June 2013: Short and Sweet

Percy Mayfield – The River's Invitation Came upon this version of this song, and actually Percy Mayfield altogether, when working on the playlist to accompany my recent interview with my dad. I know the song from a different version, on an album by Geoff Muldaur and Amos Garrett that I grew up listening to. I'm sure I've written about it before on the blog. Anyway - it's pretty awesome to come across the original version of a song you know really well and find that you can love both versions. It belongs in that class of songs that has a startling difference between the way the music sounds (smooth, laidback) and what meaning behind the words (suicidal thoughts, despair, etc.). I love a song that is simple but layered like that.

Joni Mitchell – The Wolf That Lives In Lindsey My dad used to compare Mingus and Monk by saying that Monk's music was full of joy and Mingus' anger. I've always thought that was a bit too reductionist, but clearly there's some element of truth, and I can hear Joni Mitchell channelling some of his anger, letting it disrupt her inclination towards the pretty, on this track from their collaboration, which would be one of his last projects. I remember hearing for the first time that they collaborated and finding it a really strange idea. As I continue to try to solve the puzzle that her music presents, it has only started to make more and more sense. The way she attacks her guitar is at once absolutely Joni and an obvious homage to Mingus' muscular, aggresive style of playing and composing (and living, I think). What magicians.

Credence Clearwater Revival – Lookin´Out My Back Door There's a recent WTF interview with John Fogerty that's a pretty great listen, and reveals a lot about his life and approach to music. He talks about his simple formula for making a pop song: Vocals are the loudest, drums are next, guitar fills in when there are no vocals. That's it. That right there explains a lot about CCR, and most pop hits from forever. I have so much to learn from this.

I also can't help but think about the Big Lebowski scene where the Dude crashes his car, and the recurring reference to his "CCR tapes." Hilarious. (Tangentially, this is the only CCR track I could find on Spotify.)

Alpine – Hands Heard this song on an All Songs Considered podcast and immediately thought, "Jon Martin would really like this." He did. They are from Australia.

Queens Of The Stone Age – If I Had A Tail I've only ever nibbled on the edges of QOTSA music, so I'm not sure if this new album is in keeping (quality-wise) with their other stuff. It's been a pretty serious ear-worm this month, though, and makes me feel like I'm 16 again, listening to the new Soundgarden. I don't think QOTSA holds a candle to that band's best work, but they seem to have figured out how to do (what I consider) the grunge thing in a way that fits in 2013.

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound – Rouse Yourself A local Chicago group that I've heard a lot about, but haven't seen yet. I have to admit that I came across the song because Aubrey Plaza is in the video, and the internet has figured out that I am very amenable to watching things with Aubrey Plaza. Hey, Jake Johnson is also quite dashing.

Sonny & The Sunsets – primitive I had a quick fascination with the last Sonny & The Sunsets album, and like a lot of this one. It's not groundbreaking, but is pleasant and frequently strange. I relate to the sentiment of this song, for sure.

Bosnian Rainbows – Morning Sickness I have this image of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez as a guy who does nothing but play music. Like, literally just lives in the studio - sleeps, eats, shits in the studio. Musicians with his kind of insane output and work ethic make me jealous, especially when so much of it is really smart, boundary-pushing stuff. This project with Le Butcherettes' Teri Gender Bender hits so many gothic pop sweet spots, just the right mix of dancey and creepy. Plus, there's his phenomenal guitar playing.

Kalesijski Zvuci – Crven Fesic This, well... This is what happens when you're messing around on Spotify searching for "Bosnian." It's stuff like this that makes me really love Spotify.