Saturday, February 4, 2017

Song of the Day: "I Want To Tell You About What I Want"

I will let Robyn Hitchcock describe this track in his own words:
"The original title of the song was 'My Vision Of World Empathy.' Either we will eventually become extinct and be replaced by cats with articulated thumbs who have evolved the way apes slowly evolved into us, or we will become empathic and mildly telepathic — people like Donald Trump won't happen because biologically no human will be born with that lack of empathy. We will become a species that isn't capable of bullying because we can feel what we're doing to other people. There is obviously some evolutionary step between the human and the angel that needs to take place. Maybe when we have enough suffering credits, our DNA will go, 'Right! Here we go! Homo angelicus — it can read your mind, it's compassionate, it can levitate and it's a great lover! It shares its fish sticks with you and flies you back in time to see The Velvet Underground!' That is what we need to become." - ROBYN HITCHCOCK, 2017

Song: "I Want To Tell You About What I Want"
Artist: Robyn Hitchcock

Friday, February 3, 2017

Song of the Day: "The Community of Hope"

PJ Harvey's recent release, The Hope Six Demolition Project, has been characterized as Let America Shake, and I don't disagree. I like both records, and those songs where Polly seems to channel Chrissie Hynde's voice is a bonus.

Song: "The Community of Hope"
Artist: PJ Harvey

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Song of the Day: "Then Again"

I get why Pinegrove's Cardinal made several Best of 2016 lists...

Song: "Then Again"
Artist: Pinegrove

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Song of the Day: "Drunk Girls Don't Cry"

Imma just leave this right here. Maren Morris is nominated for 4 Grammys although none of them for this song specifically.

Song: "Drunk Girls Don't Cry"
Artist: Maren Morris

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Song of the Day: "We Were Cool"

It'll be nostalgia week this week as both Kims and Tate travel to Portland for an evening of Ant music plus relaxing at Che BG John (thank you John!!!) while he's Londonning. Bek and Molly will be in attendance for Friday activities which makes me think this song is a great song of the day for a day that is part of this week.

And technically we're still cool.

(We are not cool.)

Song: "We Were Cool"
Artist: Lori McKenna

Monday, January 30, 2017

Song of the Day: "Might As Well Be Gone"

Music from the recent Pixies release Head Carrier.

Song: "Might As Well Be Gone"
Artist: Pixies

Sunday, January 29, 2017

2016 Albums: #25 to #21

25: Tegan & Sara Love You To Death

I thought this album was the duo’s fourth or fifth studio album. It’s their eighth; they also have 7 EPs. Apparently I am not fully aware of how substantial their catalog is. Ditto Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Metric, even New Pornogaphers (kinda). Like the country itself (the second largest in terms of square kms), it’s easy to lose track of how much stuff is actually there.

Lead single ‘Boyfriend’ is a massive pop song with a huge chorus that rhymes ‘friend’ to the word ‘friend’ five times in the chorus.”—Line of Best Fit 
It's a great pop record that captures the best qualities of 1989 and 25—throwback electropop, swelling choruses—without feeling like a knockoff of either.
But the album isn’t about past relationships as much as it is about their relationship with each other. It’s got to be tough to be in a band with family members: the biggest stressors of life, your job and your family, combined and, for bonus measure, you get to tour with them which means additional stress, and being confined to tour buses for hours at a time! I can’t begin to imagine how much more “fun” that is with a twin sibling. This album is, largely, about 20 years of that.

24:  Chance the Rapper Coloring Book

It’s worth mentioning that Coloring Book is a mixtape (released for free, never available to purchase). It lives online, initially streaming through Apple Music. It is the first album to make the Billboard 200 chart without being sold; large scale promotions like the free copy of U2’s Songs of Innocence given to iTunes account holders traditionally don’t count toward sales tallies, but a formula that accounts for streaming plays via services like Spotify in album sales earned him that first. It is also the first streaming-only album to receive a Grammy nomination (it received 4). I have a lot of respect for albums that thwart the traditional record label paradigms, but frankly that’s secondary to the music.

The music here is joyful, both in terms of its gospel-tinged emotions and of being really fucking happy. Chance doesn’t characterize himself as a Christian musician, but describes this as music from a Christian man.  His grin on the album cover says a lot about the content of the album.

23: A Tribe Called Quest We Got It From Here, Thank You 4 Your Service…

The timing around this album was sadly impeccable. Their first televised performance in nearly 20 years was the night of the Paris attacks (the Eagles of Death Metal concert, suicide bombers outside a sports arena, additional attacks in bars and restaurants around the city). The heaviness of the evening prompted the band to come together to work on an album of brand new, very relevant material, in secret. Phife Dawg died 8 months before the album’s release, but is well represented, both musically and by naming the album. The album’s release, just days after Trump’s victory, paired them with Dave Chappell as musical guest on the Saturday Night Live show that week, putting “We The People…” right in Trump’s face (since the show is requisite viewing for him).

22: The Jayhawks Paging Mr. Proust

The Jayhawks have been orbiting a bit beyond my radar for the last two decades, occasionally crossing my path but not nearly as much as Wilco or Ryan Adams: all splinters from seminal No Depression bands of the early 90s. Had I not lucked across “Quiet Corners and Empty Spaces“ as a featured song on NPR’s website I probably wouldn’t have thought about them for at least another 18 months.

The album is a return to the band’s classic harmonies sans some of the twang of early albums. Some of the songs lack a bit of the passion of early albums, but it’s from maturity, not weak songwriting. After 30 years in the game maybe everything isn’t the most important thing of ever.

21: PJ Harvey The Hope Six Demolition Project

At my best, I am a casual PJ Harvey fan. I’m not even sure I’ve heard all of To Bring You More Lasagna My Love. That seems easily remedied but also like work. Plus I don’t want to end up having a strong negative reaction like I did with Liz Phair and Exile in Guyville. I’m not sure my friendship with Eric could stand that (CUE: crickets). The one album I listened to pretty much at the time of its release (and liked)? Let England Shake. While that might seem like an odd point of departure, keep in mind that album won the Mercury Prize that year (making Harvey the only artist to win it twice).

This album has been called "Let America Shake," and while it got lost in the spring’s flood of music (it did for me: BeyoncĂ©, Radiohead, others took my focus), I’m glad I got to it post-election. It’s non-specifically angry about “all the shit” (intended vaguely) with a sense of urgency on which I’m projecting meaning I can relate to. Her vocal channeling of Chrissie Hynde doesn’t hurt a bit either. Good music for a shitty year.

Songs of the Day: "Anytime"

Jane Siberry has 2 versions of "Anytime" on her recent album Angels Bend Closer.

First up, a spare, languid ballad version of the song.

Second, a far superior (in my never-humble opinion) R&B version. Which do you prefer? (The R&B version. That's what all right-thinking Americans prefer.)

Song: "Anytime (ballad version)"
Song: "Anytime (R&B version)"
Artist: Jane Siberry