Playlist #88

Happy New Year! In addition to the playlist this week, I have CD’s for sale! That’s right, I put together the EP that I released last January and the two singles I released over the course of the year. For $10, you can have a copy of it all for yourself! Email me at crookedhalo42 [at] gmail dot com and we can set it all up.

And now, on with the playlist!

  1. The English Beat, “Save It For Later”: Who doesn’t love some second-wave ska? I know I do.
  2. Loreena McKennitt, “The Mummer’s Dance”: Celtic electronica? In this economy?
  3. Jason Isbell & Elizabeth Cook, “Pancho & Lefty”: Gotta love a Jason Isbell cover of a Townes Van Zandt song.
  4. Fleetwood Mac, “Little Lies”: Only recently discovered that this song was a Fleetwood Mac song.
  5. America, “Ventura Highway”: I just want to drive along the coast with this song cranked way up.
  6. XTC, “Dear God”: A song that demands God explain why bad things happen to good people.
  7. Wilco, “Say You Miss Me”: The yearning and pleading in this song get me every time.
  8. Van Morrison, “I Love You”: I’ve had a difficult time listening to Van Morrison the past few years. His weird anti-vaccine views and his persecution complex have kinda gotten on my nerves. But this song is still tremendously sweet.
  9. Tom Waits, “Jockey Full Of Bourbon”: I’m not really sure what good a jockey full of bourbon would do, unless this is really a song about peeing ’cause you had too much bourbon.
  10. Semisonic, “Never You Mind”: I love this song for nothing else if not the reference to Spock’s brain.

Playlist #82: Give Thanks!

Happy Monday, everyone! It’s a short week here, as Thanksgiving is this Thursday. A two-day work week? How will I ever survive? With a new, Thanksgiving-inspired playlist, that’s how!

  1. Neil Young, “Harvest Moon”: What is Thanksgiving if not a harvest festival? One without sacrifice to the harvest gods, that’s what. And you can’t tell me that’s right. The old gods grow hungry and angry. Hangry old gods. Don’t ignore them this year, I beg you.
  2. Alanis Morissette, “Thank U”: I’m not 100% sure why Alanis is thanking India and disillusionment, or quite what she’s thanking them for, exactly, but it’s a good song anyway.
  3. Wilco, “The Thanks I Get”: Yeah, this one was just featured a few weeks ago on another one of my playlists. It still slaps. What else do you want?
  4. Dido, “Thank You”: Remember when this song was everywhere for, like, a month in 1999? Man, turn of the millennium was a weird time. We were all pretty sure society itself was gonna collapse when January 1, 2000 rolled around, so we just listened to damn-near anything.
  5. Glen Phillips, “Thankful”: I always really enjoy Glen Phillips songs. They’re quirky and catchy and I just really dig them, okay?
  6. John Mellencamp, “Thank You”: I was listening to Mellencamp for most of the weekend (the newly-released extended version of Scarecrow, which is alright), so it only seemed appropriate to include one of his tunes on this list. Thematically appropriate, too.
  7. The National, “Sailors In Your Mouth”: It’s a Thanksgiving song, I swear.
  8. The Flaming Lips, “Thank You Jack White (For the Fiber-Optic Jesus)”: It’s truly, deeply weird, as all good Flaming Lips songs are.
  9. The Beatles, “Thank You Girl”: Sure, this is less about giving thanks in the traditional Thanksgiving sense of the word, and more “thanks for the sex stuff, lady friend.”
  10. The Band, “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)”: And to round things out, here’s another song about harvesting. I’m pretty sure King Harvest is some sort of simulacrum, a wicker and cornhusk concoction – or maybe even abomination – brought to life to bring the horror of the new harvest straight to you.

Playlist #77

Happy Monday! Today brings with it ten fresh, exciting songs in the form of today’s playlist!

