Stay In My Corner – The Arcs
Right now I can’t get enough of the Arcs and their album Yours, Dreamily. This is the new band from one half of the wonderful The Black Keys. Dan Auerbach teamed up with an array of diverse artists to create the record in just two weeks in a Brooklyn studio. He got the opportunity to make this bit of different music while bandmate Patrick Carney nurses a tour-cancelling shoulder injury. The Arcs includes Truth and Soul Records founder Leon Michels, the Black Keys touring bassist Richard Swift, Menahan Street Band member Homer Steinweiss, Amy Winehouse collaborator Nick Movshon, guitarist Kenny Vaughan, and all the members of all-female mariachi band Mariachi Flor de Toloache.
Dan Auerbach has described the album as “pretty weird” – so if he’s right, weird is now a good thing.
Throughout Yours, Dreamily there are shades of each of the Keys albums influencing certain tracks and it makes for compelling listening. My current pick of the songs is Stay In My Corner, a song about a break up told in a boxing metaphor inspired by this years Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao bout.
This is a slow rock jam of epic proportions. In classic Dan Auerbach style it is effortlessly cool. It’s hard to escape the similarities to the Black Keys entirely when the lead vocalist and writer has a very distinctive sound, but there’s something a bit softer about the Arcs and Stay In My Corner showcases that. All of those funky riffs and melodies we love in the Black Keys work, go just as well with this more laid-back base sound as they do with the more drum-lead and upbeat Keys tunes.
I’m ready to crank this tune over and over while having a few beers in the summer sun (she writes on a rainy day -sigh).
Sure Love – Jarryd James
Aussie muso Jarryd James has got me in a trance with his debut album Thirty One. With each listen this piece of work gets better and better. It’s got songs to cater for every mood and a modern and unique sound.
The Brisbane alt-pop artist burst onto the scene this year with his stellar singles Do You Remember and Give Me Something. With the help of Kiwi producer extraordinaire Joel Little he went from zero to hero in no time. Then just last month he made the fantastic decision of collaborating with Julia Stone on Regardless which dominated from the get go. If you don’t know these three songs already, get listening. If you do, Sure Love should be the first track you listen to on Thirty One. It’s a great follow up to these singles and deserves just as good a reaction.
Sure Love reminds me a lot of James Blake’s sound. It’s laid-back but upbeat at the same time with RnB like vocals.
The perfect kind of track to listen to as we head into warmer weather.
Cause I’m A Man – Tame Impala
This new track from the Aussie indie rockers is my current crank. Cause I’m A Man is the first official single from their soon to be released album Currents and it’s a damn good taste of what’s to come when the record is out on July 17th.
It’s a funky song, perfect for when you’re in a chilled mood and keen to bop your head along to something. A psychedelic synth undertone wafts throughout the song teamed up with a bass line which adds a catchy melody. In the verses Kevin Parker’s charming vocals drift across the top in a repeating scale of falsetto. But before you know it things are amped up a notch in the chorus with a grungy guitar riff and a stronger, gravelly vocal display which wakes you up from your hallucinations. It’s a compelling listen.
There’s a lot of symmetry in this track. When I consider the level of repetition separately I feel like it should be boring. But it’s not. Somehow Tame Impala have worked their alternative magic once again and Cause I’m A Man has really struck a chord with me. Bring on more of this when Currents is released!
Vertigo – Mini Mansions ft Alex Turner
This week I can’t get enough of this new track Vertigo from Mini Mansions featuring the chilling vocals of Arctic Monkey’s frontman Alex Turner.
Turner gives this fresh sounding alternative rock track an ethereal quality which is rather haunting. It’s quite a contagious sound I’ve found and while Mini Mansions other songs have many good things about them, Turner’s influence makes Vertigo a stand out.
Described as a dark pysch-pop project by Spotify – Mini Mansions is the brainchild of Queens of the Stone Age bassist Michael Shuman. I would be more inclined to call them alternative rockers with an electronica influence shining through thanks to a lot of synth use.
Vertigo is very catchy – it has a solid bass beat thanks to Shuman, spooky guitar riffs, a singalong invoking chorus and lyrics that keep you guessing.
This is a track any Arctic Monkeys or Queens of the Stone Age fan should like because it has so many elements of their music, but I think Muse and The Killers fans will love it too. It has all the key elements of a classic modern rock song but it sounds new and unique thanks to the alternative elements.
It’ll grow on you with every listen so check it out and let me know what you think!
Don’t Wanna Fight – Alabama Shakes
Take a funky bass melody, solid drumbeats, jarring electric guitar riffs and a powerhouse voice like nothing you’ve heard for 20 years and you get Alabama Shakes new track Don’t Wanna Fight.
This American rock band formed in, you guessed it- Alabama – are a band you should know if you don’t already. They burst onto the scene in 2012 with their superb first single Hold On. They carved up at the 2013 Grammy’s with their debut album Boys & Girls, taking home Best New Artist, Best Rock Performance and Best Recording Package.
Ever since then I’ve been patiently waiting for the next installment and now I’ve been given a small taste in Don’t Wanna Fight and I just want more!
This song has elements of The Black Keys work. Don’t Wanna Fight shares that similar sound like it’s been recorded during a jam session in the basement. It’s slightly more commercial than their previous offerings but that is working in their favour here. The song is catchy and will appeal to a wide audience while still maintaining the fresh and unique sound heard on their first album.
It’s been said time and time again that lead singer Brittany Howard sounds like Janis Joplin but I disagree. She’s better. Her soulful yet somewhat grungy voice is glorious. It’s too hard to explain so you all just need to have a listen.
Fever – The Black Keys
The Black Keys are back, and back with a vengeance. The rock duo from Ohio have just released their new album Turn Blue and so far the samples are as good as one could have hoped for. Off the back of El Camino, I had very high expectations. These boys know how to write fantastic rock music and they know how to change it up with each new album. But of course when a band doesn’t stick to what it knows works best there are always risks in releasing new music. I’m pleased to say the risk has paid off, this is a stellar album and the first release from it, Fever, gets things off to a roaring start.
I found a vid of the Black Keys performing this new track live on Later with Jools Holland and I haven’t been able to stop watching the clip all week.
The song has the classics of a good Black Keys song, a grungy electric guitar melody, thrashing drums and groovy crooning. The element of difference shines through in the keyboard melody which repeats throughout the song. It’s a new sound for the duo, but it works perfectly with their alternative take on rock. Not only that, but the wonderful bass line holds the song together magically. There’s something about this band and the way every song carries such an effective beat beneath the melody. Fever is perfect in this sense also.
The bridge of the song is a nod-your-head-in-pleasure section of the tune, it slows up the track and gets the listener ready for the climax which is brought on with a fantastic change to the bopping keyboard melody. It’s a brilliant effect and I feel it’s a pretty fail-proof song for the Black Keys.
I can’t wait to see this new album brought to life on the Glastonbury stage.