Something We Heard Before

Mmm boppity bop! I am all for trying to get into a better mood as of late. Not that it’s easy to be all sunshine and lollipops, but sometimes it’s nice to feel good! I get nothing but good time feels from Tom Lark’s peppy music – super fun pop hooks get nicely accentuated by a dash of crunchy, alternative guitar work and a wee bit of electronic accoutrements. It kind of reminds me of Hotel Lights’ Marvelous Truth, a song I have not yet posted about because… reasons? I dunno. Regardless! This song is great and so is the rest of his eponymous EP, so go set your ears loose on it, now!

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Guys, I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a bit sucky. In particular, last week was just… yeesh. But hey folks, let me tell you a story. Last week, on the night of that… result, I went out to an improv comedy show and had many laffs. I went to a bar afterwards, where the patrons were all united under a song request night – all sorts of music flowed and everybody had a great time. Come closing time, one of the bartenders announced that the last song was what we all needed that night, and promptly started this one. And he was totally right! We all got into a circle – friends, strangers, staff – and sang our little hearts out.

Without getting all wishy-washy with feelings, it just proves that animosity can only stretch so far. So if you’re feeling blue, I highly recommend getting into a circle and letting two lions, a meerkat and a wart hog serenade you.

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It’s deeply humbling that there are folk artists who have had such a huge impact on the world. Though their output seemingly flies in the face of what is considered ‘popular’, they have inspired millions of artists, poets, musicians and those that seek to grow their understanding of the world.

Leonard Cohen really needs no introduction. His wonderfully innate ability to tap into the core of humanity and deliver an utterly heartfelt, honest and moving piece will undoubtedly echo throughout the ages, inspiring many for time immemorial.

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Bit of rock with the teeniest, tiniest bit of country thrown in? Yes please! How about a catchy, pop-oriented hook for a chorus? Bung it on in! Terrence Jack brings us this gloriously catchy pop-rock number while also looking like the Canadian version of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Which is a plus!

Musically, this feels a little bit like Bernard Fanning mixed with a dash of Harvey Danger for taste. Supremely listenable, my Canadian pal!

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Pale Honey has a sound that I can only describe as Joan Jett by way of Swedish electro-pop. Which sounds like ten pure helpings of ridiculous, but I submit that that combination is definitively awesome – why would you possibly say no? Of course you wouldn’t so wrap your ears around this.

Pale Honey are a Swedish alt. rock duo with a crunchy, ‘take no shit’ attitude. This lil’ track is relatively simple, but it’s full of spunk and grit – from the drawn out vocals to the collection of percussive and electronic elements riding in the background, it’s a sure fire good time!

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Sometimes, you get a little “POW!” from music; a spark that kicks you in the keister, runs up your spine and starts tap dancing in your head. Or, to put it in far less stupid terms, sometimes music just makes you go “Oooo, that’s pretty sweet!”. So with any lucky, here is some rad Swedish electro-pop that’ll hopefully give you that reaction!

There’s a big ol’ mix of crazy, punchy drumming contrasted with soothing electronic drones and wrapped up with some wild vocal work that kind of gives this tune a bit of a modern jazz feel. Something about that mix of craziness and relaxation is certainly zapping me in the keister right now!

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Time for some Cher! Now now, don’t be so quick to judge! Yes, Cher does not butter everyone’s crumpets (my crumpets remain quite unbuttered), but she writes catchy pop and there is nothing wrong with that at all.

I personally never liked Believe: something about the liberal use of auto-tune really got my gristle during its heyday, so I wasn’t expecting much when my friend Laura linked me to this cover. But here’s the thing: I have not been able to stop listening to this. It’s a beautifully stripped down, acoustic version of the song with incredibly sweet vocals. It’s an unbelievable transformation from it’s dance-pop origins to something that is genuinely heartfelt. It’s just… wow. Just listen to it already!

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Rap is thoroughly underrepresented here on either/or, but there’s a very good reason for that: I am thoroughly uncool. Were I enrolled in an American high school in the 90s, I would be the guy hanging from the flagpole by his underwear. Of course, nowadays it’s a totally different story, considering I run a very successful music blog and I- oh, blast!

Here’s a tune from the Minneapolis outfit, Atmosphere, that almost takes a leaf out of the book of doo-wop before launching into a kick-ass beat and rap. Great rhymes with a smooth beat and tune – I can definitely get behind stuff like this! I can feel myself getting cooler already…

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Jazz is always a bit hit and miss: sometimes, all that funky syncopation comes together and makes something that is completely unlistenable. Why would you want that? Because jazz! Now, dear reader, you are obviously aware that this post won’t be an example of that, and that the first part of this post was a delightful repartee designed to introduce something that contrasts with it.

And behold! It does! Lori Cullen brings a slightly folkish, slightly gyspy-ish twist to the ol’ jazz formula with this relaxed but paced (and quirky) tune. Simple instrumentation blends nicely with Lori’s breathy vocals to give it all a hint of overarching mystery… perhaps, the mystery of what the three is? Ok, there’s no real mystery as it’s about a couple and a baby, but work with me here!

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I think I’m starting to come around on the 80s. Something about it always seemed monumentally tacky to me, particularly with music. However, between listening to more of the Split Enz back catalogue and getting deep into Stranger Things and it’s superb, synth-based score, I’ve come to realise that I have much to be thankful for of the period. My bad, 80s! Don’t judge a book by its cover and all that…

Now, this is obviously a modern tune, but it certainly has its roots in the ethereal synth drone of the 80s. Beautifully dreamy and poignant, but completely lacking the tackiness. You have floored me, Selfoss!

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