Well folks, it’s that time again. 15 new tunes that have been spinning in our lives for the last few weeks, neatly compiled into a nice Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.
In this the latest edition of the MOR New Tunes series, we are featuring some great new tunes from all across the spectrum of Rock and Roll. We’ve got Legends (David Bowie), Mainstays (Jim James, Hayden, BRMC, Yo La Tengo) and some newcomers (Palma Violets, The Staves, Haim). Rounding out the playlists are songs from Ivan & Alyosha, The Spinto Band, Matt Pond, The Little Ones, Foxygen, Motel Beds and Phosphorescent. As always, they are streaming free in the Spotify player below.
Don’t have Spotify? Do yourself a favor and download it, it’s free and quite wonderful. If you like the music, please go out and by it and support the artists, I hear those Spotify royalties aren’t putting much food on the table.
As part of an ongoing effort to full all of our lives with great music, we are launching the MOR New Tunes playlist series. Our goal is to lay out an eclectic mix of the latest and greatest tunes of the day. Every couple of months we will drop a new playlist with the 15 songs that have been in our heavy rotation.
In this inaugural edition, we have new music from Jakob Dylan, Delta Spirit, Surfer Blood, The Head and the Heart, Blake Mills, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Dr. Dog, Josh Ritter, Mimicking Birds, Laura Marling, Tame Impala, Icarus Himself, Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Black Keys, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. We think it’s a good one, we hope you enjoy!
Don’t have Spotify? Do yourself a favor and download it, it’s free and quite wonderful. Why don’t you follow us while you’re at it?
In the second installment of our 100 Albums You Might Have Missed series we look back at the year 2001. Here are 10 great albums that fell below the mainstream rock radar but truly deserve a second chance.
Released: April, 2001
A must-have album for any fan of late 60′s/70′s British hard rock with an American indie twist. It’s a 13 song record packed full of fuzzy guitars with intimidating riffs and growling hooks. I hate to use the overly cliche word “gritty” but this album is a true “kids in the basement” project with an energy and curled lip to boot.
Released: May, 2001
Despite Ryan Adams and Caitlin Cary serving as the only two original band members remaining on this record, it is arguably Whiskeytown’s best. The album was actually recorded in 1999, and due to a changing of the guard at the record label the completed album sat on the sidelines for two years, earning the distinction of a “lost classic”.
Released: February, 2001
This is the band’s third release but still fairly obscure to most rock fans for an album that received a Grammy nomination. The band is Swedish, sounds British and yearns to be American. Resulting in a myriad of styles ranging from Pink Floyd, Oasis, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Stooges. The album is chocked full of well-crafted and catchy tunes, which is probably why Pitchfork hates it.
Released: May, 2001
Much was made of Dylan’s “comeback album” Time Out of Mind in 1997, but it’s follow up Love and Theft is just as good, if not better. The album is loose and fun in parts, and serious and somber in others. Lyrically, Dylan is in top form, but you don’t necessarily need to dig that deep to enjoy the album. Love and Theft marks the fifth decade in which Dylan has released an excellent album, not to shabby.
Released: June, 2001
It’s easy to write off MUSE as a Radiohead rip-off but this album showcases the English trio’s other talents and marks their direction towards a “space-rock” sound full of sweeping synthesizers, driving bass guitar effects and overly dramatic piano work. Not to mention it includes one of the best guitar riffs of the past decade in Matt Belamy’s shred-tastic “Plug In Baby”. MUSE is a band that clearly isn’t as uptight as their British counterparts and that’s what makes their sound all the more rewarding.
Released: July, 2001
In a time where so much country music sounds the same, Gillian Welch and songwriting partner David Rawlings turn in an album of unique and beautiful folk/country tunes that are anything but stale. About as low key as it gets, Time is full of heartfelt songs performed in a super chill acoustic setting. For lovers of folk and americana music, this one is not to be missed.
Released: July, 2001
The third album from NJ punk/emo/rock band Saves The Day. This release saw a change in the band’s guitar-driven power-chord sound to a more melodic and slower layered pop-rock style. Still holding on to dark and gruesome lyrics, lead singer Chris Conley manages to deliver his morbid imagery in a much lighter, almost sweeter fashion.
Released: October, 2001
Beachwood Sparks were first described to me as “Indie Rock Space Cowboys”, a pretty cool distinction that got me to take notice right away. While their recording career was short, it was also pretty sweet. Once We Were Trees, their second and final album plays the space cowboy card pretty well. While the late 60′s country retro vibe is certainly all over this record, the songwriting, harmonies, and melodies speak for themselves and make a great album regardless of the time period.
Released: March, 2001
Before Chris Carrabba started breaking teenage girls hearts as Dashboard Confessional, he did a turn as the front man for the punk/emo band Further Seems Forever. This might be an “emo” record, but it is pretty dang heavy. Carrabba’s strong voice is a perfect fit for the powerful band behind him, resulting in an inspired and impressive album.
Released: February, 2001
Spoon’s third album but the first release where the Austin-based rock outfit truly found their signature rock style. With stop-on-a-dime pacing, prickly guitars and calculated vocals, Spoon finds their charm in a tick-tock-rock groove that is sure to keep your head bobbing for many albums to come.
L.A. Rockers, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club rocked out Late Night with Jimmy Fallon this past Friday April 9th. The band played the opening track ‘Beat the Devil’s Tattoo” off their new album of the same name. For a stellar review of that album click here.
While most of the songs on BRMC’s sixth studio album, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo, would work great in the closing shot of any revenge flick, after the hero has killed off his enemies and he starts to walk off into the sunset, its not everyday you’re in the mood for vengeance. BRMC is sticking strong to their grinding guitar heavy, diabolical “just did something awesome and I’m driving home” sound but the substitution of guitar effects for any real riffs is becoming a problem.
The album’s self-titled opening track is great and the first few songs really peak your interest. The rest of the album however is a hodgepodge of “same-ole, same-ole” sprinkled with a few gems here and there. The haunting “Long Way Down” might be the best track on the album and the folky ballad, “The Toll” is a fresh sound for this black-leather-coat-and-metal-chain rock outfit. The bottom-line is that 13 songs is too many for an album from a band like this. Their sound doesn’t lend itself well to this many songs. Too many sound the same and there isn’t enough diversity to prolong your interest. They should have been more selective in what made the final cut as the album clocks in at 65 minutes when you really only need about 45-50. The ten-minute closer “Half-state” is a complete mess that manages to capture the unsavory dizzy late-night feeling of too many whiskey shots and a head full of cigarette smoke. Ugh. But at the end of the day BRMC still made a decent album better than most other “heavy rockers” out there. While nothing really pushes the envelope, the band has enough going on here to excite fans old and new into checking them out on their summer tour. And itsn’t that what it’s all about?
The album is currently steaming in its entirety right here.
B.R.M.C. – Beat the Devil’s Tattoo