“Chris’ Mix (Vol. 2): Music I Discovered in 2009” – Playlists on Parade

Originally posted 2010-04-03 13:23:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

In April 2009, I decided to put together a playlist for a friend, one which would represent my favorite music that I had discovered since I began paying close attention to new music, as well as expanding my range of interests.  This had all started in the middle of my first year of teaching; now that I made a regular salary, I realized I could budget out enough money for regular music purchases.  So, it all started in January 2008 with Ringo Starr’s Liverpool 8.  I would have bought that album anyway, but I went on to buy albums that I never would have paid much attention to in the past.  Some, like R.E.M.’s Accelerate, are albums that I consider to be among the best of all time.

I’m glad I didn’t miss them!

Now, of course, there were many mediocre (and worse) albums along the way, but in the end, this decision has been fruitful.  I look forward with excitement to each “New Music Tuesday,” waiting to receive the Newbury Comics newsletter in my inbox.  Many weeks, there is music that piques my interest, and I set off on the journey to pick it up and listen.

I will feature this first playlist of 2008 music on next week’s edition of “Playlists on Parade,” but I felt the strong urge to start with my latest playlist.  This is a collection of songs that I discovered in 2009, either because they were released that year, were recommended to me, or I stumbled upon them.  I hope you enjoy the brief liner notes and consider picking some of these up!

1)  “Got Some” – Pearl Jam

This is the song I thought should have been the lead-off track on their 2009 album Backspacer.  I first heard it performed live on the first-ever Late Night with Conan O’Brien show, and I was head-over-heels for it from the first snare shots.  The studio version didn’t disappoint, and thus, it’s the lead-off track for this playlist.

2)  “Wilco (the song)” – Wilco

I’ll admit it:  I laughed when I first heard this song performed live on the Colbert Report, but I simply fell in love with the album version.  The band is clearly so comfortable with themselves that this very direct, very cheesy statement comes across as consoling and encouraging.  I needed it last year, and I continue to sing along every time.

3)  “Help Me, Suzanne” – Rhett Miller

I vividly remember hearing this song for the first time on Mike Fusco’s iPhone.  He was playing this because it was a song he had to share.  He had heard it on the Hollister store soundtrack, and I was surprised by just how good it was.  How could such excellent music slip by unnoticed?  Well, Mike noticed it, and I picked up the album shortly after.  There are a couple other great songs, but although the album is enjoyable, there’s no song that competes with this gem.

4)  “Singing Joy to the World” – The Fruit Bats

This is one of the most stripped down performances on the Fruit Bats’ brilliant 2009 album The Ruminant Band.  You just don’t hear too many ballads like this one, and I’m hooked on the lyrics and melody every time I listen.

5)  “Part of It” – Relient K

Why this song wasn’t released as a single from 2009’s Forget and Not Slow Down, I’ll never know.  It is easily one of the best performances on the album, and it is one of my favorite Relient K songs of all time.  My favorite line?  Gotta be: “I’m the Cusack on the lawn of your heart.”  Now THAT is a metaphor for the ages!

6)  “Jonathon Fisk” – Spoon

Mentioned in an email by former student Geoff Troup less than a month before the New Year, I set out to hear Spoon’s Kill the Moonlight before their scheduled 2010 release of Transference (which is fantastic, by the way).  I realized I did know “That’s the Way We Get By,” probably from watching The O.C. with my sister.  (Did I just admit that in an official post?  Wow.)  The album was a bit odd to me at first, but after a few listens, I couldn’t get enough of their unique style.  “Jonathon Fisk” is among the best, and I hold a special place in my heart for this track since I learned it for a recent Laptop Session.

7)  “The Mob Goes Wild” – Clutch

Clutch came highly recommended by my colleague Dan O’Brien, and although I liked Blast Tyrant very much (so much that it just missed charting on my favorite 50 albums of the decade list), “The Mob Goes Wild” immediately stood out from the rest.  It is one of those songs for which you feel compelled to learn the lyrics so you can competently sing along.  It also adds a nice, harder edge to this playlist that balances out the quieter tracks.

8)  “Cornerstone” – The Arctic Monkeys

Like “Singing Joy to the World,” I instantly fell in love with the story told in this song.  Not only did I listen with rapt attention that first listen, but I was fascinated by the instrumental and vocal blend.  “Cornerstone” is a wonderfully quirky, hauntingly skeevy, and addictively entertaining track, one that softened my distaste for the Arctic Monkeys,’ an opinion I had based on their early work.

9)  “Life of a Thousand Crimes” – Echo & the Bunnymen

If you believed the critics that write for the major music magazines, you would have ignored the 2009 release (The Fountain) that yielded this Echo & the Bunnymen gem.  McCulloch’s vocals are in gritty, perfect form for leading this upbeat romp.

