Thursday, February 9, 2017

2016 Albums: The List

25: Tegan & Sara Love You to Death
24: Chance the Rapper Coloring Book
23: A Tribe Called Quest We Got It From Here, Thank You For Your Service
22: The Jayhawks Paging Mr Proust
21: PJ Harvey The Hope Six Demolition Project
20: School of Seven Bells SVIIB
19: John K Sampson Winter Wheat
18: Solange Knowles A Place At The Table
17: Frank Ocean Blonde
16: The Head and the Heart Signs of Life
15: Sturgill Simpson A Sailor's Guide to Earth
14: Rihanna Anti
13: Drake Views
12: Green Day Revolution Radio
11: Red Hot Chili Peppers The Getaway
10: Jane Siberry Ulysses' Purse
9: Drive By Truckers American Band
8: Pinegrove Cardinal
7: Kanye West The Life of Pablo
6: Anderson  .Paak Malibu
5: Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool
4: The 1975 I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It
3: Bowie Blackstar
2: Margo Price Midwest Farmer's Daughter
1: Beyoncé Lemonade

2016 Albums: #5 to #1

5: Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool

I initially wondered if the album was really as good as I thought it was, or if I was just really happy it wasn’t another King of Limbs.

I wonder how things might have played out if this hadn’t been released so soon after Lemonade (the album that dominated my year).

Also I really want a hyphen in the title: moon-shaped.

4: The 1975 I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It

Another band discovered through year-end lists.

There’s a catalog to explore, but I’m not doing that right now. Rather than analyze this a lot I’ll just say that the pastiche of 80s Euro-electronic music is so warmly nostalgic that my recommendation to you is to just dive in, the water’s fine.

3: David Bowie Blackstar

I still don’t want to talk about losing Bowie.


2: Margo Price Midwest Farmer’s Daughter

Holy shit where did Margo Price come from?! I wasn’t expecting an album like this: it’s like an overview of country music greatness over the last 40 years, paying tribute to the sounds and styles without feeling derivative.

The title, both a Beach Boys lyric and an homage to Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” may be a good starting point to frame this overview of styles. Price’s story, summarized nicely by Pitchfork, only makes me love this album more:
"… sounds like every country song rolled into one: Dad lost the farm, Nashville screwed her over, she shacked up with a married man, did a brief stint in jail, lost a child. To record this album, she hocked her wedding ring and car to pay for sessions at Memphis' legendary Sun Studios."
For a brief moment I thought this might end up on the top of my list.

1: Beyoncé Lemonade
“Yes, but think of it this way, Niles: what is the one thing better than an exquisite meal?  An exquisite meal with one tiny flaw we can pick at all night.”—Frasier Crane, Frasier “Retirement is Murder
It is a testament to how fucking great Lemonade is that I even think to wonder if the bit of dancehall and her sudden Jamaican accent on “Hold Up” help the album. I’m not sure I would put the garnish on the left side of the plate, obviously it should be at the top.

I’ve written more about Lemonade, out of my own desire to opine on it, than all other music from 2016 combined. I've learned a lot about African American culture and religion by reading various summaries of the visual album. Early on I wondered if it was all too much, the visuals, the edits, if it was a sizzle and no steak.

There's some fucking steak there.

The reaction to “Formation” says so much about our country that I probably should look into emigrating to Canada. We are so fucked. Hopefully Bey’s got my back.

2016 Albums: #10 to #6

10: Jane Siberry Ulysses' Purse

Nearly 30 years after I was first charmed by her quirky, stylish, clever, and polished music—one part Peter Gabriel, one part Laurie Anderson, one part Suzanne Vega—Jane Siberry released her 15th studio album, initially as Angels Bend Closer (which I tend to call it). Part of what’s great about my favorite Siberry albums is that she balances ethereal new age-y music, driving pop music, and somber ballads at the album level. She returns to that musical sensibility here.

