Wednesday, March 18, 2015

New songs for March 18th, 2015

here they are:

"Crystals" by Of Monsters and Men: Yet another band whose peak was during the early 2010's has released a song for the middle of the decade. Many of those bands have tried experimenting with different sounds. Mumford and Sons added electric guitars into their normally acoustic sound, Alabama Shakes upgraded from '60s R & B to '70s funk, and Florence and The Machine finally have a song with an audible guitar sound. So why does the latest Of Monsters and Men sound like...well...Of Monsters and Men?! Perhaps the main reason that the Icelandic folk-rock sensations have stuck with their original sound is because they just didn't feel a need to change it up. Don't get me wrong, I am all for experimentation, but there's something about folk-rock music that just tugs at my heartstrings. Sure, people like Bob Dylan and Neil Young made quite a successful leap from folk to rock in the past, but they are rare musicians to come by! The themes of obscure European mythology that Of Monsters and Men had on a lot of their last songs resurfaces in "Crystals" as well. Once again, though, I couldn't be happier. Perhaps some bands are better off without experimentation!

"The Wrong Year" by The Decemberists: A song with rather Shakespearean lyrics and music that combines Celtic folk with R.E.M.?! That can only mean one thing!! The Decemberists now have yet another song that has been released in their ever-growing catalog! So many reasons to love this band! For one, their name contains my birth month! For another, they tend to have lyrics that are both cryptic and insightful along with the jingle-jangle folk-rock sound of their music. The chorus states that "the rain falls on the wrong year, and it won't leave you alone", which could mean any number of things (though it's probably something to do with bad luck of sorts). One more thing to love about them is how a lot of their songs, including this one, tend to be narratives.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

new songs for March 11th, 2015

here they are:

"Believe" by Mumford and Sons: "Believe It Or Not" is more like it!! I have never seen a more split reaction to a Mumford and Sons song than I have for this one! People who like the band tend to think that removing banjos and adding electric guitars and atmospheric synths is a bad move for them, and people who don't like them seem to think that they're doing even worse than they did before! Then there are those fans of the band, such as myself, who still like what they're doing. However, I have to side a bit with the more disappointed section of the fandom here, as I do think this song pretty much smacks of trying too hard to sound like something you're not. Mumford and Sons are not Coldplay, and nor are they Kings of Leon. The first half of "Believe" sounds a lot like a Coldplay song, while the second half does sound a bit like KOL. "I don't even know if I believe anymore", Marcus Mumford states during the chorus of the song. Marcus, at this point, sadly, neither do I. An A for effort, though, and as changes in sound go, this wasn't the worst choice, I just think it could have been a little better.

"Shots" by Imagine Dragons: Though Imagine Dragons are a thousand times more pop oriented than Mumford and Sons, at LEAST Imagine Dragons' sophomore album contains songs that stick to a sound that is suitable for them! One noticeable difference between the first and second Imagine Dragons albums is how their second album has a bit more of an audible guitar sound. The influence by folk music is a bit less obvious on "Shots" than it is on most Imagine Dragons songs, but the mix between dance-pop and rock music is still palpable, and makes it sound a bit like a Killers song to me. The lyrics to "Shots" are a bit remorseful, especially the opening line ("I'm sorry for everything, for everything I've done"), but the fact that they are willing to wed such painful lyrics to such a catchy tune is a winning combination to me!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New songs for March 4th, 2015

here they are:

"Big Decisions" by My Morning Jacket: It was no "big decision" to decide to review the latest My Morning Jacket song this week!! Already during its first week of existence it has gotten airplay on 18 adult alt stations! Quite a major achievement if you ask me (though this may be happening just because of how much certain people love My Morning Jacket). MMJ's music tends to come in two flavors. There's the trippy neo-psychedelia present in songs like "Off the Record", "Holdin' On to Black Metal", and "I'm Amazed", and there's also the soulful folkie side of their music that shows up in songs like "Golden" and "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)". "Big Decisions" happens to fall into the former category. The song, as its title implies, is about wondering what do do with your life when you aren't quite ready to do so. Here's hoping that MMJ make more "big decisions" (and good ones) in the near future!!

"Falling From the Sky" by Calexico: Like most Calexico songs, "Falling From the Sky" is an indie-folk-rock song that is punctuated (and somewhat defined) by the mariachi-like horns that come in during the chorus. However, there are two things that make this song distinct from their other songs. First of all, it features guest background vocals from Band of Horses' Ben Birdwell, and second of all, it has a spacey Moog synthesizer sound that seems somewhat out of place!! Perhaps Calexico are a band who sound better when sticking to their "core" sound, which, for the most part, they do here (I just wanna know what's up with that blasted synthesizer in the track!) This song is kinda like a slightly mellower version of The Replacements' "Can't Hardly Wait", in terms of its sound.

"Sagres" by The Tallest Man on Earth: Every little thing The Tallest Man on Earth does truly is magic!! Or so I thought before I heard this song. Since "Sagres" features an electric guitar as a backing instrument, a lot of The TMOE's biggest fans seemed a bit disappointed, since he normally performs as a one man acoustic band. I must say that I am in slight agreement with the fans here, as it lacks the charm of "1904", "Little Brother", and my personal fave of his, "Wind and Walls", but I also don't think that "Sagres" is a complete departure from what The TMOE normally does. It is still, essentially, a folk-rock song, and it still retains that enchantingly lo-fi sound that most of his songs have. The chords tend to get a bit repetitive, though, and are pretty derivative of Bruce Springsteen's "My Hometown".

"Work Song" by Hozier: Perhaps it is somewhat cliche to use the word "different" to describe the sounds of certain musicians, but for Irish singer/songwriter, Andrew Hozier Byrne (best known by his middle name), there is no better word to describe his music! It doesn't sound like anything else on the radio! They're like hymnals that somehow manage to be solemn and catchy at the same time. Hozier's third big song, "Work Song", continues displaying the depth and talent that Hozier is capable of! Being caught between sexual and spiritual desire seems to be a favorite topic for Hozier, and it continues to resurface here, as he ruminates on being "laid down gently in the cold, dark earth" when he dies, yet contemplating the love he feels for his girlfriend at the same time.