Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New songs for November 23rd, 2016

here they are:

"Cocoon" by Milky Chance: Yes, this is the same German folk-funk-rock duo who brought you the 2014 smash hit, "Stolen Dance". "Stolen Dance" was a great song, but knowing how Milky Chance's second big hit, "Flashed Junk Mind", was basically a copy of that song, I wasn't sure how Milky Chance would fare with a third big song in their repertoire. Thankfully, "Cocoon" is a good song. It employs the same combo of acoustic guitar strumming and hip-hop beats as their others, but it's not in the same key, making it distinct from "Stolen Dance" and "Flashed Junk Mind". The use of an electric guitar riff as a backing instrumental sound during the chorus (and even a brief electric guitar solo in the middle) also gives "Cocoon" a fresh enough flavor for Milky Chance's fans to fall in love with their music all over again.

"Come" by Jain: Jain is a French singer/songwriter whose name is probably pronounced like "John", but with a sound like the "-sio" part of the word "television" at the beginning instead of the "J" sound. Her breakthrough song, "Come", is like a fusion of different genres coming together into a single piece of music. It utilizes elements of electronica, folk music, jazz, and various types of world music. Its chorus, consisting of the words, "come and I'll show you the world", seems to be a wide-eyed idealistic romp inviting the soul of the listener to explore his/her surroundings in a playful yet all-knowing manner. If you thought music was running out of originality, you might wanna take a listen to this song!

"On Hold" by The xx: For those unfamiliar with the following indie-pop group, their name is not pronounced "the twenty" (XX is Roman numerals for 20), and nor is it some strange pronunciation like "the chk chk" or "the double asterisk". It is pronounced "the ex ex", exactly how it looks. Much like fellow indie-pop group, Warpaint, did earlier this fall, The xx are an already beloved indie group whose latest song is a bit more electro-pop than their fans are used to. That song, "On Hold", filters Andy Summers-esque guitar riffs through an artificially processed electro-pop beat. The switching between male and female lead vocals gives this song an interesting touch that is often more associated with folk-rock than it is with electro-pop. There is a rather dreamy, hypnotic ambiance about this song that most electro-pop groups don't have, with the notable exception of Ben Gibbard's side project, The Postal Service.

"You And I" by Colony House: Colony House are an indie-pop quartet whose sound is similar to what Imagine Dragons or American Authors might sound like if U2's The Edge was their guitarist. The song doesn't bring a whole lot of originality to the table, although it does get interesting in the middle of the song when its beat becomes a bit more slowed down and unsteady. Perhaps unsteadiness was the vibe they were trying to give off in this song, though, as it is a song about trying to cope with a fragile and volatile world. During the chorus, they place the blame on themselves ("Maybe the world isn't crazy. Maybe it's you and I") instead of the rest of the world. If only that was somehow true.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye! R.I.P. Leonard Cohen (and 3 other songs)

Just received the news last week that Leonard Cohen is no longer alive. Since he also released a new song recently, I will do the honors of reviewing his latest (and last) song. What a major loss for this year! Before that, though, here are 3 more songs:

"Follow the Leader" by Foxygen: You never know what to expect with Foxygen, and perhaps that's what's made them so big among indie fans. They debuted back in early 2013, and highlights from their debut album included the avant-funk-rock song "Shuggie" and the Velvet Underground-esque "No Destruction". "Follow the Leader" marks the third time I've heard a Foxygen song and the first time I'm reviewing one. The results end up sounding like a cross between an Electric Light Orchestra song circa 1976 and a Beck song circa 1996. Also, who is "the leader" that we are supposed to be following here? Well, according to the lyrics of this song, "the leader is you". That's great advice for the modern era!

"Human" by Rag N Bone Man: Between the hip-hop beats of this song and Rory "Rag N Bone Man" Graham's deep, soulful voice, it's not surprising to see that many of the YouTube comments for this song were "I can't believe this guy isn't black". Well, he isn't. He isn't even American, actually. He's a large, white British dude. But so what?! Black, white, large, short, British, American, when it all comes down to it, he's only human, as he states so powerfully and emotionally in his debut song! In addition to transcending racial barriers, "Human" also transcends genre barriers, with its hip-hop and R & B influenced sound currently racing up the predominantly rock dominated alternative charts. Music, after all, is colorblind, and it doesn't judge people in any other ways either.

