Playlist #66

Happy Monday and welcome to August, everyone! As always, you can back me on Patreon, and there’s still that GoFundMe for my wife. We’re woefully underfunded for the month of August, so any little bit helps.

  1. Simply Three, “Dance Monkey”: The podiatrist my wife goes to always has some interesting music playing in the waiting room. This was playing there last week, and I kinda dig it.
  2. Jackson Browne, “Jamaica Say You Will”: Jackson Browne is just hands down one of the best songwriters of the 20th century, and this song – which opens up his self-titled album – is a good example of his songcraft.
  3. Aerosmith, “Big Ten Inch Record”: Aerosmith are the masters of what Nanny Ogg would call “single-intenders.” They’re not quite double entendres, because there is no subtlety to them whatsoever. But my, are they fun.
  4. The Wallflowers, “I’ll Let You Down (But Will Not Give You Up)”: Oh, Jakob. You know what a Wallflowers song sounds like, and you hit so close on most of this album. Letting Rami Jaffe go was a mistake, though.
  5. Toad the Wet Sprocket, “I’ll Bet On You”: The chord changes and melody for this song are based on a Lapdog song (made up of half of the band while Toad was on hiatus back in the early oughts), but then Glen Phillips came in and said, “Hey, this sounds great, but you know what would sound greater? If I wrote new lyrics for it and sang on this one instead of one of you other yokels.” And then they did that.
  6. Three Dog Night, “Shambala”: Shambala is a mythical place, rather like El Dorado or that Tibetan monastery where the Iron Fist trained. It’s also a pretty good song.
  7. Billy Bragg & Wilco, “When The Roses Bloom Again”: Yeah, the third volume of Mermaid Avenue was a collection of diminishing returns, but even in among all the fair-to-middling stuff on there, you find the occasional gem such as this one. It’s a gorgeous song and Jeff Tweedy’s vocals are perfect.
  8. Radiohead, “Ill Wind”: It’s an ill wind blows no man good, or something like that. Hey, I wrote a book with a title very similar!
  9. The Regular Joes, “Restless”: Found an email from my uncle the other day that he wrote back when I first moved out to Virginia (some 17 years ago now). It has the chord changes for this song in there, ’cause I wanted to learn to play it on guitar. It’s a very simple song, chords-wise, so I’ll probably be playing it later today.
  10. The Allman Brothers Band, “Midnight Rider”: They are just determined not to let the midnight rider catch them. Nosiree, not those Allman boys.

Playlist #65 – Stranger Things

Monday was the Wife’s birthday! In her honor, you could contribute to her GoFundMe. Covid hit her hard and our finances harder, so every little bit helps. And I’m doing my usual thing over at Patreon, where a new song will drop this Friday! This week’s playlist is inspired by my Wife, who – when hearing the Tom Waits song on last week’s playlist – said, “Why not do a whole playlist of weird songs?” To which I replied, “You mean a Tom Waits playlist?”

  1. Tom Waits, “The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)”: I dunno, Tom. Your words are more than a little slurred here. I have my doubts about the veracity of your claim.
  2. The Magnetic Fields, “Epitaph For My Heart”: The Wife’s favorite Magnetic Fields song. It starts with a recitation of a warning on a door that threatens electrocution if you open it and gets weirder from there.
  3. Marcy Playground, “Sex & Candy”: Every time I hear this song, I think of that time I was working at the YMCA the summer after my first year of college, and when this song came on the bus, all the little children (like, 10 year olds) sang the first three words of the chorus – “I like sex” – and nothing else.
  4. Melanie, “Brand New Key”: Do roller skates even need keys anymore? It’s been so long since I wore a pair, but I’m pretty sure they don’t. Kids these days will never understand this song (not that I necessarily understand it myself, mind you).
  5. The Mountain Goats, “Cadaver Sniffing Dog”: Now, this playlist could have also just been a Mountain Goats playlist, and this song is a good example of why.
  6. REM, “Swan Swan H”: Does anyone ever know what Michael Stipe is singing about, including Michael Stipe? I’d wager the answer is “no.”
  7. Tom Lehrer, “Poisoning Pigeons In The Park”: This man takes a certain glee from killing pigeons in the park. He might be a serial killer.
  8. America, “A Horse With No Name”: Hint: you can give the horse a name, dude. You can call it whatever you want. It’s a horse, it don’t care.
  9. The Presidents of the United States of America, “Peaches”: Again, another band where I could have made a playlist just out of their songs and it would have fit right in.
  10. Carl Douglas, “Kung Fu Fighting”: As the t-shirt says, surely not everyone was kung fu fighting.

Playlist #64

Another week, another playlist! Don’t forget to support me making music over on Patreon. I’m posting a mix of one of my songs done by my brother next Monday, so be sure to check it out!

