James Vincent McMorrow – Cavalier
Once you’ve seen James Vincent McMorrow live, there is no doubt he is the real deal. You can feel his achingly beautiful vocals down to the core.
We haven’t heard much from the Irish singer recently (except for this incredible Chris Isaak cover) until “Cavalier”. It starts out sounding a lot like his previous work until he gets all R&B on us. It is a welcome soulful, sensual twist.
He recorded his debut in a seaside cabin but decamped to a pecan farm half a mile from the Mexican border for his new album “Post Tropical”, due out on January 14.
The War on Drugs – Red Eyes
Our first Today’s Top Tune of the year is a doozy – a killer track from Philly’s The War on Drugs that we’ve been spinning steadily on MBE.
A friend brought me to one of their shows during SXSW a few years ago and, while I enjoyed it, I remember thinking “they have potential but maybe aren’t there quite yet”.
This song is everything I could hope for from a first single and their latest full length, “Lost In The Dream”, is due out on Secretly Canadian just after SXSW this year (March 18).
Download it here for the next 24 hours and stream below. They play the Troubadour on April 4 and I’m excited for a chance to see them live again!
Clear Plastic Masks – Baby Come On
I was lucky enough to witness Alabama Shakes’ recent live debut in Miami, Fla during a trip to Art Basel. I just missed the opener Clear Plastic Masks and have been kicking myself ever since because I am totally in love with this song.
Ramshackle rock with a retro flair is the best way I can describe it. Yet even with its looseness, it makes quite an impact.
The band is from Nashville and is touring behind their self-titled debut EP. They’ll be at the Troubadour supporting White Denim on February 7 and 8.
José González — “Stay Alive”
I have to be honest, I’m a little over the pervasive “epic group vocal” sound that has been so big over the last few years. However, when an artist like José González takes on the epic musical journey himself — with a song written by Ryan Adams, the sound of a ticking clock, thumping drums and slight keys beneath him – I can really get into it.
“Stay Alive” is on the soundtrack to the “Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, which includes other songs by the Swedish songwriter and his band Junip.