Monday, February 8, 2016

Monthly Mix #12: February 2016

Now you can listen to a year's worth of monthly playlists.  That's 120 songs hand-selected by me.  Do it.

February 2016:
Picks up right where January left off.

1. Ozomatli - "Super Bowl Sundae"
I heard there's some football game this month.

2. The Postal Service - "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
TPS covered this Phil Collins number for the Wicker Park soundtrack.  Still haven't seen the movie.

3. Jermaine Jackson - "Let's Get Serious"
Seriously funky.  Stevie Wonder produced, co-wrote, and performed on this one.

4. Dr. Dog - "Good Grief"
New Dr. Dog album is out.

5. Bob Marley & the Wailers - "Waiting in Vain"
Bob would've turned 71 this month.  I like how the line "In life I know there's lots of grief" kinda hearkens back to the Dr. Dog track.

6. Grace Potter - "Something That I Want"
This is also from the soundtrack to a film I've never seen.

7. Hey Anna - "If You're Wondering"
I don't think I believe you, Anna.

8. Pop Etc - "What Am I Becoming?"
Chris Chu gets a lot heavier on this number from Souvenir.

9. The Cure - "Pictures of You"
"Disintegration is the best album ever!" yelled Kyle to Robert Smith way back in South Park's first season.  While it's not the best ever, it's pretty amazing when you get to that point in life when you totally realize why he said that.

10. Rayland Baxter - "Freakin Me Out"
With Baxter going solo on the Soho EP, this song takes on a further level of introspection as compared to its full-band album version.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monthly Mix #11: January 2016

January 2016:
You can use context clues to figure out this one.

1. The Helio Sequence - "Lately"
I love this song because you can interpret it how you need to.  I always think he's lying though.

2. Mason Jennings - "New York City"
I agree with Mason.

3. David Bowie - "Lazarus"
It's amazing that Bowie was able to release this beautifully dark record for his fans before his untimely passing.

4. Grey Reverend - "My Hands"
All the more poignant if you know that Grey has focal dystonia, a neurological disorder that affects the dexterity of his hands.

5. Lord Huron - "She Lit a Fire"
A reawakening.

6. Otis Redding - "Pain in My Heart"
It's insane when you remember that Redding was only 26 when he died.

7. The 1975 - "Ugh!"
The next single from their upcoming album.  I like it much better than the '80s retread "Love Me."

8. Royal Headache - "Wouldn't You Know"
While this song is a throwback to '60s pop/rock, most of the tunes on this Australian band's second LP have a punkier feel.

9. The Flaming Lips - "Do You Realize??"
Those lyrics tho.

10. Eagles - "Desperado"
R.I.P. Glenn.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top 40 Songs of 2015

Top 40 Songs of 2015

Last year, I put out a list/Spotify playlist of my top forty song picks.  Why should this year be any different?  Starting from the bottom...

40. B.o.B - "Back & Forth"
Bump this and try not to sing along.  Also, it takes on a different meaning if you've seen Me & You & Everyone We Know.

39. Dawes - "Right on Time"
I really like the guitar work in this one.

38. Jr. Jr. - "Hypothetical"
They may have dropped the Dale Earnhardt from their name, but fortunately they also dropped this chill jam.

37. White Reaper - "Pills"
Lo-fi and cocksure.

36. Warren G feat. Young Jeezy, Bun B, & Nate Dogg - "Keep on Hustlin'"
It was a total surprise when some new Nate Dogg music came out this summer.  Jeezy and Bun don't add much, but Nate's hook is as smooth as always.

35. Kacey Musgraves - "Pageant Material"
Musgraves makes it apparent that she's not just another pretty face with her clever lyrics in this song.

34. Trey Anastasio - "In Rounds"
Funky ditty from Phish's frontman.  When he can't help but smile out a couple "yeah"s during the horn jam, you can tell this was recorded live.

