Top 30 Songs for June 28-July 4, 2020

1. MARIA – Two Feet (1)
2. LEVEL OF CONCERN – twenty one pilots (2)
3. HELL N BACK – Bakar (5)
4. YOUR LOVE (DÉJÀ VU) – Glass Animals (4)
5. CAUTION – The Killers (3)
6. LEMON DROP – Absofacto (8)
7. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (7) 21st week on list
8. IF NOT FOR THE FIRE – The Million Reasons (9)
9. HOW WILL I REST IN PEACE IF I’M BURIED BY A HIGHWAY?// – Kenny Hoopla (10)
10. LAY YOUR HEAD ON ME – Major Lazer featuring Marcus Mumford (11)
11. BLACK & WHITE LOVE – Beating Hearts Club (13)
12. DELETER – Grouplove (6)
13. BE AFRAID – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (15)
14. EXPECTATIONS – Katie Pruitt (16)
15. HONEYBEE – The Head and the Heart (17)
16. LIVING IN A GHOST TOWN – The Rolling Stones (19)
17. PSYCH FILM – Strangely Alright (20)
18. SOMEONE ELSE – Rezz & Grabbitz (21)
19. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (12) 22nd week on list
20. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (24)
21. STRANGERS – Mt. Joy (22)
22. FIRE – Black Pumas (23)
23. BAD DECISIONS – The Strokes (14)
24. HEAVEN IS HEART – Jaded Jane (26)
25. REAL LONG TIME – White Reaper (28)
26. LONELINESS FOR LOVE – lovelytheband (18)
27. DON’T LET ME DOWN – Milky Chance featuring Jack Johnson (29)
28. MONSTER – All Time Low featuring blackbear (30)
29. NOT OK! – Chaz Cardigan (N)
30. SWIMMING CLOSER – HAZY (N)

Top 30 Songs for June 21-27, 2020

1. MARIA – Two Feet (1)
2. LEVEL OF CONCERN – twenty one pilots (2)
3. CAUTION – The Killers (3)
4. YOUR LOVE (DÉJÀ VU) – Glass Animals (6)
5. HELL N BACK – Bakar (8)
6. DELETER – Grouplove (4)
7. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (5) 20th week on list
8. LEMON DROP – Absofacto (9)
9. IF NOT FOR THE FIRE – The Million Reasons (10)
10. HOW WILL I REST IN PEACE IF I’M BURIED BY A HIGHWAY?// – Kenny Hoopla (12)
11. LAY YOUR HEAD ON ME – Major Lazer featuring Marcus Mumford (13)
12. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (7) 21st week on list
13. BLACK & WHITE LOVE – Beating Hearts Club (14)
14. BAD DECISIONS – The Strokes (11)
15. BE AFRAID – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (16)
16. EXPECTATIONS – Katie Pruitt (17)
17. HONEYBEE – The Head and the Heart (18)
18. LONELINESS FOR LOVE – lovelytheband (15)
19. LIVING IN A GHOST TOWN – The Rolling Stones (21)
20. PSYCH FILM – Strangely Alright (22)
21. SOMEONE ELSE – Rezz & Grabbitz (23)
22. STRANGERS – Mt. Joy (24)
23. FIRE – Black Pumas (25)
24. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (26)
25. HALF YOUR AGE – Joywave (19)
26. HEAVEN IS HEART – Jaded Jane (28)
27. BLINDING LIGHTS – The Weeknd (20)
28. REAL LONG TIME – White Reaper (30)
29. DON’T LET ME DOWN – Milky Chance featuring Jack Johnson (N)
30. MONSTER – All Time Low featuring blackbear (N)

My Top 30 Songs for June 14-20, 2020

1. MARIA – Two Feet (3)
2. LEVEL OF CONCERN – twenty one pilots (1)
3. CAUTION – The Killers (2)
4. DELETER – Grouplove (5)
5. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (6)
6. YOUR LOVE (DÉJÀ VU) – Glass Animals (7)
7. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (4) 20th week on list
8. HELL N BACK – Bakar (8)
9. LEMON DROP – Absofacto (10)
10. IF NOT FOR THE FIRE – The Million Reasons (11)
11. BAD DECISIONS – The Strokes (9)
12. HOW WILL I REST IN PEACE IF I’M BURIED BY A HIGHWAY?// – Kenny Hoopla (13)
13. LAY YOUR HEAD ON ME – Major Lazer featuring Marcus Mumford (15)
14. BLACK & WHITE LOVE – Beating Hearts Club (17)
15. LONELINESS FOR LOVE – lovelytheband (12)
16. BE AFRAID – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (18)
17. EXPECTATIONS – Katie Pruitt (19)
18. HONEYBEE – The Head and the Heart (20)
19. HALF YOUR AGE – Joywave (16)
20. BLINDING LIGHTS – The Weeknd (14)
21. LIVING IN A GHOST TOWN – The Rolling Stones (23)
22. PSYCH FILM – Strangely Alright (24)
23. SOMEONE ELSE – Rezz & Grabbitz (25)
24. STRANGERS – Mt. Joy (27)
25. FIRE – Black Pumas (28)
26. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (29)
27. SHANGRI-LA – EOB (22)
28. HEAVEN IS HEART – Jaded Jane (30)
29. SHINE A LITTLE LIGHT – The Black Keys (21)
30. REAL LONG TIME – White Reaper (N)

