Review Roundup: Avril Lavigne, Charlie Winston, Flobots, Mumford & Sons, Spoon

January is traditionally a rather desolate month in terms of fresh singles making it to the airwaves. The hot holiday season has cooled into a frigid empty tundra. But hey, there’s a couple new tracks in the snow of late! Sorry for the delay y’all, spent the last two and a half weeks reconnecting and trekking around Western Europe.

Avril LavigneAlice
Our Canadian pop seamstress has been silent since 2007, going the newly trodden path of other singers in launching fashion lines and marriage. She’s more musically mature on “Alice”, a far cry from “The Best Damn Thing” and possibly an indication she’s growing up instead of threatening to become another P!nk-please don’t…we don’t need another. If you don’t think so much into the lyrics and appreciate her pushing that comfort bubble, the song is pretty solid.
7.1

Charlie WinstonKick The Bucket
The third single off the acclaimed album, Hobo, is a quirky pop jaunt with injections of folk and beatboxing. The British songwriter breaks heavily away from prior singles; the radio dominating “Like a Hobo” and no less successful soulful “In Your Hands”. The jagged, yet jolly delivery on the third single only further attests to his success as a songwriter, a fact evidenced by going triple platinum in France alone.
8.6

FlobotsWhite Flag Warrior (feat. Tim McIlrath)
“Dreams do clash…” Lately the American people have turned towards isolationism in terms of foreign policy and how involved we are with Iraq and Afghan Wars. So what would politically inclined Flobots talk about? The Wars. “White Flag Warrior” follows the formula, rhymes over violin and chugging alternative guitar. They do it extremely well, and featuring Rise Against’s vocalist is a natural extension. It feels more akin to Tim’s musical anthology than Flobots.
6.7

Mumford & SonsLittle Lion Man
Marcus Mumford & Co. are poised to seize America in March with their debut full-length Sigh No More. My first exposure was them traditionally destroying Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn with an opening set in 2008 in Chicago, and that said something for those two English folk powerhouses. For the untrained ear, Mumford & Sons play anthemic folk the likes of Muse for alternative or Coldplay for rock and captivate audiences. “Little Lion Man” has been reworked since Love Your Ground EP with fiery, sagacious vocals and banjos that will make anyone dance to the following chorus: “But it was not my fault but mine, and it was your heart on the line. I really fucked it up this time. Didn’t I, my dear?”
9.1

SpoonWritten in Reverse
Piano swagger breaching banks with attitude, unlike “The Underdog.” Had the lyrics been careening the corners, you could’ve mistaken it for Modest Mouse meets Jack White. The freewheeling piano is the podium, unfortunately slightly drowned by gritty guitars.
8.0

Thoughts?