song obsession friday! (nearish Valentine’s day)

February 10th, 2012

damien jurado
Damien Jurado’s “Working Titles” was my song obsession this time

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.

Adrian (me):
Damien Jurado – Working Titles (mp3) (pre-order)

I’d heard a couple tracks from the forthcoming Maraqopa and they were good, but when I heard this one (via Heather) I was in love. A waltz-time break-up song about someone writing a song about you, it swings and soars in a lovely way that reminds me of songs from the ’50s. But it also has Jurado’s keenly written lyrics; this is filled with amazing lines. “If I show up in the titles of your songs// I only hope someone requests it.”

Andy:
Sprites – Follow Her Around (mp3) (buy)

Following Her Around is a tune that hits the spot for me in a lot of ways. Jangly 90′s indiepop, nostalgia for your early 20′s, and the dream of a girl with perfect taste in movies and music. Plus, any song that name drops the Karmann Ghia is alright in my book.

Sandy:
Great American Desert (formerly South of Lincoln) – Thirteen (mp3) (buy)

The song is old testament good. This is essentially speaks of becoming an adult at the ripe old age of 13 and haunts you with the rough and challenging life many (hopefully that of others) live. The stark acoustics and slight drawl in the vocals of Max Holmquist make this a cautionary tale of times that might not be so long lost. Oh, and it just guitar stumming just echos in my head as I play out this soundtrack of a father/son power struggle.

Dave:
Delay Trees – Gold (mp3) (buy)

I heard about this finnish group when listening to NPR Music’s year end (2011) wrap-up and made note of them, but didn’t listen more until a couple weeks ago. I’m now a bit obsessed with this whole album actually, but the lead-off track really stands out. ‘Gold’ has a perfect build, rising to a soaring, Explosions in The Sky-esque peak, then releasing suddenly and transitioning smoothly into the second track. It must be the combination of pop and post-rock that really gets me, because I just keep hitting repeat.

Keith:
Blouse – Into Black (mp3) (buy)

First heard this one on a PDX Now! compilation and now that their debut album is out it’s official that this track is the retro-gothy standout. The bass guitar riff mates mouth-watering flavor with a downbeat tempo and even more importantly resists the temptation to dominate the proceedings, giving way to a glossy chorus that provides a precisely uplifting counterpoint.

collier – sounds like sunshine mixtape, vol 1 and 2

June 11th, 2011


summer sky; idea shamelessly stolen from Natalie

My friends, the Colliers, recently moved to LA and I wanted to send them off with a nice mix that would help them get settled in the City of Angles. Since then I’ve been listening to it a lot and I thought it was just too good not to post. I’m pretty excited about it! All the songs on it evoke imagines or feelings of summer or sunshine to me.

Go ahead and check out the playlist (below) or the liner notes for volume 1 or volume 2.

Ipickmynose Sounds Like Sunshine Mixtape, vol 1 (zip file, mediafire link)

Ipickmynose Sounds Like Sunshine Mixtape, vol 2 (zip file, mediafire link)



You can download the zip file with the following:
1. mp3s of the songs
2. liner notes (pdf)
3. playlist files (iTunes txt file and an m3u file)

(for the iTunes file, simply add all the songs to your library and then go to File->Library->Import Playlist and then select the song list (the txt file). you should now have the playlist collier-sunshine1 (or collier-sunshine2) in your iTunes with all the songs in the correct order).

Collier Sounds Like Sunshine, vol 1:

  1. The Lucksmiths T-Shirt Weather
  2. Lucky Soul Whoa Billy
  3. Allo Darlin’ My Heart is a Drummer
  4. The Morning Benders Excuses
  5. Marching Band Feel Good About It
  6. Coconut Records The Summer
  7. Matt Pond PA Summer is Coming
  8. Polyphonic Spree Light & Day (Orchestral Version)
  9. Seabear Arms
  10. The Apples in stereo Go
  11. The Beatles And Your Bird Can Sing
  12. Kind of Like Spitting Birds of a Feather
  13. Karl Blau Into the Nada
  14. Paul Simon I Know What I Know
  15. Fool’s Gold Surprise Hotel
  16. S. Pilso & His Super Seven Kuya Hanjwa
  17. The Very Best Kamphopo
  18. Camera Obscura French Navy
  19. Belle & Sebastian Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying
  20. The Supremes When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes
  21. Martha & the Vandellas (Love is Like a) Heat Wave
  22. Ben E. King Spanish Harlem
  23. Buddy Holly Everyday

