Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New songs for May 20th 2015

here they are:

"Future People" by Alabama Shakes: Not as fast as most of Alabama Shakes' material, but rest assured, this song is still funky as ever! The chorus of the song adds some funk to its already funky sound with a buzzy sounding instrument that's probably a keyboard of some sort. The song only has two verses, and the first one pretty much spells out what the song is about. It seems to be about how progressing forward can be better than living in the past. Well, I dunno 'bout you, but I'm looking forward to hearing more Alabama Shakes songs in the future!

"Renegades" by X Ambassadors: The name "X Ambassadors" might sound intimidating, but their music is anything but. They could be described as a slightly more funky Lumineers, since X Ambassadors' breakthrough song, "Renegades", is essentially folk music punctuated by handclaps as its backbeat. The song manages to be instantly catchy as well, though you probably won't remember any of the lyrics at first aside from, "Hey hey hey, living like we're renegades".

"Ship to Wreck" by Florence and The Machine: Might I say that this is the BEST song Flo has done so far?! Its sound combines Bruce Springsteen with R.E.M., two of my all time faves!! What more is there to say?! Well, a lot more, actually. Beneath the catchiness of the song are dark lyrics (though I've come to expect this dichotomy from FATM). As the title implies, "Ship to Wreck" is a song about losing control of one's direction in life. Sometimes, the darkest aspects of life can turn into amazing songs, though, and this is one of them!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New songs for May 13th 2015

here they are:

"It Takes a Lot to Know a Man" by Damien Rice: It sure does!! Wow! Didn't think Damien had it in him to do a song that surpasses the length of "Stairway to Heaven" by about a minute and a half, but this is exactly what he does in "It Takes a Lot to Know a Man". Damien's songs are typically sad, but this one takes the melodrama of his music to a whole other level! The ending lyrics of the song are when it reaches its zenith. The phrase "What are you so afraid to lose?" becomes a mantra, and leads into what is perhaps the most intense mood I've ever heard in a Damien Rice song, as his voice and the background vocals argue with each other about their innermost insecurities.

"Most In the Summertime" by Rhett Miller (featuring Black Prairie): Just in time for the coming season, this is probably one of the most upbeat songs in both Rhett Miller's catalog and Black Prairie's. It is a mellow but catchy country-rock ditty in which the lyrics concern themselves with the simple pleasures of life. Well, perhaps other kinds of "pleasures" as well, as the chorus indicates that Rhett and Jenny (Black Prairie's lead singer) have their "clothes off, hangin' on the line". But hey, that's what summer's for, isn't it?!

"Scared" by Delta Rae: "Scared", eh?! Well, perhaps the reason why is because this song is different from Delta Rae's other material in two ways. First of all, one of the men in the group sings lead vocals, unlike Elizabeth Hopkins, who usually does so, and second of all, its sound resembles the "neo-soul" of groups like Fitz and The Tantrums more than it does the folk sound of their typical material. The "scare" factor here is really the uncertainty of whether a romance is going to work out, and the song's combination of minor key and catchy beat are enough to keep you on the edge of your seat!

"Song For Someone" by U2: After the anthemic rock vibes of "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)" and "Every Breaking Wave", U2's third single from "Songs of Innocence", "Song For Someone", has a more laid-back and poignant feel to it. Whoever "someone" is, they must have been incredibly important to U2 for them to make such a moving song in which the lyrics tug at the heartstrings as much as the music does. The chorus of the song pretty much defines it with its opening words, "If there is a light, you can always see, and if there is a world, we can always be. If there is a dark within and without, and there is a light, don't let it go out". For those who are in touch with their sensitive side, I highly recommend this song!

"The Stars Over Your House" by Bob Schneider: Ever since Bob Schneider's adult alt radio breakthrough with "40 Dogs (Like Romeo And Juliet)", a lot of his songs have had somewhat of a moody streak, albeit laden with sentimentality in most cases, with the exception of the surprisingly hard-rocking "Unpromised Land". "The Stars Over Your House" seems like a much needed feel-good song in his catalog that he had more in his early days than the later ones. The "oh-oo-woh"s and "yea-ee-yeah"s that punctuate the verses, along with the harmony of the backing vocals, and just the chipper feel of the song in general, are all aspects that make "The Stars Over Your House" the perfect equivalent of a pop chart hit for indie fans.

"True Affection" by Father John Misty: Or as I like to call it, Father John Misty...IN SPAAAACCCE!!! FJM hasn't really used synthesized instruments in his music until now, and boy, does he use them!! The beginning of the song doesn't sound that far off from what you might hear when someone is playing an arcade game! It kinda sounds like one of the trippier Radiohead songs, in particular, songs like "Lotus Flower" and "Staircase". The song basically has only one verse that's repeated twice (with the second verse having only a slight difference in lyrical content), and it doesn't veer from its A minor chord at all, which gives the song a bit of a "static" flavor. FJM, meet LSD!

"24 Frames" by Jason Isbell: Right from the beginning of the song, you can tell it's gonna be a sad one, since the opening lyrics are "This is how you make yourself vanish into nothing". Thankfully, it's not a bleak sadness, but a bittersweet one, and Jason Isbell does an excellent job of pouring his heart and soul into "24 Frames". Its sound is reminiscent of the songs from R.E.M.'s album, "Automatic for the People", and that sound is not just coincidence. It turns out that Jason's band, Drive-by Truckers, was based in Athens, Georgia, the same town R.E.M. hails from! As for the title of the song, it is taken from how many frames roll per second during a movie, which is how life itself is portrayed in "24 Frames". Jason has truly outdone himself this time!!

