here they are:
"All We Ever Knew" by The Head and The Heart: Well, this isn't ALL we ever knew about The Head and The Heart, that's for sure! Their signature piano sound is still the centerpiece of their latest track, "All We Ever Knew", but the roots-y down-homy-ness that the band has been known for seems like it's vanished from their work in this song. Instead, we get a clap-heavy, brightly colored sing-along punctuated by "la-la's" in between that seems like Josiah, Chris, Charity, and co's attempt at gaining a hit on the pop airwaves. There's a bit of salvation for old school Head & The Heart fans during the middle and end of the song where a violin sound appears, but for the most part, this song just doesn't seem the same as the others by the happy-with-their-sound band I saw about two summers ago at the Hollywood Bowl. I guess one thing the band IS starting to pick up on that I hadn't noticed in their other songs is lyrical dissonance. Witness, for instance, when Josiah sings, "You don't see why your world has no love to give? Well, what goes around comes around." Very cutting lyrics for such a happy song, dont'cha think?!
"Grand Canyon" by The Wind and The Wave: A song that opens with the lyrics, "Down to your skivvies at the watering hole, gonna get you wet, gonna save your soul" just gets you in the mood for summertime, doesn't it?! (Not to mention that upbeat acoustic guitar based sound before the lyrics come in). The title of the song as well, "Grand Canyon", also evokes summery images. Guy-girl folk-rock duo, The Wind and The Wave, sure know how to release a song at the right time of year, don't they?! The title of the song comes from lead vocalist Patricia Lynn Drew's insistence in the song that "You haven't lived until you've gone to the Grand Canyon". The fun, free spirited vibe of the song's rhythm is just as fun and free spirited as its lyrics and the delivery in which they're sung. Next stop, the beach!
"Low Life" by X Ambassadors (featuring Jamie N Commons): Despite Jamie N Commons' "Rumble And Sway" becoming one of the most played songs of 2013 on adult alt stations, not a lot of people seem to know who Jamie N Commons is, and he hasn't had a hit since then (until now, that is). As for X Ambassadors?! Who DOESN'T know "Renegades"?! The song was all over the radio and commercials in summer of last year, and their followup hit, the more melancholy but still memorable "Unsteady", was almost as inescapable. "Low Life" is what happens when alt-pop superstars join forces with a blues-y jazzy one-hit wonder, a combination that no one was probably anticipating, but a good one nonetheless. This is by far the blues-iest and jazziest song that X Ambassadors have had so far, and perhaps a song that could gain them a new audience in the process. Lead vocalist Sam Harris repeatedly claims he's "nothing but a low life" in this song, but he sure doesn't SOUND like a low life. He sounds like anything but, as a matter of fact!
"Never Gonna See Me Cry" by Good Old War: GOW are a good band, to be sure, but I'm just not feelin' it with the songs on their latest album. Their previous hit, "Tell Me What You Want From Me" just seemed to have way too much shiny, clean pop production, but at least it had the band's trademark folk-y guitar sound. In "Never Gonna See Me Cry", there isn't even a hint of acoustic guitar. Judging from the solo of the song, GOW seem to want to be going the other way around, actually, though it's mostly just a plain ol' pop song as far as I can tell. You're never gonna see me cry with this song, but you are gonna see me disappointed. It's not terrible, though.
"Opening Statement" by Hard Working Americans: Roots-rock supergroup Hard Working Americans are already releasing their sophomore album! It seemed like their debut was more recent than that, but it was actually from December 2013. Anyway, the slow burning roots-rock sound of HWA's "Opening Statement" is kinda similar to their debut single, "Down to the Well". Todd Snider's vocals are also similar to how they were on "Down to the Well". Nothing exactly remarkable about "Opening Statement", but it's still worth listening to on days when you just want to laze about and not have to worry about anything, 'cause it just gives off that kinda vibe.
"Wow" by Beck". Wow! Just...wow! That's all I gotta say about this one! OK, so it's not THAT impressive, but this IS Beck we're talkin' about here, so the title fits the song at least somewhat. Like his 2015 song, "Dreams", "Wow" is a single-only song that takes on the form of neo-psychedelic dance-pop. "Wow" actually hearkens back to Beck's early days with its zonked out hip-hop influenced rhythm. The chorus only contains two phrases, "It's like 'wow'" and "It's like right now", but they stick in your head like glue from dawn 'till dusk once you hear "Wow" for the first time. The self-proclaimed "loser" does it again, folks!