Collier Sounds Like Sunshine, vol 2:

  1. The Beach Boys Good Vibrations
  2. Electric Light Orchestra Mr. Blue Sky
  3. The Tremeloes Here Comes My Baby
  4. The Drifters Under the Boardwalk
  5. The Del Vikings Come Go With Me
  6. The Beach Boys Barbara Ann
  7. Toots & the Maytals Bla Bla Bla
  8. Candie Payne One More Chance
  9. Gnarls Barkley Going On
  10. Kings Go Forth One Day
  11. Mayer Hawthorne Maybe So, Maybe No
  12. Lissie Stranger
  13. Matt & Kim Daylight
  14. Simon & Garfunkel Cecilia
  15. Patty Griffin No Bad News
  16. Feist I Feel It All
  17. David Wax Museum Born With a Broken Heart
  18. My Latest Novel The Reputation of Ross Francis
  19. Florence & the Machine Dog Days Are Over
  20. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes Home
  21. Noah & the Whale 5 Years Time
  22. Fanfarlo You Are One Of The Few Outsiders Who Really Understands Us
  23. Oh No! Oh My! Party Punch
  24. Rogue Waves Eyes

If you like the artists or songs, I suggest supporting them by buying their music, going to a show, buying merchandise from them or at least telling other people about them.

Sam Cooke’s 80th birthday

January 22nd, 2011

Sam Cooke in the Studio

Today would have been the truly incomparable Sam Cooke’s–called the Inventor of Soul–80th birthday. He started singing in soul groups and ended up in the influential Soul Stirrers.

Eventually he took that gospel sound into secular music, first in 1956 with a reworked gospel song called “Lovable” released under the pseudonym Dale Cooke in order to hide his identity from gospel fans who might not like his foray into secular music.

He left the Soul Stirrers in 1957 to pursue pop music. By 1960, years before Motown and Stax were churning out soul hits, he was putting out iconic songs like “Chain Gang.” When he was killed by a motel manager in 1964, some news reports described him as a “teen pop idol”, but I think he’s rightly come to be regarded as much more than just that in the time since.

Here are some of my favorite songs by him to celebrate this day.

  • Sam Cooke – Cupid (mp3) (buy)

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    “Cupid” is one of my all time favorite songs. It’s so beautiful and melancholy at the same time. Perfect orchestration married with Cooke’s truly soulful croon to make an amazing song.

  • Sam Cooke – Were You There (mp3) (buy)

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    This is a unique take on the African-American spiritual. I love the arrangement–the rough guitar and those fantastic background vocals–and Sam’s anguished squeal throughout.

  • Sam Cooke – Chain Gang (mp3) (buy)

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    It’s so hard not to sing along to this song. It’s such a catchy song. And the lyrics are simple and heartbreaking as well “My work is so hard// Give me water// I’m thirsty// My work is so hard”; they’re even more devastating when Sam sings them.

  • Sam Cooke – A Change is Gonna Come (mp3) (buy)

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    A discussion of Sam Cooke would be incomplete without discussing his only major effort in “protest” music, “A Change is Gonna Come”. Reportedly written after Cooke heard “Blowing In the Wind”, Cooke wanted to write his own anthem addressing the situation at the time. And what a fantastic effort it was. Simultaneously hopeful and mournful and sympathetic. The opening lyrics (“I was born by a river// in a little tent// and just like the river // I’ve been runnin’ every since.”) I often find stuck in my head.

  • Sam Cooke – Having a Party (live) (mp3) (buy)

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    If you have never heard any of Cooke’s live recordings, you need to listen to this and then get the album it’s off of (Live at the Harlem Square Club). As smooth and polished as Cooke is on his recordings, he lets loose on the live recordings. This song is practically unrecognizable from the studio version. In this version, when he sings about everyone swinging at the party you feel it.

  • Sam Cooke – Sad Mood (mp3) (buy)

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    He may not have had the rough, angsty voice of someone like Otis Redding, but Cooke could show anguish in his music. There’s almost no better sign that a song is personally meaningful than it comes to mind because of personal events. And this song has come to mind nearly every time I was sad or heartbroken in the last few years.

I hope you listen to and enjoy all of these like I have.

top song obsessions of the year (2010)

December 31st, 2010

scott of frightened rabbit
“Nothing Like You” by Frightened Rabbit was my top song obsession, photo by ipickmynose

2010 has been the oddest of my life, full of contradictions: the most amazing and most boring times; the most lovelorn and most disinterested; the most outgoing and most antisocial. It’ll take years to see what it all means and where it will lead, but I have to say it was pretty good. But these contradictions led to a vast and odd array of music getting caught in my head, twisting and turning around in there and begging to be heard again and again.

