here they are:
“All Things All At Once” by Tired Pony: When Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody first formed the indie rock supergroup, Tired Pony, with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, their plaintive song, “Dead American Writers”, was an adult alt smash hit! From that point on, though, I thought it would be their only hit, as there was no other song from the album that became quite as popular (and plus, I thought Tired Pony was one of those “too good to last” groups). Turns out I was wrong. Tired Pony now has a second hit on their hands, “All Things All At Once”. It is a bittersweet song, much like “Dead American Writers” was, though the subject matter is more direct this time around. Instead of centering around deceased poets and authors, “All Things All At Once” is a song about the ever popular subject of unrequited love, a subject that Tired Pony melts into lyrical tears and makes their own!
“Fire And Brimstone” by Trombone Shorty: The title of the song may be a reference to hell, but Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews’ blues/jazz/rock song, “Fire And Brimstone”, is pure musical heaven for those who like their music to sound soulful but gritty! Andrews claims in the chorus of the song that “everything that comes out of (his) trombone” is “fire and brimstone”. Perhaps that’s just a clever excuse to come up with a memorable rhyme, but another meaning to take out of that line is how “hot” the music of Trombone Shorty is. The musical equivalent of a jalapeño pepper! Just one taste of the sound of “Fire And Brimstone” is as steamy and passionate as it is catchy!
“Hopeless Wanderer” by Mumford and Sons: Many Mumford and Sons songs have become instant hits in the 2010’s, but “Hopeless Wanderer” marks the first time (to my knowledge) that a music video by the band has become so popular! So what is it about the video to “Hopeless Wanderer” that has so many people hooked on it?! Three words – “Saturday Night Live”!! Well, kinda. SNL alumni Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte appear to be posing as half of the band members in the “Hopeless Wanderer” video. Fellow comedian Jason Bateman makes his appearance as another member of the band, and the remaining member is played by Ed Helms. There are some things to be said about the song itself, too. “Hopeless Wanderer” encapsulates just about everything that made me fall in love with the band’s sound when they debuted. Its rhythm is especially captivating, going from a waltz rhythm in the verses to a rock beat in the chorus. The harmonies of the song shine through, as though M & S were a modern-day Crosby, Stills, and Nash, with a banjo replacing the electric guitar (though Mumford and Sons come awfully close to having an electric guitar sound just before the chorus of the song). The video for the song can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rId6PKlDXeU
“Stay Young” by Okkervil River: If this is indeed a song from contemporary folk-rock group, Okkervil River, then why do I keep hearing Simple Minds instead?! Have the Texas indie group suddenly decided to do a “Breakfast Club” tribute?! Nope, they have simply decided to change direction in their sound, after all, it must get rather tiring sticking to one sound after a while. “Stay Young” contains a lot of dueling instruments. Electric guitar and synth battle for lead instrument, while sax and harmonica both vie for the position of top backing instrument. The harmonica sports yet another ‘80s rock influence, this time from U2, as it recalls the sound of “Joshua Tree” songs, such as “Trip Through Your Wires” and “Running to Stand Still”. Not the Okkervil River that any of their fans are used to, but still worth listening to nonetheless.
“The Idiot Kings” by Mike Doughty: If this songs sounds more like the eclectic, Beck-ish alt-pop from Mike Doughty’s days with Soul Coughing than it does like something from his more folk-rock focused solo career, that’s because “The Idiot Kings” is actually a Soul Coughing song that Mike has just released as a solo effort. There’s definitely more of a ‘90s dance-rock feel to “The Idiot Kings” than most of what Mike did away from Soul Coughing. The title alone to this song recalls Mike’s dry, clever sense of humor. Apparently he always wanted the song to become a hit in the same way “Circles” and “Super Bon Bon” did during the mid ‘90s, though it took nearly 15 years for “The Idiot Kings” to become noticed the way he wanted it to, and he credits part of its slow but steady trail to success to hip-hop producer, Good Goose. There’s absolutely nothing idiotic about “The Idiot Kings”, but the song does have its “king-like” qualities, in that this song RULES!!
“Wake Me Up” by Avicii: Uh-VEECH-eye?! Not quite sure how to pronounce this guy’s name, but he sure is getting his name out there with “Wake Me Up”, a song that almost seemed like it was destined to be a pop radio hit! “Wake Me Up” starts with a Mumford-esque acoustic guitar hook, but as soon as the beats are dropped about 40 seconds into the song, it just seems like your average pop song. “Mumford and Sons goes clubbin’” doesn’t seem like a very likely scenario, but Avicii has made this possible. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, personally.