Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New songs for the day after Earth Day

here they are:

"Cardiac Arrest" by Bad Suns: As the title of this song implies, your heart will be stopped after listening to this one, in a good way, of course! Pretty much all the essential ingredients of a catchy indie-pop song go into this song. There's the faux-British, melodic vocals, complete with sweet, memorable harmonies, the switching between minor and major chords throughout (while using only a few chords altogether through the whole song), the stick-in-your-head catchiness, and of course, the strange but kinda cute metaphors for love (comparing love to cardiac arrest, because the kissing the lead singer experiences is "high voltage"). There's nothing bad about Bad Suns, but there's definitely something sunny about them!

"I Wanna Get Better" by Bleachers: Jack Antonoff has enjoyed both marginal success as part of the alt-country group, Steel Train, and massive success as part of the catchy alt-pop trio, fun. His side project, Bleachers, definitely leans more towards the sound he had in fun., but "I Wanna Get Better" lives up to its title, and manages to be more fun! The deceptive darkness that lurked beneath the bright, sunny pop of "We Are Young" and "Some Nights" is nowhere to be found in "I Wanna Get Better". The rousing, uplifting chorus of this song is sure to get people singing and dancing along in no time!

"Let's Get Drunk And Get It On" by Old '97s: The term "rock and roll" might not be the first term that comes to mind when describing alt-country icons, Old '97s, but their roots are definitely in rock, and the title of their latest song, "Let's Get Drunk And Get It On", pretty much encapsulates the not-so-holy trinity of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll in just seven words! Rowdier than Johnny Cash, mellower than Social Distortion, but somehow slightly similar to both due to its sloppy country-rock sound, "Let's Get Drunk And Get It On" is just the tip of the iceberg of the many songs (with titles like "Wasted" and "Intervention") dealing with risky lifestyle choices that the '97s have on their latest album, fittingly titled "Most Messed Up".

"The Soundmaker" by Rodrigo y Gabriela: Instrumental flamenco music might not be what I normally review, but Rodrigo y Gabriela are great at doing Mexican folk styled songs with no words! Aside from The Gipsy Kings, they're probably the only flamenco band I even LISTEN to. Part of the reason for Rodrigo y Gabriela's unusually widespread appeal is their ability to mix flamenco with rock music (their song "Buster Voodoo" borrowed riffs from Jimi Hendrix, one of their favorite bands is Metallica, and they have even covered Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" in its entirety, albeit without words). "The Soundmaker" is basically what you'd expect from Rodrigo y Gabriela - flamenco riffs and rock 'n' roll beats, but they have added in elements to the song to distinguish it from their other material. For one, it is the first hit they've had that is in E minor (most of them are in A minor, with "Buster Voodoo" as a notable exception in B minor). For another, they have a "walking" riff towards the end of the song that uses the E minor scale as its "root sound".

"With Your Two Hands" by The Wind and The Wave: "The Head and The Heart" and "Belle and Sebastian" are merely clever names in indie-folk music. They aren't actually duos, but full bands. This is where The Wind and The Wave differs. They are, in fact, two people, and "The Wind" and "The Wave" are actually affectionate nicknames for Patricia Lynn and Dwight Baker, respectively, the latter of whom is also a member of Plain White T's (best known for the bittersweet folk-rock ballad, "Hey There Delilah"). Their song, "With Your Two Hands", sounds a bit like fellow contemporary folk-rock duo, The Civil Wars, only a bit more sped up, and not so forlorn and world-weary. Could end up being this year's "Ho Hey" with its combination of pop hooks and bluegrass sound!