“Pressure” — My Brightest Diamond
The drum roll that begins “Pressure” is reminiscent of the opening of a marching band halftime show and should serve as a warning to listeners: This is a difficult song. Difficult doesn’t mean inaccessible, however, as the fusion of Shara Worden’ classically trained vocals with all sorts of rarified woodwinds, horns and chugging beats makes for a remarkably catchy pop song. “Pressure” is the first track off of My Brightest Diamond’s latest album, “This Is My Hand,” released Sept. 16 on Asthmatic Kitty Records.
“Let Me Down Easy” — Paolo Nutini
Remember the Paolo Nutini of “New Shoes” fame? Well, this singer’s whisky-toned voice has grown a lot in eight years, evolving into a mature sounding retro-soul croon that harkens back to the golden years of Motown. “Let Me Down Easy” finds Paolo Nutini channeling the charisma of Marvin Gaye as he duets with a vocal sample, courtesy of Bettye LaVette. This tune is just one of the many inspired performances off of Nutini’s latest record, “Caustic Love,” released on Sept. 16. Fans of modern R&B music are encouraged not to miss this stellar release.
“You’ve Got A Lot On Your Mind” — Sloan
It has often been said that the Beatles’ “White Album” is actually four solo albums crammed into one double-LP. With their latest album, “Commonwealth,” the Canadian power-pop band Sloan has actually managed to one-up that Beatles claim, recording an album on which each band member writes all the songs on an entire record side. “You’ve Got A Lot On Your Mind” is penned by rhythm guitarist Jay Ferguson. The song strengthens the Beatles comparisons with its similarities to the Fab Four’s pioneering style to create one of the year’s many memorable pop hooks.
“Black Lemon” — Generationals
“Black Lemon” is a catchy, summery pop song built around buoyant synth lines, clubby-beats, a bopping bass and the nasally vocals of Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer. Hailing from New Orleans, this duo’s fourth album, “Alix,” fits nicely into the niche carved by contemporary acts like MGMT, Phoenix, Fun. and Passion Pit to further define the sound of indie-pop in the new millennium. ’80s-influenced electro-pop doesn’t get much better than this.
“Red Eyes” — The War On Drugs
Summoning the patron saints of FM radio rock, The War On Drugs bring the weary lamentations of Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen into the present with a sleek and atmospheric soundtrack for soul-searching. “Red Eyes” is just one of the many, many highlights on the groups’ gorgeous latest outing, “Lost in the Dream.” The War On Drugs will be in Cleveland today, Sept. 19, performing as part of the House of Blues Downtown Festival. Tickets are $25 and the show begins at 8 p.m.
Retro Pick of the Week:
“Watch That Man”— David Bowie
“Aladdin Sane” is the first album David Bowie wrote as a bona fide rock star, riding high on the success of the spacy concept album “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” Taking his head down from the stars, Bowie penned “Watch That Man” as the album’s opening track: a brisk guitar rocker accented by jazzy piano flourishes that moves with the detached cool of a New York hipster. Of the many musical styles Bowie has tackled over his fifty-year career, he undoubtedly wears this shade of glam and glitter the best. “Aladdin Sane” is an essential entry into the landscape of ’70s rock.
Teddy Eisenberg is a third 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.