Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New songs for June 28th, 2017

here they are:

"Damaged One" by Big Head Todd and The Monsters: The "neo-Dead" jam bands of the early '90s seemed to either be complex like Phish and Widespread Panic, or they were more accessible to pop audiences the way that Spin Doctors or Blues Traveler were. Big Head Todd and The Monsters are unique among all these bands in that their brand of jam band music creates a balance between experimental jam band music and pop based jam band music, and they tend to have fans on both sides. Now soldiering on into their third decade as a band, Big Head Todd and The Monsters continue to rock with their latest song, "Damaged One". Lead singer, "Big Head" Todd Park Mohr, centers this song around how, presumably in a relationship of some sort, he was "already the damaged one". With the upbeat rock 'n' roll sound of this song, though, you'd never be able to tell!

"Don't Matter Now" by George Ezra: In late summer of 2014, George Ezra's peppy folk-rock tune, "Budapest", was the surprise alternative rock radio hit of the year! For a quiet sounding musician, his song sure made a lot of noise! 3 years later, in the early summer of 2017, George cranks out yet another song perfect for the summer season with "Don't Matter Now". The central message of the song seems to be, "Do what you can while you can, and try to have fun." The laid back theme of this song, combined with its happy brass section and even happier "doo-doo-doo"s punctuating the middle and end of the song, make this one a can't miss song for your next pool party or barbecue!

"Time's Always Leaving" by The Lone Bellow: This song still retains the roots-rock feel of most Lone Bellow songs, yet it also sounds more upbeat than most of their material does! The question is, why? The band have been through a lot of changes since they last released an album together. Zach and Brian are now dads, and Kanine is now a mom. Additionally, in a true country-rock move, they also moved from the tough rock 'n' roll streets of Brooklyn to country music haven, Nashville, within the three years it took for them to release this song. Even lyrically, "Time's Always Leaving" isn't exactly a happy song, what with its depiction of time as a "cruel mistress". Yet the trio sounds happier than they ever have before in this song. Go figure!

"Whole Wide World" by Cage the Elephant: "Stranger Than Fiction" fans, rejoice! The song that Will Ferrell's character, Harold Crick, sings in an attempt to seduce Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal), is now being covered by alt-rock group, Cage the Elephant! At the time of "Stranger Than Fiction"'s initial release to theaters, "Whole Wide World" was a little known melodic garage rock styled song by Wreckless Eric, who was sort of like a lesser known Elvis Costello or Joe Jackson. Yet now, for millions of people (myself included), "Whole Wide World" can't be thought of WITHOUT that scene from "Stranger Than Fiction". I'm guessing CTE were fans of the movie as well. After all, how else do you think they even know this song?! Matt Shultz and co do the song justice, retaining the original key, rhythm, and instrumentation so well that it'd be incredibly hard to tell this apart from the original! Now I just gotta wait for The Kooks to cover The Jam's "That's Entertainment" (also featured in "Stranger Than Fiction") and my life will be complete!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New songs for June 21st, 2017

here they are:

"Fool's Errand" by Fleet Foxes: Look up the phrase "fool's errand" online or in a dictionary and your answer will be, "a task with no hope or success". The Fleet Foxes song, "Fool's Errand", is NOT a fool's errand! Like many of Fleet Foxes' songs, "Fool's Errand" contains plenty of effort and emotion. For those who were a little miffed by the prog-rock-ish direction that Fleet Foxes took earlier this year with "Third of May", "Fool's Errand" might be a little easier to stomach, since it's more of a straight folk-rock song with no out of place meanderings in the middle. The "fool's errand" mentioned in the song, thankfully, is not the song itself, but a failed relationship, which is common subject matter in Fleet Foxes' songs, along with mysterious but alluring allegorical themes. Perhaps if I listen to this song more, I'll catch a hidden allegorical meaning(s) within it, but my first impression of this song is that it's already a good one!

"Golden Dandelions" by Barns Courtney: Barns Courtney blazed the alt and adult charts last spring and summer with his steamy, blues-y mega-hit, "Fire". This summer, he's already back with a new song, "Golden Dandelions". The hollow but catchy drumbeats that made "Fire" (and its followup hit, "Glitter And Gold") such a big hit are also present on "Golden Dandelions". A big difference between "Golden Dandelions" and Barns Courtney's previous songs is that it seems to want to sound more like a bright, energetic pop song, but even with that, "Golden Dandelions" still manages to win me over because it just sounds so unique! Plus, who wouldn't think of lyrics like "lay me down in golden dandelions" as being so full of vivid, poetic imagery?!

"The Man" by The Killers: The Killers release their first album in 4 years and we get...ummm...something that sounds like a cross between Daft Punk's "Da Funk" and The Who's "Eminence Front"?! Huh?!? How'd THIS happen?! Well, as weird as this description might sound, Brandon Flowers and co actually manage to make this song work in a way that only they can! So who is "the man", you might be wondering?! The answer is Brandon Flowers himself! However, no one is really sure if he's saying this because he has such a big ego (which I don't think he does, really) or because he's making fun of himself. The Killers' debut album from 2004 was actually filled with disco-meets-rock songs, so "The Man" actually sounds like an old Killers song instead of a new one! For those expecting the grandiose Springsteen/U2 type sound that The Killers had after their debut, you may be disappointed. For everyone else, Brandon Flowers really IS "the man"!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

New songs for June 14th 2017

here they are:

"Blue Magic" by Son Little: Son Little's debut song, "The River", brought 1950's style blues into the 21st century! Now, Son Little has turned more towards early 1970's R & B for "Blue Magic". Plenty of funky riffs interspersed with soothing wind instrumentation to be found here. Like its title implies, there is something magical about this song. It's as though you're floating on air when you listen to it!

