Before “Somebody That I Used To Know” defied all expectations for an out of nowhere indie song to top the charts, Wally De Becker aka Gotye had made a record called Like Drawing Blood (which would be an excellent recommendation for those who have only heard of his latest album) with similar (read as samplers who did their homework) production. Heck, Wally De Becker is credited for Assembly, Collection, and Performer in that order. Whatever your qualms may be about the future of music, Gotye has the voice and know-how make a hook out of any genre, and this Northern Soul romp of “Learnalilgivinanlovin” is no exception. A far better “I Feel Better” from his latest Making Mirrors, the harmonies and the vibe are top notch. Would love to see it used to ironic effect on Breaking Bad.
Simply Stunning. The light jazz guitar, those great harmonies. A perfect antidote to those of you who have been feeling some Gotye overload.
Just in time for everybody to tuck in to the most lazy and food filled day of the year. As always the tracks are all free downloads, but support these wonderful artists if you can.
Man Who Lives Forever (Rollo & Grady Session)- Lord Huron
Lord Huron has been a band that is constantly defying my expectations, they’re due out for a well deserved full length album this coming year and if Man Who Lives Forever is any indication of where their sound is going, look for them to be all over the indie airwaves next year.
Song to Sing When I’m Lonely- John Frusciante
Possibly the greatest talent to emerge from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Frusciante has shown that he’s no one trick pony and a masterful songwriter in his own right, Song To Sing When I’m Lonely is one of my favorites, starting with a melody right out of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Fletcher- Blitzen Trapper
Blitzen Trapper have the new Americana sound locked down on their most recent full length, American Goldwing. Think of it as Wilco with a little more drawl and optimism. Not many bands these days can write a narrative as compelling as this Portland group.
Coeur D’Alene- The Head and The Heart
Critics of The Head and the Heart stated that their debut album was filled with derivative sounds of Americana, on “Coeur D’Alene” all they can note is a perfectly crafted pop song.
I Stopped Missing You Today- Stone Darlings
Stone Darling is an all-girl group that single-handedly defies the label.
More Than Muscle- Luke Temple
Quite possibly my favorite song of 2011 with its off-kilter rhythms and technicolor arrangements, Temple lures you in with the first few notes and by the time his charming lilt comes into the fore there’s no letting go.
Handwriting- White Denim
White Denim is one of those bands that can make prodigious skill seem par for the course for their songwriting, “Handwriting” being an intriguing guitar run through that makes you wonder how they’re playing what they’re playing and can still mold it into a conventional song form. The pedal steel puts a nice touch.
Freeze Out- Snorri Helgason
If not the best thing to come out of Iceland, by far he is the most underrated. Sure his name might never be commonplace in pop music but he is as well deserving as any singer-songwriter out there right now.
The Only Way- Gotye
Gotye shows the creative intensity that we used to expect out of Beck, but this Australian troubadour proves his equal and more through his clever approach at arrangements and his chameleon vocals.
Livin’ In The Jungle- Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears seem intent on bringing R&B back to what it once was, the hard propulsive blues that brought the Black Keys into prominence with Brothers only with more of a funky kick and a wicked horn section.
I’ll Walk Away- James Hunter
James Hunter wowed Van Morrison with his debut Believe What I Say even getting the man himself to duet on a couple tracks with him, if Sam Cooke had managed to live to old age this croon might be what we were in for.
Million Dollar Bill- Dawes
When it hits me that she’s gone/ I think i’ll run for president/ Get my face put on the million dollar bill/ So when these rich men that she wants/ Show her ways they can’t take care of her/ I’ll have found a way to be there with her still
Within the opening of “Million Dollar Bill” Taylor Goldsmith managed to portray the sadness, jealousy, and ultimately love that’s still present when your lover has left you. Proof why he’s one of the greatest songwriters of his generation.
I Found You- Alabama Shakes
Otis Redding reincarnated in girl form, no other description should be necessary.
Soulless- Fake Problems
Who said people couldn’t write upbeat rock songs anymore.
Big Man- Boy & Bear
It wouldn’t be the farthest stretch to compare this band with Mumford & Sons, but that would greatly undermine the talent present in this group, the lyrics and vocals alone on this song should guarantee them recognition for album of the year (and yes, the rest of the album is fine too).
Big Man- Boy & Bear
From The Start- Tiger Waves
For the acoustic guitars and the rolling drum fills that propel this song along and the endearing harmonies that go along with it. Who couldn’t like a band called Tiger Waves? And you call yourselves American.
The Understanding- Jones Street Station
No matter how many incarnations there was and will always be of tight harmonies and acoustic fingerpicking, it will always sound good, and Jones Street Station isn’t about to change that. But they certainly liven the arrangement up to great success.
Mighty- Lord Huron
The yearning for discovery and the search for happiness and the unknown all bottled up into one song, but it’s more than a song, it’s a whole world.
“Told myself that you were right for me/ But felt so lonely in your company/But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember”
Pronounced gore-ti-yeah, Gotye is the stage name of Belgian-Austrian Wouter “Wally” De Backer. Strange as the name may seem, his music manages to be endearing with eclectic influences throughout, from sampling a Luiz Bonfa track “Seville” to a xylophone melody that sticks in your head. As the track progresses it becomes clear that “Somebody That I Used To Know” is a track that the Broken Bells would have loved to call their own, and the revelation later in the track of a counterpoint is a great addition. Check out the free download below