"Woman (Oh Mama)" by Joy Williams: One half of folk-rock duo, The Civil Wars, Joy Williams' debut solo song is basically like a Celtic version of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" in terms of how it sounds. As the title of the song implies, this is Joy's ode to the spirit of femininity. The one complaint I have about this song is that she seems to be expressing her thoughts as though she is stereotyping those who speak "broken" English, though I'm not sure if this is intentional. Each line of each verse starts with the word "woman" and is followed by a verb of some sort, which reminds me of how Cookie Monster speaks ("Me want cookie!"), or perhaps the Hulk ("Hulk smash!") Why she is choosing to speak this way, I have no idea, but I do appreciate the sentiment she has intended in the song, as well as the way it sounds.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

New songs for May 6th, 2015

here they are:

"Beatnik Walking" by Richard Thompson: A veteran folk-rocker who has been active since the '60s, Richard Thompson's last few albums have focused on "plugging in" a bit more than he usually does. His latest song, "Beatnik Walking", goes back to his folk roots. The song has an almost Celtic influenced feel to it, and a similar rhythm to Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" as well. Jeff Tweedy from Wilco, who was probably influenced in some way by Richard Thompson, is the one who produced "Beatnik Walking". The song is so mellow sounding that it resembles folk more than it does folk-rock. Not a bad thing by any means, though. We could all use a breather once in a while!

"Electric Love" by Borns: The sublime alt-pop stylings of Lorde and the chunky garage rock style of The Black Keys have both become popular styles for the 2010's. I never thought I'd see the day when they converged into one sound, though, until I heard "Electric Love" by Borns (How do you pronounce their name, anyway? The "o" has a slash through it, so I would guess maybe it's "burns", or perhaps "byairns"). Apparently, the fact that the song combines two popular alt-pop subgenres is not the only reason that "Electric Love" has been getting so much attention lately. It has also been used on a commercial for video streaming service, Hulu. What can I say? Music is always a good way to get people to use your products!

"Feeling OK" by Best Coast: Sometimes, the third time really is the charm! Bethany Cosentino and the rest of her gang of L.A. indie-pop beach bums actually released two other songs from their latest album as singles ("California Nights" and "Heaven Sent") before they released "Feeling OK" as a single as well. The indie community itself seems to be eating Best Coast's latest album right up, but so far, only "Feeling OK" has had a significant impact on the radio airwaves. This song doesn't sound like the "Florence and the Machine goes surf music" sorta thing they have had with their previous material, and opts for a more 2010's radio-friendly alt-pop sound instead. The radio-friendly sound of "Feeling OK" is probably a large part of the reason why it's become more successful than the other two songs from Best Coast's album "California Nights", the title track of which sounds like one of the more psychedelia influenced Oasis songs. The other song, "Heaven Sent", seems influenced by '90s alt-rock goddess Liz Phair, and probably could have fared well on adult alt and alternative radio stations. Maybe that song will have another go later on this year. In the meantime, though, "Feeling OK" should make you...well...feel OK!

"Lonesome Street" by Blur: Anyone remember that faux-grunge song from the '90s by a bunch of British guys, where the chorus of the song is basically a loud "WOO-HOO!!"? Well, apparently, they're still doing stuff today! However, it's nothing like the "woo-hoo" song (which is actually called "Song 2"). Their latest song, "Lonesome Street", has a power pop flavor, but more of a catchy, melodic one than a noisy one. For a song with the word "lonesome" in the title, "Lonesome Street" is actually quite an upbeat, catchy tune!! The song hearkens back to early, pre-"Song 2" Blur songs, like the soulful "There's No Other Way".

"She's Not Me" by Jenny Lewis: The opening guitar of this song sure doesn't SOUND like Jenny Lewis. That's because it's actually Ryan Adams' guitar playing, which I kinda suspected from its '80s-era Stones type sound, which Ryan seems to have been quite fond of lately. The riff of the song actually bears quite a bit of similarity to The Rolling Stones' "Almost Hear You Sigh", which I could see happening in a Ryan Adams song, but not a Jenny Lewis one. The lyrics, on the other hand, are pure Jenny Lewis. Innocent sounding singing combined with scathing, finger-pointing lyrics like, "She's not me, she's easy". "Easy", huh?! Jenny, you got some 'splainin' to do!!

"Tell Me What You Want From Me" by Good Old War: When Good Old War released their debut album, folk-rock really was more of an "indie" thing. 8 years later, and folk-rock has suddenly become a more popular subgenre to emulate. Folks like Walk Off the Earth have become YouTube sensations because of it. In fact, this song kinda SOUNDS like something from Walk Off the Earth more than it does Good Old War, in that it combines acoustic guitar playing with artificial percussion, the way a lot of WOTE's material tends to. "Tell Me What You Want From Me" also uses other synthesized instruments during some parts, which isn't something that GOW do very often. It'd be nice if Good Old War were able to sound more "organic" like they used to, but this isn't too bad of an effort.