Landon’s Pick: “New Zealand” – The White Oranges
Those who know me personally know that I am always looking for new music. Not only because I love expanding my musical horizons, but also because of the excitement I find in discovering something totally fresh, making a permanent imprint in my brain of the band’s offerings. However, for this week’s submission, I didn’t have to do any kind of scouring; the choice pretty much just plopped in my lap. On a bi-weekly basis, I attend and/or play at acoustic sessions on my campus, where I met Justin O’Kelly, frontman and creator of Saginaw, MI’s The White Oranges. Crossing a mix between groups like Death Cab For Cutie and Seahaven, O’Kelly’s lyricism is tight-knit and thought-provoking without being heavy-handed. Furthermore, he possesses a crisp, atmospheric vocal tone which takes on an entirely different form live. Needless to say, it looks like this is the beginning of a great musical friendship.
Kaitlin’s Pick: “Let’s Go” – Matt and Kim
If you somehow managed to avoid 2009’s infectious “Daylight,” you really ought to check out Matt and Kim. This guy/girl duo doesn’t play by anyone’s rules, having turned out quirky track after quirky track since 2006. Their latest release Let’s Go sticks with much of the same chaotic poppiness as their previous releases. With an insightful (albeit repetitive) message of “Say what you wanna say, make it mean everything” backed by upbeat, make-you-wanna-dance instrumentals, you just can’t go wrong. How can I be sure? I caught my fifty-year-old neighbor (who sports a mullet and cut-offs, no less) jamming out to this song. So, quit reading. Listen and enjoy.
Zac’s Pick: “Soul Thief” – Three Legged Fox
Summer has certainly fallen to the wayside in lieu of a much-anticipated autumn, but if you’re like me and enjoy the days of shorts weather and the nights spent enjoying a cool breeze then you may want to indulge in a song that invokes these images. For me that type of song is “Soul Thief” by reggae-rock band Three Legged Fox off of their album Not As Far. With a laid back chord progression and the ever-soulful vocals of lead singer and guitarist Kyle Wareham, this is the kind of song you play on a warm summer night when you’re driving around with the windows rolled down and the wind in your hair.
Steve’s Pick: “Start to Fall” – Get Scared
I have never been a Get Scared fan. Nothing stuck out, nothing clicked and nothing lasted -that is until I heard their latest EP, Built For Blame, Laced With Shame. As the new frontman, Joel Faviere has found his niche in the group and the others seem to thrive off of a vibrant energy that was sorely lacking in the past. Imagine if K Será amalgamated with improved versions of The Used or DRUGS and the end result would be “Start To Fall.” An undeniably catchy chorus, hooky verses, fantastic and vulnerable vocals swinging in full gear make it easy to catch on and appreciate. Check it out if you enjoy fun surprises. Get Scared have much to offer and if nothing else, they can be your latest guilty pleasure.
Tim’s Pick: “Let Yourself Go” – Green Day
I’m not usually a sucker for Green Day songs, but “Let Yourself Go” off their new album is so catchy that I can’t help but love it. The song is a mixture of their American Idiot days, a more pop-rock vibe, and the band’s classic lyrical approach. Of course the chorus is the best part, but the robust, punk-oriented riffage absolutely rules throughout the track. Though this song probably won’t convert me into the next Green Day superfan, it definitely got my attention – that, and Billie Joe Armstrong’s recent iHeart Music outrage and rehab stint has obviously turned a few heads their way.
John’s Pick: “Gangnam Style” – Psy
I may be a bit late to the latest viral phenomenon, so late that many by now are probably sick of it, but guys…. I LOVE THIS SONG. I honestly can’t go to a single bar or nightclub in Hong Kong without hearing it. It’s also a great laugh to see everyone from college age kids to men in business suits doing the dance. To me, it’s a very nice change from the the Top 40 songs we are subjected to day in and day out. I’ve never heard someone rapping in Korean before, and Psy has a very interesting style. While this song may not have made me an avid fan of K-Pop, it’s just plain fun.
Jacob’s Pick: “Dear You, Love Me (Acoustic Version)” – Stages & Stereos
The past few months have been been full of good news surrounding the Lancaster family. August saw the release of a fantastic EP from The Weathers, Go Radio just put out one of the year’s best full-lengths, Jason got engaged, and it was announced yesterday that Stages & Stereos will be joining Go Radio for their upcoming headlining tour. I forgot to mention: Daniel’s also back in Stages & Stereos. That means new music in addition to the tour, and this acoustic version of “Dear You, Love Me” has me endlessly excited to hear more. I love every song the band’s put out, but this takes an already great song to a whole new level with the addition of low strings, while the stripped-down feel allows the songwriting to shine. This is simply great, and I can’t stop listening. Lancasters can do no wrong. Give me more.
Megan’s Pick: “Run Every Time” – Gavin Degraw
Only a handful of people know I frequently enjoy Gavin Degraw (well I guess now a lot more people know). Therefore, I’ve secretly spent the past week listening to “Run Every Time,” pretending I understand Degraw’s emotions. Although my fear of commitment is less drastic, I can appreciate his honesty. This song’s equipped with imagery and dramatics, two Degraw specialties. Regardless of the loss of street credit due to my confession, this song is terribly fantastic and courageous, don’t ya know.
Nick’s Pick: “Plumage” – Menomena
Fans wondered whether Portland, Oregon’s Menomena would survive after multi-instrumentalist and contributing songwriter Brent Knopf left the group. It must be a dramatic dynamic alteration when a trio turns into a duo, yet when Menomena’s new album Moms opens with “Plumage,” all worries of the state of the band are lost. “Plumage” blasts with high frequency guitars and a barrage of creative drum beats. It delivers one of the year’s friendliest sing-along choruses, jettisoned with rhythmic clapping and a breakdown with their trademark baritone saxophone. It is an awesome album opener and a mark-out moment for indie-rock fans.
Corey’s Pick: “Cauterize” – As I Lay Dying
As I Lay Dying’s sixth album, Awakened, is definitely the band’s most ambitious release to date. “Cauterize,” the first single from the album, is proof of this, containing one of Tim Lambesis’ best vocal performances ever. Josh Gilbert’s cleans have also improved loads (not that his vocals were ever that bad) and the musicianship is powerful, complete with a brief but insane guitar solo. I’m not sure quite yet if Awakened is my favorite As I Lay Dying album, but “Cauterize” is definitely one of the best songs the band has ever released.
Joe’s Pick: “Frail” – Jars of Clay
Somewhere, somehow, I guarantee you’ve heard these Grammy-winning Christian rockers before. This haunting six-minute ballad comes from one of Jars of Clay’s oldest albums, Much Afraid, and features only a few (but memorable) lyrical lines. It begins with a single steady drum beat and soft guitar before some violins come in and add further depth to the atmosphere. It builds and builds with the orchestral arrangements before finally settling down for the last minute as the song eventually ends just like it began. Been looking for a song that’s guaranteed to send chills down your arms? Look no further than “Frail.”