Fresh New Tracks, Vol. 16 – Burn the Louvre, The Petal Falls, Soda Cracker Jesus

It’s been three weeks since my last Fresh New Tracks post, so I’m long overdue for a new one. For my 16th installment in this series, I’ve chosen three wonderful new songs by (in alphabetical order) Canadian indie rock duo Burn the Louvre, British rock artist The Petal Falls, and Tacoma, Washington-based psychedelic pop-rock artist Soda Cracker Jesus. So, without further ado…

BURN THE LOUVRE – “Driving In The Rain”

Burn The Louvre are a Canadian indie rock duo based in Hamilton, Ontario, and comprised of Jordan Speare (vocals/guitar) and Sean Cooper (guitar/vocals), although the act originally began as a duo consisting of Jordan and his brother Dylan. From what I can tell, they first released Post-Romance EP in late 2014, then followed in 2017 with a second EP We’ll Be Just Fine. By 2018, Burn the Louvre became Jordan’s solo project, at which time he began work on a full-length album Silhouettes with the help of his friend Andrew Billone, of indie rock band Silvertone Hills, on lead guitar and bass. The album was recorded, mixed & mastered by engineer/producer Mickey Ellsworth, and is finally being released in 2022 as 11 separate singles, at the rate of one song per month over a period of 11 months. “Driving In The Rain“, which dropped April 26th, is the fourth single to be released.

Rather serendipitously, after he and Mickey finished recording Silhouettes in late 2018, Jordan received an email from guitarist Sean Cooper, in response to an old “musicians wanted” ad he’d forgotten to take down. The two immediately hit it off, and began jamming together on the already-recorded songs. Jordan recalls “The way he was able to come up with his own unique leads to songs that were already recorded, giving them different nuances while maintaining the vibe of each song…I mean, I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad practice. I felt this was a perfect opportunity to re-imagine Burn The Louvre as a duo and I am very happy he wanted to be a part of this.”

“Driving In The Rain” has a pleasing folk-rock vibe, driven by a colorful blend of twangy and jangly guitars, accompanied by subtle bass and percussion that allow the wonderful guitars to shine. Jordan’s vocals have an endearing singer-songwriter quality that work to great effect as he sings the lyrics describing a man driving through a rainstorm to see his girlfriend, with whom he has a troubled relationship: “I’m 15 minutes out, the sky is darker than her hair. And all Beck’s “Modern Guilt” has got me way too self-aware. The weather’s getting worse, man it’s really coming down. It’s just the second verse, but I think I’m gunna drown. Conventional conversation is ringing in my ears. I want to kiss her in the rain, so I can’t see the tears. Seven hundred fourteen thousand, she’s the only voice I hear. I’d call her just to listen if I didn’t have to steer.” It’s a fine song, as are the three previously-released tracks “Wish We Were”, “Nice Guy” and “Alison”, giving us a good indication that Silhouettes promises to be a winner.

Connect with Burn the Louvre:  FacebookTwitterInstagram

THE PETAL FALLS – “Somebody To Love Me”

Last August, I first wrote about British rock act The Petal Falls, the music project of Kent-based singer-songwriter Keith Leahy, when I reviewed his single “I Won’t Be There” (read the review here). To briefly reiterate some of what I previously detailed about The Petal Falls’ unfortunate history, Leahy formed the band in the mid 1990s as a performance platform for his music. Consisting of Leahy, who sings vocals as well as plays guitar and keyboards, and four other musicians: Robert Harpum (guitar), Dave Richards (guitar), Marius Ryndziewicz (bass) and Robin Tucker (drums), they signed with a mid-tier music label in the hopes it would lead to greater success, but it instead resulted in their ultimate undoing. The label stifled their creativity and stalled their career for several years, leading to a great deal of frustration among band members and their eventual demise, without ever being given the opportunity to publicly release any of their prodigious output of songs.

