Must Hear: What Makes a Good Man? – The Heavy

If you haven’t yet heard The Heavy’s How You Like Me Now?, you probably don’t watch many movies/TV shows. The British band struck gold with their 2009 single, which was featured on several television shows and in several movies (including Horrible Bosses) and are back with their latest song What Makes A Good Man?

 Presumably not all their songs consist of unanswered questions, but they’re certainly enjoyable. What Makes A Good Man? is soul, rock, funk, and blues all rolled into one, and it hooks you in before Kevin Swaby even asks the question. Luckily for us, the good men of The Heavy (sorry, I couldn’t resist) are giving the song away for free on their website. All you have to do is play a quick memory game to unlock the download.

If you haven’t yet heard The Heavy’s How You Like Me Now?, at least take a listen to What Makes A Good Man? I’m pretty sure you’ll be left wanting more.

Blast From The Past: Texas

It’s difficult to find a band that makes music like Texas did (does?). This Scottish band has been around since the late 1980s, and I’m happy to report that the quality of music has certainly not wavered.

The first Texas song I heard was Say What You Want, which was released almost a good decade after the band formed. I instantly loved it. The last Texas song I’ve heard was Getaway from their 2005 album Red Book. They’ve since gone on hiatus to pursue personal projects, and Sharleen Spiteri – she with the most beautiful voice ever – has released two solo albums since. It’s been too long since we’ve heard new Texas material and I, for one, can’t wait until they announce a new album.

Also, the video for In Demand features Alan Rickman. One thousand points to Slytherin!

 

 

 

Must Hear: I Belong In Your Arms – Chairlift

Photo by Alex John Beck

Formed in Boulder, Colorado in 2005 and now based in Brooklyn, New York, Chairlift is an indie duo (formerly trio) that is slated to be the next big thing in synthpop/electronic music a la MGMT. They’re off to a good start, having been signed by Columbia Records, who released the band’s second full length album, Something, in January 2002.

I Belong Your Arms is the third track on Something, and while I’m not sure if it’s slated to be released as a single, it certainly should. Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly, the duo that is Chairlift, have created a song that, despite it’s name, is not only far from cheesy it’s fun, catchy and, according to the guys at Pitchfork, one of the band’s big hits at SXSW. It certainly makes me want to see them perform live so that I can sing along.

Blast From The Past: Del Amitri

If I had to pick just band that I wish had never stopped making music, it would have to be Del Amitri. Formed way back in 1983, this rock band from Scotland never quite gained the fame and fortune of its contemporaries such as Bon Jovi or Def Leppard. In my opinion, however, Del Amitri’s music was far better than the aforesaid.

Tell Her This, from their 1999 album Twisted, might be the best apology I’ve ever heard despite the word “sorry” never once being uttered. Twisted also contains Driving With The Brakes On, which is one of the band’s better-known songs.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, here are some of my favourite Del Amitri songs for you. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any videos except for Kiss This Thing Goodbye (or high quality clips on Soundcloud), but all the ‘videos’ embedded below contain the songs in their entirety.

 

 

 

 

Artist Alert: The Noisettes

Whether you like some good old-fashioned dance music or the sound of the ’60s, The Noisettes have something for you. The English duo of vocalist and bassist Shingai Shoniwa and guitarist Dan Smith have been around since 2003 (with a third band member, Jamie Morrison, until 2010), but it was in 2009 when their single Don’t Upset The Rhythm released that people starting taking notice.

Shoniwa’s voice is very reminiscent of Duffy and Gin Wigmore, but The Noisettes’ sound is incredibly unique. Truth be told, I don’t particularly care for Don’t Upset The Rhythm, but Never Forget You I do love.

The Noisettes are releasing their third album Contact on August 27th, and they’ve offered a pre-release bonus: a free download of their single Winner, which, with the Olympics starting tomorrow, is not only timely but also inspiring.

 

Must Hear: Normal Heights – Bluebell

There isn’t much information online about Bluebell, except that it appears to be a collaboration between a young lady named Annabel Jones and a young man known as Charlie. The said Annabel Jones happens to be the daughter of the late Davy Jones of The Monkees, and she is certainly talented.

Normal Heights seems to be the most (or maybe only) widely circulated Bluebell song online, complete with multiple remixes to boot. It starts off a bit Lily Allen-esque, but as the song progresses seems to have more heart than any Lily Allen song I’ve ever heard (and I’ve heard a lot). Jones has a strong, melodious voice that doesn’t assault your eardrums at the longer and higher-pitched notes. Her British accent also comes through very clearly and adds to the quirkiness of the song.

If this is Bluebell’s big debut, I can’t wait for what’s yet to come.

Must Hear: Sick and Twisted Affair – My Darkest Days

Few things make me happier than the sound of guitars, drums, and loud vocals, or, as one of my friends likes to call it, “shouty music”. But what sounds like noise to some is most definitely music to my ears.

Canadian band My Darkest Days were discovered by Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and are signed to Kroeger’s label 604 Records. This might be an immediate reason for several of you to never listen to them (or perhaps never read this blog again), but I strongly urge you to just press play in the video below and give them a fair listen before deciding whether or not to transfer your hatred of Nickelback onto My Darkest Days as well.

When I made my sister (who is a musician and much choosier than me about what she listens to) listen to Sick and Twisted Affair, her first reaction was that it has a very ’80s vibe. In my book, that is definitely a good thing.

Artist Alert: AWOLNATION

Last year was particularly stressful for me at work, so the few hours I had at home during which I wasn’t asleep weren’t spent looking for musicians unknown to me but rather new music from artists I already knew and liked. I was mildly intrigued when the name AWOLNATION popped up over and over again as I browsed the music blogs but didn’t pay much attention beyond making a mental note to check them out at some point.

Then my sister introduced me to Sail from the album Megalithic Symphony, and I instantly went to YouTube to listen to more from what turned out to be an absolutely fantastic album. One quick Amazon purchase later, Megalithic Symphony is playing ninety percent of the time on my iPod. While I did listen to the album’s best song first, the rest far from disappoints. I particularly like Jump On My Shoulders and Guilty Filthy Soul.

It’s refreshing to find new music that doesn’t sound like anything you hear on the radio (well, radio in Mumbai anyway). Others can have their Top 40. I’ll take AWOLNATION over that any day.

 

Must Hear: Young Blood – The Naked and Famous

If there was ever a song that evoked feelings of happiness it’s The Naked and Famous’s Young Blood. From its foot-tapping music to uplifting lyrics full of hope and the promise of falling back in love (eventually), it’s impossible not to dance, sing, or at the very least smile while listening to the song.

The video for Young Blood is absolutely perfect. Without a cell phone, laptop, iPad, or any other wire in sight, the band makes you long for those simpler days when being outdoors with your friends used to be enough to keep you happy.

Must Hear: The Magic – Joan As Police Woman

The Magic is one of those songs I knew I would like as soon as the first few riffs began. It starts off mellow without being dull, and Joan Wasser’s soft and raspy voice is a refreshing change from barrage of auto-tune we’re subject to these days. I won’t lie – she can get a little pitchy on the higher notes. But they’re so few and far between they’re easy to ignore.

I first heard the song several months ago, and one of my tests for whether it was a ‘song of the moment’ or a truly good song is whether or not I can listen to it and enjoy it just as much after, well, forgetting about it for a long time.

The answer is a definite yes. I happen to have the entire album The Deep Field in my iTunes playlist, but I haven’t heard any of the other songs because every time The Magic is over I just hit repeat. Maybe one day I’ll get around to it. Until then, I’m going to listen to it just a few more times.