So when the Gaslight Anthem released "Tumbling Dice" on Black Friday and She & Him released "I Put a Spell on You" on Tuesday, it served as a good reminder to shoppers and critics alike.
These two bands released two of the notable albums of 2010. If you haven't checked them out yet, it would be a good idea.
The two bands share little in common outside of their ability to mix music traditions with modern indie music. Their respective singles also share the common thread of giving listeners just a small taste of what the bigger albums provide.
The Gaslight Anthem, "Tumbling Dice"
Yes, it's that "Tumbling Dice." The New Jersey-based Springsteen-and-'50s-style-meets-modern-punk quartet have added the Rolling Stones to their repertoire.
They do the 1972 classic justice. Their slightly toned-down take on Jagger and Richards doesn't change the song's arrangement too much. However, it's definitely The Gaslight Anthem's take on the song, not a tribute band rendition.
The B-side, an extra from the "American Slang" sessions called "She Loves You," is a band original that sounds a lot like the album. On the latest record, they found a way to maintain their punk rock edge while expanding into less aggressive songs. This song displays that perfectly.
My Spin: B+
"Tumbling Dice" offers a nice taste of the band's ability on an original and on a cover. The 7" single is a good buy for fans of the band.
For newbies, start either with "American Slang" or 2008's "The '59 Sound." This is a band not to be missed.
She & Him, "I Put a Spell on You"
Like the Gaslight Anthem release, the title track is a cover of a classic, Screamin' Jay Hawkins' 1956 hit.
Covers are a big part of She & Him's output, with covers of classic rock, pop, R&B and country, but this one isn't as successful as most. Zooey Deschanel's strength lies in the sweet smoothness of her voice.
By contrast, this song calls for more of a scream (fitting, considering its writer and original performer). That's not Deschanel's strong suit.
The B-side is a live version of "Lingering Still," one of the songs from "Volume 2," released earlier this year. The arrangement doesn't add a lot to the song, but it stands up pretty well to the original. It shows that this is a band worth seeing live.
My spin: C
While not their strongest outing, this digital-only from Deschanel and cohort M. Ward is still a taste of what the can do. It's a reminder of how good both of their albums, "Volume 1" and "Volume 2," are.
And trust me, this critic won't be forgetting either of these bands when my top 10 comes out in a few weeks.