zaterdag 15 juni 2024

2024. Week 24, 10 singles 2

Musical genres are as wide as you can imagine. Although this blog does not capture everything there is, far from even, we are able to present different kinds of music and especially in the singles section. So brace yourself for heavy duty punk, country rock and a beautiful ballad. Of course, you will find everything in between as well. Enjoy!

This Old Truck. Grant Langston

An interesting tale is told by Grant Langston in his bio. His dream was to play music in a band and did so ever since he was 12. Yet he's also successful in business and at the corporate level. This latter success does not stop him from making his own music. In fact, it seems to sustain it. "... recorded music produces virtually no income for 99.4% of artists". No wonder he is able to play an optimistic country song like This Old Truck. As optimistic it is. The single is one of those tremendously upbeat songs where all elements just seem to fall into place. The country twang is there, the wail of a pedal steel, a warm Hammond kicks in and the rhythm just keeps chugging forward. This Old Truck is the kind to drink a cool tap beer from a jar with and sing along as good as you can. Grant Langston's album aLAbama is out already.

The Old House. Malice K

This single takes me back some decades. It sounds instantly familiar and yet the name doesn't come to me. Malice K is Alex Konschuh originally from Olympia, Washington but now from NYC. The Old House is a song based on an acoustic guitar, there's a cello and an electric guitar is added, a tambourine joins and there's a  bass. But that voice? And then I know: Elliot Smith of course. Malice K reaches for the depths Smith reached for later on in his career. Somehow I expect the song to explode into an electric killer of a song. Konschuh, if he was tempted to do so, resisted and just adds the lead guitars, all subtle and soft. If there's a complaint possible, it is that the song just fizzles out, not unlike Hendrix' 'Little Wing'. After all that came before, that complaint is very small beer. Malice K has convinced long before that fizzle. The Old House is the warm up to the debut album 'Avanti', slated for 23 August.

Poppin' Up Again. The Yum Yums

By way of Boston's Rum Bar Records Norwegian pop lords The Yum Yums have reached me once again. You have to go back almost four years on the blog to find album and single 'For Those About To Pop!' on the blog. Poppin' Up Again has nothing to do with Norway but everything with pop music disguised as a rock song. This song has everything to do with powerpop coming out of the U.S. decades ago. Tightly played guitars over which a pop melody with golden harmonies is unleashed. You will have heard it all before but let's face it. Who cares when it happens as good as The Yum Yums serve it up? U.S. powerpop created in Norway and released in the U.S.? You won't hear me complaining.

Cognitive Dissident. The The

It must have been 1984 when I heard 'Uncertain Smile' for the first time. The song is one of the best songs from the 1980s, no doubt. Despite this the band's albums never where truly for me. The only exception or at least coming close, is 1993s 'Dusk'. I even went to see the band in Paradiso at the time. Was that the show that started hours late because the band members recreated a bit longer in the Bull Dog than called for? For decades Matt Johnson stepped from the stage and recording studios. In 2024 he's back with Cognitive Dissident. It is clear immediately that he hasn't lost his tricks. It's not that so much is happening on the single, He creates this mysterious mood that makes me listen. Part the driving rhythm, part the strange sounds, part his way of talk-singing. No, this is no 'Uncertain Smile' but then hardly any song ever is another 'Uncertain Smile'. This is Cognitive Dissident and that is enough. Yes, serve me more The The please.

The Exorcism. Charlotte Wessels

Jeez?! What to make of The Exorcism? It is clear that with Charlotte Wessels The Netherlands has another "Ice Queen" metal singer ready to take on the world. From subtle to a grunt and everything in between comes from the throat of Wessels. With a band behind her that is able to play from a tranquil, flat sea right into the lowest and warmest depths of hell and all in the matter of seconds. I have no clue what to really think of it. Just like I cannot with Floor Jansen's band or Within Temptation. I do hear that here's a singer at work that is good with a band behind her that can play. The mighty double bass drum, the huge synths and mightily pumped up guitar and bass. If this song does not do the trick, this demon is too strong.