Thankfully, a few years ago their music catalog once again became available for release, and Keith jumped at the opportunity to re-master the original The Petal Falls recordings into four albums, with help of his friend and producer/engineer/drummer John King. The first of those albums, Workin All Night Workin All Day, was released in July 2020 to positive fan and critical response, an amazing feat for an act that had long been given up for dead. The album’s success inspired Keith to resurrect The Petal Falls as a solo project, recording and releasing new music in collaboration with King. They followed with a second album All These Years in September 2021, and are now planning to release a third album Everything About You this coming September. The first single from that forthcoming album, “Somebody To Love Me“, was released April 29th. 

The song is a rousing upbeat stomper, with a hard-driving heartland rock groove that calls to mind some of the great mid-80s music of John Mellencamp. The lively guitar work is terrific, accompanied by sparkling keyboards and supported by a powerful rhythm section that keeps the song’s energy going full throttle. With his commanding vocal style, Leahy sings of his strong desire for a woman to call his own, wondering why he can’t seem to attract one: “I bought a new suit, shirt and tie. My hair wet down looking sharp through and high. Thought I’d impress with a twinkle in my eye. One look at me, she said ‘baby, bye bye’. I can’t pretend I understand what makes a woman love a man. I’ve seen your love in the face of a stranger. It seems to me, some girls are real dangerous. Am I a fool to think this way? I can’t be a loser every day. I need somebody, somebody, somebody to love me, yeah.”

Connect with The Petal Falls: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

SODA CRACKER JESUS – “Hoping For The Best”

Soda Cracker Jesus is the solo music project of the wildly imaginative, enormously talented and flamboyant singer-songwriter and producer Regan Lane. Based in Tacoma, Washington, Regan has been actively involved in the Pacific Northwest music scene for nearly 40 years, with his hands in many projects, including serving as front man and ringmaster for psychedelic punk-rock band Strangely Alright. He’s also been honest and candid on his social media about his former struggles with alcohol and substance abuse, and the happiness and joy that sobriety now brings him. With an unwavering sense of optimism, he creates music that looks to the future, but also understands the power of the past, and that duality helps shape his unique and signature sound. 

I’ve featured both Strangely Alright and Soda Cracker Jesus on this blog numerous times over the past three or so years, most recently last October when I reviewed his wonderful single “Kaleidoscope”, a heartwarming song inspired by the memory of his late father. Now he’s back with “Hoping For The Best“, his fifth single under the Soda Cracker Jesus moniker.

Ever the optimist, Regan says the song is about “finding one’s way, the sadness that hits sometimes, and trying to see a glass that’s half full”, expressed by the refrain “I don’t know why I’m sad. Hoping for the Best.” Musically, the song is an exuberant power-pop banger, infused with generous helpings of punk and psychedelia. Over a heavy stomping groove, Regan layers fuzz-coated gnarly riffs, spacey synths, and lots of crashing cymbals to create a high-energy psychedelic backdrop for his reverby vocals that sound like a cross between 1970s John Lennon and David Bowie. “Hoping For The Best” is another outstanding entry in an unbroken string of superb singles.

Connect with Soda Cracker Jesus:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Top 30 Songs for January 16-22, 2022

I just can’t get enough of those exuberant jangly guitars, driving beats and soaring vocals on the marvelous “Good Friend” by Canadian artist dwi, and it remains my favorite song for a second week. Closing in at #2 is “Crutch” by Band of Horses, and climbing four spots to #4 is the beautiful “Time in Disguise” by Kings of Leon. It’s not doing particularly well on the Alternative charts, which is perplexing to me, especially given that “Bandit” was the top song of 2021 on the Adult Alternative Airplay chart. The ebullient dance-pop tune “Starts With You” by L.A.-based singer-songwriter Shimmer Johnson climbs three spots to #6, and Tears for Fears’ “The Tipping Point” also climbs three spots to #7.

Three songs debut on this week’s chart: Though it’s been out for over three months, “INDUSTRY BABY” by Lil Nas X featuring Jack Harlow finally enters my chart at #28. Bringing up the rear are new songs by two of my favorite acts from London, England – “Just Like Always” by Oli Barton & the Movement and Maella, and “Redchurch Street Blues” by Philip Morgan Lewis, which enter at #29 & #30, respectively.

