Basically thank NPR for this year’s first list. So many great tracks introduced by “All Songs” in the past few months. Especially with SXSW in March. Their late-night dispatches and highlights coverage shows are a highlight of the season.
Other tracks come from the live shows I saw, new releases by old favorites and a few I just wanted to show off.
My Brightest Diamond, “Pressure” – You can’t help but notice a track anchored by a drum line. Also note the musical reference to “Mood Indigo”.
Stromae, “ta fête” – Yes, it’s in French. Don’t be deterred by language though. Just enjoy the stadium-crushing sound. Really cool video as well.
Walk the Moon, “Down In the Dumps” – These guys put on a show. Saw them at the Egyptian Room and was impressed by the variety in their sound. Pretty sure they can play anything as long it’s fun.
Nate Ruess, “Nothing Without Love” – Really excited to see what Nate does. Seems like fun. is on hiatus, but this track gets back to the classic sound of their first album.
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, “Chartjunk” – Horns? Check. Classic-rock riffs? Messy guitar solo? Check, check.
Hiss Golden Messenger, “Southern Grammar” – The guitar tone is incredible. Incredibly gloopy. A hazy, sludgy 70s Southern rock throwback. Watch them perform a soulful, horn-punched version live on Letterman.
Brandi Carlile, “The Eye” – The singer-songwritery stuff is great as well as the rockers and the sappy country ballads. Her new album’s got plenty of all that, check it out.
Bill Evans, “Peace Piece” – So, I went through a piano jazz phase chiefly enabled by Spotify’s “The Piano Bar” playlist. This one stuck out as an example of what I like best in this genre.
Roy Orbison, “Only The Lonely” – Saw Andrew Combs perform in March and really liked the sound. His song “All These Dreams” rang a bell I struggled for days to hear. Finally, I decided it reminded me of Roy Orbison.
Andrew Combs, “All These Dreams” – See how it dips in the bridge around “oh, sometimes”? I swear that choes part of the bridge from “Pretty Woman”. Plus, castanets just the most rock ‘n’ roll. Add 80% more drama and you’d have a nice Roy song.
Lord Huron, “Fool for Love” – I have to check out more of this band’s stuff. Kind of a dreamy, rockabilly sound. It’s perfectly matched by the utterly silly, surprisingly dark tone of the music video. Worth watching just for the scene around 3:40.
Hozier, “To Be Alone” – Can’t bring myself to take Hozier off the frequently played list. Love how this builds and churns.
Live (acoustic): https://youtu.be/bH9mRs3sW7A
Husband, “The Money” – Found Husband through Wondering Sound. I’m a sucker for deeper voices in pop and rock, you just don’t hear them right now. Indie rock has long been glutted with that reedy, whiny male vocal. Which works, just see Walk the Moon or Passion Pit! But Hozier and Husband both strike out for smoother, deeper waters.
Sego, “20 Years Tall” – What if LCD Soundsystem were less classy, more garage-y and kind of obsessed with announcing the different parts of the song?
B1A4, “Feel The Music” – My favorite K-pop is always the kind that hits up vintage feels. You could slip this one in a Daft Punk “Discovery”-era playlist pretty easy. Bonus points for the super 90s EWI sound.
Audio (Spotify): https://open.spotify.com/track/5yaYY4OBizkYCfKV9tfG3v