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!