Tame Impala, “‘Cause I’m A Man – HAIM Remix” – Less like a remix, more like a cover. But definitely a remix. Debate it later. The original’s a standout track for the soulful vocal and thick groove. This stands out because it’s silly-good and psyched out with vocal effects copped from Moby.
Lianne La Havas, “What You Don’t Do” – A pop song like this is rare. It sounds great, but it’s not complicated. Groove, lyrics, vocal. The lyrics are sweet and blissed-out. A classic groove rolls along in the background. Lianne sings the schnitzel out of the song. Put it on repeat.
Music video: https://youtu.be/DNLkD8QEnAM
Courtney Barnett, “Aqua Profonda!” – What’s great about Courtney Barnett are the guitars. What’s also great are the lyrics. Enjoy the snappy, bar-rock riff while a failed meet-cute unfolds during lap time at the public pool. Maybe the best two minutes on the album.
J.D. McPherson, “Head Over Heels” – RIYL: Alabama Shakes, handclaps, old-time rock ‘n roll.
Music video: https://youtu.be/rXn_O8yECCQ
The Orwells, “Who Needs You” – The pointed, anti-war lyrics suggest an offensive act of (free) speech and naively renounce America’s Founding Fathers. Super catchy!
Music video: https://youtu.be/AwAdhvvGFlo
Jukebox the Ghost, “Hollywood” – RIYL: Ben Folds, The Format, Walk the Moon
Lord Huron, “Louisa” – So glad I caught them live when they came through Indy. Great musicianship, memorable melodies and just-enough of a time-warped style. Love the guitar on this song. Chorus melody is great because of that keening, “My Maria” howl.
Sam Outlaw, “Ghost Town” – Mellow, heart-felt songs about love and Los Angeles. You want to cry? Try his other big song about LA, “Angeleno”. Want to laugh? Try the song about making Jesus your DD. It’s all delivered in a drawly croon, the production touched with Nashville money in all the right places.
Music video: https://youtu.be/yujpQuYIHUE
Jason Isbell, “The Life You Chose” – This guy’s at his peak right now. We’ve got tunes that sound like R.E.M., tunes like “Nebraska” Springsteen, tunes like Old 97s, all of it telling a Southern story maybe Nashville’s missing. His show in Indy is in February. Deserves a sell-out crowd.
Cataldo, “In Now and Then” – You think maybe it’s a Lorde song, turns out it’s a moody, jazzy tune with horns and a fake Death Cab vocal. Great sound and groove.
Live performance: https://youtu.be/Ws7kPFbjWAQ
The Arcs, “Cold Companion” – I’m gonna link to the live performance, but I really like this Auerbach project for the mad voodoo vibes and exquisite production on the album recording. Bluesy and spooky like the music on Scooby Doo when the gang doesn’t see the villain but the villain TOTALLY sees the gang.
Live performance: https://youtu.be/Re25o0fYL50
Steven. A Clark, “Time Machine” – RIYL: Miguel, Twin Shadow, Lana Del Rey, The Killers
Broods, “Mother and Father” – Shortest way to my musical heart? Heavy synths, finger snaps, and tambourine. Sounds like a Lorde production, but I don’t mind.
Ryan Adams, “Style” – If we’re honest, this album provoked interesting thoughts and discussion, but turned out pretty mediocre to listen to. I agree with Pitchfork. The songs were written for specific rhythms and song-moments only the originals can capture. “Style” gets points for blowing the original up to a Boss-tweaked anthem Twin Shadow would envy.
Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, “Come Ye Disconsolate” – From their incredible duets album. Gorgeous hymn.