  1. Ezra Furman & the Harpoons, “Mysterious Power”: This guy does a lot of the music for a tv show called Sex Education on Netflix. It’s a funny show, you should check it out. And the music is pretty solid, too.
  2. Jesse Malin, “Crawling Back To You”: Saw this song on a Jesse Malin album I downloaded over the weekend. “Oh, it has the same name as that Tom Petty song,” I thought to myself. Folks, it is that Tom Petty song, and it’s a pretty good cover of it.
  3. The Beatles, “You Really Got A Hold On Me”: You can’t go wrong with the Beatles covering a doo-wop number. You just can’t.
  4. Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Who’ll Stop The Rain”: There’s just something about CCR songs that always get me in a good mood.
  5. Tom Waits, “The Earth Died Screaming”: The Wife wants me to put together a playlist of weird songs. I told her it’d just be a Tom Waits playlist, then.
  6. The Gaslight Anthem, “Biloxi Parish”: I think The Gaslight Anthem may be one of my top five bands of the past fifteen or so years.
  7. Fleetwood Mac, “Rhiannon”: Just how common is the name Rhiannon, anyway? I can’t imagine there are too many of them wandering around.
  8. Jack Johnson, “Banana Pancakes”: I hate bananas.
  9. Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell, “This Must Be The Place”: Features the line, “Sing into my mouth,” which is probably the grossest thing I’ve ever heard Sam Beam sing.
  10. Neil Young, “Down By The River”: Neil Young gives me hope that even my crappy guitar solos aren’t so bad. “Solo? You mean play the same note 32 times in a row, right?”

Playlist #63 – Doomed Love

I am returned to the East from my vacation! 5800 miles later and (mostly) none the worse for wear. I am still doing music over on Patreon, where I’ll be unveiling July’s song of the month shortly. Today’s playlist comes courtesy of my brother, Clif, who not only suggested the theme but most of the songs on the list. Let’s jump in!

  1. Bruce Springsteen, “Loose Ends”: Sure, a lot of Springsteen’s songs feature characters stuck in relationships that seem doomed to end in abject failure, but only this one likens the relationship to a tightening noose.
  2. Mo Kenney, “Ahead of Myself”: I don’t know who hurt you, Mo, but you should stay away from them for your own good.
  3. The Fratellis, “For the Girl”: For such an upbeat, poppy band, they sure can turn in a downer of a song.
  4. Goodnight, Texas, “Dearest Sarah”: Based on an actual soldier’s letter to his wife back home, telling her that he felt he was going to die in an upcoming battle and she ought to live out the rest of her life as she would. More than a little dark and sad.
  5. Crowded House, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”: Can you believe some folks play this song at their wedding? That’s almost as weird and disconcerting as playing the Police’s “Every Breath You Take.”
  6. Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s, “Talking In Code”: A relationship ending always strikes me as sad, though a number of relationships are less than stellar and probably shouldn’t have existed in the first place. No one should have to hear someone sing them sad songs to keep them awake.
  7. The Decemberists, “O Valencia!”: There’s always something about the way Colin Meloy sings that always makes a Decemberist song seem like it’s set in the 1860s, even when he makes mention of things like cars.
  8. The Elected, “It Was Love”: As Clif said, “the relationship is probably doomed if you can’t even figure out if you were in love or not.” He ain’t wrong.
  9. The Beatles, “Run For Your Life”: I’m half convinced any relationship involving John Lennon is probably doomed from the start, mostly because of songs like this one.
  10. Old 97s, “The Other Shoe”: If you’re hiding under the bed, waiting for your spouse and her lover, and then you drive out to the central Texas desert to bury their dead bodies, I’m pretty sure that romance is doomed. Very doomed.

Playlist #62

Happy Fourth of July, folks! I survived my trip to Utah with my mother (it was beautiful and I’m glad I went, even if she did try to kill me a couple of times). As per usual, you can support my making music over on Patreon. Anyway, let’s get on with this week’s playlist:

