here they are:
"Dead Fox" by Courtney Barnett: Courtney's first two big songs seemed to be on opposite extremes from one another!! "Avant Gardener" was mellow, spaced out slacker rock at its finest, yet "Pedestrian At Best" is one of the rawest, meanest, and hardest rocking songs I've ever reviewed on this blog!! Her third big song, "Dead Fox", appears to be somewhere in between the two. It's more upbeat than "Avant Gardener" but not as earth shatteringly angry as "Pedestrian At Best". "Dead Fox" sounds a bit like a Pretenders song circa the early '80s, only with Courtney Barnett's deadpan vocals taking the place of the more deep, sublime vocals of Chrissie Hynde. "Dead", in the title of this song, appears to be a metaphor, as in "you are dead to me", given how the chorus of the song ("if you can't see me, I can't see you") is basically about choosing to ignore someone you'd rather not be dealing with.
"Gates of Dawn" by Heartless B*st*rds: This band doesn't exactly live up to its name (which is kind of a GOOD thing), but that's because they were actually named after a question on a game show that asked what the name of Tom Petty's backing group was (one of the choices was "Tom Petty and The Heartless B*st*rds"). That being said, it's probably no mere coincidence that a lot of Heartless B*st*rds' songs sound like '90s era Tom Petty songs, including their latest song, "Gates of Dawn". A bit of the more anthemic side of Tom Petty gets mixed into this song as well, which starts out acoustic, and steadily adds more and more electric guitar as it climaxes. Nonetheless, "Gates of Dawn" still manages to be a somewhat laid back song.
"The Wolf" by Mumford and Sons: Like "Believe" from two months ago, this is yet another Mumford and Sons song that takes electric guitar over acoustic. However, "The Wolf" doesn't seem to be striving for an "epic" adult contemporary sound along the lines of Coldplay, and instead opts for something that sounds more like Kings of Leon mixed with Spoon. It also maintains a fast, electric sound throughout, instead of meddling between the two the way "Believe" did. The song still contains the typical, soul-searching Mumford lyrics ("Hold gaze my love, you know I want to let it go", "Been wandering for days, how you felt me slip your mind"). Here's hoping this song receives more airplay than their last one (which received quite a bit of airplay, but I like this one better). Perhaps I should be careful what I wish for?!
"Things Happen" by Dawes: Between this song and the last one I reviewed, all I can say is that Kings of Leon must be either incredibly proud or incredibly weirded out that they have now spawned so many imitators! "Things Happen" still maintains the roots-y feel Dawes typically go for, but the guitar appears to sound fuzzier and more echo-y than it usually is on their material. The lyrics of "Things Happen" seem to present a "Where do we go from here?" frame of mind for the listeners. This being Dawes' fourth album, perhaps it was hard for them to come up with topics for a new song. The chorus of the song ends with the empty, mystifyingly worded conclusion that "things happen, that's all they ever do". Wait, things do things OTHER than just "happen"?!