Music from and Inspired by the Original Motion Picture/222 Records
John Carney, who gave us the classic music-focused film Once, returns with another music-based film, Begin Again, and the soundtrack is predictably loaded with fun moments that will appeal to a variety of listeners. If you like soul music with a sense of humor, then CeeLo Green’s “Horny” and “Women of the World (Go on Strike!)” should suit your taste. The track “Lost Stars” is given the sensitive pop treatment by Adam Levine; there is also an acoustic version of the song from actress Keira Knightley and it proves to be a solid theme song with lines like “I’ll be damned/cupid’s demanding back his arrow” describing the film’s broken relationship dynamic. Knightley gives worthy vocal performances here, which is a nice touch since you never know what you’re going to get from an actor. Rounding things out are a few dreamy trip-hop performances by Cessyl Orchestra to make Begin Again a striking, diverse release.
In the Shade/Self-released
Here’s the word on the new release from Dog Society. The band is not trying to “save rock and roll,” and it’s not moving away from the core of its sound. No matter how much influences like The Beatles, Nirvana, Oasis and the Gin Blossoms come through, In the Shade is simply a damn good rock record. From the catchy power pop opener “Heal Me Friend” to the crackling “Dear Brother,” with its thrumming bass line and excellent hooks, Shade is loaded with fist-pumping moments. The bluesy solos on “Everything She Do” make for a nice change of pace, as does the appearance of horns at the end of “Our Own Parade,” but by and large the band sticks to its bread and butter, which are rollicking rock tracks nailed by singer Brian Schnaak’s charismatic performances.
Red Wanting Blue
Little America/Fanatic Records
Red Wanting Blue’s latest release is yet another example of ubiquity between rock ‘n’ roll and relationships. Whether it’s a geographical one (“Leaving New York”) or involving a significant other (“Bumpy Ride”), sometimes the best way to soundtrack those experiences is through the use of some loud guitars, solid bass, and drums. Singer Scott Terry’s scratchy vocals are reminiscent of Seven Mary Three’s Jason Ross, and work well on tracks like “Keep Love Alive” as he sings “You are an uncontrollable inconsolable woman/And I’m a bullheaded egomaniacal man.” The poppy “Dumb Love” shows off the band’s lighter side as they examine a relationship that isn’t working out as expected, and they flip the switch on the stoic, dreamy Americana title track as they sing about the proverbial quest for success.