It figures that on this day of American independence I would choose a song from Birmingham natives Electric Light Orchestra. No, not Birmingham, Alabama; Birmingham, England. “Calling America,” though, features the name of our great nation, although it is used in the construct of an unfaithful lover going to America to perpetuate an affair. Yeah, America! Conquering the British through lust.
The song, though, which currently resides in my brain, is a true model of the ever-reaching hand of modernity. Jeff Lynne mentions the “modern world” that is represented by the satellite allowing his phone call to go through to America. The “modern world” has changed a bit in 30 years; now a brief text would suffice, albeit that could be ignored by an unfaithful lover just as easily as a transcontinental phone call. That said, the song itself was recorded in the Bahamas and in Germany, released by Epic in the UK and CBS Associated in the US, and the music video was shot in Paris, France. An Independence Day in the modern world.
The song itself has the unique mark of a Jeff Lynne ELO track. It is upbeat, semi-classical, vocally dulcet, and lyrically dark. Lynne is uber-talented and this track is an excellent example of his ability. There are so many components to the song that he weaves together with his band to make a tight, well-structured piece. Enjoy this as you chow down on a burger! Be safe and happy 4th
The four dapper looking fellows in the photograph above represent the eclectic pop quartet called Saint Motel, a musical variety act, fit with catchy pop of undefinable delineations. Try to evince the band’s genre. It’s difficult. The band goes from funky, horn-blazoned Mad Men-inspired pop/rock to more Walk The Moon-style alternative rock. That is diversity. And, the best part of it all is that the band is clearly enjoying the fruits of its talents, performing this past Coachella on the main stage and making its rounds on Jimmy Kimmel. The band, which signed to Elektra records in 2014 and released its fourth EP in August of that year, has also toured with super-acts like Imagine Dragons and the Arctic Monkeys. Put simply, St. Motel is one of the next big things of pop music, and its extraordinary throwback to upbeat jazz bars with the finest whisky sensibilities – “My Type – is a testament to the band’s emergence as cool and fun.
“My Type” starts with a tremendous horn riff that falls into a disco-like beat straight out of the Tramps’ disco inferno, fit with a range of percussion instruments. The vocal is such a spot-on throwback to everything good with disco/jazz/soul music that one cannot help but smile. The song has a movie quality to it. It sounds straight out of the pictures; it is almost like it was particularly made for it, and the music video suggests something similar. The song is just “my type” and it strikes me as the type of many others. On a completely different musical note, check out “Cold, Cold Man” which is more true Indie/pop with dreamy keys.
You can find out more about the band on its website
Rudyard Kipling, the author of the Jungle Book series and creator of Mowgli, the feral child protagonist of the novel and namesake for the California-based alt/rock band, once said, “I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.” Before I even get to the song that is currently in my ear, I want to focus on Kipling’s quotation and the purpose of me placing it in the post. The 7-member Mowgli’s pair their wall-of-sound blend of Indie/Pop with a campaign to “Be a Mowgli” and do good deeds for other individuals – a social network of kindness. The Mowgli’s truly believe the best of everybody. The band also creates some tremendous tunes.
A few years old and only growing in popularity, The Mowgli’s employ a Grouplove-like Los Angeles sound that combines melodies and vocals together into incredible amalgamations of sound. “Say It, Just Say It” is a quintessential example of the band’s draw. The song begins with a chorus of voices – much in the same vein of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – over a smiling guitar riff. The band plays an infectious type of power indie/pop that bands like American Authors and Young Rising Sons has found recent success with. The Mowgli’s, though, just have so much people power, and it has developed such tremendous unity, almost like Polyphonic Spree. It’s like a family band. And the music is awesome. I love listening to it, and it is currently in my ear (and will be for a while).