Pod Picks for Aug. 9, 2012

August 8, 2012 

This week we recommend new material from old faves coming off of hiatuses and an overlooked gem which you can download (legally, of course) or stream to your iPod, iPad, iPhone or other personal media device.

“Circles Around the Sun” by Dispatch

For those of you who don’t know about Dispatch, here is a quick catch-up –it’s a three piece band from Boston that created a following in the late ‘90s by combining folk, funk and reggae into extremely catchy songs. The band’s 1998 album, “Bang Bang,” is a modern classic. The members took a brief hiatus in 2002 which turned into a decade. They’ve reunited, with a album coming on Aug. 21. Time has separated the group from the sound that built its initial grassroots following – the mellow vibe replaced by this banger, driven by a more roots rock sound but keeping with the storytelling lyrics. It’ll be intriguing to see where the rest of the album goes.

“Settle Down” by No Doubt

Another band coming off a major hiatus. No Doubt hasn’t released an album of all-new material since 2001. For some reason, critics have asked if this band is still relevant. It’s a party band playing pop/ska – party-pop-ska doesn’t go out of style. Plus, Gwen Stefani has shown through the years, she doesn’t give a shit about what’s popular. She creates her own popular. In 2004, during Stefani’s solo stint, she had an entourage of kickass geishas that she said were figments of her imagination. No Doubt has been doodling with this reunion since 2008 but this comeback single shows the music hasn’t changed much. That’s a good thing, because Stefani is on a short list of singers who can sound cool when she sings lines like, “Hella positive for real, I’m all good.”

“Girl in a Coat” by Blitzen Trapper

This is one of those forgotten tracks from the band’s 2011 album, “American Goldwing.” It’s been released as a single with a video – imagine that, a video. The video is worth trawling over to YouTube to watch. It’s a sweet song, dealing with lost love and how sometimes the things you lose are the very things that define you. The video is a poignant accompaniment to the song and the sentiment in both is sad and beautiful and very human.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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