A good song often has a good hook. Twin Limb won me over by making their chorus into this separate entity, different from the synthesizer soaked verses. The chorus is quiet, slow, and heavy-footed. The lead singer, MaryLiz Bender, drags on the repetitive words, “don’t think about it,” giving weight to each word. She uses the least amount of air as she falls off each note, and then on the last line, it’s almost as if she can’t muster enough energy to sing “About It.” New album is titled “Anything is Possible and Nothing Makes Sense” out on Friday, November 13.
Her – “Quite Like”
“I quite like your breasts when you undress”
It’s a sexy song about the magnetism of the female body from the French band, Her. Turn the lights off or keep em on. Whatever suits your fancy.
Oh Mercy – “Sandy”
Hailing from Melbourne, Victoria, this indie rock group started as a duo and quickly expanded to a four-person band to tour. I have a natural affinity to songs with that pulsating rhythm section led by a thumping bass line and a steady snare hit on every 2 and 4 of the measure. It’s a rock trick, heard in acts ranging from Tom Petty and Bruce to current acts like War on Drugs.
Artist: Tobias Jesso Jr.
Venue: The Mercury Lounge
It’s truly inspiring when someone finds his/her footing, creates a work of art he/she can stand behind, have people notice this art, then be showered with praise from both critics and the general public, thereafter become a touring artist to sold out shows and all the while…remain completely humble. As is the case with a RunTheMill favorite, Tobias Jesso Jr.. We have been covering his meteoric rise to stardom for quite some time, and have been amazed by the way in which he has handled the spotlight. With very few live performances to his resume, Tobias exceeded my expectations and delivered. It was just him on stage, a black curtain, and a spotlight overhead. He was completely exposed. The audience was small and intimate. Perhaps only 150 people, but most held back singing along in order to listen to Tobias’ nuanced melodies and heartfelt lyrics about love, heartbreak, dreams, and discovering your path. A highlight was his poignant, philosophical “Just A Dream.” In between songs, Tobias didn’t hide his goofiness and was quick to make fun of himself. As he moved from piano to guitar, he joked about how small the former female performer’s guitar strap was on his oversized 6 foot 7-inch frame. Tobias is still learning how to handle a solo performance, and he didn’t stray away from the structured and simplified set. That being said, I’m looking forward to his continued success and what else he has in store. Could a band be involved? I hope so.
James McMurtry – “Copper Canteen”
“I woke up last night in the grip of a fright scared to breathe for I might make a noise
This life that we craved so little we saved between the grandparents graves and the grandchildren’s toys”
Looking back at youth and the mistakes you easily make, James McMurtry understands what it means to be a cowboy as he softly sings on “Copper Canteen.” It’s easy to pay compliments to this singer-songwriter sweetheart, as he is often too wise and he never stops telling stories. In some ways, he’s got the tenor of Lou Reed and the small-town lyrics of Bruce Springsteen. And while I believe artists can succeed via a more traditional corporate-worn path, it is all the more noble that he has been able to stay true to himself after all these years. Hats off to James McMurtry for another timeless album.
Villagers – “Hot Scary Summer”
Mercury Prize nominees Villagers are regular critic sweethearts. As Conor J. O’Brien, the singer and songwriter, said in an article by Kernan Andrews -“I also feel an ‘impostor syndrome’ about it. I don’t actually deserve all the praise that’s going around.” Conor has a way of painting a scene with all of your senses accounted for and all of your emotions hanging on your sleeve.
“Remember kissing on the cobblestones in the heat of the night/ And all the pretty young homophobes looking out for a fight/ We got good at pretending, and pretending got us good.”
As the seagulls chime a few last words, it is definitely looking like we might have ourselves a hot scary summer. The full album comes out April 14, 2015.
Patrick Watson – “Love Songs for Robots”
Sampled in a preview for the current season of The Walking Dead, the acclaimed TV series on AMC, Patrick Watson’s “Love Songs for Robots,” is murky and mysterious. Its experimental sounds move from background noise to the forefront and back again almost seamlessly, and his orchestration is top-notch, especially in the way the song continuously shifts in shape. Look for his album that comes out on May 11th via Domino Records.
Broken Witt Rebels – “Shake Me Down”
They probably are sick and tired of the comparison, but when you are talking gritty, southern rock with a natural affinity toward pop melodies, Kings of Leon definitely comes to mind when I listen to Broken Witt Rebels. What many forget is that the Kings of Leon started playing in the basement of Jackson, Tennessee only to become a frequent headliner at festivals around the world. Just listen to that first line and the way he rolls his “out:” “It’s in the way she keeps calling me oooouttt.”
Ryley Walker -“Primrose Green”
The lead single off Ryley Walker’s his upcoming sophomore album is beautifully open and lacking in structure. Although Ryley’s guitar skills are the show, I love the jangly piano, the off-beat snare drum hits, and the constant improvisatory background noise. Not enough music formats allows the artist to elongate these type of grooves. It’s only then that the musician can you really start exploring.
Grow & Twine – “Give You Me”
Soft-spoken, free-spirited folky quartet from San Fran to start your Monday off right.