Archive | September, 2016

The 80s are alive

25 Sep

Upon first hearing Cold Showers “Only Human” one might think it is an updated cover of an 80s song. It feels like it belongs in the era, melding together many great songs of the decade. Most clearly it resembles The Smiths “How Soon Is Now” both in melody and in the vocals. It’s hard to imagine this tune wasn’t inspired by the Smiths song, especially when the title eludes to a line in “How Soon Is Now.”

It sounds authentically retro, industrial alternative with a slight touch of pop, and never ever feels derivative of music that has already been made in past decades. In fact, with such dedication to detail of throwback tunes of the 80s, it is undeniably refreshing in todays musical landscape. A lot of retro inspired songs from that era go into the mainstream new wave movement, but this veers off center into darker territory and it does so well and with honesty.

The fact that it feels like a conglomeration of other tunes is in no way a dig at the song, but rather a huge compliment. Whether it was just by osmosis of 80s tunes, or if directly influenced, Cold Showers have produced a song that feels genuine and not repetitive. It’s the spirit of the song that carries it along, and that is something the band should be proud of.

Discography: Love and Regret (2012), Matter of Choice (2015).

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Follow Julia Jacklin’s Light

18 Sep

Julia Jacklin’s “Leadlight” is something almost every retro enthusiast will fall head over heels for. It’s very much done in a torch singer style, think Lesley Gore “You Don’t Own Me,” with a modern day Lana Del Rey twist.

It has that slow burning background instrumentation that at just the right tempo lets Jacklin shine, and when she opens her mouth to utter the first few notes one can’t help but hear the full throwback f tone to her voice. The melody of the song also has that retro feel, but it stands firmly planted in 2016 with shades of singer songwriter Lissie thrown into the mix.

These days the song would be classified as alternative but back in the 60s this would have been pure soulful pop. But it doesn’t matter what you categorize “Leadlight” under, it’s an incredible song from start to finish plain and simple.

Jacklin’s voice is less pure than Gore and has a bit of a Stevie Nicks vibe and it is this mixture that works so well on the song and balances itself out being both sweet and edgy at the same time.

It shows the promise of what Jacklin has in store for listeners on her debut album out in October, and one can only hope there is more retro inspired songs on the LP.

Discography: Don’t Let the Kids Win (2016)

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Get Lost with Marlon Williams

11 Sep

If you haven’t heard of Marlon Williams, let me introduce you to his music. The brilliant singer/songwriter dabbles into many different genres on his debut LP, but one of the best songs is a complete retro throwback.

“I’m Lost Without You” has a slow doo wop beat with strings and soaring vocals from Williams akin to The Moody Blues “Nights in White Satin.” Both songs are rich and full and lush and are incredibly haunting. Williams has created a masterpiece around a notion that has been around since the beginning of pop music: lost love but with a modern twist. “If you break my heart again I’ll just hate you,” he croons with an Elvis Presley swagger, a voice that authentically sounds like it could have been blasting from your radio speakers in the 50s or 60s.

It’s this melding of 2016 commanding, albeit harsh lyrics, with Williams timeless voice that help make it one of the best tunes of the year. The doo wop, torch ballad style of song is perfect to slow dance to and with chilling background vocals that literally gave this reviewer goosebumps it’s easy to see why this track is so magnificent.

Though Williams covers everything from country to alternative on his record, “I’m Lost Without You,” has the most genuine vintage sound making it a standout track of the year.

Discography: Marlon Williams (2016).

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