Oblivion. SYML

SYML returns to the blog with a single of quite some proportions. Somehow the music spans centuries, not decades. In the rhythm Oblivion could be a song from the Middle Ages. Could this have been a madrigal sung by 14th century nuns? I would say yes. It is not of course. Brian Fennell has worked with producer Brian Eichelberger. Fennell played everything, except for the strings that Eichelberger added. The result is an extremely serious, yet powerful song. With a huge topic, as Fennell declares to be living forever. Well, good luck with that. Oblivion however is a beautiful song and richly orchestrated at that. Fennell's song soars over the majestic music, like an eagle circling on thermal waves ever higher and further. SYML did not go for anything simple. Just the ending that is soft and modest, seemingly reaching oblivion.

Dear Deirdre. Crumbs

Dear Deirdre may be a song about an existential crisis as the band let's me know in the bio. What I hear is a song that is upbeat and fun to listen to. Crumbs is a new name to me, so makes its debut on this blog. It is around for closing in on a decade though. Crumbs released its first record 'Mind Yr Manners' already in 2017. Toured after it and then got caught in what we all got caught up in for a few years, off and on. The period was used well on the basis of Dear Deirdre. The jumpy rhythm of the song is simply infectious. We can go back to the 1980s to find songs like this, mostly from girl pop bands I'd say. The band's members' influences range far wider than pop, so I read. That must come forward on the album. So we all better take a break and listen to 'You're Just Jealous' as it is out since 17 May.

Suitcase. Lizzy

Lizzy returns to the blog, with her most intimate single to date. On Suitcase you just hear her voice(s) and a piano. As such it is different from all the other singles you can find on this blog ever since 2020. This is who she is. There is no hiding, no instruments to hide behind herself and you as listener. And there's no need to do so. Suitcase is simply a beautiful song in which Lizzy lays down her feelings and doubts for all to hear. Suitcase in hand, she's about to go and close the door behind her forever. Sadness often is an inspiration to beauty and Suitcase is no exception. In the middle of the song a few extra sounds creep into the song anyway. No matter how subtle, they can be heard. The same goes for the ghost like choir singing a few notes. They give the song a little extra. Not that it needs it but now it's there it is exactly right in its contribution. Lizzy to all appearances seems to have tapped into to another level of music making and Joes Brand, her producer, has refrained from adding things this song does not need. Suitcase is a beautiful song.

The Spirit of Massachusetts Avenue. Already Dead

"Boots on the ground, fist in the air" or the other way around when stagediving, Already Dead goes for it for 250% to quote Norway's Kaizers Orchestra. This is one punk single alright. Starting with an old jingle or radio add that is warped immediately before the band kicks in to deliver its view of Massachusetts Avenue. Like fellow (Boston) bands Dropkick Murphies and Rancid lead vocals are alternated and in this single almost by the line. Already Dead is on the blog for the second time after 'Bread & Roses' in the late summer of 2023. Again the band takes on a social topic, showing where its heart and mind is. There's anger in this song alright. One thing is certain, the anger does not stop the band from writing a great melody, making sure that all in the audience and pub can sing along to "your fucking problem".

Stomp The Gas. The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio

Rock and roll with a country touch. On Stomp The Gas The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio combines decades of rock and roll with a stomping rock song that combines the fun of playing with great skills. The trio shows its love for what came before and adds its enthusiasm; and not a little. Sure, we have all heard dozens of songs like these. From The Rolling Stones to ZZ Top and back to The Kinks. Stomp The Gas is the kind of song to sing along to, to dance to, or just admire the great guitar runs that Mike Jacoby plays. He is the songwriter and singer of the trio and has produced the upcoming record, 'Rocket Fuel Logic', out on 21 June. Without the guys behind him, Don Read on bass and backing vocals and Mike Levin on drums and backing vocals, he would not be sounding this cool. Read and Levin lay down some perfect rhythm for Jacoby to play over. Together they have honed Stomp The Gas on the live circuit, leading to this great track that will in return excite new audiences for sure.

Wout de Natris

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