10)  “Peacemaker” – Green Day

There were so many standout tracks on Green Day’s 2009 album 21st Century Breakdown that it was difficult to choose just one for this playlist.  Overall, though, “Peacemaker” is one of the most instrumentally and vocally interesting, not to mention one of the catchiest.  When I recorded my Laptop Session cover song version of this track, it certainly gave me a workout as I figured out how to fit in all the vocals and still breathe!

11)  “Cream and Bastards Rise” – Harvey Danger

Remember “Flagpole Sitta”?  Well, it seems that this is about the only Harvey Danger song that anyone remembers.  And it’s a shame because 2005’s Little by Little… is an outstanding disc, one that featured this catchy, killer performance of their lead single.  (And, sadly, they’re so right!)

12)  “Jocelyn” – Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle

If you liked the hidden track on the Barenaked Ladies’ 2000 album Maroon, then Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle are for you.  This, as you may have guessed, is Hearn’s side project, and their second album (2004’s Night Light) yielded this beautiful little song.  After the frenetic buildup of “Peacemaker” and “Cream and Bastards Rise,” I thought this was the perfect track to relax on before “Got Some” returns again for another go-round.

Chris’ Mix (Vol. 1): Music I Discovered in 2008 – Playlists on Parade

Originally posted 2011-06-05 23:45:14. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

As promised, this second edition of Playlists on Parade will feature my first “music discovery” playlist.  For those that missed the first post, I wanted to put together a series of my favorite songs of 2008.  Rather than restrict the lineup to those songs that had been newly released in 2008, I decided to include my favorite songs I had first heard during the year.

Now, I should note that I put this list together in late April of 2009, so I lumped in a few songs that were technically released in 2009.  That being said, I was careful this year (2010) to make a more pure 2009 version for the second volume.

I hope you’ll enjoy the brief notes I’ve included below, and that you’ll check out these great tracks if you haven’t already heard them!

1)  “I Got You” – Stone Temple Pilots

If you like “Sour Girl,” then this is a second STP song you should listen to.  Not as dynamic as “Sour Girl,” but a great track nonetheless.

2)  “Pot Kettle Black” – Wilco

Up until the 2010 release of BnL’s “You Run Away,” this was my number one most-listened-to song on my iPod hands-down.  And there’s a reason:  this is one of the best little numbers off Wilco’s turn-of-the-millennium classic Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

3)  “What Love Can Do” – Bruce Springsteen

(Okay, so this is technically from 2009 and should have ended up on Volume Two…)  Why this wasn’t the lead-off single for Working on a Dream, I’ll never know.

4)  “The Joke’s On Me” – Jordan Zevon

Compared to his father, a legend and a genius of a songwriter, Jordan Zevon’s album falls a bit short.  Still, there are some winners, like this wonderfully sardonic track.

5)  “Low Light” – Pearl Jam

I actually included this PJ song not because it was my favorite, but rather because it seemed to fit the straightforward rock and roll feel I was trying to set with this playlist.  A subtle, but superb track.

6)  “Come Around” – The Counting Crows

A great track off of what is perhaps the second greatest Counting Crows album, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings – my choice for first would, of course, be Recovering the Satellites.  “Come Around” has it all: it’s upbeat, catchy, and is lyrically and instrumentally entertaining.

7)  “Supernatural Superserious” – R.E.M.

I was generally non-plussed by most of R.E.M.’s albums and deep tracks that I had heard before Accelerate, but “Supernatural Superserious” is an exemplary sample from what has quickly become one of my favorite rock albums.

8)  “At Least We Made It This Far” – Relient K

Relient K is a band that I grow fonder of with each new release, and 2008’s EP was no exception.  While my jaw dropping was reserved for a piano version of “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been,” the slot on this playlist had to go to this new track.

9)  “Brother” – Pearl Jam

What a lost gem!  It’s not so difficult to see why Jeff Ament almost quit Pearl Jam when Stone Gossard held firm to his desire not to play this song any longer.  Phenomenal.

10)  “Looking Forward to Seeing You” – The Golden Smog

This is a pretty good sampling of the Golden Smog sound, including some background work by Jeff Tweedy.

11)  “Impossible Germany” – Wilco

I discovered Wilco in 2008, and they were the band that I listened to more than any other that year.  I was going through some sadness, particularly in the last third of the year, and Wilco’s sound was what I needed for commiseration and for a rebirth.  For an example of the latter, I’ve included “Impossible Germany.”  Please take note of the beautiful dual guitar solos.

12)  “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye”  – Leonard Cohen

I went back in time a bit farther for this classic Cohen track.  He was a singer/songwriter that I had certainly heard of, but had never actually heard any songs performed by him.  This was one of my favorites, even more so after I figured it out on guitar.