  1. Joe Baxter and the Lost Cause, “Mt. Nebo Blues”: My uncle’s old bandmate mostly does folky, acoustic-based stuff nowadays, though back in the day they could tear it up.
  2. Brad Paisley, “All I Wanted Was A Car”: My mom really likes Brad Paisley, as it turns out, and he is a pretty damn fine guitar player. Who apparently only wanted a car when he was young.
  3. Kings & Queens, “I’m Looking”: Who doesn’t love a doo-wop-inspired love song? Commies, that’s who.
  4. Lapdog, “I Don’t Mind”: Half of Toad the Wet Sprocket formed this band back after Toad split around the year 2000 and put out a couple of solid albums before Toad reunited and started working on new material again. This song is pretty great and features some good guitar licks.
  5. Hank Williams, “Why Don’t You Love Me”: I love me some Hank Williams, Sr., and this is one of my favorites to play on the guitar.
  6. The Hotdamns, “Yankee By Birth (Southern At Heart)”: Friend Danielle was in this band back in the day, and they do some fun country-ish stuff.
  7. Jackson Browne, “In The Shape Of A Heart (Live)”: I sorta love the live acoustic setting for a lot of Jackson Browne songs, where his craft and songwriting skills really shine through. This one is no exception.
  8. James McMurtry, “Just Us Kids”: Growing up kinda sucks, and is definitely hard, but you gotta face it with some humor.
  9. Jars Of Clay, “Trouble Is”: “Yeah, the trouble is/We don’t know who we are instead.” Same, guys.
  10. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, “What’ve I Done To Help”: A song that examines the ways we do and don’t help our fellow man, and what it means to be a compassionate and caring person in this day and age.

Playlist #61: Mom’s Birthday, Take 2

Last year, I posted a playlist for my mother’s birthday that really didn’t reflect her favorite musicians or bands. This year, I make up for that. I present to you Version 2.0 of my Mom’s Birthday Playlist!

  1. Supertramp, “Take The Long Way Home”: One of the few CDs mom had when we were young was a Supertramp greatest hits collection. We listened to it a lot on car trips.
  2. Simon & Garfunkel, “A Hazy Shade Of Winter”: She also had a Simon & Garfunkel CD. This song was not on it, but it’s still a good song.
  3. The Eagles, “Take It To The Limit”: Mom likes the Eagles. I like the Eagles. My wife hates the Eagles with a fierce, fiery passion.
  4. Electric Light Orchestra, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”: Who doesn’t love ELO? Commies, that’s who.
  5. The Moody Blues, “Ride My See-Saw”: I mean, they have that one song where they spend the last couple minutes just talking, but this song doesn’t do that. It’s just a fun, uptempo bop.
  6. Huey Lewis & The News, “It’s All Right”: I had a Huey Lewis button on my jean jacket growing up. It was awesome.
  7. Carole King, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”: This woman writes a song better than damn-near anybody. I will fight you on this.
  8. Carly Simon, “You’re So Vain”: You probably think this song is about you. It’s not.
  9. The Band Perry, “If I Die Young”: I heard this song in the doctor’s office earlier this week. I then recalled that a coworker had me learn how to play this song for our school talent show several years ago.
  10. Don Henley, “All She Wants To Do Is Dance”: And make romance.

Playlist #60: Road Trip!

Happy Monday! I’m currently in Oklahoma, preparing to leave tomorrow for Utah with my mother to visit a number of national parks. So this is being written before I head out west, since I’m not sure I’ll have the time to write one the week of. Make sure to follow me on Patreon! I would appreciate the love, and you’ll appreciate the music!

  1. Johnny Cash, “I’ve Been Everywhere”: I’ve done a lot of traveling over the years. I haven’t been everywhere, mind you, but I’ve been to lots of places around the US. The last time I was in Utah was 1996, the year I won the coveted Cottrell Hiker of the Year award.
  2. John Mellencamp, “Rumble Seat”: Cars don’t have rumble seats anymore. We should bring them back, because I’m sure they’re super practical and not at all dangerous or anything.
  3. John Fullbright, “Jericho (Live)”: An Okie with a damn good ear for a good tune.
  4. David Gray, “Fugitive”: I happen to love David Gray’s Draw the Line album. It’s my favorite of his post-White Ladder work.
  5. Dawes, “A Little Bit Of Everything”: This song talks about making potatoes at one point. It’s weird and cute and I kinda love it.
  6. Deer Tick, “Easy”: I really enjoy this song and the harmonies in it, though you wouldn’t think the lead singer was capable of harmonizing with anyone.
  7. Uncle Tupelo, “No Depression”: After the school year I’ve had, I could use a vacation, especially one in a land that’s free from care.
  8. The Who, “Going Mobile”: It’s one of the most ridiculous Who songs out there (trumped only by “Eminence Front”). I love it anyway.
  9. Young Dubliners, “Last House On The Street”: My uncle’s band used to cover this song all the time. I like it.
  10. Willie Nelson, “Highwayman”: Who doesn’t love a song that goes from swashbuckling highway robber to starship captain in, like, four verses?

Playlist #59

Happy Tuesday, folks! It’s officially summer break time! That doesn’t mean I’ve slacked off over on Patreon, though. There’ll be a new song each month, just like usual. Anyway, here’s this week’s playlist.

