The 20 Best Songs We Heard in June
"She's My Witch," Kip Tyler
This mesmerizing twanger was posted on Facebook by Texas proto-punker Thom Tex Edwards. Long-time West Coast rock photographer Todd Everett chipped in with background info that Tyler's band was actually legendary twanger Duane Eddy's band "minus Kip Tyler." Not exactly rockabilly, not exactly rock and roll, but something kinda Bukowski-ish, this is one evil track. Cats and kittens, this is basic. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
"Somebody Else," Shinyribs
This is not the first time I've heard this, but it recently came up in my Facebook feed and I remembered what a great upside-down love song it is. I feel rather sorry for people who have never felt this exquisite form of pain. "That's why I wish you'd told somebody else that you was in love with them" is a Sam Cooke theme taken to its farthest logical extension, a hilllbilly Levon Helm love song. I'd love to hear Bobby Bland interpret this. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
"Thirst," Every Time I Die
Every Time I Die has been plugging away for years, building up a pretty solid fanbase with their mix of hardcore and southern rock sensibilities. I always not-so-secretly hoped that they would re-embrace hardcore to its fullest extent, and picking up producer Kurt Ballou of Converge for their latest record, From Parts Unknown, gave me a lot of hope for that.
The first single, "Thirst," is a less-than-two-minute burst of straight-up hardcore action, delivering harder than almost anything Every Time I Die has produced in the last decade. If the rest of the album kicks this much ass, it will definitely be the best these guys have done in many years. COREY DEITERMAN
"Walking Hard," Z-Ro
I almost came thisclose to swearing off Z-Ro's radio friendly singles when they sampled Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out" for Slim Thug's "Pokin' Out." Then this Beanz N Kornbread beauty landed upon my ears and God decided Z-Ro and Tim Howard should save the universe. BRANDO
"When the People Cheer"/"Understand," The Roots
In case anyone was wondering whether all that late-night frivolity would lighten the tone of new Roots music, the band left no doubt by giving its latest record the provocative title...and then you shoot your cousin. Questlove and co. come from a time when Run-DMC invited sleepyheads to "Wake Up," so they've continued to thrill with socially conscious, thought-provoking themes on their day job.
The former track is a dark look at the results of losing all hope, with vocalist Modesty Lycan reinforcing with the hook "everybody acts like God is all that/ But I have the feeling He ain't ever comin' back." The latter explores the consequences of how we won't allow ourselves redemption even when we do find our savior. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
"(You) Got What I Need," Freddie Scott
Another song to add to my "Samples of the Old School" playlist, this Freddie Scott track inspired Biz Markie to create his hip-hop classic "Just a Friend." MARCO TORRES
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