She also managed to get her “shit-kicking friend from Alberta” (I’m paraphrasing her acceptance speech on k.d. lang’s behalf when Jane picked up lang’s trophy at the CMJ Awards back in 1989) for another duet.

9: Drive-By Truckers American Band

I discovered Jason Isbell last year, so it’s probably timely for me to get around to his former band this year. I suppose if you’re gonna record 11 albums maybe I can take a minute to check out your stuff…

Comparing them to Neil Young is too obvious, but too obvious to pass up. I suppose I could consider them country to bolster that genre’s contribution to my year end lists (I think Isbell counted), but lyrically, no way. Don’t make me parse why Sturgill Simpson = country and Drive-By = not, but it’s mostly about Simpson being embraced there.

I assume he is. I actually don’t know. Does Portland have a country station? And how is Keith Urban taken seriously with that hair? (That’s not a music question, that’s a hair question.)

The album is a great set of observant, current songs on America: politics, society, religion, guns, immigration. The worst thing I can say about it is the timing of its release, about 5 weeks before the Presidential election, somehow preserves these high-minded songs in amber. That seems to amplify all the shit that’s going down today. But maybe that’s just me paying attention to the world around me while the album plays. It stings.

8: Pinegrove Cardinal

I hadn’t heard of the band prior to year-end lists mentioning this album. There are still a handful of albums that were regularly included among best of 2016 releases that I didn’t get to at all (Mitski, Leonard Cohen), or owe a second listen (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), but sooner or later you have to post the fucking list and get on with your life, so here we are. Oh, what’s my point, these guys. Yeah, loved this album!

The music is loose, breezy, jangly, harkening equal parts Guided by Voices, Wilco and Marshall Crenshaw. If that doesn’t explain my enthusiasm then we probably haven’t discussed music very much.

7: Kanye West The Life of Pablo

Let’s get this out of the way: this is the ugliest album cover I’ve seen in the last 20 years. There’s no way it isn’t intentionally provocative. No one sees beauty there, right? Shit. I am reminded of the movie Pollock, Ed Harris’s biopic of Jackson Pollock – when asked why his drip painting is beautiful (or possibly art) his response “why are flowers” (beautiful or possibly art)? There’s a lot of subjectivity in art, but c’mon, this is awful.

When I described it to a friend and invoked the shade of hosiery worn by Hooters waitresses to describe the background. He pulled the cover up on his phone and just nodded. The typeface, the alignment (and lack of), the photos, it all feels amateurish, random, unfinished. But all of that the text, the images, the seeming randomness of distribution/lack of alignment, are hallmarks of artist Peter DePotter. Which just goes to show, art is subjective and, more importantly, you can call yourself an artist and no one really can say you aren’t. If DePotter called himself a graphic designer I’d say his work sucks, but as an artist, well, maybe I just don’t get it (also this cover sucks).

But it doesn’t surprise me at all that a Kanye West album vexes me like this.

Like the cover, the lyrics to “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” are some of the ugliest (stupidest) I’ve ever heard from West.
Now if I fuck this model
And she just bleached her asshole
And I get bleach on my T-shirt
I'ma feel like an asshole
The song gets better (it would have to), and both it and the cover might be examples of not letting initial impressions limit your experiences… but wait, fuck, if the album cover is actually art, then that wouldn’t be the case. I do this shit, this overthinking, with Kanye West albums.

It’s been called Kanye’s gospel album, and gospel elements are evident here, but I don’t think labeling anything he’s done is useful. West is probably the most musically curious and ambitious musician working today; for reals. There are a lot of reasons to dislike Kanye, but his outspoken nature and his musical explorations shouldn’t be among them.

The Life of Pablo parallels the Gospel of Paul the Apostle, from the blinding light  of his transformation to lyrical references to Bible verse. I didn’t want to love this album.

6: Anderson .Paak Malibu

Last year country, this year hip hop. Shit, this isn’t really hip hop. Hip hop/urban alternative? Maybe it’s hip hop enough. Whatever, there’s no editor to second guess me… hip hop!!!

