If By Whiskey – Hell Has a Garden With Angels
If By Whiskey’s “Hell Has a Garden With Angels” could be the first song you’re required to sing after you’ve joined a cult. Sure, on the surface this sounds like a folk tune inspired, like many songs belonging to the folk canon, by biblical themes and imagery.
However, from the title onwards, there’s something both charming and completely bonkers about this tune of hope. This happens not least of all because of the fact that, unlike his acoustic guitar playing brethren, If By Whiskey’s Aaron Overton can genuinely sing and knows his way around a Beatles inspired melody.
“Hell Has a Garden With Angels” is the kind of song that the Lumineers would try writing about the time they start questioning the intrinsic value of their arena slaying stadium-folk. From the carefully crafted lyrics to the arrangement and the vocals, there is something bizarre, yet wholly professional about this song’s tailoring. In this day and age, it is the rare, fully satisfying acoustic-confessional number.
Native Sun – Government Shutdown
Native Sun functions in a time bubble, and could never be confused with belonging to any other genre other than punk rock. While others dabble and tread across genre distinctions, Native Sun present themselves as a group on a mission.
That mission was started back in the late 1970s, and the band remains fiercely devoted to its ethics. “Government Shutdown” features a quick one-two punch delivered with extreme brevity. The lyrics leave little to the listener’s interpretation. The video collage showing images of some of the USA’s most famous symbols and icons feels like flipping the pages of an old punk-rock fanzine.
It’s the kind of music that will always have its tireless fans and consistent detractors. There’s little subtlety to it, of course. But, it’s brilliant in its minimalist approach and belief that learning three power chords, getting your friends to fill out on bass and drums, gives you the right to make music as long as there’s a big enough message meant to be shared.