Artist: Faith No More
Album: King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime
Song: King for a Day
Here’s some behind the scenes trivia for today’s post: I nearly wrote it on Faith No More’s “Caffeine” instead of “King for a Day.” I decided to start with the FNM song containing less screaming. I am nothing if not flexible when it comes to luring in potential listeners with a band’s more approachable work. Then I’ll hit you with the screaming.
I’m willing to bet that most of you have at least heard of Faith No More, likely because of their big hit “Epic” in the early nineties. That’s another amazing song, and one I would have posted on day one if this was a list of best music videos. However, I’ve always thought that the title track from “King for a Day” was criminally underrated. It’s catchy! It has a great chorus! It shows off Mike Patton’s incredible range! I snuck in a song with some yelling at the end!
You should know that FNM is one of my top bands of ALL time. I’ll be suggesting way more of their stuff, if I keep this series up. There are also 250 other Mike Patton projects that I love with all my heart. Each is unique and wonderful. I’m pretty sure each features Mike Patton screaming like a champ, too. So get used to it.
Artist: The Paper Chase
Album: Now You Are One of Us
Song: We Know Where You Sleep
If you remember back a mere two weeks ago, I started you on your Official Summer Nighttime Driving Playlist. Today, we begin the only mix you’ll ever need for a Halloween party. There’s a right way to kick off October 31st, and a lot of wrong ways. The right way is with the unsettling sound of scissors opening and closing. I have no idea why it sounds creepy.
Thus begins “We Know Where You Sleep.” I fell in love with The Paper Chase as soon as I heard them. As you may have noticed, horror is important to me and embodies a lot of what I write about. This band is pure monster music. It’s indie rock with a definite unique approach. If there’s one thing that attracts me to a band, it’s doing something different than everyone else. I also appreciate the song titles that look like they’re taken out of a particularly poetic serial killer’s diary.
I used this song for one of my themes on a wrestling video game. I don’t know if that will help or dissuade you from deciding to listen. I just wanted to make you aware. It was a really great entrance.
Artist: Jens Lekman
Album: Night Falls Over Kortedala
Song: A Postcard to Nina
Here’s another “great accent” song! Today it’s Jens Lekman, Swedish pop extraordinaire. The whole record this song is off of is pretty genius. There’s a reason I bought it on vinyl. From top to bottom, it’s perfectly crafted and catchy. It was also eight dollars.
Out of the songs I’ve suggested thus far, this has my favorite story. I won’t detail it all line by line, because you have ears. By all means use them on the link above. Just listen to the tale that Jens spins on top of pop perfection. It’s funny and poignant and repeatedly refers to Nina’s father as “fahder.” That hits all of my bullet points for an amazing track. There are so many A+ lyrics that I don’t want to spoil, so you have to promise me you’ll give it a shot.
Just picture listening to an album like this in a hammock, glass of lemonade in hand, on your porch in April. That’s the way it should be enjoyed. I don’t own a hammock, but darn it this song makes me want to buy one.
Artist: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
Album: Living With the Living
I’m kind of ashamed of myself for not thinking to recommend Ted Leo the first week. It seems impossible to find someone who actively dislikes his music. Maybe it’s because his has one of the more engaging voices in music today. Maybe it’s because he dressed in drag for the cinematic masterpiece that was the music video for New Pornographers – Moves. Maybe it’s because of great songs like this one.
Generally, I’m not one to gravitate towards overly political songs, even when I agree with them. The exception is when they rock as hard as BOMB REPEAT BOMB does. The points made are all great ones, regardless of format. I’m just more willing to listen when the chorus makes me punch the air while driving.
Also, one time I had all 15,000+ songs from my ipod on shuffle and suddenly really wanted to hear this track. I pressed the next song and IT WAS THIS ONE. I’m married and that’s still one of the top ten highlights of my life.
Artist: Hunx & His Punx
Album: Street Punk
Song: Mud In Your Eyes
This band’s name is so great, I’d be tempted to recommend them based on that alone. It just so happens that they are really good too. Garage rock is fun in general because it usually sounds like The Beach Boys singing about blood and curse words through a tin can. Add to it the showmanship and character of Hunx (and his punx!) and you’ve got that extra pizzazz that lands a song on this prestigious blog.
This is another band I only recently discovered, and this track was an instant stand-out for me. What sealed the deal was the vocals. As stated many times, the more unconventional a voice is, the more I like it. Seth Bogart’s delivery on this particular song is barking and almost strangled-sounding. I’m maybe in the minority on this one, but it adds so much to the presentation. When you’re singing about someone’s less-than-perfect physical appearance, your voice should be less-than-perfect, damn it!
It’s hard for me to focus on one song from a a garage rock-type album, because it’s really an all-encompassing listening experience. It’s the kind of thing I’ll put on when I want to break stuff, but melodically. This just happens to be the one moment in time on this gem of a record that stuck with me the most.
Artist: Modest Mouse
Album: This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About
It’s fitting that this was the Modest Mouse song to come up on today’s shuffle. It’s from the first MM album I listened to, which in turn is what led me down the path of my current musical tastes. I was a mere child of 17, ignorant to all of the wonders indie rock held. A fool!
