Pod Picks for July 12, 2012

July 18, 2012 

This week we recommend some foot-stomping country, second generation folk and matured garage rock for downloading (legally, of course) or streaming to your personal media device.

“The Wind” by Zac Brown Band

Call Zac Brown’s music whatever you want – bluegrass stomp, Americana rock, southern boogie – the long and short of it is the Zac Brown Band plays country music. But it’s the energy, the force the band puts into its country that separates Brown and mates from the hundreds of other CMT cheese-and-crackers type performers. The Zac Brown Band tours like madmen, building a grassroots following and the love this Atlanta-based band has for performing its bluegrass stomp, Americana rock, southern boogie is palpable. Just listen to the fury of the fiddle, the speed in which Brown tackles his lyrics – you can almost hear the grins.

“Oh Brother” by Ben Taylor

The offspring of James Taylor and Carly Simon, Ben Taylor’s soulful inflections are his obvious inheritance from his parents but his voice drips of a young James Taylor. The younger Taylor has been quietly working as a musician since the mid-‘90s but in the last few years his music has fallen in line with the family tree, making folk songs with heart. This song keeps it in the family – it’s dedicated to his 10-year-old twin half-brothers. With its organ and guitar groove, its large chorus of backup singers and Taylor’s folk crooning, this song could’ve been the upbeat B-side to his father’s “You’ve Got a Friend” in 1971.

“Summer Heat” by The Whigs

A simple bassline lays out this story-song which is a preview to the band’s fourth album, coming out in September. From the song’s title, it’s understandable why the band would want to release it now. This Athens, Ga. band rose from the garage-rock wave of the early 2000s. The band gives the song space to breathe and there’s a looseness in the group’s new music. Singer Parker Gispert allows for patience in his vocal delivery. It’s fun to watch the garage bands like this, 10 years into the careers and finding themselves musically. Bands such as Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, The White Stripes, Hold Steady and this band are learning how to slow down and write songs that resonate past the garage doors.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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