Friday, May 13, 2011

Songs in Heavy Rotation - 2011 Edition

For the past couple of years, I've been giving my brother an iTunes mix of songs that I have on heavy rotation as a means of sharing new music with him.  I always include some notes about the songs I'm sending, so instead of just sending that to him, I figured I'd throw it in a blog post.  

Here's some stuff that I've been listening to:
Crash Years, The New Pornographers: Fun little song from the Canadian indy band.  I'm a big Neko Case fan (as you'll see), and her contributions here are not unnoticed.   

Tragedy, Peter Wolf & Shelby Lynne: Yes, that Peter Wolf.  He sounds great, and Shelby Lynne is downright incredible.  Their harmonies are completely unexpected - like a really smooth shot of fine whiskey.   

Non Photo-Blue, Pinback: Catchy little indy tune that makes you wonder just why the genre is not more popular than it is.   

Primitive (The Way I Treat You), Ambulance Ltd:  If Lou Reed were making indy rock in 2011, it would sound exactly like this.   

Fresh, Devo: After all of these years, all these guys really are, still, are horny nerds.  60 year old horny nerds, but horny nerds nonetheless, and I love it.     

March 11, 1962, Mary GauthierWhen we saw her in concert, she had the entire audience in tears with this one.  A songwriting gem.  Personal, poignant, emotive, descriptive, and raw.  I wish I could write that that.  

Walking On a Dream, Empire of the SunI'm not a huge fan of pop-sounding music, but this really works for me.  Great song for summer driving with the windows down.             

Next Girl, The Black Keys:  Yeah, this one is obvious, but damn these guys rock it.  There is so much to like here, on so many levels.  If this song was a wine, you'd describe it as having hints of Cream, with an unmistakably strong flavor of vintage Robin Trower.  

Revenge (feat. The Flaming Lips), Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse:  Deep song that is hauntingly beautiful.  The bell makes the whole thing for me.    

Sing Me to Sleep (feat. Neko Case), Fran HealyMs. Case makes another appearance, and in this instance steals the song.  I just love her voice.  It is not outstanding; it is just plainly beautiful, like a wheat field or a soft rain.  In thinking about her, I kind of see her as the Stevie Nicks of 2011.  Part of an accomplished band, but with a strong solo career in her own right, and with this, asked to sing with other artists just as Nicks did with Tom Petty, Kenny Loggins, and John Stewart.  
Flume, Peter Gabriel:  A Bon Iver song (and I'm a huge fan) that sounds exactly like classic Peter Gabriel.  

Almost Cut My Hair, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:  OK, stick with me on this one as  I'm kind of into some older, off-the-beaten path stuff from the 60's and 70's.  In this classic from Deja Vu, check out the guitar work and the use of stereo.  People just don't make music like that anymore, and it is damn good.  Just forget the genre and appreciate the music (and the lyrics).  Rock and roll in its most classic, earthy state.        

Total Life Forever, Foals:  While they only have two albums under their belt, this band is worth following.  They should be releasing something soon, I'd hope.  This track is awesome.  

Stop!, Joe Bonamassa:  Ah, the blues makes a stop on the list.  Outstanding guitarist, and soulful vocals, Joe is making some really great blues music here in the 2010s.       

The SuburbsArcade Fire:  I guess this band is obvious, given their acheivements and critical acclaim the past year.  While I just liked portions of The Suburbs, the stuff that I liked, I really liked.  This is one example.           

Night Life, Aretha Franklin:  I went back and got off the beaten path, and downloaded a bunch of old Aretha.  Not the singles.  Not the common stuff.  But stuff like this.  This woman is a gift from God.          

Feed the Tree, Belly:  After it got overplayed in the '90's, this tune came back to me for some reason, and I developed a substantively deeper appreciation for it.  I don't know, something just clicked.  I adore the darkness of the lyrics of this tune.         

F**k This Town, Robbie FulksA poor man's Lyle Lovett, Robbie cuts open a vein, but also has a ball on this song.  You'll need top hit "skip" when playing in front of the kiddos, but this is alt-country at its best.   

Second Chance, Peter Bjorn and JohnNew song on heavy rotation with me.  And just about everybody else, unfortunately, as it will likely burn me out on it.   

Miss the Misery, Foo FightersI was privy to good debate as to who was currently the best rock band.  There are multiple options, but for my money, I'll take the Foo Fighters.  This example of something off of their recent album makes a good case.   

Lotus Flower, Radiohead: 100% pure Radiohead.  Just a great song.           

Beautiful Wreck, Shawn Mullins:  This is the only Shawn Mullins song I own, as I thought I that I hate Shawn Mullins.  But when I heard this song, and felt him channeling John Hiatt, I changed my opinion.  For this song, anyway.             

Simple Math, Manchester Orchestra:  These guys are slowly sneaking into the range of becoming my favorite band.  Their new album is fantastic, and this is just one gem in a slug of other ones from that effort.  I really need to find a way to see these guys live again, as they put on a hell of a show.               

Monday, The Sea and Cake:  While indy-rock has congregated into a lot of fuzziness, reverb, and a surfer-sound mess, this band has totally gone a different direction.  Clear vocals, smooth music, and almost a jazzy feel.  This track reminds me a ton of China Crisis from back in the day.  Likely why I like it so much...  

Happy birthday to my bro!

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