Headphones: Greta Van Fleet Light the Fires, Kick the Tires

Album of the Week


Greta Van Fleet - From the Fires: Who said rock and roll is dead? In these days of trap, mumble rap, and about 50 different amalgamations of EDM, it's honestly pretty rare to find a band that is crafting original ways to tell stories through rock music. Greta Van Fleet is here is to eradicate that conundrum, with a slew of heavy rock guitar riffs, pounding drums, and a voice that would make Robert Plant headbang. The album of the week is "From The Fires" by Greta Van Fleet.

From the classic rock bowels of Michigan, come the humble origins of Greta Van Fleet. The band composed of 3 brothers, Sam, Jake, and Josh Kiszka, and Danny Wagner started up in 2012 and has been lighting fires and kicking tires since. Their sound is classic, yet refreshing, hard rocking, yet easy listening. They've got all the components of a band that's going places. 

Their debut album, "From the Fires" has everything one could possibly want from a rock and roll record- screaming guitars all over this thing, staggering basslines to keep the groove moving, organs reminiscing back to the golden days of rock, and that voice. Josh Kiszka has a wail that is stellar and hypnotic. He can send his voice into the stratosphere on a whim. On songs like "Flower Power," a mellow and in-the-pocket groove is fortified by these sweet melodies Kiszka unfolds. The song is instantly lovable. 

"Edge of Darkness" begins with a classic rock riff that soon evolves into a heady jam. Then Kiszka struts in, with the voice of a heavenly rock god. It's stunning to hear his voice soar with such ease throughout the song. The eventual guitar solo on this thing is so palpable, you'll find yourself air-guitaring and air-drumming like you discovered Led Zeppelin for the first time. It's such a heart-warming experience, it's hard not to smile when listening to these rocking jams.

The gem of this album is the band's unstoppably great cover of Sam Cooke's classic "A Change is Gonna Come," which is so impeccably retold by the band. In a completely original way, the band makes the song their own, while retaining all that soul that is imperative to accurately cover the song. The harmonies on this thing, as well as Kiszka's bone-rattling wail, would make Cooke himself put a lighter in the air and wave that thing like it's speaking to his soul directly.

"Highway Tune" is the unanimous jam on this album. It's the one that got the band here, and it's definitely as good on this album than it was soundtracking the madness that is Shameless. The song sounds like a rollercoaster ride that is just millimeters from going off the rails, but doesn't. That guitar riff alone is enough to get you in the moshpit. The band just builds and builds until the song is big enough to take on an army of monsters, with a slight smirk on your face. 

There is not a doubt in my mind that Greta Van Fleet will be one of those bands we look back on years from now and say, wow, THAT is a band. They have so many tricks in their arsenal and they have this sound that is just impossible to dislike. They're so young, and so talented. I feel like going out on a limb here, letting loose a hot take, and saying, if these guys keep up the good work, we'll see them in Cleveland soon, taking their rightful place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the meantime though, be sure to buy a ticket to their show when they stroll through your hometown. You won't want to miss this.

Single of the Week

Eminem ft. Beyonce - "Walk On Water": It's a big deal for Eminem to come back into the limelight for a new album. The Detroit rapper has been making statements since the late 90's. What more is there to say, how can he continue to make good music without being corny or overdone? Well, Em is figuring that out.

"Walk on Water" expertly walks the line between contemporary rap song and introspective self-reflection. With a gorgeous Beyonce (!) hook, Eminem details how he can be a flawed human, an artist, a target, and a citizen in this quickly changing world. "Am I lucky to be around this long?" Em questions. This is the writing of a man wondering when it's time to hang up the microphone, and if that's really what he wants. 
"I'll decide if it's my final bow this time around," is how Eminem ends his verse. We'll see with his new album, Revival, if Em is finally ready to take his final bow. 

Music Videos of the Week

Chromeo- "Juice": This video is so cool, yet so uncool at the same time. I get the message, it's turning the music video staple of having sexy girls with sexy legs, on it's head. This time Chromeo are both the smooth singers and the gorgeous pair of long legs. The song is an absolute kicker too, it glides effortlessly and is definitely some strutting music. Plus, "You got the juice, baby / That's why I keep pressing you," is fantastic writing. 

Harry Styles- "Kiwi":  Kids, cupcakes, puppies, Harry Styles. Need I say more?