here they are:
“On the Road” by Houndmouth: Bearing the same title as beat poet Jack Kerouac’s most famous novel seems like it would entail quite a bit, except “On the Road”, the song, has nothing to do with “On the Road” (the novel). The song “On the Road” is about, well, being on the road. That is, it’s about traveling, and the blues-country-rock flavored sound of “On the Road” seems to fit perfectly with the theme of the song. Another possible theme of the song is anonymity (the chorus of the song states, “I’m goin’ down, and nobody’s gonna know me”). The main point of “On the Road”, though, is that it’s basically just a feel good, traveling down the highway kind of song, and there’s nothin’ wrong with that!
“Open” by Rhye: Not since the days of groups like Frou Frou and Zero 7 (which has now been about ten years ago, as hard as that might be to believe!), has there been such a sensual, authentic smooth jazz sound in indie-pop music! Imogen Heap and Sia have nothing, vocally, on Robin Hannibal’s Sade-goes-Danish approach to singing (don’t worry she’s not a scary person, despite how her last name might sound!) Another comparison that can be made between Rhye and groups like Frou Frou and Zero 7 is that all of those groups are duos, consisting of a female lead singer and a male “backup” member, but one thing that separates Rhye from such musical acts is that they are a multi-heritage group (Robin is Danish, and Mike Milosh is Canadian). If you’ve ever wondered what the non-mainstream adolescent crowd considers to be good “make-out music”, look no further than Rhye, and their song, “Open”. You’ll be amazed!!
“Purple, Yellow, Red, and Blue” by Portugal. The Man: Having a name like “Portugal. The Man” is weird enough, and now they have a song that sounds like the name of a children’s book?! Go figure!! Most of the songs that PTM did before “Purple, Yellow, Red, and Blue” had more of a soul inflected nature in their sound, but now, it seems as though one of the most oddly named bands in indie rock want to go for more of a quirky electronic sound that ends up sounding like a cross between The Postal Service and Gnarls Barkley. Not exactly a direction I would have predicted for Portugal. The Man, but then again, this IS a song from a CD that’s being produced by Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton, so that could explain the electronic influence. Also, what’s with the “I just wanna be evil” part of the latter half of the song?! It just sounds so random!! Then again, what’s NOT random about a song whose title consists only of four colors?!
“Sad Angel” by Fleetwood Mac: If groups like The Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows did the songs on “Rumours” instead of Fleetwood Mac, it would probably sound like “Sad Angel”, the first collaborative effort from Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham in almost ten years!! It is essentially a folk-rock song, but a folk-rock song that really rocks, at least rhythmically! Lyrically, “Sad Angel” is also a winner, even its opening lyrics (“My eyes were consumed by the silence in the room/Your dreams would not wake from the words that we break”) indicate this. “Sad Angel” is no “Landslide”, but I imagine it could have enough of an impact to rein in a whole new generation of Fleetwood Mac fans!! This song really pulls at the heartstrings, so I highly recommend it to the more sensitive musicians out there!!
“Saint of Impossible Causes” by Joseph Arthur: Joseph Arthur, who has graced us with such unforgettable, bittersweet indie-folk songs like “In the Sun” and “Honey and the Moon”, sounds as though he took a time machine back to 1967 to India with Ravi Shankar and George Harrison for his latest song, “Saint of Impossible Causes”. Like most of George Harrison’s material, “Saint of Impossible Causes” features both acoustic guitar and sitar as central instruments (though it doesn’t feature any twangy slide guitar solos – sorry if I disappointed any George Harrison fans with that statement!) The song also echoes the spiritual themes that would often be found in the quiet Beatle’s material (although what else would you expect in a song with the word “saint” in the title?!) Joseph repeatedly states that he needs the “saints” of various professions and tasks to satisfy him in his quest for everlasting solitude, but he never explains who exactly these “saints” are. Such is the mystery of life, though, a mystery that is preserved with a cosmic sense of love and kindness in “Saint of Impossible Causes”.
“Things Will Change” by Treetop Flyers: “Chewin’ on a piece of grass, walkin’ down the roa-oh-oad. Say there, how long are you gonna…?” Oh whoops, wrong song!! This song could quite easily be likened to a version of America’s “Ventura Highway” for the indie rock generation, though! Even the vocals of Treetop Flyers’ lead singer sound like that of America’s Gerry Beckley. Although, with a band name like “Treetop Flyers”, the ‘70s soft rock influence should pretty much be expected (“Treetop Flyer” was the name of a song by Stephen Stills). So the next time you’re wondering what the “A Horse With No Name” guys are doing at events like Coachella, just know, you’re probably just hearing Treetop Flyers without even knowing it!