Mental Jukebox: Week of December 1-5

Monday: U2 “Every Breaking Wave”

I’ve heard a handful of songs from U2’s new Songs of Innocence album, but this one was the first to really grab me, make me lean forward, and turn the volume up. Bono’s emotive vocals soar over a sparse instrumental foundation of piano and violin in this beautiful and melancholy tune. THIS is classic U2. Now that all the fuss over their unconventional release method has quieted down a bit, hearing “Every Breaking Wave” really makes me want to go back and spend some time with the rest of the album.


Tuesday: Catfish and the Bottlemen “Kathleen”

Catfish and the Bottlemen are a Welsh rock band formed in Llandudno, North Wales (a little seaside town where I once spent a rainy August day watching James Bond films at the cinema…but I digress!) The band migrated to Wales from various parts of the British Empire — lead vocalist Van McCann spent his childhood in Australia. The single “Kathleen” ranked number one on MTVs (UK) hottest tracks in April 2014, and over the summer Catfish and the Bottlemen performed at over 30 festivals in the UK and Europe. Their debut album The Balcony was released on September 14 in the UK, and is scheduled for US release in January 2015, followed by a tour that begins Feb. 8 in San Diego. “Kathleen” is currently moving up the U.S. Alternative Radio charts.


Wednesday:  Dreamers “Wolves”

If you lay down with dogs, you get fleas.  But if you lay down with wolves, you learn to howl. So say Dreamers, a band that formerly went by the name of Motive. After moving from Seattle to Brooklyn, the band decided to transition from their early grunge roots to a more psychedelic indie-rock vibe, hence the name change. Dreamers first EP, This Album Does Not Exist was released on November 16, and the lead single “Wolves” with its bouncy sing-along chorus has been described by some as “The Strokes meet Weezer.” This one’s definitely worth a listen (or two!)


Throwback Thursday: Chicago “If You Leave Me Now” (1976)

Thinking about my Top Songs of 2014 list reminded me of past Top 100 New Year’s countdowns. The first year I spent all day and night (and day) glued to the year-end countdown on the radio, this song was the #1 payoff (at least on the station I listened to!) Written and sung by Peter Cetera (check out the hair here!), “If You Leave Me Now” was Chicago’s biggest hit worldwide, topping charts in several countries, and winning two Grammy Awards in the U.S. For the past several years, Chicago has offered bidding fans the chance to sing with them on this song at live concerts, with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society to fight breast cancer.


Friday: Vance Joy “Mess Is Mine”

Happy Friday!! One of my personal favorite new artists of 2014, I just adore this whole album. Melbourne-born James Keogh aka Vance Joy has served up an enchanting collection of songs in Dream Your Life Away, featuring ukulele-laden folk-pop exuberance laden with deeply earnest lyrics and a distinctive vocal style. Following the hugely successful single “Riptide”, his second single “Mess Is Mine”, doesn’t disappoint. Can’t get enough of this one!

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