Top 30 Songs for June 7-13, 2020

1. LEVEL OF CONCERN – twenty one pilots (1) 4th week at #1
2. CAUTION – The Killers (2)
3. MARIA – Two Feet (7)
4. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (3)
5. DELETER – Grouplove (4)
6. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (5)
7. YOUR LOVE (DÉJÀ VU) – Glass Animals (6)
8. HELL N BACK – Bakar (9)
9. BAD DECISIONS – The Strokes (8)
10. LEMON DROP – Absofacto (9)
11. IF NOT FOR THE FIRE – The Million Reasons (12)
12. LONELINESS FOR LOVE – lovelytheband (13)
13. HOW WILL I REST IN PEACE IF I’M BURIED BY A HIGHWAY?// – Kenny Hoopla (14)
14. BLINDING LIGHTS – The Weeknd (11)
15. LAY YOUR HEAD ON ME – Major Lazer featuring Marcus Mumford (17)
16. HALF YOUR AGE – Joywave (16)
17. BLACK & WHITE LOVE – Beating Hearts Club (18)
18. BE AFRAID – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (20)
19. EXPECTATIONS – Katie Pruitt (21)
20. HONEYBEE – The Head and the Heart (23)
21. SHINE A LITTLE LIGHT – The Black Keys (15)
22. SHANGRI-LA – EOB (22)
23. LIVING IN A GHOST TOWN – The Rolling Stones (26)
24. PSYCH FILM – Strangely Alright (27)
25. SOMEONE ELSE – Rezz & Grabbitz (30)
26. RUN – Joji (19)
27. STRANGERS – Mt. Joy (N)
28. FIRE – Black Pumas (N)
29. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (N)
30. HEAVEN IS HEART – Jaded Jane (N)

Top 30 Songs for May 31-June 6, 2020

1. LEVEL OF CONCERN – twenty one pilots (1)
2. CAUTION – The Killers (2)
3. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (3)
4. DELETER – Grouplove (4)
5. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (5)
6. YOUR LOVE (DÉJÀ VU) – Glass Animals (7)
7. MARIA – Two Feet (8)
8. BAD DECISIONS – The Strokes (6)
9. LEMON DROP – Absofacto (10)
10. HELL N BACK – Bakar (11)
11. BLINDING LIGHTS – The Weeknd (9)
12. IF NOT FOR THE FIRE – The Million Reasons (13)
13. LONELINESS FOR LOVE – lovelytheband (15)
14. HOW WILL I REST IN PEACE IF I’M BURIED BY A HIGHWAY?// – Kenny Hoopla (16)
15. SHINE A LITTLE LIGHT – The Black Keys (12)
16. HALF YOUR AGE – Joywave (20)
17. LAY YOUR HEAD ON ME – Major Lazer featuring Marcus Mumford (21)
18. BLACK & WHITE LOVE – Beating Hearts Club (22)
19. RUN – Joji (19)
20. BE AFRAID – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (25)
21. EXPECTATIONS – Katie Pruitt (26)
22. SHANGRI-LA – EOB (23)
23. HONEYBEE – The Head and the Heart (27)
24. ME & YOU TOGETHER SONG – The 1975 (17)
25. OH YEAH! – Green Day (14)
26. LIVING IN A GHOST TOWN – The Rolling Stones (29)
27. PSYCH FILM – Strangely Alright (30)
28. LET’S FALL IN LOVE FOR THE NIGHT – FINNEAS (18)
29. OVER AND OVER – Amongst Liars (23)
30. SOMEONE ELSE – Rezz & Grabbitz (N)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2QW7J2zJqnBLNGK2D4ZaHz?si=yraLo_9JQJGCXIBZPfMNUQ

