We’re All In This Together

We’re All In This Together is the latest single form Canadian rock-n-rollers The Sam Roberts Band and the lead single from an upcoming album due in the next couple of months.

I must say I like where the Sam Roberts Gang has been going musically. In this single, it is clear that the band has decided to further their musical horizons in the same jazzy vein as their last offering Collider. While the song retains that distinct Sam Roberts rock sound of power chords and organ accentuation, the addition of horns and singalong choruses give the music a bit more of a cathartic feel (something I felt was a little lacking in the groups early material). I especially liked the swung melodies in the pre-chorus that see the bass and guitar intertwining in an infectious hook that dances like a flame in the wind.

While the lyrical content is true to form for this group (ie: vaguely populist political sentiment straight from 1967 and/or a sobering amount of sadness about life’s troubles), it meshes rather nicely with the peppier sound that the boys have put together for this single.

This song, like every other single Sam Roberts and Co. have released, is edging out a respectable amount of airplay on Canadian rock radio, which makes me happy. For those of you outside Canada who have maybe not heard much of Sam Roberts/The Sam Roberts Band, I recommend exploring their back catalogue. Another solid single from a solid rock group.

It’s About Time by Young The Giant

It’s About Time is the lead single off of Young The Giant’s anticipated second album “Mind over Matter”.Although I’m a huge fan of the band’s even-keeled sound on the first record, I must say that this must more aggressive departure is very welcome.

This track bolts out of the gate with a driving alt-rock drum and bass rhythm, and exquisitely accentuated by a punchy staccato guitar line. All of which provide a galloping feel to the music. This is, until the chorus of the song kicks in and that incredibly tight guitar arpeggio rolls down like rainwater on plate glass. The use of shimmering surf rock guitar tones to soar above the earthier bass sounds gives this track a retrofitted sound that unabashedly steals from the past and twists it into something new.

Once again, lead singer Sameer Gadhia delivers an incredibly clean and crisp performance of the lyrics while retaining control over a broad spectrum of notes, again cementing his place as one of the most underrated frontmen in modern rock (in my opinion, anyway).

I’m unsure whether the rest of the album will be as much of a divergence from the band’s sound on their self-titled debut, but regardless, this is an exciting new song from a band that has a lot of potential

Before Your Very Eyes by Atoms For Peace

Before Your Very Eyes is the opening track on AMOK, the 2013 debut from Atoms For Peace. While the members themselves don’t call themselves a supergroup, many music fans would be particularly inclined to view this band in that way; especially since its members include Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and producer/electronic composer Nigel Godrich. While these three musicians may seem poles apart in terms of genre and influences (and believe me, they are); they come together in a genre-bending chaos of sound that can only be known as Atoms For Peace. There’s too many “real” instruments for this to be strictly electronic music, the beat is too dance-able for it to be ambient, and it’s too ambient to be proper EDM. It is just Atoms For Peace, straight and clean.

Now I must admit, like anything Thom Yorke is involved in, this track can be a bit difficult to accept at first listen. There’s a ton of sound layering going on that warrants at least 2-3 listens before the song really makes an impact (at least in my case). But when this song impacts, it IMPACTS.

This song is nothing short of an aural film. The complex percussion rhythms created by multiple track layering slither like a bed of snakes while the distorted synth and computer soundscrash in sharp, static waves on the warm sandy guitar tones. All the while Yorke’s echo-laden vocal performance acts the siren; sweetly singing lyrics of the vacuous allure of youth and beauty while hinting at the impending prospect of old age that lies in wait. All of these elements homogenize in a way that allows the listener to unfold the sounds they hear; choosing to focus on any of the given tracks to gain a fresh insight into the song.

Now, multiply that by 9 and you’ve got AMOK. A fascinating blend of styles and sounds that sure to please those who like to try and decode songs for their hidden pearls of insight.

Dig Away.

Sixpack by JEFF The Brotherhood

Firstly, apologies to any readers out there who were missing out on the music. Since I’m only one guy, the whole “blogging every day” thing isn’t always possible. But I’m back; so lets get at it:

Sixpack comes to us as the lead single off of JEFF the Brotherhood’s newest album Hypnotic Nights. Blending an infectious indie-rock melody with heavier, edgier grunge tainted guitars, JEFF the Brotherhood bring some much needed loudness to the indie genre, which in my opinion has been a little to heavy on the synth lately. Call me old fashioned.

With a chord progression that would be right at home in a Weezer song, JEFF the Brotherhood demonstrate that they aren’t afraid to utilize offbeat but effective structures in their songs. These two brothers from Nashville, Tenessee may have four studio albums and a great live records from Jack White’s Third Man Records in Nashville, but they have still been able to maintain a freshness to their sound, as demonstrated in this song.

Repetitive? Yes. Derivative? Absolutely. Unoriginal? Arguable. But it sure is a lot of mindless guitar rock fun.

So It Goes by Hollerado

So It Goes comes to us off of Hollerado’s 2013 album White Paint. Continuing the upbeat, uptempo rock style from their debut Record In A Bag, the Ottawa-based group have come out strong on their second full length offering. The track’s punchy, driving rhythm pushes a youthful energy that has come to be expected from Hollerado, and is executed in their signature, super-positive way.

Keeping the groove tight, the group have also demonstrated that they are no slackers when it comes to writing and performing their songs. Lead singer Menno Versteeg also demonstrates his songwriting chops, allegedly writing this song about how his grandfather’s life was saved from an organ donation after another elderly man had passed away. The song’s underlying motif is one of pondering the complex interconnectedness of life and how his grandfather’s life was dependent on someone’s else’s grandfather’s death. An interesting concept for an otherwise catchy, upbeat rock song.

Lost in the Light by Bahamas

Lost in the Light is a single off of Bahamas’ second full length album Barchords. With a stripped down sound consisting largely of just guitar and voice, Lost in the Light is an excellent representation of the way in which Bahamas focusses on embellishing the rudimentary elements of the song rather than using larger arrangements.

Making excellent use of guest female vocalists on this track, Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas) complements his guitar style well. The vocal harmonies are crisp and simplistic, giving the perfect amount of emphasis on the chorus of the song, and Jurvanen’s guitar tone is warm and well rounded. The lyrics are also well written, demonstrating how Bahamas is adding his own flavour to the ballad songwriting style.

Home Again by Michael Kiwanuka

Home Again is the title track off of Michael Kiwanuka’s 2012 debut album of the same name. With a simple, yet incredibly effective melody, Home Again is an excellent example of Kiwanuka’s subtle but heartfelt songwriting style. Indicative of the rest of the songs on the album, the lyrical motifs of overcoming hardship and regaining one’s sense of purpose after one of life’s challenging periods; Home Again feels incredibly raw and close to home. Rather than challenging the world around him like many of his folk songwriting contemporaries, Kiwanuka points his evaluative gaze inward and instead reflects on his own interpretation of the things going on in his own life (or so it would seem).

The music does an excellent job echoing the soul and folk influences found in Kiwanuka’s songwriting, incorporating acoustic guitar, strings, and percussion without distracting the listener’s focus away from the lyrics. In particular, the swelling crescendos of strings midway through the strong do an excellent job of adding dramatic and emotional weight to the music without sounding out of place or bombastic.

An excellent song from a solid debut album from this young UK artist, Home Again is both a song and and an album that is worth looking into.