Do I Wanna Know? by Arctic Monkeys.

I’ll just start by saying: yes, this is the same band that released the 2006 smash hit “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”. One and the same. Good. Glad that’s out of the way.

Do I Wanna Know? Is a teaser single for the UK group’s upcoming album “AM”, and I must say, it is downright groovy. With a dance-able backbeat and a flowing, repeating guitar riff; this track lures the listener into a hypnotic, smoke-lanced trance. Almost begging to be played late at night, this track’s sultry combination of low-end sounds and lyrical motifs of insatiable infatuation is catchy and surprisingly tight. Having strayed quite a ways from the thrashy garage-rock sounds on their earlier records, Arctic Monkeys have demonstrated that they can right a song that is mature in every respect of the word. With a music video that suits the song perfectly, I would not be surprised if this becomes yet another massive hit for the UK rock group.


Come A Little Closer by Cage The Elephant

Come A Little Closer is the teaser single for the Bowling Green, Kentucky based group’s upcoming third album Melophobia. Shifting gears quite a bit from their earlier work, Cage the Elephant has put together a much more elaborate and polished song than one would expect to hear off of either their debut album Cage the Elephant or their sophomore release, Thank you Happy Birthday. The group seems to have matured a bit from their first two albums with this track, layering on soulful, yet icy flourishes that build into a chorus that manages to remain subdued. With much more groove and low end emphasis than expected, Cage the Elephant demonstrate that they aren’t a one-trick indie/punk pony. While this track does retain more distorted guitar and vocal tracks that have become standard for this group, the heavier bassline and added keys give the song a degree of depth that accentuate the lyrical content well (even if the lyrics don’t exactly make sense). A bit of a shift in gears from a group that was getting stale. I for one am interested in seeing if Cage the Elephant have re-invented themselves on this new record, or merely put out the “most different” song as the lead single. Only time can tell.

The Fall by Rhye

The Fall is a single from Rhye’s 2013 debut Woman. The Canadian-Danish duo have demonstrated their artistic flair with this down-to-earth, soulful track. Blending contemporary easy-listening indie sounds with a more traditional soul rhythm, The Fall has a sultry, yet laid back feel. Using traditional instruments such as the piano, slide guitar, and a brass and string ensemble, Rhye has crafted a song that has a timeless quality that just might have more longevity than it’s computer and synth focused contemporaries. Although I’m not entirely sure whether to label this track as indie or as soul (or perhaps neo soul), it is clear to me that Rhye has written a truly exceptional easy listening song in The Fall.

Sail To The Sun by Wavves

Sail To The Sun is off of Wavves 2013 album Afraid of Heights. With an energetic garage rock sound, this song demonstrates that the 4 chord rock song is still able to pack a punch despite being the writing style of choice for the vast majority of rock bands in the past 20 years. Although the song may be a simple, no-frills rock track, it still maintains the youthful, reckless energy that has given the genre its longevity. While Wavves is a little difficult to classify – there are people who make equally convincing arguments that they are indie or garage rock – one thing is clear: this San Diego three-piece is setting its own pace when it comes to their music and revitalizing the garage rock genre in the process. For any self-classified fan of rock music, this is definitely a group worth getting into.

Afraid of Heights is available on iTunes.

Body of Work by The Mynabirds

Body of Work comes to us off of The Mynabirds’ 2012 release Generals. The Omaha, Nebraska based group demonstrate their musicianship in this upbeat, quirky indie pop song through a mixture of well blended vocal tracks and multiple percussion textures. The song gives the listener a sense of open space due to the lack of midrange sounds usually provided by bass and guitar in other songs. Although this lack of midrange sounds is challenge to work with, The Mynabirds rise to the challenge through overlapping percussive rhythms and minimal, ethereal guitar and keyboard in the higher range to provide subtle yet effective background for the beautifully harmonized vocals. The vocals are clearly the emphasis of the song, with a winding, twisting melody that is more reminiscent of the folk tradition than the ultra-repetitive pop singing style. Either way, Body of Work is an interesting combination of sounds that dares to break out of traditional writing styles.

Numb by Gary Clark Jr.

Numb comes to us off of Gary Clark Jr’s major label debut Blak and Blu. The song is a a heavily distorted piece of blues rock that adds a fire and intensity to the very tired Chicago blues sound. Although the track is a simple blues progression, it’s endearing quality is its grit. Clark really pushes the limits of his guitar’s distortion and applies an equal amount of strain on his voice, producing a spectacularly dirty piece of music. In one fell swoop, Clark manages to pull together the harsh realities of the outside and inside world with his mixture of lyrical and musical content. More than just a song about love lost, Numb seems to tap into the subdued anger of the rust belt in our post-manufacturing times.

With a new album due out in the next little while, I’m excited to see what else this Austin-based bluesman can conjure.

The River by The Darcys

The River comes to us as a new single from The Darcys in anticipation of their new album Warring, which is due for release in September. This track from the Toronto based group demonstrates their song-writing prowess, mixing an exciting blend of classic alt-rock sounds with spacey guitar and vocals as well as crisp electronic drum beats. The sinister, echoing guitar notes at the beginning of the song signal the masterpiece to come, laying down a foundation upon which the song slowly and dramatically builds like a brilliant plume of smoke out of a nineteenth century locomotive. The vocals are deceptively powerful, swelling and rising with the music in a controlled, mature way that is rarely experienced in a post Led Zeppelin world of rock singers. The River is a great indie tune that mixes just the right amounts of ambience, melodic hooks, and drama. Just one small sample of the burgeoning Toronto indie rock scene that has been steadily growing over the last decade, The Darcys are a great example of the innovation that has been wrought into Canadian music over the years.

You’ll want to keep an eye on this band.