Top 30 Songs for May 24-30, 2020

1. LEVEL OF CONCERN – twenty one pilots (1)
2. CAUTION – The Killers (2)
3. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (3)
4. DELETER – Grouplove (5)
5. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (4)
6. BAD DECISIONS – The Strokes (7)
7. YOUR LOVE (DÉJÀ VU) – Glass Animals (8)
8. MARIA – Two Feet (9)
9. BLINDING LIGHTS – The Weeknd (6)
10. LEMON DROP – Absofacto (12)
11. HELL N BACK – Bakar (15)
12. SHINE A LITTLE LIGHT – The Black Keys (10)
13. IF NOT FOR THE FIRE – The Million Reasons (17)
14. OH YEAH! – Green Day (11)
15. LONELINESS FOR LOVE – lovelytheband (18)
16. HOW WILL I REST IN PEACE IF I’M BURIED BY A HIGHWAY?// – Kenny Hoopla (19)
17. ME & YOU TOGETHER SONG – The 1975 (14)
18. LET’S FALL IN LOVE FOR THE NIGHT – FINNEAS (13)
19. RUN – Joji (20)
20. HALF YOUR AGE – Joywave (22)
21. LAY YOUR HEAD ON ME – Major Lazer featuring Marcus Mumford (24)
22. BLACK & WHITE LOVE – Beating Hearts Club (28)
23. OVER AND OVER – Amongst Liars (16)
24. SHANGRI-LA – EOB (27)
25. BE AFRAID – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (29)
26. EXPECTATION – Katie Pruitt (30)
27. HONEYBEE – The Head and the Heart (N)
28. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (23)
29. LIVING IN A GHOST TOWN – The Rolling Stones (N)
30. PSYCH FILM – Strangely Alright (N)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5mD3HBSJBxWJLKTWcABUvK?si=eLC9zLkjRXG-e1ZxX3r_fg

New Song of the Week – STRANGELY ALRIGHT: “Psych Film”

Strangely Alright Psyche Film

Strangely Alright is a five-piece band from Seattle, Washington who refer to themselves as an “Eclectic Traveling Minstrel Magic Music Medicine Show”. They’ve built a huge following not only because of their entertaining and quirky style of punk-infused psychedelic rock, but also for the strong messages of humanity, love, kindness and acceptance in their songs. The band is fronted by Regan Lane, who does much of the songwriting and sings lead vocals, Sean Van Dommelen (lead guitar, vocals), Ken Schaff (bass), Raymond Hayden (keyboards, vocals) and Jason Bair (drums). They’ve released a number of recordings over the past several years, including their terrific album The Time Machine is Broken in 2013, as well as a compilation album All of Us Are Strange (The Singles) and an EP Stuff, both of which were released in 2018. You can read my review of Stuff here.

On the heels of their epic and mesmerizing Pink Floyd-esque single “Inside a Place”, Strangely Alright are back with a fantastic new single “Psych Film“, which I’ve chosen as my New Song of the Week. The song is about connection, trust, and valuing someone for who they are, warts and all. About their creative process, the band explains: “Part of being in a band, or relationship for that matter, is trust. Regan and Sean’s songwriting chemistry and trust are based on mutual respect and similar journeys from that darkness into the light that work for them. ‘Psych Film’ is a perfect example of one of the ways they create. [It’s] like having two painters painting on the same canvas at different times in order to create one cohesive piece of art.”

The track is melodic and trippy, with a bit of a 70s era David Bowie vibe thanks to lush psychedelic guitars and wonderfully spooky synths. The drums and percussion are flawless, and I love the deep, throbbing bass and heavy, buzzing reverb that continues throughout the song. Regan’s pleasing vocals are comforting as he croons the optimistic lyrics:

In the best of us you’re gonna find a good thing
In the worst of us you’re gonna find a bad thing
A different job
A different life
A different God
A different wife
In the best of us you’re gonna find a good thing

I don’t have to be alone no more
Connection
I don’t have to change
Who I am today
I am here and that’s enough to make it all ok
Connection
In a movie where the hero isn’t handsome
He got a job but he cannot afford the ransom
A different skin
A beating heart
A different dream
A tiny spark
In a movie where the hero isn’t handsome
I don’t have to be afraid of me
Connection
There’s a tiny thread
That I cannot see
But I feel it when I touch it with an open mind
Connection

Ooooo
A sinner today a saint tomorrow
A sinner today

To learn more about Strangely Alright, check out their website
Connect with them on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Apple Music / Reverbnation / Soundcloud
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunesGoogle Play

STRANGELY ALRIGHT – EP Review: “Stuff”

Strangely Alright Stuff

As all of us who use it know, social media can sometimes be a major source of aggravation, but it also has its rewards, one of which – for me at least – has been to connect with scores of musicians and bands from around the world. With some of them, that connection has run deeper and become more personal for a myriad of reasons, but most often due to the warmth and magnanimity of the artists themselves. One such band is a five-piece from Seattle, Washington with a delightfully quirky name – Strangely Alright. Not only do they play great rock music, they also project a strong message of love and acceptance in their songs, while clearly having a lot of fun in the process.

