here they are:
“Closer I Get” by Rebelution (featuring John Popper from Blues Traveler): Ever since Bob Marley became internationally known (and a little later on, when The Police combined reggae rhythms with rock instrumentation), reggae and rock have occasionally become “bedfellows” with each other, and in a rather successful way, at that. Rebelution are a reggae band that enlisted the help of rocker John Popper from Blues Traveler on harmonica on Rebelution’s latest track, “Closer I Get”. However, this sounds more like POP-reggae (think Matisyahu) than “rock-reggae”. “Closer I Get” manages to sound even more laid back than most Bob Marley tracks, actually. Its sound suggests that of when the funk-influenced rock group 311 briefly flirted with reggae on songs like “Amber” and “I’ll Be Here Awhile”. I was hoping for a vocal spot from John Popper on this song, but instead, all I got was a harmonica solo from him at the end of the song. “Closer I Get” is just one step ahead of Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow” on the color spectrum – it is “mellow green”, and more so than most reggae (and reggae influenced) songs. Not the best sounding song, but still a good one to hear on those sunny days when you feel like chilling in your backyard on a hammock with a pineapple flavored drink!
“Honey” by The Parlotones: This being the third major song I’ve come across from The Parlotones, one thing I can say about them that I can’t say about a lot of contemporary alt/indie acts is that no two Parlotones songs sound alike! So far, they have touched upon urgency (“Should We Fight Back?”) and balladry (“Save Your Best Bits”), and this time around, they’ve come out with a fun, quirky song with “Honey”. Unlike most songs with the word “honey” in the title, The Parlotones’ use of that word refers to the substance, rather than simply being a nickname for a boyfriend/girlfriend. The saxophones in “Honey” make it an even more enjoyable song than it already is! Looking forward to whatever surprises The Parlotones want to pull out next!
“Just Breathe” by Willie Nelson: Just like in the first song I reviewed this week, I’m going outside the rock ‘n’ roll box here! Well, kinda. This is a cover from a legendary country musician of a melancholy alternative rock song, much like Johnny Cash’s version of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”. Cash practically made “Hurt” his own song, though! Nelson doesn’t quite do the same thing to “Just Breathe”, originally an introspective folk-rock song by Pearl Jam from just a couple years ago. However, it’s definitely a spirited, dedicated attempt at a cover song for Willie (as well as his son, Lukas, who does some of the vocals on this version of the song). This version actually rocks a bit harder than the original, believe it or not, if only for the fact that Willie sneaks in some electric guitar solos towards the end of the song, whereas the original Pearl Jam song was entirely acoustic. If only Johnny Cash were alive to hear Willie Nelson’s take on this song. I bet he’d be pretty impressed!!
“The Real Thing” by Audra Mae and The Almighty Sound: Audra Mae might be a young woman who’s new to the music biz, but she does not intend on sounding like just another “pretty young thing”, neither musically nor vocally! When Audra proclaims she’s “the real thing”, you’d better believe her!! Her vocal qualities suggest what a younger, clearer-voiced version of Janis Joplin might sound like, and her band, well, let’s just say it ain’t called “The Almighty Sound” for nothin’!! The Almighty Sound is a powerhouse of blues, country, and rock that stands as a force not to be reckoned with! If you’re the kind of person who prefers more of a kick in your music, as opposed to a gentler sound, then give “The Real Thing” a listen. It lives up to its title…and how!!
“This Head I Hold” by Electric Guest: If Beck decided to have a jam session with Fitz and The Tantrums, it would probably sound like Electric Guest! This is a band that is as soulful as they are detached, and somehow, they manage to pull it off!! How they do so without making their music sound somewhat forced in the process is anyone’s guess, but I’m glad they don’t! It just makes their material sound that much more original. In the 21st century, I guess anything can happen in the music world, and that would include having the Motown sound getting the new wave treatment! Never thought the day would come when the two sounds of the aforementioned genres merged into one, but the fact they have is nothing short of exciting!!