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 #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.

Playlist #28 – The Mansion on O Street

Back in the day, I used to play on Sundays at a place up in DC called the Mansion on O Street. It’s a neat museum/hotel that features loads of nifty musical keepsakes. I sat in with a band that used it as a practice space on Sundays, having been invited by the flautist/singer of the group. It was loads of fun, and I’m kind of sorry I stopped playing with them after a while (mostly, they wanted to turn it into real rehearsal time, and I wasn’t a member of the band, so…). Anyway, here are some of the songs we used to play there.

  1. Brandi Carlile, “Turpentine”: Having recently re-discovered Brandi Carlile (due in large part to her involvement in the Highwomen), I have to say this song is a fun one to play. As with many of the songs we played, it was an easy one, with just a few chords, but the harmonies in the chorus were always great.
  2. Ethan Hipple and Podunk Road, “Cakewalk”: The other guitar player (who was actually a bass player by inclination and training) sang this one. It’s a fun country blues number.
  3. Bonnie Raitt, “Angel From Montgomery”: A John Prine cover. Beautiful. Another one where the harmonies really came through.
  4. 4 Non Blondes, “What’s Up?”: Like I was gonna put this song in any position other than number four.
  5. Gin Blossoms, “Until I Fall Away”: They were always impressed that I knew all the backing vocals to this song.
  6. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, “Breakdown”: You know me, I love a Tom Petty tune.
  7. The Animals, “House of the Rising Sun”: I have never been able to sing this one to my own satisfaction. The singer in the band, though, she could do it.
  8. Kate Wolf, “Across the Great Divide”: I prefer the version the band did to this version. This one is too polished and too ’80s-sounding. Our version was better.
  9. Linda Rondstadt, “When Will I Be Loved?”: The country covers band my uncle used to play in played this one every night, so I was pretty damn familiar with it when this group broke out in it and I was able to contribute to backing vocals.
  10. The Mystiqueros, “Good”: The band introduced me to this song, as to so many others. It’s beautiful, in large part due to the backing harmonies, which the band always killed.

Playlist #19

Week three of the school year rattles on. Here’s some tunes to carry you through.

  1. Gin Blossoms, “Just South of Nowhere”: The Gin Blossoms have become one of my favorite bands from the 90s, and this is one of my favorites by them. Pre-New Miserable Experience.
  2. Electric Light Orchestra, “Daybreaker”: An instrumental from the Jeff Lynne-led band. It’s off of On the Third Day, where ELO really became ELO.
  3. Rhiannon Giddens, “Better Get It Right the First Time”: This woman can write a damn song, lemme tell you. She also plays a mean banjo, though that’s not present on this track. This is more of an old-school R&B number, with a rap break that actually really works well.
  4. Robert Earl Keen, “The Road Goes On Forever (Live)”: “The road goes on forever/and the party never ends,” he sings, and I’m still not sure if that’s a statement of undeniable fact or a plea to never let go.
  5. The Who, “The Seeker”: Any song that references the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Timothy Leary in the same verse is some kinda wonderful.
  6. Patti Smith, “Because The Night”: When Bruce Springsteen gives you an unfinished song, you take it and you rock it out. Patti Smith definitely did.
  7. Paul McCartney, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man”: Shortly after his first wife, Linda, passed away, Paul got into the studio with a bunch of buddies (including guitarist David Gilmore) to record a bunch of old 50s rockers and a few new tracks written in the same vein. They slap. They all slap. This one especially.
  8. Dawes, “That Western Skyline”: The first song off their first album is filled with so much promise. So much. Those Laurel Canyon harmonies are just perfect. The rest of the album – and honestly, everything they’ve put out since – feels like a failure of that promise.
  9. fun., “Some Nights”: Another band that falls flat right after their first song or two. Maybe what I expected from this song and what the band actually want to do are two very different things.
  10. Elliott Smith, “Either/Or”: It strikes me to this day that Elliott Smith died far too young. If I can be half – hell, even a quarter – of the guitar player or musician or songwriter that he was, I’d be perfectly happy with that.