Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Songs from albums released in 2013

Presented in alphabetical order by name of artist

I made a decent effort to listen to a lot of new music in 2013. I made it through about half the albums I wanted to hear. This list may grow if 2014 starts out slow. The links go to Youtube videos, and there's a Spotify playlist at the end. Please add your favorites.

Arcade Fire: Reflecktor

Sorry. I tried. Sometimes albums creep up on me a few years after I first hear them. Maybe that will be the case with this one. Songs I didn’t skip immediately include Talking Heads-infused Normal Person and You Already Know.

The Black Angles: Indigo Meadow

The Austin scene, the fuzzy guitar, and the unapologetic nod to the Doors make me love a little shot of the Black Angles from time to time. The Day and Broken Soldier are my top two picks from the album.

The Blind Boys of Alabama: I’ll Find A Way

I raise my southern roots to the heavens and say “amen” to I Shall Not Be Moved. As an aside, did they steal Bon Iver’s back up band for I Am Not Waiting Anymore?

Bombino: Nomad

Whatever Auerbach. You’re killing it. The fusion of sounds from the Middle East, Africa, and the American Delta is amazing, but not entirely unique (Ali Farke Toure, Tinariwen). Anyway, I have no idea what he’s saying, but it makes me happy. Here’s the hit song, Amidine.

The Bryan Ferry Orchestra: The Jazz Age

Listen to this and, voilĂ , you get to go back in time. Love Is The Drug … so damn good. Other favorites include Do The Strand and This Island Earth.

Daft Punk: Random Access Memories

Proof positive that disco’s not dead. See previous post

David Bowie: The Next Day

I need more time with The Next Day. I don’t love it yet, but I probably will one day. No songs selected, but I felt obligated to mention this album.

Depeche Mode: Delta Machine

What is there to say? They're legends. Many of the songs sound out of touch and dated, but others such as Heaven and Angel deliver the classic, gliding vocals and heavy hitting beats that transcend time and genre.

Devendra Banhart: Mala 

Time to let the freak folk flag fligh. Best song on Mala? I can’t really tell you because they’re all a bit odd. Try Never Seen Such Good Things. Should he ever decide to start a cult, I’d look into it.

Foxygen: We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

If a bunch of great bands from the 60s and 70s got together in a pot and made a stew and simmered for like half a century and then emerged as a group of young people in a band, they would make the album We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic. It’s just like that. I recommend Shuggie for starters.

Franz Ferdinand: Right Thoughts, Right Words,Right Action

I could nerd out all day dancing to the title track. You never saw such moves! But with 23 songs on the album, I didn’t get around to all of them.

Iggy & The Stooges: Ready to Die

It’s a long way from 1969’s I Wanna Be Your Dog to 2013’s Unfriendly World. There’s a good dose of humor on the new album starting with the cover. Gotta love his eternal punk rock spirit.

Junip: Junip

I’m a big Jose Gonzalez and Junip fan, so it’s easy to give this album my seal of approval. However, I don’t like it as much as the last one. Line of Fire is a clear favorite.

The National: Trouble Will Find Me

Demons. Holy shit this is one of those songs made me stop breathing for a minute when I first heard it. And I only caught a few seconds of it playing on NPR. Don’t Swallow the Cap is getting the glory on most lists, but not mine.

Paul McCartney: New

Are you kidding me? Sir Paul McCartney is 71 and making songs like Alligator?! Awesome.

Valerie June: Pushin’ Against a Stone

Totally original. The entire album is solid, but these stay with me: Pushin’ Againsta Stone, Workin’Womans Blues, and Shotgun

Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires of the City

Likable at first listen and interesting enough to come back to. Step and Hudson standout.

Listen to the list on Spotify:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Electro Swing: Remedy for Blah

I heard this Milo Miles report in the car a couple days ago.

Electro swing is gaining popularity in Europe? I thought it was already old news. I started researching it a little and found that Canada and Bangkok are along for the ride too.

