Pod Picks for March 21, 2013

March 19, 2013 

This week we recommend a trifecta of newly-released material dripping with retro vibes that you can download (legally, of course) or stream to your iPod, iPad, iPhone or other personal media device.

"Anonymous" by Desaparecidos

Conor Oberst takes a break from his alt-folk band Bright Eyes and his punk bluegrass solo projects to play his hard-edge alter ego in his garage-rock guise. This EP is the first music from Desaparecidos in more than 10 years. And the fiery lyrics call for a hardcore backdrop as Oberst, who’s never veered away from political topics, takes a hard-line 99 Percenter agenda here. It’s a sledge hammer of anti-consumerism and individualism revolution, punctuated with a shout-out chorus, splashing cymbals and rock chords. There’s no doubt it’s Oberst doing what he does best, which is whatever the hell he wants.

"Hear My Train a-Comin'" by Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix is starting to rival Tupac in posthumous releases. This track comes from “People, Hell and Angels” – a collection of previously unreleased material from recording sessions done from 1968 to 1970. Hendrix’s approach here was beginning to imagine what he could do with traditional blues. Accompanied by bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles from Band of Gypsys for the first time, Hendrix is a raw lightning bolt and Cox and Miles are thunder behind him. You have to ask, what took Hendrix’s estate so damn long to release this stuff?

"From a Window Seat" by Dawes

These guys from Los Angeles have been part of a resurrection of California’s Laurel Canyon sound. An era of the ‘60s that brought about bands such as the Mamas and the Papas, the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – a place that inspired Jim Morrison to sing “Love Street.” Dawes has dipped again and again into the layered harmonies and laidback arrangements typified by the area but this track moves the needle along the timeline a bit. It’s far from a modern pop song but the upbeat keyboards, the undercurrent of harmonies and the traveling motif makes it feel like a single from the mid-70s. It shows a willingness to step out of the band’s comfort zone, at least by a few years.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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