“Pretty Pimpin”—Kurt Vile
Trading electric guitar for acoustic and the twang of banjos, indie singer and songwriter Kurt Vile conjures an alluring haze of melancholy feelings on “Pretty Pimpin.” Carving away at his previous works’ façade of electric, distorted guitar, Vile finds the beauty in simplicity on this impeccably arranged tune. Find it on “B’lieve I’m Goin Down…,” released on Matador Records Sept. 25.
Formerly known as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., the newly rebranded indie-pop duo of Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein is back with the feel-good single “Gone.” As breezy as the whistling it begins with, this track is a laid-back approach to pop music that sounds and feels good. It’s clear that the band means what they say when they sing, “I can be everything you want me to be.” Look for this standout cut on “JR JR,” available on Sept. 25 on Warner Brothers Records.
“Make Them Gold”—Chvrches
The Scottish electronic trio, Chvrches, have found a recipe for success on their massive-sounding sophomore LP “Every Open Eye.” Building on the appealing sound of their debut, the song “Make Them Gold” is a rousing, expertly crafted synth-pop anthem. It sounds like the theme to the movie St. Elmo’s Fire, and deserves to soundtrack its own film someday. Look for this tune “Every Open Eye,” available Sept. 25 on Liberator Music.
“Tell Me”—Wesley Bright & the Hi-Lites
Channeling the sounds of England’s Northern Soul craze from Akron, Wesley Bright & The Hi-Lites are one of Northeast Ohio’s most exhilarating live acts. Led by the formidable voice and dance moves of Brent Wesley, this single’s soulful match “Losing You” will be released at the Beachland Ballroom during a live show on Oct. 9.
“Born To Shine”—Big Grams Feat. Run The Jewels
The supergroup consisting of indie duo Phantogram and Outkast’s Big Boi, Big Grams dazzles with the help of hip-hop heavyweights Run The Jewels on “Born To Shine.” This song sounds busy without feeling crowded, a musical feat that can only be attributed the the MC’s immaculate flow over the tune’s modern-sounding jazz production. Look for the group’s new EP, “Big Grams,” on Epic Records starting Sept. 25.
Retro Pick of the Week:
“Give In To Me”—Michael Jackson
One of the King of Pop’s darkest songs, “Give In To Me” is an oft-forgotten gem in MJ’s catalog. With its brooding production and blistering guitar solo from Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, this track is the tense sound of a pop star liberated. Although not as game changing as “Thriller,” the influence of this song and its parent album “Dangerous” cannot be understated. Those looking to be convinced can look no further than the success of recent artists like The Weeknd to see that Michael Jackson still casts a deservedly long shadow over pop music.
Teddy Eisenberg is a fourth-year programmer at WRUW-FM 91.1 Cleveland. He hosts The ’59 Sound, an exploration of rock music, every Thursday morning from 8-10 a.m. and co-hosts the variety talk show Max and Teddy in the Morning at Night (Sometimes) on Mondays from 5-6 p.m. The crackle of vinyl warms him on cold Cleveland nights.