Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New songs for September 30th, 2015

here they are:

"First" by Cold War Kids: As per usual with Cold War Kids' material, the combination of graceful piano and more mysterious sounding electronic instruments are paired with rather bitter, angst-ridden lyrics. "First you get hurt, then you feel sorry" are the opening words to the chorus of CWK's latest song, "First". A rather sad way of looking at life and the events that go on in it, but an honest one nonetheless. Nathan Willett's distinctive, quavering vocals set "First" into gear as he tells yet another tale of woe in his ongoing musical saga.

"Why Would I Now?" by The Decemberists: Last fall's "What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World" may end up being the only Decemberists album to just have two hits on it ("Make You Better" and "The Wrong Year"), and that's mainly because The Decemberists have ALREADY released a new mini-album called "Florasongs", the first single of which is "Why Would I Now?" "Why Would I Now?" sounds a little like Tracy Chapman's "Talkin' Bout A Revolution" if it were backed by electric guitars and a string section. The song is a song of reassurance, with Colin Meloy addressing the subject of the song by telling them there's no reason not to trust his intentions.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

New songs for September 23rd, 2015

here they are:

"A Little Smile" by Joe Jackson: "A little smile" is just what you're gonna get if you're a fan of this eclectic, Elvis Costello-esque musician who is best known for the new wave era classic, "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" Unlike Elvis Costello, who has consistently released songs and albums throughout his career, Joe Jackson tends to be a bit more selective about when he'll release something new. The last I heard from him was the brilliant piano-pop piece, "Invisible Man", which came out in 2008. I don't know what Joe has been doing during the 7 years since that song was released, but whatever it was must have paid off, because "A Little Smile" was certainly worth the wait! The song comes off a little bit like what a Bruce Hornsby cover of a Ben Folds song might sound like, though I can't help but be won over by the wistfulness and charm of the song. Also, I LOVE the bridge parts of the song. They sound so preciously bittersweet!

"Bad Blood" by Ryan Adams: Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift?! (An entire ALBUM of her material, at that.) For a man who hated his name being mistaken for '80s pop-rock musician Bryan Adams, this sure does come as a surprise!! Well, to quote a popular Taylor Swift song, "the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate" on Ryan Adams, but luckily he still has the support of people like me who allow him creative freedom, even if that means doing versions of songs by musicians whom I haven't become a fan of. Here, Ryan turns Swift's techno-pop-y Christina Aguilera-ish song "Bad Blood" into something that sounds like it would be more at home on Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" album than it would on the current Top 40 charts. Ryan's goal here seems to be turning popular media into something more akin to pop art, almost like what Andy Warhol famously did to Campbell's soup cans many years ago, and he does a surprisingly good job at it, too! The lyrics of what I previously viewed as an ordinary song suddenly become more personal and emotional. This is truly an example of musical poetry at its finest!

"Lover Come Back" by City and Colour: Dallas "City and Colour" Green started off as a folk musician and then turned up his rock 'n' roll quotient on the two albums that followed his debut. In his latest song, "Lover Come Back", he comes full circle and makes those two worlds collide. It is a pleasantly folk-y song with rock 'n' roll instruments being used in the background. Perhaps collaborating with pop sensation Pink (a.k.a. "P!nk", whatever that's supposed to mean) in folk-rock duo You + Me made Dallas want to return to folk music. Whatever the case, "Lover Come Back" is a lovely, bittersweet song, and it's one that I've waited for him to do since back when he debuted in 2009! Some may think that Dallas is letting his sappy side come out here, but I think he's just being sentimental, and I also think there's absolutely nothing wrong with being sentimental.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

new songs for September 16th, 2015

here they are:

"All Your Favorite Bands" by Dawes: If by "all your favorite bands", you mean Jackson Browne and The Beatles, then I guess you're right, as this song kinda sounds like a cross between the former's "Rock Me On the Water" and the latter's "Let It Be". Like "Let It Be", "All Your Favorite Bands" is a rather bittersweet song. The title of the song (and the album for which it is named) comes from the line "may all your favorite bands stay together". Well, seeing as Dawes have now been around for about 6 years without any known splitting apart of the members, perhaps they're one of their own favorite bands! The song is basically a sad but hopeful love song, with Taylor Goldsmith pleading, "I hope the world sees the same person that you always were to me" to his lover.

