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 dangerous...ly 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.