Tag Archives: 60’s

Get Foolish with Fallon

10 Jul

Brian Fallon’s “Among Other Foolish Things” has many retro elements to it including the lyrics and the references made, along with part of the melody, but it never totally leaves the modern realm, making it perfect for this blog.

The most notable throwback is to the Beatles “All You Need is Love” as Fallon sings on the chorus “and they say such foolish things like love,love,love is all you need.” Clearly a reference to the Beatles tune, it is not only echoed in the lyrics on the chorus but in the harmonies on the song during the chorus which is sweeping,heartfelt, and gutting at the same time. A man who wants to believe in love but has been stung so many times he has thrown his heart into the sea.

And then of course there are the retro elements found in the actual lyrics where Fallon sings on one verse “We spin ’round like records in the apartment/You still remind me of Marianne Faithfull/ Lookin’ like a picture taken outta the sixties.” Even if listeners aren’t familiar with Faithfull, they can certainly infer that she was an icon in the 60s, someone girls in that era would look up to and aspire to be.

The whole song is lavishly produced, and though light and bouncy in its instrumentation the content is melancholy and that is one of the reasons Fallon is considered one of the great songwriters of modern times.

So if you’re looking for a song that encompasses everything a modern retro song could provide, check out this track.

Discography: Painkillers (2016).

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

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Spirit of Retro!

1 Nov

With the sound of rain splashing throughout “My Poor Stupid Heart” by Sweet Spirit, the tone is set up for one masterfully crafted retro heartache song.

Minimal instrumentation, whistling and some rattles let lead singer Sabrina Ellis shine vocally. The harmonizing featured in the track, as well as the content, is on par with The Everly Brothers, specifically “Brand New Heartache.”

It is quiet and unassuming but also packs quite a punch, from the blunt title to the twangs of sporadic electric guitar at the end of the song. In the same vein as many heartbreak ballads of the 50s and 60s one can see the retro influences plain and clear. There’s a Ronnie Spector feel in Ellis’ voice, strong but easy on the ears, but also a female Everly Brothers take.

The different and more unusual varying instruments come together to form a cohesive piece and help make the track all that more memorable. It’s not something you hear every day, not even in the retro inspired community. With simple, relatable, lyrics, Ellis’ spot on vocals, and original instrumentals (not to mention that rain) “My Poor Stupid Heart” has positioned itself as one of the top songs of 2015.

Discography: Sweet Spirit (2015).

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

Music For Any Hour

23 Aug

Jack + Eliza’s delightful “Quarter Past the Hour” is a melancholy songwriter’s fantasy complete with an all around 60s sound. The simple and bare bones instrumentation throughout the verses help duo Jack Staffen and Eliza Callahan strut their vocal harmonies to pitch perfect sounds. By the time the lush and dreamy chorus rolls around one can’t help but get lost in the mama and papa’s nature of it all.

Make no mistake, “Quarter Past the Hour” definitely sounds modern, especially when an electric guitar solo springs into action, jolting listeners a bit out of the hazy tune. Think of the song as something She & Him would record, but with both partners of the group contributing equally together on vocals. The song has strong shades of the Mama and the Papa’s “Monday, Monday” but also sounds like something Carole King could have written and sang on Tapestry.

If you’re in the mood to zone out and just let a song take you on a trance like journey, “Quarter Past the Hour” is just the track for you.

Discography: Gentle Warnings (2015).

Official Website: http://jackandeliza.com/

Make Your Day

22 Feb

Zella Day’s “1965” is a step back in time, paying tribute to torch singers of the past and present. Honestly the track most closely resembles something Lana Del Rey would put out, especially in its longing, sorrowful, and poetic lyrical content.

“You saw me spinning from the corner of your eye You saw me spinnin’ like it’s 1965 You saw me spinnin’ from the corner of your eye

And you touched my neck You’re a beauty baby child I never had nobody touch me like I’m glass. You had me spinnin’ in the midnight summer grass. I never had nobody touch me like I’m glass. With a moon bird kiss.

