here they are:
"Further Away (Romance Police)" by Lissie: With "Further Away (Romance Police)", Lissie continues to make her mark as the 2010's answer to Alanis Morissette (with less nasal vocals). She rocks with reckless abandon on this song (though not as much as she did on "Shameless" from earlier this year). "Further Away" starts out as being this sort of dark but catchy pop song, and by the time the chorus kicks in, it starts sounding like the lovechild of the songs from Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" and the songs from Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill". The song centers around a love affair gone awry that only starts sounding more desperate as it goes on, with its peak in the middle of the song, when Lissie cynically wonders if "anyone loves anyone anymore".
"Gang of Rhythm" by Walk Off the Earth: Whether they're covering Gotye or harmonizing on their own tunes, Walk Off the Earth seem like a group of people who like to have fun with what they do, and so far, no song in their career illustrates that better than their latest song, "Gang of Rhythm". The song is simply about playing music and having a good time, which WOTE urge their audience to do with lyrics like, "Come on now everybody, come on now everyone!" In the second verse, WOTE claim that they "bring in the harmonies like CSNY" (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young), which makes me wonder how the folk-rock legends feel about being mentioned in a song by a group of newbie folk-rockers. After all, they sound more like The Mamas and The Papas than CSN & Y to me, for both their equal part guy/girl harmonies, and their upbeat, pop-y sound.
"Reflektor" by Arcade Fire: Arcade Fire have tried their hand at prog-rock many times, but as far as I know, this is the first time a radio single by AF has attempted to incorporate a "Floyd-ian" slip, if you will. "Reflektor" clocks in at over 7 and a half minutes, and its sprawling length and meandering melody make it seem more like an album track than a hit, but perhaps its Bowie-esque rhythm and instrumentation were enough to make the members of Arcade Fire want to release it as the first single from their new album. "Reflektor" is also the kind of song that seems like it could be performed in outer space, and AF have had more than their fair share of songs like that so far, but none as much as this song. I feel like "Reflektor" will be the song that either expands Arcade Fire's fanbase, or the song that turns their fanbase away from them (or perhaps both).
"Shine On" by Blitzen Trapper: How is it that Blitzen Trapper have the ability to sound like both a Southern rock group AND a progressive rock group within the same song?! Honestly, I have no idea, but they manage to make both (unlikely) ends meet in their most recent tune, "Shine On". It seems as though Blitzen Trapper want to challenge those who think of them as a "folk-rock" group, although two of their finest songs ("Black River Killer" and "Love the Way You Walk Away") fall under this category. Unless Lynyrd Skynyrd and Pink Floyd are your idea of "folk-rock" (which they're probably not), "Shine On" is definitely a song that deviates significantly from the material Blitzen Trapper have become known for. With its blazing electric guitars, anthemic chorus, and backing vocalists who sound like they might have been the same ones for "Sweet Home Alabama", I can't help but feel like this song belongs on a classic rock station somewhere.
"St. Croix" by Family of the Year: Steven Tyler from Aerosmith's comparison of Family of the Year to "The Mamas and The Papas on acid" seemed somewhat appropriate for Family of the Year's first big song, "Hero", which could be said to be FOTY's "California Dreamin'", since both songs are bittersweet, acoustic guitar based compositions about the yearning for something better to come along. FOTY's second big song, "St. Croix" is no "Monday Monday", though. Far from it! "St. Croix" is actually a very optimistic sounding song, both musically and lyrically. I mean, how much more friendly sounding can you get than "You bring the ocean, I'll bring the motion, together we'll make a love potion"?! Such lyrics make FOTY sound like hippies who stuck around long after the 1960's, which, as far as I'm concerned, they are. This is certainly not a bad thing, though, and it's probably the perfect song to listen to at a beach party! Too bad it came out towards the end of summer instead of the beginning.
"The Perfect Life" by Moby and Wayne Coyne: The bald headed animal rights activist, Moby, and Flaming Lips frontman, Wayne Coyne, are, undoubtedly, two of the most eccentric musicians of '90s alt-rock, so it only seems fitting that they would perform something together (I'm surprised it took them this long to think of doing a musical collaboration, personally!) What's even more bizarre than two musical bizarr-o's doing a song together, though, is the music video they made of the song!! The two musicians walk down the streets of Los Angeles in Mariachi outfits, and encounter some guy who looks like the Burger King, roller skating ghosts, and a choir of goth musicians along the way. "The Perfect Life"?! Sounds perfect to me!! The video can be viewed at http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/moby-leads-wayne-coyne-to-the-perfect-life-premiere-20130903