New Music for Old People: Will Butler, Jerry Lee Lewis, Matthew E. White, Divine Fits and More

By , Columnist

St. Vincent and David Byrne

Well, they sho' can trade licks, but not necessarily stage outfits.

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.

Mar27_2015 by New Music on Grooveshark

1. “Ain’t That the Way” — Divine Fits (3:31)

This is sort of a cross between the Cars and the Stones, especially on the Keith Richards end. I have always fallen for this groove if the guitars were right and so they are — here. This band consists of one guy from Spoon, another from Wolf Parade, and one from New Bomb Turks: Britt Daniel, Dan Boeckner, and Sam Brown. There must be at least one more tour guy if they wanna do this live and be as good as the record. I think this could turn into something if they can turn their backs on their other bands. Spoon’s new album got good reviews but I don't know how sales were. This is a good track. I would hang in there.

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2. “The Mississippi Kid” — Jerry Lee Lewis (2:58)

If you told me in 1959 when I was a Royal Teen and gawking from the wings of stages watching my heroes (Jerry Lee, Buddy Holly, Jackie Wilson, Larry Williams, etc) that one of them would record a song my name was on, I would’ve laughed my ass off. And now, 56 years later, it’s actually happened. There are a few miracles involved here: Jerry Lee is still alive and kickin’ the piano stool and I co-wrote this with Lynyrd Skynyrd when I produced their first album. Jerry’s daughter is a HUGE Skynyrd fan and I suspect that is how this came to be. The Killer has outlived them all and will be 80 at the end of this September. His energy level and his voice are a little lower but God bless him if The Killer still allows that sorta thang.

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Whoever cleaned up Jerry Lee should spend a few minutes on those piano keys!

3. “Iowa Sky” — Willy Porter and Carmen Nickerson (3:53)

The first time I saw Willy Porter live, the son-of-a-gun completely hypnotized me. He’s an amazing guitar player, singer, and songwriter. It can be heard right here. This is original, great stuff. His female accomplice produces a very smooth, accurate harmonic blend with him. His guitar-playing has one or two players sitting home out of work as Willy does the work of two or three with those wild hands of his. Did I say I liked this? I REALLY do. This would be a great cover for CS&N if they’re still talking about singing and playing.

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4. “Witness” — Will Butler (3:01)

The younger ones will know this guy from the band he fronts with his brother, Arcade Fire. This kinda reminds me of a period David Johansen went through before his voice got lower and he divested himself of all his Doll clothes. And maybe Will was influenced by that himself. At any rate, it’s a ramshackle good listen but the only thing like it on Will’s maiden solo album out now, titled Policy.

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"I can't really shake it too much up here 'cause my hair is PERFECT at the moment..."

5. “Visions” — Matthew E. White (3:41)

This is Phil Spector-y at various times, albeit pretty original sounding in today’s world. The Brits went nuts over his first album Big Inner, out in 2012. He also drew attention in Belgium, Denmark, France, and Sweden. But the Guardian gave it five stars and Uncut mag called it “one of the great albums of modern Americana.” Like I said, they went nuts over there. Meanwhile Matt played as much as he could in these other countries. He runs his label Spacebomb Records and has also collaborated with Sharon Van Etten and the Mountain Goats, two other acts that have gotten critical frenzy in the UK. So this is from his brand new album Fresh Blood. He does seem to be an envelope-pusher but as I listened to this , I didn’t imagine his image was thus. Born in 1982, in Virgina Beach, Virginia; I wonder if he flies Virgin Airways… hmm…

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6. “Let’s Hope Nobody Finds Us” — Lewis Taylor (4:06)

I have included almost all of my Lewis Taylor collection since I started this column in 2011. It’s a curious thing about Lewis; he has this Brian Wilson obsession. Amazingly he can do Beach Boys spot on. I think this has actually become my favorite Brian tribute by Lewis. That rat sings all the parts as well. AND he can be a totally gut-wrenching soul singer anytime he wants to get ready. I hope we get to play together someday. Oh, did I mention he’s a Brit? Oh, sorry, mate. He retired from formal Lewis Tayloring in 2006 and plays backup for, among others, The Edgar Broughton Band, who I used to listen to in 1968! He probably would be a current Beach Boy if anyone in that band knew his work.

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7. “What Love Has Joined Together” — Mary Wells (2:53)

An early Motown songstress, she had a long run of hits. This is a Smokey Robinson song and production with the great Detroit guitarist Marv Tarplin in attendance. Sometimes he would co-write with Smokey. But Mary’s voice was always very inspiring to me. This is one of my faves all around. Great song, great singer, great band (check out the pianist), great production. It was actually the B side for “Your Old Standby” but I liked it better than the A side.

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8. “Get Around This” — SafetySuit (2:58)

This is an unabashed pop group but I kinda like this track. They release very well-made, carefully produced tracks and this one just wormed its way from my computer into my brain. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, they relocated to Gnashville in about 2004 and still reside there. This track is from their second album released in 2012, These Times.

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9. “I Can Go Quietly” — Shivaree (2:18)

I discovered this band on iTunes. I missed them in their original permutation. There were three of them: the singer, the guitarist, and the bassist. I guessed they used friends or studio guys to record and tour. She is quite a singer AND her name is Ambrosia Parsley. With all due respect, and she deserves that, it sounds like something my wife made as a side dish. Did she make that name up or were her parents the original hippies? She’s a great singer and has a solo album that is supposedly being released in April or May. Yah Mo B there (up and over).

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Cool it, dudes — her ring says she's wrapped up in wedded bliss. Probably to someone named Parker Parsley...

10. “Who” — David Byrne and St. Vincent (3:37)

This was from a duet album that came out about a year or two ago, Love This Giant. I have used other tracks from it in past columns. There was a very strong horn presence on this album and the arrangements were GREAT. This is a perfect example and the two of their vocal sounds really complement each other. My son was the first Byrne fan in the family. I didn’t get David until “Once In a Lifetime.” My son Brian was all over “Psycho Killer” but I didn’t get it. Just shows to go ya. Now THIS I totally get and enjoy repeated listens after two years. You roool, David!

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