What We’re Listening To

Contributing features editor Karolina Ramos shares her latest musical obsessions.

Settle Down
No Doubt

No Doubt returns to it ska and reggae roots in this energetic and rowdy single, resuscitating the edgy pop style that put the group on the map over two decades ago. Fusing party pop and reggae, the single teeters with the tension between chaos and control. As Gwen Stefani muses, “You can see it in my eyes, you can read it on my lips, I’m trying to get a hold on this,” the listener is never quite convinced the notoriously edgy singer has it all under control. But the commotion of “Settle Down” is what makes it so inviting, and Stefani’s vocal chops remind the music world why her commanding presence is to be respected.

Sixpack
Jeff the Brotherhood

Jeff the Brotherhood don’t reinvent archetypal punk. They relish in it. The band’s summer release, “Sixpack,” draws on droning, distorted guitar and unenthusiastic vocals to recreate the apathy and leisure of original punk rock the likes of The Ramones. With only one verse, Jeff the Brotherhood describe the ideal summer: road trips, friends and, of course, booze. The simple riffs mirror the easygoing nature of the vacation the band envisions, and the vocals serve as the soundtrack for a laid back summer cruise. With “Sixpack,” Jeff the Brotherhood don’t reinvent the wheel. They just keep it rolling.

I Don’t Know
The Sheepdogs

Classic rock is alive and well, if you ask The Sheepdogs. The Canadian blues rock group revives the passion and roots-soul of ’60s and ’70s rock and roll with a sense of refreshing contemporaneity, reviving blues riffs with crisp guitar. To the listener unfamiliar with the musical stylings of Lynyrd Skynyrd or Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Sheepdogs could be taken for granted as generic southern rock. But their nuanced genius shouldn’t be overlooked: “I Don’t Know” is an indication of a band on the rise, whose poignant sense of rock history and enlivened sound have the potential to sweep listeners off their feet.

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