Time it was that the choice of an album’s single was both a serious artistic and financial decision. Putting out a single meant committing considerable resources to pressing them up and distributing them to radio stations, reviewers, and nightclubs. Today every cut on an album could theoretically be the single, depending on listener downloads and streams. But artists and record companies do still sometimes make a fuss about ‘the single’ as a way of drawing attention to a soon-to-be-released album. Or just as a way of maintaining interest in the product after its initial drop. For me, the single should be an album’s most potent hook vehicle, the song that will have listeners searching out the record for more. And it’s a way for me to highlight some great songs on the blog that just don’t fit anywhere else!
This single file kicks off with a bit of Dropkick-esque jangle from The Boys with the Perpetual Nervousness and their great single, “Nervous Man.” These guys clearly really know their Scottish strummy poprock. Then we step up the tempo with the driving poprock of “I Should Know” from the David James Situation, a band that sound like a slightly more new-waved Tom Petty to me. From there Chris Richards and the Subtractions lay on the pop sophistication with the hooky, Crowded House-ish “Just Another Season.” Then there’s the shiny uber-AM sheen of Timmy Sean’s “In California,” a brilliant slice of late 1970s-infused, poppy rock and roll. Finally we close out this half of our program with the cool Austin indie sound of Wiretree, showcasing their new single “Rainy Corner,” a song that rests firmly on a strong acoustic-guitar swing with just a touch of Sgt. Pepper mischief thrown in the middle and near the end.
David James Situation – I Should Know
In the second half of the show, it’s melody, melody and more melody. On “She’s Got It Bad” Gentle Hen have a great new single, one that vibes a subtle western swing before delivering a song that effortlessly melds influences like Fountains of Wayne and Teenage Fanclub. By contrast, number one on the fun meter is Simon Love’s recent “The Ballad of Simon Love.” The song lurches along with a spot-on Velvet Underground groove while Love displays killer pastiche chops worthy of Beck. It’s a beautifully crafted piece of work with so many cool nuances and musical add-ons. Simon-effing-Love indeed! Musical-influence polymath Ken Sharp is back with a fab new album Beauty in the Backseat. “24 Hours a Day” is the winning single for me, a chirpy, swinging combination of hooks and clever musical twists and turns. Now if you want something that will beg you to hit replay, check out Michael Simmons’ “No More Girls.” This ear worm channels a subtle XTC influence, reimagining the band as a Top of Pops hit machine. Hook bliss! Let’s finish on a rock and roll recovery story. The band PoP almost took off years ago but like so many acts just couldn’t seal the success deal. Now they’re back with a new EP and new material that covers a wide range of influences. I think “The Weight of Something” captures a lot of what they doing: ringing guitars, moody vocals, and some great droney hooks.
Simon Love – The Ballad of Simon Love
The Boys with Perpetual Nervousness, David James Situation, Chris Richards and the Subtractions, Timmy Sean, Wiretree, Gentle Hen, Simon Love, Ken Sharp, Michael Simmons, and PoP can all be easily accessed for your music consuming pleasure. Just get clicking.