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?!