Mental Jukebox: Week of September 29 – October 3

Monday: Kooks “Bad Habit”

This seems like a good song for Monday’s Mental Jukebox… ’cause Monday is definitely a “Bad Habit” that I’d love to break! The Kooks are a British pop-rock band from Brighton who take their name from a David Bowie song, and their musical influences from a wide variety of artists ranging from the 60s British Invasion sound to millennium post-punk with a little funk, reggae, hip-hop and more thrown in as the spirit moves them. Their 2006 debut album reached quadruple platinum status in the UK and won them an MTV Europe Award for Best UK /Ireland Act. The new album Listen, released in September 2014, is their 4th CD. Hope this will brighten your Monday!


Tuesday: Bear Hands “Agora”

Yeah, I’ve had days like this. Haven’t we all? Here’s a band whose songs have a real tendency to grow on me.  Distraction, the 2nd album from Brooklyn-based group Bear Hands “strikes a balance between post-punk and melodic pop…with an urgency that oscillates between manic and melancholy.” The juxtaposition of various elements –which include soft vocals, crunchy guitars, 80s synth, percussiveness and atmospheric layers– leave critics wondering:  is this dance, punk, electronic, prog… or just good old-fashioned pop-rock? Whatever, the tunes definitely stick in your head. Perhaps the simple “eccentric, but catchy” describes it best.


Wednesday:  Ásgeir “King And Cross”

Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson is an Icelandic singer-songwriter known for his beautiful, melodic and often melancholy folk songs. In 2012 his album Dyrd í dauðathogn, noted for its intimately soulful and unusually poetic tunes, became Iceland’s biggest selling debut album by a native artist. The album won four music awards and outsold the likes of fellow natives Bjork and Sigur Ros. The English language version of his album In The Silence was released in the US this March.


Throwback Thursday: Neil Diamond “Solitary Man”

Throwing it back today in honor of our good friend Bill Cinque, who is currently out on the road as the new bass player for the legendary Neil Diamond! (Yay Bill!!! Send photos!) ;o)  With a career that began in the 60s, singer-songwriter Neil Diamond is one of the world’s best selling artists –and one of the Top 3 best selling Adult Contemporary artists– with over 125 million records sold. So hard to pick just one song to highlight from Neil’s vast and amazing catalog, but I finally had to go with this perennial fave, which has been covered by a diverse array of international artists, from Cliff Richards and Johnny Cash to Chris Isaak and Finnish metal band HIM. Neil’s newest album Melody Road is being released October 21st.


Friday: Antsy McClain “The Bathroom Songwriter”

Something a little different for the Friday Jukebox. Props to my gal Suz Rostron at A Soulful Sound Lounge for tipping me off to the “heartfelt ballads and humorous tales” of Antsy McClain & the Trailer Park Troubadors. Not a ‘new’ discovery per se but fun all the same. This one is for all the songwriters out there – a hilarious little ditty about finding lyrical inspiration on the porcelain throne. Hailing from Nashville, “Antsy” (née Ronnie Joe) McClain’s influences range from James Taylor to AC/DC to Dolly Parton, and his ‘folk’ music incorporates everything from country, blues and doo-wop to jazz and R&B, served up with a “friendly down-home feel”. Have a great weekend!

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