  1. Queen, “Face It Alone”: A “new” Queen song with previously-unreleased Freddie Mercury vocals? Count me in.
  2. HAIM, “Now I’m Into It”: Heard it in She-Hulk this weekend. Dig it.
  3. The Rolling Stones, “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”: How ballsy do you have to be to name a song “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo?” That’s not a song title (or a chorus), that’s the filler my father sings when he can’t remember the lyrics to the song.
  4. Langhorn Slim & the Law, “Put It Together”: I love the piano in this one. I wish I could play like that.
  5. M. Ward, “One Hundred Million Years”: “And this love, this love between you and I/Is older than that burning ball of fire up in the sky.”
  6. Pearl Jam, “Spin The Black Circle”: Sometimes, you just have to put on a loud, angry song, crank up the volume, and headbang. I do still have enough hair to headbang, right?
  7. The Wallflowers, “Some Flowers Bloom Dead”: And sometimes you need some rootsy rock and roll.
  8. Wilco, “Tried And True”: And sometimes you need to feel like you’re tripping out on shrooms while listening to the Beach Boys.
  9. Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”: “There is a crack, a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.”
  10. The National, “Fake Empire”: I’ve been reading a book about the making of the album this song is from, Boxer, and I really just want to sit and listen to the record on repeat.

Playlist #75

It’s a dreary, rainy Monday, but that does not stop the rock! Here’s this week’s playlist, hot off the presses.

  1. John Fullbright, “Paranoid Heart”: Okie singer/songwriter who just released a new album last Friday. It’s pretty damn good. The man knows how to write a song, and his backing band is strong.
  2. Wilco, “Remember To Remember Me”: Speaking of new albums, Wilco released a 20th anniversary edition of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot that contains loads of previously-unreleased stuff, including this early version of what later became “Hummingbird.”
  3. Jonathan Coulton, “Je Suis Rick Springfield”: Aren’t we all, just a little bit, Rick Springfield?
  4. David Gray, “Nemesis”: One of the more subdued songs from Draw the Line, but still a good one.
  5. Bon Iver, “Blood Bank”: Years ago, one of my coworkers asked me to help him record a little demo EP. We did it in my classroom at school. This was one of the songs we recorded (along with a Wilco tune and one by Trampled by Turtles. It was . . . eclectic).
  6. Modest Mouse, “Fire It Up”: Gotta get the blood pumping somehow.
  7. Moby, “Extreme Ways”: “Then it fell apart like it always does.”
  8. The Gaslight Anthem, “Placeholder”: This song is very evocative of the Anthem’s sound and style circa The ’59 Sound, and I am here for it.
  9. The Rolling Stones, “Play With Fire”: Maybe crotch fire. God only knows what venereal diseases Mick Jagger and the boys had back then.
  10. Peter Gabriel, “Intruder”: Hey, we hear you like gated reverb. Have a lot of it.

Playlist #70: Death At A Funeral

We spent the weekend up in New York, attending a funeral for my wife’s grandfather who passed suddenly late last week. It got me thinking about things like when I die and, me being me, the music I’d like played at my own funeral. This list is by no means exhaustive; a true funerary playlist would have to be at least three times this long. But these are the top ten songs I’d like played when I die.

  1. Iron & Wine, “Hard Times Come Again No More”: Funerals are often somber affairs. They don’t have to be, but they often are. This song carries that tone well.
  2. The Beatles, “Let It Be”: Preferably one of the versions with a George Harrison guitar solo, because I like George Harrison guitar solos.
  3. Harry Nilsson, “Many Rivers To Cross”: Sure, Nick Hornby may prefer the Jimmy Cliff version, but this is the one for me.
  4. Van Morrison, “Caravan (Live)”: Again, much like Nick Hornby, I love the live version of this song from the Too Late To Stop Now double live album, even if it does have the unfortunate circumstances of including band introductions halfway through. But all those guys will probably be dead by the time I die, and I’m willing to share the spotlight a bit.
  5. Bob Dylan, “I Shall Be Released”: I mean, it’s more about getting out of jail than getting out of this life, but I think it still works.
  6. Sean Watkins, “Let It Fall”: This song always felt like it belong over the closing credits to some heartfelt romantic drama. Or the end of one’s life.
  7. George Harrison, “All Things Must Pass”: No one does the transitory nature of existence better than George Harrison.
  8. Gin Blossoms, “Pieces Of The Night”: Life could just be one long night at the bar, trying to find someone, anyone, to spend just a moment with, a moment that might mean something. Or maybe I’ve already had too much gin.
  9. The National, “Gospel”: “Hang your holiday rainbow lights in the garden.”
  10. Wilco, “What Light”: This song is very simple. Many Wilco songs are. But it’s also transcendent. And I think it’d be nice to have a choir of my friends sing it.

