here they are:
"Home" by Johnnyswim: Johnnyswim seem to belong into a subclass of modern day folk-rock musicians who happen to be duos consisting of one guy and one girl. It started early in the 2010's with The Civil Wars, and since then, groups like Shovels and Rope and The Wind and The Wave have joined their ranks, and now Johnnyswim are part of that scene too. As the "Johnny" of their name implies, the male in the group takes the lead vocals, but the female provides some nice harmonies to go with his voices. Their first song, "Home" (which seems to be a common title for neo-folk-rock tunes - Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros and Phillip Phillips both have songs with the title), is an upbeat, sweet-natured song, with a beat and chord sequence reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecilia" and Bob Dylan's harmonica. "Home" is where the heart is in this tune!
"Rude" by Magic!: Every decade seems to have their share of successful "regatta de blanc" (white reggae) musicians. In the '80s it was The Police, in the '90s, Sublime, and in the '00s, Matisyahu. In the 2010's, it doesn't seem like we have one quite yet, but Magic! could end up being the band that defines white reggae for the decade! A major difference between Magic! and the aforementioned groups is that the lead singer of Magic! doesn't feel the need to don a pseudo-Jamaican accent in order to get his point across. It is interesting to note that the title of this song begins with an "R", a letter that seems to be difficult to enunciate with a Jamaican dialect (perhaps that is part of the reason that such an accent isn't used in this song, though this didn't stop Bob Marley from performing a song with a triple "R" title - "Roots, Rock, Reggae"). The guitar solo in "Rude" has a rather exotic, "aquatic" flavor to it, soaked in the best kind of fuzzy, reverb laden sound.
"Seasons (Waiting On You)" by Future Islands: The word "future" might be in the name of this band, but their sound dates back to around 30 years ago, when synthesizers were the hip, new instrument that everyone was talking about and using. With its romantic sentiments and repetitive lyrics, "Seasons..." seems like it could very well have passed for being a 1980's pop radio hit. There are only two main chords used in this song (except during the bridge), also, which adds to the simplicity of it. When an indie band does something simplistic, you never can tell whether they are being sincere about it, or if they are just doing so as a joke. Not a bad song, but somehow, I feel like the future of Future Islands holds better songs in store for us.
"Take It Or Leave It" by Cage the Elephant: Is it just me, or are Cage the Elephant getting more melodic with each album they release?! Their debut suggested them to be a sub-par "frat boy" version of The White Stripes, yet the album that followed had the neo-psychedelic song, "Shake Me Down" on it, hinting towards a mellower sound. CTE's third and latest album had "Come A Little Closer", which became their most popular song on the adult alt charts, even making the Top 10 of those charts (which had not happened with CTE previously on the adult alt charts). Their next single off of "Melophobia", "Take It Or Leave It", is another breezy, melodic tune that flirts with neo-psychedelia, albeit with a somewhat disco influenced rhythm. The sound of "Take It Or Leave It" recalls the quirkier side of indie-pop, like Dr. Dog and Devendra Banhart (both of whom I had the pleasure of seeing at First City Festival in Monterey last summer). It's funny that their latest album is called "Melophobia", as this seems to be their mellowest one yet!