The band is headed by Regan Lane, who does most of the songwriting and sings lead vocals, Sean Van Dommelen (lead guitar, vocals), Ken Schaff (bass), Raymond Hayden (keyboards, vocals) and Jason Bair (drums). Their wildly-entertaining style of punk-infused rock is inspired by various generations of British iconoclasts such as David Bowie, T.Rex, the Jam, Suede, the Buzzcocks and Supergrass.

They’ve released a number of recordings over the past several years, including their terrific album The Time Machine is Broken in 2013, and a compilation album of singles All of Us Are Strange (The Singles) earlier this year.  On September 20, they dropped a fantastic new EP simply titled Stuff. The band describes the EP as “six songs about love, working together, setting boundaries, the digital age and the change that’s coming.” The tracks were written in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, and speak to “walking the tightrope of acceptance and resistance, of not giving in to the overwhelming forces of hatred and turmoil.” I could sure use some pointers on that subject.

The opening title track “Stuff” speaks out against our materialistic ways, namely, our thinking that acquiring more things will bring us happiness when, at the end of the day, it’s the love and support we extend to others that will bring our lives meaning and a real sense of contentment: “And I have learned through the trials and the times. That I need to look inside if I want to stay alive. All of the things that I gather are things I will leave when I am gone. It’s all just Stuff. It ain’t enough. Without the love in my heart it’s all just Stuff.

I love the silly opening with ukelele and a bit of jibberish, and how it then erupts into an explosion of gnarly and screaming guitars, set to Jason’s infectious hard-driving rock beat that grabs us by the hips and gets our asses moving! The guitar work is so good and, combined with the gritty synths, throbbing bass and Regan’s feisty vocals, “Stuff” is one hell of an awesome rock song!

Building Bridges” is an admonishment for us to work together to build things up rather than fighting to tear things apart. The track starts off with a portion of the famous and moving speech given by Bobby Kennedy at the time of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination: “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country.” It then launches into a thunderous volley of gritty riffs, assertive keyboards and pounding drums that form a lively soundscape for Regan’s fervent, at times distorted, vocals.

The kiss-off song “Wave Goodbye” starts off with Regan saying in an almost smarmy voice-over “Dinner is served,” then organ synths and fuzzy guitars take over as he sneers: “I thought you were my friend but I can see you’ve been pretending from the snide remarks that drip from you tongue.  Walking with a shovel, you’re surprised that you’re in trouble while you’re piling dirt on people you love./  Even when you say you can change. hey, we don’t trust you. Maybe you should just float away./ Wave goodbye.

Strangely Alright takes on misinformation and fake news on “Information Game.” The track has a wonderful T.Rex glam rock vibe, with psychedelic synths and layers of distorted and wailing guitars. Regan’s vocals actually sound a bit Bolan-esque as he snarls: “Liars thieves and pretty faces. TV stars that run the nation. Maybe there’s a quiz at the end. Same old show a different station. Fairy tales and race relations. Cherry pick the good and the bad. The more I see the less I know. The less I know the more I see. It’s clogging up my brain.

Whatcha Gonna Do?” is straight-up rock’n’roll with an irresistible head-boppin’ beat, and one of my favorite tracks on the EP. Keeping with their penchant for quirky intros, the track opens with what sounds like a merry-go-round , symbolizing the circus-like atmosphere we now seem to be living in. Sean’s guitar work is fantastic, as are Raymond’s jazzy keyboards, Ken’s bass and Jason’s drums. And Regan seems to channel early David Bowie on this track as he croons: “Well I vote in the elections and I feel no real connections with the humans that we trust with our lives. Baby baby It just feels like lies lies lies lies. Who hoo hoo hoo. Whatcha gonna do? when it all just breaks in two.

The EP ends on a upbeat note with the psychedelic-rock “Don’t U Know.” The lyrics speak to the optimism of youth, and that change for the better is coming, even though those of us who are older may feel cynical and pessimistic about it: “Well my children tell me that a change is gonna come. Hiding in the sunlight is the truth that we are one. Open doors of freedom. Doors of dialogue. Freight train and I feel it’s coming coming coming.

I have to say that the more I’ve listened to their music, the more I’ve come to love Strangely Alright – not only for their uniquely quirky sound and impressive songwriting and musicianship, but also for their humanity and kindness. Stuff perfectly exemplifies all those admirable qualities that make them a very special band indeed.

To learn more about Strangely Alright, check out their website
Connect with them on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Apple MusicReverbnationSoundcloud
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes