here they are:
"Cold to See Clear" by Nada Surf: Nada Surf's biggest pop chart hit, "Popular", from 1996, wouldn't really be a good way to introduce someone to Nada Surf for the first time. About a decade after that song's heyday, Nada Surf decided to focus far more on doing Byrds-y jangle-pop with catchy, melodic pop hooks than they did on pseudo-grunge songs like "Popular". Nada Surf's latest song, "Cold to See Clear", is no exception to that rule. The lush harmonies, the jangle of the main guitar, and the catchy beats of the percussion are all central elements of "Cold to See Clear". The song might be an ode to the joy of music itself, with its chorus consisting of lyrics like, "The airwaves they took me, the radio made me". For a band with a knack for well planned song craft, Nada Surf might give you the impression that they may as well be singing about themselves in "Cold to See Clear"!
"Devil In Me" by Anderson East: For those who have only heard the soul-infused "Satisfy Me" from Anderson East so far, you may be wondering why a man who seems like the white answer to Otis Redding is dating country-pop star Miranda Lambert. The answer to that may be right here in the song slated to be Anderson's second big tune, "Devil In Me". In spite of its saucy title, "Devil In Me" is a far more mellow and country influenced tune than "Satisfy Me". The song isn't a total snooze-fest, though, as it does boast equal amounts of influence from gospel and jazz as it does from country. "Devil In Me" might just be about Miranda, since the song centers around an "angel" who "brings out the devil" in Anderson.
"Mr. Rodriguez" by Rayland Baxter: "Searching For Sugar Man" fans, rejoice! A song about the formerly obscure '60s folk-rock musician Rodriguez has finally arrived in the form of fellow folk-rocker Rayland Baxter's song, "Mr. Rodriguez". The song has a rather neo-psychedelic, light indie-pop flavor, a marked contrast to the autumnal, Dylan-esque folk of "Yellow Eyes" that introduced people to Rayland Baxter in fall of last year. "Mr. Rodriguez" is Baxter's attempt to whisk his listeners away into a fantasy land in Detroit in which him and the titular character take a stroll downtown. Outta sight, man!
"Need A Friend" by El Vy: Much like El Vy's first major hit, "Return to the Moon", "Need A Friend" is yet another Matt Berninger song that is more uptempo than his more gloomy and dour work with The National. The rhythm of "Need A Friend" draws the listener in from the very beginning with its beats accented on the second and fourth measures, a pattern that has been used in many songs from The Grateful Dead's "Truckin'" to Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus", the latter of which "Need A Friend" bears a vague resemblance to. A sort of neo-psychedelic pop sound defines both the spacey synthesizer and fuzz drenched guitar that "Need A Friend" is centered around.
"Quiet Corners And Empty Spaces" by The Jayhawks: Fans of the late, great Alex Chilton might be quick to label The Jayhawks' latest song, "Quiet Corners And Empty Spaces", as an alt-country rewrite of Big Star's "September Gurls". It does seem as though Gary Louris and co have looked to Big Star as an influence, in addition to many other '60s and '70s pop/rock groups, such as The Beatles, The Byrds, and Crosby Stills & Nash, among others. Aside from nostalgia, print media is another source that the 'Hawks have drawn from in "Quiet Corners And Empty Spaces", the title of which was taken from random words one of the members cut from newspaper and magazine articles. The lyrical theme of "Quiet Corners..." continues in the footsteps of The Jayhawks' last big song, "Hide Your Colors", which was about struggling with a relationship, much like this one is. The Jayhawks have managed to charm me once again with this song by doing what they do best, combining Byrds-y 12-string guitars, folk-rock harmonies, and catchy, memorable hooks.