Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New songs for January 27th, 2016

here they are:

"Confession" by M. Ward: Until he came out with the pseudo-blues-rock number, "Never Had Nobody Like You", back in 2009, I didn't really know M. Ward as anything other than the "Him" to Zooey Deschanel's "She" in "She & Him". Since then, I've heard a few other M. Ward solo songs. Most of them tend to be gentle indie-folk-rock tunes. "Confession" is a bit like that, but with the electric guitar sound that first put him on the map as a solo artist with "Never Had Nobody Like You". Like most of Ward's songs, "Confession" is short, at only 3 minutes and 14 seconds. There is one thing that makes "Confession" stand apart from the rest of his material, though, and that is the mariachi horn sound featured near the end of the song, which was perhaps inspired by fellow indie-folk-rockers, Calexico.

"Hey No Pressure" by Ray LaMontagne: The little folk-rocker that could! Until two years ago, Ray's songs were rather mellow folk tunes, which were occasionally spiced up with the use of a sax and a rhythm section, but not much more. "Supernova" really put the "rock" factor in his typically folk-y material, sounding reminiscent of groups like The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, and "She's the One" heavily recalled the pounding blues-rock of The Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post". "Hey No Pressure" is both the hardest rocking AND longest (at around 6 and half minutes) song that Ray has put out so far! If not for Ray's trademark husky yet yearning vocals, this song could well be mistaken for a song by The Black Keys, or perhaps even Tame Impala, given its length and its oddly placed synth solo towards the end. "Hey No Pressure" brings about the most pressure you can imagine in a Ray LaMontagne song, but in a good way!

"Pink Balloon" by Ben Harper: Can Ben Harper survive without The Relentless 7? The answer to that, apparently, is yes. Although "Pink Balloon" starts with an acoustic guitar, it still rocks pretty hard for a Ben Harper song without The Relentless 7 backing him up. "Pink Balloon" is an interesting song. A bit like hearing a roots-y Delta Blues version of Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On", complete with an electric guitar solo in the middle of the song. The lyrics of "Pink Balloon" don't have very heavy subject matter, as it just seems to concern a girl who walks around with a pink balloon, not much more. "Pink Balloon" is probably one of Ben Harper's finest songs, with a sound that would more than likely please both his original roots-rock fanbase and his later hard(ish) rock fanbase.

"Where the Night Goes" by Josh Ritter: If "Getting Ready to Get Down" was too upbeat for most Josh Ritter fans, then "Where the Night Goes" should win them back. Although the song features an electric guitar solo (a rarity so far in Ritter's material), it still features the bittersweet mellow sound and mystical lyrics of the typical Josh Ritter song. One thing that makes "Where the Night Goes" distinct from other Josh Ritter songs is the sudden change of key from D sharp to F that occurs in the middle of the song, as Josh's songs don't usually feature key changes. "Let's see where the night takes us, let's see where the night goes", Josh Ritter sings for the chorus of the song. The night seems to be taking us to an imaginary place where city cafes meet the woods of nature!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New songs for January 20th 2016

here they are:

"(Baby) Hold On" by The James Hunter Six: Could it be?! Have The James Hunter Six, who probably fooled many people into thinking they were both black and from the mid 1960's (neither of which would be true, despite how their music sounds), gone even further back in time than they did three years ago?! Well, with the release of their latest song, "(Baby) Hold On", not to be confused with a similarly named song by Eddie Money, it appears that they have gone further back in time than the '60s! James has pulled a Nick Waterhouse on us, evoking a sultry jazz-rock sound that wouldn't seem out of place in a "James Bond" film! Both the guitars and the saxes absolutely wail on this song! Perhaps one of the biggest treats, though, is how this song (and its album) are being produced by Daptone Records, a record company that is most famous for producing songs by another '60s soul revival styled group, Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings. This oughta be good!

"Don't You Give Up On Me" by Lissie: This song marks a turning point in Lissie's career. The 33-year-old folk-rocker typically has songs filled with some combination of angst and urgency, especially the Alanis Morissette-esque "Shameless". "Don't You Give Up On Me" is the first Lissie song I have heard that strives more for vibes of positivity than urgency. No one seems to know what Lissie's life has been like outside of the studio, but with her lyrics almost always indicating frustration with her love life, she's probably been through a lot. Perhaps "Don't You Give Up On Me" is about trying to change direction and make a new start, as there doesn't seem to be even a hint of dissatisfaction with romance in the lyrics. I guess we'll find out, won't we?!

