New Music for Old People: Third Anniversary Edition

By , Columnist

The Grip Weeds

A Note from the Editor: We here at TMR were pretty happy when, shortly after we opened our virtual doors, Al Kooper decided to write us a weekly column. The general idea was that Al would curate the new music releases every week and bring the best of them to the attention of "listeners of a certain age." Well, one thing led to another and the column evolved into what it is today: not only does Al bring us the best of the new stuff, he's also happy to point out some old stuff (and the occasional rarity) we might have missed (or forgotten about) along the way. And you sure don't have to be a Boomer to enjoy this stuff.

The very first edition of New Music for Old People appeared in these pages on May 20, 2011, and we hadn't quite yet gotten the hang of how best to present the tunes. In the spirit of congratulating ourselves on approaching the column's third anniversary, we'd like to offer you a rerun of that first column (with a couple of tweaks), this time complete with the jukebox our readers and listeners have come to love. Al's been doing the column every week nearly non-stop, with only an occasional break here and there, and we'd like to thank him for so tirelessly keeping us musically well-informed and of course we'd like to thank our readers for showing up every week to see (and hear) what's going on. We're looking forward to continuing the tradition as we enter our fourth year!

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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.

May022014 by Willow on Grooveshark

1. "Speed of Life" — The Grip Weeds (2:58)

This New Jersey band has been around since the '90s with only a revolving bass chair. They eventually built their own recording studio which has been used by many other bands as well. Maybe that's why this sounds so good. Very Beatles and Byrds, with exceptional drumming.

2. "Was It Something I Said" — Brandon Flowers (2:52)

Being the lead singer of The Killers was not a hindrance to his first solo album. I never quite "got" The Killers, but this track knocked my doors down. Great arrangement, playing and singing, as well as a great song. To me it's a big hit.

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3. "Back of My Mind" — The Autumn Defense (2:47)

An offshoot of Wilco members John Stirratt and Pat Sansone, this track at times sounds a little like the '60s band The Left Banke and that's not a bad thing. A very pleasant listen!

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They' re keepin' us after school for destroying the restroom at the gas station across the street. They were NOT amused…

4. "Swing It Around" — Nikka Costa (2:18)

This young woman's father arranged and produced at least two of my early songwriting efforts in the '60s when Don Costa was one of the most famous in the pop record biz. So here comes Nikka in Sly Stone's footsteps instead. Ain't that how it always is? This is a well-done R&B dance track with specific nods to The Family Stone. You show, girl!

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5. "Between the Needles and Night" — Marco Benevento (3:28)

This instrumental sounds amazingly original. I hear influences of Brian Wilson and Jack Nietzsche, but it could be a cowinkydink. Marco is now well regarded in the jazz/electronica community — we were both at Berklee in the late '90s but I don't recall us meeting, me a teacher, he a student. From the sound of this, I think he could teach me a thing or two.

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6. "Return to You" — Alain Johannes (2:51)

This is very from-the-heart as it is from a tribute album to his recently deceased wife of over two decades. I did not know this before I included it in this comp, but now I understand why it reached me. Why not be the next one to be touched?

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7. "Plague of Love" — Katie Melua (2:33)

Comparatively unknown in the US, this songstress is HUGE overseas. She has a unique voice and is a strong writer. I like the fact that she covers other people's songs as well. This is from her latest album The House and I got on board with just one listen. I suspect 2011 will be her time of breakthrough in the States.

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8. "Omega Dog" — The Dears (3:00)

This reminds me of parts of "Vienna" by Midge Ure's '80s band Ultravox. It kinda catches your ear and then gets permanently lodged inside, dammit! Could be arch electronica for Betty and Veronica.

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What happens when the power goes out in a college dorm…

9. "Slow Down" — Terri Hendrix (3:02)

Terri is a truly self-made woman. With 12 albums in release on her own label since 1996, she makes me jealous. Playing mostly in the Texas-Louisiana cradle, she eventually moved on out and has traversed the US many times now. I love this track; it's a great song with a fine backing track featuring plenty of mandolin (one of Al's fave instruments).

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10. "Ain't No Hidin' Love" — The Deadstring Brothers (3:01)

These guys are VERY Stones-influenced, although more Keith than Mick. This track rocks right on out in a jack flash kinda groove. The singer avoids the obvious Jagger temptation because he's a damn good singer on his own. I love this. It grows on ya right away.

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No need guessing who the actual brothers are…

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