By Court Mann
It’s summertime. That means it’s time for pool parties, road trips and summer flings. The following songs, all recently or soon-to-be released, should fit in perfectly with all of the above.
Incubus, “Friends and Lovers”: After a nearly five-year hiatus, Incubus is re-introducing itself Tuesday with the release of “If Not Now, When?” — its appropriately titled new LP. “Friends and Lovers” is a beautifully ambient ode to having one’s cake and eating it too, relationship-wise. Singer Brandon Boyd delivers piercing, poignant vocals on the verses, with lines like “If asked of me, I would gobble them to bits/the things that wall us off from where we belong.” Here’s hoping the album lives up to the beauty of this track.
Raphael Saadiq, “Movin’ Down the Line”: For the last few years, the golden-voiced R&B troubadour has been in a deep, deep groove of 1960s throwback soul. Saadiq continues the trend on his new album “Stone Rollin,'” and “Movin’ Down The Line” is among the album’s best tracks. Built around a smooth swing beat and serpentine bass line — and coated with Saadiq’s sugary-sweet tenor — the track is pure Motown goodness. Lush strings and Bacharach-esque horns add to its well-executed nostalgia. Stay classy, Saadiq.
The Strokes, “Machu Picchu”: This will likely be The Strokes’ next single off “Angles,” an excellent album that Strokes fans have waited a half-decade for. With echoing off-beat guitars and decidedly 1980s drums, “Machu Picchu” feels like a long-lost Miami Vice theme song. Simply put, this song just oozes cool. If you’re looking for a late-night-cruising, sport-coat-sleeve-rolling song to blast with the windows down, this one’s for you.
Company Of Thieves, “Tallulah”: Company Of Thieves have a potential summertime smash hit with “Tallulah.” It’s a fun-loving neo-soul jam in the vein of Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You,” with a feminine bite reminiscent of Fiona Apple. Singer Genevieve Schatz goes explosive over a bursting horn section, propelling the track — and potentially the band — to the next level of stardom. If a song this catchy can’t get someone famous, nothing can.
Fictionist, “Swept Away”: This song, completed while the Utah natives were competing to be on the cover of Rolling Stone, conjures up U2’s “Bullet the Blue Sky.” The verse’s instrumentals — mammoth drums, slithering sludge bass and helicopter-like guitars — sound like a rock n’ roll beast threatening to devour lead singer Stuart Maxfield as he sings, “Ride it till we reach the ocean/gonna ride it till we reach the sea.” With its strong lyrical imagery, guitar wizardry and therapeutic chorus, “Swept Away” is Fictionist at their space-rock best. The song is available for free on Fictionist’s website. But “Swept Away” might be their best live song from all their new material — so do yourself a favor and hear it in person the next time they come to town.
Coldplay, “Major Minus”: Coldplay has a new EP out, and its songs are also said to be on their upcoming album, set to be released this fall. “Major Minus” has plenty of the overstated, gargantuan swagger that Coldplay has come to embrace. But luckily, the grandiosity ebbs and flows here. The droning acoustic refrains and distorted Chris Martin vocals place less emphasis on Martin and more on the band’s instrumentals — all smart choices for a band that caricatures itself far too often.