Discovering bands that are fresh for your end-o-summer playlist — and actually good to listen to — can be tricky and time-consuming. And you have to know who to trust (“But Aunt Margit, Carly is AWE-some!”)
To that end, we’ve compiled a few bands you might like, based on some old sounds you probably already know. Our picks aren’t all brand new, but a few have gone under the radar, and we insist you listen:
1. Slightly sappy, ’70s singer songwriters
Then: Seals & Croft, “Summer Breeze.”
Now: The Autumn Defense, “Back of My Mind.” While their album Once Around (2010) isn’t new, we can’t get enough of these two ex-Wilco bandmates and their California, easy, breezy pop groove. “Back of My Mind” is a standout for September.
2. Edgy, unclassifiable R&B
Then: Erykah Badu, “On & On.”
Now: Lianne La Havas, “Forget.” Is Your Love Big Enough (2012) is a melange of jazz, pop, R&B and rock, and this 24-year-old’s emotional debut album is a stunner (and woefully overlooked.)
3. Peace, love and head shops
Then: The Rolling Stones, “She’s Like a Rainbow.”
Now: Foxygen, “San Francisco.” Alright flower children, here’s your end-of-summer ditty from Foxygen’s We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. Trippy and fun, this laid-back San Francisco outfit is a paisley-shirted throwback.
4. Sounds like The Pixies
Then: The Pixies, “Where Is My Mind.”
Now: The Pixies, “Bagboy.” When it comes to The Pixies, there’s no comparison. “I’m not feeling your buzz, I only smell your crock of stew” talk-sings Black Francis — that same voice that defined 1988 college parties. They’re back, and while they’re sans Kim Deal (although it sure sounds like her singing the title) this is a fun, crank-it-LOUD number.
5. Raw, vintage Country
Then: Loretta Lynn, “Fist City.”
Now: Brandi Carlile, “Raise Hell.” I’m still shocked that more people aren’t obsessed with Brandi’s incredible pipes. I know our pal Jesse over at HeadButler.com has been talking her up for a while. Last year’s Bear Creek was her best yet, but you may know 2007’s passionate hit “The Story.” Raspy-voiced and intense, Carlile’s got a Nashville soul and a rock and roll ‘tude.
6. A fuzzy segue into September
Then: The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Happy When It Rains.”
Now: September Girls, “Ships.” This Dublin-based five-piece has a garage ethos and a distortion-laced output. Delightfully dark for your moody, almost-fall weekend. They’re releasing the song “Ships” as part of Cassette Store Day.