In My Ear – Week of July 11, 2010

Here’s some things I listened to last week. Feel free to post your list in the comments section below.

1. The Equals
Before Eddy Grant (“Electric Avenue”) set out on a solo career, he was in a reggae-pop band called The Equals. I didn’t know anything about these guys before last week – I only discovered them after trying to find cheap Eddy Grant CDs on the web. My friend Blake informed me that one of The Clash’s greatest songs, “Police on My Back”, was originally performed by The Equals (hear their version here).

2. Gristle – “Cold Blue Sky”
New band led by ex-Galatic Cowboys singer Ben Huggins. It’s been years since GC broke up and while Gristle isn’t necessarily a sequel to that band, there are definitely some moments – particularly “Making it All Go Away” – that have the same tight harmonies and progressive metal guitar sounds of Huggins’ former band. If you were ever a King’s X fan, you’ll dig this.

3. Madcon
This Norwegian hip-hop duo has apparently scored hits worldwide but I had never heard the song “Beggin” – a cover originally performed by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – until I was watching America’s Got Talent with my daughters and it was used as performance music by a tap-dancing family.

4. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
Not at all what I expected. I thought Ariel Pink was some gray-haired ’80s psychedelic burnout from San Francisco who resurfaced and put out a crummy sounding lo-fi record that all the hip kids were digging. Then I saw on Amazon’s MP3 Twitter a link to a list of something like “The 50 best songs this year” and Ariel Pink’s “Round and Round” was #1. A quick investigation proved that my perception was wrong though the band (Ariel Pink is NOT a person as I thought) definitely is making music in the wrong decade. Check out this disco-lite offering – along with accompanying ‘unofficial’ video utilizing scenes from the ’80s workout flick ‘Perfect’ (starring John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis).

DOWNLOAD: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “Round and Round”

5. King Giant
The words that come to mind to describe this Virginia/DC-based band: Sludgy, southern rock, stoner metal. Based on that description, it shouldn’t be surprising that these guys sound like Clutch, Kyuss, and even, at times, Black Sabbath. Dig it!

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