  1. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (1)
  2. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (3)
  3. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs featuring Lucius (2)
  4. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (8)
  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (4)
  6. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (9)
  7. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears for Fears (10)
  8. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (5)
  9. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (6)
  10. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (7)
  11. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (12)
  12. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (13)
  13. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (14)
  14. SMILE – Wolf Alice (15)
  15. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (17)
  16. U&ME – alt-J (18)
  17. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (19)
  18. WAKE ME UP – Foals (20)
  19. THE HARDEST CUT – Spoon (22)
  20. UNTIL I COME HOME – Two Feet & grandson (23)
  21. CHAPSTICK – COIN (24)
  22. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS – Thunder Fox (25)
  23. THE OUTSIDE – twenty øne piløts (26)
  24. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (11)
  25. THE ONLY HEARTBREAKER – Mitski (30)
  26. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (16)
  27. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (21)
  28. INDUSTRY BABY – Lil Nas X featuring Jack Harlow (N)
  29. JUST LIKE ALWAYS – Oli Barton & the Movement & Maella (N)
  30. REDCHURCH STREET BLUES – Philip Morgan Lewis (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 9-15, 2022

I’m thrilled to place the lively but poignant song “Good Friend” by Canadian artist dwi at #1 on this week’s Top 30. The music project of insanely creative and talented Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Dwight Abell, dwi was one of my favorite new music discoveries of 2021, and his brilliant debut album Mild Fantasy Violence is among my favorite releases of the year (read my review here). “Good Friend” is about discovering after the fact that a friend had been going through some hard times, and wishing you’d known more at the time so you could have helped them through it. I love the song’s infectious hard-driving melody, colorful guitar work and dwi’s expressive vocals lamenting about his shortcomings as a friend: “Had I known you were broken inside. Had I known you were empty inside. If I was a good friend, I’d a known better. If I was a good friend, I’d have done better./ I’m done with the drugs, but there’s still some left inside.”

In other chart developments, “Crutch” by Band of Horses jumps four spots to #3, Tears for Fears’ “The Tipping Point” enters the top 10, and Mitski debuts with “The Only Heartbreaker”, her first-ever appearance on my Weekly Top 30 chart.

  1. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (2)
  2. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs featuring Lucius (1)
  3. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (7)
  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (4)
  5. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (3)
  6. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (6)
  7. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (8)
  8. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (9)
  9. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (10)
  10. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears for Fears (12)
  11. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (5)
  12. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (13)
  13. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (14)
  14. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (15)
  15. SMILE – Wolf Alice (16)
  16. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (11)
  17. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (19)
  18. U&ME – alt-J (20)
  19. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (21)
  20. WAKE ME UP – Foals (22)
  21. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (18)
  22. THE HARDEST CUT – Spoon (25)
  23. UNTIL I COME HOME – Two Feet & grandson (27)
  24. CHAPSTICK – COIN (28)
  25. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS – Thunder Fox (29)
  26. THE OUTSIDE – twenty øne piløts (30)
  27. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (17)
  28. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (23)
  29. EASY ON ME – Adele (24)
  30. THE ONLY HEARTBREAKER – Mitski (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 2-8, 2022

Happy New Year! For my first Weekly Top 30 of 2022, The War on Drugs hold the top spot for a second week with “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”, featuring backing vocals by Lucius. Climbing three spots to #2 is “Good Friend”, one of the many wonderful songs from the brilliant album Mild Fantasy Violence by Canadian artist dwi. Entering the top 10 this week are “Crutch” by Band of Horses and “Time in Disguise” by Kings of Leon, and the lone debut is “The Outside” by twenty øne piløts.

