Roan Yellowthorn – Stranger
The good thing about rock n’ roll is that we know what to expect. Just like a good murder mystery where one of the items briefly presented in the first act will end up being the murder weapon, so a hook presented before the first chorus will end up being the song’s selling point if the artist is lucky.
This is not to say that rock can’t be surprising, or that avantgarde efforts do not have a place here. It’s only that, at the heart of it, basic guitar music works in formats that we’ve encountered many times. When done right, the song enters a kind of state of grace.
This is what Roan Yellowthorn’s Stranger feels like. The song’s contour is one that will most likely sound familiar to most listeners of guitar music. This offers the perfect backdrop for the singer to draw her own visions. The writing is dense and detailed like a small novella, while the production is gentle and welcoming. Stranger is a friendly, clever indie-folk number.
Women Of The Night – Open All Night
Most groups announce themselves with a timid debut meant to test the waters. Similarly, the majority of new bands take to playing live shows at a reduced pace. Making eye contact is difficult for most. So is talking between songs.
That’s rarely the case with New York groups. From the Velvet Underground to the original punk groups, to the punk rock revival of the 2000s, groups from NYC seem to possess the kind of confidence and lack of self-awareness that makes for good rock stars. I find this interesting and strange that hustler-talk would be a prerequisite of rock musicians from the Big Apple, given that this is also the city with the highest concentration of millionaires anywhere on the planet.
Women Of The Night’s Open All Night juggles that kind of confidence. Part Lou Reed rock tune, part acting audition monologue. The song draws well from the self-assured rhythm and blues of old, but will also sound pleasing to fans of Lou Reed or Patti Smith.