I’d never heard of Paak before the best of lists and I adore this album. There’s a lot on here to love. I’ve written too much about Kanye West, just listen to this album, you’ll dig it.

2016 Albums: #15 to #11

15: Sturgill Simpson A Sailor’s Guide To Earth

Country music was a big part of the music I loved in 2015. It’s notably less relevant in 2016 (Loretta Lynn, Maren Morris and Miranda Lambert all had albums with moments I found compelling, but that didn’t sustain my interest throughout). Simpson did, bringing more strong songwriting and another out of left field cover to a well-crafted album. As with “The Promise” on his last album, his cover of “In Bloom” won’t click with fans of the original, but once again he finds a new life for the song.

The album received wide critical acclaim and earned Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Best Country Album. The songs are intimate, defiant, frank.
I done Syria, Afganistan, Iraq and Iran
North Korea tell me where does it end
Well the bodies keep piling up with every day
How many more of em they gonna send
The album is framed as letters home for an American serviceman overseas. It’s useful and a bit petty to point out that Simpson actually served in the US Navy while Toby “America’s Boot, Y’All’s Country’s Ass, Etc.” Keith served in the 404 FILE NOT FOUND (Keith does offer active servicemen/women a free burger and beer at his I Love Bar and Grill). Simpson's actual service, no doubt punctuated with actual humans injured or killed, has him eschewing country music’s cliché jingoism.

The boundaries of country music in the mid-teens seems to be simply “no rap/no Black artists [aside from the one]”—it's totally acceptable for Sugarland or the Dixie Chicks to cover Beyoncé, but when Beyoncé appeared with the latter to perform “Daddy Lessons” at the CMAs, the audience was displeased. Simpson’s music is too progressive for the “country” label to limit it, but his continued acceptance in the genre creates the interesting scenario of music that is openly cynical about America’s use of its military in front Sarah Palin’s alleged “real America” who are along for the ride.

14 & 13: Rihanna Anti & Drake Views

There are two sets of two albums that have become paired in my head. The first: Anti and Drake’s Views. It has nothing to do with their collaborations with each other or their relationship status at any given moment (I believe they are both contractually obligated to date someone new every 16 weeks). It might have something to do with the fact that I’ve seen both titles stylized in all capital letters at various times.

Both are artists I associate with upbeat songs of or about the clubs (those mythical, non-couch oriented clubs). These albums are filled with post-club music. Both albums are solid and the quality of music pretty consistent throughout. Neither is distinguished by singles (aside from “Hotline Bling” which ended 2015 at #2 on my singles list, coincidentally behind Rihanna at #1 with “Four/Five Seconds”).

I’m sure listening to them in close proximity to each other as part of my year-end review didn’t hurt, but I’m not associating either with Angel Olsen or Chance the Rapper or Anderson .Paak who were being played around the same time. If pushed I would have said Drake deserves the better ranking but listening to tracks now, I’m thinking Rihanna. But officially they are tied.

No, not tied, paired. They’re paired in these 2 positions.

12 & 11: Green Day Revolution Radio & Red Hot Chili Peppers The Getaway

As luck would have it, the other two albums that are paired in my head (and on my list) are also in positions adjacent to the Drake & Rihanna (or Rihanna & Drake) pairing. In this case both bands are rock acts I like and respect, but don’t consider among my favorites. Both have megahit songs that they’ve copied a few times and eschewed attempts, almost, here (“Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” and “Under the Bridge” being the first instance of each).

While “Sick Love” seems to flirt with Bridge-ness, it’s more “Bennie and the Jets” -- Elton John and Bernie Taupin share writing credit and Elton plays piano on the track. “Ordinary World” seems far too earnest and simple, folky, to compare with GR/TOYL. It will probably end up in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, but would have an entirely different emotional pitch than the earlier song and the episode of e.r. it was used in.

Both albums are about bands I dig playing safely within their established boundaries, making really solid music, and seeming to have a lot of fun doing it. I know those three things are increasingly subjective in that order, but listen to both and tell me whether you think they sound like they’re having a good time. I’ll be right here waiting.

If pushed for ranking the two, I’d place RHCP ahead of GD based on their scoring 2 singles on my top 50 (GD only earned 1). Elton John also helped.

Song of the Day: "The Ballad of Jimmy McCabe"

While Paul Weller's music has appeared on movie soundtracks, Weller has never written something original specifically for a movie. I thought maybe "Have You Ever Had It Blue" from Absolute Beginners, but really that's just an interpolation of "With Everything To Lose." Also his record label sent out a promo email announcing it as his first original soundtrack for a movie, so I'll allow it.

The movie is Jawbone with Ray Winstone and Ian McShane. There's boxing involved. That seems right. Winstone and McShane could easily play executive consultants but they seem ill-cast in anything that can't be described as "gritty." Which is why they both need better agents: mix it up guys. Challenge yourselves.

Unless the pay is good, in which case, coast.

Song: "The Ballad of Jimmy McCabe"
Artist: Paul Wellers

2016 Albums: #20 to #16

20: School of Seven Bells SVIIB

My interest in School of Seven Bells dates back to their debut album Alpinisms back in 2008. The attraction then, as now, is their Cocteau Twins-esque sound. Simple as that.

Ben Curtis, one of 3 founding members, passed away at the end of 2013, after writing most of the songs for SVIIB and recording a few with the other remaining founder, Alejandra Deheza. Deheza took another 2 years to prepare the band’s swansong. Having lost Curtis, she planned for this album to be the band’s last. The final words of the final chapter show strength despite her loss.
This is the night
  to wish
    to dive
      to fall
        to show
          who we are
This is our time
     and our time is indestructible

19: John K. Samson Winter Wheat

Samson came to my attention thanks to clever pop songs with his band The Weakerthans (check out “Civil Twilight” if you don’t know them). His first solo album put him atop my singles list for 2012 with “When I Write My Master’s Thesis.” I found myself wondering if he was/is the Sting of The Weakerthans. I concluded that he was/is the Paul Westerburg.

Winter Wheat is all about lyrics—clever lyrics, thoughtful lyrics—it could be Billy Bragg or Michelle Shocked at their most playful, the basics of smart lyrics with minimal instrumentation and production. The songs are simple, plaintive, observant. My first time listening through the album I didn’t expect it to rate inclusion on my albums list. The third time through I knew it probably would.

18: Solange A Seat At The Table

Solange has not received proper respect from me in the past. She came to my attention as a punchline, but thanks to the Fabulous Clinton (who is fabulous) I gave Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams a chance and found myself utterly charmed by the girl group pastiche of songs like “I Decided” and “T.O.N.Y.” Later I heard her version Dirty Projectors’ “Gun Has No Trigger,” an unlikely favorite of mine and a seemingly odd choice to cover.

Why do I think I know anything about what Solange is going to cover? I think that’s the point of this album: enough white privilege, male privilege, Rich Jones-centric culture.

She’s never tried to be Beyoncé Jr. in any of the music I’ve heard. There was likely pressure from her dad to repeat her sister’s successes (she was a member of Destiny’s Child at different times). Note to self: stop expecting things from Solange.

A Seat At The Table garnered enough year-end praise (Pitchfork named it the #1 album of 2016; another 10 publications/websites included it in their top 20) that I gave it a second chance after initially finding it cold, un-relatable. The album is much better if you have no expectations of what a Solange album should sound like. Raphael Saadiq provides a through line with his flavor of neo-soul as co-producer – it’s evident but not overpowering.