  1. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs featuring Lucius (1)
  2. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (5)
  3. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (2)
  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (4)
  5. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (3)
  6. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (6)
  7. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (12)
  8. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (7)
  9. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (11)
  10. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (10)
  11. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (9)
  12. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears for Fears (15)
  13. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (17)
  14. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (18)
  15. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (19)
  16. SMILE – Wolf Alice (20)
  17. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (8)
  18. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (21)
  19. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (22)
  20. U&ME – alt-J (23)
  21. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (24)
  22. WAKE ME UP – Foals (25)
  23. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (13)
  24. EASY ON ME – Adele (14)
  25. THE HARDEST CUT – Spoon (26)
  26. REARVIEW – G. Samedi (16)
  27. UNTIL I COME HOME – Two Feet & grandson (27)
  28. CHAPSTICK – COIN (29)
  29. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS – Thunder Fox (30)
  30. THE OUTSIDE – twenty øne piløts (N)

Top 30 Songs for December 26, 2021-January 1, 2022

The War on Drugs take over the top spot on my final Weekly Top 30 of 2021 with their bittersweet “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”, featuring beautiful backing vocals by indie pop band Lucius. Canadian-born and now L.A.-based singer-songwriter Shimmer Johnson enters the top 10 with her lively dance-pop song “Starts With You”, and debuting this week are “Chapstick” by Nashville pop-rock band COIN, and the delightfully funky “Head in the Clouds” by Sydney, Australian band Thunder Fox.

  1. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs featuring Lucius (2)
  2. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (1)
  3. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (3)
  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (5)
  5. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (8)
  6. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (4)
  7. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (7)
  8. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (6)
  9. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (9)
  10. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (12)
  11. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (13)
  12. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (15)
  13. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (11)
  14. EASY ON ME – Adele (10)
  15. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears For Fears (16)
  16. REARVIEW – G. Samedi (14)
  17. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (19)
  18. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (20)
  19. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (21)
  20. SMILE – Wolf Alice (17)
  21. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (23)
  22. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (24)
  23. U&ME – alt-J (25)
  24. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (26)
  25. WAKE ME UP – Foals (27)
  26. THE HARDEST CUT – Spoon (29)
  27. UNTIL I COME HOME – Two Feet & grandson (30)
  28. NEVER LOOKED BACK – The Zangwills (18)
  29. CHAPSTICK – COIN (N)
  30. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS – Thunder Fox (N)

Top 30 Songs for December 19-25, 2021

Sexy-beautiful Italian rockers Måneskin remain in the top spot for a second week with “Beggin'”, while the War on Drugs’ “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”, featuring Lucius, closes in at #2. Otherwise, all the songs in last week’s top 10 remain in that rarefied group, with a bit of shuffling around of positions here and there. As we approach the end of 2021, two new songs debut this week: “The Hardest Cut” by veteran art-rock band Spoon, and “Until I Come Home”, a wonderful collaborative single by Two Feet and grandson.

  1. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (1)
  2. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs ft. Lucius (3)
  3. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (2)
  4. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (4)
  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (6)
  6. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (7)
  7. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (9)
  8. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (10)
  9. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (8)
  10. EASY ON ME – Adele (5)
  11. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (11)
  12. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (14)
  13. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (15)
  14. REARVIEW – G. Samedi (16)
  15. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (19)
  16. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears For Fears (18)
  17. SMILE – Wolf Alice (17)
  18. NEVER LOOKED BACK – The Zangwills (12)
  19. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (22)
  20. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (23)
  21. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (24)
  22. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (13) 20th week on list
  23. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (25)
  24. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (26)
  25. U&ME – alt-J (27)
  26. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (28)
  27. WAKE ME UP – Foals (30)
  28. MINE FOREVER – Lord Huron (21)
  29. THE HARDEST CUT – Spoon (N)
  30. UNTIL I COME HOME – Two Feet & grandson (N)

Top 30 Songs for December 12-18, 2021

One of the hottest acts to burst onto the global music scene in 2021 has been Italian rock band Måneskin. Though they’ve been around since 2016, it was their win this past May of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest for their song “ZITTI E BUONI” that catapulted the exciting and sexy band into superstardom. That song entered my Weekly Top 30 in mid-June, and they’ve remained on my chart every single week since with a run of singles – “ZITTI E BUONI”, “I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE” and “Beggin'”. “Beggin'”, their fiery remake of the 1967 Four Seasons song, takes over the #1 spot this week, dethroning Two Feet’s “Don’t Bring Me Down” after a four-week run. “Beggin'” was a top 20 hit for the Four Seasons, and was reimagined 40 years later by Norwegian hip-hop duo Madcon, who had a #1 hit with it in several European countries. As I write this, Måneskin’s version has been #1 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart for 10 weeks.

