“A Ton of Love,” Editors
I have to admit that one of the reasons why I like this song so much is that it reminds me of something Echo & The Bunnymen might do. Now, the Editors have been around since 2005, but their sound on “A Ton of Love” is vintage ’80s modern rock. I guess I like that old-timey music, and that’s why I’m so gaga over this song. It has a throwback sound that’s probably designed to appeal to geezers like me. But you know what? I don’t care if the Editors’ sound is derivative of music from my salad days, it’s great to hear old wine in new skins.
Lorde is the pride of New Zealand whose song has the legs to traverse the Pacific Ocean and land squarely on North American shores and thrive. Lorde was born Ella Yelich-O’Connor and is only 16 years old, but her voice, her look, and, well, her whole presence suggests she’s an old soul. On “Royals,” she crafts a memorable single that excels because of a certain quirkiness in her vocal phrasing. The song did well for her in her native NZ, and it’s starting to trend up the Triple A charts in the U.S., so I think us folks in the U.S. and Canada are going to be hearing “Royals” a whole lot more in the next few months.
“Are You Happy?” Mickey Gloss
And you thought the Editors had a throwback sound! Mickey Gloss is channeling some serious ’70s punk here, but it’s so loopy and catchy that one can forgive him for the blatant soundalike. There’s not much more to say about “Are You Happy?” than this: if you’re looking for slice of classic punk wrapped in better production standards, look no further than Mickey Gloss.
“Start a Riot,” Jetta
Jetta’s sound has a Florence + The Machine quality to it, and that’s not by accident. Neither is the comparison to Annie Lennox. Both are powerful singers who have carved out a unique voice in genres where there’s a certain sameness to the music, and Jetta is clearly influenced by them. However, where Jetta moves beyond direct comparisons to her musical influences is the in smokey quality of her voice — which gives her music more warmth. “Start a Riot” is one of those songs that immediately grabs you and demands attention with its nicely layered vocals, dissonant guitar hook, and the soaring chorus. It’s easy to see why she was one of the darlings of the SXSW festival this year.