So let’s start with a few contemporary rock bands for my friends who haven’t purchased an album since Zeppelin IV:
“Learn & Burn” by the Sheepdogs (Learn & Burn)
If you like that old Bluebreakers or Faces feel, these Canadians tap into a fuzzy guitar driven rock vibe.
“Light of Day” by MojoSon
Remember the days when Jack Bruce would strain to hit the high notes on those Disraeli Gears songs while Eric Clapton just played his butt off? Well, this isn’t necessarily that, but it kinda reminds you of it. Thanks to Scooter W. for this one. (I’m not sure this record was ever released.)
“I Don’t Mind” by Ponderosa (Moonlight Revival)
I guess this one sits a bit on the country-rock side, think of a more polished Band. Apparently these guys have been doing this for a bit, but I just discovered this one.
“Shook Down” by Yuck (Yuck)
This British band received a bunch of attention, but not sure all the attention yielded any sales. This downtempo track just sticks with you.
“You Come Back” by Edie Brickell (Edie Brickell)
Yeah, this caught me by surprise too, give it a shot. It’s got a great melody, trippy lyrics and a great lead guitar riff.
“What It’s All About” by the Hang Ups (So We Go)
An indie band that has Beachwood Sparks-like, harmony-drenched pop songs. It’s quick, simple and pretty.
“Girasol” by Lightships (Electric Cable)
Essentially Gerard Love from Teenage Fanclub just put out a brilliant mellow album. Like the Hang Ups, full of great harmonies.
“Come Around” by Rhett Miller (The Instigator)
Always liked the Old 97’s folky rock feeling and Rhett has put out a bunch of solo records, one even in the last few months. This felt like the one that shoulda been a hit. [Watch Rhett Miller perform for Hive’s STOP/WATCH series.]
“I Hope I Didn’t Just Give Away The Ending” by New Radicals (Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too)
Okay, you’ve got to listen to this song a few times from top to bottom. There is no substitution for artists living and breathing the experiences and feelings of the audience that is listening to and consuming their music. Across this album, Gregg Alexander (by the way, Gregg, please come back and do another record in spite of your success writing and producing for others) conveyed what it was like to be irresponsible, hungover, high as a kite, flooded with sorrow, and recklessly in love. This is one of the many great songs in this decade-plus old album.
Van Toffler is President of MTV’s Music & Logo Group. He’s a fan of sugary cereal, a good tequila and watching TV late at night, without the audio.
Listen to a playlist of tracks from this week’s column, below: