Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A D-lightful pair of songs!

Only two songs this week, and they both begin with the same letter. Here they are:

"Darling" by Real Estate: A hypnotic, tantalizing swirl of psych-pop guitars and new wave synths grace the first minute and a half of this song without vocals. Once the vocals kick in, they sound halfway between sweet and dazed, fitting for this song. Not a whole lot here in the lyrical department, which is basically a love song with nature related images for its words, such as black and yellow finches, the sun, and the moon. The F, C, G pattern of the chords continues throughout this song too. The hazy, loopy, yet still melodic vibe of this song make me think that the "real estate" these guys bought was probably somewhere up in Santa Cruz, or maybe Haight-Ashbury!

"Devil's Teeth" by Muddy Magnolias: The eras this song goes for is basically any time but now! Soul, blues, bluegrass, and garage rock fuse into one genre for this song. No auto-tune, samples from other songs, or synthesizers to be found here. The spooky but fun title of this song makes it sound sorta blues-y, and that's pretty much exactly what you'll get when you hear this song! Come to think of it, the "Muddy" part of the band's moniker makes me think of legendary blues singer, Muddy Waters. I'm pretty sure that's not merely coincidence!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

New songs for the day after Valentine's Day

here they are:

"Blame" by Bastille: You would have never expected the "Pompeii" hitmakers to pull off a song that uses glam rock style guitar fuzz, did you? Well, nor did I, but so far I'm liking the new direction Bastille have gone in. Queen seems to have been a particular influence on Bastille's latest material, as has been evident so far from the "Under Pressure" soundalike "Good Grief", and now with the blazing hot opening riffs of Bastille's latest song, "Blame", as well. Perhaps the forceful, compelling sound of "Blame" was intentional in order to reflect the dark lyrical themes of the song, centering around a gang fight. Musical battles haven't been this exciting since Michael Jackson told us to "Beat It" back in 1982!

"In A Black Out" by Hamilton Leithauser: If you were hoping that the next song I reviewed for the week would be more peaceful, then you got your wish! "In A Black Out" has a nice little rippling sound throughout that reminds me of the flowing of a river, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who notices that. It can be viewed as a peaceful song, but it can also be viewed as bittersweet due to some of the lyrics it has, such as "I live in a nameless town" and "many friends have said goodbye". The "blackout" Hamilton appears to be experiencing does not seem to be a scary or sudden one and is instead more of a state of sadness.

"Love Do What It Do" by Robert Randolph (featuring Darius Rucker from Hootie & The Blowfish): Hootie and The Blowfish provided some calm to the otherwise angst-y rock of the '90s. Nothing wrong with that, but when Darius went country I decided not to pay attention to him anymore. Until now, that is, because I do love me some blues-rock every once in awhile, and Robert Randolph knows how to lay down some mean blues! Surprisingly, the vocals of Hootie frontman blend in quite well with the blues-y guitar chops of Robert Randolph. The message of the song is pretty much spelled out in the title of the song, and is literally spelled out in the chorus as Darius passionately sings, "L-O-V-E, love! Let it do what it do!"

"Reverend" by Kings of Leon: Not nearly as compelling as their 2016 mega-hit, "Waste A Moment", but then again the sophomore singles from new albums tend to be like that. Still, though, "Reverend" is worth the listen since it does contain the 21st century indie-cum-arena-rock that KOL have now become known for. The chorus of the song uses a rather strange metaphor, comparing the passion of a lover to a "reverend on the radio". Huh?! Well, perhaps Caleb Followill is not speaking about his relationship with a partner, but his relationship with God. After all, the members of the band were all the sons of a United Pentecostal Minister!

"They Put A Body In the Bayou" by The Orwells: We're probably never going to know who put a body in the bayou, or what the name of the person was to whom the body belonged to, for that matter. What we do know is that The Orwells are one fiery, kickin' rock group whose sound blends garage rock with blues rock in a similar manner to groups like The Black Keys, The White Stripes, and the harder edged Cage the Elephant songs. The lyrics of "They Put A Body In the Bayou" center around a girl who died of drug addiction at an early age, but instead of treating this as sad or sorrowful subject matter, The Orwells inject all their fury and righteous anger into this powerhouse track that has woken up the monster that is rock and roll!

"Where's the Revolution?" by Depeche Mode: Not since their 2009 track, "Wrong", has there been such a heavily anticipated Depeche Mode song. It is because of the mysterious and tumultuous state of current political affairs that the notoriously gloomy 1980's electro-rock group Depeche Mode have decided to release a new track, and their complaints can be detected right from the title of their song! Where IS the revolution?! DM rage against the electoral college machine and answer the titular question as best they can with a palpable, scathing sense of anger! If it wasn't for the recognizable vocals of Dave Gahan, this could easily be a Nine Inch Nails track! As T. Rex's Marc Bolan once proclaimed in song during the Nixon era, "You won't fool the children of the revolution!"

