Sept. 5, 2014
“Southern Comfort” — The Orwells
“I’m not that old, but I’m getting pretty wise,” wails lead singer Mario Cuomo part of the way through “Southern Comfort,” a tune that is a reminder of just how fun and homey dirty rock music can feel. Even if you’ve never heard of this Illinois garage band, this track’s driving drumbeat, warm guitars and bopping rhythm will quickly make sure you don’t forget them. The Orwells will be at The Grog Shop on Sept. 9 to promote their sophomore album “Disgraceland,” and you can bet that a certain staff reporter will be there.
“Beatings” — Coves
“Beatings” is one of the creepy, psychedelic singles from Coves’ debut album “Soft Friday,” released on Sept. 2. This shoegaze duo has learned well from the spacy genre’s other pioneers, conjuring up a bubbling sea of organ, percussion, harmonica and guitar that evokes Echo & the Bunnymen and the Jesus and Mary Chain. While “Soft Friday” has a flair for the dramatic that sometimes makes its songs sound bloated and abstract, this album’s good moments are so good that this is a more than promising debut from a group that may be among indie pop’s new stars.
“How We Be” — Sinkane
Sinkane is the alias of multi-instrumentalist and Columbus native Ahmed Gallab whose new album, “Mean Love,” draws on the sounds of everything from free jazz percussion to darkly funky guitar riffs. Undercutting these densely nuanced arrangements is Sinkane’s silky voice, which is in distinctive and fine form on “How We Be.” “Mean Love” was released on Sept. 1 on City Slang and is one of the better R&B releases put out this year.
“Scarecrow” — The Counting Crows
Twenty-one years into an illustrious career, alt-folk rock veterans Counting Crows show no signs of wavering from the rootsy and poetic sounds that made them superstars in the ’90s. “Scarecrow” is a standout from the group’s latest release, “Somewhere Under Wonderland,” that uses a crunchy, organic guitar riff to make one heck of an impression. What is perhaps most impressive about what the Counting Crows accomplish on “Scarecrow” is that they manage to make their two-decade-old formula sound fresh, a feat that is sure to bring them yet another new generation of fans.
“Some Dreams Come True” — SW/MM/NG
Difficult spelling aside, SW/MM/NG’s music is a decidedly trouble-free brand of indie pop that calls on jangly layers of guitar and reverb to color their summery music. “Feel Not Bad” is an appropriate title for such an enjoyable new release, and is a solid choice to score the few sunny days of Cleveland summer we have left. Even though “Feel Not Bad” is only eight tracks long, each is as enjoyable as “Some Dreams Come True,” making this an essential addition to your Spotify queue.
Retro Pick of the Week:
“Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” — Marvin Gaye
“Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” is the last track off“What’s Going On,” Marvin Gaye’s meditation on the state of the American dream in 1973. A perfect expression of his hopes, frustrations and concerns, the issues of police brutality, poverty and urban decay that Gaye explores here are still all too relevant today, making “What’s Going On” one of the most important albums ever recorded. The next time you’re looking for something new to listen to, stop and pick this record up first. The world as you see it will never be the same.
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 8am-10am and co-hosts the variety talk show Max and Teddy in the Morning at Night (Sometimes) on Mondays from 5pm-6pm. The crackle of vinyl warms him on cold Cleveland nights.