New Tunes Reviews, September 24: The Horrible Crowes, Deer Tick, CHVRCHES, and Tim Kasher

The Horrible Crowes (Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem and Ian Perkins) released Live at the Troubadour this week. The album has songs from 2011’s excellent Elsie and full covers and singular verses. There is some light banter about the band’s formation, tramps, relationships, and being fancy sprinkled throughout the recording.
Fallon received some flack recently after his Tumblr post entitled “Tonight You Have Broken My Heart.” In the post, he addressed the direction of Gaslight Anthem and the “play all the hits”/”BRUUUUCE” attitude of many fans after some specific incidents in July 2013. After reading the blog post (and the oddly awkward out-of-context pull-quotes used in some cases), my respect for Fallon grew. Yes, nothing can live up to The 59 Sound.  But, artists need to grow. They cannot be expected to play every song you want to hear and every cover they performed once.  Each release by any of his main-projects or side-projects is testimony to his growth and “don’t take people’s crap” attitude.  
And the cover of “Teenage Dream” is ridiculously fun.

(Ed. Note: This blurb was written without a single reference to Bruce Springsteen and for that, I am proud.) 

Deer Tick‘s quiet moments are often the most enjoyable, as seen in the song “Big House” from their latest release Negativity. The songs are all over the place.  They go from raucous and drunk to easy-going and romantic.  Another great release from this band that puts on one of the most fun (and destructive) live songs I’ve seen to date.
CHVRCHES released their anticipated debut album called The Bones of What You Believe. Another one of those electronic-pop”buzz-bands,” this release is just as expected. The songs are catchy and darkly danceable. For fans of that type of music, this will likely be a BNM (best new music).   
Tim Kasher (of Cursive and Good Life) released a 2-song EP called Truly Freaking Out. It has the usual themes of drunkenness, anxiety, and aging. It never gets old (even when we do). 

Follow my Best Songs of 2013 playlist on Spotify. Updated weekly, this playlist features some of the best tracks from new releases.  Check out the playlist below! 


Thursday Top 5: Booze-Filled Tunes for V-Day

So, with Valentines’ Day coming up this weekend, I wanted to do a list of songs related to this day that, I believe, was created by greeting card and florist companies to make loads and loads (and loads) of money on one day. But instead, I decided to do a list of songs, in no particular order, that are drenched in booze, feelings and all that good stuff. Enjoy!

1. The Good Life, I Am Island mp3


“Because the night’s tragic rambling/ is the next day’s apology. / So if you can just sit tight until the sun hits the blinds / we can settle everything.”


No one knows how to describe the sullen mood of boozing quite like Tim Kasher and The Good Life.His howling voice accurately conveys the feeling associated with those booze-fueled evenings that end with regret of what was said.The drunkard in this song is unsure of everything. He hopes to soothe the uncertainty with a drink or two but finds it just makes things worse.In just under 2 minutes and thirty seconds, the mood goes from trying to work things out to realizing that he is just a “selfish” and a “dysfunctional fuck up” who quits, baby.

2. The Hold Steady, You Gotta Dance (With Who You Came To the Dance With) (live) mp3


“I was out of my head so it was out of my hands/ White wine and some tall boy cans./ They powered up and they proceeded to jam man.”


The Hold Steady have so many songs about drinking.But this is by far my favorite one.To me, it is almost educational.Let me explain that:In the Live at the Fingerprints 2006 performance, Craig Finn bantered about how this song title isn’t about dancing, per-say. It is a simply piece of advice that you have to stick to one type of alcohol per night otherwise you will regret it in the morning.Everyone has made that mistake and, without fail, has woken up with a nasty headache, stomachache, and sometimes, heartache.Listen to The Hold Steady on this one; they know what they are talking (singing) about.

3. Bright Eyes, Well Whiskey mp3


“Now I let my troubles solve themselves./ I used to get involved, but I’m just no help./ But tonight let’s pretend that we’re just like we were./ Let me stay until the morning, I will sleep on the floor.”


Omaha, Nebraska-native Bright Eyes has a history of writing great songs about alcohol (“Hit the Switch,” “Lua,” etc).This one has a special charm to it. Whiskey is a drink associated with, often, the most unattended of folks.The smell that flows from the glass can be alienating at best. And the taste is as overwhelming as the odor.

The whole song is basically a testimonial to what happens when whiskey is the drink choice. Whether it be from the every-day well or the special occasion “top shelf,” the mood is one where postulating about the past and future is the norm.Control is exalted to the glass and nostalgia takes over. Whatever the outcome of the night is, a swift washing of clothing will be performed in order to get the stink of the night off the rags.Whiskey never fails to leave a stench on all it touches.

4. Deer Tick, Art isn’t Real (City of Sin) mp3


“I am just going through the motions./ I need an old fashioned potion./ There has gotta be some old recipe / ‘cuz I gotta get drunk/ I gotta forget about some things.”


Hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, this band released their first studio album “War Elephant” in 2007.Their folksy sound is paired with the raspy voice of lead-singer John McCauley. In this song, which is the second song on the album, he describes an obsession with thinking. He is hopeful for things to get better, but for the time being, he feels that they might not.He is regretful for wasteful actions. He dwells on bad memories. He wants to go back the simpler times but cannot.It is a familiar feeling that, to be sure, has been experienced by most 20-somethings trying to find their place in the world after four years of blissful college life.

5. Regina Spektor, Bartender mp3


“I’ve been too candid./ Now I’m barely standing./ Just call me a taxi and prepare for landing.”


Now it should be stated that the extent to which I like female vocalists is pretty limited at best.But I love Regina Spektor.There is something so raw about her persona that I feel the emotional severity in each note she sings.And with this song, I can relate to every single word she utters as she slams on the piano. Even the smallest details of this song, like the way she repeats ‘bartender’ over and over again emphasizing each syllable, is a perfect portray of the way one feels after clasping to the bar stool all night.Things get fuzzy after a point and last call is coming. It’s time to put down the glass and get on home. Things will never feel quite the same until next time of course.