“Coming Home”—Leon Bridges
In describing “Coming Home,” it is helpful to borrow a line from NPR Music’s recent piece on Leon Bridges: “The song sounds so much like Sam Cooke, a cardigan sweater may materialize on your back while you’re listening to it.” Nimble and fresh, Bridges’ immaculate attention to detail makes this retro-sounding tune warm and inviting like one of Sam Cooke’s trademark sweaters. It is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of modern rhythm and blues. There are surely great things to come from this Texas native.
“Hometown Hero”—Andy Shauf
Painting cold, rustic landscapes that make six more weeks of winter sound inviting, Andy Shauf is a lyrical poet and music chameleon whose talent sets him atop the current mountain of singer-songwriters. Although his accent is Canadian and not British, Shauf’s voice recalls contemporary crooner Ed Sheeran and pop savant Regina Spektor. “Hometown Hero” and other sublime tunes can be found on “The Bearer of Bad News,” out Feb. 3 on Party Damage Records.
“Feel Safe”—All We Are
Grooves rarely sound better or as intimate as they do on “Feel Safe,” one of the many standout tracks on All We Are’s eponymous debut record. This Liverpool trio sound like three bands in one, morphing chillwave, modern R&B and pop into a uniquely soulful mix perfect for either the dancefloor or a late night drive. Fans of HAIM looking for a little more musical substance should check out “All We Are” on Domino Records, out Feb. 3.
“Rose of Sharon”—Title Fight
Tempering its hardcore roots, “Rose of Sharon” finds Title Fight embracing a delightfully catchy melody inspired by the sounds of shoegaze, with shimmering guitars hiding the recessed vocal roar of Jamie Rhoden in a balanced musical ebb and flow. Whether or not the group’s new album, “Hyperview,” will resonate with Title Fight’s fiercely devoted fan base isn’t a huge concern; this new sound is sure to win over any fan of rock or pop music.
“Made My Mind Up”—Mikal Cronin
“I won’t sound in what I need then… I’ve made my mind up,” sings a defiant Mikal Cronin. On the first single from “MCIII,” which is titled logically and chronologically, Cronin departs the gritty pop appeal of his last single, “Weight,” for smoother psychedelic pastures complete with a killer guitar solo. Expect “MCIII” on Merge Records this May.
Retro Pick of the Week:
“Mambo Sun”—T. Rex
Marc Bolan of T. Rex is a titan of British glam, influencing scores of musicians from the 70s to present with his flamboyant lyrical style, crisp guitar playing and deliberately trashy rock. The first track off 1971’s “Electric Warrior,” “Mambo Sun” recalls the catchy simplicity of early rock and roll, imbuing it with an insatiable sexuality that creeps across this perfectly mixed track. Ultimately, it is this back to basics approach that makes “Electric Warrior” such an infectious, invigorating listen today and an essential addition to every music collection or Spotify queue.
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.