Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New songs for October 23rd, 2013

here they are:

"Best Day of My Life" by American Authors: Basically, this song could be likened to an Imagine Dragons song with a banjo in it. The anthemic feel of the song, and even the vocals of it, sound quite similar to Imagine Dragons. There is one thing that differentiates Imagine Dragons and American Authors from each other, though. The themes of Imagine Dragons' music is mostly dark, but it seems like American Authors prefer to focus on happier topics. "Best Day of My Life"'s theme should be pretty obvious from the title of the song, but their other (minor) hit song, "Believer", is also positive, with its lyrics centering around hope. Perhaps American Authors aren't the true "authors" of their music after all, as they seem to take after other bands a bit too much. This song is definitely a good one, though.

"On Top of the World" by Imagine Dragons: What a coincidence! A comparison to Imagine Dragons in the previous entry, and now an actual song of theirs! "On Top of the World" pretty much describes what Imagine Dragons are at this point in their career! It's also an appropriate title for what could just be the happiest Imagine Dragons song I've heard so far! It almost sounds like Jack Johnson collaborating on a song with fun., although it's better than both of them if you ask me! Who knew these guys had some pep in their step?! I sure didn't, but they pull it off pretty well!

"Pumpin' Blood" by Nonono: Nonono?! As in, "the opposite of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs"?! Wouldn't it be funny if those two bands toured together!! Their debut song, "Pumpin' Blood", seems like one of those songs that will end up defining the 2010's. It is done by a band whose main members consist of one female and one male, and its sound is halfway between electronica and rock, while managing to sound somewhat more pleasant than most songs of either genre. Nothing remarkable here, but it's still got that sound of become accustomed to hearing in the 2010's, so I thought I'd give it a go and review it. Not much else to say about this song, though.

"The Walker" by Fitz and The Tantrums: "Napoleon Dynamite" meets "Batman: The Dark Knight"?! This is NOT the direction I thought alt-pop's answer to Motown would go in, but their music video for "The Walker" ( certainly seems that way! It centers around a man who seems to be suffering from a dramatized version of some sort of psychosis at first, but during the chorus, he does a strange but memorable dance that reminds me of the one from "Napoleon Dynamite"! Go figure!! As for the song, it's pretty catchy, like most of FATT's material tends to be. Don't think it is? Well then just try to get that whistling they do in the song out of your head!

"What Doesn't Kill You" by Jake Bugg: You know how The Goo Goo Dolls originally did more punk-ish material (like "Long Way Down") before they had more acoustic guitar centered songs?! Well U.K. folk-rocker Jake Bugg is doing the exact opposite on his latest song, "What Doesn't Kill You"! The man behind the Dylan-esque adult alt mega-hit "Lightning Bolt" has now decided to go for a blazing, almost Ramones-esque rocker in "What Doesn't Kill You". Like most of The Ramones' material, "What Doesn't Kill You" has only three or so chords, is 3 minutes long, is defiant as it is catchy, and doesn't contain any complicated guitar solos. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, Jakey Ramone!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New songs for October 16th, 2013

here they are:

"Green Eyes And A Heart of Gold" by The Lone Bellow: Folk-rock trio The Lone Bellow continue to impress me which each new song they release! Between this song and "Bleeding Out", they seem to have a knack for making depressing subject matter sound both happy and sincere. This song might be about trying to endure bad situations, though, ("All the money's gone and the house is cold, but it's alright"). The melody of the song is sweet and thoughtful, but also quite catchy (a lot of their material so far seems to be this way). It's a wonder they haven't reached mainstream success yet! All I can think of is that perhaps they were a year too late on the neo-folk-rock bandwagon.

"Head On" by Man Man: It's a person! It's a human! No, it's MAN Man!! This repetitively named band, whose song "Head On" is not to be confused for the Jesus and Mary Chain (and later, Pixies) song of the same name, are quite an eclectic band, even among other bands of a genre already known for being eclectic! Their sound suggests something of a cross between the clever techno-pop of Moby and the orchestral indie sound of Andrew Bird. Perhaps the best part of this song is its uplifting message, "Hold on to your heart", and the melodic way in which it is sung!

"Home Again" by Elton John: Sir Elton's collaboration with fellow 1970's musician, Leon Russell, proved that Elton still had something to say in the 21st century! "Home Again" proves he can do just as good standing on his own after all these years as he does with other musicians! This one really tugs at the ol' heartstrings like a lot of his best known songs tend to do. This one follows in the footsteps of "Candle In the Wind", "Rocket Man", "Tiny Dancer", etc., with its bittersweet tone, soul searching lyrics, and its rich instrumental arrangements. Elton truly has gone back "home again" with this one, hasn't he?!

"Nothing More" by The Alternate Routes: Wow, is this song ever a tearjerker!! Although, it is a tearjerker that elicits tears of joy, and not sadness. Both the song and the video (which can be seen here,, are about lead singer Tim Warren's sister, Katie, when she was a little girl. The video is very cute, and it is basically a collection of home videos featuring Katie just running around and having fun. The song expresses the theme of how close Tim and Katie are as brother and sister. I have just one word to say after viewing the video for this song and listening to it. "Awwwww"!!

