Hiatus

One Song Per Day’s taking a hiatus. Questions, comments, etc. can be sent to onesongperdayinfo@gmail.com.

Forgotten Fridays – “Main Title” from Escape From New York

Escape From New York is still one of our favorite movies. Long before Hollywood jumped on the dystopian bandwagon (with attractive post-teens in trouble), there was this John Carpenter movie about a criminal sent into the island prison of Manhattan to rescue the president.

And what a cast…Kurt Russell, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau, Lee Van Cleef…

Not only did John Carpenter write and direct the film, he scored it (as he did on other films, too). This opening title, while perhaps a bit dated, gives off a sense of dramatic foreboding. Recommended for listening while on a morning commute–car, rail–it just works.

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Los Straightjackets “Pipeline”

(from Los Straitjackets: Deke Dickerson Sings the Great Instrumental Hits)

The masked instrumental combo Los Straitjackets teams up with rockabilly singer Deke Dickerson for an album of classic instrumentals…with lyrics added.

Apparently, a lot of those classics had lyrics added at some point. Today’s song, “Pipeline,” is a surf rock smash from 1962, originally recorded by the Chantays. A guy named Johnny Legend added lyrics years later, and they’re revisited here.

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AC/DC – “Play Ball”

(from Rock or Bust)

The sad news of founding member Malcolm Young’s dementia makes a new AC/DC release feel bittersweet. A recent statement from the band’s label said, “Unfortunately due to the nature of Malcolm’s illness, he will not be rejoining the band.” But the band soldiers on, as it should (and memorably has before).

We have to wait until December 2 to hear the new album in its entirety, but for now we have “Play Ball.”  Typical AC/DC: the lyrics are maddeningly simple and Angus Young’s riffs are big and tough. What’s most interesting is that Brian Johnson’s voice sounds healthy. We’ve winced over the years as it’s deteriorated to the point of uncomfortable listening. Maybe he’s been drinking more tea with honey.

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Forgotten Fridays – Screaming Trees ‘Halo of Ashes’

Screaming Trees’ final album, Dust, was unheralded when it was released in ’96, and feels all the more overlooked in 2014. “Halo of Ashes” memorably opens the album with a hint of psychedelia, the guitar/bass consistency of the Conner brothers and the whiskey-cured voice of Mark Lanegan.

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Rancid – ‘Evil’s My Friend’

(from …Honor Is All We Know)

Rancid’s back, after a five year absence. The band recorded the new album (due at the end of this month) in two locations: a conventional studio and a double-decker house boat owned by Flea.

“Evil’s My Friend” shows off the band’s unending love for ska, and makes its point in a tidy two minutes.

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Shellac – “Compliant”

(from Dude Incredible)

Focused, driving minimalism punctuates this OCD-focused song from Shellac’s new album. Car locked … compliant. Count steps … compliant. Stove off … compliant.

Stick through to the end, when the focus blows up for a final 10 seconds of rage.

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Leonard Cohen – “Almost Like The Blues”

(from Popular Problems)

Heaven and hell–the darkness within–yep, it’s Leonard Cohen.

It shouldn’t work like this. After a certain age, most artists hit a point of diminishing returns. Defying the norm, Cohen’s delivered his second album in two years and it’s exceptional.

The lyrics and turns-of-phrase, croaked out in that voice, dig their way into your soul. Leonard Cohen’s the artist all artists should aspire to be.

“But I’ve had the invitation
that a sinner can’t refuse
It’s almost like salvation
It’s almost like the blues”

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Metal Mondays – Wolf “My Demon”

(from Devil Seed)

Wolf’s respect for its heavy metal forefathers is obvious on yet another album of retro-Priest riffage. The band’s reliance on NWOBHM sounds offers up the comfort of familiarity; but, sheesh, we’ve heard it all before.

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Forgotten Fridays – Southern Culture on the Skids ‘Camel Walk’

(from Dirt Track Date)

As we considered songs for today’s Forgotten Fridays track, we were shocked that we’d yet to include Southern Culture on the Skids. The band’s twisted take on trailer park culture–with surf and rockabilly gusto–is something that’s fueled many a BBQ and late night.

“Camel Walk,” from the band’s 5th album (and major label debut), broke SCOTS on a national level. We’re not surprised the general public didn’t continue to embrace them; we’re just disappointed.

Say, you don’t think there’s any way I can get that quarter
From underneath your pointy boot, do ya?

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The Fauntleroys – “I’m In Love With Everything”

(from Below the Pink Pony EP)

Underground supergroup summons images of Bowie and Costello on this hazy rocker. It’s all about your eyes, how they’re always waiting…

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Smashing Pumpkins – “Money (That’s What I Want)”

from Adore (Super Deluxe Edition)

Say what you will about Mellon Collie, Gish, and Siamese Dream; Adore was the Pumpkins album we liked best.

And now, we’re treated to an embarrassment of riches: a “Super Deluxe,” 6CD/1DVD box set that includes demos, modern remixes by drummer (and mega-talent) Matt Walker, rarities and a mono version (?) of Adore.