By the way, I have never, to the best of my recollection, touched another person’s hair without also touching much more of their body (let’s say grabbing the back of someone’s head while also in contact with their mouth). Women of color routinely write about experiences of their personal space being invaded by white people touching their hair. I have discussed hair of color before (corn rows, and I was 19 and from Gwinnett county) but there was no touching. “Don’t Touch My Hair” is one of the 2 singles and its genesis is from some microaggressions she endured while attending Coachella last spring (in the audience; she performed in 2014 and will again this spring). Here’s my question: am I missing something? Should I be grabbing at hair?

17: Frank Ocean Blonde

I wasn’t big on Ocean’s acclaimed Channel ORANGE. I tried, but it didn’t hit me. Its year-end list placement (Time ranked it the #1 album of 2016; another 12 publications/websites included it in their top 10) prompted me to listen at all. It clicked right away.

Frank Ocean - 'Nikes' from DoBeDo Productions on Vimeo.

Its sparse sound frames the vocals, giving them and the lyrics more emphasis, more strength. It’s R&B with interesting texture. Another album about empowerment from a musician of color: maybe that’s the real theme of my 2016 lists.

Frank Ocean "Pink + White" from Almas Jezovski on Vimeo.

16: The Head And The Heart Signs Of Light

Unlike Solange and Frank Ocean, this album from The Head And The Heart seemed like what I expected. It’s comfortable that way. White privilege in action: the white pop band from Seattle gets a head start in front of Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, Solange… the system works.

There’s a bit of Fleetwood Mac, a dash of Eagles and Heartbreakers in this album. It’s a mainstream pop/rock album. It’s Dockers rock™: music to shop for khakis by (that is, it will be playing at Nordstrom Rack or JC Penney or Banana Republic when you shop for pants).

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sketches on Divinity and Infinity

This isn't a fully formed post*. It's just a quick place to throw a bunch of thoughts that I think are related to something more considered, fleshed out and edited.

“God is the name we give to the things we don't know how to explain.”--me, 2008

“God is the name we give to the science we don't understand. Science is the name we give to the God we don't understand.”--Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience, 2013 (per Goodreads)

I'm not sure the Maraboli quote is accurate since it would make a lot more sense if it were “God is the name we give to the science we don't understand. Science is the name we give to the God we don't do understand.” But I could be wrong.

I don't know Maraboli (Dr. Maraboli) -- he appears to be a writer of inspirational, motivational, spiritual and/or philosophical books

* This means that most of the other posts are actually fully formed. Yikes, right?

I find the number π (pi) to be perfect, possibly divine. It doesn't repeat out to trillions of decimal places (thank you computers!)! It's transcendental (I don't understand that well enough to explain it but it's a thing)!! The digits are random and normally distributed!!! And it's a homophone for pie!!!!

Then there was a bad ass crop circle which turned out to represent the first 10 digits of π... bad ass!!!! Details here.

2016 Singles #10 to #1

10: The Chainsmokers/Daya "Don't Let Me Down"
So don't let me, don't let me, don't let me down
I think I'm losing my mind now
Too late. For some time I thought this was a Rihanna single. Also, unrelated, this song is nominated for a Grammy in the Best Dance Recording category. What kind of a shitty club expects you to be able to dance to this song?

9: The 1975 "She's American"
A big town
Synthetic apparitions of not being lonely
Look, he's having a breakdown
The 1975 bring a mélange of 80s British pop music sounds to their album with a very long name. Here Johnny Hates the Wet Wet Curious Cat but also Bourgeois Tagg stopped by for a minute. Is the song a critique of America? Don't care. We probably deserve it if it is.

8:  Shura "What's It Going To Be?"
I don't wanna give you up
I don't wanna let you love somebody else but me
So what's it gonna be?
A bright, dreamy pop song can be therapeutic. I need about 1,200 songs just as good as this. Stat.

7: Anderson .Paak "Put Me Thru"
Fuck around with this
Strange and elusive, too afraid to lose it
I don't mind this pain
Paak marries sweet soul, complicated rhythms and lyrical urgency into a great song.

