Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New songs for July 25th, 2012

here they are:

"Bottom of the River" by Delta Rae: Bluegrass and rock have made a charming musical "odd couple" for a couple years now, but Delta Rae's "Bottom of the River" takes the combination of genres one step further! Rather than coming off like a newer version of The Band or Buffalo Springfield like most of their peers, Delta Rae sound more like the new Leadbelly or the new Odetta! There are barely any instruments in this song, actually, aside from tambourine and a tinkling piano sound in the background. Lead vocalist Liz Hopkins bares her soul in "Bottom of the River" like a more smoky voiced, gospel inflected version of Adele, with lyrics that sound like they came from an old gospel hymn ("it's a long way down to the bottom of the river"). If "Bottom of the River" sounds like it belongs to another century when the term "rock and roll" wasn't even known, remember, it's supposed to sound that way!

"In the End" by Snow Patrol: Not to be confused with the much more aggressive (and more popular, so far) Linkin Park song of the same name, Snow Patrol's third single from "Fallen Empires", "In the End", gives off a mood that comes halfway between the chunky alt-pop of "Called Out In the Dark" and the tender balladry of "This Isn't Everything You Are", both of which are also on "Fallen Empires". "In the End" has a bit too fast a beat to truly be classified as a "ballad", but something about it still comes off as one. Perhaps this is because the fast rhythm of the song is contrasted by its reflective, earnest lyrics ("There's nothing more to life than love, is there?"), and Gary Lightbody's passionate, yearning vocal delivery. "In the End" isn't as good as the other two songs from Snow Patrol's latest album that have gotten attention, so it makes sense that it was chosen as the third single. "In the End" is still well worth the listen, though!

"Reboot the Mission" by The Wallflowers (featuring Mick Jones from The Clash): First Counting Crows gained their Neil Young-ish grit back, then Blues Traveler turned up both their amps and their sense of humor, and now...The Wallflowers get funky?!? The "softer" side of '90s rock music is really making a fresh comeback this year isn't it?! Yep, the "One Headlight" guys have traded in their typical Dylan/Petty influenced brand of neo-folk-rock for disco-inflected punk rock, a la "Rock the Casbah" and "The Magnificent Seven". And it's no wonder it sounds the way it does, since Mick Jones from The Clash helps out both vocally and instrumentally on The Wallflowers newest song, "Reboot the Mission"! Perhaps the combination might sound about as likely as John Mellencamp duetting with The Ramones, which would probably end up sounding messy and uneven, but somehow Mick Jones and Jakob Dylan have managed to make one of the catchiest songs of the summer with "Reboot the Mission"! Could a Toad the Wet Sprocket or Gin Blossoms reunion be far behind, and if so, would they change their sound as well?!?

"Tear It Up" by Delta Spirit: So, we both began and ended this time with bands with the word "Delta" in their name, though their sounds are probably on opposite ends of the musical history time scale. Actually, Delta Spirit USED to sound more roots-y and "old" than they do on "Tear It Up", which sounds more like a song with disco beats and Modest Mouse style guitars. Though I do like The Deltas' new material, I can't help but wish they would go back to the more earthy sound they started out with, instead of this new wave/disco combination they're doing now. Blondie and Talking Heads would have both beat them to such a sound many years ago. Still, "Tear It Up" is catchy, and as long as Delta Spirit continue making music with a memorable sound I'll still like what they do.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New songs for July 18th, 2012

here they are:

"I Ain't the Same" by Alabama Shakes: Alabama Shakes came on strong earlier this year with their CCR-meets-Memphis-soul mega-hit, "Hold On". After all that surprise success, frontwoman Brittany Howard is on her feet again, but is still proclaiming that she "ain't the same", as the title of Alabama Shakes' latest song suggests. "I Ain't the Same" is a good reminder to people of where the "blues" part in "rhythm and blues" came from! This song has enough grit (and enough use of the electric guitar) to earn comparisons to people like Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker, both of whom were just as soulful as they were rockin'! Yet Brittany Howard's gutsy, raw, passionate vocal delivery is more along the lines of Mavis Staples, or perhaps even James Brown. After listening to this song, all I can say is that "I ain't the same" either!!

"Knock Knock" by Band of Horses: Knock knock! Who's there? Abanda! Abanda who? Abanda Horses, that's who! Joking aside, though, "Knock Knock" is a pretty good song, but it does have its flaws. First off, it's built pretty much entirely around a G major chord capoed at the first fret. Some people are masters at the "one chord vamp", but I don't think Band of Horses rank among them. Also, it seems like BOH are trying too hard to get a "hard rock" sound this time around. Though they do have that "quiet-to-loud" dynamic in some of their best songs ("Is There A Ghost", "The Funeral", etc.), they don't usually rock out all the way through in any of their songs. However, if BOH were intending on making songs that stick in peoples' heads this time around, they've succeeded this time around with "Knock Knock"! Catchy songs aren't exactly what BOH are known for, and nor is it really their strong suit, but still, it doesn't hurt to try (or hear) something new once in a while!

