under-radar-mag:

On first glance, Syd Arthur is a band aware of its own potential. Sound Mirror harkens back to ’70s progressive rock as much as it glances toward modern folk revivalism. Syd Arthur is opening up for Yes on the prog legends’ latest tour and it makes all the sense in the world. Their second album is natural and mathematic all at once and that’s no small feat.
(via Syd Arthur: Sound Mirror (Harvest) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine)

We heard “modern folk revivalism more than the 70’s prog rock influence. Worth going back to listen with new ears.

under-radar-mag:

On first glance, Syd Arthur is a band aware of its own potential. Sound Mirror harkens back to ’70s progressive rock as much as it glances toward modern folk revivalism. Syd Arthur is opening up for Yes on the prog legends’ latest tour and it makes all the sense in the world. Their second album is natural and mathematic all at once and that’s no small feat.

(via Syd Arthur: Sound Mirror (Harvest) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine)

We heard “modern folk revivalism more than the 70’s prog rock influence. Worth going back to listen with new ears.

On our European trip last month we kept hearing Stromae. Now two of his tunes are reigning on the Pop Tones Top 40. On this one he passionately spits out the french lyrics, overcome by love’s all consuming angst. It’s all too much and at the end of the song he appears to break down, sobbing. Very strong effort from the pretty young man from Brussels Belgium.

The Australian, brother and sister team of Angus and Julia Stone have just knocked Sam Smith out of the #1 spot on the Pop Tones Top 40. This is their debut on our esteemed list, so congrats to them. It’s is an easy listening, late summer blended-wine of a song with an adorably steady back-beat. Nothing earth shattering or jarringly unlikeable here.

Rock 'N' Roll Exposed: The Photography of Bob Gruen on Showtime

We knew Bob Gruen had photographed a lot of great bands in the 70’s but this “rockumentary” shows that he basically shot ALL the great bands to came from or came through New York. His photography of John and Yoko alone is a masterwork. He also shot all the CBGB bands as well as the Sex Pistols and the Clash as well as all the superstars. This is an amazing documentary.

Tweedy - Summer Noon

The album Jeff Tweedy has made with his son Spencer under the name “Tweedy" is every bit as beautiful, heartfelt, challenging and charming as any Wilco LP. Tweedy described his son as something of a savant on drums and he does impress on songs such as Diamond Light Pt. 1. His style isn’t loud and bombastic but rather subdued within often intricate rhythmic patterns. This father and son team was joined by a few other musicians for a tour earlier this summer.

Nice documentary about Kate Bush now that she’s due to do some shows for the first time in decades. A lot of artists who were influenced by her or at least affected or at least moved by her are interviewed. A but surprised to see that Johnny Rotten/Lydon was one of them. Shouldn’t be surprised though. His voice was certainly among the category of unorthodox like Kate’s. Similarities end there though.

Long Beach CA’s Rival Sons have a rock sound somewhere between classic and garage. This song’s been wailing up the Pop Tones charts.

The King of Psychedelic Country is Sturgill Simpson

Keen readers of Pop Tones have noticed how we’ve picked things up from using Google i.e. “Googling” various subjects to find information on them. The essential insight in this post has to do with Sturgill Simpson using techniques and lyrical imagery one might consider psychedellic. He sings of “reptile aliens made of light” that “cut you open and pull out all your pain.” And there is one line devoted, almost exclusively,  to listing various psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin and DMT (?) before exclaiming that “love’s the only thing that ever saved my life.”

Ss we “Googled” “Psychedelic Country” and sure enough, who comes up but none other than Sturgill Simpson. A new country music singer on the scene who sounds every bit as good as Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings or many of the other legends. The difference is this man has surely spent some time tripping out of his mind and has returned to sing about it.

Mixing genres of music can create powerful explosions of excitement and, in some cases, change the playing field forever. The most famous example is Elvis Presely's mixture of Country and Blues that helped create Rock n Roll. It happens all the time however. Think of how Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson mixed vintage Motown music with contemporary hip hop imagery on the Back to Black record. 

And now, thanks to Sturgill Simpson we have possibly a new explosive mix of genre’s: Psychedelic &  Country. Here’s hoping today’s top country stars start dropping acid along with their ice cold beer on a Friday night.

We often chastise bands with names that don’t google well: Like Beach House for example. Put that in Google and, of course, loads of real estate listings show up. With Milky Chance, on the other hand, you’re bound to go straight to this duo from Germany, whose song Stolen Dance is getting good play on Pop Tones

We love the curly guitar/bass line and the singer, Clemens Rehbein delivers his vocals with a nice mix between an understated delivery like Oliver Sim of the XX to a raspy yet more deliberate chorus.

Winning

You can’t always win and there’s two songs on Pop Tones right now that illustrate that premise. The first is from Fractures the name Mark Zito, from Melbourne, is using as the vessel of this music. This song is a promise to the narrators adversary that “you won’t win.”

The second is from Lee Fields (who is new to us but apparently has been around quite awhile) who sings in a sympathetic and forthright tone to his subject that, hey, “you just can’t win.”

Being a Wednesday, it’s ok to go negative on the concept of winning. If there were no losing, there would be no winning, right? Can’t win ‘em all, right?