WPGU’s February Mixtape

The Strokes: “Under Cover of Darkness”

The first thing to be said about this song is that it is great to just hear The Strokes making new music together again. But what makes it even better is where this song sits stylistically in their catalog. “Under Cover Of Darkness,” for the most part, sounds like it could easily occupy a slot on side B of Room on Fire; after all, it’s got the classic dancey drumbeat that is present on a majority of Strokes song from the first two albums. But I won’t belittle the song by making it seem like the band is just rehashing old ideas. This song brings together the style of early Strokes with the experiments in complexity we saw on First Impressions of Earth, giving us an incredibly fun main guitar lick and solo section. “Under Cover Of Darkness” also marks the first use of background vocals by The Strokes, I guess after proving his chops on his solo albums, Albert Hammond’s singing had to be taken advantage of. The most important part of this song, however, is how fun it is; The Strokes always shine best when crafting the most fun rock songs around. If this is any indication of how the new album will be, then that Mar. 22 release date might be too far away. —Evan Metz

Fleet Foxes: “Helplessness Blues”

It has been over two and a half years since the Fleet Foxes released their self-titled debut album to critical acclaim very few bands receive so early in their career. A gap that long leaves fans restless for new music. “Helplessness Blues” shows that this wait may have been a blessing in disguise. Everything that made the Fleet foxes so easy to fall in love with way back in the summer of ’08 can be felt in this track. The folk and character that made Fleet Foxes one of the best albums of ’08 and arguably the entire decade was not strayed from on this song. Robin Pecknold’s vocals are still mesmerizing and complete the character of the single. It is hard to perfect perfection, so it is understandable why a two and a half year gap almost felt necessary. There is nothing distinctly different about this track compared to the first album, but that does not make this single disappointing in the slightest.–Kyle Rogers

Vivian Girls: “I Heard You Say”

The 2007 indie Lo-Fi trio is back again with their vocal harmonies and wildly nostalgic guitar riffs. With a member change (Ali Koehler joined Best Coast) and signing to Champaign local label, Polyvinyl Records, the Vivian Girls still carry the great indie trend that captures our 1960’s pop sound. “I Heard You Say” is the first single of their new album Share the Joy, coming out Apr. 12. This time with more vocal sound and wilder harmonies it seems like they matured along with the lo-fi trend since 2008.–Colin Lateano

The Kills: “Satellite”

The Kills come back with their new single “Satellite” after their thrilling 2008 Midnight Boom. This band fronted by Alison Mosshart, who is also lead singer for The Dead Weather, has experimented with sounds in the past. On “Satellite” it looks as if the next record, Blood Pressures, will bring them back to their roots of minimalist, art rock and blues. This track gives us heavy, distorted madness that is reminiscent of the band’s first two efforts. Many shy away from fuzz and distortion, but it has a great sound overall with the duo providing epic vocals that seem to drone out the sharp guitars and that heavy bass. Overall, this track brings The Kills back to their roots, and although it may not be for everyone check it out and also their new record which will most definitely have more dynamic tracks.–Jose Tamayo

Bright Eyes: “Shell Games”

Like much of The People’s Key, Bright Eyes’ newest release, “Shell Games” makes apparent the maturity being found in the band’s music. The track opens with that boyish voice of Conor Oberst which is soon accompanied by melancholy piano chords. The tune quickly builds momentum, becoming more pop-rock than the American folk Bright Eyes, especially Oberst, has been known to play. Although I say pop-rock, it still holds that element of angst that fans are accustomed to with lyrics such as “sold my tortured youth/ piss and vinegar/ I’m still angry with no reason to be.” Maybe a drift from their roots, but still a solid track from Bright Eyes.–Kelly Mincey

Foo Fighters: “Rope”

“Rope,” the first single off their new record Wasting Light, proves the Foos are still improving. From the guitar riff, to the solo and drum break near the end, the band sounds less dependent on Dave Grohl and more balanced as a band. In the chorus “Give me some rope, I’m coming loose,” Taylor Hawkins carries the catchy but powerful vocals with a unique rhythm on the ride cymbal. After recording the album in Grohl’s basement and hearing the complexity and creativity in the song compared to previous albums, “Rope” makes me eager to hear the rest of the new record.–Stanton Polanski

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