhythm and use of backing instruments (though I can't quite tell if that's a sax or a harmonica playing in the background of "Towers"). "Towers" has enough of its own type of sound that it doesn't sound like a "ripoff" of "The Boxer". As a matter of fact, it changes key from E major in the beginning, to a D major towards the end, and usually songs don't change key very much these days. In some ways, "Towers" might just be one of the folk-iest songs, lyrically, that Bon Iver have ever done, what with its references to Norse mythology ("F**k the fiercest fables I'm with Hagen", which also uses alliteration with the letter "F"), and even classic, well-known fairy tales ("In the towers of your honeycomb, I'd a' tore your hair out just to climb back darling", referring to Rapunzel...hmmmm...wonder if Justin Vernon watched "Tangled" right before writing this song!!) In days of old, it was usually heavier rock bands (albeit with folk influence) that typically referenced mythology, like Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull. Bon Iver's references to folklore and fables, combined with the pleasant atmosphere of the song, almost make this seem like a children's lullaby (except for his use of the "f" word towards the middle). A fantastic song, as usual, from the indie rock band whose name is an intentional misspelling of the French way of saying "good winter"!