Archive | January, 2017

Move Closer to Justin Levinson

29 Jan

The entirety of Justin Levinson’s album Yes Man sounds like it could have been a lost Paul Mcartney and Wings LP. But the song “I’ll Move Closer” is the most charming example.

It’s simple in its lyrics and its construction and that is the beauty of the song. One does not always need big words and complicated instrumentation to make a good song and “I’ll Move Closer” is proof of that. The first few notes with a twanging guitar sounds immediately like something Wings could have released. It borrows a bit of the best of McCartney, a bit “Bluebird” a bit “Junk,” but Levinson’s voice goes back and forth between a more soothing tone to a rougher edge, even a bit John Lennon, sound.

It is gentle and soft, a piano driven tune that is sweet and Levinson makes clichéd lyrics work because he is speaking from the heart. Something McCartney was also a master of.

It comes off as completely authentically retro and one might even mistake it as a cover of a song from long ago. But it was proudly released into the music world in 2017 and the fact that artists are still making music like this is something we should all applaud.

Music’s Night

22 Jan

“This is your Night” by The Flat Five was recently introduced to me by a friend. Right from the start of the tune I knew I would have to include it on this blog.

From the large number of people in the band, to the mix of male and female vocalists, not to mention the trippy, dream like manner in which the song is presented, one can’t help but think of another similar band from years past: The 5th Dimension. And this particular track has some resemblance to that bands hit “Up Up and Away.”

It’s got a retro vibe to it, genuinely feeling like it could have been released many years ago. The percussion is light ,as is the piano, and it gives it all a jazz mood that is unique. The layering of the vocals makes the tune dynamic turning what might be a simple song in lyrics into something that is more complicated and full.

If you’re looking for a song that will immediately transport you back to another time with the power of modern musicians who know how to craft a tune that hits all the rights notes and is paying homage to a genre that some may have forgotten, this is the track for you.

 

Musical Staircase

8 Jan

Hysterics “Uptight Staircase” has been a favorite of mine since before its official release in 2007. In every way possible it conjures early Beatles from the lead singer’s Lennon-esque tone, to the background vocals that enhance the tune.

It evokes The Beatles “I Want to Hold your Hand” or “She Loves You,” in its simple melody, but content wise it isn’t as straightforward and innocent. The lyrics are a bit muddled, but one can tell they are far more complicated than The Beatles singing about sweet first love. The imagery is more potent here and it works for the song, bringing the retro feel into a more modern landscape.

Even though this song is ten years old it still holds up, sounding fresh, like it could have been released in 2017. The magic of this track is that throwback element that Hysterics did so well on their debut album. It never feels like a copy of something The Beatles could have created, instead the band uses the british invasion influence to work with their own sound and the outcome is outstanding.

I’m not sure what happened to this band after their debut LP, but it left fans like me wanting more because their 60s spot on sound was something of a treasure to unearth.