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Final December Singles: Grab Bag

Last updated on January 6, 2022

1. “Juice” – Ancient Cities. Somehow out-vintages The Black Keys in recording style, guitar tone, and vocal tone. If you’re into rock with historic bonafides, you’ll be all up in this.

2. “Great Apes” – Wild Pink. John Ross always sounds like he’s whispering over the clanging indie-rock of Wild Pink. The charging guitars form a nice counterpoint, though.

3. “Turn You On” – JUNEBUG SPADE. Fans of Beach Slang, YUCK, Smith Westerns, and other distortion-heavy indie-rockers will have a ball with JUNEBUG SPADE’s beachy, distorted power-pop/rock.

4. “Hindbrains” – Zach Katz. Those who are into psychedelic weirdness of the “very bright flashes of color and lots of spinning” variety will have a blast getting disoriented by this indie-pop blast of Technocolor chaos.

5. “This Explosion Within” – Lights and Motion. Synthesizing elements of The Arcade Fire, Sigur Ros, and more, Lights and Motion comes up with a fuzzed-out, blissful-sounding cinematic post-rock tune.

6. “The Silver Hearts’ Theme” – The Silver Hearts. Relaxed, down-home dixieland jazz with a old-timey radio announcer covering the intro. Doesn’t get more vintage than this without being from the actual chronological period, friends.

7. “The Chipmunk Song (Live at Rose Lea)” – Lindby Feat. The Hendersons. This is easily the only non-annoying version of this song I’ve ever heard. There’s a ’50s pop sweetness to the arrangement that works perfectly with the Christmas material.

8. “Yes, It’s Hard” – Donnie Biggins. Back in the ’50s, gospel and country had a lot of connections, and this tune hearkens back to that time. There’s also some blues color thrown in the choir-laden country shuffle, making it even more appealing. The simple yet honest message (“it’s hard being the man/husband/father/friend I’m supposed to be”) resonates with me.

9. “Corn Holler” – Spitzer Space Telescope. A traditional fiddle-and-voice holler with all the enthusiasm that entails, this tune comes from an Interactive Music Album that comes as an app with multiple videos per song and no downloadable version except the app. The times, they are a’changin…

10. “Heart of Stone” – Peter Joly. Joly’s evocative, forceful tenor drives this song forward over traditional folk that includes accordion and female backup singers.