Broadcast Music

20 Nov

Broadcast’s “I Found the F” with its trippy instrumentation and hazy vocals has some resemblance to The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

It has the psychedelic feeling and like the Beatles is utterly British. It also is spectacularly retro from the lead singer’s delivery to the melody, which is quiet but powerful in its own way. The type of song that could easily fly under the radar, Broadcast makes sure this is a tune you shouldn’t ignore by being interesting and dynamic, blending talking portions with a more melodic mood.

Also interesting to note that like many songs of yesteryear it is well under three minutes, once again proving the fact that musicians don’t need lengthy tunes to create something that sticks and has its own kind of magic.

From start to finish Broadcast captivates the audience with their throwback sound that so many british artists do well. Definitely in that 60s or 70s sound, Broadcast taps into the groovy vibe with such an effortless feel that it is a genuine wonder, probably to many, that this song was created in the early 2000s- 2005, to be exact and not in decades past, the sign of a brilliant modern retro song.

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Blais is Blooming

13 Nov

Youtube content creator Haley Blais newest song “Late Bloomer” off her EP of the same name does not sound all that retro, but there is a throwback component to it. You just have to listen really carefully to hear it.

The song, which is one of the best tunes of 2016, combines forlorn lyrics and Blais hazy and emotional voice to create an altogether honest and vulnerable track that will connect with many listeners. “I’m a late bloomer/you’ll never see me in the spring/I hesitate to my pruner/cause I’m scared of ever blossoming,” she sings, wearing her heart on her sleeve revealing that she’d rather sit at home and that she isn’t good at one on one situations.

So where does the retro element come in? To be honest this reviewer didn’t even notice it until a friend pointed it out. During certain sections of the song Blais can be heard softly crooning parts of Madonna’s 1989 hit “Like a Prayer.” It is extremely subtle and to many ears it will go unnoticed, but once you hear it you can’t ignore it and it adds a whole different layer and texture to the tune. Blais is giving a nod to a top musician and a retro song but it is so much more than that. It feels entirely personal and lets Blais show another extension of herself, making the tune her own.

As far as emerging artists go Blais is one to keep tabs on.

Bandcamp Page: http://haleyblais.bandcamp.com/album/late-bloomer

 

Spend Time with “Anna”

6 Nov

Will Butler from Arcade Fire fame released in 2015“Anna” a song that undeniably has an 80s influence from its synth new wave intro to the vocals that remind one of Greg Kihn Band“The Break Up Song”

It has a pulsating rhythm right from the start that just never quits and makes the song quite peppy. The darker toned vocals are a great match for the instrumentation and also match the lyrics which include the lines “someday you know you’re gonna die” and “Where do you think they’ll hide your bones?/out in the field oh all alone.” It’s creepy in the style of Oingo Boingo another 80s band that comes to mind upon hearing this track.

“Anna” still fits into the modern landscape perfectly, but it also could be mistaken for an authentic retro song and that is all part of its charm. There’s a level of playfulness here in the vocals that comes off as dangerous but delightfully so. The edge that this song carries really sets it apart in the music scene, and would fit in on any horror movie soundtrack.

It also has a Bowie vibe to it, crossing one 80s icon after another off of Butlers list. Strange but satisfying this is one little number that is full of retro goodness and will leave a lasting impression on listeners.

Discography:

Together with the Lemon Twigs

30 Oct

The Lemon Twigs just released their debut LP and it is full of throwback 60s-70s vibes. The track “As Long as We’re Together” reminds this reviewer of “Watching The Wheels” from John Lennon’s solo years.

It’s striking to hear an artist go all in and embrace the decades that came before and this tune does just that unabashedly and that’s part of what makes it so good. The Lemon Twigs are utterly themselves and that comes across in their music, not paying attention to the trends and instead making the type of songs they want to hear that will satisfy them. But of course it will satisfy many listeners too.

This particular track has quiet verses, slow with background vocals that are downright haunting but by the time the chorus rolls around the fellows punch things up a bit, reaching for their upper register and letting the song get a little more grand. But as soon as the chorus finishes it returns to its unassuming state and it is this contrast that makes an already great tune with terrific lyrics and a retro vibe even better.

Quite frankly “As Long as We’re Together” is a breath of fresh air and one can’t help but applaud the Lemon Twigs for just being themselves.

Discography: Do Hollywood (2016)

Official Website:

The Music Room

9 Oct

John Paul White, formerly of the duo The Civil Wars, recently released a magnificent solo album entitled Beulah. On the record he worked with The Secret Sisters who provide background vocals to many of the tracks, and who went on tour with him to promote the LP.

At their live shows the group covered The Beach Boys “In My Room,” and it may be one of the greatest covers ever to exist.

The structure is the same, as are the melodies and harmonies. White takes up lead vocals and the secret sisters provide the harmonies much as they do on Beulah. It’s simple and pure, heartfelt, and while this cover brings nothing new to the song, no real changes are made, it is done with such honest intentions and such glorious vocals that it becomes something akin to feeling like one is in Heaven.

The dynamic between having male and female voices on the track does add a little something different to the tune, and this acoustic live cover is just as superb as what the beach boys recorded. These are artists who compliment each other on every note and know how to work together to produce something that is compelling.

On his own, White could have carried the song, but it is the secret sisters who make it all the more special and a song that one shouldn’t miss.

Discography: Beulah (2016).

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

 

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).

Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/coldshowersband/

 

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)

Official Website:http://juliajacklin.com/