Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New songs for April 27th, 2016

here they are:

"Best Kept Secret" by case, lang, and veirs: What happens when three solo female performers of folk-rock get together to form a group?! Well, they become case, lang, and veirs, likely written all in lowercase because k.d. lang writes her name that way (she is the "lang" in this group). The other two are Neko Case and Laura Veirs, both folk-rockers of the indie era. Case is from the state of Washington, Veirs is from the indie-nerd town of Portland, Oregon, and k.d. lang isn't even from the States, yet their song "Best Kept Secret" isn't about any of those places. Instead, it is an ode to someone who lives in none other than my hometown, Los Angeles. More specifically, it is about someone who lives in hipster haven, Silverlake, which is where my dad currently resides. Laura Veirs is the lead vocalist for this track. She projects her quirky Portlandian ways onto another city full of neo-bohemians in "Best Kept Secret" (which, I guess, is no longer a secret!)

"There Will Be Time" by Mumford and Sons (featuring Baaba Maal): This is not a song from Mumford and Sons' latest album, and is instead a song that is currently being released only as a single. Times have not been easy for M & S, for although they have been well-received by general audiences, they have not been taken very seriously by "real" rock fans who probably think that rock history ended with the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994. Thankfully, "There Will Be Time" has gotten an overwhelmingly positive response so far on YouTube. Perhaps part of the reason why is because it features Mumford and Sons going in a new direction with their music while still keeping relatively true to the sound they've become known for. In regards to how the song sounds, all I can say is that some member(s) of M & S must be big Paul Simon fans. A few years ago, they covered the Simon and Garfunkel song, "The Boxer", and this time around, they're going for a sound that is evocative of Paul Simon's "Graceland" album. "There Will Be Time" features African musician Baaba Maal on backing vocals, making it even more like a "Graceland" song than it already seems to be!

"Trouble" by Cage the Elephant: Cage got their rock 'n' roll groove back in fall of last year with "Mess Around"! It felt like that song was never gonna go away, but like all songs, its popularity eventually faded away, and a bit quicker than I thought it would, too. In its place is the much calmer, more dreamy sounding song, "Trouble". The song seems to be about the hope for love to right all the wrongs in the lead singer's romantic life. Amidst both the weariness of the lyrical theme and the lightness of its sound, though, there is still some cleverness within "Trouble" during the part when Matt Shulz says that "the wicked get no rest", a reference to CTE's first big hit, "Ain't No Rest For the Wicked".

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

New songs for April 20th 2016

here they are:

"Ain't No Man" by The Avett Brothers: People who know The Avett Brothers for primarily being a country-rock group may be in for quite a surprise when they hear this one! "Ain't No Man" is more funky than it is country. Not an acoustic guitar or banjo to be found anywhere in this song. Instead, this song is dominated by sleek, smooth bass riffs. In addition to being The Avetts' funkiest song so far, "Ain't No Man" is also their happiest sounding song!

"Better Man" by Leon Bridges: The only other song for this week is also a funky one, but neo-soul sensation Leon Bridges knows funk like the back of his hand! "Coming Home" and "Smooth Sailin'" have both become adult alt megahits and they both have a sound that hearkens back to the days of '60s soul music. "Better Man" follows in the footsteps of those two songs in terms of its sound. The central message of this song is a simple but powerful plea, in which Leon states that he "doesn't want much" and "just wants to be a better man". Leon, there's no need for you do any better. You're already plenty good sounding to me!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

New songs for April 13th, 2016

here they are:

"Wish I Knew You" by The Revivalists: This is only the third song that The Revivalists have a had an adult alt radio hit with, yet they're already starting to make changes to their music! The Revivalists first two hits made me believe that they were a New Orleans R & B band. While they are from New Orleans, "Wish I Knew You" proves that R & B is not the only genre they like. It still has jazzy sax parts and a funky backbeat, but its guitar playing is decidedly folky in comparison to their other two hit songs. "Wish I knew you when I was young, we could have got so high", David Shaw soulfully croons during the chorus. Before any you of you go off assuming that this song is about drugs, it is probably more of a spiritually yearning sort of song about wanting to get to know someone before he/she passed away.

"Wristband" by Paul Simon: With alternative metal band Disturbed having had a surprise hit this year with a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence", perhaps it only figures that Simon himself was also inclined to make a record this year, perhaps in part because of his song becoming a hit again after many decades (Simon said that he liked Disturbed's version of his song in a recent interview). "Wristband", though, is neither folk nor metal. Instead, it is a song that retains the rhythmically driven African roots sound that Paul Simon cultivated on his "Graceland" record. The lyrics of "Wristband" also have a similarly spiritual theme to what a lot of the "Graceland" songs had, revolving around a place where "if you don't have a wristband, you can't get through the door" (Heaven, perhaps?) With Simon's mention of St. Peter and the Pearly Gates during one of the verses of "Wristband", it seems pretty likely that he's referring to the celestial abode of the Man Upstairs.

"You And I" by Margaret Glaspy: A raspy voiced white girl leading Alabama Shakes? A young woman leading T. Rex? These descriptions would probably sound farfetched for any other song except for this one, the debut song from sassy, rockin' California native, Margaret Glaspy. If this song has anything to teach us, it's that looks can be deceiving! With her petite, demure appearance, you'd probably expect her to be a folksinger of some sort, but she isn't. Her lyrics are pretty sour as well, especially when she bluntly states that she "doesn't give a f**k". Elsewhere in the song, Glaspy basically cuts her ex-lover down in just two and a half minutes!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

New songs for April 6th, 2016

here they are:

"Can't Let You Do It" by Eric Clapton: In recent years (roughly since this blog started up, actually) Eric Clapton has been successful at escaping soppy love ballads like "Wonderful Tonight" and returning back to his blues-y roots. The guitar legend's latest tune, "Can't Let You Do It", is yet another of his blues-rock songs. It has rockin' riffs and a funky backbeat to boot! In some respects, it almost sounds like a more rock-oriented version of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition", as both songs share a similar rhythmic pattern and are also both in the key of E.

"Handclap" by Fitz and The Tantrums: How did Fitz and The Tantrums go from Motown revivalists to alt-pop chart-toppers?! That may be a question that nobody knows the answer to! What I do know, however, is that FATT's latest song, "Handclap", does have one thing in common with pretty much all the songs in their catalog. It's catchy! The title alone seems to indicate this, but once you get into the song and hear the chorus, which contains both actual hand clapping and the words "I can make your hands clap", you probably won't be able to get it out of your head (or out of your feet!) This song, to quote another recent hit song, is "all about that bass". The actual bass, that is. The thumping of the bass pretty much defines this song, a song which could be said to be the missing link between Gorillaz and Gwen Stefani.

"Trailer" by Mudcrutch: Tom Petty's old backing group before The Heartbreakers, in case you were wondering who Mudcrutch was. In spite of this, Mudcrutch never had a successful album until 2008, spawning two adult alt radio hits with "Scare Easy" and a cover of The Byrds' "Lover of the Bayou". Why it's taken them 8 years to record a followup album is anyone's guess, but better late than never. If Mudcrutch had any songs under their belt before their albums got released that sounded simliar to their known material, it could be the reason behind why some of Petty's biggest hits, such as "American Girl" and "The Waiting", have a bit of a Byrds-y sound, as a lot of Mudcrutch's songs sound combines the jangle of The Byrds' material with the more ragged, roots-y sound of Neil Young. "Trailer" is pretty much more of the same from Mudcrutch, more roots and more jangle. It is perhaps worth noting, though, that this song is also full of harmonica solos, which weren't heard in "Scare Easy" or "Lover of the Bayou".