Good afternoon, guys, gals, and enby pals! It’s another week, so here’s another playlist.
- Sister Rosetta Tharpe, “That’s All”: The woman who really ought to receive more credit for creating rock and roll.
- Spoon, “My Mathematical Mind”: Anyone who knows me knows my mind is not mathematical at all.
- Uncle Tupelo, “Moonshiner”: Never was a song about bootlegging and making your own whiskey up in a still in the woods so melancholy.
- Joe Walsh, “Rocky Mountain Way”: “And we don’t need the ladies/Crying ’cause the story’s sad.”
- Jesse Malin, “Addicted”: You gotta be real careful listening to this song while driving, or you’ll find yourself doing 90.
- Robert Johnson, “Cross Road Blues”: Does it get any better than Robert Johnson? No, it does not. This man was taken far too young.
- Chris Isaak, “We Let Her Down”: I played a song for my wife that I wrote and recorded the other day. “It sounds like Chris Isaak,” she said. And I agreed and was happy about that.
- The Minus 5, “Dear My Inspiration”: Had this song stuck in my head all morning. That’s not a bad thing. Scott McCaughey writes a damn catchy tune.
- T. Rex, “20th Century Boy”: C’mon, guys, it’s the 21st century now. Aren’t we due for an update?
- Townes Van Zandt, “Pancho And Lefty”: Is there a better story song about desperados trying their damnedest to escape their own sins, only to fail because of human frailty and the desire to get out a little bit ahead and yet still find yourself isolated and alone and incapable of feeling anything?
I was this close to just making it all songs about sex. But aren’t all songs about sex, when you get right down to it? Anyway, give me a follow on Patreon and support your local author/songwriter. Anyway, here’s the first playlist of the new school year!
- The Mountain Goats, “Training Montage”: “I’m doing this for revenge!” John Darnielle cries out at the start of the chorus, and damn if that isn’t just the best line in a song I’ve heard this year.
- Iggy Pop, “The Passenger”: Is it the most relentless chord progression you’ve ever heard? Maybe. Are Iggy and David Bowie’s yelped “la”s in the chorus earwormy? Definitely.
- Bruce Springsteen, “Ain’t Good Enough For You”: I’ve featured this song on a playlist before. It still slaps.
- Calexico, “Cumbia De Donde”: Did you know cumbia is a type of Latin American dance music that originated in Colombia? Because the guys in Calexico sure do, and they want you to know they do.
- Spoon, “Don’t Make Me A Target”: I don’t know what it is about the way this band breaks down a song and then rebuilds it using the same basic instruments as every single rock and roll band that has ever existed that kicks me in the ass every time, but it kicks me in the ass every time.
- ZZ Top, “La Grange”: Back when I worked at a private school, I taught one of my students how to play this on the bass (it’s only three notes that even I could figure out). It’s fun.
- Pearl Jam, “World Wide Suicide”: Even late into their career, Pearl Jam can still pull out all the stops and offer a rocker that rips the doors off.
- John Mellencamp, “Right Behind Me”: Meanwhile, John Mellencamp has resorted to recording in hotel rooms with equipment from the 1950s to get that sound just right.
- Jay Farrar, “Feel Free”: Jay Farrar’s songs have gotten more esoteric and inscrutable as time passes, but this one is still early enough in his solo career that the lyrics make some sense. And it references “non-profit radio,” which is what I thought NPR stood for for far longer than I’d care to admit.
- Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, “Be Afraid”: “Be afraid, be very afraid/But do it anyway,” is just some of the best damn advice you can hear right now, I think.
Good Monday Morning, folks! Follow me on Patreon. I’m super excited about May’s song there. Meanwhile, here’s this week’s playlist:
- Dream Wife, “Hey Heartbreaker”: The chugging guitar is great, and I love the overlapping vocals at the end.
- Drive-By Truckers, “Outfit”: “Don’t call what you’re wearing an outfit,” the narrator’s father admonishes him, and I can admit that I have done that on numerous occasions. Oh well.
- Wilco, “Say You Miss Me”: A heartbreaker of a song. Love it.
