Mental Jukebox: Week of September 1-5

This week’s selection of bands you should be listening to!

Monday:  J. Roddy Walston and the Business “Take It As It Comes”

By special request: J Roddy Walston and the Business is an all-American rock band formed in Tennessee in 2002, currently based in Virginia. The band have become a staple at festivals such as Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, with an energetic and “joyfully chaotic” live act that fans describe as “AC/DC fronted by Jerry Lee Lewis”. A combination of Southern roots and punk, they mix heavy hooks with soulful melodies. One critic colorfully described their previous album as “what would happen if Queen and Black Oak Arkansas birthed four boys in the backwoods and let them listen to nothing but Cheap Trick and showtunes.” OK, you have my attention! With two EP’s and four studio albums under their belt, this track is the band’s 2nd hit on the U.S. Alternative Charts.


Tuesday:  Fitz and the Tantrums “Fools Gold”

Rolling into Tuesday with a personal and local favorite: Fitz and the Tantrums are a neo-soul pop alternative band from Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to catch them earlier this year at the Pantages, and before that, at a much more intimate show at the Blank Club in San Jose. This is the new track from their sophomore album “More Than A Dream”. The first two singles from this album hit #1 on the US Alternative charts. Shall we shoot for a third?


Wednesday:  Milky Chance “Stolen Dance”

This earworm has slowly been gaining traction in my head as it climbs the Hot 100 charts. Milky Chance is a German duo with a folk-reggae feel. Their song “Stolen Dance was a #1/Top 10 record all over Europe and Australia/NZ in 2013. (Once again, the US is late to the party…sigh). One critic described the song as a “deep moody melodic tech house affair” (what?) The hypnotic guitar riffs and funk-inspired bass lines are very understated, yet wholly infectious.


Thursday:  Alanis Morissette “Uninvited” (1999)

Throwback Thursday Jukebox: Here’s one that isn’t heard all that often anymore, despite winning two Grammys amongst a pile of varied award nominations in 1999. I admire Alanis greatly as a songwriter, some of her songs (which shall go unnamed because that would be giving away too much!) fall into the “wish I’d written that” category for me. Hard to pick a favorite, but “Uninvited”, with its haunting minor key, off-beat phrasing, and a musical arrangement that runs from nakedly sparse to full-orchestral, is very near the top of my list.


Friday:  Vacationer “The Wild Life”

I feel severely deprived for not knowing that “Nu-Hula/World Wave” was an actual musical genre before now. I loves me some music with a tropical Hawaiian feel!! Vacationer is a band from the U.S. East Coast, this is from their sophomore album “Relief”, released in June. I encourage my new-music loving friends (you know who you are) to check this one out… I’m betting you’ll be swaying along with this breezy little tune playing in your head before long! A perfect kick-off to the weekend!

Until next week!

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