6: DNCE/Kent Jones "Blown"
Put down your phone, don't send that pic
They won't come back unless they're missin' it
It's possible the audio equivalent of a retro filter is one of the overarching themes of this year's singles list. Make America(n Music) Great Again. (And by great we mean make it sound like older stuff that we're comfortable with not by challenging international music that we can't handle, cause we can't.)

5: Bastille "Good Grief"
Caught off guard by your favorite song
I’ll be dancing at a funeral, dancing at a funeral
With Wild Wood, their second studio album, Bastille seem to want to be a combination of Coldplay and Mark Ronson while I apparently want them to be a combination of Level 42 and China Crisis. This is still a great fucking song.

4: The Jayhawks "Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces"
In the end there's no way in redemption
Hey now, catch me quick before I walk away
Lyrically this is kinda nihilistic. But it's a glorious nihilistic pop song. That it would sit next to "Ultralight Beam" on this list is just one of those signs from God random things that happens.

3: Kanye West/Chance The Rapper/Kirk Franklin/Kelly Price/The-Dream "Ultralight Beam"
I'm tryna keep my faith
But I'm looking for more
Somewhere I can feel safe
And end my holy war
Kanye brings genuine gospel gravitas (Kirk Franklin, Kelly Price), joyful music (Chance the Rapper), and great pop music (The-Dream) to bear on the opening track of The Life of Pablo, and the result has been challenging me ever since I first heard it. The song, just the latest in a long line of things that remind me of my all-consuming doubt (the opposite of faith is doubt), portends salvation... just not for me.

2: Beyoncé "Sorry"
Middle fingers up, put them hands high
Wave it in his face, tell him, boy, bye
When you are trying to let someone who has cheated on you know that you aren't thinking about them, releasing a visual album about the whole thing might undermine that message. "Stop interrupting my grinding" is fine, that has a legitimate "bitch please" authenticity to it. I still find the reference to suicide a bit unsettling in the context of both this song and the album, but it's fleeting. Unless that's exactly the kind of cry for help people actual give. Mine haven't been very distinct (which is probably why they may have gone unnoticed—once again I am too subtle).

1: Beyoncé "Formation"
Okay, ladies, now let's get in formation, 'cause I slay (police officers in my war on cops)
Prove to me you got some coordination, 'cause I slay (police officers in my war on cops)
Slay trick, or you get eliminated
Years ago a former colleague used the term "poetic dual meaning" of a word that was part of a client's brand message. That idea came back to me years ago, naturally, with a Drake song. And it rears its head again here where the call for women to get in formation is also a call for women to get information. The song, which is obviously an anti-police anthem despite, you know, what the lyrics say, can also be seen as a rallying cry to women of color to love themselves, to work together, to get educated, (and to slay police officers). Beyoncé is responsible for the deaths of more than 900 police officers since this song's release, and for the on-going War On Drugs Poverty Homelessness Christmas Police. That's got to take a lot of her time. No wonder House of Deréon didn't last.

"Formation" made a lot of white people freak the fuck out. FOX News' reaction to the song and Beyonce's performance of it at the Super Bowl a year ago, pretty much guaranteed the song would rank near the top of my singles list. Using Red Lobster as a reward for good sex didn't hurt a bit.

2016 Singles #20 to #11

20: Anderson .Paak "The Bird"
I got my patience and I'm making do
I learned my lessons from the ancient roots
I choose to follow what the greatest do
Paak was unknown to me prior to Malibu (his fourth album). The music unfolds in a really wonderful way on this song: instruments dance in and out, embracing a few genres but never committed to anything specific. It's got a groove you can't lose.

19: Mary J. Blige "Thick Of It"
What a hell of a year
If I make it through hell and I come out alive I got nothing to fear
Um, fuck yes.

18: Kanye West/Rihanna/Swizz Beatz "Famous"
I loved you better than your own kin did
From the very start
I don't blame you much for wanting to be free
I was surprised at how much The Life Of Pablo clicked with me. Kanye West makes some motherfucking music that I really like. He has for years. This song is as much about Swizz Beatz (who helped make "Ass On The Floor" the #33 single from 2010) and Rihanna (who, along with Kanye, was my #1 single for 2015) as Kanye. Rihanna's haunting vocals more than compensate for some pretty basic Kanye swagger/bragger lyrics. I’m indifferent on the Taylor Swift stuff, but it's worth remembering later.

