Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New songs for August 26th 2015

here they are:

"Do You Remember?" by Jarryd James: Upon listening to this song, I can't help but feel that its sound is a little like Gotye, only creepier! In a good way, though, I promise you. There is a bit of a stalker-y vibe to this song somehow, but it sinks into your mind as though nothing ever happened! Many people seem to describe this song as a mix between soul and electronica, and that's a pretty accurate description if you ask me! Soul has never been so eerie, and nor has electronica sounded so funky!

"High By the Beach" by Lana Del Rey: Sex and drugs and...ummmm...something kinda like rock 'n' roll but not quite. That's Lana Del Rey for ya! Last year's "West Coast" definitely emphasized the sex element, albeit in a warm, intimate manner. Now Lana takes on the second subject of the unholy trinity, drugs. She repeatedly states in the chorus that "all (she) want(s) to do is get high by the beach". With the song's breezy, beach-like vibe combined with its "I don't feel like doing much of anything" attitude, you really believe that that's all she wants to do when you listen to the song! Though her music doesn't really scream out "rock and roll" (Joni Mitchell's "Raised On Robbery" sounds like Zeppelin in comparison to LDR's music), Lana seems to often romanticize the R 'N' R lifestyle, whether it's mentioning "rock and roll groupies" in her lyrics, or even her infamous "wish to be dead" inspired by Kurt Cobain (which made both Kurt's daughter Frances and fellow grungette Kim Gordon rather irate). Perhaps Lana should go back to playing "video games", like she sang about in her debut song.

"Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart" by Chris Cornell: Speaking of grunge alumni, we also have a new song from Soundgarden's Chris Cornell! It might surprise you to know that the man whose most famous song was called "Black Hole Sun" is a bit of a folkie, but he is, and he's pretty good at being one, too! He even managed to make Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" into a long, drawn-out drama with music comparable to Dylan and Cash. Some might view "Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart" as a way to one-up Eddie Vedder's somber, ukulele driven folk songs from the "Into the Wild" soundtrack, but Chris's brand of folk-rock is purely his own here! "Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart" is reflective, and almost spiritual in a way. Soundgarden fans needn't be disappointed, though, for the song does feature a brief electric guitar solo.

"Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go to the Party" by Courtney Barnett: And the winner for longest song title of the week, at ten words long, goes to Courtney Barnett!! The title of this song is gonna be a mouthful for radio DJ's to announce, wow! Luckily, Courtney's aim is not at radio DJ's. Well, not the mainstream ones, anyway. Courtney's latest album has catapulted her status from the singer/songwriter of slacker hit, "Avant Gardener", to someone with a bit more eclectic taste. She has emulated quite a few legendary rock 'n' roll women on her latest album, from Courtney Love ("Pedestrian At Best") to Chrissie Hynde ("Dead Fox") to Patti Smith (this song, which has a similar feel to Patti's version of the garage rock classic, "Gloria", albeit without as much intensity). Like "Gloria", "Nobody Really Cares..." is pretty much the E, D, and A chords used repeatedly throughout the song, but it works here. Echoing the rock 'n' roll dilemma of "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?", the chorus of "Nobody Really Cares..." is "I wanna go out but I wanna stay home". Rock on, brown-haired woman!

"Year Zero" by Moon Taxi: This isn't the first song Moon Taxi have done, but it does look like the one that's gonna make them known to a wider audience! "Year Zero" is all about embracing the feeling of being apart from people and seeing where it will lead you. With its determined, fearless sound, I'm not surprised the song is about that. Makes for a great opening track to their latest album, too. I guess Moon Taxi are ready to face the final frontier!! (Or, to use another famous movie quote, to go "to infinity...and beyond!")

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New songs for August 19th, 2015

here they are:

"Empty Heart" by Grace Potter: Grace has dabbled in folk and in rock, but "Empty Heart" is probably the first song she's done that's a little of both. Its sound comes off like what it would be like if Gin Wigmore did a song that sounded like a cross between John Lennon's "Give Peace A Chance" and The Lumineers' "Ho Hey", with a vaguely hip-hop influenced beat to keep the time. Like John Lennon, Grace Potter lets the piano play a central role in "Empty Heart", particularly during the chorus, where the song's key of C major briefly turns into a blues-y, jazzy C7. "Why don't you let me fill up your empty heart?" Grace pleads during the chorus. Grace, you've already filled it up with your free-spirited, spunky approach to music!

