Thursday, February 8, 2018

Romantic Songs Playlist for Valentine's Day 2018

Compiling this year's Romantic Songs Playlist for Valentine's Day was an easy task, considering all the great new music lately from fave bands. Here are tunes that pull at the heartstrings by LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, The National, Beck, Spoon, Washed Out, Mew and more. And check out the gender-balanced cover of Interpol's "PDA" by Daywave and Hazel English. Whether coupled up or single at the moment, it's all music to feed the soul.

Listen to my Romantic Songs Playlist for Valentine's Day 2018 on Spotify here.  For further inspiration, visit my posts from past years: 20172016201520142013, and 2012.

1. "oh baby" – LCD Soundsystem
2. "Hold On to Me" – Mondo Cozmo
3. "All Disco" – Elbow
4. "Do I Have to Talk You Into It" – Spoon
5. "Seventh Heaven" – Beck
6. "Dark Side of the Gym" – The National
7. "We Don't Deserve Love" – Arcade Fire
8. "Come Break My Heart Again" – The Lone Below
9. "Hard to Say Goodbye" – Washed Out
10. "To Hold and Have" – The Dears
11.  "Love Is Love (Sun on Time)" – Woods
12. "Call It Dreaming" – Iron & Wine
13. "Carry Me To Safety" – Mew
14. "PDA" – Daywave, Hazel English
15. "Up All Night" – The War on Drugs
16. "Girl Like You" – Toro Y Moi
17. "The Fear" – The Shins
18. "We a Famly" – The Flaming Lips

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Winter 2018 New Music Playlist

Listen on Spotify or as a YouTube Playlist (except "Chico's Radical Decade" by the The Go! Team).

1. "Everybody's Coming to My House" – David Byrne
2. "Fluoresecent Light" – Stars
3. "Severed" – The Decemberists
4. "Gotta Run" – Lea Porcelain
5. "Listening In" – Dr. Dog
6. "Hand It Over" – MGMT
7. "Music Snob" – De Lux
8. "Taste" – Rhye
9. "Echo" – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
10. "Sunday" – Geowulf
11. "Chico's Radical Decade" – The Go! Team
12. "Can't Stop My Dreaming (of You) – Jono Ma & Dreems
13. "Can't Get It Out" – Nada Surf
14. "The One to Wait" – CCFX
15. "The Deconstruction" – Eels
16. "Friday Morning" – Khruangbin

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Here's to 2018 – New Releases Ahead by Favorite Bands (David Byrne, Franz Ferdinand, Moby & more)

What a difference a year makes... I combed through the lists of upcoming releases looking for reasons to be hopeful about 2018 and found just a few: Moby, Franz Ferdinand plus all those unreleased tracks by the Gorillaz promised ahead. Then yesterday one of my top musical heroes David Byrne not only announced a new album in 14 years (!) American Utopia but he also gave a talk in NYC entitled "Reasons to Be Cheerful." I tuned into the online stream (archived on Facebook and YouTube), hanging on every word from this wise and witty shaman. Byrne espoused about his latest project, Contemporary Colors, along with answers to world problems large and small. His talk was set to carefully chosen, although some completely random, visuals just like those at groundbreaking concerts as frontman for The Talking Heads. 

Check out the first single from the album "Everybody's Coming to My House" via the video below with fitting artwork of the artist by Doug Henders. This tune produced by longtime pal Brian Eno features danceable beats, poetic lyrics – stream of consciousness, about ordinary but which say much more – and those unmistakable vocals that have been copied, but never exactly replicated. As if 2017 wasn't awesome enough musically with a new album (after many years) from another all time fave band LCD Soundsystem, with this new music on repeat for my ears I am not only cheerful, but one extremely happy music fan. It's simply the same as it ever was!

January 19 – De Lux, More Disco Songs About Love (Innovative Leisure)
January 19 – The Go! Team, Semicircle (Memphis Industries)
January 26 – Django Django, Marble Skies (Ribbon Music)
January 26 – Calexico, The Thread That Keeps Us (Anti-Records) 
February 9 – Franz Ferdinand, Always Ascending (Domino)
February 9 – MGMT, Little Dark Age (Columbia)
March 2 – Moby, Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt (Mute)
March 9 – David Byrne, American Utopia (Todomundo/Nonesuch Records)
March 9 – of Montreal, White is Relic/Irrealis Mood
March 16 – Yo La Tengo, There's a Riot Going On (Matador Records)
March 16 – The Decemberists, I'll Be Your Girl (Columbia)
April 6 – Wye Oak, The Louder I call, The Faster It Runs (Merge)
April 27 – Dr. Dog, Critical Equation (Thirty Tigers)
April 27 – Okkervil River, Rainbow Rain (ATO) 
Gorillaz – TBD
Arctic Monkeys – TBD
Vampire Weekend  – TBD

