Tuesday Touts: May 20, 2014

Here we go again with another round of touts, including a couple of great new albums just released.

Upside Down Mountain by Conor Oberst: Check out the American Songwriter site for my four-star review of this excellent new album out today. Suffice it to say that this is Oberst at his best, feeling everything a little bit too much, pulling no punches on the state of the world and all the people therein, yet providing a little catharsis for us all with his powerful rants. Plus, the music is as focused and catchy as anything he’s ever released. Check out the gorgeous opening track, “Time Forgot,” below, and then look up the whole album.

“When The Crowd Cheers” by The Roots: This first single from their new album And Then You Shoot Your Cousin features a haunting piano figure that keeps trickling around Questlove’s insistent beat, while the verses from Greg Porn and Black Thought toy with rap cliches only to reveal the flawed humanity of the protagonists. It all leads up to a chorus that sounds like one that little girls might sing while skipping rope until you consider the implications of the lyrics. Great stuff, and a great video you can check out below.

“Luv Hold Me Down” by Drowners: The fact that this band is made up of New Yorkers along with a Welsh-born frontman should tell you a little bit about their sound. There’s a lot of first-album Strokes in their guitar approach. But the tunefulness is a little more light-footed and European. Anyway, it all comes together on this insanely catchy single, which appears on their self-titled album that came out in January. The YouTube link is below.

“Every Time I Fall In Love” by Clare Bowen: I admit I bailed out on season 2 of Nashville; I got lot a little bored with the soap opera stuff and the DVR is overloaded as it is. Then I heard this song by chance, and I remembered why I watched in the first place: The music. Bowen sings the heck out of this exquisitely-written heartbreak ballad. Now they’ve got me again; looks like I’ll be searching out the episodes I missed before Season 3.

The Reconsider Me Tout of the Week- On The Border by The Eagles: I know what you’re thinking. The Eagles have sold a gajillion records; why do we need to reconsider anything of theirs? I feel like this album gets lost a bit in the band’s catalog between the hit-laden early years and the Hotel California peak. For my money, this 1974 release has the best non-single material of any of their albums, including the sarcastically funky title track, a gorgeous take on Tom Waits’ “Ol ’55”, and, the best Eagles song you’ve never heard, “My Man”, where former member Bernie Leadon movingly eulogizes Gram Parsons. Check the latter song out in the link below, and them move on to the entire album.

(E-mail me at countdownkid@hotmail.com or follow me on Twitter @JimBeviglia. My new book, Counting Down Bruce Springsteen: His 100 Finest Songs, arrives in June, but you can pre-order it now at all major online booksellers.)





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