"Runaways" by The Killers: After two years of living the solo life, Brandon Flowers has reunited The Killers. Their latest song, "Runaways", is a fitting title for a song that has a sound that wants to "run away" into the past, specifically the 1980's. Being that The Police and (especially) U2 are some of The Killers' most prominent musical influences, this shouldn't be all that surprising. Much like the typical U2 song, "Runaways" has a dynamic, compelling enough sound to be a concert fave, but it also has an earnest, heartfelt enough sound to win over the more soulful side of The Killers' fanbase (myself, for instance, haha). All in all, though, "Runaways" is an impressive comeback for a band that hasn't been terribly active in about 4 years!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New songs for July 11th, 2012

here they are:

"Light of Day" by Brendan Benson: Much like his better known partner from The Raconteurs, Jack White, Brendan Benson is a new school rocker with an old school sound! Brendan's latest song, "Light of Day", is a hard rockin' but oh so fun song to listen to! The chorus of the song ("Candlelight upon your face/And your darkness is my saving grace/I don't care if I ever see the light of day") seems to indicate that "Light of Day" is a love song, albeit one with quirky lyrics. If you listen to this song and feel like you just stepped out of a time machine that took you back to when The Kinks ruled the world, remember, it's supposed to make you feel that way!

"Little Black Submarines" by The Black Keys: Wait a minute!! This song starts out with acoustic guitars! Is this REALLY The Black Keys, the same guys who are known for their garage-meets-glam, fuzzed out guitars?! Yes, it is! If Led Zeppelin could make about 80 % of their entire third album acoustic, then The Black Keys can do that for one song! "Little Black Submarines" actually has the vibe of an acoustic Zeppelin song, with a chorus that seems to borrow from the part of Jethro Tull's "Aqualung", in which Ian Anderson sings, "Aqualung, my friend, don't you start away uneasy. You poor old sod, you see, it's only me" (Dan Auerbach sings, in a very similar manner to Ian Anderson, "I should have seen the glow, but everybody knows that a broken heart is blind"). The acoustic guitars of "Little Black Submarines" get blown out of the water (pun intended, haha) at about 2 minutes into the song, in which Dan and Patrick rock with reckless abandon for the remainder of it!

"Sleeping Ute" by Grizzly Bear: Their most popular song is called "Two Weeks", yet it's taken a little over two YEARS for Grizzly Bear's biggest fans to wait to have them come out with their sophomore album! And now, they finally have. In "Sleeping Ute", The Grizzlies prove that they're even more "indie" than the average indie band! Instead of taking their cues from The Byrds or Simon & Garfunkel like most of their peers tend to do, Grizzly Bear pay homage to the Syd Barrett era of Pink Floyd here! "Sleeping Ute" is a song that sounds almost as weird as its title (what IS a "Ute"?!), but enjoyably so! "Sleeping Ute" is almost more like progressive rock than indie rock (hence the Pink Floyd comparison), in that it seems more like two or three songs strung together into one song than an individual one with a consistent pattern. It also has a sound that manages to be fuzzy and dreamy simultaneously. I always knew Grizzly Bear were an eclectic band, but not this much! It's refreshing to hear that there are still bands out there willing to take on the more adventurous side of rock and roll, though!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It's the 4th of July!!!....

...annnddd...only two songs?!? Oh well, better than nothing, right?!

"Live And Die" by The Avett Brothers: Those who got on to the Avett Brothers bandwagon in late 2009/early 2010 might not be expecting something so banjo oriented from them for their next big song, since "I And Love And You", "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise", and "Kick Drum Heart" were are centered around the piano. However, those who were familiar with The Avetts from before that will probably take pleasure in the fact that their latest song, "Live And Die", hearkens back to their original, bluegrass-y sound. Therefore, it was an interesting choice on Scott and Seth Avett's part to seek out Rick Rubin, known mostly for producing the records of hard rock groups such as AC/DC, to produce the Avetts' latest record. That being said, I was expecting something a bit rawer sounding from The Avetts this time around, but instead I got a down-home-y, roots-y bluegrass sound. But hey, I'm not complaining! For The Avett Brothers, this is their signature style, and what I like most about their music!

"Mercy" by The Dave Matthews Band: "Mercy" sounds a classic DMB ballad (though not near on the same level as "Crash Into Me" or "Crush"), even though it was just released! In the '00s, DMB were pretty successful at crafting out more rock-sounding songs ("I Did It", "American Baby", and "Why I Am" among them), but until "You And Me" from 2009, their ballads just weren't as good as they were in the '90s. Thankfully, "Mercy" is a refreshing change to this. With its poignant orchestration and powerful message of having hope through hard times, "Mercy" is a song that Dave Matthews and co obviously put a lot of thought and effort into! In its unedited form, "Mercy" is even better, as the band take on their jam-band-with-a-jazz-sound stance with about a minute and a half of saxophones, violins, light drumming, and pianos melting into one dreamy slice of ear candy!