January is Coming in HOT!

It is still January and we have been blessed with a ton of great new music! With the increased tension across the United States (and world), I’ll start off with a couple very political songs from folks not known for their politics.

The first is “This Land” from Gary Clark Jr. Clark is known for his incredible guitar playing and his swagger, not his politics. The song and the video discuss Clark’s experiences in Trump’s America. The video is one of the most powerful I’ve ever seen. It is directed by 25 year old Savanah Leaf. I get chills every time I listen to the song or watch the video.

 

Las Vegas’ own The Killers are also a band not known for their politics. Singer Brandon Flowers has dabbled in his support for local candidates or issues, but those statements have been few and far between. With their newest track “Land of the Free” they take on issues like immigration and gun control. It is also the most “Springsteen-esque” I’ve heard them. The video for this song was directed by Spike Lee.

2019 has already been a banner year for one of my favorite types of music, melancholic. One band who embodies this is the appropriately named Twilight Sad. They hail from Scotland and were very close with the lead singer of Frightened Rabbit. Their newest record IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME, finds a return to the synth heavy 80’s sound that I first loved them for. I am hoping to see them on this current tour. They put on one of the most emotional shows I have ever seen. Here is “VTr”:

The Queen and King of American Sad (Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst) dropped a surprise album earlier this week under the moniker Better Oblivion Community Center. They have created something truly beautiful and melancholy. I’ve listened to little else this week. Hopefully they’ll make a stop in Las Vegas if they tour. Here is “Didn’t know what I was in for”.

Anti-Folk hero Sharon Van Etten has bulldozed into 2019 with her loudest and most synth-heavy record Remind Me Tomorrow. After having a few acting roles (including in my fave The OA) and a baby, Van Etten is back with her first release in four years. The songs are much more nostalgic and hopeful than some of her previous work. I adore the new record despite it taking me a little time to get used to loud. Here is the very appropriately titled, “Comeback Kid”:

My favorite young Brit Rockers Catfish and The Bottlemen are back with the first new single “Longshot” off of their forthcoming The Balance. If you get a chance to see them, do. They will absolutely melt your face.

I look forward to even more amazing music this year…both The Head & The Heart and Grouplove should be coming out with new albums, so that alone will make this year perfect for music.

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Lyrics and Music

I am a sucker for lyrics. I love the music in a song, don’t get me wrong. The melody, the structure, unique instrumentation…but lyrics are what I come back to. Like anything in life, it is not universal, but I pay attention to what the song  is saying, and often will fall in love with a song just based upon lyrics alone. For this entry into the Sandy Beats, I am going to highlight a few songs with lyrics that have particularly struck me.

First up is a new song. I don’t have the confidence that @Begt has listened to this song as she  tends to avoid the subject when I bring it up…Folk Trio The Lumineers hit it big a few years back with “Ho Hey”. The song was everywhere. Just this year they released their first two singles from their forthcoming Cleopatra. The first single released “Ophelia” made me forget that we had been waiting almost 4 years for a new song. Their second single, the namesake for the album, “Cleopatra” has made it clear to me that the 4 years was worth it.

The lyrics that are particularly impactful for me are near the end of the song:

“But I was late for this, late for that, late for the love of my life
And when I die alone, when I die alone, when I die I’ll be on time

And the only gifts from my Lord were a birth and a divorce
But I’ve read this script and the costume fits, so I’ll play my part”

I am not one to interpret lyrics as I think they mean something different to the listener, so there you have it.

As you may have noticed from my first post of the year, the band I am listening to the most so far in 2016 is The Strumbellas . Their lyrics just hit me. Their second single off of the forthcoming Hope is no different. In “Shovels and Dirt” the Strumbellas once again address mortality with the lyrics:

” Well it ain’t worth living if you don’t get hurt

I got a head full of darkness and darkness is good

cuz’ if we all die young and the we don’t get hurt”

Finally, NYC based Sharon Van Etten has proven to be a good soundtrack for me for the last few years. One of the songs from Tramp called “We Are Fine” has been one of my favorites since I first heard it.

“It’s okay to feel
Everything is real
Nothing left to steal
‘Cause we’re alright, we’re alright”

I’ve listened to a few live versions as well as the recorded version many times. Her emotion seems to come out each and every time.

What are some of your favorite lyrics?

Spring into Summer New Music

I know I owe you all a wrap up of May…but it is not over yet…and I cannot make any promises about seeing another show before the end of the month.

April and May have been great months with a lot of great music that has been released. Some of the new releases I’ve been anxiously awaiting, and some of the others I did not know where coming, or had not heard the artist until Spotify let me know.

Where to start? The month of May has brought its ups and downs and so with that, I will begin with a new melancholy favorite of mine. Sharon Van Etten is a Brooklyn, NY based singer songwriter. She saw moderate success and popularity with her third full length record, Tramp in 2012. Just two years later, she has followed it up with We Are There. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to her over the last month, and really like her more minimalist tracks that aren’t quite folk, and aren’t quite blues. The track that both introduced and hooked me on her sound is “Every Time the Sun Comes Up”.

(I hadn’t see the video until I posted it. Wow. Love this video)

Electronic duo, Plaid, was introduced to me by a friend who is a fan. This London based duo has been on the scene since the early 1990’s. From their 10th full length Reachy Prints here is “Hawkmoth”:

So I don’t want to move from electronic music from this next one. In an act of glorious cross Scandinavian collaboration, Norwegian electronic duo, Royksopp and Swedish sensation Robyn have released Do it Again which is a small collection of amazing electronic experimentation. Some are a bit more poppy than others, but it is all golden. I’ve always thought that Robyn has an amazing voice, and one t hat works well with electronic music. Royksopp, while having one real hit in the US a few years back, has quite an expansive catalog and and have worked with a variety of artists over the years.

I’ve enjoyed each of the 5 tracks on the record, my favorite of the moment is the dance track which also serves as the title of the EP, “Do It Again”.

If this doesn’t make you move a bit, you may need to visit a doctor.

Last but not least, comes Matrimony. This North Carolina based 4 piece “family band” is no stranger to Sandy Beats. They have become one of my favorite bands of the last couple of years, and I am so very happy that they just released their first proper full length record, Montibello Memories. This record features a new mix of the previously discussed “Obey Your Guns” but does not include my favorite Matrimony track, “Golden City”. This record does have a mix of bluesy, indie folk and has a much more polished sound than their previous two EPs. They are hitting the road this summer, and I am seriously considering a mid-week trip to LA to see them preform.

Here is a live version “Southern Skies” which is the first track off of their new album:

I know the summer will have lots of new tunes for us to check out, and of course, previews of LouFest now that the lineup has been released. I am looking forward to a grand summer!