Tag Archives: the beatles

Musical Staircase

8 Jan

Hysterics “Uptight Staircase” has been a favorite of mine since before its official release in 2007. In every way possible it conjures early Beatles from the lead singer’s Lennon-esque tone, to the background vocals that enhance the tune.

It evokes The Beatles “I Want to Hold your Hand” or “She Loves You,” in its simple melody, but content wise it isn’t as straightforward and innocent. The lyrics are a bit muddled, but one can tell they are far more complicated than The Beatles singing about sweet first love. The imagery is more potent here and it works for the song, bringing the retro feel into a more modern landscape.

Even though this song is ten years old it still holds up, sounding fresh, like it could have been released in 2017. The magic of this track is that throwback element that Hysterics did so well on their debut album. It never feels like a copy of something The Beatles could have created, instead the band uses the british invasion influence to work with their own sound and the outcome is outstanding.

I’m not sure what happened to this band after their debut LP, but it left fans like me wanting more because their 60s spot on sound was something of a treasure to unearth.



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.

A Song For You

28 Aug

Thomas Charlie Pedersen’s “For You” has a striking resemblance to The Beatles “Blackbird” in the melody of the simple guitar instrumentation. In fact if one didn’t know that they were listening to a new song one could easily mistake it for “Blackbird.” Intentional or not it’s hard to believe it wasn’t an influence on the song.

The tune itself carries a church hymn like quality “heal my wounds/soothe my soul,” Pedersen sings with a purity in his voice that is nothing short of angelic. Did I mention that his vocals also sound a bit like Paul McCartney which only adds to the retro aspect of the tune? And that its structure and content sound like something McCartney could have written and performed himself?

But Pedersen does make the song his own by bringing a traditional sound to the tune, almost as if this song and its story has been passed down through the ages since the beginning of time making the track very memorable and special.

So while it does have some 60s and 70s vibes to it the throwback element really reaches back to time itself and that is something that is rare to come across in a song.

Pedersen is extremely talented and is able to authentically write and deliver a song that people of all ages can enjoy and appreciate.

Discography: Second Hand War (2016)


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/

Somewhere Retro

8 May

By now Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have well become a household name with their unique blend of alternative folk rock, but on their latest album Person A, they delve into some classic retro territory on the tune “Somewhere.”

Right from the first opening strums of the guitar, there is an immediate resemblance to The Beatles masterpiece “Here Comes the Sun.” It eventually blends into the rest of the track on the verses, but shines in all its retro glory when it is heard on its own. The vocals are light and airy and give the song a magical quality, something that “Here Comes the Sun” also possesses.

There’s no denying that this track is a little slice of heavenly pie that has an overabundance of sweetness to it, but it never comes off saccharine. Mostly it carries an air of hope, a message that “Here Comes the Sun” demonstrated as well. The two tunes may have different content but with the repetitiveness of “I believe we’re going somewhere,” on the Magnetic Zeros tune one can’t help but still feel the same kind of joy that The Beatles track encapsulated so well.

“Somewhere” is the perfect song to listen to at night right before you drift to sleep, with pleasant notions on your mind hopefully carrying over to your dreams. Or even first thing in the morning when you wake up. Either way, if you’re ever feeling a bit of despair, crank up “Somewhere” and be transported to a place where good things are not too far out of reach.

Discography: Up From Below (2009), Here (2012) Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (2013), PersonA (2016).

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

Make Your Week

10 Apr

The Weeklings are known for their British Invasion, Beatles like sound, and in fact have covered one Beatles song that was never released by the band itself called “I’m in Love” made famous in the 60s by The Fourmost.

The Fourmost version has a bit of a surf rock feeling to it, while The Weeklings really put that retro Beatles vibe to it slowing the tempo down quite a bunch and adding jangling guitars and handclaps.

When the Fourmost sing the song it is almost unrecognizable as something the Beatles could have written, but with this modern version, with a new arrangement, it is almost impossible not to hear the Beatles influence on this track.

Those who are familiar with the original version may need to take some time to get used to The Weeklings version, but both interpretations of the track are unique and wonderful in their own way.

The Fourmost really made it their own, but even with turning it into a more Beatles sounding tune, The Weeklings not only get to pay homage to the legendary band, but they get to imagine what the song would have sounded like if The Beatles had ever decided to release it as a single on their own.

Fun, and full of throwback feelings, “I’m In Love” is a great song plain and simple no matter who is singing it.

Discography:The Weeklings (2015)

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



Lean On Telekinesis

25 Oct

Telekinesis “Lean on Me” is the perfect track that blends indie music with a retro element. Right away, lead singer Michael Benjamin Lerner, reminds listeners of The Shin’s type of music. Light and lo-fi. But there is an ever present throwback element, think the early Beatles, especially in the rollicking chorus that has quite a guitar jangle to it. When Lerner croons “lean on me anytime” it recalls the Beatles “All You’ve Got To Do” lyrics in a sense.There are also shades of Gerry and the Pacemakers “ Away From You”

Both the verses and the chorus blend into each other seamlessly. It’s impossible not to hear the honest and sweetness of “Lean on Me” which also contributes to the 60s feeling of the tune. The instrumentation is simple and never outshines Lerner.  A retro tune with a bit of west coast flair to it, “Lean on me” is also a very feel good, happy kind of tune. Just a little ditty that can brighten anyone’s day. And as it is often the case, it is in these simple tracks that the best retro songs with a modern influence are found.

Discography: Telekinesis (2009), 12 Desperate Strange Lines (2011), Dormarion (2013), AD Infinitum (2015).