  1. Old 97s, “Holy Cross”: It’s just such a bleak song with such a great rhythm.
  2. The Wallflowers, “Sleepwalker”: “Now, Cupid, don’t draw back your bow/Sam Cooke didn’t know what I know.”
  3. The Minus 5, “Wasted Bandage”: Favorite line is, “dear physician, won’t you heal yourself?”
  4. Golden Smog, “Until You Came Along”: Love the jangly twelve string in this one. It’s an alt-country Byrds song, essentially.
  5. Gin Blossoms, “Just South Of Nowhere”: Early Gin Blossoms stuff is just so damn good.
  6. Justin Townes Earle, “Flint City Shake it”: A song that calls GM out on the carpet for its treatment of the auto workers in Flint, Michigan. Gotta love it.
  7. Jesse Malin, “Addicted”: I will never not love Jesse Malin, and this song – about the problems of modern society and its addiction to smart phones and Instagram – hits a lot of good points.
  8. Josh Ritter, “Getting Ready To Get Down”: “If you wanna see a miracle/Watch me get down.”
  9. Glen Phillips, “Men Just Leave”: I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Glen Phillips’ first solo album, and this song – about how men often suck – still hits too real.
  10. Wilco, “You Are My Face”: I love the middle part of this song, where the band really cuts loose. It’s awesome.

Playlist #58: End of the School Year

It’s the last week of school finally. It’s been a difficult year, to say the least. But I keep posting new stuff on Patreon and I keep coming up with new playlists here.

  1. Alice Cooper, “School’s Out”: Yeah, of course this song was gonna be on here.
  2. The Mountain Goats, “Fall of the Star High School Running Back”: Who hasn’t gone from being the star player on the football team to selling acid to cops?
  3. Paul Simon, “Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard”: Ever have one of those troublemaker friends that your parents just couldn’t stand? Yeah, I did, too.
  4. Pearl Jam, “Education”: “I’m questioning my education.” Me too, Eddie. Me too.
  5. Sting, “History Will Teach Us Nothing”: I mean, maybe you just didn’t learn from your history class, Sting. Ever think it was you, not history?
  6. Sam Cooke, “(What A) Wonderful World”: I think I teach several Sam Cookes. “Don’t know much about history,” he sings. Yeah, my kids could sing that, too.
  7. Chuck Berry, “Schooldays”: “RIng, ring, goes the bell.”
  8. Nirvana, “School”: Kurt Cobain recognizes the need for recess and laments the lack of it in the modern educational schema.
  9. Belle & Sebastian, “We Rule The School”: The number of students in Belle & Sebastian who probably got beat up in high school on a daily basis is a nonzero number.
  10. Pink Floyd, “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2”: The use of the double negative in the chorus indicates you do, in fact, need education, Mr. Floyd.

Playlist #57: ’90s Dance Party!

Happy Monday Tuesday, everyone! I was off yesterday for Memorial Day here in the US, so here’s this week’s playlist. It’s sponsored by the fact that the Wife and I watched the new Kids in the Hall season, which was quite good (and featured far more old man dong than I anticipated). You can also support me on Patreon, where I just released May’s new song!

  1. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, “Having An Average Weekend”: The theme song from Kids in the Hall! Still slaps.
  2. Primitive Radio Gods, “Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand”: The song title is too long, there’s no more time to say anything else about this song! Other than it features a B.B. King sample.
  3. Shawn Mullins, “Lullaby”: This song was completely inescapable for like a month in 1998. Looking back, one has to wonder why. Was it the novelty of the spoken-word verses, or the Inside Baseball nature of the way it pokes at Hollywood? Or did we just not have high expectations for music in 1998? I think it’s maybe that one.
  4. Polaris, “Hey Sandy”: For a hot minute, I thought about making this playlist 100% great TV show theme songs from the ’90s, but it was really just this one and the one from KITH that I had for that list.
  5. Wilco, “A Shot In The Arm”: Wilco put out a new album last week! It’s pretty good. Here’s another pretty good Wilco song from over 20 years ago.
  6. Matchbox Twenty, “Mad Season”: Why do I enjoy listening to Matchbox Twenty so much? They’re so middle of the road, tailor made inoffensive that it’s hard not to enjoy their stuff, I guess.
  7. Barenaked Ladies, “It’s All Been Done”: Damn, that chorus gets really, really high at the end. I can never sing it right.
  8. Ben Folds Five, “Kate”: “She plays Wipeout on the drums/The squirrels and the birds come/Gather round and sing the guitar,” the song begins. And only gets better from there.
  9. Foo Fighters, “Everlong”: Have I included this song on a playlist already? Probably. It’s still so damn good.
  10. Gin Blossoms, “Hold Me Down”: Why have I come to love the Gin Blossoms so much? Is it this song specifically, or New Miserable Experience in general? I can’t say for certain.