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 #56

Another school year is winding towards a close. Here in Northern Virginia, seniors are taking their final exams this week, and they graduate next week. Week after that, school’s over for everyone else. It’s been a…challenging year, to say the least. I’ll be glad to see the back of it.

Support me on Patreon! I’m about to release the song for May, and it’s a good one, if I do say so myself.

  1. Maria McKee, “Never Be You”: This song was written by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell, and man, does it sound like it. Classic late ’70s/early ’80s Heartbreakers tone and style, through and through. I’d never heard this song before this weekend, but it’s good.
  2. The Black Keys, “Burn The Damn Thing Down”: Bluesy? Or Bloozy? It’s good, either way.
  3. Mike Doughty, “Fort Hood”: It takes some chutzpah to totally lift the coda from “Age of Aquarius” and use it as your chorus, but Mr. M. Doughty pulls it off.
  4. The National, “The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness”: They don’t usually do guitar solos, but they do one here, and it makes you wish they did them more often.
  5. Wilco, “The Thanks I Get”: Still the best Rod Stewart song Rod’s never sang.
  6. She & Him, “This Is Not A Test”: Fun and poppy. Whenever I need a pick-me-up, I still go back to this album. It’s just fun.
  7. Franz Ferdinand, “Do You Want To”: I’ll never understand how these guys aren’t bigger than they are. They do great, straight-ahead rock numbers with lots of arch humor and and nudging asides.
  8. Bruce Springsteen, “Radio Nowhere”: Even on later Boss albums, you can still usually find a good track or two. This one’s pretty solid. Avoid the remake of “Ghost of Tom Joad” he did with Tom Morello on 2013’s High Hopes. Those two are two great tastes that don’t taste great together.
  9. The Jayhawks, “I’d Run Away”: Love me some two-part harmony.
  10. Mark Knopfler, “Speedway at Nazareth”: I just love how this song builds. Not just in terms of the music – though the build to that coda is fantastic – but lyrically as well. Just a master class in how to write a great song.

Playlist #54

Good Monday Morning, folks! Follow me on Patreon. I’m super excited about May’s song there. Meanwhile, here’s this week’s playlist:

  1. Dream Wife, “Hey Heartbreaker”: The chugging guitar is great, and I love the overlapping vocals at the end.
  2. 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.
  3. Wilco, “Say You Miss Me”: A heartbreaker of a song. Love it.
  4. 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.
  5. Spoon, “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”: A reverb-drenched shot of adrenaline straight to the heart.
  6. SaraoMusic, “Coming Home”: Sunny So-Cal indie pop at its finest.
  7. 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.”
  8. The Beatles, “Two Of Us”: If there’s a better song on Let It Be, make your case in the comments.
  9. Rhett Miller, “The El”: Who doesn’t love rattling along on the El in Chicago?
  10. 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.

Playlist #32

New week, new playlist!

  1. Pearl Jam, “Black”: I learned to play this song last week, only 20-some years too late for it to be relevant.
  2. Jonathan Edwards, “Sunshine (Go Away Today)”: Also learned this one last week. It’s fun and folky.
  3. Sting, “Shape Of My Heart”: I just really like the guitar figure in this one.
  4. The Decemberists, “Sucker’s Prayer”: I mentioned this one the other week, and then just put a different Decemberists song on the playlist instead. Here’s this one now.
  5. Big Red Machine, “Renegade (featuring Taylor Swift)”: Am I sucker for recent Taylor Swift? Yes. Is this song really gorgeous? Also yes.
  6. The Beatles, “For You Blue”: I dig George Harrison songs, and this one is just so much fun. John’s slide playing is gleeful and too much fun.
  7. The Avett Brothers, “Ain’t No Man”: I dig these guys, and this song is tub-thumpin’ good times.
  8. Wilco, “Everyone Hides”: I like how Wilco has eased into their dad rock years and are just hummin’ along, making laidback music and having a good time.
  9. Yael Naim, “New Soul”: Pretty sure this was a song featured in an iTunes commercial back in the day? I don’t remember. But it’s cute and lovely.
  10. The Horrible Crowes, “Mary Ann”: Sometimes, you just need Brian Fallon shouting someone’s name in the chorus.