Archive | May, 2016

Godspeed to Jenny Lewis

29 May

Jenny Lewis is already an established artist in the music world and songs like “Godspeed” shows why she is such a celebrated musician. There’s an undeniable retro feeling to the song, especially in its melody which has a bit of John Lennon’s “Mind Games” to it

But it’s more than just the melody that has a familiar ring to it. Lewis’ voice is gentle and delicate and has a sweet 50s or 60s songstress to it. It’s almost impossible not to fall under Lewis’ spell as she croons soulfully throughout the track.

Like “Mind Games” it balances being a pop work of art while carrying a lot of soul, making it more than just a simple pop song. The percussion keeps the song moving along at a pace that is slightly faster than a slow tempo ballad and the main piano instrumentation helps give the song the fragility it begs for in its lyrics.

And while Lewis’ voice has an earlier throwback appeal, the tune definitely dips its toe into the 70s eras. And it is the contrast of both those elements that brings a modern sound to the song, keeping it current.

If John Lennon were still alive today I would have loved to hear him cover this song. But while that can never come to be, we can still appreciate what Lewis has brought into the world with “Godspeed”

Solo Discography: Rabbit Fur Coat (2006), Acid Tongue (2008), The Voyager (2014)

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Move With Dylan LeBlanc

22 May


There’s a soft retro jangle that starts immediately on Dylan LeBlanc’s “I’m Moving On” and by the time the song reaches its chorus there is no denying the throwback vibes.

The song is quiet and unassuming, gentle but commanding when it needs to be and that is due much to the swoon worthy instrumentation that swells in the right places, strings making everything a bit more melancholy and sweeter. But it’s also due to LeBlanc’s fantastic vocal performance that is reminiscent of Roy Orbison’s many hits, but especially “Falling

It moves along at a very steady pace and while the content is sorrowful one can’t help but feel soothed while listening to the track because it sails along so effortlessly. Letting LeBlanc showcase himself as a brilliant singer and songwriter makes the track even more worthy to listen to. The throwback vibes to this song come naturally to LeBlanc. Whether he set out to create something that had a retro element to it is up for speculation, but it doesn’t matter because that craving of decades gone past comes so inherently to LeBlanc that one shouldn’t stop and think too long on the matter but just enjoy the magic at hand.

“I’m Moving On,” is the perfect ballad to listen to if you’re in a fractured relationship, or if you’re just getting out of a relationship. And even if you’re not and just like a good song, this one is for you too.

Discography: Paupers Field (2010), Cast The Same Old Shadow (2012), Cautionary Tale (2016).

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Somewhere Retro

8 May

By now Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have well become a household name with their unique blend of alternative folk rock, but on their latest album Person A, they delve into some classic retro territory on the tune “Somewhere.”

Right from the first opening strums of the guitar, there is an immediate resemblance to The Beatles masterpiece “Here Comes the Sun.” It eventually blends into the rest of the track on the verses, but shines in all its retro glory when it is heard on its own. The vocals are light and airy and give the song a magical quality, something that “Here Comes the Sun” also possesses.

There’s no denying that this track is a little slice of heavenly pie that has an overabundance of sweetness to it, but it never comes off saccharine. Mostly it carries an air of hope, a message that “Here Comes the Sun” demonstrated as well. The two tunes may have different content but with the repetitiveness of “I believe we’re going somewhere,” on the Magnetic Zeros tune one can’t help but still feel the same kind of joy that The Beatles track encapsulated so well.

“Somewhere” is the perfect song to listen to at night right before you drift to sleep, with pleasant notions on your mind hopefully carrying over to your dreams. Or even first thing in the morning when you wake up. Either way, if you’re ever feeling a bit of despair, crank up “Somewhere” and be transported to a place where good things are not too far out of reach.

Discography: Up From Below (2009), Here (2012) Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (2013), PersonA (2016).

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Taken by the Music

1 May

Once you hear it you can’t not hear it. “Only You” by Taken by Trees shares some of its melody with “Rhythm of the Rain” by The Cascades from the early 60s. Victoria Bergsman with her gentle, unassuming voice, also has some retro shades to it, but it’s really the melody here that makes the song have a throwback feeling.

“Only You,” is simple and delicate in the best ways possible with a slight calypso instrumentation that might make one feel like they are relaxing beachside. This worldly element of the track helps bring it into the modern era and also solidifies itself as its own song. It’s lo-fi the way it’s supposed to be done, with Bergsman bringing an absolute chill feeling to the track.

The resemblance to “Rhythm of the Rain,” might not have been intentional, and many may not even pick up on the similarities as it is not carried on throughout the whole song, but it is still there and makes the tune quite special. So while most of the general populace can listen to this song and not hear a retro element to it at all, others will pick up on it right away. And once it is heard it is impossible to ignore, but that doesn’t take away from the originality of the track, in fact it helps make it more unique.

Discography: Open Field (2007),  East of Eden (2009), Other Worlds (2012).

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