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Top 20+ Songs of 2017 with Spotify and YouTube Playlist

So I broke my own rule here – I usually run over the total of twenty songs to represent the year but this time I allowed a double helping of two of my very fave bands Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem. (And keeping the choices down to just two songs was not easy to do!) But beyond songs from my  Top Ten Releases of 2017 heard on repeat, there are some singles on the list that became instant ear worms in a very good way. The upbeat approach of Phoenix's "J-Boy" along with the optimism of Woods' "Love Is Love" and Poolside's "Everything Goes" were just the antidote needed during this calamity of a year under the Trump Administration. Here's to weathering another year ahead with another soundtrack of sanity.

Listen on Spotify or as a YouTube Playlist below (except "Wave Is Not the Water" by Wye Oak).

1. "Andromeda" (featuring DRAM) – Gorillaz
2. "Hot Thoughts" – Spoon
3. "Everything Now" – Arcade Fire
4. "Put Your Money on Me" – Arcade Fire
5. "Dreams" – Beck
6. "The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness" – The National
7. "call the police" – LCD Soundsystem
8. "american dream" – LCD Soundsystem
9. "Mourning Sound" – Grizzly Bear
10. "Wave Is Not the Water" – Wye Oak
11. "All About Waiting" (featuring Camila Grey) – Dhani Harrison
12. "How It Feels" – Ages and Ages
13. "Everything Goes" (Instrumental) – Poolside
14. "J-Boy" – Phoenix
15. "Hard to Say Goodbye" – Washed Out
16. "Noise Pollution" (featuring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Zoe Manville) – Portugal. The Man.
17. "Love Is Love (Sun On Time)" – Woods
18. "Shine" – Mondo Cozmo
19. "Magnificent (She Says)" – Elbow
20. "Name for You" – The Shins
21. "Call It Dreaming" – Iron & Wine
22. "Carry Me to Safety" – Mew
23. "Leven" – The Octopus Project

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Top Ten Releases of 2017 with Video Highlights

Here I go again gushing about how this year was an awesome year of music... But really when your very fave bands come out with releases full of listening goodness, what other proper response is there? With plenty of new tunes from Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, and Spoon, plus those long
awaited Beck and Gorillaz albums, 2017 had me in music fan heaven. Add in beloved indie veterans (The National, The Flaming Lips, Mew, Elbow, Grizzly Bear) along with newcomer Mondo Cozmo, and it was a blissful, busy time catching up with everything across the calendar.

Give a listen on Spotify to all my Top Ten Albums of 2017 as well as Other Fave Albums of 2017 and check out my picks below with live video highlights. Also, I've created a Next New Music Matters Playlist to follow in order to see what's already cued up for 2018.

1. LCD Soundsystem, American Dream
The LCD Soundsystem songs on American Dream continued the Brooklyn band's musical thread after a long seven years – this is the fourth album since 2002 – like they never lost a beat! They also toured extensively and appeared all over the place (seen here confidently presenting "Call the Police" on the U.K. television program Live on Later... with Jools Holland) as if to make up for lost time and appease all the fans who were more than willing to buy tickets.

2. Arcade Fire, Everything Now
Arcade Fire's fifth album since 2001 caught heat for some ABBA-type dancehall leanings (see the Montreal based band rocking the title track "Everything Now" on daytime television with Régine Chassagne playing my dream instrument) but there were also plenty of soulful tracks to dig deep into, especially "We Don't Deserve Love" which is already cued up in my next Valentine's Day playlist. 

3. Spoon, Hot Thoughts
Austin band Spoon returned super strong with its ninth album since 1993, acknowledging many female fans mindset by the title Hot Thoughts. Frontman Britt Daniels exhibits why during this smoking hot performance of the song, "Do I Have to Talk You Into It," to open their sold out show at Brooklyn Steel December 8th.

4. Beck,  Colors
Beck's 13th studio album Colors arrived in the fall with stylish songs across the spectrum to showcase yet again his musical prowess, but all contain the artist's mantra of group catharsis.  He also toured widely and continued to be eager to please his fans with hits old and new. Here Beck brings the single "Dream" to life in a session for his L.A. hometown station KCRW.

