Pod Picks for Aug. 23, 2012

August 22, 2012 

Refresh your playlist with the following tracks we recommend for downloading (legally, of course) or streaming to your iPod, iPad, iPhone or other personal media device.

"The Way It Is" by The Sheepdogs

This Canadian band won Rolling Stone’s cover contest last year making it the first unsigned band to make the cover. Now, newly signed, the band’s first major label album is coming out Sept. 4 – No pressure. This first single cracks from the opening snare roll. The guitars are strong with power chords. The lyrics are uncomplicated. It drives hard, yet there’s a rocking swagger. Produced by Patrick Carney, the drummer from The Black Keys, and the evidence is all over the track – it’s a blues-boogie rock song and proof The Sheepdogs deserved that cover.

"Bonfires" By Alberta Cross

This band opened for The Black Crowes a few years ago at the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach. The Brooklyn-based band attempts epic, arena rock on its new album. This is the album closer and it illustrates the philosophy of ending with a bang. Strange, since it’s a ballad. Beginning with acoustic guitars, a piano and the exotic voice of Petter Ericson Stakee – the song takes off into gospel-styled choirs and soul-drenching lyrics. The song soars because of its simplicity and the title is apt with its slow-burn building into arching flames that’ll leave you fired-up.

"Ash and Chickenwire" by Minnesota

Delivering a musical juke, you think this song is going to be a sweet ballad, sung as a sweet lullaby with a female vocal, then it spins and moves into a stomper of a rock song. The change in tone and style are appropriate – coming from the collaboration of singer/songwriter Peter Himmelman, and screenwriter/filmmaker David Hollander. This is the first album released under the name, Minnesota – Himmelman’s home state – and the album has a conceptual quality. It’s the story of a hitchhiker on the road, losing himself and everything he loves along the way – it’s all very cinematic.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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