"Fire And the Flood" by Vance Joy: Though folks like Phillip Phillips, The Lumineers, and Of Monsters & Men were already riding high on the coattails of what New Zealand folk-rocker Vance Joy did about a year later than they did, I still can't help but feel like Vance Joy has a sound all his own nonetheless. "Fire And the Flood" does seem kinda Phillip Phillips-esque, though, with its bright brass bursting through its otherwise reserved and melancholy sound. Perhaps what appeals to me the most about Vance's latest song, "Fire And the Flood", is how it manages to sound old and new at the same time! In addition to the 2010's neo-folk-rock sound that "Fire And the Flood" is probably intending to give off, I can also detect a sort of "lo-fi" influence in the song as well that gives the song a late '60s/early '70s, almost Cat Stevens-ish flavor. Also, the "fire and the flood" mentioned in the song's chorus is clearly a girl that Vance has developed affections for. Given how disastrous both fires and floods are, I would venture to say that said girl is also doing him some damage as well. What can I say, that's love for ya!

"Into the Deep" by Galactic (featuring Macy Gray): You probably haven't heard the name Macy Gray since the late '90s, and Galactic is a name that (sadly) doesn't get tossed around much at all, but together, on "Into the Deep", Macy and Galactic combine forces to make a smooth, silky soul powerhouse! Galactic aren't nearly as funky and jazzy as they usually are here, but the old school R & B flavor is still there, it's just slowed down a bit here. "Into the Deep" is a passionate love song, perfect for kiss heavy, love making nights, and it'll sink deep into your soul, too!

"Return to the Moon" by El Vy: Do you recognize the maudlin baritone of the lead singer of El Vy? If you do, that's because those are the vocals of Matt Berninger, lead singer of indie faves, The National. "Return to the Moon" does NOT sound like the National, though, in terms of its instrumental content. It's not often you hear indie-pop that's this funky, but when you do, cherish the moment! It's a rare but noteworthy opportunity! As you would probably suspect, the "moon" is being used as a metaphor here, and it is likely that the metaphor revolves around how Matt had longed to return to his home state of Ohio ("the moon") while he was living in California ("Earth"). I've never heard Matt sound so upbeat ever, but perhaps he should do more songs like this! I can dig it!

"S.O.B." by Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats: The letters "S.O.B." aren't actually mentioned in this song. Therefore, as you might have guessed, the song's title is actually just a radio-friendly way of saying the REAL words of the chorus, "son of a b...." ....better not say that last word!! Anyway, this is a pretty unique song! It almost seems like a fusion of bluegrass music, gospel, and Elvis Presley-style early rock. Never thought anyone would try to combine all those genres together, but it actually sounds really good! This song is full of relentless energy, and is also enough for many people to long for the days of a time that happened before they were even born!

"Say It" by Houndmouth: And here's another retro-style song! This time, the sound that's being emulated is that of Canadian folk-rock group, The Band (and probably many other similar acts, but The Band seem to be the most obvious here). First off, I NEVER would have thought that Houndmouth would become so big with their song "Sedona" from earlier this year, but they did, on both the adult alt AND regular alt charts!! Perhaps part of "Sedona"'s success was the fact that it DID sound a bit more "alternative" than most of Houndmouth's material. "Say It" returns to the basic country-rock formula that Houndmouth became known for among their initial fanbase. "Say It" is definitely the most upbeat song in the Houndmouth catalog so far! It also sounds like the lead singers are having a lot of fun saying "say it like you mean it" over and over again as fast as they can, as though singing a tongue twister along the lines of "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers", or "she sells seashells by the seashore"!

"Steven's Cat" by Widespread Panic: Underneath all their jam-band glory, Widespread Panic have always seemed like a band with a witty sense of humor. The title of their latest song, "Steven's Cat" sounds like a pun on folk-rock musician, Cat Stevens, though the song itself doesn't sound a thing like Cat Stevens. There is a subtle reference to Cat's "Moonshadow" in the lyric, "shadow the moon lighting the wood path". The song doesn't seem to be about anything in particular, but it almost seemed like that's what WP intended here in this invigorating, freewheeling song!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New songs for August 12th, 2015

here they are:

"Empire" by Of Monsters and Men: "Crystals"? "Empire"?! Any Bronies noticing a pattern here?! Heheheh. Joking aside, though, "Empire" really is a good OMAM song, like most of their material. Much like their previous hit from this year, "Crystals", "Empire" doesn't stray too far from the standard OMAM pattern of gentle, pensive folk-rock combined with somewhat mystical, opaque lyrics. There are some things that set the two songs apart, though. First of all, "Empire" is in C minor (as opposed to the C major key "Crystals" was in), and it also features more male vocals than female vocals, the latter of which were used more on "Crystals". OMAM win once again with their nature oriented imagery ("river running wild", "feel the ocean as it breathes", "see the mountains where they meet", etc.)