5. The National, Sleep Well Beast
Cincinnati-raised quintet The National is now dispersed across the country, but gathered in a newly built recording space in an upstate New York barn to create the seventh album since 1999, Sleep Well Beast. The songs seemed even stronger live, with the power of this band's groupthink exhibited on stage. Check out "The Day I Die" at the Pitchfork Music Festival Paris 2017.

6. Gorillaz, Humanz
Six years passed between albums for the animated U.K. band Gorillaz, as Humanz landed with a host of featured artists in cameos almost distracting the mission.  Damon Albarn is still the mastermind behind it all, seen here leading the way with the song "Andromeda" in a live session at New York City's WFUV.

7. Mondo Cozmo, Plastic Soul
L.A. artist Josh Ostrander, a.k.a. Mondo Cozmo, appeared on KCRW late in 2016 after the strength of a few well played singles. This new band quickly went from small venues (I was lucky to see him at the tiny Mercury Lounge in January) to playing festivals and headlining concert halls. Witness Ostrander's gritty determination here, singing the title track of his debut album "Plastic Soul."

8. Grizzly Bear, Painted Ruins
The quartet Grizzly Bear has expanded from its Brooklyn base, but the band's tightly layered sound remains in sharp focus for the fifth album since 2002, Painted Ruins.  The group dynamic is on full display here during "Mourning Sound" at the Electric Lady Studios in NYC for WFUV.

9. Elbow, Little Fictions
English alt rock band Elbow released its seventh album since1997, Little Fictions, full of trademark emotional depth and lush textures.  Guy Garvey's rich vocals provide the passionate porthole, as witnessed on the U.K. Graham Norton Show with "Magnificent She Says." 

10. Mew, Visuals
Another transfixing voice that transcends our mortal coil is that of Mew's Jonas Bjerre. Angelic yet immediate, he leads the quartet into a singular space of musical brilliance for the seventh album since 1995 Visuals, as evident in "Carry Me to Safety" performance at Seattle's KEXP.

Honorable Mention: The Flaming Lips, Oczy Mlody
One more shout out to The Flaming Lips, for releasing a whopping sixteenth album since 1983 in dreary January with the title Oczy Mlody (that roughly translates to a Polish expression meaning eyes of the young) with wacked out pysch rock that still keeps us on our toes. My favorite tracks are "The Castle" and "We A Family," but this video of "There Should Be Unicorns" shows frontman Wayne Coyne's willingness to continue playing the rock star.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Late Fall 2017 New Music Playlist

Listen on Spotify or as a YouTube Playlist (except Wye Oak's "Wave Is Not the Water," not found there!)

1. "875 Dollars" – De Lux
2. "Plimsoll Punks" – Alvvays
3. "Wave Is Not the Water" – Wye Oak
4. "Hurts to Liv" – liv
5. "All About Waiting" – Dhani Harrison (featuring Camila Gray)
6. "Los Ageless" – St. Vincent
7. "Soul and Cigarette" – Daniele Luppi & Parquet Courts
8. "Feels Like Heaven" – Ariel Pink
9. "Tic Tac Toe" – Django Django
10. "Deadly Valentine" – Charlotte Gainsburg
11. "Tinseltown Swimming in Blood" – Destroyer
12. "How It Feels" – Ages and Ages
13. "Little Dark Age" – MGMT
14. "Wallowa Lake Monster" – Sufjan Stevens
15. "Sleeping and Falling" – Jonti
16. "North" – Yotto
17. "Redlining" – Dan Deacon

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fall 2017 New Music Playlist

While we are still waiting for the much-heralded Beck album due in a few weeks, I can’t complain. The past few months brought new music from some of my very fave bands sounding as strong as ever: Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem and The National. So enjoy this playlist featuring songs from these and other recent releases as we transition to fall. Listen on Spotify or as a YouTube Playlist.

1. “Dear Life” – Beck
Another single appeared as Beck readies to release his 13th studio album since 1985 next month. With a jaunty piano intro, “Dear Life” brings another genre stew with guitar swagger and lyrical darkness as he mixes up the sentiment, “Dear life, I’m holding on,” for the howling chorus.

