The one-two punch of “Greatest Hits” and “The Hale Bop” make Mystery Jets’ Radlands one of the better albums of the year so far, a worthy exploration into 70s stylized rock and roll that has been sorely lacking in popular music. 

For a British based band that made waves in 2008 with Twenty One, a record with a decidedly 80s synth pop sound, the radical departure in style would often spell disaster, yet Radlands manages to run the gamut of 70’s rock from Neil Young’s heartland Americana to David Bowie’s grunge-glam rock with great results.  

“The Hale Bop” is such an example of Mystery Jet’s excellent reinterpretation of what made Bowie so great in the 70’s, a charismatic vocal performance, great guitar melodies and a frenetic groove.

The Hale Bop – Mystery Jets

Greatest Hits – Mystery Jets

RIYL: David Bowie, Neil Young

Radlands was released on April 30th, 2012 on Rough Trade Records.

Find Radlands on: 

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Nashville, TN based Natural Child plays the kind of scuzzy bar rock that took a left turn out of 70s Rolling Stones, The Faces, and David Bowie (think Exile on Main Street, “Stay With Me” and Ziggy Stardust) and “8 AM Blues” might be one of their best singles to date.  The first song off of their fantastic 2012 LP For The Love of the Game (which boasts a quite NSFW album cover) , the no frills fuzzy guitar riffs and the hell if I care vocals make this one of my favorite songs for the summer.  I’m also throwing in “Ain’t Gonna Stop”, the song that closes out the album with a raunchy take on the classic “Johnny B. Goode” riff. This is the kind of stuff you wish early Rolling Stones R&B sounded like, Natural Child has a bright future ahead of them, and these are perfect songs for those nights where all you remember is the smell of whiskey and smoke on your clothes from the night before.

8 AM Blues – Natural Child

Ain’t Gonna Stop – Natural Child

Listen to For The Love of The Game on Spotify

Buy the digital version of For The Love of the Game on iTunes

RIYL: The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Faces

On his latest LP Out of the Game, Rufus Wainwright has teamed up with producer-extraordinaire Mark Ronson (he of Amy Winehouse fame) and the result is nothing short of fantastic.  For years Wainwright, with his mournful pitch perfect warble, seemed like he had gotten the short shift with his producers, his voice too reedy on some recordings, too produced others. Ronson too had struggled to make an identifiable mark after his homage to 60’s soul with Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black. The strut is back in both of their steps here as Ronson gives plenty of space for Wainwrights voice to soar and bend in “Out of the Game” while the production flourishes; from the 70’s era Bunsen-burner guitar to David Bowie-esque arranged backing vocals fit perfectly.  Also be sure to check out “Jericho”, a tour de force of an arrangement that wouldn’t have been out of place on an Elton John album.

Out of the Game- Rufus Wainwright

Jericho- Rufus Wainwright 

Mixtape Monday: In Ears

In Ear Park- Department of Eagles

The intro to this song is a beautiful weave of guitars and pianos going in and out like waves crashing into the shores that leads into an ethereal vocal and beautiful backing instrumentation, a lament on loss, the beauty of this song just speaks volumes

So Far Around the Bend- The National

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Boxer nor did I see the big attraction to the National until this song came out.  The lyrics are perfectly understated and performed, with a creative arrangement and a sentiment that everyone can identify with, it doesn’t hurt that the melody is so damn catchy as well

Fine For Now- Grizzly Bear

Veckatimest, the latest album by Grizzly Bear is full of songs that range from the sweet to the bizarre, Fine for Now starts off with a strangely beautiful vocal arrangement before turning into an otherworldly meld of guitar and drums and vocals, truly a song worth multiple listens

Chinese Translation- M. Ward

M. Ward has a knack for great studio production and melody, and this has a great chorus, and no theres no chinese in a single second of the recording, just a great overall song

Lost Coastlines- Okkervil River

I love the vocalist in this band, his range is affecting and his lyrics are well written, and i can hear glimmers of Paul Simons Graceland and the Jam’s Town Called Malice woven in

We Were Sick- The Thermals

Like Blink 182, fun upbeat and catchy, but better because you don’t get tired of the nasal voice and the chord progression is classic

Race You- Elizabeth and the Catapults

Little known bands often provide the most happiness to the listener when they make great catchy songs, because you feel like you’re the one discovering them, it’s a little feistish and happy and just puts you in a good mood

Wilco (The Song)- Wilco

Love this song, a little weezerish but with less pop culture reliant lyrics

Take A Walk Around the Table- White Rabbits

This song is so delightfully weird that you can’t help but listen to it over and over again

Metal Detektor- Spoon

Of all the great Spoon songs there are to choose from, this is one of, if not their finest songs ever put to record

Golden- My Morning Jacket

Beautiful acoustic guitar, beautiful singing, beautiful lyrics, need i even say more

The Golden Age- Beck

Great progression and arrangement, both of which Beck has an undeniable knack for and this is one of his finer songs

Songs for the Fireflies- Josh Ritter

This is one of those songs that feels as if the performer is right in front of you not in some far off studio and the buildup is wonderful

The Honeymoon Song- The Beatles

It’s hard to find a Beatles song that the whole world hasn’t heard millions of times.  This one comes from Live at the BBC and the arrangment lets Paul McCartneys voice take front and center, and how sweet and young he sounds, the only bad thing is the song ends so soon

Honeymoon- Phoenix

Love every part about this song, the bass, the guitar, the singing, the build up, it works perfectly

Everything Hits At Once- Spoon

Another early Spoon song, undeniably their own, from the arrangment to the melody and the buildup as well the great guitar and piano hooks

Fernando Pando- The Virgins

this son builds from intimate guitar and vocals to a great energetic arrangement.  Terrific vocal performance throughout

Changes- David Bowie

Because this song is undeniable in its classic status, love the progression and the lyrics

A Day in the Life- The Beatles

Arguably the greatest song Lennon and McCartney put together from the arrangement to the lyrics to the orchestra build up and McCartneys part.  Also the interplay between the musicians is great, McCartney’s piano and Lennon’s guitar and Ringo’s drums couldn’t have fit any better

You Got the Silver- The Rolling Stones

this song goes a long way in saying that Keith Richards was as underrated a singer and songwriter as Harrison was in The Beatles.