Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New songs for October 29th, 2014

here they are:

"I Wish You Would" by JD McPherson: JD McPherson's self-consciously "retro" blend of Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley made a huge splash in 2012 with "North Side Gal" and "Fire Bug" (and again in Christmas of that year with "Twinkle Little Christmas Lights"). "I Wish You Would" is more of the same, which is definitely not a bad thing, as I have grown quite accustomed to JD's sound, but it has two differences from his previous work that are both worth noting. First of all, "I Wish You Would" is actually a cover of an ACTUAL "oldie but goodie" from blues musician Billy Boy Arnold. It is also only 1 and a half minutes long. "I Wish It Would" be longer!!

"September Fields" by Frazey Ford: Equal parts country, folk, rock, and soul, but entirely soothing both vocally and instrumentally, Frazey Ford's debut solo song, "September Fields", sounds like a missing link between Dolly Parton and Bonnie Raitt. Frazey used to be a member of indie-folk group, The Be Good Tanyas, who are perhaps best known for their bittersweet holiday song, "Rudy" (about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer). Her humble, down-to-earth qualities, from what I hear, come across both in her music and her personality. I think somebody needs to introduce me to her!!

"Something From Nothing" by Foo Fighters: And you thought The Foos' "The Pretender" was their attempt to emulate "Stairway to Heaven"?! I would say that "Something From Nothing" falls under that category as well!! It has an acoustic intro, slowly builds into more of a rocker, and then goes to full-blown hard rock by the end. Sound familiar?! Those chunky riffs in the middle of the song also seem to be heavily influenced by Zeppelin. I would say that this song is more like "nothing from something". Dave, Jimmy Page called. He wants his guitar back!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New songs for October 22nd, 2014

here they are:

"Unpack Your Heart" by Phillip Phillips: We've all heard of the term "arena rock", but so far, only Phillip Phillips has pulled off "arena folk" - lilting, acoustic guitar playing, accompanied by lively drums and string sections. Phillips tends to have songs that are either deep in thought or uplifting, and "Unpack Your Heart" definitely falls into the latter category in terms of how it sounds. Phillips' repeated urging his listeners to "bring their secrets" and "unpack their hearts" sounds rather deep in thought without the musical accompaniment, but with all the vivacious instrumentation in the background, perhaps the best way to describe "Unpack Your Heart" is "sincere".

"You + Me" by You and Me: Wow. I don't think anyone has seen a musical redundancy of music like this since Bad Company's song, "Bad Company" (which was also from the ALBUM "Bad Company"). You and Me (the band, that is, not the song) is a duo consisting of pop sensation, P!nk (whose name I can't pronounce anymore since she just had to put that stupid exclamation point in the middle of it!), and Dallas Green from indie-pop one man band, City and Colour. The somber folk-rock sound of the song is typical of Dallas, but not of Pink (oh, ex-CUSE me, I meant "P!nk"). Then again, P!nk has tried hard to drift away from the pure pop sound she became known for for awhile now, having lent her voice to songs by Butch Walker ("Here Comes the Heartache") and even The Indigo Girls ("Dear Mr. President"). "You and Me" is by far her most poignant song. It's nothing new for Dallas Green, as I mentioned before, but lately Dallas has drifted away from folk and more towards rock, so it's nice to hear him come back to his roots on this song.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New songs for October 15th, 2014

here they are:

"Dancehall Domine" by The New Pornographers: Who knew that The New Pornographers would be responsible for one of the biggest adult alt radio hits of the summer ("Brill Bruisers")?! Usually, a band as quirky as they are is lucky to get ONE song off their latest album to make waves on the radio, but The New Pornographers actually pulled it off this summer, so much so, that they've decided to release a SECOND single to adult alt radio stations for the fall! That song is "Dancehall Domine". Like most of their material, "Dancehall Domine" is a song that is as enjoyably weird as it is catchy. As you might expect from the title, the song is basically the NP's ode to dancing and having a good time. The song also contains such oddly juxtaposed couplets such as, "Just like every idea/Wants to be like no other". The New Pornographers are like Barenaked Ladies. They both have risque names, but they also both have a fun, upbeat sound!

"Dearly Departed" by Shakey Graves: Just the name of the band "Shakey Graves" probably fills your mind with Halloween-y imagery apt for the month of October. Combine that with lyrics like, "You and I both know that the house is haunted, and you and I both know that the ghost is me", and you've got the perfect ingredients for a song that'll scare the pants off of you! Or so you would think. "Dearly Departed" is actually an upbeat country-rock stomper, whose sounds don't even come close to being "spooky". It is a song more fit for playing out on the barn porch on a hot afternoon than it is for feeling frightened on a dark, cold night.

