Tag Archives: john lennon

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:

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)

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

What It Is

14 Feb

 

Any track Pete Molinari releases is like opening a time capsule from the 60s-70s but that timeless essence is really captured on “What I Am I Am.” Channeling George Harrison, the track would fit perfectly on All Things Must Pass. A cross between “My Sweet Lord” and “If Not For You,” Molinari has a certain retro air about himself that carries over to his music.

This particular song has a twangy feeling from the instrumentation to the tone of Molinari’s voice. It’s sweeping and glides along with such an effortless charm that it is impossible not to fall in love with this track. There’s quite a lot going on in the background instrumentation, from rattling percussion to tinkling piano, and there is even an extended solely musical portion that ends the song, but it never takes away from Molinari himself. His vocal performance is a bit George Harrison, but also has some Bob Dylan, and John Lennon to it. Perhaps it is this mix that helps “What I Am I Am” propel itself into throwback territory.

The melody of the chorus, as well as the content of the entire tune, suits that All Things Must Pass feel. “Here what I say/Let your love stream forth my way/ My Lord/Sweet Lord.” There is such a spiritual vibe to this track that I would bet Harrison would give his approval to if he were still alive. And I don’t say that lightly. If you’re looking for something to help cure the absence of Harrison’s masterpiece album, check out “What I Am I Am” and maybe your heart will start to heal.

Discography: A Train Bound for Glory (2010), Theosophy (2014).

Official Website: http://www.petemolinari.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

Tobias Jesso Jr Is a Musical Dream

21 Sep

A guy at a piano, spilling his heart out to the world. We’ve seen and heard it many times. But Tobias Jesso Jr’s “Just a Dream” is a mixture of all the best artists from the past who are still performing, proving that Jesso is here to stay.

With its quiet unassuming presence “Just a Dream,” is just as powerful as Elton John’s “Your Song” with a dash of piano man Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman” melody.

Simplistic in instrumentation but thought provoking and introspective with truthful lyrics such as “Yesterday I had a baby/Now she’s one year old looks just like her old lady” and the passionate chorus “I can’t explain the world to you/Can’t explain the things people choose to do/There’s a thing called and a thing called hate too” the beauty is reminiscent of The Beatles “Julia” and John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy).”

Jesso hails from Canada and has yet to release a debut album, here we hear only a demo, and that alone shows the potential that Jesso has within him. Pitchfork has described his other demos as a “rec-room John Lennon vibe” but perhaps Stereogum sums up Jesso’s sound the best citing “It’s as if he sighs his heartrending nostalgia into existence after poring over old love letters and family scrapbooks, encasing each outpouring of sentiment in wobbly lo-fi recordings that render them well-worn keepsakes from the start.”

This is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, a serious and sentimental singer/songwriter who is destined to conquer the world.

Official Website: http://tobiasjessojr.tumblr.com/

Jens Hoffman Makes Sweet Music

15 Dec

A reader of this blog left this artist/song/video in the comment section and I knew from the first few notes I had to review it.

With a few strums of the guitar and a light percussion rattle Jens Hoffman sets up the tone of his song “Sweet Honey Bee (Shine On). This little kernel of indie treasure, with the aid of sound effects such as people laughing, birds chirping, and water flowing delivers both smiles and a dab of sadness.

“Shine, Shine On/ The world keeps spinning round/Your heartbeat makes my world go round,” Hoffman croons in a John Lennon upper register sending a message that it is evocative of Lennon’s “Hold On” which instills part of the retro vibe of the song. If Lennon was still alive today, I wouldn’t be surprised if his music would sound a lot like
Hoffman’s (or actually vice versa)

The mellowness of the tune shines, not just in Hoffman’s voice but in the delicate and simple instrumental and lyrics. Intricate guitar work is displayed ramping up the song but is immediately followed by a soft and introspective portion, striking a well balanced chord.

If you need a pick me up on a cold winter night, just shut your eyes and put on this tune for 5:23 of pure bliss.

Discography: Sweet Honey Bee (Shine On) *single* (2013)

God or Man or Ivan & Alyosha

18 Aug

You won’t find anybody named Ivan or Alyosha in this indie band, but what you will find is a retro spin on current folk music.

“God or Man,” an introspective look at what love really stands for and the design of life, clocks in at close to five minutes but is well worth a full listen.

Guitar and drums make up the musical backbone of this track, with a piano adding just a pinch of vulnerability.
The lyrics lend themselves to several interpretations including an open letter to a higher being and it is perhaps that deeper level, combined with Tim Wilson’s upper register, that connects song with audience.

Understated and thought provoking, “God or Man,” recalls John Lennon’s solo work such as “Isolation.”

If you’re in the mood for solid indie, deep thought, music this is the song for God, man or you.

Discography: All The Times We Had (2013)

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