Pod Picks for Feb. 14, 2014

February 13, 2013 

Here’s a grab bag of eclectic sounds we recommend for downloading (legally, of course) or streaming to your MP3 player, tablet, smartphone or other personal media device.

"Northern Lights" by Allo Darlin’

An Australian singer, fronting an English band with an awesome British colloquialism for a name, playing jangle pop about the beautiful occurrence known as aurora borealis – it all feels very American. Elizabeth Morris’ voice is not threatening; it’s cute and catchy and works in its perky positioning. The band made a splash with a cover of “Atlantic City” on a global tribute to Bruce Springsteen, but Morris and Co. are bopping to their own beat with their 2012 album, “Europe.” The title is vastly underestimating this quartet – because Europe is only one aspect of this band’s many dimensions.

"Shenandoah" by Tom Waits and Keith Richards

Two of the roughest voices in the music business sing a pirate chantey and the setting of the song is ideal. Coming off the upcoming album, “Son of Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys,” the project is under the direction of the keepers of pirate lore, Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski, the star and director of the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy. Of course, Richards played a part in the film series but Waits leads the way here with Richards strumming a dissonant hum and adding low calls in the background. Grab the rum off the shelf, push play and in two swigs, you’ll be singing along whether you know the words or not.

"Belsen was a Gas" by Sex Pistols

For those who don’t know, the Sex Pistols made a short, stupendously successful career out of provocative lyrics steeped in dark humor, over slapdash guitar and an accidently in-tune rhythm section. This is a rerecorded demo, written by Sid Vicious, with Johnny Rotten adding new vocals that are buried in the mix under reverb. The title is a terrible-taste reference to the Nazi concentration camp. Oh yeah, it’s ugly. But it’s also great to hear the haphazard approach the Pistols took to firing off songs without any regard as to where they’ll land.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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