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In Case You Haven't Heard Part I; a Collection of Newish Tunes I Missed While on Hiatus

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

In Case You Haven't Heard Part I; a Collection of Newish Tunes I Missed While on Hiatus

Well, after a lengthy hiatus from the blogging world, I'M BACK! It's been a while, eh? I think my break warrants a brief explanation, so here it goes. After nearly a decade living in Boston, I've relocated my ass to New Jersey for an exciting new work opportunity. Said work opportunity actually starts on Monday which is both exciting AND nerve wracking. Why Jersey? Well, I've always wanted to move closer to the East Coast music mecca that is New York City and this opportunity just seemed like the right fit. Wish me luck!

Now, back to the music.  To kick things off, I wanted to do a little post featuring some great music videos/songs that I fully intended to give a proper feature, but because of time constraints and other obligations surrounding my move, never could. I've split the songs out into two posts; one that's a bit more rock & roll and a second that's a bit more pop.  First up...The Killers!

The Killers Runaways

First up? A new single from American rock band The Killers. While "Runaways," the Steve Lillywhite (U2, Dave Matthews Band) produced lead single taken from the band's forthcoming new album sounds a bit re-hashed I must say I'm happy to hear the boys back together again.  Battle Born, due September 18th (Island Records) is the first album of original material since 2008's Day & Age album.  The Killers were always adamant that they were simply going on hiatus and not breaking up, which of course I took with a grain of salt. Bands have gone on hiatus in the past only to permanently break up months later, dashing the hopes and dreams of fans everywhere. Luckily, that is not the case here. The Killers are back and sounding better than ever!

"Runaways" was released July 17th in the U.S. (iTunes US) and UK (iTunes UK) via Island and Mercury Records respectively. To date, the song has peaked at #7 on Billboard's Alternative Songs Chart, #13 on the Rock Songs Chart and #78 on the Hot 100.  Check out the EPIC video for "RunawaysABOVE featuring the ever adorable Brandon Flowers.

Alanis Morissette Guardian

Upon listening to the new Alanis Morissette single, "Guardian" for the first time, I was disappointed. It sounded like typical Alanis. Nothing new. Nothing reinvented. Then I thought about it some more and decided that it's OK for an artist to stay true to who they are and to their sound and fan base. Not every artist needs to pull a Madonna and reinvent themselves every album. Alanis is a storyteller first and foremost. Her songs are lyrically driven rock songs and that's OK. "Guardian" is no different than past releases and that's kind of refreshing in my mind. I'm happy Alanis is still making music so I'll take what I can get.

Produced by Joe Chiccarelli (My Morning Jacket, Counting Crows) and produced and co-written by Guy Sigsworth (Madonna, Bj√∂rk), "Guardian" was released back in May as the lead single from the Canadian singer/songwriter's eighth studio album Havoc and Bright Lights, which is out now (iTunes US/iTunes UK), released via Collective Sounds/RED Distribution/Sony Music Entertainment.  Download the single (iTunes US/iTunes UK) and check out the stunning video ABOVE which was inspired by Wim Wenders' film, Wings of Desire, which celebrated it's 25th anniversary recently.  Alanis goes into a bit more detail about the video's conception: 
"The full circle poetry of my having written 'Uninvited' for it's remake, combined with my love of the original movie, combined with my love of Germany...combined most importantly with how this video is such a visual extension of the song 'Guardian,' which is so close to my was so much fun to make it in Berlin! I think it really shows how the parent/guardian angel role are ultimately a powerful inner parent calls upon spirit to guide her/his choices on the loved ones' behalf, whether it is for a child, a friend, or an inner child...this love and this grace is available to everyone."
 To date, "Guardian" has been a modest hit for Morissette, peaking at #19 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles Chart and #27 on the Adult Pop Songs Chart.  In her native Canada, the song peaked at #41 while the song saw it's biggest success in Belgium where it peaked at #4 on the Ultratip Flanders Chart. As for the album, Havoc and Bright Lights went on to peak at #5 on the Billboard 200 becoming her fifth Top 5 album and sixth Top 10.

Norah Jones Miriam

"Miriam" is a new DREAMY single taken from Norah Jones' fifth studio album, the Danger Mouse-produced Little Broken Hearts.  Released this past spring, Little Broken Hearts is a beautiful collection of songs co-penned by Jones and Danger Mouse, lead, of course, by infectiously trippy lead single "Happy Pills."  While "Miriam" isn't anywhere near as addictive as it's predecessor, there's still something mesmerizing about it.  

What I REALLY love is the Peter Bjorn and John remix that was released on August 14th (iTunes US/iTunes UK).  The Swedish indie rockers put a unique, more up-tempo rock twist on the quaint little Jones ballad.  It really amps things up considerably, taking the song from a sleepy little lullaby to a harder-hitting, hand-clapping stomper.

The Wallflowers Reboot The Mission

Following a substantial hiatus (7 years!), Jakob Dylan-lead American rock outfit The Wallflowers are back with a brand new album, Glad All Over, due October 2nd  via Columbia Records and preceded by the album's lead single, "Reboot The Mission," featuring Mick Jones of The Clash.  Considering how much I LOVED the band's breakout album, the 4 X Platinum Bringing Down The Horse, when I heard they were coming back I was more than a little bit excited. 

"Reboot The Mission" is anything but a re-hashing of "One Headlight" or "6th Avenue Heartache," far from it in fact. It's a reggae/dance-tinged rock track with a little hip-hop swagger thrown in for good measure.  Initially on the fence, I have to say it's growing on me substantially with each listen.  The video cuts together studio footage of the band recording and several talented hip-hop/break dancers doing their thing in a number of California locales. Very cool!  According to Dylan"the goal is to be 'a rock band that could make a dance track too, without crossing over to the extreme side." I'd say that The Wallflowers have achieved their goal.

Mumford and Sons I Will Wait

Last month, British folk rock outfit Mumford & Sons dropped their long-awaited first single, "I Will Wait," off their highly anticipated sophomore album, Babel, due September 24th via Island Records/Glassnote Records and it's a good one!  Now I admitted before that I am a late blooming Mumford & Sons fan, completely MISSING out entirely on their first album, 2009's EPIC Sign No More.  After listening to singles "Little Lion Man" and "The Cave" I became completely obsessed and am counting down the days until the new record hits shelves.   Listen to "I Will Wait" BELOW.

While my tastes are DEFINITELY 90% pop-leaning it's music like this that makes my heart melt. The driving beat and STUNNING vocal harmonies of the song carry it through in spite of the forlorn, depressed lyrical content.  Your eyes can't help but well up when the vocals rise above before pulling back to reveal Marcus Mumford's vulnerable side. Simply gorgeous. I can't get enough!

Stay tuned for my more POP-centric follow up post, coming soon!

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