"Lost Weekend" by Pete Yorn: No, "Lost Weekend" is not a reference to that time in John Lennon's life when he spent more time with May Pang than he did with Yoko Ono, for those who may be wondering. Instead, the title is a reference to Yorn's life in and of itself. The New Jersey folk-rocker has now hit his early 40's (can you believe it?!), and "Lost Weekend" is basically about how you should hold on to the good things and good times while they last. With me being just two years shy of my 30's, I can certainly relate to this song! It really is amazing just how quickly life can pass you by!

"Love Me" by The 1975: As Joni Mitchell once said, "You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone". Those lyrics could very well apply to this song, which came out just 3 months before David Bowie's death and sounds an awful lot like the late British rocker's song, "Fame". The members of The 1975 probably weren't even thinking about the possibility of David Bowie's life being on the brink when they released "Love Me", yet with the song's main riff bearing an uncanny resemblance to "Fame", it makes for quite a powerful tribute song, even if they didn't plan it that way! Another thing is that "Fame" came out in the year 1975. Perhaps The 1975 are trying to sound like the YEAR 1975?! You just never can tell, can you?! Also, there's one more thing for Bowie fans (or fans of any good music, really) to like about this song. One of the lyrics openly mocks Kim Kardashian, referring to her (and her fashion) as "Karcrashian"!!

"Off the Ground" by The Record Company: The Record Company?! WHICH Record Company?! WB?! Elektra?! Capitol Records?! Nope, just a band whose name happens to be "The Record Company". Whichever company/-ies the band's name is a reference to must be a lowdown and funky one, judging from the sound of their debut single, "Off the Ground"!! Whoo! Following in the footsteps of such 2010's blues-rock sensations as The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, and Gary Clark Jr., The Record Company seem to have a knack for layin' down the blues in a sizzling, dirty style! The guitar has a burnin', smoky sound, but that bass has such a swingin', seductive hook as well! Should have pretty immediate appeal to fans of The Rolling Stones, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin. Rock and roll is alive!!

"Wipeout Turn" by Big Head Todd and The Monsters: And speaking of classic rock, '90s rock sensations Big Head Todd and The Monsters seem to be getting back to their Dire Straits/Los Lobos-esque roots with their latest song, "Wipeout Turn". The band were best known for their "alternative" folk-rock ballads like "Bittersweet" and "Resignation Superman", which often garnered them comparisons to groups like The Wallflowers and Counting Crows during their heyday. Big Head Todd and The Monsters have some blues-y chops that often go sorely unnoticed, though. Todd "Big Head Todd" Park Mohr, the band's namesake, may not be anyone's idea of the next Hendrix or Clapton, but he can still rock it. "Wipeout Turn" actually has one of Big Head Todd and The Monsters' best guitar solos I've heard in quite some time, actually, with its one and a half minutes of just the right amount of precision and speed bringing the song to a quick, scorchin' end!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Nine New Songs for a Nifty New Year!!

Happy New Year everyone!! Did ya miss me?! Well, I'm back! Here are 9 brand new songs for you all to enjoy!

"Bring My Baby Back" by Dr. Dog: Dr. Dog's voyage of psychedelic-tinged folk-rock continues with their latest tune, "Bring My Baby Back". The sound of the song is pretty normal for Dr. Dog, or any indie-pop band for that matter, but what has made a lot of Dr. Dog's songs so special to me is the cleverness they exude. The cleverness factor just doesn't seem to be as strong on "Bring My Baby Back". The folk-rock factor is also more present on this song than it is on most Dr. Dog songs (with the notable exception of the Neil Young-esque "Shadow People", although even that one sounded more like a "Sgt. Pepper" song somewhere in the middle). This is a good song, don't get me wrong, but I do feel like Dr. Dog could be doing better than this.

"Cautionary Tale" by Dylan LeBlanc: Been awhile since we've had a newcomer to the music scene, eh?! Well here's one (at least as far as his airplay on adult alt radio stations is concerned). His name is Dylan LeBlanc and, perhaps not surprisingly, he sounds pretty influenced by a well-known musician whose last name is his first. Unlike THAT Dylan, THIS Dylan has a sound that's more dreamy than it is raw, and would probably be liked by fans of acts like Ryan Adams or Iron & Wine. The soul-searching lyrics of "Cautionary Tale" are well-suited to its tune, which is also rather yearning. So far, so good!

"Delilah" by Florence and The Machine: Who is Delilah?! Well, the only thing we know about her is that she taught Florence Welch how to dance, at least according to the lyrics of this song. Most of "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful" has been surprisingly guitar-centric, from the funky, Prince-esque hooks of "What Kind of Man" to the epic, Springsteen-ian rush of "Ship to Wreck". "Delilah" is a song that is more focused on piano hooks and clap-along rhythms than those two songs were, which make it a strangely fun combination of indie-pop and gospel music! Flo's latest album has been a great experience so far. Hoping "Queen of Peace", a sweeping, orchestral slice of baroque-pop ear candy, becomes the fourth single off the album! In the meantime, you can dance to the "different kind of danger" that is "Delilah" 'till the day is done!

