I Hear You Like Sad Songs…

Ok, maybe you do not, but I do. As mentioned in a recent post, I’ve been listening to a lot of melancholy or “sad” music lately. Its not quite dark or emo, but its not “happy”. The exceptions have been for those bands who I’ve seen over the last few weeks.

There has been some amazing sad music come out in the last few months. One of the albums I was most looking forward to is the first release from Phoebe Bridgers, a singer-songwriter based in LA. I first heard her through a Spotify list. The song that hooked me, “Georgia” is haunting, simple and beautiful. After the release of her first album Stranger in the Alps I was able to experience more of the emotion that filled her songs. The song that first struck me (and still continues to) is “Funeral”. I quite appreciate this very understated live performance.

I’ve listened to Seattle based singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen on and off for the last few years. I first heard him as a recommendation from Spotify based upon my listening to his friend and fellow emotional singer David Ramirez. While not from his most recent release, White Noise, “First Defeat” has been a constant the last few weeks. It is another raw and heartbreaking song.

We are going to go way back with this last song. As a teenager I loved Radiohead. I loved all things BritRock. Other than electronic music and gangster rap, I was not a fan of the American drivel (my how the times have changed). Radiohead had a lot of sad songs early on and one of my favorites was “Fake Plastic Trees” from The Bends which in my opinion is the 2nd best Radiohead album. Second only to Ok Computer which defined much of my late teen years. Here is “Fake Plastic Trees”:


“I can’t promise you anything”

September is always a busy month with both LouFest & Life Is Beautiful taking place. This year there were a few bands who were at both of these festivals (as typical). One of the bands who has stuck with me since I started listening to them before LouFest is LA based Mondo Cozmo. The band is the brainchild of Josh Ostrander who is not new to the music life having been in two previously signed bands. While touring, Mondo Cozmo includes a live band including former Imagine Dragons drummer Andrew Tolman. Prior to LouFest as I was listening to the bands who would be playing, I was struck by the honest lyrics and powerful songs. Hearing and seeing the songs performed at both Life Is Beautiful and LouFest exceeded expectations. After having watched a couple of the music videos that accompany the songs, I am even more enamored with Mondo Cozmo. I am excited to see them again in November for the Emerge Music + Impact conference.

My favorite song prior to LouFest is “Hold on To Me”. It can be found on the recently released Plastic Soul. This video is beautiful, and it hits close to home for me. I needed this song and this video.

“Shine” is raw and Josh Ostrander has an almost Bob Dylan quality in his voice during this song. I believe I heard the term “hippie jesus” used in reference to this song at Life Is Beautiful.

My favorite lyric from “Shine” is “My friends are so alone, it breaks my heart. My friends don’t understand we all are lost”. Pure poetry.

“Plastic Soul” is a song I will find myself humming and thinking about all day long. When I first heard it, I had swore I had heard it before. Maybe I had, but one thing is clear, the song sticks with me.

Mondo Cozmo is currently touring, and it seems like they will not be stopping any time soon. If you get the chance, check them out!

“You Can Count on Me to F*ck Up Everything”

If you have ever read a post by me on this fine blog, you will know I like folk music and I like sad music. What happens when you combine the best of both worlds? You get bands like England’s Bear’s Den. A dear friend of mine first told me about this trio due to our shared love of all things melancholy.

There have been 3 songs that I cannot get out of my head, so I keep them playing frequently.

The first song, “Auld Wives” is off their most recent release Red Earth & Pouring Rain. 


The first song I listened to from Bear’s Den was “Agape” from their first full length release Islands. This one is a little bit more folky, which is definitely what got me hooked. The word “agape” is a Greek/Christian word for love. The song may be about a person, but I like to think it is about the concept of love, especially with lyrics like this:

“So tell me how long, love, before you go, And leave me here on my own, I know that I don’t wanna know, Who I am without you”.

Finally, the third song from Bear’s Den that keeps sticking my head is “Elysium” which is also from Islands. The video has also taken on a life slightly independent of the band. You can read about the creation of the video here.

I quite like how this band uses their videos to make their songs something different. And we all know how I feel about music videos.

Glorious July of New Music

So, I was listening to the new releases a couple of weeks ago, the Friday when Vance Joy’s “Lay It On Me” came out, and I kept Ooooh-ing and Aaaah-ing and OMG-ing at all the great songs. It’s pretty late, so I’m just going to list them.

Foster The People just released their album Sacred Hearts Club, which is full of sweet, sweet songs. Here’s “Static Space Lover”

Good Old War – “Part of Me”

The Lone Bellow – “Walk Into A Storm”
OMG, this song… THIS SONG.

The Jungle Giants – “Used To Be In Love”
Changing it up a little bit, there’s this ear-worm. The lyrics sound straight up out of the movie about my life. Guys, stop it, you’re making me laugh at my own love life.

Cold War Kids – “Love On The Brain”
OK, I know this one was released earlier this year, but it just captured my heart about a week ago, AND HAVE YOU HEARD THIS VERSION?! You also want to listen to the Los Feliz Blvd version of “Can We Hang On?” I am ready to see Cold War Kids with Young The Giant in August. My heart is already melting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IB9zxVwPr-E
Vevo, you heartless jerks, why don’t you let me embed the video here?!