- Tom Waits, “Goin’ Out West”: “Well, I’m goin’ out west/Where the wind blows tall,” Tom Waits begins, and things only get weirder from there. Because of course they do, this is a Tom Waits song.
- Spoon, “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”: A reverb-drenched shot of adrenaline straight to the heart.
- SaraoMusic, “Coming Home”: Sunny So-Cal indie pop at its finest.
- The Rolling Stones, “Factory Girl”: Always imagined this as the mid-70s version of that Shakespearean sonnet, “My mistress’s eyes are nothing like the sun.”
- The Beatles, “Two Of Us”: If there’s a better song on Let It Be, make your case in the comments.
- Rhett Miller, “The El”: Who doesn’t love rattling along on the El in Chicago?
- Josh Ritter, “Hopeful”: Taking those first few tentative steps out into the wild after a relationship collapses can be terrifying, but you gotta stay hopeful.
Happy Monday after my birthday! It’s a chilly one here in northern Virginia, where they apparently turned off the heat in my school building a wee bit too early this year (don’t worry, I am quite comfortable). Anyway, don’t forget you can support me on Patreon, and here’s a list of fun cover songs to get you through the last week before I go on Spring Break and don’t have to think about anything for a whole week!
- Postmodern Jukebox, “Rude (featuring Von Smith)”: Tried listening to the original version of this song by the band Magic! (the exclamation mark is a vital part of the name), and just didn’t dig it. Not a fan of the reggae vibes, I guess.
- The Rolling Stones, “Not Fade Away”: A rough and tumble cover of the Buddy Holly classic and a classic in its own right.
- The Clash, “I Fought The Law”: The damn law won.
- Hem, “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”: This song was what made me a fan of both the band Hem and Elvis Costello’s songwriting.
- Spoon, “Held”: Apparently they used to play this one in their live act, and if it was anything like this rendition, it must’ve blown the doors off.
- Patty Griffin, “Stolen Car”: I love me a Bruce Springsteen cover, and this one is damn-near as iconic as the original.
- The Decemberists, “Think About Me”: A band with zero interpersonal squabbles/drama covering the band best known for its interpersonal squabbles/drama (Fleetwood Mac)? Yes, please.
- The Highwomen, “The Chain”: More Fleetwood Mac. Because more Fleetwood Mac.
- The Eagles, “Ol’ 55”: It’s a ballsy move, covering a Tom Waits song, when you’re a band as known for being smooth and unoffensive as the Eagles were.
- Pomplamoose, “Maneater”: “Whoa-oh, here she comes…”
So, as must come to pass eventually for all, I’ve gotten sick. I’ve gotten Covid. I blame Tennessee. But I have not forgotten you, and in my fever-hazed mind, I have put together a playlist for this week.
- Neko Case, “Fever”: So actually, I had a fever late last week, but it broke pretty quick and I’ve been fine since then. The Wife, on the other hand, keeps getting fevers of upwards of 103.
- MC Hammer, “U Can’t Touch This”: Please keep your distance, I might still be contagious.
- The Police, “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”: Did you not hear what I just said? Stay at least six feet away at all times. Further, honestly, if you don’t mind.
- AC Newman, “Miracle Drug”: I’ll admit, I think the vaccines are pretty damn amazing and I’m glad I got them. If there were something I could take right now to get rid of feeling like garbage, I would.
- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, “Something In The Air (Live)”: What, another Tom Petty song, after last week? Yes. It’s on-theme.
- Toad the Wet Sprocket, “Something’s Always Wrong”: I’ve felt like crap since last Wednesday. It’s always something new.
- They Might Be Giants, “I Hope That I Get Old Before I Die”: There’s still lots I want to do before I’m ready to kick the bucket, and I hope I get old enough to do at least most of them.
- Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, “The Pharmacist v. The Secret Stars”: I’ll be honest, I really like Ted Leo and I mostly chose this song because his backing band is called the Pharmacists.
- Spoon, “Everything Hits At Once”: I was fine last Tuesday. Woke up Wednesday feeling kinda meh. By Thursday, I was spending the entire day asleep because I felt absolutely awful.
