THE LISTENING BOOTH — Three-plus months into COVID-19 and live entertainment is still incredibly hard to come by. New movies are still on hold and concerts have been postponed until who knows when. Luckily, bands are still releasing music.
Here are a few noteworthy new tracks from the past few weeks. Click on the song title to find the song on Spotify.
"Manic Monday" — Billie Joe Armstrong
Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has been on a retro kick recently. His band’s latest album, "Father of All…," pushed the pop punkers into 1960s garage rock territory and his recent solo efforts have also been throwbacks.
First he covered "I Think We’re Alone Now" and now he’s turned to "Manic Monday" by The Bangles. And you know what? It works.
"Japanese Freight Train" — Bush
Have you been missing British grunge rockers? Gavin Rossdale and the boys are back with a tune that feels just like the 1990s.
Sure, "Japanese Freight Train" is no "Everything Zen," but it’s a sludgy rocker with the same nonsensical lyrics Rossdale has been turning out since the band’s heyday.
"Little Voice" — Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles’ music has been tugging on heartstrings since the early 2000s. Now she’s hoping to do the same with a new series on Apple TV+ about performers trying to fulfill their dreams by listening to the little voice inside of them.
If the show is as good as the song, it will be a hit.
"JU$T (featuring Pharell Williams & Zack de la Rocha)" — Run the Jewels
In the 1990s, Zack de la Rocha was rock’s loudest political voice. But for the past 20 years, the Rage Against the Machine singer has been largely quiet.
Thankfully, he’s teamed up with masterful duo Run the Jewels once again for a few bars on "JU$T." And he’s just as angry as he’s ever been.
KSL.com doesn't typically feature songs like this. But the timely, relevant lyrics of "JU$T" deal with systemic racism and police violence — topics that have been at the heart of the national conversation over the past month.
Killer Mike, one half of Run The Jewels, is an activist who has worked to reverse systemic racism in his native Atlanta, and his thoughts on the issue shine through on this track.
"JU$T" contains some explicit lyrics.
"Proxima B" — Benjamin Gibbard
In the dark of the coronavirus pandemic, Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard has been a ray of light. Not only did he give us the Live From Home concert series, he’s also added new songs to his catalog.
"Proxima B" has everything you’d expect from a great Death Cab song — jangly guitars, Gibbard’s warbly tenor, and the perfect mix of happiness and heartbreak.
"My Own Soul’s Warning" — The Killers
The Killers' new album, "Imploding the Mirage," was slated for a May 29 release, but the COVID-19 pandemic put it on hold indefinitely.
However, the band continues to release new singles. "My Own Soul’s Warning" is standard Killers fare — driving synth line, earnest lyrics, and a big hook. Though it seems unlikely that the band’s August show in Salt Lake City will actually happen, fans are still holding onto hope.
"Out of Sight" — The Beths
If you want to chase away the quarantine blues, look no further than The Beths. The Auckland, New Zealand group is adept at the kind of indie pop jams that are best consumed on a sunny day, with the windows rolled down.
Though the lyrics are heavy with unrequited love, there is still a shimmer of hope in the fantastic line, "If your world collapses/I'll be down in the rubble/I'll build you another."
"Stay Awhile" — New Found Glory
Nothing says summer like the boy-meets-girl pop punk. And no one does it better than New Found Glory.
"Stay Awhile" is as catchy as anything in the band’s deep catalog. Lines like "You like my sense of humor/And I like the way you smile/And we both love long conversations/So why don't you stay, why don't you stay a while?" make love sound simple. Like it should be.
What new songs are on your summer playlist? Share them in the comments.