Archive | April, 2014

The Living Statues Aren’t Foolin’ Around

27 Apr

You may recall that last April, I posted about The Living Statues “Maybe.” But since that song is no longer available to download, and their first ‘Official’ EP has dropped, it’s only fair that I introduce readers to music from the band that is available.

Of all the songs off The Living Statues EP Knockin, “Foolin’ Around” is the one track that dives headfirst into the British Invasion pool, musical guns a blazin’, hot enough to melt a 45 on its first spin.

The intro, with wailing electric guitar and subtle bass, comes off as a modernized start to Freddie and the Dreamers “I’m Telling You Now.” But with lead singer Tommy Shears’ growl and playful crooning, the song elevates itself to the likes of The Beatles cover of “Twist and Shout” and The Pretty Things cover of “Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut.”

Yes, there’s Lennon and McCartney in there, and the raspy vocal stylings of Phil May, but there’s also plenty of Shears, who balances sensitivity and primal screams with ease.

The steady beat of Chris Morales’ drums drives the tune with control and pizzazz while handclaps towards the end of the track provide a fun retro element.

But it’s unmistakable that this is a modern song, even with a zippy surf rock solo in the middle. With lyrics like “Just a little more shoulder/don’t you wish you were older” and the garage rock feel of the early 2000’s, The Living Statues are proving to be master musical tightrope walkers in a crazy musical circus industry.

*You can download the EP for free at http://www.longlivethestatues.com or purchase it on iTunes.

Discography: “Our American Cousin” (Single, 2013), Knockin’ (2014)

Official Website: http://www.longlivethestatues.com

Awesome Alexandra

20 Apr

Grassroots. Folk. Whatever you want to call it, Hamilton Leithauser’s “Alexandra” has it, and much more.

With a pulsating and driving organic backbeat and clear but gritty vocals, the tune blends together the retro style and musicality of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Lookin’ Out My Back Door and the simple storytelling of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. But there’s also a slight alternative edge with its quickened almost pseudo punk pace, a la “Seven Days Seven Nights” by the Fratellis.

“Alexandra” is the type of song that will make grown men dance around in fields with its catchy and down to earth feel and raw lyrics which describe getting over a breakup.

The fact that it sounds like it could be a hit in the 60’s, 70’s and today shows how universal “Alexandra” is.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself humming this to yourself when you least suspect it.

Discography: Black Hours (June 2014)
Official Website: http://www.hamiltonleithauser.com

Take a Detour on the Musical Speedway

13 Apr

Dirty Beaches “Speedway King,” is an experimental, raucous tune that mimics its title.

With a cacophony of sounds, hazy and jarring, bleeding together in lo-fi to never quite form a melody “Speedway King” is the perfect manifestation of what I refer to as left field retro.

Singer Alex Zhang Hungtai captures the raw sensibility of Elvis Presley in “Blue Suede Shoes,” and “Blue Moon” and brings it to a new level by making “Speedway” mysterious and off center.

There’s not many lyrics in the song, in fact it is mostly instrumental, and the result is a haunting listening experience.

There’s no doubt that Hungtai idols Presley which comes through in his vocals. But instead of sounding like a copycat, Hungrai manages to take hold of the sound and focus on the more bizarre spirit of the song.

If you’re looking for a retro influenced tune that defies expectations and breaks all rules and genres, take a detour into the dark head trip of “Speedway King.”

Discography
:Old Blood (2007)
Horror (2008)
Night City (2010)
Badlands (2011)
Drifters/Love Is The Devil (2013)

Official Website: http://www.dirtybeaches.bandcamp.com

Ooh La La! It’s Allah – Las!

6 Apr

From the first few notes of Allah-Las “Catamaran” one can instantly feel the 60’s authenticity the band has created in a modern era.

Its psychedelic opening instrumental, with sleek electric guitar and a jangle of percussion, is a retro music lover’s dream, clocking in at nearly a full minute. Just as an instrumental alone the tune is pretty perfect, but then the vocals begin.

Miles Michaud hazy and muffled voice is pure rock n roll with a slight edge. Garage rock? Yes, but it’s also so much more. “Catamaran” sounds like it could be the B side of “96 Tears” by Question Mark and the Mysterians.

Dark and soulful, “Catamaran” is not overly produced, and relies on the raw talent of its band members to create a distinct and memorable sound that can be enjoyed by many.

So when someone says “Modern music just isn’t the way it used to be” point them to Allah-las.

Discography:Allah-Las (2012)

Official Website: http://www.allah-las.com