"Mountain At My Gates" by Foals: One of the more experimental bands in indie-rock, Foals might have just finally scored a slightly more mainstream hit with "Mountain At My Gates", which combines the adventurous sounds of Tame Impala and "Kid A" era Radiohead with the sound of more accessible bands like Imagine Dragons. The bright, spirited piano in the background of the song keeps it chugging along, and as its instruments gradually build into a crescendo, it seems to transition from indie-rock to arena rock within the blink of an eye! What a trippy mountain there must be at those gates, eh?!

"Walk the Wire" by Boy and Bear: Wait a minute, who let Ric Ocasek join Boy and Bear?! I don't even...well a lot of bands have been trying to change their sound lately, but I would NOT have expected the quaint and folk-y Boy and Bear to turn into an arena ready new wave revival band!! Therefore, "Walk the Wire" is quite a fitting name for this song! Boy and Bear will probably lose some fans along the way. However, fans of The Cars will probably be clamoring over to "Walk the Wire", which even features a brief Elliot Easton-esque guitar solo! Brandon Flowers and co, take note. THIS might be what you want your next album to sound like!

"Yellow Eyes" by Rayland Baxter: At last, a newcomer on this week's blog! Rayland Baxter's autumnal, pleasant folk-rock sound seems to have arrived just in time for the fall season! The sound of Rayland's debut song, "Yellow Eyes", recalls some of the older Ryan Adams and Wilco songs from before they started adding a crunchier electric guitar sound to their songs. The song's lyrics seem to be delivered in a rather soul-searching manner, but they're actually about a man who has a bad habit of leaving his girlfriends without a significant other. What a great title, too. I'm sure we've all heard songs about people with blue eyes, brown eyes, and maybe even green eyes, but not yellow eyes. Until now, that is.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

New songs for September 9th, 2015

here they are:

"All Across This Land" by Blitzen Trapper: This song, as well as quite a few of the songs from Blitzen Trapper's previous album, "VII", are all songs that could dethrone Drive-by Truckers' status as being the indie-rock answer to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Who knew?! Back when all I knew of Blitzen Trapper was the more folk-rock-y "Black River Killer", I sure wouldn't have! "All Across This Land" does have plenty of chunky, meaty Skynyrd-esque riffs, though. In fact here, they sound like a cross between that and Led Zeppelin. The "road song" vibe of "All Across This Land" also makes it seem a bit like a Lynyrd Skynyrd song. Don't go shouting "Freebird!" at a Blitzen Trapper concert, though, they'll probably hate you for it!

"Made to Break Your Heart" by Los Lobos: They've blended folk, rock, country, and world music ever since the 1980's! With a group like Los Lobos, you never know what you're gonna get! Their latest song, "Made to Break Your Heart", is a breezy, summery song. Well, up until that hazy guitar solo in the middle of the song, that is. Like the last song I mentioned in this week's review, "Made to Break Your Heart" could also be considered a "road song", albeit in a different manner. Instead of being a fast, rockin' road song, "Made to Break Your Heart" is more like the sort of song you'd listen to with a light breeze, the top down, and the windows rolled up at dusk. The song has similar chords and rhythm to Dire Straits' "Water of Love", while its riffs are more Santana than they are Mark Knopfler.

"Make You Mine" by Family of the Year: FOTY have done it again! Their fall 2012 folk-rock smash hit, "Hero", won the hearts of millions back when it came out. The more upbeat, alt-pop-y "Make You Mine" is in the process of making just as many waves, and the reason for that is...Turner Classic Movies?! Well, apparently, a lot of the YouTube comments I've seen for this are about how the song was used in a TCM promo. Who'da thunk?! I sure wouldn't have! Whatever works, though! Probably would have used it to advertise an NBC or CBS sitcom, myself, as it seems to be bubbly and cheery enough to work in such a situation.