here they are:
"Are You Gonna Waste My Time?" by Zeus: Just the very name of the mighty Greek god of thunder probably brings to mind, musically, the name of a heavy metal band, or perhaps a progressive rock band, probably from somewhere in Europe, like Norway or Germany. Surprise! Zeus, in this case, are a Canadian indie rock band, whose sound probably wouldn't be too out of place on a classic rock (or oldies) station. Traces of songs like The Faces' "Stay With Me" and The Rolling Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'?" can be heard throughout "Are You Gonna Waste My Time?", and even the lead vocalist sounds somewhat like a young Rod Stewart. With The White Stripes and The Black Keys making the '70s rock sound cool again, I'm thinkin' Zeus oughta be next on the bandwagon!
"Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)" by Regina Spektor: The quirky, red-haired, doe-eyed indie-pop-ster known as Regina Spektor takes her musical influences a step further than she usually does in her latest song, "Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)" (the French words in parentheses literally translate to "don't leave me"). Instead of the typical piano-pop sound Regina offers in most of her songs, we are treated to a delectable mix of synths, bass, and muted trumpets! The fact that this is a rather bubbly, free spirited take on a typically sad song that was originally performed by Belgian-born French composer Jacques Brel only makes me like this song even more! Was waiting for Regina to release a new CD for a couple years. Now that she has, I must say, I'm quite pleased with the results so far!
"Headlights" by Morning Parade: Sound-wise, there is nothing particularly special about this song, as it basically sounds like a cross between The Killers and Kings of Leon, two great bands that have somehow spawned a legion of second and third rate imitators. I like this song anyway, though. I guess that's partly because I've become accustomed to the sound that songs like this one have. The lyrics to the first line in the chorus ("like a rabbit in your headlights") provide particularly interesting imagery for me, though. Morning Parade's lead singer is probably just referring to the feeling of being surprised or dumbfounded, but for some reason, I still like that line.
"New Ceremony" by Dry the River: Even before "New Ceremony" hit the adult alt airwaves (which was quite recently), Dry the River were heavily hyped because of their performances they had at indie rock showcase, South By Southwest (better known by its acronym, "SXSW"). Upon hearing "New Ceremony" for the first time, it's not hard to see why they were so talked about! Though it has the typical Arcade Fire/Mumford and Sons/Decemberists type sound, it also plays with chord structure in a suspenseful way that has only been used in a handful of songs in rock/pop history (most notably Eddie Money's "Baby Hold On" and Barenaked Ladies' "It's All Been Done"). Its quiet-to-loud dynamics seem to borrow from the grunge era, but they are presented here in a more orchestral manner than a heavily distorted one. "New Ceremony"'s lyrical combinations of religious imagery (phrases like "angel of doubt" and verses like "I named you like a prayer", for instance), and its general theme of regrets about a relationship also make this song well worth listening to. Highly recommended!
"One Engine" by The Decemberists: Not planning on seeing (or reading) "The Hunger Games", but for those who are interested in knowing, The Decemberists' latest song, "One Engine" was made specifically for the soundtrack of that movie. The lyrics of the song seem to center around how dismal and violent having a competitive nature can be, which seems fitting for a movie about violence and competition. Musically, this is an interesting leap back for The Decemberists, who seemed to be focusing on honing more traditional, rustic, folk-y sounds into their music for the past couple years. "One Engine" sounds more like The Smiths (particularly "Bigmouth Strikes Again"), and would probably be much more at home on their 2006 CD "The Crane Wife", than it would on their 2010 release, "The King Is Dead". The Smiths are one of The Decemberists' biggest influences, though, so perhaps they're trying to pay them more homage here.