Monday, January 28, 2013

Stuff I'm Listening To

There's a lot of hubub out there about music curation these days.  The way I see it, music and our musical listening habits are so fickle (don't you listen to different things at different times for different moods?) that finding the 'perfect' curation service is impossible.  What is possible is finding someone who has similar listening habits and seeing what they come up with.  Which is why music blogs are so popular.

I'm guessing since you are here that at some point I posted something you liked, so in an effort to better serve you, dear readers, I'm going to periodically post a playlist of what I'm listening to.  Most of the time it will be an aggregate of artists or songs I may have posted about on here, along with whatever other random stuff I can't get out of my head.  And, with a little luck, maybe you'll find something you like too.  

Here's the first installment of Why I'm Not Sleeping: A Playlist.  Hope you enjoy it.

On the list:
Time to Run- Lord Huron

Put Me To Work- Papa

Bigger Than Love- Ben Gibbard and Aimee Mann
Ben was on the Colbert Report recently where he played this song, along with Aimee Mann. Its off of Ben's solo album Former Lives.  Sadly, this song is the only one that is available on streaming services such as Spotify, which is my main source of music so I can't tell you what the rest of the album is like, but this song is typical of Ben and his Death Cab sound.

Love Letter- Clairy Browne & The Bangin' Rackettes
I have no idea where I heard this song, but I love the old school sound mixed in with updated guitar and sounds.

Tongue Tied- Grouplove
This song has been out over a year, but its one of those songs I forget about and then when I hear it, I'm happy its back.

Eyes Wide Open- Gotye
Everyone's allll about "Somebody That I Used to Know" (a track that I am just going to come clean and say it never really did anything for me), but there are other great underrated Gotye songs off his album Making Mirrors, and this is one of them.

Lady Luck- Pickwick with Sharon Van Etten
I discovered this song from Songs for the Day and have been obsessed with it nonstop since. Its such a cool vibe and great beat that it will have you bopping your head like a avatar in no time.

This is played on a local, non-crappy radio station here in LA (88.5 KCSN) occasionally, and every time I hear it it takes me a minute to figure out what song it is, leaving me strangely surprised that its John Mayer every time I figure it out. I kind of forget how much I like Born and Raised sometimes.

Spies and Lovers- Red Wanting Blue
Hope on a Rope- Red Wanting Blue
Red Wanting Blue were recently on NPR Music's Live From Mountain Stage and performed a couple of songs that have been stuck in my head since.  A hard working, perpetually touring band (except for stops in LA, ahem), these guys have a sound made for live.  But if you can't see them live, check them out here.

Another great NPR Music discovery.

2am - Slightly Stoopid

Live and Die- The Avett Brothers

Kathy's Song- Paul Simon
This has long been one of my favorite Simon & Garfunkel performances (on Sounds of Silence) and this week Songs for the Day posted a video of First Aid Kit doing a cover.  It could not have been more perfect, and served as the vehicle to re-usher this beautiful and simply lovely song back into my life.

Brighter Lights - Patrick James
All About to Change- Patrick James
I discovered this guy from a music blog- New Music Collaborative, to be exact.  I listened, and I liked what I heard. A lot. Maybe you will too.

Sarah- Ray LaMontagne
Just because. I love Ray and I love this song and it makes me think of Astral Weeks by Van Morrison and just plain old make me happy.  And happy that it somehow found its way to my ears this week.

Here are the playlists for Spotify, iTunes, and the MP3's for Amazon. Enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Kathy's Song

Whilst perusing one of my favorite music blogs today (Songs for the Day), I stumbled upon this video. Its First Aid Kit doing a cover of "Kathy's Song", a beautiful song by Simon & Garfunkel.  "Kathy's Song" is from Sounds of Silence but originally from The Paul Simon Song Book, Paul Simon's first solo album that was released in 1965 (in England).

"Kathy's Song" is probably my favorite Simon & Garfunkel song - it is a love song that is beautiful in its simplicity,  and its lyrics are pure poetry:

"And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you"

(Here is a great read on the meaning of "Kathy's Song")
(Here is my review on Pretty Much Amazing of First Aid Kit's album The Lion's Roar)

Of course, Simon & Garfunkel's soft harmonies lend to the quiet simplicity of the song, making First Aid Kit a natural to do a cover.  The female harmonies do good justice to the song.

Take a listen.

Friday, January 18, 2013

New Year, New Music

Now that we are through the holiday period of lackluster, nonexistent new music that doesn't involve jingled bells of some kind, new albums and singles are slowly making their way out and getting things back to normal.   It can only be described as the equivalent to that first warmish day of spring when you can finally open your windows and let the fresh air in.  Here's some of the fresh air I'm breathing right now.

Most of the internet has probably already heard JT's new single by now, but just in case you have dial up or something, here it is, in all its Justin Timberlake glory.  He knows what he can do and he does it well on this single.  Its been so long since that velvety-yet-silky falsetto of his has graced my speakers that I almost forgot how good he is.  Acting, Saturday Night Live? Fine.  But this is what he does best.  Even better? He didn't withhold it from Spotify like so many of his peers have done this past year. Let's hope he's setting a trend and 2013 has fewer Spotify withholds.

On iTunes:

Jewel also released a new single this week, "Two Hearts Breaking". Its an incredibly radio-friendly, catchy and slightly pop-country single with Jewel's fantastic vocals carrying the whole thing, but it does make me nostalgic for folky, less produced earlier Jewel.  When it really was just her voice carrying the song, a la  Pieces of You and Spirit (my personal favorite).  You can hear the new single over at Rolling Stone, let me know what you think:

"Two Hearts Breaking" - Jewel (via Rolling Stone)

Old school Jewel on iTunes:

Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie) recently released his first solo album, Former Lives (which is not on Spotify, but you can get it on iTunes below this video) including this gem.  Gibbard is joined on "Bigger Than Love" by Aimee Mann, who appeared with him on the Colbert Report recently.  Check it out (via Rolling Stone)

Pickwick has an album out in March (Can't Talk Medicine) and are offering up a bit of a tease with "Lady Luck", a cover from Richard Swift. Admittedly, I'd never heard either version and admittedly, I love them both.  Here's the original, followed by Pickwick's version (with help from Sharon Van Etten) (via Songs for the Day)

"Lady Luck" on iTunes:

One of my current "on repeats" right now is "Song for Zula" by Phosphorescent.  Its ethereal and lovely and the perfect song for winter.

"Song for Zula" on iTunes:

It also happens to be featured in NPR Music's All Songs Considered program, "2013 Winter Music Preview", which highlights lots of other great music coming up.  You can listen to the full program here:

NPR Music All Songs Considered