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HMX RBN Picks XVIII

Check out this week's RBN recommendations from HMXers, including Sophie B. Hawkins, In This Moment, and The Gracious Few, a band made up of members of Candlebox and Live!

“Your Hands (Together)” - The New Pornographers (Indie Rock)

To be fair, I have an unhealthy love for songs with parenthesis (in their titles). But seriously, The New Pornographers are just a blast, and this song is particularly rocking for them. After some start/stop bursts of noise during the verse, it soon explodes into a driving chorus with a fun tom part for the drummer and some fast strumming for the guitarist and bassist. And, as she often does, Neko Case (with ample help from some sweet A.C. Newman harmonies) steals the show with an intense vocal performance. This is not a very difficult song, but it is super satisfying to play… certainly worth picking up! - Matthew DiPierro, QA Tester

"The Gun Show" - In This Moment (Metal)

This track is seriously fun on all instruments, but I'm partial to Maria Brink's screaming vocal part. There's no quicker way to feel like a badass than screaming along, "Welcome to the GUN SHOOOOOOOOW. Tonight we get wiiiiiiiild...." Be prepared for headbanging, spontaneous fist pumping, and of course, a sore throat. But it's totally worth it. And if you haven't checked out the rest of the In This Moment tracks in Rock Band, you are seriously missing out. - HMXcj, Web Editor

“Latest Heartbreak” – 22-20s (Alternative)

Last week I got to see Hot Hot Heat - whose “Bandages” is already available in the Rock Band DLC catalog - here at the Middle East Downstairs, one of the music venues in the neighborhood of our Central Square office. It’s always a pleasure when an opener you’ve yet to hear of rocks the place as hard as the headliner, and I was lucky enough for that to happen with 22-20s, the English rock group touring with them. Their sound reminded me instantly of the Black Keys, so if you enjoyed the Black Keys DLC pack we put out last month, you should definitely check out “Latest Heartbreak” on RBN. - Mike Fitzgerald, Software Developer

"Beautiful Girl" - Sophie B. Hawkins (Pop-Rock)

Grammy Award-winning Sophie B. Hawkins debuts on the Rock Band Network with this gorgeous Latin-influenced song about self-awareness and facing addiction. With five devil heads on drums, this song demonstrates that pop-rock can be a challenge, too. The other instruments are a bit more moderate, but even the one-dot bass part is fun, with some neat slides that keep you awake. And I love her voice, of course. - HMXLachesis, Web QA Tester

"Appetite" - The Gracious Few (Rock)

This song's appearance on the Rock Band Network is actually a world premiere, preparatory to the band's release of their eponymous album The Gracious Few tomorrow on September 14, 2010. I hope we get more sneak previews like this! "Sounds like Sammy Hagar," my bassist commented, and he had a point - The Gracious Few make no secret about their love of driving '70s rock, and the influence rings out loud and clear. Band members include Kevin Martin and Sean Hennesy (both from Candlebox) and Chad Taylor, Patrick Dahlheimer, and Chad Gracey (all from Live), so the polished, professional sound is no surprise whatsoever. If you're local, they're coming to the Paradise on Tuesday, September 28, and tickets are on sale now!  If not, they're touring all over the US until December 11, but if you can't make the concert, pick up this song and their prior release, "Honest Man," for a shortened concert in your living room. - HMXLachesis, Web QA Tester

"Bridges and Overpasses" - Modern Skirts (Indie Rock)

If you came into this group from their debut Catalogue of Generous Men, like I did, this song will throw you for a considerable loop. The warm piano playing is long gone, replaced with some simple driving drums and sharp guitar. It's a trippy pop drone, which never seems to end yet feels shorter than it actually is. - FairwoodStudios, RBN Community

"I've Got a Feeling" - Blackberry River Band (Rock)

No, not that song. This is a country band being rockers - or a bunch of rockers with country roots. Who can tell? Either way, the result is the same - a slightly Southern, slightly bluesy, slightly homegrown bit of rock, played loose and honest. And if the mix of licks and unpredictable patterns don't really interest you, at least there's the frantic guitar outro to give a little challenge. - FairwoodStudios, RBN Community