As I’m sure I’ve said before, I don’t pick song obsessions. Well, I don’t pick them consciously. Something in the song and in my brain mesh in an addictive way and an ear worm is born.

Without any further delay, here’s the list of songs I was most obsessed with in 2010.

  1. Frightened Rabbit – Nothing Like You (mp3) (buy)

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    Pair an immediately catchy song with some fantastic lyrics about turning over a new leaf in love—the song starts with “This is a song// And you’re not in it”—and you have a winner. I’ve listened to it at least 142 times this year and I still love it.

  2. Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (mp3) (buy)

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    This was a band I initially wrote off, but have come around to them since seeing them live a while ago. Pair that new-found love of the band with their newish album Sigh No More, which I think presents their music in a much better light than their previous EPs and I was obsessed with the entire album, listening to it probably a hundred plus times over the year. But the song that stuck out more than other was this one (and to a lesser extent “Roll Away Your Stone”). I’m not sure why; perhaps it’s the catchy and f-bomb dropping chorus that seals the deal.

  3. Kanye West – Power (mp3) (buy)

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    A simple riff with some straight-beat clapping seems like it might be the basis for some fairly harmless hip hop track, but is anything but that. This is unstoppable, incorrigible, unbreakable, and incalculably addictive. Not even some sub-par rhymes or annoying faux-singing can trip up what must be one of the best hip hop productions in recent memory.

  4. Jonsi – Hengilas (mp3) (buy)

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    There have been a few times I felt like I was on crazy pills and this song proved to be an immediate antidote. The last time I wrote about this song, I compared it to some of Aaron Copland’s finer work and I think that is still an apt comparison. Few have used open, slow-moving chords to create such beautiful music since that famed composer, but Jonsi has created a song here with beauty one can get lost in.

  5. Carissa’s Weird – Die (mp3) (buy)

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    For this one, I’ll have to go back to what I said before: “It’s difficult to describe what makes this song so obsession-worthy but it’s a song that I’ve listened to dozens of times in the last few months… Maybe it’s the layers of instruments and vocals. Maybe it’s the hypnotic way the instruments loop that draws me in. Maybe it’s the slow breakdown. Who knows why, but I know what: it’s good.”

  6. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Barnesyard (mp3) (from Daytrotter session)

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    I’d had this Daytrotter session for a while and listened to it plenty of times, but for some reason this spring (October-November, in the Southern Hemisphere) it hit me anew and I couldn’t get enough of this earnest and urgent song. (By the way, the studio version of this song will be released as “Barnes’ Yard” on the RAA’s forthcoming album Departed out on March 1.)

  7. Guided by Voices – Game of Pricks (mp3) (buy)

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    Somehow I’d missed this song for years until I saw/ heard Owen Pallett’s charming violin-based cover. That lead me to listen to the original and boy was I hooked. No wonder it’s an absolutely classic indie rock tune. It’s seemingly the archetypal song of perhaps the most archetypal indie rock band.

  8. Florence and the Machine – Dog Days are Over (mp3) (buy)

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    I had no idea about this band when I started playing around the idea of a Stomp-Clap mix (which eventually Heather took off with and did really well), but a friend suggested this song and I’m glad she did. A magnificent voice backed with compelling and interesting orchestration. A winner from the first listen.

  9. Paul Jacobsen – Six O’Clock News (mp3) (unreleased, band website)

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    What a heartbreaking stunner of a song…and it’s only a demo! This cover of Kathleen Edwards perfectly matches the tone and emotion of the music to those of the lyrics. Also of special note are the high and lonesome harmonies which really add some emotional gravity to the singing.

  10. Adele – Hometown Glory (mp3) (buy)

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    This is how you know that I didn’t plan this list: because no idiot would purposefully have the same song on his list two years in a row. And, furthermore, if I was going to plan a song to repeat, it wouldn’t be a pop song. But my head wrapped itself around this gorgeous song. My obsession can neatly be summed up by an anecdote: at some point during Natalie’s and my epic roadtrip in South Africa, this song came on in a mix and she said “I was hoping this song would come on.” And I replied “Me too.”

