Archive | October, 2015

Lean On Telekinesis

25 Oct

Telekinesis “Lean on Me” is the perfect track that blends indie music with a retro element. Right away, lead singer Michael Benjamin Lerner, reminds listeners of The Shin’s type of music. Light and lo-fi. But there is an ever present throwback element, think the early Beatles, especially in the rollicking chorus that has quite a guitar jangle to it. When Lerner croons “lean on me anytime” it recalls the Beatles “All You’ve Got To Do” lyrics in a sense.There are also shades of Gerry and the Pacemakers “ Away From You”

Both the verses and the chorus blend into each other seamlessly. It’s impossible not to hear the honest and sweetness of “Lean on Me” which also contributes to the 60s feeling of the tune. The instrumentation is simple and never outshines Lerner.  A retro tune with a bit of west coast flair to it, “Lean on me” is also a very feel good, happy kind of tune. Just a little ditty that can brighten anyone’s day. And as it is often the case, it is in these simple tracks that the best retro songs with a modern influence are found.

Discography: Telekinesis (2009), 12 Desperate Strange Lines (2011), Dormarion (2013), AD Infinitum (2015).

Musical Thunder

11 Oct

You may not have heard of the band Thunderbitch, but there’s a good chance you have heard of their lead singer Brittany Howard, from Alabama Shakes. This is her more rock n’ roll, attitude for miles, side project with a retro feel. The song “Very Best Friend” encapsulates a sound that comes across as something that is a harder rock version of The Cars “Best Friend’s Girl,” especially when it hits the chorus. It’s a bit less conventional as it is not a straight up top 40 pop song, but you can still hear hints of The Cars in this track, propelling it to a throwback vibe that is hard to ignore.

Howard is also full of spit fire delivery and sass, almost a more amped up version of Bob Dylan’s phrasing. It’s 60s meets 80s meets 2015. In fact it’s a song that defies a decade. Years from now it will be hard for people to place what year “Very Best Friend” actually came out in because it crosses so many time periods seamlessly.

It’s refreshing to see Howard let loose even more on this track, still soulful. There’s a fire in Howard that just continues to grow and whether she is singing with Alabama Shakes or on a more retro sounding tune with Thunderbitch it is clear she is having a blast

Discography: Thunderbitch (2015)

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A Wicked Cover

4 Oct

“Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak, is a haunting, seductive tune that is still relevant and reaches listeners souls, despite it being released in 1989.

Now in 2015, season seven American Idol winner David Cook is serving up his own rendition that is haunting in a different but just as effective way.

With a simple piano chord as the only instrumentation besides Cook’s voice, Cook manages to strip “Wicked Game” to its bare essence. All attention is on the vocal performance and the lyrics showcasing what a genius song it is to begin with.

There are some echoed voices and muffled electronic sounds that help to bring the tune into the modern era, a little more edgy with Cook’s rock influence, slowed down and a bit industrial feeling. But the nature of the track is still intact.

Already a gut wrenching song, Cook manages to cut deeper into the heart by pulling away the lush instrumentation of the original. It’s the type of cover one would expect of the man who made it his “thing” to radically turn other people’s songs on their heads on American Idol.

The most intimate and satisfactory moment comes at the final lines of the track. Cook’s voice is raw and shaky, almost spoken, as we return back to the simple piano chords. It’s soul crushing and will break your heart in a way that you never realized “Wicked Game” could.

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Discography: David Cook (2008,) This Loud Morning (2011), Digital Vein (2015)