33. Gold Clubb - "Sweat It"
The Majorleans may not have dropped a new LP this year, but that didn't stop Nicky Franchise from flowing over this Ben Foldsian beat.  Not on Spotify, but you can stream and download here.

32. Leon Bridges - "Better Man"
I don't really think he's the next Sam Cooke, but he ain't bad.

31. El Vy - "I Am the Man to Be"
It's great to finally hear the National's Matt Berninger cheer up a little.

30. Jenny Owen Youngs - "Over the Bow"
Hear Jenny tell the story behind this swirling brute of a song on my podcast.

29. Courtney Barnett - "Pedestrian at Best"
Thankfully, the title isn't indicative of this crunchy rocker.

28. Death Cab for Cutie - "Good Help (is So Hard to Find)"
Death Cab does dance-punk.

27. My Morning Jacket - "Get the Point"

26. Fool's Gold - "Lady of the Lake"
It's hard to describe Fool's Gold without making them seem like some sort of gimmick, so just chill out and listen.

25. Young Buffalo - "No Idea"
Nice harmonies, but so much more.  Listen to Jim and Ben talk about these harmonies and emus over beers.

24. Battles - "The Yabba"
Maybe it packs in too many ideas by its denouement, but this proggy instrumental's main groove really taps into my core.

23. Mike Doughty - "Can't Believe I Found You in That Town"
In what began as a way for him to put out acoustic versions of his songs and live recordings of his shows, Doughty's channel transformed into a public demoing outlet, where he sometimes released as many as five songs a week.  This little ditty, which has been hitting home recently, is not on Spotify, but you can hear a preview of it here.

22. Animal Liberation Orchestra - "There Was a Time"
Zach Gill's lyrics paint a vivid depiction of humanity throughout history: past, present, and future.

21. Hey Anna - "Little Things"
This is how you build momentum.  Listen to Erin talk about this track and more on The Next Round.

20. Adele - "Hello"
When I finally got around to hearing the smash hit of the year, I wrote down, "This song is powerful as shit."  You already know it's not on Spotify and you already know what it sounds like.

19. The Weeknd - "Can't Feel My Face"
I like this song for the reasons everyone else does.

18. Justin Bieber - "Love Yourself"
Yes, Justin Bieber.  Get over it.  Here he's accompanied by a single guitar and a well-timed trumpet part.  The lyrics are fairly universal, but Bieber's name is one that would actually mean something at a club.

17. The Arcs - "Stay in My Corner"
Reminds me of a Hendrix ballad.

16. T-Pain feat. Juicy J - "Make That Shit Work"
T-Pain has been a guilty pleasure of mine for years.  When he calls in the wind chimes, you'll see why.

15. Electric Light Orchestra - "When I Was a Boy"
Jeff Lynne reflects on his childhood dreams of becoming a musician.  Beyond thrilled to have new ELO music and to have seen them live!

14. Saintseneca - "Such Things"
The boisterous title track from Saintseneca's fantastic third LP.

13. The Weepies - "Early Morning Riser"
Such a fun song about loneliness.

12. Penguin Prison - "Never Gets Old"
Chris Glover never gets old.

11. They Might Be Giants - "Ecnalubma"
TMBG had a very busy year, putting out a song each week via their rebooted Dial-a-Song service.  This number, which would've been right at home on John Henry, was my favorite.

10. The Revivalists - "All in the Family"
It's difficult to capture the inescapable energy of a Revivalists show in the studio, but they managed to snag some of that magic for this cut.

9. Lord Huron - "Fool for Love"
Honestly, I could've picked any song from their excellent Strange Trails record, but this one has that irresistible Buddy Holly element to it.

8. Son Little - "Go Blue Blood Red"
One of those songs on my iPod where I instinctively go, "Aww, shit," every time it pops up.

7. The White Buffalo - "Go the Distance"
"You're not just my woman, you're a piece of ass."

6. Ryan Montbleau Band - "Pacing Like Prince"
Thankfully, RMB laid down this gem right before they split up.  Listen to Ryan and I discuss the split over milkshakes.

