Two and a half years after my last regular song obsession post I’ve decided to relaunch the series, this time as an every-two-weeks affair. I just found it was a great way to ask my friends and fellow music fans what they’re really obsessing about at the moment.
Song obsessions are those songs that get stuck in your head. This series of posts isn’t about what I or the other panel members think is best, but what our brain latches onto, those ear worms that loop around and around in your head.
Frightened Rabbit – Music Now (mp3) (buy)
I have about two hours a day on public transit and walking and sometimes I’ll just select one artist on my ipod and just keep listening till I get sick of them. The other day I listened to Frightened Rabbit until song 42 (out of 67)–after Daytrotter, Liver! Lung! FR! and Midnight Organ Fight but before The Winter of Mixed Drinks–and when I heard this song, I just got stuck on it. The beginning chant is so insistent and immediate. It’s almost demanding:”I demand music now.” I do, too! Thanks for delivering it, Scott and co.
Carly Maicher – Worry (mp3) (buy)
This track is my current song obsession due to it being such a surprisingly rich & rewarding recording. Not having any previous knowledge of Maicher and then hearing the album “out of the blue”, I immediately pined for a back catalog of albums just to have more from this young Canadian talent.
The Track “Worry” with it’s steady cadence supplied by the “beat” via acoustic guitar, the track is purposeful and it leads you along it’s 3 minute lament easily. Maicher’s powerful vocals in contrast with the stark acoustic track brings the right amount of juxtaposition to not allow you to brush the song into the background but focus on it front and center. I recently had the opportunity to see Maicher in a very intimate house show and the album, and this song especially (which opened her ‘set’), truly blew me away. When the subtle finger picked banjo comes in just past the midway point, it clinches it for me. This album is a must have, let “Worry” be your invitation to it.
Sleeping at Last – January White (mp3) (buy)
There’s a bit of an Arcade Fire urgency to this song, but the thing that got my attention was the line, “The past will be the past/But the future is brighter than any flashback.” It’s the perfect song to start out a new year, even if there’s not a lot of January White in San Diego. (hat tip to Adam of SongsForTheDay)
Milo Greene – Silent Way (mp3) (buy)
I heard Milo Greene as part of a year-end segment on All Things Considered. The NPR Music interns were discussing their favorite songs that had not been featured on the show. One of the interns chose “1957,” which I found fairly catchy. After listening to their 4-song EP on bandcamp, I found I really enjoyed “Silent Way.” Lots of reverb, some banjo, a great loose snare sound, and good boy/girl harmonies. More often than not, that’ll do it for me.
Yuck – Get Away (mp3) (buy)
Might as well lead this off with my top obsession of 2011, a note-perfect recreation of a Tuesday night opening act for the likes of Small Factory, Dinosaur Jr or Archers of Loaf. Yes, it’s 1992 again and I can smell the cigarette smoke and feel the flannel flying from this modest group of crunchy musicians fraught with furious fuzz pedals, overmodded vocals and erroneous energy. Nostalgia just might mean everything to me.
Red House Painters- Katy Song (mp3) (buy)
I’ve always been a slowcore junkie, but somehow, an honest study of the Mark Kozelek catalog had heretofore escaped me. I’ve started at the beginning, as that tends to be a good place to start — and although the vast majority of their first eponymous album compels me, there’s something that absolutely grabs and holds me in Katy Song. Whether it’s the meandering arpeggios of the first few verses that pair seamlessly with the (apparently) trademark pathos of Kozelek’s glacial prose, or the delayed wall of guitars that drive the endless outro, something demands a trip back to the beginning for another ride around. “Can’t go with my heart / When I can’t feel what’s in it” might be a ham-fisted line in any other song, but it’s hard to deny when sandwiched here amongst so much other heartfelt construction. In other words, it’s a sublime composition from which my ears most likely will never tire.
Real Estate – Wonder Years (mp3) (buy)
I have a hard time listening to the “new musics”; for those keeping score at home, that’s any song written after 2005. And I don’t throw the word “timeless” around very often (though obviously, I’m a spendthrift when it comes to “air” “quotes”), but something about the most recent record by Real Estate has wormed its way into my cold, conservative iPod of a heart — and it’s driven most notably by the timeless refrains found in Wonder Years. There’s nothing here that you couldn’t find on any number of records penned in any number of decades, and yet their assembly of loose guitar pop somehow comes together in a manner without much parallel amongst the band’s many, many peers. “No I’m not okay / But I guess I’m doing fine” refuses to leave my brain, demanding to be sung under my breath as I undertake virtually any daily activity. My mind is not blown but comforted when I queue this song for yet another listen; rather than fade out, I wish the outro would cycle forever.
Wow, what a great way to start off the relaunch. I hope you enjoy these tracks!