In other chart developments, the War on Drugs climb to #3 with their beautiful “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”, featuring added vocals by Lucius. Entering the top 10 are “Love in October” by the immensely talented L.A. duo Ships Have Sailed, and “Good Friend” by Canadian artist dwi, whose marvelous album Mild Fantasy Violence I reviewed in October. The lone debut this week is “Wake Me Up” by British band Foals, currently one of my top 10 favorite bands in the world.

  1. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (4)
  2. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (1)
  3. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs featuring Lucius (5)
  4. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (3)
  5. EASY ON ME – Adele (2)
  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (6)
  7. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (7)
  8. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (10)
  9. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (11)
  10. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (12)
  11. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (13)
  12. NEVER LOOKED BACK – The Zangwills (8)
  13. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (9)
  14. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (16)
  15. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (17)
  16. REARVIEW – G. Samedi (18)
  17. SMILE – Wolf Alice (19)
  18. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears For Fears (20)
  19. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (21)
  20. CAN YOU HANDLE MY LOVE?? – WALK THE MOON (14)
  21. MINE FOREVER – Lord Huron (15)
  22. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (24)
  23. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (25)
  24. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (26)
  25. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (27)
  26. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (28)
  27. U&ME – alt-J (29)
  28. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (30)
  29. COLORADO – Milky Chance (22)
  30. WAKE ME UP – Foals (N)

Top 30 Songs for December 5-11, 2021

Not a lot of changes from last week’s chart, with the top four songs remaining in place. “Don’t Bring Me Down” by my favorite artist Two Feet is #1 for a fourth week, while Adele’s “Easy On Me” is #2 for a third week. Entering the top 10 are Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”, which jumps 12 spots from #19 to #7 (the song fell from #1 to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100), and Kacey Musgraves’ “Justified”, which nods at #10. The two new debut songs this week are both by British bands: “U&ME” by alt-J, which enters at #29, and “One and the Same” by Future Theory, which enters at #30.

  1. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (1) 4th week at #1
  2. EASY ON ME – Adele (2)
  3. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (3)
  4. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (4)
  5. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs ft. Lucius (7)
  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (8)
  7. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (19)
  8. NEVER LOOKED BACK – The Zangwills (6)
  9. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (5)
  10. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (12)
  11. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (13)
  12. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (14)
  13. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (11)
  14. CAN YOU HANDLE MY LOVE?? – WALK THE MOON (9)
  15. MINE FOREVER – Lord Huron (10)
  16. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (17)
  17. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (18)
  18. REARVIEW – G. Samedi (20)
  19. SMILE – Wolf Alice (21)
  20. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears For Fears (22)
  21. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (25)
  22. COLORADO – Milky Chance (15)
  23. WRECKED – Imagine Dragons (16)
  24. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (26)
  25. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (27)
  26. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (28)
  27. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (29)
  28. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (30)
  29. U&ME – alt-J (N)
  30. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (N)

Top 30 Songs for November 28-December 4, 2021

Two Feet maintains a firm grip on the #1 spot for a third week with his darkly beautiful and brooding “Don’t Bring Me Down”, while Adele’s poignant “Easy on Me” holds at #2 for a second week. Glass Animals climb two spots to third place with their buoyant “I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance)”, and My Morning Jacket’s “Love Love Love” enters the top 10 at #8.

As we enter the final month of 2021, a whopping six new songs (well, five new and one refashioned) debut this week. Taylor Swift’s epic 10 minute and 13 seconds long “All Too Well” – which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 – enters my chart at #19 (I’m old school about music charts, and have a problem with songs debuting at #1). The five other new entries are “I See the Sun” by British psychedelic pop/rock band Solar Eyes, “Two Car Family” by British electro-rock band Apollo Junction, “Left Behind” by Chicago post-punk band a million rich daughters, “Kaleidoscope” by Tacoma psychedelic power pop artist Soda Cracker Jesus, and the enchanting “Journeyman’s Ballet” by Brooklyn singer-songwriter Sam Rappaport.