  11. Diana Ross and the Supremes – Reflections (mp3) (buy)

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    I was at Firemen’s Arms, a historic and smokey bar in downtown Cape Town for my weekly trivia night. I’d grumbled for months about the horrible quality of the music they played. While in the bathroom, this song came on and, though I didn’t remember what song it was I knew two things: 1) that it was the unmistakable voice of Diana Ross and 2) I had to hear this song again (and again). Later that night I found the track and started the second of many, many listens.

  12. We Were Promised Jetpacks – It’s Thunder and It’s Lightening (mp3) (buy)

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    As I said previoiusly: “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. ”

  13. Paul Simon – Graceland (mp3) (buy)

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    After hearing Tallest Man on Earth’s cover I found myself listening to the original again for the first time in a while. And I soon found myself walking down the narrow, winding, hilly streets of Green Point, Cape Town crooning that amazing verse “Losing love is a window into your heart// Everybody sees you’re blown apart” oblivious of everything around me.

  14. The Tallest Man on Earth – King of Spain (mp3) (buy)

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    The Tallest Man on Earth release an album this and of course I was obsessed with it, mostly equally, but this song stuck out. It’s insistent, driving and oddly uplifting.

  15. Horse Feathers – Cascades (mp3) (buy)

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    The hallmarks of all good Horse Feathers songs—beautiful orchestration, plaintive and breathy vocals, a dynamic build—are stamped all over this song. I loved this song on the 7″ and again when it came out on Thistled Spring

  16. Loney, Dear – Ignorant Boy, Beautiful Girl (mp3) (buy)

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    Two days after arriving back from South Africa I was in my friend’s car and he asked me “Do you know Loney, Dear?” I did–I’d seen them open for Andrew Bird years ago and had heard a few of their songs. I wasn’t exactly a fan, I said. “Well I gotta play you this one song. I think you’ll like it.” And I did. As much as I didn’t want to (the beginning sounds a bit like college acapella), I really did.

And there it is.

If you’re wondering how I came up with this list, it was at least in part influenced by how many times I listened to a song, how much I was obsessed with the song initially and how much I was obsessed with it over time.

great retro soul and funk: kings go forth + sharon jones

August 19th, 2010

Sharon Jones Outside Lands
Sharon Jones @ Outside Lands, photo by Natalie Kardos

I have no never-ending mental catalog of soul but I know my stuff–my collection includes all of Stax’s and Motown’s singles from 1959-1968 among other stuff. It makes me happy when I hear a new artist doing soul right, like Mayer Hawthorne, Raphael Saadiq or Candie Payne.

In the last few months, I’ve heard two albums that I really think have done soul and soul-funk right–it’s soul that’s authentic but still fresh and invigorating. It pays tribute without being a cheap imitation. They’re both thoroughly enjoyable for many hours of listening.

The Kings Go Forth (myspace) are from Minnesota Milwaukee. A ten-piece soul and funk outfit, they’re not the standard sort of band coming up right now, but, man, is The Outsiders are Back a fantastic album. From the upbeat and almost exuberant opener “One Day” to the hard-swinging, hard-hitting, falsetto-voiced ballad “Fight With Love”, it’s a worthwhile listen.

Kings Go Forth – One Day (mp3) (buy)

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You can get another track from KEXP or preview the whole album.

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings (myspace) are an established band by this point, playing big venues and festivals from coast to coast. While their previous albums (like 2007′s breakout One Hundred Days, One Hundred Nights) were enjoyable, the recently released I Learned the Hard Way is the first, I feel like, that sounds right. Though the songs don’t all sound alike, it’s stylistically similar in a way that transports me; there were multiple times that songs from the album came on and I thought I was listening to some ’60s b-side. “Better Things to Do” has a nice swagger and melody to it, while the title track could have been a Stax single from that time.

My favorite track, though, is the closer, “Mama Don’t Like My Man”. The simple, distorted guitars under the anguished lead vocals and back-ups reminds me uncannily of ’60s soul gospel numbers. I often thing an acoustic session with a modern indie pop band will tell you if they actually have good songs, so does this song reveal that Jones and Co have good songs and plenty of style.

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – Mama Don’t Like My Man (mp3) (buy)

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You can grab the title track in exchange for your email address or hear more at their myspace.

down and dirty old-school R&B

May 28th, 2010

money (that's what I want)
a reissue of an early Tamla record

You know I love soul. I love Motown’s soul pop sound. I love Stax’s hard driving soul and soul-funk. I’m into Dusty’s blue-eyed soul and some of that Northern Soul sound.

