here they are:
"Charmer" by Aimee Mann: Just a mere 3 years ago, Aimee Mann released a song called "Freeway", which was more of a country-pop song than that of Aimee's usual style of quirky, vaguely Beatlesque power pop. Thankfully, "Charmer" marks a return to Aimee's signature musical style! Aimee's sense of subtle sarcasm is also present on "Charmer" ("when you're a charmer, you hate yourself"). The goofy yet irresistible synths on "Charmer" are also likely to draw its listeners in. To sum it all up, "Charmer" lives up to its name. It has "charmed" me into listening to it more, and it has also restored my musical faith in Aimee Mann!
"I Am Not Waiting Anymore" by Field Report: Fans of Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, and Iron & Wine will probably like the melancholy but gentle folk-rock flavor of Field Report. Their debut song, "I Am Not Waiting Anymore", definitely puts the emphasis on the melancholy part in terms of the lyrics. The raspy vocals of Field Report's lead singer seems to double the emotion in this already emotional song. My favorite part of "I Am Not Waiting Anymore" is probably in the final verse, in which Field Report's singer talks about how he has spent "8 long years, working on (his) screenplay", and how that screenplay is a "teen movie with young actresses that plays to the middle ages". Somehow the description of this "movie" cracks me up!! It sounds almost like the typical indie film, which would be quite fitting considering this is an indie song!
"Meth Lab Zoso Sticker" by 7Horse: Earlier this year, 7Horse gave us one of the spiciest, catchiest, most rockin' songs of the year with "Low Fuel Drug Run". Now, the roots-rockers known as 7Horse are back with another '70s rock throwback with "Meth Lab Zoso Sticker", of which even the title references classic rock ("Zoso" is what the runes on the cover of Led Zeppelin's 4th album spell out). The lyrics of "Meth Lab Zoso Sticker" are sung so fast, it almost feels like they're rapped, even though they're not. The chug-along rhythm and Lynyrd Skynyrd-esque guitar riffs evoke images of a truck barreling along the freeway as much as they do a car commercial. To top off the classic rock homages in "Meth Lab Zoso Sticker", 7Horse's lead singer even lets out a Steve Miller-esque "Woo-hoo!" during the chorus a couple times!
"Outta My System" by My Morning Jacket: The fifth song to get noticed so far from My Morning Jacket's CD "Circuital" (which is over a year old by now) is "Outta My System". MMJ have ran the gamut on "Circuital", with their unique attempts at straight ahead rock ("Holdin' On to Black Metal"), psychedelia ("You Wanna Freak Out"), jazz-rock ("First Light"), and bittersweet folk-rock ("Wonderful [The Way I Feel]"). So with all that musical diversity already tackled on one CD, what have Jim James and the boys thought up next?!? Well, "Outta My System" is a song that combines the harmonies and instrumentation of a "Pet Sounds" type song with shimmering country influenced guitar riffs. The combination described might sound a bit uneven, but it works out spectacularly, creating a soaring, winsome song as a result! MMJ continue to impress me immensely with "Outta My System", and I look forward to knowing what they'll come up with next!!
"Underwater" by Joshua Radin: Ahh, Joshua Radin! One of those musicians I've always found to have a wistful, yet crisp and solid sound! "Underwater" adds a dimension to Radin's music that I haven't previously seen (although then again I don't know that many songs by him), and that is a side of whimsy! The song basically seems to be about how, in times of trouble, Joshua Radin's preferred way of escaping is "underwater", seemingly the opposite of "Up On the Roof" (although that song is about the same thing, escaping from the pressures of everyday life). The bittersweet vibe and universally relatable subject matter of "Underwater" already draws the listener in, but the appeal of the song builds up midway through when a sweeping string orchestra joins in with the acoustic guitar leading the song along. "Underwater" only makes me want to rise above the water, and into my imagination to see where it takes me when I listen to this song!
"(Won't Be) Coming Home" by Robert Cray: This song might be from 2012, but it still sounds like it's from another time when Robert Cray's slick, polished brand of blues-rock competed with rock 'n' roll giants like Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
"(Won't Be) Coming Home" seems to dabble in the nostalgia of Robert Cray's original sound, with a full band backing him and Clapton-esque guitar riffs throughout the song. Cray did release an album midway through the 2000's, but its sound was more earthy and organic. I was hoping Robert Cray would continue with that sound in
"(Won't Be) Coming Home", but instead, he opts for a sound that is halfway between blues and 1980's classic rock. Nevertheless, though, "(Won't Be) Coming Home" is still worth listening to, even if it is just for its surprisingly throwback-ish sound.
"Would That Not Be Nice?" by Divine Fits: Anyone who mistakes "Would That Not Be Nice?" for being the latest song from Spoon has a good reason to do so. It not only sounds like a Spoon song, but its band, Divine Fits, is also the side project of Spoon's lead singer, Britt Daniels. "Would That Not Be Nice?" is also a song that sounds bright enough and catchy enough to be a summertime anthem! The quirkiness of the typical Spoon song is evident in both the song and the lyrics (particularly the added alliterative appeal of the verse where Britt sings about a "cup of coffee" and a "candleabra from California"). Just when you thought this song couldn't get any quirkier, Britt pulls a "false ending" on us towards the end of "Would That Not Be Nice?", with about a minute extra of just instrumental jammin'. "Would That Not Be Nice?" Yes, it WOULD be "nice"!!