17: Green Day "Still Breathing"
I'm like a soldier coming home for the first time
I dodged a bullet and I walked across a landmine
I was surprised at how much Revolution Radio clicked with me. Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers both put out really solid albums that don't break new ground for either band, but let them remind us all that they're still capable of making great music. It's entirely possible that a review of all these songs will yield some reflection on surviving the shittiness of 2016, but I'll leave that to y'all.

16: DNCE "Cake By The Ocean"
Talk to me, baby
I’m going blind from this sweet sweet craving, whoa-oh
Let's lose our minds and go fucking crazy
This song has very little today with cake, which is a bit of a shame. I like cake. Obviously.

15: The Head And The Heart "All We Ever Knew"
I know sometimes you get so caught in a dream
But now it's time to wake up from this
It's time to make up for it
This song sounds like unity to me. That's a weird thing to say, right? Especially in the context of the other shit I've been writing about these tracks. But it does.

14: The Avalanches "Because I'm Me"
If she don't love me, what can I do?
Just put on my best pair of shoes
Because I'm me
It's produced with the sonic equivalent of an Instagram retro filter, but just go with it. I'm sure the song's old school vibe can stand on its own, but with no way to confirm that, just go with it.

13: Electric Guest "Dear To Me"
But over time I come back and remember
The only thing that I know
Electric Guest seem to pop up on my radar every few years with such a distinctive sound (never the same as the last time). I need to give them some quality time, because it seems like there's some greatness to be discovered.

12: The Lumineers "Cleopatra"
But I was late for this, late for that, late for the love of my life
And when I die alone, when I die alone, when I die I'll be on time
The Lumineers make great pop music with compelling rhythms. If they keep doing that, you'll keep seeing them on my lists.

11: Radiohead "Burn The Witch"
This is a low flying panic attack
Fuck... we're at the dawn of the next Salem Witch Trials, aren't we?

Song of the Day: "Silly Boy"

Despite their origin in Bakersfield, Fawns of Love manage to name check Kate Bush, Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Cocteau Twins and Sparks (apparently Sparks is a really big influence on half of this duo) in their bio. Hmmm, that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense now that I see it written. My initial point was that the bio lists a lot of British musical influences, but then I include Sparks who (I looked) are from LA. Also it's not like you have to be in Britain to listen to that music. Let's try this again...

Fawns of Love, a married duo from Bakersfield, cite some musical influences that my peeps really dig, so it's possible those same peeps will also appreciate FoL. I'm not sure I know someone who is a Sparks fan specifically, but all the other artists, definitely.

Song: "Silly Boy"
Artist: Fawns of Love

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Song of the Day: "The Story"

Holy crap, time sure flies. LeAnn Rimes broke out on the country music scene in 1996, winning 2 Grammys and going multi-platinum at age 13. Two decades later and she's 34 (21 + 13 = 34), releasing her 17th studio album (3 albums precede her 1996 success). I guess I've lost track of her, because here she is unrecognizable (her appearance and her voice). She's aged a lot in 20 years (we all have).

Perhaps that's why she picked this Brandi Carlisle song to cover...

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am

Song: "The Story"
Artist: LeAnn Rimes

Monday, February 6, 2017

Song of the Day: "All Disco"

Elbow's seventh album, Little Fictions, is just out.  This track is a bit "Tame Impala" and all songs on the album are characterized as upbeat and "joyful."

Song: "All Disco"
Artist: Elbow

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Song of the Day: "Lowly"

It's Sunday, so let's all go to church with CeCe Winans with something from her 11th solo album, Let Them Fall In Love.

Song: "Lowly"
Artist: CeCe Winans