Any list that opens with Thunderbitch is bound to be solid, but that Los Colognes cut kills. Seriously, I don’t know where the bereted wonder finds this stuff. I’m just glad that she does.
“Very Best Friend,” Thunderbitch (Thunderbitch). “You got the reds, whites and blues and the yella and greenies too. I’m gonna, huh, take the whole load.” Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes) pulls no punches and delivers some delicious blues rock. I can’t give you anything better than the band’s own bio: “Thunderbitch. Rock’n’roll. The end.”
“Backseat Driver,” Los Colognes (Dos). “Guilty woman, guilty man. Guilty lovers in a lonely land.” For the second month in a row, I offer up another group that channels Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits. This is not a bad thing. Enjoy.
“Pressure Off,” Duran Duran (feat. Janelle Monae) (Paper Gods). “Outside looking in on myself. Just me, I couldn’t be anyone else.” Give this track a listen and you will hear the undeniable influence of Mr. Nile Rodgers’ (Chic) guitar licks. Impeccable production, Simon’s unmistakable vocals, a little funk groove and you’ve got yourself an earworm.
“Cop And Go,” The Dead Weather (Dodge and Burn). “Beautiful lies, danger zone. Beautiful lies, under sold, creepin up on your soul. Ain’t no time to take it slow.” Dark, sludgy rock, this track comes at you with its teeth bared. Alison Mosshart’s snarling vocals paired with Jack White’s relentless guitar onslaught provide swagger and backbone.
“Which Way,” Richard Hawley (Hollow Meadows). “I’ve been living upside down. Never knowing where I’m bound.” Hawley delivers melancholy lyrics of loss above the din of crunchy lo-fi guitar. Bold and unapologetic, this song humbles the listener by reminding that strength can be gained by embracing weakness.
“Tell Me Why,” Death By Unga Bunga (Tell Me Why EP). “You better get down off your high horse. Cause you have never been taller than yourself for someone else. But just the same, tell me why.” A straight up rocker from a band hailing from Norway. This track is high energy and has a somewhat haphazard delivery that somehow works. Obviously they have quite the sense of humor, given their name and the album cover.
“Here’s No Use,” Salad Boys (Metalmania). “I can’t sleep, there’s bitter things to see. There’s no use, feelin’ like you do.” Warm and familiar, this song welcomes the listener with acoustic guitar that one can imagine being on the beach somewhere in their native New Zealand. This tune will leave you feeling happy.
“Akt dit,” Dungen (Allas sak). Swedish band, Dungen, offers us an unusual, dreamy mix of surreal vocals, piano, tenor sax, and adventuresome drumming that gives the song a superb sonic texture. There are seventies prog-rock stylings that are readily accessible, but it is the unexpected jazz elements that give the track psychedelic muscle.
“London Thunder,” Foals (What Went Down). “There’s no space. There’s no time. Where to draw the line?” A stark, lonely ode colored by Yannis Philippakis’ clear, haunting vocals and lush production. The track takes the listener on a journey from the sparse foundation, through the emotionally wrought core and finally, back down to the quiet, reflective close.
“Cannibal,” Jill Andrews (The War Inside). “I want to drink you like a vampire.” An enchanted string and piano part, coupled with a subtle rhythm section provide the otherworldly intro that gently pulls you into this spooky love song. Ms. Andrews’s nuanced delivery and the soaring instrumentation cement this song as a keeper.