B-52s single has new sound

” This regular feature will review new songs available on the iTunes music store. The songs are chosen only from the new releases, not necessarily new singles heard on the radio. Ratings are based on one to five stars, just as they would be reviewed on iTunes.”

 This regular feature will review new songs available on the iTunes music store. The songs are chosen only from the new releases, not necessarily new singles heard on the radio. Ratings are based on one to five stars, just as they would be reviewed on iTunes.

The B-52s – Pump

 The second single off their long-awaited album diverges far from the first single’s classic B-52s’ sound.

More synth, more bass and more rock reveals a modern sound to the band whose last original album hit the shelves 16 years ago.

Singer Kate Pierson opens with a spoken-song verse, usually Fred Schneider’s realm, followed by a more ranged spoken-song by Cindy Wilson.

The two female singers burst into a melodious chorus that sounds like classic B-52s, interspersed with an emotional spoken-song Schneider.

The three singers switch roles in the verses and choruses as the song progresses, while instruments shifting from basic guitar, drums and synth to bongos and an ethereal sample that flows in the middle of the tune.

As Pierson reaches the bridge, the tune becomes more of a dance than a rock song, with its poppy rhythm and lighter sound.

This nearly five-minute track is not the standard fare for those who remember the band from their Cosmic Thing and eponymous album days.

Yet the song offers a bit more of a mainstream sound than the first single of the current album, Funplex.

Elf Power – Spiral Stairs

This song uses distorted strings with a very light male voice to make a disturbingly good track.

Vocalist Andrew Rieger takes a late 80s, early 90s European style of singing, soothing and in parts flirting with falsetto, while his six band mates back him with a strange mixture of standard rock band instruments, keyboards and cello.

Blend Nirvana’s Unplugged in New York variety with a richer Thom Yorke from Radiohead belting out the nervous lyrics.

The song lends itself to be a background tune to a random product’s commercial more than a mainstream hit.

The first single off the indie band’s eighth album, this song will find plenty of space on college students’ iPods rather than radio station playlists.

Anna Nalick – Shine

Only 24 years old, Anna Nalick is well on her way to being a top name as a female solo artist with her first single from an untitled second album, still unfinished.

Her talents are as strong as most soloists before her, like Sarah McLaughlin and Cheryl Crow, but the emotion Nalick presses out with her range is even more impressive.

Warm, sympathetic, yet strong and capable, she gives fellow females the message that they do not need someone else to help them succeed because they are fully capable of doing it themselves.

As the song’s title says, she has only begun to shine.

Backed by a quality band that play accompaniment to her voice and do not try for their own solos, Nalick stands out in this tune.

It is rock, pop, alternative and mainstream all wrapped in a powerful message.

A must-have download for this week.