Here’s another batch of songs that I’ve grown to like or love recently. There are releases new and old and upcoming among this group of tunes, so soak ’em all in if you haven’t heard ’em yet. Enjoy, loyal TWJ readers!
“The Mama Papa” By Plants And Animals (From La La Land, out April 20 on Secret City Records) – Plants And Animals keep it rocking for a solid 4 minutes on this, one of the songs from their forthcoming LP.
“Jackie Wants A Black Eye” By Dr. Dog (From Shame, Shame, out April 6 on Anti, Inc.) – When I saw Dr. Dog live at Austin City Limits last October, I was acquainted but not incredibly familiar with their catalog. Their live show in the 90-degree heat of Austin, TX was full of great energy, bright colors and fun tunes like this one from their newest album. They’ve managed to take their retro vibe and sort of distill it into an updated 60’s sing-along. I really love the chorus: “We’re all in it together now, cause we all fall apart. And were swapping little pieces, of our broken little hearts.” Sweet and full of energy, much like their live show.
“Bloodbuzz Ohio” By The National (From High Violet, out May 11 on Beggars Banquet) – To say that I’m anticipating The National’s High Violet would only be stating the obvious, both for me and for the thousands of fans they’ve won since emerging from the Cincinnati, Ohio area to make beautiful, melodic music. They are one of the more unique acts around, capable of moving, melodic tunes that are carefully crafted and manage to evolve their sound in new and interesting ways. I still can’t figure out what it is I love about Matt Berninger’s vocals, but something about them gets to me, man. FYI, you can download this song for free on the band’s site for entering your email address. I’m salivating for this new record.
“Compliments” By Band of Horses (From Infinite Arms, out May 18 on Sub Pop) – Band of Horses just rock it out. I mean they stroke their beards and contemplate the meaning of life, too, I’m sure. But mostly, they rock really hard. And I can’t wait for their new album, anticipated in the middle of next month. This is the lead single from said album, and it’s a rollicking good time. I would love to see BOH live, but can’t anytime soon because they’re on tour with Pearl Jam, who charges anywhere from 60 to 80 dollars for tickets. Their music will tide me over until that day comes, I assure you.
“Rather Be With You” By Yukon Blonde (From Yukon Blonde, out now on Bumstead Records) – Yukon Blonde ride the classic-rock wave well. And they write harmony-driven, kickass songs that are perfect to chill to. We’ve written about them before, and this is the newest single from their self-titled record. Enjoy the vibe, man!
“My Propeller” By Arctic Monkeys (From My Propeller EP, out now on Domino) – I know, I know, Matt posted this song not too long ago, but I had to include it here. I can’t help but wondering how artists hold onto all these B-sides when they’re really solid songs. Example: This gem from Arctic Monkeys, placed on an EP of the same name that was released late last month. The other cool thing is that it’s somewhat a stylistic departure for the band, who I fell in love with after hearing the rambunctious Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not what seems like many years ago. Also, this song seems to me to be a sexual metaphor. His propeller won’t spin, and in order to get it started he needs this special someone to arrive. Hmm…
“Home (RAC Mix)” By Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (From Up From Below, out now on Community Music/Fairfax Recordings) – What would it sound like if a hippie commune with a charismatic male leader recorded a song that’s a reflection on the phrase “Home Is Where The Heart Is”? Umm, something like this. RAC, or Andre Allen Anjos, as he’s known in the human world, has a knack for constructing new layers around songs that are already great. His mix of this song from Edward Sharpe and the gang just gives it a little extra punch, and for that we should thank him. Original’s stellar, so is this slight reinterpretation.
“Home” By She And Him (From Volume Two, out now on Merge Records) – This is without a doubt my favorite song off the newest collaboration between M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel. A sunny vibe, some nice guitar riffs and Deschanel’s sweetheart croon of “I wanna be where your heart is home” are plenty for me to enjoy. Hope it is for you, too.
“All to All” By Broken Social Scene (From Forgiveness Rock Record, out May 4 on Arts & Crafts Productions) – I’m not quite sure what to make of this, one of three singles released so far from BSS’ soon-to-be-released new album. I like it, I’m just not sure I love it. But it does make me want the new album. So I guess it’s done its job. The layered effects and vocals are nice, as are the violins that enter about 3 minutes into the song. Check it out.
“Kisses” By Kisses (From The Heart of the Nightlife, out December 28 on Surrounded By Sound) – I don’t know much about Kisses except that they sound like Hot Chip only a little less vibrant. But I dig this song and its beat, and think it’s worth a listen.
“Love” By Snowglobe (From Little More Lived In, out May 4 on Makeshift Music) – I first listened to Snowglobe’s Oxytocin when I was at a college radio station many moons ago. When I saw they have a new album coming out, I was oddly excited. They piece together simple melodies with guitars, pianos and even throw in some “ooh ahh” vocals and found sound clips to create a fun feeling. This is a sweet, enjoyable song about the whole “for better or for worse” part of — you guessed it — love.
“The Only Thing” By Orba Squara (From Sunshyness, out now on Res Freq Recordings) – Okay, this record came out in 2007. And OKAY, I heard this song a Sun Chips commercial while at home sick about a week ago. The point is, I love it, it’s adorable, and you should listen to it. That’s all you need to know. Don’t judge me :).
“Final Chapter” By Walking Sleep (From Measures, out May 25, self-released) – Walking Sleep used to be called The Flying Tourbilllon Orchestra. If that weren’t cool enough, they give us a pretty kickass rock song here. There’s some tight male-female harmonies, some jangly guitars and a really fantastic final 45 seconds of this sub-3-minute funfest. Crank it!
“Done Did It” By Blakroc feat. Nicole Wray and NOE (From Blakroc, out now on BlakRoc LLC) – You know how some music makes you feel cooler for listening to it? Well, this is one of those songs for me. If you’re not aware, Blakroc is the collaboration between funky Akron blues outfit The Black Keys and several street-credible hip-hop and R&B artists. The supreme funk of this guitar line coupled with NOE (is that Jay-Z? Sure sounds like him)’s awesome flow and Nicole Wray’s soulful singing make for a really cool song.
“Whipple Tree” By Ron Contour & Factor (From Saffron, out now on Fake Four Inc.) – Ron Contour is a pretty talented rapper. And Factor is a solid producer, from what I gather by listening to this latest album from Contour (a.k.a. Moka Only). I really enjoy the old-school beat and cool, calm lines delivered by Contour. It sounds like two guys having a lot of fun making enjoyable hip-hop. Good stuff.
“Heaven and Earth” By Blitzen Trapper (From Destroyer of the Void, out June 8 on Sup Pop) – Blitzen Trapper is another band I was impressed with at Austin City Limits last fall. This is the first glimpse we have of their forthcoming fifth record and second with Sup Pop. It’s a slow and contemplative track with a great piano line and some wonderful string accompaniments.
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