here they are:
"Come With Me Now" by Kongos: Considering the amount of influence this song seems to have from Paul Simon's South African sounding "Graceland" record, the name "Kongos" seems quite apt for this band! The accordions in the intro seem to come straight from "The Boy In the Bubble", and it has a similar rhythm to the song as well. The "Graceland" influence is not the only thing "Come With Me Now" has going for it, though. It also has a Kings of Leon/Killers style guitar solo in the middle of it. World music and alt-rock haven't fused together so smoothly since U2's "The Joshua Tree"! As if that wasn't enough, a friend of mine online also informed me that "Come With Me Now" is the "theme song" for Chicago ice hockey team, The Blackhawks, so perhaps THAT has something to do with its current success!
"Me And You" by Jake Bugg: This song also seems Paul Simon influenced, but more for the songs he did in the '70s than what he did in the '80s. It is, perhaps, the most heartfelt song so far from U.K. folk-rock sensation, Jake Bugg, whose songs are normally underscored with sarcasm and/or street smarts of some sort (both of these factors came to an extreme in his punk-y "What Doesn't Kill You"). "Me And You" has neither, and is more of a sincere love song, though it also seems to be about escaping societal pressures. It lacks the defiance of Jake Bugg's other material, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. After all, every tough guy has a soft side! Perhaps the only blow to this song is how it is the first Jake Bugg song that has been featured in "American Idol". How that happened, I have no idea!! Maybe this means that "Idol" has been getting more folk-rock friendly, though, as the show has with musicians like Phillip Phillips.
"Shelter Song" by Temples: "Eight...miles...high!!" Oh wait, wrong song!! This does sound an awful lot like The Byrds, though! "Shelter Song" has been out since January of this year, but it seems to have been only recently that the song has received a significant boost in airplay on adult alt stations. Boy, was I missing out!! Anything that sounds like The Byrds (R.E.M., anyone?! Gin Blossoms?!) I seem to take an immediate liking to, and "Shelter Song" is no exception! Both the sound and lyrics of this song ("take me away to the twilight zone", "I read a poem aloud", etc.) are pure '60s. Groovy, man, groovy!!
"Supernova" by Ray LaMontagne: Until now, I had thought of Ray LaMontagne as being a "poor man's Van Morrison". Though I admire Van the Man very much, Ray always seemed like he was trying a bit too hard to emulate Van's sound. Thankfully, Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys came to the rescue for Ray's latest album, and, as a result, produced catchy songs like "Supernova" that float between folk-rock and psychedelia! There is noticeably more mingling of electric and acoustic guitars in "Supernova", which give it a sound that seems vaguely like something from Crosby Stills & Nash, or perhaps Fleetwood Mac. "Supernova" has something that no other Ray LaMontagne songs have had for me so far. It has the power to get stuck in my head!!
"The Struggle" by Grizfolk: The last song for this week's blog has much in common with the first song of this week's blog! Both songs are "fusion" songs of sorts (this one combines Elvis Costello-esque organs, folk-rock guitars, and a Killers-ish dance floor ready alt-pop sound), and both songs have gotten a sudden boost in popularity due to being featured in non-radio media ("The Struggle" has been featured on the supernatural drama series, "The Originals"). The title of this song tells all as far as the lyrics are concerned, and it all comes to a head in the end of the song, which explains that "The struggle you are up against makes you what you are". The theme of the song may revolve around hardships, but it is no struggle at all to listen to a tune that's as catchy as this one!