Can we go back to the world we had? With a love so sweet it makes me sad Can we go back to the world we had? It’s the world we’ve been dreaming of”
But it also calls to mind the song and vocal stylings of 60’s darling Cilla Black. Part the light verses of “Step Inside Love” and the more powerful, ballad traditions of “You’re My World.” Day has a unique enough voice to make this tune her own, even with all the echoes of other artists.

As it is true with many torch songs, the star here is the singer herself and the lyrics. The instrumentation plays its part to let Zella Day shine. What she is longing for may be a lover or a time past, but it is most definitely a torch song, and much like Lana Del Rey, Day is bringing the genre back where it belongs.

Discography:Zella Day (2014).

Official Website:http://zelladay.com/

T.V. To Listen To

1 Feb

“In The Mirror” by Public Access T.V. is everything a modern rock n’ roll song with retro influences should be. It is clearly of this era, despite its reliance on the masters of rock from decades past, with its wailing electric guitars and unabashedly brazen vocals. But the undercurrent of retro input is always there, lying just underneath the surface.

It’s the type of garage rock one might expect from a Brooklyn based group, but their blend of new wave and 60s pop-rock holds something special.  Think The Strypes. Think The Living Statues. All bands who are making their way in the music world riding the mod/rock sound of the 60s, but in the case of Public Access T.V., with a 80s sound too.

This tune draws comparisons to the  song “Bad Little Woman” by The Shadows of Knight, while the bands lead singer,in epic fashion, bounces back and forth between channeling John Lennon and Bono.

Punchy and downright fun, brimming with a youthful energy that is simply infectious, it’s clear to see why so many esteemed publications are naming Public Access T.V. as a hot band to watch in 2015.

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

Rock Dreams

4 Jan

There’s no doubt about it. “Wolves” by Dreamers sounds retro right from the first second. But that throwback element is more than just reminiscent of one decade. At first listen, there is a clear 80s new wave sound. But after a deeper, second listen, one can hear echoes of the 60s.

This track is a great companion song to “Victoria” by The Kinks. They both contain similar tempos and dark, rich, and powerful vocals by their respective lead singers. Oh yeah, and killer, almost anthem like choruses.

Like contemporary artists such as Neon Trees and The Vaccines, Dreamers know how to tap into several decades at once, bringing out the best in each. It is the type of song that can induce head banging and toe taping, but also contains a darker message.

“If you lie down with wolves you’ll learn how to howl” the chorus exclaims, and while we are busy singing along we may not notice how messed up the relationship centered in this track really is.

The breakdown showcases a variety of vocal stylings as well as an impressive, albeit short, guitar solo which ties everything back to the catchy chorus

Though the content is different, “Wolves” and “Victoria” really do make great listening companions. And shouldn’t every song have a little bit of The Kinks in them?

Discography: Dreamers (2014)

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

The Other Twin Peaks

7 Dec

With its ethereal beginnings, giving off a fanciful vibe, Twin Peaks set the 60’s throwback mood to its tune “Mirror Of Time.” Once the song really starts to move, with a jangle and sway of the guitar and drums keeping perfect dance rhythm, the 60’s sound comes into full view.

*Not Official Video*

The repeating hook has an eerily similar feel to Tommy James and the Shondells hit “Crimson And Clover”  albeit at a more rock n’ roll, merseybeat, pace. The melody at times matches “Crimson and Clover” beat for beat, but this Chicago based group bring more of a raw garage sound to the track than polished, creating a modern feel.

The guitars and vocals are fuzzy and hazy which add to the natural unearthed sound of Twin Peaks. “Mirror Of Time” sounds almost authentically 60’s, but its lo-fi qualities propel the tune into the modern world of music.

But make no mistake, “Mirror Of Time” has a universal appeal in that no matter what era the track evokes, it is over two minutes of foot tapping, body swaying, music.

This relatively new band is a force to be reckoned with as their latest album Wild Onion was recently named by NME magazine as one of the top 50 albums of 2014.

If you like what you hear in “Mirror Of Time” give the band a good listening to.

Discography: Sunken (2013), Wild Onion (2014).

Official Website: http://twinpeaksdudes.com/