"Young Lady, You're Scaring Me" by Ron Gallo: Actually it's a young MAN named Ron who's scaring ME into thinking that we've somehow traveled back in time to the mid 1960's! Echoes of many epic '60s rock tunes, ranging from Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe" to The Chambers Brothers' "Time Has Come Today" to The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy For the Devil" can all be heard in this psychedelic blues-rock tune! The song just seems to be about a guy falling in love with a girl, but the tune itself is enough to wake up dead rock and roll zombies and get them on their feet dancin' and jammin' the night away! Long live rock and roll!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New songs for February 8th 2017

here they are:

"Ballad of the Dying Man" by Father John Misty: Father John Misty continues to prove himself to be more indie than indie with each song he releases! This includes his latest song, the Beatle-esque "Ballad of the Dying Man". The chord progression is reminiscent of some of The Beatles' more progressive leaning tunes, such as "A Day In the Life" and "Sexy Sadie". Lyrically, "Ballad of the Dying Man" is also rather progressive, as it is one of the rare modern songs to take on a narrative perspective instead of a more direct one. It's obvious that FJM is trying to make his listeners sympathize with his character from the song's bittersweet lyrics and its equally bittersweet sound. What will he think of next?!

"Believer" by Imagine Dragons: Princess Peach from the "Mario" games is about to have her castle stormed by dragons! Imagine Dragons, that is, and I say this because it was a recent Nintendo ad that propelled Imagine Dragons' latest song, "Believer", on such a quick path to popularity among its listeners! As if that wasn't enough, it was also an ad featured in the Superbowl. Imagine Dragons never fail to excite, and "Believer" is definitely the sort of song to keep you on your feet when you're in the mood for it! As is typical of ID's material, "Believer" is a lively, dynamic song with somewhat sad lyrics behind it (about how "pain makes you a believer"). Given both the song's success in a video game company commercial and the in-your-face arena rock quality of Imagine Dragons' music, perhaps they should consider renaming themselves "Mario's Speedwagon"!

"Love Is Mystical" by Cold War Kids: Here is yet another song that has that indie-pop-cum-arena-rock type of sound! Cold War Kids started out being more straight up indie, but ever since the unexpected success of their song, "First", they seem to have adjusted their sound to be more fitting for a more massive mainstream audience. The song only has three chords, but it certainly makes its central statement known! Love is indeed mystical. It is also energetic and worth celebrating, as the vibe of this song has proven to me!

"Poetry" by Ray Davies: Yes, THAT Ray Davies! The lead singer of the legendary rock group, The Kinks. Those expecting a song like "Lola" or "You Really Got Me" might be a little disappointed, though. This song is more like a modernized update on the sorts of songs that Buffalo Springfield or Crosby, Stills, & Nash might have been likely to do, in terms of its sound. For those who know that alt-country group, The Jayhawks, are backing him up on this song, its Americanized folk-rock sound should come as no surprise. The song is a bittersweet lament on what the world is missing today - poetry! "Where is the poetry?" Ray mournfully inquires during the song's chorus. Ray, you're MAKING poetry just by performing this song and singing it!

"Ran" by Future Islands: There have been quite a few songs called "Run". Vampire Weekend, Collective Soul, Snow Patrol, and Eric Clapton have all done different songs with that same title. Future Islands, on the other hand, have now released what is, to my knowledge, the first song of which the title is the past tense of the word "run", as opposed to its present tense form. During the height of their popularity in summer 2014 with "Seasons (Waiting On You)", I saw them in concert and expected "Seasons" to be the only song they would be known for. "Ran" has proven me wrong. Similar to "Seasons...", "Ran" is a modern-day synth-pop song in the key of B flat major. The yearning, lovelorn lyrics of "Ran", combined with the key it is in, seem to make it serve as a "sequel song" to "Seasons...". In "Seasons...", Sam Herring sang about how he was "waiting on" his loved one for such a long time that it made him ache inside. In "Ran", Sam seems to come to the realization that he was waiting in vain, asking his lover, "What's a song without you, when every song is about you?" Those who will be single this coming Valentine's Day just got one more song to listen to thanks to Future Islands!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

New songs for February 1st 2017

here they are:

"High Ticket Attractions" by The New Pornographers: The indie-pop band with a scandalous name now has a song with an equally scandalous sound (in a good way)! "High Ticket Attractions" sounds like what The Cars would sound like without guitar solos. In true, biting-the-hand, indie-pop fashion, The NP's have crafted out a pop song that sounds mindlessly happy, but actually seems to be a "take that" to the music biz upon closer lyrical examination. Even the song's title, "High Ticket Attractions", sounds somewhat sarcastic, as though the band is mocking other groups who revel in their own success.

"Jackpot" by Nikki Lane: Nikki Lane's slick brand of country-rock never really hit me until now. "Jackpot" IS a jackpot, in a few different ways! The song gets its title and subject matter from its lyrical themes of scoring big bucks in Las Vegas, but Miss Lane also hits the "jackpot" by combining country music style twang with Little Richard style energy! The main riff in the song is similar to Led Zeppelin's "Rock And Roll" (which itself borrowed from Little Richard's "Keep-A-Knockin'"), and if that isn't a throwback enough to the early days of rock 'n' roll, Nikki also sings the words "Viva Las Vegas" during the chorus, which, of course, were first uttered exuberantly by Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'N' Roll himself! This song is proof that what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas!

"Keep It Between the Lines" by Sturgill Simpson: From country-rock to country-soul! The multitalented Sturgill Simpson, whose name has become a little more well-known lately thanks to his recent "Saturday Night Live" appearance, churns out another kickin' tune in his repertoire! "Keep It Between the Lines" combines the best of both Memphis worlds. It has Memphis soul with blaring, spirited saxes a la Otis Redding combined with guitars giving off a country twang in the background to remind people of the genre more associated with the famous Tennessee town. It might come as a surprise to some, then, that Sturgill isn't actually from Tennessee. He is from Kentucky, though, and they do call that the Bluegrass State!