"Louder Than Words" by Pink Floyd: PINK FLOYD?!? (pretends to spit milk through nose) WHAA-AATTT?!?! There are two reasons I never thought I'd be reviewing a Floyd song. First of all, it's been about 20 years since they last released an album, so I assumed that they had broken up for good, what with David Gilmour and Roger Waters having both released solo records in the '00s. And second of all, most of their material isn't exactly the folk-rock-y, roots-y, melodic stuff I usually review if I'm blogging about a new song from a classic rock band. But lo and behold, Pink Floyd's "Louder Than Words" was all over adult alt radio in less than a week!! One thing people tend to forget (or at least overlook) about Pink Floyd's material is that they had more "soft" songs than just "Wish You Were Here". "Goodbye Blue Sky", most of "Mother", and "Fearless" are also great acoustic Floyd songs. That being said, "Louder Than Words" isn't entirely acoustic, but it does lean towards the more sensitive side of the band's catalog. The song centers around how "this thing that we do" (presumably either playing music or existing as a band) is "louder than words", which I'm guessing refers to the phenomenon of relaying musical messages from one person to the next. The length of the song stretches for a while, like most of their songs, in this case, totaling to around 6 minutes.

"She's the One" by Ray LaMontagne: And speaking of classic rock, contemporary folkie Ray LaMontagne is using a lot of influences from such bands on his latest album. The exuberant, summery splash of "Supernova", one of the biggest adult alt radio hits of 2014, recalled groups like The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. "She's the One" goes for a bit of a harder-edged sound, deriving its sound from the propulsive, defiant riff of The Allman Brothers Band's "Whipping Post". As you could probably guess from the title of "She's the One", though, it has none of the angst and turmoil that The Allmans had lyrically on "Whipping Post". Still, this song serves as a nice way of introducing rock fans to a previously folk oriented musician!

"Then Came the Morning" by The Lone Bellow: A year ago, The Lone Bellow joined the ranks of Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, and The Civil Wars as being a successful folk-rock group with a string of catchy songs (though they weren't quite as big as those three groups were). "Then Came the Morning" is a bit less like Mumford, and a bit more like Morrison. Van Morrison, that is. The song seamlessly mixes folk, rock, and soul, much like Van the Man did. Surprisingly, the Irish folk-rock hitmaker was not the first person that The Lone Bellow's lead singer, Zach Williams, had in mind when he wrote "Then Came the Morning". Instead, the person Zach had in mind was none other than Elvis. Yes, Elvis Presley, not Costello! Specifically, he thought of what Elvis sounded like during his final years as a Las Vegas performer. Long live the King!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New songs for October 8th, 2014

here they are:

"Above the Clouds of Pompeii" by Bear's Den: This beautiful, heartfelt song has been around since August, and, two months down the road, it has finally gotten the radio play on adult alt stations that it has deserved for so long! A bittersweet acoustic ballad, "Above the Clouds of Pompeii" is one of those songs that comes around only once in a blue moon. The song is about the death of someone important in the lead singer's life, probably his mother, but the song itself sounds more like the achingly lovely event of life starting anew! Highly recommended!!

"Cigarette Daydreams" by Cage the Elephant: Cage the Elephant are really putting the "mellow" in their latest album, "Melophobia", with each new song they've released from it. "Cigarette Daydreams" is, by far, the mellowest song on the album, and perhaps even of CTE's career. Though CTE aren't exactly strangers to "soft" rock, they have never done an acoustic song, to my knowledge, which makes "Cigarette Daydreams" a first for the band, since it is dominated by an acoustic guitar sound. "Cigarette Daydreams" is far from sounding pungent like a cigarette, and instead sounds light and airy, like a daydream. For a group of guys who started with frat-rock anthems like "Ain't No Rest For the Wicked", they sure have come a long way!

"Ex's And Oh's" by Elle King: Elle King could be the one to give fellow jazz/rock/blues/roots hybrid femme fatale, Gin Wigmore, a run for her money. Even their voices sound somewhat similar. Elle King's cleverly titled "Ex's And Oh's" is, of course, about Elle's ex-boyfriends, and how they have treated her, and has nothing to do with tic tac toe. Gin Wigmore exudes more energy and has more of an edge than Elle King, but Elle knows how to be sultry and jazzy with the best of 'em!