But sometimes I want that other stuff, that down and dirty rhythm and blues, with sauntering bass lines and tight-but-rough horn lines. With swinging drums and voices that tell you they know a little something about the world. That music that makes you feel like dancing, like swaggering. The stuff that transports you to dank and smokey juke joints somewhere in the Deep South, many years ago, when things were better, but things were worse.

I love “Down Home Girl” which comes from a great collection of music by famed producer team Lieber and Stoller. I’m not quite sure how two Jewish guys from New York produced such a fantastic R&B record, but here it is.

Alvin Robinson – Down Home Girl (mp3) (buy)

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OKeh was a pretty important label in early R&B and there are some excellent collections of their material out. From Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” to absolute winners like Big Maybelle, who recorded “A Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On” two years before Jerry Lee Lewis had a hit with it. Check out “New Kind of Mambo” and see if you don’t want to move a little bit.

Big Maybelle – New Kind of Mambo (mp3) (buy)

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Early in Motown’s history, before they became Detroit’s hit factory (complete with a quality control department) and became synonymous with a type of soul pop, they dabbled some in rhythm and blues. Released on Tamla (a Motown subsidiary) in September 1960, this Smokey Robinson & Berry Gordy-penned number broke the top-30 on the R&B charts, qualifying it to be one of Motown’s earliest hits. Still it remains obscure—and awesome.

Singin’ Sammy Ward – Who’s the Fool? (mp3) (buy)

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wait, that’s not sam cooke! the ovations’ “I’m livin’ good”

April 19th, 2010

I love Ace Records’ oldies/ R&B compilations so I’ve picked some up without really knowing much about them. Some I listen to pretty frequently while a few have fallen by the wayside.

The other day this song, from the waysided Goldwax Story, vol 1, came on and I was blown away. Sam Cooke’s voice is among the top two male vocalists in pop history (with Smokey Robinson being the other), in my opinion. I knew this wasn’t Sam Cooke but if I closed my eyes, I could almost be fooled. Louis Williams does a pretty spot-on (and purposeful) Sam Cooke impersonation and with the rest of the Ovations produces a convincing and compelling track in “I’m Living Good”.

The Ovations – I’m Living Good (mp3)

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You can pick this track (and the rest of the compilation) up at amazon.

don’t call it a comeback (because it ain’t)

August 26th, 2009

This is emphatically not a return to form. I’ve been sharing songs with friends and I thought it was a bit silly to not share them here too.


colo(u)rful houses in Bo Kaap

I quite like this Alberta Cross song. The whole album is good, too, though I don’t love every song.
Alberta Cross – Low Man (mp3)

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Volcano Choir is a side project of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. This track was not what I expected, but it’s quite catchy/ good. And Justin’s vocals are wonderful as always.
Volcano Choir – Island, IS (mp3)

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Soul Sides has been posting some fantastic stuff lately and you’d be remiss to not check it out. Bobby Freeman’s “Good Good Lovin’” is a classic blues-based, Motown-sound track with a hard driving sax part. They posted two tracks by the Metros and both are excellent soul tracks, but I like the dark, swaggering “Since I Found My Baby” better.

They also posted these oh-those-are-funny videos of Lushlife doing acoustic covers of classic hip hop tunes. They are so funny, until you realize they’re actually quite compelling. For example, this Jay Z cover:

I definitely am going to keep my eye out for Mayer Hawthorne after a few tracks of his I heard recently. Grab the breezy, oldies- and Motown-inspired “Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin’” at MBV.

I don’t know much about Monogrenade but I quite like folky The Acorn-reminiscent track “Ce Soir” that Anyone’s Guess posted.

The B-side of the Very Best 7″, “Yalira”, available here, is beautiful and worth the listen.

I’ve been listening to the Frightened Rabbit Daytrotter session a lot. The featured version of “My Backwards Walk” is great.

And, finally, if I’m posting, I feel it’s my duty to mention the great KevvyKev’s (one of KZSU’s own) 25th anniversary Bang the Drum concert with 25 DJs and 25 MCs. It’s definitely another impressive line up. Check out all the details.


boats in Kalk Bay, False Bay

the room is still there, the light is just off OR the restaurant is closed but the tables are still set

August 2nd, 2009

plane_sierras

So the month is up. I sit here with my bags packed, an empty apartment now across town and a boarding pass ready to be printed. This is it, the end of ipickmynose as we know it. What that actually means is yet to be seen, but I know I’m taking a break and if I come back, I’m not going to be blogging all the time.

