It’s another week of dropping the needle on some songs that I can recommend you add to your music collection! This week, it’s not all new songs. Indeed, I don’t think there’s a “new release” in here at all. Rather, there are times when chasing the new new thing will make you more of a “Gotta be first on it” guy or gal, rather than someone who takes time to listen to songs and see if they grow on you or not. That’s what happened this week. I listened to a whole bunch of new songs culled from email submissions, to magazine articles, websites, and even the newspapers (yes, people still read those). However, there wasn’t much that I could get behind and say “You ought to give this a spin.” So, what you have here are songs that may be “older” (and in the case of Led Zeppelin, very old), but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve heard them.
Fiction Family, “Up Against The Wall”
There are times when you happen upon a track that really grabs you from the first listen, and there are others that grow on you over time. “Up Against The Wall” falls into the former category. It’s a pleasant-sounding song that has Jon Foreman (Switchfoot) and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek) trading vocals on this rootsy tune that’s ready made for AAA airplay. I love how they got their name, too. From the Wiki on the band, Watkins said something along the lines that when two guys who aren’t related start making much, they are often called “something brothers.” So instead of calling themselves “The Basement Brothers,” or “The iPad Bros” they opted for Fiction Family.
Delta Rae, “The Chain”
With the release of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors Expanded Edition — which Dw Dunphy reviewed — the long shadow of Fleetwood Mac shows up in Delta Rae’s list of influences. Delta Rae is mainly fronted by the Hölljes family — whose siblings create a folky rock that really doesn’t sounds all that much like Mac. But when you hear them cover “The Chain,” there’s no doubting their affection for Fleetwood Mac. Delta Rae’s tribute hasn’t gone unnoticed, either. Lindsay Buckingham has joined Delta Rae to record a version of “If I Loved You” that will be released in March of this year. For now, though, enjoy a very faithful cover of the “The Chain” with a more expanded bass solo. [On a technical note: I tried to embed the player from the VH1 "You Ought To Know" performance, but the damn thing kept messing with the background color and turned half the page black. So, even though I said I wouldn't feature mp3s, I wanted you to hear this, so an exception is being made.]
There’s been a long tradition of rock songs starting with classical guitar and then transitioning into full on shredding. And Slash keeps that tradition going with “Anastasia” — which comes from the 2012 album, Apocalyptic Love. Myles Kennedy is on vocals and keeps pace with ferocity of music Slash and the rest of the band lay down on this track. Sure, it’s not the most original sounding song coming from the former Guns-n-Roses guitarist, but there’s nothing wrong with paying a kind of homage to a rock style of the past. After all, wasn’t that what Guns-n-Roses weren’t trying to do at time? And speaking of G-n-R influences…
Led Zeppelin, “Achilles Last Stand”
Back when I was in high school (the third one I attended), I made a friend who was a huge Zep fan. This was the early ’80s, so it’s not really that unlikely you’d find someone like him in a suburban high school in northern California. But what made him stand out from the other fans was his love of deep cuts by the band — and the fact that he loaned me the 8 track of Presence because he thought it was the band’s best album. The fact that the record didn’t have any discernible hits made my first spin of this album quite the journey. And what a great way to start such a trip. “Achilles Last Stand” is a non-stop, thunderous epic where the band moves slightly away from their blues influences and toward a more progressive rock sound. Sure, Zeppelin has arguably always had a prog underbelly, but in this song you really hear the band expanding beyond their bread and butter songs and stretch out into a long-form song that is unrelenting ’til the end.