Comment: One of my favorite tracks in Third Eye Blind’s new album, which we have discussed before, is Funeral Singers, which I thought was an original song until the band shared their influences for the new album on instagram and one of them was Sylvan Esso‘s Funeral Singers. It turns out that Sylvan Esso‘s version is also a cover, with the original being from experimental rock band Califone. Each version is different but if I had to pick just one, I think I’d choose Sylvan Esso‘s. There’s something about lead singer Amelia Meath‘s voice and the acoustic strums in the background that I find mesmerizing.
If, like me, you were not aware of Sylvan Esso before, I hope you enjoy this cover from 2018 (which features American musical ensemble Collections of Colonies of Bees) as much as I do.
Influences:The Strokes, Bruce Springsteen, The Killers
Comment: Silver Lining is the third single off Transistor‘s debut album and despite its upbeat rhythm and fun vibes, it got a sad and deeply moving backstory. Lead singer Patrick Davies’s mom was just like this song: upbeat and energetic, and that did not change even after she got a terminal cancer diagnosis. Silver Lining refers to searching for meaning and something to hold on to despite having everything against you. Don’t get me wrong, Silver Lining is a really good song but knowing it is a homage to Patrick’s mother takes it to a whole new level.
Comment: Regular visitors to T.A.M. should already be familiar with indie trio in earnest, as they have been featured here a couple of times before. They are back now with their sophomore EP, reasons to stay alive, which is also their most artistically ambitious project to date. It is a six-track record with no gaps between songs that you could listen to on an infinite loop. Ideally, you would listen to the EP from beginning to end but if I had to choose just one song, then it would be i feel alone even if I’m not because of its haunting melody and emotional vocals. If you’re looking for some music to listen to during some alone time, you just found it.
Comment: The Summer Set, a pop-punk band from Scottdale, Arizona that after achieving a decent following went on a hiatus in 2017, surprised their fans in August when they announced that they were back to making music and dropped their first single in 4 years. Street Lightning is as catchy as anything they’ve ever released with, as depicted in the music video below, some 80s music vibes that fit it really well. As lead singer Brian Logan Dales described it on his Instagram: “This song is about chasing the high of life as fast as you can, written by a guy who finally learned how to slow down and take in everything around him.”
Comment: Ukulele-based indie folk music is hardly a novel idea, but when it is done well and has a compelling melody, who cares? That’s exactly the case with Hey?, the latest single from British #singersongwriter Chxrlotte, a talented young artist with a bright future that you should check out.
Comment: J.Zito very generously recommended Nashville-based singer-sonwritter Allie Cuva (they/them) to me and I was blown away by their song ETYG (which must stand for Even Though You’re Gone). It sounds like a really good alternative rock song from the late 90s that was recorded with today’s tools. Allie’s vocals during the chorus are mesmerizing. ETYG is part of allie’s debut full-length album under that moniker, released back in August. Worth checking out.
Comment: Frontman Stephan Jenkins is kind of a polarizing figure nowadays but there’s no denying that Third Eye Blind is one of the most important alternative rock bands out there. Their heyday was over twenty years ago but they’re still active and relevant. In fact, four of their seven studio albums have been released in the last 12 years, with the last one, titled Our Bande Apart, dropping just last week. It’s not even close to the greatness of their first two records, but it is a decent album that I liked way more than the previous one, Screamer (2019). My favorite song is the fourth track, Silverlake Neophyte, which sounds a bit like a classic Third Eye Blind tune. It’s a song about the insecurities musicians have and never go away, no matter how successful they become. I highly recommend it.
Comment: Colors Off is a groovy song that, had I heard it for the first time on the radio, I would have bet it was a new tune from British band Feeder, a band I really like. However, this interesting track belongs to Detroit-based musician Jason Zito, who after releasing a self-titled album in 2019 that was heavy on synthesizers and electronic music, has just released a rock album that’s big on guitars and political messages: Before it Gets Better. His motto is that “when extreme thinking becomes normal, normal thinking seems extreme“, which is reflected on the album. Colors Off, for example, is a critique of extremism and groupthink; which is also represented on a painting Jason made for its lyric video, and you can watch it below. Enjoy!
Comment: DMA’s –which stands for The Dirty Ma’s, their previous moniker– are relatively well known this side of the world but they’re huge in Australia, to the point that they got their own MTV Unplugged special. They totally deserve that success because they are talented songwriters and musicians. Even though they are strongly influenced by late 90’s Britpop bands such as Oasis, it would be unfair to say that they sound just like those bands. You can notice the influence but you can also tell they’re a different band.
That being said, their brand new EP, I Love You Unconditionally, Sure Am Going To Miss You, sounds different, with more shimmering guitars and kind of bolder melodies, but I dig the change. My favorite track, Viol, is not even the lead single but it represents what I just said very well. It got a magnificent rhythm and wonderful hooks. Enjoy!
Black Lab is quite possibly the greatest #alternativerock band the average music fan has never heard about. Founded by Paul Durham in Berkeley, California, around 1995, they have scored a few radio hits and placed many tracks in different movie soundtracks and tv shows. The band’s name is an amalgamation of their two biggest influences: Black Sabbath and Stereolab. I’m totally guessing here but perhaps the reason why they remained relatively unknown despite moderate success was that their name was far from memorable. In fact, a google search will get you hundreds of websites about the black labrador dog breed before anything related to this band.
One of my favorite Black Lab songs –and there are a few– is Ghost In Your Mind, released on their 2007 album: Passion Leaves A Trace. The combination of the track’s beautiful melody, flawless lyrics and Paul’s delivery makes it an outstanding song. You can tell Paul really feels every word he sings (which, to be fair, could be said of most of his songs). If this is your first time hearing about Black Lab, by all means check their whole discography out. Otherwise, enjoy this weeks #ThrowbackThursday entry. Hope you like it as much as I do.