5. Alabama Shakes - "Don't Wanna Fight"
I expected so much more from Sound & Color after this outstanding leadoff single, where Brittany Howard just crushes it.  Oh, well.  I'll just listen to this on repeat.

4. Jason Derülo - "Want to Want Me"
When Derülo does it right, I'm always on board.

3. Frank Turner - "Song for Josh"
Recorded live at the 9:30 Club, where Josh Burdette had worked up until his death in 2013, this tribute to Frank's departed friend tears at my heartstrings and tear ducts.  I frequented the venue as a youth, so while I never knew Josh personally, I felt like I did.

2. Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds - "Every Road"
I don't normally focus on the drums in songs, but holy hell, this is some funky drumming.

1. Rayland Baxter - "Yellow Eyes"
One of those songs I want to hear again and again right after I listen.  I talked with Rayland about this and more on my podcast.

Monthly Mix #10: December 2015

December 2015:
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  (Sorry, I'd wanted to get this up sooner because no one listens to Christmas music after this week, but I've been going through a lot.)

1. Kishi Bashi - "It's Christmas, But It's Not White Here in Our Town"
Originally released only on flexi-disc, check out this dreamy snowflake of a song.

2. Paul McCartney - "Wonderful Christmastime"
Pretty sure this is my favorite Christmas tune.

3. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - "Big Bulbs"
A little holiday innuendo.

4. Donny Hathaway - "This Christmas"
So soulful.

5. Oppenheimer - "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
Sounds enough like the original, but they definitely make it an Oppenheimer song.

6. The Band - "Christmas Must Be Tonight"
An often-overlooked holiday gem.

7. They Might Be Giants - "Feast of Lights"
I had to throw in a Hanukkah song, so it might as well be a good one.

8. Willie Nelson - "Here Comes Santa Claus"
Willie Nelson is somehow able to make any song he sings sound like he wrote it.

9. Jack's Mannequin - "The Lights & Buzz"
I don't listen to any of Jack's Mannequin's other stuff, but this song really hit me hard back in 2009 when I was living in California.

10. Bob Dylan - "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"
It's now a family tradition for me to see how deep into Bob Dylan's Christmas in the Heart we can get before my dad yells, "Turn it off!"  Funniest Christmas album ever, though perhaps unintentionally?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monthly Mix #9: November 2015

November 2015:
It hasn't really gotten cold yet, so this could really be played in any season.

1. The Weepies - "Early Morning Riser"
This is what the Bell Brigade's last album should've sounded like.

2. Foo Fighters - "Saint Cecilia"
It was nice of the Foo Fighters to release a free EP last week.  It was even nicer of them to make it better than Sonic Highways.

3. Trey Anastasio - "In Rounds"
Funky, horny fun from Phish's axman.

4. Diamond Rugs - "Couldn't Help It"
I agree with the guy at the Partisan Records booth at a record fair I went to that their first album is superior.  But I couldn't help but like this track.

5. Band of Horses - "No One's Gonna Love You"
I thought the Horses were supposed to have dropped another record by now, but that hasn't happened.  So I'll tide you over with one of my favorite songs ever.

6. Electric Light Orchestra - "One Step at a Time"
ELO have a new album out and I got to see them live!

7. My Morning Jacket - "Believe (Nobody Knows)"
The Waterfall was a bit of a letdown as a whole, but this first song is a good one.

8. Edelweiss - "Withering Heights (Island Remix)"
The Pennsylvania band you may remember from my podcast released a compilation of their first two EPs with a couple new remixes.  Here's one.

9. Eagles - "Life in the Fast Lane"
The girl I'm dating is a big Eagles fan, so I'm exploring their catalogue.

10. Lettuce - "Trillogy"
You'd eat more salad if all lettuce was this good.  I saw them play it live too.

Monthly Mix #8: October 2015

October 2015:
I'm beginning to form my opinions on 2015 as a whole.

