here they are:
"Better Weather" by Good Old War: The bouncy folk-rock trio of Goodwin, Arnold, and Schwartz are back for a third time around this year with a song whose title echoes the sentiments that Sacramento residents such as myself wish were going on right now (I REALLY wish we had "better weather" up there right now!!) "Better Weather" almost seems to recall earlier GOW songs like "Coney Island" (only with more of a "studio" sound behind it) with its shiny but still roots-y folk-pop sound. The "weather" in this song could be a metaphor for just better times in general, though some of the lyrics (e.g. "Maybe tomorrow the storm will blow over") tend to indicate otherwise. What works in "Better Weather" is what works in pretty much every GOW song, and that is how it has an upbeat vibe to it that never fails to make me smile!
"Do the Trick" by Dr. Dog: Of all the indie-pop groups that have cropped up within the past couple years, I'm honestly quite surprised that Dr. Dog hasn't achieved major success beyond the indie and adult alt crowds! Every song they have ever done is catchy (and often clever). They don't fit the indie "stereotype" of being ultra-mellow and/or morose, and they are instead known for their circus-like post-psychedelic organ sound and upbeat, quirky tunes! "Do the Trick" is no exception. Clever lyrics (like "My tock is a nervous tick", brilliantly punny line!!) pop up in "Do the Trick". This aspect, combined with the rapid fire rhyme schemes and the song in general make Dr. Dog seem almost more like Dr. Seuss in "Do the Trick". "Will you do the trick?", asks the lead singer of the band repeatedly. Yes, he does "do the trick" for me, and quite well at that!!
"Into the Remembering Sun" by The Brew: Not sure if "The Brew" was the best choice for the name of a band that sounds like a cross between Bruce Springsteen and what an "American-ized" version of Snow Patrol might be like, since those are only two bands and not a "brew" of different ones. Nevertheless, their debut song, "Into the Remembering Sun" is a good one. Perhaps the most entertaining feature about this song, aside from its dynamic sound, is how the lyrics personify natural non-living elements. The sun, of course, can't actually "remember" anything, but that is part of the poetry of "Into the Remembering Sun", whose opening verse also has the moon "give no shoulder", the wind "feel old", and the stars "find a cloud to hide behind". Almost sounds like a love song set to Native American folklore!
"Unfinished" by Ben Sollee: And yet another Springsteen-goes-indie homage for this week's blog comes from Ben Sollee, who could be described as the "lovechild" of The Boss and indie-pop violin virtuoso Andrew Bird. It's interesting to note also that "Ben" seems to be the most common name for male solo indie/alt performers, led by Ben Folds, and followed by people like Ben Harper, Ben Lee, Ben Gibbard (from Death Cab) and Ben Kweller (even band names such as "Ben's Brother" are evidence of this!) Our latest "Ben" combines Springsteen-ian guitars with a weeping, sweeping cello sound, as well as raw, passionate vocals. Given that the song's subject matter revolves around feeling incomplete, I would say that Ben has a good reason to sound as passionate as he does on "Unfinished"!
"Walk Like A Giant" by Neil Young: No more Mr. "Heart of Gold"!! Almost every Neil Young song that has come out in the 21st century (with the notable exception of "The Painter") has been a crunchy hard-rock number, and "Walk Like A Giant" is no exception! It also has a sound that doesn't sound too different from what Neil was doing in 1969 with songs like "Cowgirl In the Sand", "Down By the River", and "Cinnamon Girl", made more distinct by its whistling in between the verses. What's especially interesting here is that "Walk Like A Giant" is not only Neil's second big song of 2012, but it's also from his second big ALBUM of 2012!! Yep, he released two albums in one year! Neil is definitely walking like a giant here - a rock 'n' roll giant, that is!!