  1. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (1)
  2. EASY ON ME – Adele (2)
  3. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (5)
  4. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (6)
  5. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (3)
  6. NEVER LOOKED BACK – The Zangwills (4)
  7. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs ft. Lucius (10)
  8. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (11)
  9. CAN YOU HANDLE MY LOVE?? – WALK THE MOON (8)
  10. MINE FOREVER – Lord Huron (7)
  11. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (9)
  12. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (14)
  13. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (15)
  14. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (16)
  15. COLORADO – Milky Chance (13)
  16. WRECKED – Imagine Dragons (12)
  17. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (19)
  18. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (24)
  19. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (N)
  20. REARVIEW – G. Samedi (23)
  21. SMILE – Wolf Alice (25)
  22. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears For Fears (26)
  23. BITTER TASTE – Billy Idol (17)
  24. TALK TO ME – Bealby Point (18)
  25. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (30)
  26. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (N)
  27. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (N)
  28. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (N)
  29. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (N)
  30. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (N)

SODA CRACKER JESUS – Single Review: “Kaleidoscope”

Soda Cracker Jesus is the solo music project of the wildly imaginative and enormously talented singer-songwriter and producer Regan Lane, who’s also become a regular of this blog. The Tacoma, Washington-based musician has been actively involved in the Pacific Northwest music scene for nearly 40 years, with his hands in many projects, including serving as front man and ringmaster for psychedelic punk-rock band Strangely Alright, whose music I’ve written about numerous times. Earlier this year, he created Soda Cracker Jesus to express his more punky power pop side, calling the project “the spiritual and creative personal space that he goes to just be his musical self, a space where no matter which creative juices flow, whatever sonic creations are born, he knows that they come from an honest and personal place.”

Regan’s also been honest and candid on his social media about his former struggles with alcohol and substance abuse, and the happiness and joy that sobriety now brings him. With an undying sense of optimism, he creates music that looks to the future, but also understands the power of the past, and that duality helps shape his unique and signature sound. Since April 1st, he’s released four singles, beginning with the foot-stomping power pop banger “My Anthem”, followed by “Drug My Soul”, “Kill it Tomorrow”, and now his latest single “Kaleidoscope“. I reviewed the first two singles, which you can read by clicking on the links under “Related” at the end of this post. He released “Kaleidoscope”, along with a lyric video, exclusively on Bandcamp, on October 27, but the song will be officially released on all music streaming platforms November 2nd.

The song has been beautifully described by Mark Platt of online radio station Radio Candy as “Lennon-meets-Bowie-meets-Peter Gabriel in a dark alley“, which I cannot argue with, as I definitely hear the ghosts of John Lennon and David Bowie. Regan states that the song was influenced by “late-era Beatles psychedelia and Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett years”, which is strongly evident in the beautiful, though somewhat spacey, atmospheric soundscapes. The soothing, ballad-like feel of the song is a departure from the harder-driving punk and power pop sound of Soda Cracker Jesus’ previous singles, and I like it! I love the lush, shimmery synths and gorgeous keyboards, which were played by Lee Gregory, as well as Regan’s chiming guitar notes. The subtle bass was played by Ray Hartman, and backing choruses were sung by fellow Strangely Alright bandmember Sean Van Dommelen. Regan produced the track, which was mastered by his longtime collaborator Todd Ensminger.

Regan wrote “Kaleidoscope” after his father passed away. He told me “My dad and I had a complicated relationship, but before he passed we were good. This song is about the emotions and feelings that come with that. I think anyone at any age can relate to dealing with loss. I don’t usually bare my soul but this is as close as it comes.” The lyrics are filled with meaning, but written with enough ambiguity so that each listener can interpret them as they see fit. In spots, the lyrics display a youthful innocence that seems to come from a child’s perspective: “I sure love my bicycle. It takes me where I need to go. And all the raindrops let me know the wind is at my back.” But later in the song, the wisdom that (hopefully) comes with age is apparent: “Father’s ghost has let me know I’m okay, we all get broken. What we get is just a token of what we give away. Kaleidoscope inside my head. Reflections of the hope I have. I look back but now is where I stand.”

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Stream/purchase his music on Bandcamp / SpotifyApple MusicYouTube