New Music for Old People: Simple Kid, Billy Bragg, The Feeling, Jo Mama and More

By , Columnist

The Pillbugs

This column is like the title says - its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the '60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there.

I also include older items that I felt were obscure originally and might not have been heard back then. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don't miss this wonderful music. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD'VE been!

Below is a jukebox containing all the songs I picked this week. After you read about them below, go back and listen to whatever you like by just clicking on that title in the jukebox, or stream the whole playlist by clicking on the "play" icon at the top. It's free and it's the entire song. We're not selling anything. We're just in the business of hopefully making your days better by listening to great music.

We apologize to our readers/listeners who are trying to enjoy the playlists via mobile devices like iPhones/iPads and are finding that they can't; these are, unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control. At present, Grooveshark is not compatible with those operating systems, and in order to stream the playlist, you will need to use a PC or Mac.

TMR0405 by Lisa on Grooveshark

1. "Golden" — The Squirts (2:39)

I’m starting out this week with three tributes to '60s psychedelia. First is by a band called The Squirts. Formed in 2003 by session musicians Matt Bissonette (bass and lead vocals), George Bernhardt (guitar) and Rodger Carter (drums), they released a self-titled debut album that same year. This is from their 2006 album Resquirted, which appears to be their second and final release.

2. "Life As It Happens" — The Pillbugs (2:51)

A Toledo, Ohio band from the late '90s bathed in the '60s psychedelia category. By the mid-2000s they were accomplished at writing the equivalent of The Byrds' first originals circa 1965. This is a great example.

3. "Staring at the Sun" (Al’s Edit) — Simple Kid (2:53)

To finish the last third of our neo-hallucinatory music, up pops Simple Kid, an Irish lad from Cork. This is from his first album and he’s quite adept at getting the appropriate settings for his songs. I think he probably plays everything and engineers it all as well. This is from 2003-4 and I wish more people in 2013 were making home studio records that sounded this good. And deceptively $imple, kid... However, in the accompanying photo it looks like he’s speculating about what Bob Dylan would look like doing an AC/DC tribute.

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4. "Swallow My Pride" — Billy Bragg (2:46)

Billy has reached the second leg of his career where his influences have changed from Woody Guthrie to Jackson Browne. This is not a bad thing. His former rough edges are now replaced by better personal songwriting and much more care in production albeit still charming simplicity. I am now less of a casual listener then I was before, but I hope the reverse is NOT true for diehard original fans.

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5. "Long Time Gone" — The Civil Wars (3:43)

This is for a movie and the original billing was listed as The Civil Wars feat. T Bone Burnett. I don’t think he’s singing lead, so I removed his credit as I don’t think the producer should have a featured credit. Jeez, I played organ on “Free Bird” but it didn’t say Lynyrd Skynyrd feat. You-Know-Who. Anyway, Mr. Burnett did a fine job coaching his team here and it’s a nice sounding track and probably works well in the film I assume he scored. However, this band has graced this column before and remains capable of doing it again no matter who is ‘guiding’ them. If I’m wrong, please punish me in the Comments section, 'cause I do so hate to be wrong. This photo was taken at the diner where The Civil Wars seem to be having one after dessert at their wedding rehearsal.

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6. "When I Return" — The Feeling (3:36)

The Feeling have a few genres in their arsenal. This is their folk-pop category and it’s very well done. It builds quite well into a chorus that features mighty backup vocals. Very pleasant on the ears and makes one curious to hear more, which is the object of the whole game, innit?

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7. "Another Love" — Alice Smith (2:45)

They must make her show ID when she checks into a hotel with a moniker like that. This is a great track that I’m walkin' around chirping involuntarily lately. I especially like the piano part which puts me to mind of 1950s Latin piano playing in records by Randy Carlos or The LaPlaya Sextet (loved them!) to name but two. I’m hoping Alice is the pianist because that makes her a stronger artist and writer. There are a few other good tracks on her latest album She, which is out NOW.

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8. "Midnight Rider" — Jo Mama (3:12)

No, this not the Gregg Allman tune...calm down! I’ve always liked this and heard it recently — a few decades from the '70s where it’s actually from. Jo Mama (cute name) was an LA band formed by guitarist Danny Kootch that featured his paramour at the time, Gail Haness, on lead vocals. Gail does some mighty fine vocalizing on this track with great keyboards by Ralph Shuckett as well. This came out in 1970, with a second album following in 1971 and then poof — Jo Mama was nobody’s mama no more. Kootch was good at short-term bands. Off the top of my head, The Flying Machine, The King Bees, The City, The Section, Attitudes, Slo Leak are more than a few that come to mind.

9. "Let the Love In" — Sam Sparro (2:38)

Sam is 30 years old, raised in Australia, with time spent in London and Los Angeles. His music is very dance-oriented with a bit of electronica thrown in for good measure. This is from his 2012 album Return to Paradise. I think it’s just a matter of right time and right place and he could be on the topomost of the popomost. This track is a good example of what he's about. Keep your ear on the Sparro. And let’s hire a male photographer next time, okay ?

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10. "Pusher Love Girl" — Justin Timberlake (3:46)

Boy, am I gonna get it for this! Fact is, I miss vintage Prince and don’t quite understand what Prince is planning career-wise nowadaze. So Justin jumped into that space with this track from his current too-mucho-hyped album and, on its own, it actually fills the Prince gap quite nicely. Play it for someone without telling them who it is and see what happens. Because something is happening here, but I DO know what it is — do YOU, Mr. Prince? Please forgive me and I’ll see ya next week!

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