"Fake Roses" by The Lone Bellow: As you might expect from a song that contains both "fake" and "roses" in its title, this is a rather melancholy song. It appears to be a song about being able to "see through" a relationship to know how bad it might have been. Quite a turnaround from a band whose last song was a rather confident number called "Take My Love"! Still, though, as the autumn season slowly approaches, "Fake Roses" is a very apt song for the somber season. What better way to shake off a negative relationship than to snuggle up inside surrounded by blankets, warmth, and a drink of hot chocolate? Songs like this certainly get me in the mood for that!

"Keep Going" by The Revivalists: "Keep Going" is exactly what the soulful, jazzy, and aptly named Revivalists are attempting to do here! With their solid, dynamic sound, they are out to convince the world that "Navigate Below" was not going to leave them branded as one hit wonders! The relentlessly happy "chugga-chugga" sound of "Keep Going" is enough to win over fans of the band (as well as fans of similar acts like Alabama Shakes, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, and Gary Clark, Jr.) Revivalists, keep going! Keep on doin' what you're doin'! You're good at it!

"Maggie I've Been Searching For Our Son" by Craig Finn: Classic roots-rock revivalist Craig Finn from The Hold Steady turns down the electric guitars on his latest song, which is a rather plaintive protest song. Finn still has the Springsteen-esque sound he usually has here, though it sounds more like something from The Boss's largely folk-rock-y "Greetings From Asbury Park" than it does the sweeping, epic anthems of "Born to Run". For a man whose band has become an adult alt radio staple within the past couple years, Finn has never focused on acoustic rock songs (surprisingly) until now. The angst and sarcasm typically present in Finn and The Hold Steady's material is replaced here by something of a more pensive, yearning quality. Surprisingly, it actually works here!

"Monkey Tree" by Mother Mother: After three plaintive folk-rock songs (and one soulful, blues-y number), it's refreshing to end this week's blog with a bouncier, quirkier pop song like "Monkey Tree". Even its title is kinda goofy! A song that opens with the lyrics, "I live in the jungle, I sleep in a monkey tree", is bound to make you smile! Well, it did for me, anyway. This song is also one that'll make you wanna dance! Come on and do the monkey, everybody!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

New songs for August 5th, 2015

here they are:

"Getting Ready to Get Down" by Josh Ritter: Could it be?! An upbeat song from the normally calm Josh Ritter?! Yes, it is!! The title alone kinda proves it. It's not typical of Josh Ritter to use a phrase like "get down" in one of his songs, but here, he does. It sounds more like Barenaked Ladies attempting to emulate Josh Ritter's vocal style than it does an actual Josh Ritter song, but it actually works here! Josh reveals his sense of humor in this song, too, with lines like "Jesus hates your high school dances", and many other lines that attempt to satirize the concept of religion.

"Gimme All Your Love" by Alabama Shakes: For their third single off of their latest album, Brittany Howard and co return to the '60s soul/rock combo that they initially became known for. "Gimme All Your Love" sounds an awful lot like Janis Joplin's "Cry Baby", with its tender, soulful verses, and blasts of rock 'n' roll guitar sound in the chorus, expressing a deep sense of passion either way. At least for the first two and a half minutes it sounds that way. After that, though, it goes for more of a sound that mixes the early funk of James Brown with the emotionally charged blues-rock of The Allman Brothers. The last 10 seconds or so of the song return briefly to the slower start of the song before closing with a loud, solid guitar sound. Brittany gives more than just all her love here, she gives her soul!!

"The Healing" by Gary Clark, Jr.: In addition to Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark Jr. is yet another blues-rock revivalist who emerged in the 2010's and gained an unexpectedly large audience, so perhaps it's fitting that their newest songs were introduced side by side for this week's blog! What better way to celebrate the joy of music than by singing about music?! Gary does so in his latest song, "The Healing", in which he proclaims that "music is (his) healing". Amen, brother! I can totally relate!