"Queenie Eye" by Paul McCartney: Sir Paul's latest song, "Queenie Eye", recalls his best work from The Beatles and then some! It has a rollicking, piano based sound, similar to songs like "Lady Madonna", and the second half of "You Never Give Me Your Money". I don't really know what "Queenie Eye" is supposed to be in the context of the song, but it sure is catchy! I suppose that the title of the song is essentially just filler words, as the imagery of the song seems to be a "word salad" of sorts (like "I Am the Walrus"), though the song itself could be taken as an allegory for how fickle fame can be.

"The Wire" by Haim: An indie-pop trio of teenage sisters from my hometown (L.A.) doesn't exactly sound like the sort of band who would cover a song for a Fleetwood Mac tribute album, but I first got to know them with a cover of the Fleetwood Mac song, "Hold Me". Haim (pronounced like "hime") were a bit more of an electro-pop sort of group back when they covered "Hold Me", but I guess doing one of Fleetwood Mac's songs inspired them to SOUND more like Fleetwood Mac (albeit with an indie pop sheen to it). "The Wire" is a sunny slice of California pop music that would probably put a smile on Christine McVie's face if she ever heard it! Not bad for a "breakthrough" song!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New songs for October 9th, 2013

here they are:

"Chocolate" by The 1975: The 1975, eh?! Sure doesn't SOUND like it's from 1975!! The origin of this enigmatically named band actually comes from a book of beat poetry that was dated, "June 1st, The 1975". No sign of Ginsberg or Kerouac in this song, though. However, a parallel can be drawn to "musical beat poets" like Lou Reed, since "Chocolate" is about heroin, albeit in more of a tragic manner than an eerie, sprawling one. The title of the song is actually a reference to heroin, and how the sister of The 1975's lead singer used to be an addict.

"Stranger" by Devil Makes Three: The word "devil" may be a part of their name, but don't make the assumption that Devil Makes Three are a metal or punk band just because of this. Devil Makes Three are a rather eclectic group whose musical style cannot be easily identified! Their breakthrough song, "Stranger", appears to be a blend of folk, jazz, and blues that sounds like it came out at least half a century ago! The lyrics of the song contain spooky imagery, but more of a fun kind of "spooky" than a truly depressing or disturbing one (i.e., "Better pray to the moon in the middle of the night"), and the song itself has the vibe of someone sneaking up on you when you least expect it (but once again, in a playful manner). Just in time for Halloween!!

"Temple" by Kings of Leon: As hard rock group Nazareth famously claimed in the mid-1970's, "love hurts"! Kings of Leon's latest song, "Temple", makes that claim in a rather literal manner!! As Caleb Followill sings about how he'll "take one for the temple" in the chorus, he's referring to taking a shot to the head in order to prove his love for a girl. Ouch! The fun, breezy vibe of the song disguises all the painful imagery, though, and makes it sound more like a summertime romance sort of song.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Music from down under!!

Hi everyone. Two thirds of the musicians reviewed in this blog (Vance Joy and Lorde) happen to be from Australia and New Zealand, respectively, both countries in Oceania (or, the continent of Australia). That being said, here are this week's songs!

"Rewrite Our Lives" by Ha Ha Tonka: By far the most "indie-centric" (and most American - only American, actually) band on this week's list, Ha Ha Tonka's brand of indie-folk hearkens back to what the subgenre sounded like before Mumford, et al, took over at the start of the 2010's. The recording equipment sounds perfectly lo-fi, and the mix of somewhat messily played (but still decent sounding) acoustic guitars and '60s style organs make Ha Ha Tonka sound "retro" in more than one way in what is now almost the middle of the the second decade of the new millennium. The funny thing is, supposedly Ha Ha Tonka had an even MORE "true indie" sound (think Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel, Elliott Smith, etc.) before "Rewrite Our Lives" was released. Also, for those wondering about how they got their seemingly random name, it wasn't from someone laughing at a children's brand of toy trucks, it was actually from a state park in Missouri!

"Riptide" by Vance Joy: It's no surprise that Vance Joy hails from a land surrounded mostly by water, given how Hawaiian his song "Riptide" sounds, with its breezy vibe and ukulele dominated sound. Even his last name makes him sound optimistic! The lyrics to the song are positively dark, though! Many even suspect that the song could be about someone committing an unforgivable sexually deviant act to his girlfriend, and with lyrics like "Lady, running down through the riptide, taken away to the dark side, I wanna be your left hand man", they could be right! The video contains some freaky imagery as well, so I won't post it in case someone of a more sensitive nature happens to stumble upon the site. You've been warned, though! Always seems to be something scary in October, doesn't there?!

"Team" by Lorde: Lorde, the 16-year-old, New Zealand bred, musical cross (sound-wise) between Lana Del Rey and Bjork, had a huge hit over the summer with "Royals". "Royals" was pretty darn catchy, so it's no wonder she became a success on the heels of that song! Her second single, "Team", seems slightly more melancholy, but it's got plenty of irresistible rhythmic goodness to back it up, so it should do pretty well. As I'm getting to know Lorde's music more, I've also gotten to know her fascination for historical royalty. "Royals" (as well as the "court" part in the title of her song "Tennis Court") seems to hint at this, and even her stage name sounds like a title bestowed upon a royal master if you take out its artificial silent "e". "Team" could be interpreted as a team of guards, kings, queens, princesses, princes, etc. And no, I'm not just drawing conclusions based on coincidence regarding Lorde's interest in monarchy, the little trivia section on the side of the Music Choice channels told me so!