- Van Morrison, “And The Healing Has Begun”: Given Van’s recent bizarre rants about Covid and lockdowns and whatnot, it seems a little silly to include him on this playlist, but I do feel like I’m on the mend now. Still definitely not 100%, but improving every day.
Did you think I’d forgotten? That I had decided to stop posting weekly playlists? No! I’ve just been visiting family in Oklahoma, and not everyone has reliable wi-fi. Anyway, here’s last week’s and this week’s lists. *EDIT* Now with links to the playlists on Spotify!
- Jelly Roll Morton, “Black Bottom Stomp”: There are legends (likely started by Jelly Roll himself) that he created jazz and that this is the first recorded jazz song. I’m not real sure on all that, but it is a good song.
- The Hotdamns, “Gina Lynn”: Our friend Danielle was in this band back in the day, and they’re really good. Y’all should check out their two releases available on iTunes.
- The High Kings, “Galway Girl”: I think I have this song because an after-school jam group I was playing with was doing it. It’s Irish and fun, as those things tend to be.
- Healthy White Baby, “Strong Reactor”: Great band, terrible name. Part of my web of Wilco-related groups (the bassist, Laurie Stirratt, is sibling to Wilco’s bassist John Stirratt). Ask me and I’ll gladly tell you. of how almost a dozen bands are all connected via the band Wilco.
- Faces, “Three Button Hand Me Down”: A fun story song about the suit that the orphan kid got when he left the orphanage and how it’s served him well all these years.
- Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, “Good Light”: A rootsy tune by a dude with an amazing beard.
- Dire Straits, “The Man’s Too Strong”: Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the Dire Straits album cuts are a little weak sometimes. For every “Sultans of Swing,” there’s a “Les Boys.” But this one slaps, folks.
- Spoon, “Do You”: I could just listen to the album this song is off of, They Want My Soul, over and over again, and frequently have.
- Monsters of Folk, “Say Please”: A collaboration between the likes of Connor Oberst, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, M. Ward, and Mike Mogis should be pretty damn good, but the album this song is off of falls pretty short of the God-tier supergroups like the Traveling WIlburys. This song is alright, though
- The Offspring, “Self Esteem”: A couple weeks back, I was playing guitar at my dad’s house, and my step-brother’s son, Bryson, apparently really like this song by the Offspring. It’s just three chords, so it was easy to learn. Hard to sing, though.
- Van Morrison, “The Great Deception”: I’ve been borrowing my father’s Mustang Mach 1 while I’ve been visiting (a very fun car to drive, let me tell you), and Van’s Hard Nose the Highway was one of the few CDs I borrowed from him to listen to in the car. I’ve heard “The Great Deception” about a dozen times in the past two weeks, and I’m still not tired of it.
- Lizzo & Cardi B, “Rumors”: It slaps. Lizzo drops what the young folks might refer to as knowledge on ya, and it’s just a really well-done pop/rap song.
- Shania Twain, “That Don’t Impress Me Much”: Is it possible to not sing along with this song when it comes on? I posit that it is, in fact, impossible not to sing along.
- Neil Young, “Harvest”: My brother played the dance remix version of this song for me last night. I now question everything I ever thought I understood about music.
- Placebo, “You Don’t Care About Us”: The ’90s were a wild time, weren’t they? Yes, yes they were.
- Uncle Tupelo, “Whiskey Bottle”: “Whiskey bottle over Jesus/Not forever, but just for now.” Chills, man.
- Zoe Keating, “Optimist”: I don’t usually listen to strictly instrumental music. I make an exception for Zoe Keating, a cellist who can make that thing sit up and beg if you want her to.
- The Killers, “Somebody Told Me”: Clyde maintains this is the best band (and their best album) of the 21st century. He might be right.
- Linda Ronstadt, “When Will I Be Loved?” I heard my uncle play this particular song so many times back in college and graduate school when he was playing in a country cover band. It is not recommended that you try to two-step to this one.
- Old Crow Medicine Show, “Wagon Wheel”: The bane of open mics across the southwest, but still a fun and easy song to rock out to.