I’m proud of what I’ve done here. 1137 posts over 860 days. But more than the numbers, I think I’ve written good stuff–though I still wouldn’t claim to be a “writer”–and championed plenty of bands that ought to be championed. I’m proud that I never put advertising on this site. It’s always been a labor of love and both a time and money sink, but I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t like doing it. It’s certainly been a fun pursuit.

I really have a lot of people I’d like to thank for help and support. Dave for kickass design work on posters for ipickmynose presents shows and other stuff for the site. Andy for introducing me to rad bands, making KZSU live mp3s sound better, and telling me when I was getting too full of myself as a blogger. Liz for being my unofficial editor and for being possibly my first reader. Smurph, for engineering all those KZSU sessions. All the song obsession panelists, especially Keith, my college radio hero. All the bands that I’ve met and have been great and appreciative. Fellow bloggers, for the encouragement and for introducing me to great bands, especially Will of New & Used Records, Ben, Christian and Emily of the Bay Bridged, Nick of Monosyllabic/ albondigas!, Scott of Anyone’s Guess, Oz of Hearya, Natalie of It’s Too Sunny Out Here, and Smansmith of Slowcoustic. Largehearted boy, Chromewaves and Gorilla v Bear for something aspire to.

I’d like to thank you, the readers. When I decided to branch off my music writing from my personal blog to a separate music blog, there was the implicit acknowledgment that I was writing for more than just myself. Initially I thought it would just be some friends and things and I’m still tickled that people who don’t know me read this. So thanks for that.

I’m not disappearing entirely of course. There will be things of mine on the internet that will still be around if you want to keep track of me:

Anyway, keep ipickmynose in your RSS readers or check back in occasionally. Who knows what the future will bring?

The Miracles – What’s So Good About Good Bye (mp3) (buy)

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soul gospel 8 (plus two bonus tracks)

July 28th, 2009

If you listened to my radio show you almost definitely heard me play soul and you probably heard me play some soul gospel. There’s so compelling about some of it–fervor mixed with hard soul. I’ve pulled out some my favorites to share here.

Soul Gospel 8:

  • Shirley Ann Lee – There’s a Light (mp3) (buy)

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    This one is so simple: guitar, steady rim hits and voice, but it also succeeds by making all those work together so well. Her voice has so much depth to it.

  • The Wright Specials – Ninety-Nine and a Half Won’t Do (mp3) (buy)

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    Who doesn’t love a real rouser? This is an soul song that’s been done by everyone from Diana Ross to Wilson Pickett to Creedence Clearwater Revival, but there’s something about the energy in this one.

  • Sam Cooke – Were You There (mp3) (buy)

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    I had to include a song that brought soul from the church context to the secular. “Touch the Hem of His Garment” is amazing, but this version of the traditional song can’t be missed. Sam’s voice is top notch here but so are the backup vocals.

  • Trevor Dandy – Is There Any Love (mp3) (buy)

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    I think repetitive songs are just fine if what is repeating is completely awesome. I love the beat and the vocals and apparently so does Kid Cudi.

  • Aretha Franklin – People Get Ready (mp3) (buy)

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    There are so many good versions of People Get Ready. I love the original by Curtis Mayfield/ the Impressions and the live version by the Chamber Brothers is great too, but between the sweet production and Aretha’s unsurpassed voice on this one, I had to pick it.

  • Rev. Columbus Mann – They Shall Be Mine (mp3) (buy)

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    Motown (often on their sub-labels) actually put out some gospel, including the Wright Specials track above and this one. This one is very straightforward, but it’s just a really good example of this style.

  • Gospel Supremes – Sinner Man (mp3) (buy)

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    From the first notes of this song, I feel like it’s running away and all I can do is hold on. There’s something untamed and uncontrolled about it.

  • Universal Jubileers – Childhood Days (mp3) (buy)

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    This is a great soul funk song with some sweet pop sensibilities that happens to be about Jesus. The music definitely reminds me of another song, but the vocals are all original.

Bonus: pre-soul gems:

  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Didn’t It Rain (mp3) (buy)

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    I feel like no discussion of soul gospel would be complete without bringing up Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who mixes blues, driving guitar and distinctive vocals with gospel songs.

  • Rev. Sister Mary Nelson – Judgement (mp3) (buy)

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    This is a pretty old gospel recording but you can definitely hear some stylistic elements that carry over into the soul gospel tunes above.

If you want to hear more and better selections of music like this, hope Deep Fried and Sanctified comes back on the air at KZSU.