Tag Archives: modern

People and Poets

17 Apr

The People The Poet’s “Club 27” is retro right from the first time listeners hear the lead singers voice. It’s a mix between Chris Martin of Coldplay, Bono from U2, and Bruce Springsteen but while having retro element in the vocals and the melody of the tune, it is also firmly modern.

The song itself addresses the 27 club in Heaven about all the musicians who tragically died at the age of the 27, and mentions some of the artists by name. It’s pretty sentimental and in another’s hands it could come off as cheesy but The People The Poet make it sound like a sincere tribute to those who have passed.

The main retro element here is in the vocal performance with shades of the 80s to it from the clean cut Bono like tone to the more gruff grit of Bruce Springsteen towards the end of the track. But having this song in 2016 means more than it ever could in the 80s, with more famous musicians having died at the early age of 27.

“Club 27” is an extremely visual song and that may be the best thing the track has going for it. Its lyrics allow the image of this certain special place in Heaven to really come alive.

It’s not the most retro song to be found, but if you listen close enough you can hear the throwback influences.

Discography: Paradise Closed (2016).

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

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Alvvays The Right Choice

10 Aug

“Archie, Marry Me,” is a melancholy song about a relationship that seems to be at a standstill, neither partner agreeing on their future together. But it is brilliantly masked in light and airy vocals by lead singer Molly Rankin whose pleadings do not seem whiny, but simply earnest feelings.

“You’ve expressed explicitly your contempt for matrimony,” Molly Rankin sings, with a soft but strong yearning.
In a way it is kind of a backwards take on 60’s hit “Hey Paula,” by Paul and Paula. While the duet features a couple who are both completely in love and cannot wait to marry each other, here in “Archie, Marry Me,” only the lead singer is ready to commit.

Rankin’s soothing voice even sits in the same range as Jill Jackson (aka Paula). And while we get both thoughts of the man and woman in “Hey Paula” through both Paul and Paula, Alvvays does the same but only through what Rankin tells us.

Like other modern counterparts such as Tennis as Best Coast, Alvvays combines a retro sound through unforgettable, timeless vocals, and breezy melodies, with modern electric guitar riffs and soul reaching lyrics.

Discography: Alvvays (2014).

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

The Soft White Sixties Bring Back The Eighties

19 Jan

They may be called The Soft White Sixties, but their sound is anything but.

“When This All Started” seems like a direct response to the absence of provocative but tasteful tracks in the modern age of pop music. It brings listeners back to the eighties powerhouse INXS who mastered the genre.

Like their predecessors, The Soft White Sixties take slow jamming and alternative rock seriously. The hazy, and dangerous instrumentals compliment lead singer Octavio Genera’s sensual and gritty vocals which alarmingly sound as if Michael Hutchence has come back from the dead.

It’s sleek and edgy just like INXS’ “Need You Tonight,” in fact, “When This All Started” could easily fit on a Best of INXS album without anyone questioning its authenticity.

Yes. It’s just that good.

Discography: The Soft White Sixties (2011).

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

Get To Know The Strange Boys

29 Dec

A rollicking electric guitar and rolling percussion get The Strange Boys “A Man You’ve Never Known” off to a 60’s retro start.

While lead singer Ryan Sambol’s voice comes straight off as a garage rock Bob Dylan, the track itself is more aptly comparable to The Rolling Stones “Under My Thumb.”

There is pure throwback authenticity here as the tune sheds much modernity for 90 percent retro rock. It is rare when songs like this, songs that could pass off as being legitimately from the 60’s, comes off with such ease but The Strange Boys pull it off.

While the lyrics are mostly unintelligible, save for the chorus, it just adds to the raw and realness of a band that is committed to delivering a genuine unique song that sounds like a bona fide hit from the British Invasion era.

Discography: The Strange Boys and Girls Club (2009), Be Brave (2010), Live Music (2011)

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

A Far Cry From A Nightmare

22 Dec

“Sarah Beth” by The Nightmare & The Cat is the perfect fusion between retro rock and modern rock.

While the melody, sometimes fast paced with crashing percussion, often delves into the rock scene of today, lead singer Django Stewart elevates the tune to a separate retro level. His voice at times soft, soothing and smooth brings forth memories of Roy Orbison, particularly his song “(Say) You’re My Girl”.

The bouncy, foot tap worthy, “Sarah Beth” straddles the line between up tempo and slightly sad. This is reflected not just in the vocals and instrumentation but in the poetic lyrics as well.

“I built you this house in the hollow of my heart/You’re burning out and soon it will be dark/My fuel is in your doubt/My fear is in your spark.”

The lushness of the harmonies sung throughout the song are swapped out for pep and vitality in the chorus. Though it may feel as if one is listening to two different songs put together, Nightmare & The Cat effortlessly string “Sarah Beth” together for an enjoyable, slightly retro listen.

Discography:Nightmare and the Cat EP (2011), Simple EP (2013)

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

Sweet Music

24 Nov

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” made famous by The Shirelles, is arguably the best song to come from a girl group in the 1960’s. It’s the type of song that was made for the jukebox while sipping a milkshake. With its upbeat tempo, Shirley Owens crisp and rich vocals, and dazzling string instrumental, it’s easy to bypass how melancholy the tune really is.

And perhaps that’s the magic of the timeless track.

Many have covered the song in the past, but none as bittersweetly as Sweet Talk Radio. Husband and Wife duo Kathrin Shorr & Tim Burlingame match lyrical content to tone in this version. It is slow and full of pent up pain and uncertainty. Shorr sings with a heartaching and harrowing earnesty full of vulnerability that brings “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” to a whole different level. A level perhaps not thought about until now.

A simple piano driven background only helps to send home the truly downhearted message of the song. With additional ethereal vocals, Sweet Talk Radio’s version breathes new life into a classic.

Discography: My Hallelujah (2009), State Of The Untion (2012)

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

Music for the Dead

27 Oct

October 31 is fast approaching. Only a few more days until the spooks come out to socialize, and what better way to get in the mood than with Dead Mans Bones Disney’s Haunted Mansion inspired track “In The Room Where You Sleep”

Headed by Ryan Gosling, yes Ryan Gosling, and Zach Shields, “In The Room Where You Sleep” is the musical epitome of everything that Halloween should make you feel as a child. But what makes this track standout is the throwback to the late 1960’s Disney Haunted Mansion theme “Grim Grinning Ghosts” sung in part by Thurl Ravenscroft (AKA Tony The Tiger)

Hand claps, and an unsettling keyboard melody get the tune off to an eerie start. By the time what sounds like a theremin kicks in, one can not help but feel uneasy in the most fun way. Gosling is a vocal magician ranging from a soaring, ghostly falsetto to a Thurl Ravenscroft dark alto chorus warning “You better run/you better hide.”

And let’s not forget the homage to Vincent Price’s spoken word “Thriller” section which ends the song

The lyrics themselves are evocative and chilling without ever being explicit. With this track, the key is letting the listener use their imagination to fill in the blanks.

Undeniably “In The Room Where you Sleep” has enough tricks and treats to make anybody feel like a kid again.

Check out this awesome live version!

Discography: Dead Mans Bones (2009)

Official Website: http://www.deadmansbones.net