Jonsi @ Coachella by Natalie Kardos
This is a continuation of part 1 of my recent song obsessions. Just a bunch of great songs that have been running through my head over the last few months.
Paul Jacobson & the Madison Arm – Six O’Clock News (mp3) (unreleased, band website)
Heather turned me on to this song. A cover of the Kathleen Edwards original, it stunned me. Built in a heartbreaking narrative, it’s so melancholy and yet so beautiful. It’s a great arrangement with near perfect harmonies.
Jonsi – Hengilas (mp3) (buy)
From my first listen through Jonsi’s Go, I was obsessed with this. The big, open, gently moving chords–like something from Copland’s Appalachian Spring–are gorgeous and welcoming. I can’t understand the lyrics, but the vocals move me as if I understand them. Just a fantastic ethereal song that leaves me wanting to hit repeat at the end of every listen.
We Were Promised Jetpacks – It’s Thunder & Lightning (mp3) (buy)
Deep inside of me somewhere there’s still a bit of High School Adrian, still listening to Seam and Sebadoh’s Bakesale, still a bit angry and still with plenty of angst. That part of me loves this song, from the first guitar notes to the Scottish brogued vocals to the build up and strong, huge guitars and fast strumming to the way the song winds down with an almost whimper. The secret is, the rest of me loves it too.
S. Carey – In the Dirt (mp3) (buy)
After NPR started streaming this album from Bon Iver’s former drummer I listened to it a few times. Initially I was a bit dismissive; “sounds like he’s trying too much to be like Bon Iver.” But it’s grown on me, particularly the beautiful moments in songs like this. This song, in fact, chocked full of them. It manages to be complex, interesting and beautiful all at once. In the end a song like this draws as much from minimalists like Steve Reich as it does Bon Iver.
Warren Zevon – Keep Me In Your Heart (mp3) (buy)
This song, the final track from Zevon’s final album–the album he knew was going to be his last–is almost begging to be called cheesy. The sentimental repeated refrain, the simple structure. But it’s not. Even after so many listens it can make me feel like someone tied a rock to my heart. On a more technical note, the tres solos are a really nice touch to the arrangement.
 Or, perhaps “Prarie Night (Card Game at Night)” from his Billy the Kid