"Gypsy In Me" by Bonnie Raitt: Flo may charm me with her cute and quirky ways, but Bonnie will always have a special place in my heart! She has, ever since I was little and my mom would play her records for me on road trips. Speaking of road trips, that pretty much seems to be the vibe that Bonnie's latest song, "Gypsy In Me", is going for! The lyrics play out like a more accessible and less drug-addled version of The Grateful Dead's "Truckin'". That is to say, "Gypsy In Me" is a song about being on the road nonstop. It's also about the joy of being a restless, energetic, unstoppable spirit! Bonnie has certainly proven herself to be unstoppable, still kickin' plenty of big ol' blues-y butt at age 66. Way to go!

"High Note" by Mavis Staples: While on the subject of legendary blues-y ladies, Mavis Staples, who has been recording even longer than Bonnie Raitt has, also has a new one out! Mavis started out as a gospel style singer, turned to more mainstream R & B during the peak of her career, and seems to have dabbled in blues-rock during the last few years. Mavis also seems to be pretty hip on singers of the new(er) generation, such as Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, whom she has duetted with at least once, as well as Valerie June, a blues/folk-rock musician who was probably heavily influenced by Mavis. Valerie actually helped to write Mavis' latest song, "High Note". Her new album is actually full of newer folk-rock and blues-rock musicians. Two of them, Benjamin Booker and Son Little, are also heirs to Mavis' musical throne, so I'm looking forward to hearing their contributions to her new album as well!

"Lazarus" by David Bowie: From a high note to a (very) low note, both literally and figuratively in this case. "Lazarus" is a minor key song, and from its opening lyrics, "Look up here I'm in heaven/I've got scars that can't be seen", one might get the hint that the song is about death, and they would be correct in assuming this. In fact, Bowie's entire newest (and, sadly, last) ALBUM is about death, and his self-awareness of exiting the Earth. Tragically, David Bowie recently died of cancer at age 69, and he was aware about his cancer the entire time he was recording his latest album, but no one knew about it until after the fact. "Lazarus" is a great reminder of the man we have lost. That man is a man who has influenced many subgenres of rock, from the punk sound of his contemporaries (and friends) like Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, to the quirky new wave of Talking Heads and Devo, to the entire "synth-pop" scene that dominated the '80s, icons of the '90s like Kurt Cobain (who famously covered his "The Man Who Sold the World"), and even more recent alt-rockers like The Killers and Franz Ferdinand. That may be a lot of examples for some of you, but it just goes to show what a tremendous impact he had. David Bowie, you will be missed!

"Overnight" by Wild Feathers: They were a little bit country, but now they're a little bit rock 'n' roll. Wild Feathers' latest song, "Overnight", has a bit more of a crunchy, electric guitar based rock sound. Perhaps the more forceful sound is fitting with the rather forceful, critical lyrics they have to offer in "Overnight", such as, "You can't wait 'till the morning light, 'cause you want it all right now". The song is basically Wild Feathers' way of pointing fingers at those who demand instant success, which Wild Feathers themselves have certainly not begged for. They are nowhere near as well-known as, say, The Lumineers or The Civil Wars, but they don't seem to have a problem with that. Just as it should be, I say.

"Under the Influence" by Elle King: It took awhile for Elle King to taste the surprising amount of success she had with the spirited jazz-rock tune, "Ex's And Oh's", but once she got it, she got it big! The song was even huge enough for her to perform it at New Year's Rockin' Eve 2015, which is pretty unbelievable to me (but in a good way)!! Can her second big tune, "Under the Influence", measure up to the crazy catchiness of "Ex's And Oh's"?! You might not think so at first, but "Under the Influence" is the type of song that can sink under your skin within a matter of minutes! It is a slow song, but it is also rather seductive, as Elle seems to simultaneously complain and contemplate about just how intoxicating falling in love can be!

"Wide Open" by The Chemical Brothers (featuring Beck): I've never been that into The Chemical Brothers, as I'm really not much of a fan of techno music to begin with, but with Beck on their side, The Chemical Brothers seem as though they've been touched by magic. "Wide Open" is still techno enough for Chemical Brothers fans to enjoy, but it also has a sound that's more catchy and memorable than it is repetitive, and with Beck featured as the song's leading vocalist for most of it, he seems to give "Wide Open" the Midas touch and make it his own. It's the type of song that would feel equally at home in a club as it would in a bookstore. Music for your feet as well as your mind! How about that, eh?!