Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Best of 2012: Songs from February



Free (edit) - Graffiti6
It was around the middle of February, and I still hadn't heard a single song all month that really caught me.  I guess I downloaded the free iTunes song of the week just because, but had never listened to it. So I'm sitting on the Metro, stuck, because I always am, wishing I had new music to keep me company when this song came on. I had no idea what it was, I didn't remember downloading it, and I'm still pretty sure that Jesus or magical fairies put it on my iPhone.

The lead singer of the London-based duo Graffiti6 looks like he's the pretty one from a boy band, but the sound is much more complex. It's one part Black Keys, one part, "Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher." (It's there. You just have to listen to it--past the Of Monsters and Men-esque horn section.) A lot of people are comparing their sound to Gnarls Barkley, who I really like, even though his Rorschach video always makes me think of Brad Pitt (That's not Brad Pitt.) because that's the way my mind works.

Only for You - The Heartless Bastards

The Heartless Bastards have been around since 2003, playing clubs and putting out three albums before their latest record Arrow was released in February.  If Erika Wennerstrom's lead vocals sound familiar, you may have heard their track "Sway" a couple of times on Friday Night Lights. It's that memorable voice that gives the four-member, Austin-based band their distinctively southern rock, Americana sound. Tracks like "Skin and Bones" "The Arrow that Killed the Beast" are a little too Americana for my ears. But the other song on the album I really love is "Parted Ways," which they're offering as a free download on their website.

Sidewalk Ends - Jesse Thomas

Speaking of distinctive voices, Jesse Thomas is a Kentucky-born singer-songwriter, whose new album War Dancer is getting her a little well-deserved attention.  Her voice easily moves between the low hum of a fifties songstress to the rough growl of a 90s garage band.  One of the song's best tracks, "Madeline," isn't available on soundcloud or youtube, but you can listen (and even buy!) at iTunes. There's also a free download of her cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene over at her website. Here's another song, "Fire," from her new album, and "Stay" a short, quiet, earlier release.  And, yeah, she looks like Sara Gilbert to me too.

We Are Young - Fun. ft. Janelle MonĂ e

Everybody has been talking about this song since it was featured on a commercial for the new Chevy Stunt Super Bowl ad. The internets had been buzzing for a while before then, but any search attempts for "We are Young" only turned up "Love is a Battlefield" or Supergrass's "Alright". Now everybody in the world knows it. (Though I'm probably the only one bothered by that scar line.)

I do miss the drums from the original version, and the video is pretty cool too, but it's over four minutes long, but with less than 30 seconds total of Janelle Monae. If she's around, why waste her? If I'm ever in a bar fight, I hope she comes gliding out of the chaos to sing.  The acoustic version has more of her velvet vocals, bright smile, flawless skin, impeccable style, and towering pompadour. But I'll let you decide for yourself. Let me know what you think.