1. Gary Clark, Jr. - "BYOB"
I thought it was interesting to reframe this soulful interlude as an intro track.

2. Son Little - "Go Blue Blood Red"
Try not to move your head to this.

3. The Weeknd - "Can't Feel My Face"
Sometimes, millions of people can be right.

4. Saintseneca - "Sleeper Hold"
Zac Little and Maryn Jones trade lines with a joyous intensity that the Decemberists lost a few albums ago.  Happy to fill the void with Saintseneca.

5. Animal Liberation Orchestra - "There Was a Time"
Glad to hear the accordion making it back into ALO songs.

6. St. Vincent - "The Antidote"
Found this hard-edged St. Vincent rocker on the Twilight: Breaking Dawn pt. 2 soundtrack of all places.

7. Monophonics - "Lying Eyes"
Hard to believe this isn't some lost cut from the '60s.

8. Whitney Houston - "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)"
I put this on the playlist when we were returning from apple picking, and literally everyone in the van sang along.

9. Tame Impala - "The Less I Know the Better"
Everyone's creaming their jeans about this album.  It's decent, but this is definitely the standout track.

10. Battles - "The Yabba"
This is a bit of a challenging listen at first, but stick it out and you'll be handsomely rewarded.

Monthly Mix #7: September 2015

September 2015: 
This mix is all over place, sort of like the weather.

1. John Legend & the Roots - "Hard Times"
I finally got a chance to check out this collaborative record.  Great track one, side one.

2. Courtney Barnett - "Pedestrian at Best"
This one grabs you by the balls and doesn't let go.

3. Pearl Jam - "The Fixer"
I didn't get to go to Global Festival, but this pick was influenced by that.

4. The Lucksmiths - "Sunlight in a Jar"
I wish that I could capture sunlight in a jar, but sadly, the days are getting shorter.

5. Earth, Wind, & Fire - "September"

6. Steve Miller Band - "Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma"
I've been listening to a lot of Steve Miller Band recently.  This track reminds me of Phish.

7. Nas feat. Keri Hilson - "Hero"
"Try telling Bob Dylan, Bruce, and Billy Joel they can't sing what's in they soul."

8. Leon Bridges - "Better Man"
Sam Cooke he is not, but just listen to how he sings the words "Mississippi River."

9. Rayland Baxter - "Mr. Rodriguez"
Another good one off Rayland's Imaginary Man LP.

10. Hey Anna - "Little Things"
A slow build, but one of my favorite tracks on Hey Anna's debut full-length.  Hear Erin talk about the song on my podcast.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Monthly Mix #6: August 2015

August 2015:
The most summery of months gets the most summery of mixes.

1. John Brown's Body - "Picking Up"
This came up on my brother's iPod while we were on the beach at Assateague.

2. The Thrills - "Don't Steal Our Sun"
I don't want summer to end.

3. The White Buffalo - "Go the Distance"
Probably the only love song you'll hear with the word "peckerwood" in it.

4. Warren G feat. Young Jeezy, Bun B, & Nate Dogg - "Keep on Hustlin'"
Relivin' that G-funk era with some new music.

5. Mayer Hawthorne - "No Strings"
Actually, I usually listen to this one in the winter, but it sounds just as good in the sunshine.

6. Van Damsel - "The Sunshine, Girl"
I got this song for free on Noisetrade a few years ago, and its pop shine has yet to tarnish.

7. Lord Huron - "Cursed"
The whole album is fantastic.  It was hard to narrow it down to one.

8. Grace Potter - "Your Girl"
This should give you an idea of why Grace had to go solo.  This ain't a Nocturnals track.

9. Delta Spirit - "Tellin' the Mind"
BBBBLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEE! I always want Delta Spirit to play this live.

10. Frank Turner - "Silent Key (Acoustic)"
I haven't made up my mind about the new FT album yet, but it sounds a little over-produced to me.  Here's an acoustic version from the Deluxe Edition, so you can focus on Frank's voice.