It does make sense though. The whole world seems a tad downturned, and this genre delivers a musical injection of energy and joie de vivre. It's kind of sexy and playful too. What's not to like?

Now, go have one of these and forget about your troubles.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions

"Sometimes, wish you were here. Weather permitting."

In an uncharacteristic move, I have fallen for a song with positive, uplifting lyrics! I would like to personally thank Franz Ferdinand for making me very happy.

"All existence/entities are created from the mind and heart. Breath in with a tranquil mind, breathe out with a peaceful smile, dwell in the present, live the precious moment." - Namo Shakyamuni Buddha


So, turn this up, smile really big, and dance. Uh huh.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sounds Of The Past

Wow. Hi. I forgot I had a blog stalled out here in the digital void. I think I'll start it up again "sweep it new again, arrange it, oh I'll grow a dozen hands ..." because I like talking, writing and thinking about and listening to music.

Last week I listened to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" and Bryan Ferry Orchestra's "Do The Strand" for the first time via NPR music's top 50 songs of 2013 (so far). These two songs caught me by surprise. They deliver a very fresh shot of nostalgia. The artists bring their memories of past eras to their compositions. They use, what I believe to be, a genuine connection to the past to create something new that resonates in the present moment.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wish You Were Here

I've been listening to this song (and album) since I was a baby, but oddly I never listened carefully to the lyrics. I just sort of hummed them, singing along with the words I knew. The other day, as it was playing on the radio, I felt a great sense of discovery to learn the line..."Did you exchange a walk on part in a war for a lead role in a cage?" Why I think this line is so brilliant, I can't tell you. But it absolutely is!

In September, Waters will begin the Wall Tour 2010. And on my birthday, he'll be playing at a venue less than one mile from my house. So, if anyone wants to get me a really fantastic gift...

"Either the music comes first and the lyrics are added, or music and lyrics come together. Only once have the lyrics been written down first - 'Wish You Were Here'. But this is unusual; it hasn't happened before." - Roger Waters, October 1975 interview in Wish You Were Here songbook

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have you found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Say Please

More like thank you! To put Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and M. Ward together in the same band is almost more than I can handle! I haven't had a chance to listen their new album, but here's "Say Please".

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Happens that I was in the right place at the right time to end up with a ticket to a Depeche Mode concert tomorrow at the Ford Amphitheater in Tampa.

I was checking up on them to see what was new, and discovered "Wrong." I watched the video with morbid fascination. I'm embedding the link, but it comes with a WARNING. It is disturbing. If you can stomach mob movies, I guess you can handle it. In summary (duct tape, speeding vehicle, creepy mask, helpless passenger) it made me uneasy, which is probably its intent.

Wrong lyrics
I was born with the wrong sign
In the wrong house
With the wrong ascendancy
I took the wrong road
That led to the wrong tendencies
I was in the wrong place at the wrong time
For the wrong reason and the wrong rhyme
On the wrong day of the wrong week
I used the wrong method with the wrong technique



There's something wrong with me chemically
Something wrong with me inherently
The wrong mix of the wrong genes
I reached the wrong ends by the wrong means
It was the wrong plan
In the wrong hands
The wrong theory for the wrong man
The wrong eyes on the wrong prize
The wrong questions with the wrong replies



I was marching to the wrong drum
With the wrong scum
Pissing out the wrong energy
Using all the wrong lines
And the wrong signs
With the wrong intensity
I was on the wrong page of the wrong book
With the wrong rendition of the wrong look
With the wrong moon, every wrong night
With the wrong tune playing till it sounded right yeah


(Too long)
(Too long)

I was born with the wrong sign
In the wrong house
With the wrong ascendancy
I took the wrong road
That led to the wrong tendencies
I was in the wrong place at the wrong time
For the wrong reason and the wrong rhyme
On the wrong day of the wrong week
I used the wrong method with the wrong technique