"Call It Dreaming" by Iron & Wine: After a few albums of experimenting with a full band sound, Sam Beam returns to his acoustic roots with his latest song, "Call It Dreaming". There isn't a lot of instrumentation in this one aside from acoustic guitar and very light percussion. It may be getting close to summer right now, but for Sam, every day is autumn in bittersweet songs like this one. In the chorus of the song, he states, "Where we drift and call it dreaming, we can weep and call it singing". Pure poetry!

"Die Young" by Sylvan Esso: A song that came out around the time I was born by James Taylor stated, "never die young". Sylvan Esso take the opposite approach of what James did on their latest tune. This is evident as early as Sylvan Esso's opening lyrics for the song, "I was gonna die young", suggesting the song might be about an attempted suicide. The rather dour, minor key tone of "Die Young" isn't exactly heartwarming either. The soft to loud synth taking the lead on this song makes it seem like the folks at Nintendo decided to compose a grunge song. Live fast if you must, but please, never die young!

"Perfect Places" by Lorde: The New Zealand pop starlet continues to contemplate whether or not she wants such a status in her second big 2017 song, "Perfect Places". She repeatedly pines in the song how "it's just another graceless night" every time she goes out to hook up with someone. "Every night I live and die, meet somebody, take 'em home" is also a central line in this world weary song. By the end of the song, she wonders just what "perfect places" are to begin with, since every hookup she has just ends up in misery. This song might sound like pop music to the casual listener, but the lyrics seem to be the closest thing to Joy Division that an adolescent has attempted so far!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

New songs for June 7th 2017

here they are:

"Driver" by Billy Raffoul: This song has a rather slow buildup, but once it reaches that point it explodes! Billy Raffoul's husky, roots-rock vocals mix with vaguely Peter Gabriel-esque world-music-cum-rock-music during the verses. Once the chorus comes along, the guitars get slightly louder and ultimately crescendo into a loud, triumphant arena rock roar, slightly reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen or U2 circa the mid 1980's. Billy's debut song, "Driver", appears to be about him wanting to be in control during certain situations where he feels helpless otherwise. "Driver" is a very driven song, in more ways than one!

"Everything Now" by Arcade Fire: An appropriate song title for a band who really has covered everything. Arcade Fire have done it all, from folk-rock to post-punk to psychedelic to prog-rock. One thing they haven't covered (to my knowledge) is disco. Until now, that is. "Everything Now" is a 5 minute song that mixes sunshiny harmonies and melodies with groovy, soulful beats. As if that wasn't disco-y enough, the string section in this song even sounds a bit like ABBA. Arcade Fire are not ordinarily this bubbly and optimistic sounding, though, so perhaps there's a layer of cynicism beneath its bright surface. Win Butler might be trying to warn us here that instant gratification, which seems to be the central theme of this song, is not always a good thing.

"Holding On" by The War on Drugs: Mixing the grandiose yet earnest arena rock of Bruce Springsteen with the more understated but pristine vibes of Roxy Music, The War on Drugs' latest song, "Holding On", would not have been out of place on The War on Drugs' 2013 record. It combines The WOD's two "hits" from their previous album, using the relentless beat of "Red Eyes" and mixing it with the relative F sharp major key of "Under the Pressure". The Springsteen-ian chimes that come in during the chorus really help to distinguish this song from some of their other ones. "Holding On" is nothing life changing or groundbreaking, but it's a great song to escape into after a long, hard day of school or work.

"I Dare You" by The xx: Aside from Beach House, The xx are probably one of the only contemporary bands out there whose music is influenced by "dream pop" from the late '80s and early '90s. The Sundays, The Cranberries, and Cocteau Twins were some of the better known names from this subgenre back when it was first starting out. Although The xx's approach to this uses more keyboards than it does guitars, their song "I Dare You" definitely evokes the lush harmonies and ethereal vibe that those types of groups typically went for. The exchange between male and female vocals also sounds quite lovely on this track. Listening to this song is like floating on a cloud, just as heavenly and just as fluffy.

"Living In the City" by Hurray for the Riff Raff: Not since Cowboy Junkies covered The Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" in the late '80s has there been a song that blends country-rock with Lou Reed quite like this one does. Hurray for the Riff Raff's "Living In the City" is more upbeat than pretty much anything that Cowboy Junkies have done. HFTRR's lead singer Alynda Segarra is actually my age (29 years old) and hails from New Orleans, but this song makes it seem more like she's a New Yorker somewhere close to 70 with her spiky yet accessible urban lyrical poetry, slightly reminiscent of folks like Lou Reed and Patti Smith. As they say in "Rent", "Viva la vie Boheme!"