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.
1. "Shine a Light" — Dirty Vegas (2:42)
I was surprised to choose this one. They are a British house music trio and if I had read that first, I would never have listened (I’m too old). But I actually liked this and even found another track on the album as well. Energy-wise this is a great one to open with, so why not?
2. "The Woodpile" — Frightened Rabbit (2:56)
This is a Scottish indie band, now based in Glasgow: two guitars, keyboards, bass and drums. They started in 2003 on indie labels and by 2010 got picked up by Atlantic Records and released two EPs before their latest album, The Pedestrian, last year. The lyrics are very acid-trippy and the music is peppered with uneven bars. Still it comes together and the short guitar solo sounds great. Don’t try dancing to it though, you’ll bang your head!
"Well, boys, here we are / In another uneven bar. Hey ... somebody write that down. It's a good lyric for us."
3. "I Haven't Even Started With You" — Mieka Pauley (3:49)
This is Mieka’s second appearance in this column; this time represented by her latest album The Science of Making Choices (2012). WOW! This is a ballad just how I like it — wonderful lyrics, great singing, playing and production. All this took place in Seattle but it doesn’t sound like the usual Seattle crews. Upon research I found that Mieka a) studied at Harvard, b) won the first Cosmopolitan (!) talent search as well as a few other awards, and c) got both her albums financed by fans. For a gal born in 1980, she’s doing amazingly well so far and her career appears to be in great shape. If it’s based on tracks like this, she’ll be around long after I’m gone. She’s playing tonight in Boston and boy, I will surely go, girl...
4. "Ante Up" — Ages and Ages (3:25)
This is a fresh-sounding track that caught my ear immediately. Ages and Ages is a Portland, Oregon group that began in 2009. There are eight people in this group and I’m betting it’s two to a room on the road. When I was in BS&T we were eight and that was a troublesome troupe topic. But I digress; this is a great sounding track and takes advantage of the harmonies and dynamics one can employ with a band this size. I want more!
"Yeah, this is fine. Get the sleeping bags outta the trunk..."
5. "We Are Alive" — Meklit (2:41)
Meklit Hadero was born in Ethopia but raised in America where she studied political science at Yale. How about a Mieka and Meklit tour together? Harvard and Yale united; that would be a first, no? Anyhoo, Meklit moved to San Francisco after Yale and began playing in coffeehouses around town, later culminating with artist-in-residence stays at New York University, The DeYoung Museum, Aswan in 2013 and Uganda in early 2014. This track is so fresh sounding and it shows such promise for the future. I’m on board now and can’t wait to see where this train goes.
"Hey, I'll be right back. I need to water my flower."
6. "Hayloft" — Nickel Creek (2:56)
It’s a joyous time when these folks get back in the studio and blend their prodigious talents together. This is my fave this time around, although there are a few more marvelous moments on this new album, A Dotted Line. Like dear Mr. Kotter, they are ALWAYS welcome back.
7. "Rainbow Road" — Percy Sledge (2:34)
This goes back to 1972 and was written by Dan Penn, who penned another Sledge-a-matic selection a few years before this called “Out of Left Field.” This did not make the charts but is worthy of recognition by every Percy fan and more. Why don’t more records sound like THIS today?
8. "Some Ol' Day" — Luther Dickinson (2:51)
One of the talented sons of the late, great producer Jim Dickinson and a founding member of The North Mississippi All-Stars has a new solo album out there now called Rock 'n Roll Blues. It is even lower key than a NMAS album and that is REALLY low key, my friends. When Luther kicks into the guitar solo, you are reassuredly positive you were in the right place the whole time. It’s great to hear his driving, bluesy, old time relaxed approach once again. I can listen to his guitar leads all night and I don’t even have to leave the house.
9. "Brighter" — Ozomatli (2:31)
What I like about this band is they don’t care if they’re playing Latino, reggae or whatever. As Sly Stone said when he could still talk, "If it feels GOOD, it’s alright." This feels real good and it’s great to have them back again!
10. "The Best of Me" — Phil Perry (3:40)
It’s important to play this former hit single first before watching the accompanying video. Former Blue Note label head Bruce Lundvall sent me this video when it came out and changed my life. First of all, when you listened to just the single first, could you ever have imagined that the guy singing looks like Marlon Brando’s missing brother in later life? Could you have thought that live he could take the song two dimensions higher with the assistance of a killer band under the direction of saxophonist Dave Koz? Personally, I think he gives Al Green a run for his money and Reverendness in this video. The first time I watched this all those years ago, I was in tears by the end. It’s just so ... unexpected. The song is a monster written by David Foster, who is inadvertently starring on TV in The Housewives of Beverly Hills. They could get me if there was a show called The House-Husbands of Somerville. Speaking of which, we played this track right after the judge said, “You may now kiss the bride” at our wedding! At any rate, play the video and meet your new soul music mate, Phil Perry. I do admit, Phil and Koz ham it up a bit somewhere in the middle, but I can tolerate that because of everything else around it and the rest of the band seems to be having a great time. Watch the full ten minutes the first time — you won’t be sorry. Trust me.
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