Tag Archives: new

Because of Pepper’s Ghost

26 Feb

In the same vein as The Beatles “I’ll Get You” Pepper’s Ghost “Because of her” is a fun song with a jangle that was made famous in the 60s.

The vocals are spot on british invasion inspired which when combined with the instrumentation, focused heavily on guitar with a slight percussion, all add up to make it one of the best examples of a modern song that sounds authentically like it is from the past.

The upbeat tempo keeps the tune moving along at a swift pace while the actual content of the song is in complete contrast as the lead singer croons about fears and tears. This juxtaposition adds to the complexity and charm of the track.

The “Oh’s” that are included in the lyrics also harken back to the Beatles and some might even go as far to think that is a lost song from the fab four. It is an perfect tribute to an era long gone by. All that is missing from it are hand claps.

The Knox Hamilton Association

19 Feb

Knox Hamilton have an album The Heights coming out in March. To hold fans over they have released a track from the forthcoming LP – a cover of the 60s classic “Never My Love” made famous by The Association.

While the original version basks in dreamy instrumentation and soft vocals Knox Hamilton bring their own fresh sound to the tune. It still sounds retro, but not in a 1960s way. Instead the band relies on the synth movement of the 1980s to put the song into 2017 while still borrowing vibes from a past decade. The melody is clear and retained and any fan of the original will be able to recognize the tune, but it is just the right amount of different to update the track while still paying homage to its roots.

The electronic vibe ushers “Never My Love” into the modern landscape but it is also what makes it retro. Lead singer Boots Copeland’s vocals breathe new life into the tune with an energy that is infectious. Covers can be a hard, trying to find the right balance. One wants anyone who is familiar with the original incarnation to still hear the bare bones of the song in the new version, but one also wants it to appeal to an audience that may never have heard the song before in their entire life.

Yes, covers can be hard. But Knox Hamilton make it look easy.

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.


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.

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


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/