Single File: R.E.M., Bright Eyes, And More

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

The Beets – “Time Brought Age”

Since December, a free download has circulated for the 7” that drops January 11 along with sophomore LP Stay Home. Like an Uruguayan Bob Dylan, Juan Wauters’ rusted, battered vocals couldn’t be a better complement to the gently slapping drumsticks and tambourine in this modest ode to vintage garage rock.

R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now“Mine Smell Like Honey”

The first single from the album isn’t as strong as the other CIN tasters out there, but Stipe bolsters fans with signature sunny R.E.M. jangle and smooth hooks. If there’s a chink in the armor, it’s the nettlesome chant of “ho-uh-uh-uh-uh-ney-uh.”

R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now – “Oh My Heart”

Speaking of R.E.M. tasters, a weary croon backs this market-square strummer with a folky, Mediterranean appeal. The fingerplucking is reminiscent of Eddie Vedder’s “Into the Wild” soundtrack (and incidentally, Vedder collaborated with R.E.M. on “It Happened Today” from CIN).

Bright Eyes – The People’s Key – “Shell Games”

Conor Oberst examines the weight of love on top of an overdone blast of synthesizer that’s like sucking a lemon when paired with his expressive, albeit wavering (as if he’s bordering on tears) vocals. But the lyrics are striking and rife with metaphors – “My private life is an inside joke/no one will explain it to me.” One theory: each line of the opening verse is an allusion to a previous Bright Eyes album.

Rachel Goodrich – Rachel Goodrich“Na Na Na”

The folky worldly charm of Regina Spektor and Lily Allen’s pop sentiment are called upon in the Miami native’s first single from her self-titled release. Hand clapping and a shaky synthesizer channel precocious, wide-eyed energy to churn out a ridiculously sunny and infectious tea party song.

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