here they are:
"Give A Little" by Everest: The second song to get attention from indie-pop band Everest, "Give A Little" doesn't have the funky, catchy factor of their previous single, "Let Go", but the unique chord progression of "Give A Little" makes it a memorable song for me to listen to. Some guitar solos are added into the second verse to give "Give A Little" even more of a distinct flavor than it already has. Nothing particularly special about this song lyrically, but the fact that Everest can deliver a song with with more than four chords in only two verses with a sticks-in-your-head hook prove that they can "give" more than just "a little" when they want to carve out a solid song!
"I Will Wait" by Mumford and Sons: More like "I CAN'T Wait"!!! And, really, I can't!! M & S were talking about making a new CD ever since November of last year, and I thought it would come pretty soon after that. The folk-rock quartet teased us with a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer" earlier this year, but that was not on any of their CD's (it was actually a track they lent their vocals to by bluegrass musician Jerry Douglas). So I had to wait 10 long months for Mumford and Sons to release a follow up to their debut CD, "Sigh No More". At long last the wait is over!! The question is, was it worth all that waiting?! Yes, it was!! The band's signature style of delicate harmonies and intense but refreshing banjo playing is 100 % present on "I Will Wait"! Marcus, Ben, Ted, and Winston don't stray a bit from what made people like them initially on this song. They even add muted trumpets in for good measure towards the end of the track like they did on "The Cave" and "Winter Winds". I'm almost too sure this will end up as one of my Top 20 Songs of 2012 come December!! We'll see, though.
"Old Friend" by Sea Wolf: Sea Wolf were a band I almost got to see back when they weren't even a well-known band among "indie" audiences, so I feel a special connection to their music whenever I hear it! At their core, Sea Wolf are a folk-rock group, but they have tied in quite a bit of "outside" influences in their songs, like the Elliott Smith/Jeff Buckley type sound they had for "You're A Wolf", as well as the much brighter, more orchestral, Arcade Fire type sound they had for "Wicked Blood". For SW's third major song, "Old Friend", they dress up their folk-rock guitar sound with shimmering electric guitars in the background, and a "soft electronic" sound in the drums, a la Imogen Heap or Beach House. "Old Friend" almost feels like a "You're A Wolf" rewrite in some ways, with its stark instrumentation, bittersweet vocals, and even its E minor key, but in other ways, it stands out. For instance, there is no violin or cello sound on "Old Friend" (though that sound was present on both "You're A Wolf" and "Wicked Blood"). Instead, Sea Wolf opt for an echoic but relaxing electric guitar distortion for "Old Friend". Overall, though, "Old Friend" is an impressive song, like most of Sea Wolf's material tends to be.
"Splitter" by Calexico: Calexico could be described as a band that (kind of) sound like their name. "Calexico" is a portmanteau of "California" and "Mexico", and a lot of Calexico's songs tend to sound like a cross between Americana (roots-y country-rock type material), and mariachi band music. Their latest song, "Splitter", is no exception. It has a more upbeat, somewhat surf music type vibe than most of their songs do, but still, the acoustic guitars and muted trumpets that tend to define Calexico's songs are present on "Splitter". It's one of those songs that would fit equally well with traveling down a freeway or traveling to the beach!
"That's What's Up" by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros: In "That's What's Up", Alex, Jade, and the rest of The Magnetic Zeros do what they do best, combine the easygoing, sing-song vibes of children's music with those similar vibes of psychedelic pop music. Even the opening lyrics of "You be the church, I'll be the steeple, You be the king, I'll be the people", sound vaguely like the sort of lyrics that a children's performer like Raffi might come up with. The faux-cutesy lyrical pattern of "That's What's Up" continues throughout the song ("You be the words I'll be the rhyming"). Ed and The Zeros seem like they already made "Home" their signature song upon their debut, but if "That's What's Up" becomes more popular than it is, it could be the next "1234" (the song by Feist that goes "1, 2, 3, 4, tell me that you love me more...")!! Nothing wrong with that, after all, Paul McCartney also toyed with the idea of children's music in "All Together Now" ("1, 2, 3, 4, can I have a little more? 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, I love you", etc.)