April’s Picks: March 2015

april picksApril isn’t messing around this month. She’s packing 10 tasty cuts guaranteed to satisfy your earbuds. How does she do it? I have no idea. The woman has a superhuman ability to sniff out good music. Maybe it’s the beret.

Are you ready, teddies? Let’s do it:

  • 4th and Roebling,” The Districts (A Flourish and A Spoil). “Living lives in two places wear my soul too thin.” A track that a little bit to get up to speed, but well worth the wait. Moody, dramatic guitar colored with handclaps and tambourine gives this song nuance and heart.
  • Family Problems,” American Aquarium (Wolves). “I ain’t getting’ any younger, everyday’s an uphill battle, starin’ down the barrel of the choices I made.” BJ Barham channels Springsteen in this rich, slow burner. Hailing from Raleigh, NC and recorded in Asheville, NC the band tells one story of alcoholism. The horn arrangement is a nice touch.
  • Empty Nesters,” Toro y Moi (What For?).Smothered and covered by my high school dreams…” Upbeat with lilting vocals, the swirling synths lend an accessible sound. There remains enough quirk to engage the listener. Chaz Bundick (Toro y Moi), a Columbia, SC native is a true genre chameleon.
  • Somebody Was Watching,” Pops Staples (Don’t Lose This). “Down in my soul I knew some way I’d get through. Lookin’ back now I see, somebody was watchin’ over me.” Pops passed away in 2000. Now his daughter, Mavis, has teamed up with Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) to bring Pop’s last tracks to life. The result is a soulful labor of love. This cut lays the blues on thick with pure, precise drumming, velvety backing vocals and, of course, Pops doesn’t sound too bad either.
  • Our Own House,” Misterwives (Our Own House). “Wake up to sun, clouds always come undone.” Mandy Lee commands the start of this single with a sultry a cappella before the band crashes in. The sparkling, energetic sax and trumpet arrangement elevates the song from the pop music swamp of mundane and predictable.
  • Under the Influence,” Elle King (Love Stuff). “I could tell you to cast a spell that knows no moderation. It’s dangerous the things we do.” Born in 1989, this kid writes beyond her years. A smoldering, badass gauntlet of a song thrown to the weak at heart. We’ve all known at least one.
  • What Am I Supposed To Do,” The Mavericks (Mono). “Even fools can see when all the chips are down. But when you’re next to me, my world keeps spinnin’ ‘round.” A sweet, simple song performed with spirit and longing. Get a leg up on your summer playlist by adding this one.
  • Where the Sky Hangs,” Passion Pit (Kindred). “Was it us? Was it them? It’s the ones plucking the petals till we’re left with the stem.” Bright and sparse, it’s hard to be in a bad mood when listening to this earworm.
  • No Action,” Kitty, Daisy & Lewis (Kitty, Daisy & Lewis the Third). “Darlin’ please forgive me if I’m wrong. With this other woman I just can’t get along.” Anchored by Kitty Durham’s scathing vocals, this track is delightfully vengeful. Stick around for the funky guitar that calls up the spirit of Sister Sledge’s ‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’.
  • No Way Back to Eden,” Blackberry Smoke (Holding All The Roses). “We dipped ourselves in the river, but we never get clean. There’s no way back to Eden from what I’ve seen.” The band calls Atlanta, GA home and their sound continues to evolve in the best of ways. This track is beautifully written and performed. The band maintains their authenticity while their sound is exquisitely polished, thanks to Brenden O’Brien producing.

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