And, to the surprise of none of the readers of this blog, I leave you with
Vance Joy – “Lay It On Me”

Between Pineapples and Summer Sounds

Over a week ago I bought three pineapples. The store had them on sale at 99 cents and I got excited, so I got some good-looking green pineapples. I get easily excited about things like that… you know, delicious and juicy. But now they are all ripe. All at once. And I have been making pineapple smoothies, made my first pineapple upside down cake, grilled pineapple for a burger, have had it with yogurt, alone, and with bananas. I still have one more pineapple to go. I can do this!

But talking about delicious and juicy, this Summer has been so good when it comes to music. I have seen more shows than I can afford and have been blessed with a great amount of new music. There are some that have been on heavy repeat for me, so I’m going to share some with you.

“Midnight Lorry” by Dispatch
My Sandy Beats partner in music @DocMurda posted Dispatch’s “Painted Yellow Lines”before I could get to it, so I am posting “Midnight Lorry,” another song of theirs that made it to my Summer list. I first fell in love with State Radio, the other band that Chadwick Stokes had put together, at my first Wakarusa in 2010. It was such a memorable performance. I didn’t know any of the songs, but the passion of the fans at the front row and the energy of the band was so contagious. I left that festival a bit obsessed with them (and with John Butler Trio, who played later that same night.) So even though my first love was State Radio, I came to love Chadwick Stokes’ solo work and then Dispatch.
Ugh, ya’ll, I want to see them live. But they haven’t made it anywhere close to me since that State Radio show at Wakarusa.

“Sedona” by Houndmouth
Hey Lil Hollywood, I am super excited to see Houndmouth at Loufest this year. I have, allegedly, already seen them live, but I don’t remember. Maybe I was too overwhelmed with the beauty of Red Rocks and excited about seeing The Head and The Heart and I didn’t really pay attention to the first opener, OK? Or maybe I was busy watching someone hit on a nurse from Ohio or whatever, or enjoying the piece of chocolate that the nurse’s friend had just given me. Anyway, I will enjoy Houndmouth at Loufest like it’s the first time I see them. Also, this song has been on repeat one a lot in the last couple of weeks.

“Staring” by Tipling Rock
This song came up in one of the last couple of my Spotify discover playlists and it got me. It’s so catchy! I added it to my Summer 2017 playlist and it’s been on repeat-one this afternoon.
Tipling Rock is a Boston-based Indie Rock band that just sounds like Summer to me.

“Where’d All The Time Go?” by Dr. Dog
There are two Dr. Dog songs that I’ve had on heavy rotation the last few weeks of intense Southern Nevada heat, “Heart It Races (Dr. Dog Version)” and “Where’d All The Time Go?”
The first one that caught my attention was “Heart it Races,” which sounds like some kind of mix of a lot of music I like. I checked out the original song by Architecture in Helsinki, and while I also liked it and it sounds like I could paint with it on repeat, I like the Dr. Dog version better. The fact that I was so drawn to this song was surprising and amusing, because I’ve own a TON of Dr. Dog music since around 2010, but I never really liked it. I think I never gave it a fair change, but I remember listening to a few songs and just not wanting anything to do with them. And then I found “Where’d All The Time Go?” which I played over and over during a night of painting two weeks ago. I was feeling all the feelings that night and leaving it on a big canvas that I finally finished.

I have a few other songs on my Summer list, but I think four are enough for now. I have to shower to go to dinner, so there.

Songs of Summer

I know the summer just technically started, but here are a few songs I think will help define my summer. While it is true that my recent Repeat One post highlights some of the songs that say Summer of 2017 for me, but there are more (always more).

First up is Margo Price who is bringing us back to the country music of Patsy Cline (with a bit more sass and a lot of weed). I am late to the game with Price who has been a Nashville staple for a while. Her Midwest Farmer’s Daughter is an instant classic.

Here is “Hurtin’ on the Bottle”:


If you could pick a new song that is the other side of the spectrum from Margo Price, that song would probably be the first single off of Arcade Fire’s forthcoming release. “Everything Now” is a disco jam made for summer. The video, like all of their videos, is a work of art and to me is reminiscent of one of my favorite podcasts, Welcome to Night Vale. 


Let us mess with genres some more, okay? I was not a fan of Dispatch until LouFest 2013 when @begutierrez introduced me to State Radio and Dispatch. Now I cannot get enough of Dispatch, State Radio or Chadwick Stoke’s solo stuff. Their newest record America, Location 12 has been a pleasant summer surprise for me. My favorite song off the record is a great road trip song, “Painted Yellow Lines”. This version was filmed at the Paste studio.


Finally, and on a slightly more somber note, Nahko & Medicine for The People has been one of my favorite live bands since seeing them at Life is Beautiful a few years ago. I had the pleasure of seeing them earlier this summer with a few more mainstream reggae acts. Nahko, always the activist, put on an incredible show. The live version of “Love Letters to God” from the most recent release Hoka both destroyed and inspired me. This incredibly emotional video captures that feeling.

Repeat One

My Spotify Discovery lists have been a bit different this year. They have been a lot more stomp-and-holler-y than ever before (the exception would be maybe around the time of last year’s Fayetteville Roots Festival… they got very folky for a couple of weeks, then.)

Anyway, this week’s list was weaksauce. It was a list for someone I didn’t know (perhaps me, but in an alternate desert that is definitely not this desert.) I think I liked about two songs, but this one really stuck. I had it on repeat for a couple of hours.

Tom West
“Easy Love”

PS. I almost didn’t write this post, because I didn’t like the video. I don’t want to take away from the artistry of the video, but I feel like this song deserved a video that went a completely different direction. Something more meaningful. But since the song is still playing on repeat through my speaker, I decided to post this anyway.