Back at it after a week off.

“Call Me Snowflake” – Middle Kids. MK’s new EP came out a couple weeks back. I don’t know why I was surprised, but it is really, really good. I guess I figured since they had released a couple solid singles from it in advance, there wouldn’t be much more to it. But turns out that it is fantastic front-to-back. Proving they are as good as anyone making music at the moment. I like the out-of-nowhere, mid-90s vibe in the middle and end of this song.

“Room 13” – Jesse Malin. Malin worked with Lucinda Williams on his upcoming album. There’s a strong Ryan Adams vide to this song. So hopefully Malin doesn’t have a creepy history with women so I can listen to the album.

“Calm Down” – Pete Yorn. It’s been awhile since Pete Yorn has given us any new music. It’s been even longer since he hewed as closely to the sounds that made him a star as he does here. I approve.

“You Haven’t Done Nothin’” – Stevie Wonder. So I knew this song; as I’ve shared many times before Stevie was one of my mom’s very favorites, and our house was filled with his music during his epic run in the early-to-mid 70s. But until I read Tom Breihan’s breakdown of it in his The Number Ones series this week, I didn’t know the song. And, whooo boy, it’s a scorcher when you get into the lyrics! Even better, a song aimed at Richard Nixon seems perfect for the summer of 2019. More importantly, the song inspired me to spend some time with Stevie’s golden era albums over the next few weeks. I listened to Fulfillingness’ First Finale the other night. It isn’t loaded with classics, but it does have that uniquely Stevie vibe that set him apart. All sorts of bits from African and Latin music, jazz, and traditional American soul mixed up into a blend that no one else ever replicated. We throw the phrase “musical genius” around a lot. But Stevie was definitely worthy of the label. 

“Hypersonic Missiles” – Sam Fender. A brother-in-music sent this to me a few weeks back. He sends me several songs a week, often in moments when I can’t listen to them, so occasionally I don’t get to them. It took me a few days to go back and give this one a try. But, man, I was glad when I did. And slowly over the past couple weeks, this has grown into one of my favorite songs of the first half of 2019. Fender is just a young pup – he just turned 23 – but he’s already won great critical acclaim back in the UK. This song shows immense promise. It begins sounding about as British as you can sound. Then comes that hooky chorus that gets into your head. Finally, out of the leftest of left field, comes that big, Clarence Clemons-sounding sax followed by a Tunnel of Love-era Springsteen-like guitar line that just blew me away. Add lyrics that are extremely timely – they are based on a nearly indefensible weapon the Russians may be developing – and you’ve got a damn-near perfect song.