Thursday, March 24, 2016

What I'm Listening To - The Ten Best Songs at the Quarter Pole

The 1975 - "Somebody Else" (Alt Rock)

Animal Collective - "Golden Gal" (Experimental Pop)

Bob Mould - "Voices In My Head" (Rock)

Boxer Rebellion - "Big Ideas" (Alt Rock)

Great Good Fine Ok - "Already Love" (Indie Pop)

High Highs - "Boxing" (Indie Rock)

John Paul White - "Simple Song" (Folk)

M83 - "Solitude" (Alt Rock/Shoegaze)

Ray LaMontagne - "Hey, No Pressure" (Folk Rock)

Sia - "Broken Glass" (Pop)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Underappreciated Cold War Kids

They've been around for years, a staple of the medium-sized print bands that shuffle casually into the middle of every festival poster. It's now been 10 years since I first heard "We Used to Vacation" in a tiny military town in the midst of Idaho. The song became a regular in shuffles shared with my friends, and I always pointed out the line that hooked me in the first place.

"I'm just an honest man. Provide for me and mine. I give a check to tax deductible charity organizations."

That line, dropped into a song about a struggling middle class working man with a slight drinking problem and normal person problems, defined Cold War Kids' style as much as the bar romp piano and riff-y guitar that it stood next to. 

Their style has changed a little over time. Their first two albums were stories not so much about characters, but from the characters themselves. A shift occurred later, for better and for worse. But on the better end you get songs like the rousing "First" and the heartfelt "Water & Power". 

When think about Cold War Kids' popularity, I think of a band always trapped on an endless plateau. They are liked, but rarely loved. They are not well known, but they are hardly obscure anymore. Yet when I think of them, I think of them as the band who opened for Death Cab for Cutie and blew them out of the water, a band who tells stories as well as any band not named The Hold Steady, and a band who you need to listen to more than you do.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Best of the Best, a Trip Down Memory Lane

Favorite songs by favorite bands. Nostalgia is high this morning.

Bon Iver - "Holocene" (2011)

"And at once I knew, I was not magnificent"

Band of Horses - "Detlef Schrempf" (2007)

"So take it as a song, or a lesson to learn, and sometime soon be better than you were. If you say you're gonna go, then be careful, and watch how you treat every living soul."

Spoon - "Anything You Want" (2001)

"If there's anything you want, come on back because it's all still here."

The War on Drugs - "Red Eyes" (2014)

"Come and ride away. It's easier to stick to the old."

The Hold Steady - "The Cattle and the Creeping Things" (2005)

"He's got the pages in his pockets that he ripped out of the Bible from his bed stand in the motel. He likes the part where the traders get chased out from the temple."

Radiohead - "The Tourist" (1997)

"Hey man, slow down. Slow down."

Nickel Creek - "When You Come Back Down" (2000)

"I'll be the other hand that always hold the line, connecting in between your sweet heart and mine."

Interpol - "Untitled" (2002)

"I will surprise you sometime. I'll come around."

The Shins - "The Past and Pending"

"Held to the past, too aware of the pending.

Sufjan Stevens - "Futile Devices" (2010)

"It's been a long, long time since I've memorized your face"

The National - "Pink Rabbits" (2013)

"You said it would be painless, it wasn't that at all."