"Lost On You" by LP: It's been 4 years since LP last had a hit song. She broke through in the summer of 2012 with a free-spirited folk-rock tune called "Into the Wild", which, in addition to its iconic sound, contained equally iconic lyrics, like, "Somebody left the gate open", "Come save us a runaway train goin' insane", and "How do we not fade away into the wild?" Its use in a Citibank commercial throughout that summer solidified the song's popularity during that time. She didn't have any other hits that year or the next, so I thought "Into the Wild" pretty much sealed the deal for LP and that there was no way she could top it. It appears I may be wrong with the release of her latest song, "Lost On You". Like "Into the Wild", "Lost On You" is a sprightly, earnest folk-rock song, though its sound and lyrics are both a bit more melancholy than that one was. True to its title, "Lost On You" has been lost on American audiences so far, at least in comparison to the massive airplay its gotten in European countries like Greece. Let's hope that American audiences will catch onto it just as quickly!

"You Want It Darker" by Leonard Cohen: And now, the moment you've all been waiting for. You should know that with a title like "You Want It Darker", dark is exactly what you're gonna get. This song is a gothic tinged folk-rock tune of sorts, a bit like the songs Cohen typically did in the 1980's. As ominous as it may sound instrumentally, though, it's a very sad song lyrically. Like David Bowie's "Lazarus" from late last year, Leonard Cohen's "You Want It Darker" is a song that deals with a person who knows that they are going to die soon (This is most certainly where the "I'm ready, my Lord" parts of the song come from). Like Bowie, Cohen inspired generation after generation of alt and indie rock musicians. People that Cohen has influenced include R.E.M., The Smiths, Jeff Buckley, Elliott Smith, and Bon Iver, all of whom mix a folk-rock sound with lyrics about isolation and loneliness. R.I.P. Leonard Cohen. You will truly be missed!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

New songs for November 2nd, 2015

here they are:

"Katchi" by Nick Waterhouse and Leon Bridges: What happens when a critically acclaimed surf-rock revivalist gets together with a critically acclaimed revivalist of '60s soul music?! You get one heck of a jazzy song, that's what! The "retro" flavor of "Katchi" is further enforced by its vocalized "doo-wop-a-doo-wop, dooby dooby doo-wop" opening. With its rhythmically choppy chords and blazin' hot sax, "Katchi" is pure retro-rockin' bliss! Just one question. What IS "Katchi"?! Nick Waterhouse says that his girl "gives him Katchi all night long" during the chorus but never explains what "Katchi" is. I guess I'll just leave that up to my imagination!!

"Rhythm and Blues" by The Head and The Heart: Since the more-successful-than-usual airplay The Head and The Heart had from their pop-iest song yet, "All We Ever Knew", I was curious nonetheless to find out what other songs on their newest album sounded like. "Library Magic" and "Colors" would not have been bad choices for the second single, but instead its "Rhythm and Blues", which is anything BUT a rhythm and blues song. As a matter of fact, it sounds almost as pop-y as "All We Ever Knew" did, except during its out-of-nowhere electric guitar solo. The song contains the lyrics "stepped on my blue suede shoes, you made Elvis go crazy", except it doesn't sound a THING like Elvis (Costello or Presley). The group's heart may be in the right place, but their head isn't. Oh well, one out of two ain't bad, right?

"S.O.S. (Overboard)" by Joseph: The all-girl indie-folk trio Joseph send an S.O.S. to the world in their second single (and apparently it goes overboard). Much like "Message In A Bottle" from decades before, "S.O.S." is a song that uses nautical metaphors to describe isolation from a loved one. While nowhere near as catchy (or literary) as The Police, Joseph's "S.O.S." is a fun song in its own right. The seaworthy metaphors in Joseph's song show up mostly in the chorus, with lyrics like "screaming underwater" and "alone and overboard".