Pod Picks for July 25, 2013

July 24, 2013 

This week we recommend new tracks from three heavy-hitters which you can download (legally, of course) or stream to your iPod, iPad, iPhone or other personal media device.

"Cover Me Up" by Jason Isbell

This ballad is a track from Isbell’s new album, “Southeastern,” his fourth after leaving the Drive-By Truckers back in 2007. Isbell is from Alabama, and the geographic title is an apt one. He’s become one of the South’s troubadours, carrying his acoustic around and lamenting the rustic, simple beauty of the land he loves. In this song, he takes on the role of both a gunslinger and a lover as he sings the duplicitous chorus, “Cover me up and know you're enough to use me for good.”

"The Blackest Crow" by Megadeth

Singer/guitarist/bandleader Dave Mustaine is an interesting character. Sometimes he’s the very capable frontman of a long-running heavy metal band. Other times, he’s a bipolar caricature of a bygone era of rock, a guy who uses his heavy metal stage to spout political nonsense. That kind of says it all about this song – it starts with a banjo and a slide guitar before it works into the metal crunch of heavy guitars and Mustaine spitting venom about loss and loneliness. It feels like the adventurous Mustaine of old, the guy who only had a beef with other bands. Megadeth’s 14th studio album, “Super Collider,” may go up and down with Mustaine’s moods, but somewhere inside all that crazy is the guy who got kicked out of Metallica and came back pissed off and strong. Somewhere inside all the sideshow mush is one of metal’s infamous icons.

"Defriended" by Beck

Beck has always been eclectic, often duplicitous, producing as many full albums of acoustic music as his other musical experiments that bend genre and definitions of art rock. This has been his longest layoff between releasing new music. It’s been five years since Beck’s last offering, “Modern Guilt.” This summer, he’s dropping two new singles and plans to release two albums in the fall. The production of this song is big and electronic. The vocals don’t come in until after a full minute of syncopated orchestration, but when they do, the music rises and falls to his voice bouncing around with an echo effect. As always, Beck does whatever the hell he wants to, and it ends up sounding like art.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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