2. “tonite” – LCD Soundsystem
James Murphy finally returns to the music that most inspires him after producing other bands and various creative projects: his own. (And it turns out David Bowie had a hand in this eventual return after seven years!) The fourth album since 2002, American Dream heralds the band’s first number one album but better yet, it comprises all the sonic trademarks expected from LCD, from low reverberating synths, pulsating percussion layers and Murphy’s speak-sing rattling off random thoughts, as found in the song “tonite.”

3. “Put Your Money on Me” – Arcade Fire
“Put Your Money on Me” is perhaps my favorite track on the fifth Arcade Fire album since 2001, Everything Now. The slow build with alternating male/female vocals recalls the romantic push and pull of “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)” from the last album, which was presented live as Win Butler and Régine Chassagne sang longingly to each other across the crowd during the last tour in Montreal to great effect.

4. “You Push, I’ll Go (feat. Alex Sanchez)” – Baby Dayliner
A favorite play on KEXP’s “John in the Morning Show,” this cult hit by Baby Dayliner (the stage name of NYC native Ethan Marunas) has finally attained an official release on an EP of the same name, after two albums over a decade ago. The infectious tune “You Push, I’ll Go” follows city dwellers on a night out, vowing to keep the faith in modern life.

5. “Offering” – Cults
NYC indie pop duo Cults is getting ready to release its third album since 2010, with this title track “Offering” serving as a teaser single. The lush instrumentation by Brian Oblivion under sweet youthful vocals by Madeline Follin find their confident musical stride.

6. “Don’t Delete the Kisses” – Wolf Alice
A four piece alt rock band from North London, Wolf Alice pulls away from punk to offer a tender love song, “Don’t Delete the Kisses,” a single for the upcoming sophomore album since 2010, Visions of a Life. The band embraces standard pop sensibilities with a synth heavy take to conjure up images of modern romance, as sung in hushed whispers by Ellie Rowsell.

7. “Airbourne” – Cut Copy
When any band is formed by a DJ, it usually leans heavily into dance music, as with Australian band Cut Copy. “Airbourne,” this quirky party song bubbling with electronics, is off the fifth album since 2001, Haiku from Zero.

8. “Mourning Sound” – Grizzly Bear
Brooklyn-based quartet Grizzly Bear is back with its fifth album since 2002, Painted Ruins. Complex, lavish instrumentation forms the foundation for Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen to trade honeyed vocals once again.

9. “Valley Boy” – Wolf Parade
Canadian indie rock band Wolf Parade will release its fourth studio album since 2003 (after a hiatus from 2011 to 2016).  You'd never know the band was on hiatus for five years by this swaggering single and title track “Valley Boy” with Dan Boeckner’s gritty yet soulful vocals.

10. “We Stayed Up All Night (featuring Ardyn)” ­– Tourist
Tourist (AKA British electronic musician and Grammy-winning songwriter William Phillips) teams up with British twins Ardyn for this buoyant single “We Stayed Up All Night.”  The melodic polish fills this pop song with poise.

11. “Something to Remember Me By” – The Horrors
Veteran English rock band The Horrors has offered a teaser single “Something to Remember Me By,” for its fifth studio album since 2005, V.  The classic pop sensibility of lead vocalist Faris Badwan blithely carries the tune over wavering synths and pulsing drums. 

12. “Asido” – Purity Ring
Canadian electronic duo Purity Ring recently released this stand alone single, “Asido.” The song blankets Megan James’ childlike vocals over electronic production provided by Corin Roddick.

13. “Call It Dreaming” – Iron & Wine
Iron & Wine is the musical project of South Carolinian Samuel Ervin Beam. His sixth full-length album since 2002, The Beast Epic, continues the acoustic aesthetic with his signature sweet soft vocals, this time about themes of time and aging.

14. “Guilty Party” – The National
Indie rock quintet from Cincinnati, Ohio, The National just released Sleep Well Beast, its seventh album since 1999.  “Guilty Party” offers a tender side of the band, although complexity reigns underneath the introspective lyrics as conveyed by singer Matt Berninger.

15. “Party in the Dark”­ – Mogwai
Scottish post-rock band Mogwai released its ninth studio album since 1995, Every Country’s Sun.  “Party in the Dark” is a sweet tune that takes shoegaze into a resplendent chorus and back.

16. “Planet” – Four Tet
Four Tet is the stage name for Kiernan Hebden, an English musician who also considers himself in the post-rock genre. This stand alone single “Planet” flaunts his wide range of influences, with a world view of instrumentation and vocal pairings.