5) Best Coast – “California Nights.” There’s a heavy dose of Opal/Mazzy Star in this trippy wonder along with a wee bit of Liz Phair. Quite the combination, and quite intoxicating.
4) Houndstooth – “No News from Home.” This Portland, Ore., group echoes Opal, as well. Close your eyes and you’re (almost) hearing Kendra Smith.
3) Opal – “Soul Giver.” And since I’ve mentioned Opal twice above – they are the band that morphed into Mazzy Star, of “Fade Into You” fame. Opal was as moody as Mazzy, but more…menacing, to be succinct. Very reminiscent of the Velvet Underground.
2) Jax – “My Generation.” I fell in love with the American Idol contestant’s voice at her audition, when she sang a pleading version of the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” In the months since, that first impression has become a lasting impression – she has a great voice and seems to have a firm grasp on rock-pop music history, and also possesses all the ingredients for a lasting career. I’ll buy her album, at any rate. Anyway, she has a lot of fun with this Who classic, which was selected for her, not picked by her. It’s nowhere near as threatening as the original, mind you, but it does rock. (I think “The Real Me” would have been a better pick for her, but that’s me.)
1) First Aid Kit – “America.” I’ve written about them before, so won’t repeat myself here. That said, our summer concert series, thus far, stacks up like this: Paul McCartney, Neil Young and First Aid Kit (along with a bunch of other acts at the XpoNential Festival). The one I’m most looking forward to? Well, that’s difficult to say. Paul, most likely. But, in some ways, it’s these two sisters. They’re tremendous.