Long-time readers (LOL!) of this site should know how much I love this band. It was their concert that forced me to go against every nervous bone in my body, which is all of them, and buy a ticket. I wrote a lot of words about it, which you can read here:
Basically, I got a contact high, saw a girl get dumped on her head, and had a blast.
This may be the best song of all time to play in the car, because that moment at 1:35 of “aahhhhhhhhhhh SHIT” is the most fun to yell, and the only places that’s socially acceptable are in your car or at a Modest Mouse show.
17 year old Dan and 28 year old Dan can’t both be wrong. It’s a musical treat.
Artist: Run the Jewels
Album: Run the Jewels
I was pretty excited to see a new El-P project spring up a few years ago. His work as a rapper is great, but I’ve always been even more impressed with his production. He’s the master of beats, both catchy and fist-pumping. So from the get-go, it was a given that his teaming with Killer Mike would produce some top-notch stuff. Then they exploded and became the new biggest thing in hip-hop.
I’d hope you’d have heard of Run the Jewels by now, but if not- well that’s what I’m here for. Ddfh is a great starting place to see exactly what I’m talking about with El-P’s beats. If you’re not nodding your head along with it, I can only assume you are deaf or recovering from a car accident and therefore have to keep your neck perfectly still. Add in Killer Mike’s great voice and rhymes and boy howdy, you have a kick-butt mix.
This is just one of many great tunes on their debut album. You know it’s good, because bad albums don’t get remixed with cat sound effects. Well, I guess they might, but only RTJ could get away with making me listen to something called Meow the Jewels.
Artist: Gogol Bordello
Album: Pura Vida Conspiracy
Song: Lost Innocent World
Let’s start off our second week with the weirdest song yet. I actually just started listening to this band a few days ago. Full disclosure, I gave them a shot despite being put off by the “gypsy punk” label. It sounded like it would have a lot of horns and be super irritating. I don’t like music that seems gimmicky, for the mot part. Nevertheless, I gave it a spin. And you know what? I didn’t like it.
Luckily, I don’t give up that easily and can admit when I’m biased. As I got farther into the record, I found myself digging it more. It was way more than the term “gypsy punk” would suggest and to narrow it to that would be a disservice. By the time it got to Lost Innocent World the hook was set. If there’s one way for a band to win me over, it’s with unconventional Ukrainian accents. Plus, this song in particular is just so darn catchy.
I’ll admit that I can see why some people would brush Gogol Bordello off as hipster nonsense. Those people are missing out. For me, it came down to measuring how fun the music was against how annoying stereotypical fans might be. In the end, it’s dumb to let outside factors affect your enjoyment of an art-form. I’m dumb sometimes. Judging purely on the music, it has my full endorsement. Just pretend you’re punching a musical elitist in the face during each beat of the chorus. I think that might help.
Artist: Owen Pallett
Album: In Conflict
Song: The Riverbed
For today’s song, the video is just as important as the song. A good music video either tells a story or just has the band members singing in the rain with exploding pianos and fish, like Faith No More’s “Epic.” This is one of the former. Owen Pallett is a guy who used to record under the name Final Fantasy, and this was one of my favorite tracks of 2014, by far.
The Riverbed is a bit harder than some of the earlier Pallett stuff I’d heard. The end result is super intense and super catchy. His uncle Jim Pallett was cast in this music video, as was Owen himself as a PUNKER. The crescendo is timed perfectly with the story in the coolest way possible. It never fails to make me want to punch people in the face. That’s the best compliment I can give to a song, honestly.
I encourage you to explore more of his back catalog for a slightly different vibe. It’s oftentimes mellower, but no less amazing. Anyone who can fill me with a desire to dance and fight at the same time gets my endorsement.
Album: You And Yer Good Ideas
I’m going to switch it up today after three bangers in a row. Not that this man doesn’t have some A+ bangers in his own right. Trust that he does, and that you’ll be hearing them here eventually. This just happens to be a more low-key offering. Feel free to play it and nod your head as you read.
Astronautalis is the first rap artist I had a chance to see live. It was shortly after I started on my antidepressant/anti-anxiety medicine. That definitely is what made me face my fear of small spaces with far too many people. The several beers I had beforehand helped a little too. But I wouldn’t have done it for anything less than a rapper that I love.
It was an amazing show, stacked with both old and new classics. Plus, he busted out his trademark trick of asking people in the crowd for topics and free-styling on them. The guy seamlessly blended together rhymes about a soda I’ve never heard of and unwanted U2 albums appearing on Apple products.
It got even better when Oceanwalk ended the set. This was one of the first tracks of his that I got hooked on. It’s an insight into his experiences growing up in Florida. This is definitely the sort of song you can put on a nice pair of headphones and feel a part of, even if you were raised thousands of miles away from the nearest beach. It sounds cliche, but not a lot of people, in my experience, nail it quite this perfectly.
Like yesterday’s post, my wife Caitlin had heard the song even before I did. Her friend put it on a mix CD he gave her before moving away, and I think she was even more stoked to hear it than I was. She told Astronautalis as much after the show, when he graciously talked with concert-goers and took a picture with one exhilarated, nervous fan who had a pretty hard buzz going on.