"From Eden" by Hozier: Does religion play a theme in the music of Irish indie-pop artist, Hozier? With titles like "Take Me to Church", and now, "From Eden", I would venture to say that is so! The two songs couldn't sound more opposite, though! "Take Me to Church" sounded like a dirge turned into a pop song, and was somewhat controversial (probably why the song was such a big hit on "alternative" rock stations), but "From Eden" sounds more like a bouncy indie-pop song, written in a more major key than its predecessor. Beneath the chirpy sound of "From Eden", however, lies yet another dark theme, and that is the temptation of lust, as indicated in the song's refrain, "I slithered here from Eden just to sit outside your door". What a two-faced "snake" Hozier is!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New songs for October 1st, 2014

here they are:

"Come From the Heart" by Hard Working Americans: "Hard Working Americans" sure is an apt name for this roots-y rock supergroup! They're a little bit country ("Down to the Well"), and a little bit rock 'n' roll as well ("Stomp And Holler"). Hard Working Americans' third big song, "Come From the Heart", is a slow, heartfelt song, that sounds like a soul-inflected country song. The organ solo in the middle almost gives "Come From the Heart" a gospel-like feel. "It's got to come from your heart, or it's not going to work", Todd Snider smoothly croons, accompanied by Johnny Cash's daughter, Rosanne. This is the kind of song that definitely comes from the heart, and it works great.

"Dangerous" by Big Data: Sometimes, an irresistible dance-rock tune comes about, and makes almost everyone a fan (or sometimes a hater, if it gets overplayed). Songs like Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" are surefire winners in this category, and it looks like a new song is about to join their ranks. That song is "Dangerous" by Big Data. With its thumping, funky guitar hook, "Dangerous" is catchy!! This is the sort of song you'd be equally likely to hear in independent record stores and shopping malls, and it's what everyone's gonna be shakin' on the dance floor to this fall!!

"Easy Money" by Johnny Marr: Unlike Morrissey, Johnny Marr's melancholy, angst-ridden former bandmate from The Smiths, Johnny Marr seems to have more upbeat solo songs. I first started listening to Johnny's solo work in early 2013, with the garage rock influenced "Upstarts", and his latest song, "Easy Money", continues in a similar direction. "Easy Money" isn't straight up rock 'n' roll like "Upstarts" was, though, and instead has a more pulsating, new wave-y alt-pop sound reminiscent of groups like Foster the People and Phoenix. A similarity Johnny has to Morrissey is that they are both all about addressing social concerns to the media, but the way Johnny does so is a bit more on the sly side than the more obvious and melodramatic way that Morrissey does so. In the case of "Easy Money", the song is about exactly that - money - and it is also a satirical jab at how people think that money can "buy you happiness".

"I Don't Want to Change You" by Damien Rice: Damien Rice seems like the type who is introverted and fragile, so I had thought for a long time that his late 2006 album, "O", would have been his last. It appears as though I was wrong! After 8 years of musical hibernation, Damien has finally come out with a new song! "I Don't Want to Change You" is trademark Damien, all over! Melancholy acoustic guitar, delicate vocals, lovelorn lyrics, lush string arrangement in the background. Pretty much every Damien Rice song sounds like this, but it's why people like me love his work. Traits like this define who Damien is, and he still has 'em! Damien, I don't want to change you, either!

"I Want to Know" by Kongos: Kongos' uniquely catchy "Come With Me Now" was such a smash hit for this year, in multiple formats (including Top 40), that I just knew somehow they were bound to have another hit! For awhile, it looked like that song was going to be the rocking, menacing "I'm Only Joking", but perhaps that was too rough for adult alt audiences, so instead, the more reggae inflected "I Want to Know" has become the second song from Kongos to hit the adult alt airwaves. While nowhere near as catchy as "Come With Me Now", it still has its high points. It actually sounds similar to another reggae-rock fusion I reviewed earlier this year (Magic!'s "Rude"), but since the two bands came out around the same time, this is probably merely coincidence. "I Want to Know" also has a great, reverb soaked guitar solo, to really make the reggae-rock fusion of the song sound more solid.

"Low Key" by Tweedy: The title of this song is quite an apt description of how Jeff Tweedy from Wilco's music typically is. "Low Key", performed with his son, Spencer, is a mellow tune, in which the lyrics ("I've always been low key") match up with the mood of the song quite well. The song is also somewhat autobiographical, and Jeff even claimed in an interview that he thought the song was "meant for (him)". There are probably many times when you've sung a song to yourself, but not every day you've sung songs about yourself!

"Yellow Flicker Beat" by Lorde: Is Lorde a fan of the "Hunger Games" movies?! Between "Glory And Gore", and her newest song, "Yellow Flicker Beat", I would say that could very well be the case! (Or perhaps the people who make the movies are big fans of her music). The typical Lorde song seems to sound like a darker version of Madonna, and "Yellow Flicker Beat" is no exception. Perhaps the one thing that makes this song stand out from her other material is the lyrics, in which the 17-year-old New Zealand native describes a "yellow flicker beat sparking up (her) heart". Quite a vivid description there! Not sure exactly what that's supposed to be a description of, though.