“Great Comets,” Galleries
The band Galleries created their own sub genre of rock with their debut album, No Miracles. What is that sub genre? Well, they describe their sound as “Epic Indie Rock,” and the more I listened to their album, the more I agreed with that characterization. Galleries come from that epic indie country of Scotland where soaring anthems seem to find a home. “Great Comets” isn’t, as far as I know, the single from their new album, but it is the one song that really grabbed me by the collar and made me take notice. There’s an Ultravox thing going on with this tune that captures the sense of earnestness that Midge Ure did so well. As a kind of scion of the Ultravox legacy, Galleries seems well on their way to (re)defining epic rock for the 21 century — with a very obvious nod to the ‘80s.
Sure, the opening theme to Mad Men by RJD2 is quite memorable, but David Carbonara’s original music for the show is much more substantive and spans a number of genres (i.e., bossa nova, orchestral, and jazz). “Bunny’s Hop” from season 4 of the show stands out for a couple of reasons. One, Carbonara is able to craft a style of jazz from the ‘60s in a way that sounds quite authentic. Two, he’s also able lace in a not-too-shabby drum solo. Plus, there’s a kind of nod to corporate America tucked into the snappy jazz riff that moves the piece along. It’s all combined into a shaker and served ice-cold for your listening pleasure. Whether you’re a Don Draper Old-Fashioned kind of person, or a Roger Sterling vodka on the rocks man (or woman), fire this one up at your next cocktail party (do they still have those?) and watch the room come alive.
“Frozen,” Reva DeVito and Roane Namuh
Sometimes you can do a postmodern mash-up of sort with music, and I’m thinking if you’re going to host that cocktail party (why don’t they do those anymore?) this song would work well with David Carbonara’s Mad Men music. It’s not a seamless transition, but while one evokes a kind of frenetic New York vibe, “Frozen” does the opposite. It’s a chill groove with Reva DeVito’s soulful vocals sitting right on top hypnotic beat. Perfect for unwinding instead of trying to land an account.
“The One That Got Away,” The Civil Wars
“Hello…I Must Be Going” could be an apt title for The Civil Wars’ second album – if Phil Collins didn’t already take it. The duo broke up on the eve of superstardom and all that remains at this point is the music from their two albums. Their second effort carries on the style of their debut (which, it seems, was one of the reasons the band broke up). Sophomore slumps are typical in the recording industry, but this sophomore effort is a strong one with some beautiful but forlorn songs full of heartache and woe. “The One That Got Away” is the lead single, and while it’s thicker in terms of production than their previous album, it doesn’t obscure Joy Williams’ vocals, or her harmonies with John Paul White. While the album is generally good, from time to time the band tends to get stuck in too many weepy songs that start to bleed into one another. Some more careful editing of what to include and what to omit would have helped make the listening experience more satisfying. But alas, given the acrimony between the singers, we’re lucky to have what we have.