Michael Wright, Editorial Director
Jeff Beck and The Imelda May Band, “Apache”
Taken from Beck’s new Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul album, this rip through The Shadows’ classic instrumental is both faithful to the great Hank Marvin and alight with pure Beck flourishes.
The Dave Clark Five, “Because”
One of the most underrated bands of the ’60s, The DC5 were stellar at both hard beat songs like “Glad All Over” and lush ballads, like this 1964 hit.
John Legend and The Roots, “Hard Times”
This opener from the fantastic Wake Up! album combines Legend’s gritty, soulful voice with hard and heavy psychedelic funk from ?uestlove and company. Dare I say, even better than the original version by Baby Huey and the Babysitters.
Bryan Wawzenek, International Editor
R.E.M., “Mine Smell Like Honey”
On R.E.M.’s new album, Collapse Into Now, the alt-rock legends pretty much pick up where 2008’s Accelerate left off. This power pop beauty smells pretty sweet.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, “Rhapsody in Blue”
I never get tired of George Gershwin’s masterpiece, whether I hear it in Woody Allen’s Manhattan or on United Airlines commercials. But my favorite version is this one, in which James Levine and the CSO employ Ferde Grofe’s jazz band arrangement—sassy, brassy and perfect.
The Drive-By Truckers, “Used to Be a Cop”
Are there better rock storytellers than the Truckers’ Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley? The intro to this song (off their new album, Go-Go Boots) reminds me of Wishbone Ash, before Hood takes us deep down into the world of a man who has lost everything that meant anything.
Andrew Vaughan, Editor
The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Head On”
Creation Records' best band, before Oasis—and this is Scots guitar rock at its power-pop, jangly best.
The Good Listeners , “Time Lapse”
Great tune from a literate writer, with an American twist on mid-’60s Ray Davies.
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, “Thou Shalt Always Kill”
New wave of Brit poetry. It's smart, contemporary and NOW!
Sean Dooley, Social Media Editor
Rush, “Red Barchetta”
I can’t quite put my finger on why this song has been on my shortlist of late, because all of the songs on Moving Pictures are wonderful. I keep coming back to the way Alex Lifeson’s guitar harmonics meld with Geddy Lee’s wonderfully crisp bass. And Neil’s lyrics are so vivid and descriptive.
Far and away my favorite Amy Lee song. She’s devastating here.
The Beatles, “The Long and Winding Road”
I never tire of this Paul McCartney masterpiece. It’s got just the right amount of “bum-you-out” melancholy to do the trick, but there’s still something very redeeming about it.
Paul Burch, Epiphone Epiphone
Radiohead, “Give Up the Ghost”
Though Beady Eye’s Liam Gallagher may not be impressed that Radiohead “made an album about a @$$@#% tree,” I enjoy trying to figure out when the jumble of rhythms at the start of each song will reveal a groove. Most of their music sounds like the noise in my head on an everyday basis, so I kind of find this comforting.
Jimmie Rodgers and Clifford Gibson, “Let Me Be Your Sidetrack”
This is an unreleased recording of Jimmie with St. Louis bluesman Clifford Gibson, whose open-tuned guitar phrases have the same call-and-response style of Robert Johnson. Robert is said to have been a big Jimmie Rodgers fan. I’m working on a Jimmie Rodgers record (who tried some Gibson guitars near the end of his life), so I’m finding this inspiring.
Marc Ribot, “Sous le Ciel de Paris”
Marc is one of my favorite guitar players. This is from his new album, Silent Movies, based on his recent experiences providing musical accompaniment for silent films. Look on the Internet for his live solo guitar performance of The Beatles’ “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” He’s a great singer, too.
Cesar Acevedo, Spanish Editor
Reeve Carney, “Love Me Chase Me”
Maybe the Spider-Man musical is a real failure. Maybe by the time you finish reading this entry, another stuntman or actor has been injured. But one good thing about this project is the band and the guy behind the mask. Reeve Carney and his band (younger brother and guitar virtuoso Zen, with Aiden Moore on bass and Jon Epcar on drums) is a really good group. I suggest his first single, “Love Me Chase Me.”
Adrián "Dárgelos" Rodríguez is about 5’4” but sings and moves like Mick Jagger. Mariano "Roger" Domínguez is his sidekick and plays the guitar just like Keith Richards. Babasónicos is a rock band from Argentina with over ten studio albums, many awards and a unique style. One of the most respected Latin rock bands today, Babasónicos are about to release a new album and recently released the new song, “Deshoras.”
For Mexican alternative band Zoé, MTV Unplugged was the perfect excuse to show to the commercial world the band’s original and distinctive sound. This week, the band released their much-anticipated album, MTV Unplugged/Música de Fondo. “Soñé” is the first single off the album and deserves the attention it’s bound to receive.