here they are:
"Holy Commotion" by The Pretenders: Yes, THOSE Pretenders! The legendary rock group led by the sometimes sassy and sometimes sentimental Chrissie Hynde. Chrissie attempted a side project in 2010 and released a solo album two years ago, but she hasn't been on the scene with The Pretenders in 8 years! Just about everything she's done within those 8 years has echoes of her rock and roll past. "Holy Commotion" is kinda rock, but with a different twist than one might expect from The Pretenders. The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach has decided to produce their latest album, resulting in a fuzzy neo-psychedelic sound that also has synthesizers masquerading as skittering steel drums. I currently have mixed feelings about this song, but it's not a bad one, and I think in time it'll probably grow on me like many of the songs I've reviewed have.
"Packed Powder" by Blind Pilot: After hearing the buoyant but glossy "Umpqua Rushing" from earlier this summer, "Packed Powder" is a more straight-up folk-rock tune that seems to encapsulate the simplistic yet alluring sound that Blind Pilot are typically known for. It also provides a more subtle, autumnal song for the upcoming season as the happy, blissful "Umpqua Rushing" did for the summer. "Packed Powder" also has a fittingly introspective lyrical theme about trying to find yourself and knowing your strengths. The electric guitar solo and horn solo towards the end don't seem too out of place for this song, actually, even though it is primarily an acoustic rock tune.
"Radio" by Sylvan Esso: Lyrically, this is basically Elvis Costello's "Radio Radio" minus the repetition of the titular word, with its mentions of being a "slave to the radio" and its claims that the subject of the song is "sucking American d**k". Musically, though, "Radio" is neither punk nor power pop. Instead, it's more of a glammed out techno-pop song. Both the fast beat of this song and its scathing (albeit still quirky) lyrics are quite a surprise coming from the indie-pop duo who was previously best known for the quaint, slow pseudo-baroque-pop summer singalong known as "Coffee".
"Sure And Certain" by Jimmy Eat World: Though Jimmy Eat World's biggest hit, "The Middle", came out in 2001, the song quickly became a favorite of the last remaining fans of the post-grunge genre. Unlike most of the post-grunge influenced bands of the early '00s, Jimmy Eat World was not "nu-metal". Instead, they were an emo group, albeit with more of a subtle sense of humor than most groups who carried such a label. "Sure And Certain" might as well have come out DURING the post-grunge era. It wouldn't sound out of place on a rock radio station that was popular in 1996, '97, or '98. If it weren't for Jim Adkins' distinctive vocals, "Sure And Certain" could easily be in the hands of a band like Semisonic, Third Eye Blind, or Everclear. Familiar '90s rock hits like Dishwalla's "Counting Blue Cars" and Tonic's "If You Could Only See" are both pretty similar to "Sure And Certain" as well. So grab some flannel, put on your Doc Martens, and let's rock!
"Surrender Under Protest" by Drive-by Truckers: "Southern rock" is usually remembered specifically as a musical phenomenon of the 1970's. The three biggest names within the genre, after all, are typically The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and ZZ Top. The only other time it was really kept alive was in the early '90s by The Black Crowes. This basically makes Drive-by Truckers seem like a 21st century answer to The Black Crowes to me. There haven't been a whole lot of other groups from the past 16 years who have really kept the Southern rock sound so fresh and alive. Their latest song, "Surrender Under Protest", in spite of its overall Southern sound, does not evoke the music of a Southerner, but rather, a Canadian. Both the vocals and the instrumentation of "Surrender Under Protest" sound like Neil Young. In spite of DBT's Southern nationality, they are not right-wingers, but left-wingers, and "Surrender Under Protest" reflects their left-wing politics like no other song they've done so far. The song contains anti-slavery and anti-Second Amendment sentiments that would probably bode better with Neil Young fans than it would with Lynyrd Skynyrd fans.
"Waste A Moment" by Kings of Leon: In true rock fashion, Kings of Leon make a dynamic musical declaration using only two chords with their latest song, "Waste A Moment". Caleb Followill's urgent message of "take your time, don't waste a moment" during the chorus pretty much states what the point of the song is. KOL do not waste a single moment making a buzzingly catchy song like they usually do here. This is one of those songs that is just ripe and ready for radio airplay from the moment it is released, so it'll probably wind up being one of the biggest hits of Fall 2016!