We expected this to be much less listenable than it is. Though the band might not agree–and the audience would contest it–this is a compelling, dense collection of songs showing Smashing Pumpkins at its most interesting period.

Today’s song, a live version of “Money,” is a fuck-it-all, ramshackle cover that’s hard not to love.

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Sean Rowe – “Done Calling You”

(from Madman)

The blues come calling on Sean Rowe, as his estimable pipes get dragged down into a relationship ditch.

If this song doesn’t hook you, we also recommend this one from a few years ago.

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Benjamin Booker – “Violent Shiver”

(from Benjamin Booker)

The 1960s wind their way through New Orleans and end up in a New York City basement. Rock and roll that’s simultaneously pure and dangerous.

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Metal Mondays – Dark Fortress “Betrayal and Vengeance”

(from Venereal Dawn)

The corpse-painted, scary-named ghouls of Dark Fortress have been at it for 20 years (with some line-up changes along the way). The themes for album number 7? Survival, betrayal and sacrifice. We get at least 33% of that on this 7+ minute grinder.

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U2 – “This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now”

(from Songs of Innocence)

There aren’t many artists today that are big enough to give away a new album the way U2 did and have it mean something.

A half billion people had Songs of Innocence drop in their iTunes accounts as part of yesterday’s big Apple-travaganza. That hacking, gasping and coughing you hear in the background is the death rattle of the compact disc.

We haven’t spent enough time with the album yet, but “This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now” is something of an early favorite (“Volcano” seems too obvious).

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Guster – ‘Simple Machine’

(from Evermotion)

Guster’s first new single in four years is a shock to the system for those expecting the band’s acoustic-y, technology-resistant sound. Synth sounds are all over “Simple Machine”–they’re not terribly complex, though, so let’s hear it for truth in advertising.

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Metal Mondays – Falconer “At the Jester’s Ball”

(from Black Moon Rising)

Falconer’s last album was entirely in Swedish–and totally folk metal. With Black Moon Rising, the band’s back on more conventional power metal footing.

There’s still a hint of “heavy metal Ren Faire” on the album, and it’s enough to make us ogle corsets and triumphantly wave a turkey leg in the air.

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Forgotten Fridays – Ric Ocasek “Something To Grab For”

(from Beatitude)

Cars’ driver Ric Ocasek’s debut album rolled out of the garage shortly after Shake It Up was released (and raced up to the Top 10).

Beatitude‘s a mixed bag, one that finds Ocasek taking chances and stretching out. The album’s lead single, “Something To Grab For,” is totally Cars-like, easy to love, and mostly forgotten.

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The Vines – “Metal Zone”

(from Wicked Nature)

Holy crap, someone listened to Nirvana a lot while recording the new Vines album. Then again, the Vines were never the most original-sounding band.

“Metal Zone” comes from The Vines’ crowdfunded new double-album (the band’s sixth release). For an Aussie, frontman Craig Nicholls delivers so much Pacific Northwest flavor on this song that it actually tastes like coffee and rain.

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TV on the Radio – “Happy Idiot”

(from Seeds)

TV on the Radio’s new album (and first one since bassist Gerard Smith died of lung cancer three years ago) is officially on the calendar for November.

In advance of that, TVOTR’s released “Happy Idiot,” a song that celebrates blissful ignorance with new wave-y glee.

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Elvin Bishop – “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right”

(from Can’t Even Do Wrong Right)

He’s played with the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers, was a member of Paul Butterfield’s blues band, and has been putting out albums since 1969. With this new album, now 40+ years into his career, Bishop’s wit and slide guitar still deliver.

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Forgotten Fridays – Iggy Pop “Five Foot One”

(from New Values)

Iggy’s third solo album (and first without David Bowie’s involvement) remains underestimated in his catalog. Sure, Lust for Life and The Idiot had the classic songs, but New Values had “I’m Bored” (“I’m the chairman of the bored!”), “Don’t Look Down” (which Bowie ended up covering), the amazing title track, and…this song. “Five Foot One” will always be our favorite Iggy song; the sound is sinister, and the lyrics are twistedly great:

“I wish life could be…Swedish magazines”

“I’m only five foot one
I got a pain in my heart
All the night I’m working
In the amusement park”

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Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL – “PRETZELBODYLOGIC”

Prince releases two albums on the same day next month (9/30): one solo, the other with his all-female group 3RDEYEGIRL.

Funky rocker “PRETZELBODYLOGIC” comes from that latter, and has been circulating for months now. It wouldn’t be our first choice for a single, but it stands as a nice reminder of what makes Prince…Prince.

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Royal Blood – “Figure It Out”

(from Royal Blood)

Lots of hype pushing this duo forward. NME accurately describes the band’s sound:

“A two-piece Queens of the Stone Age; a tough, British Black Keys; The White Stripes with added commercial polish”

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Robyn Hitchcock – “The Ghost In You”

(from The Man Upstairs)

Psychedelic folk troubadour Robyn Hitchcock covers the Psychedelic Furs for his 20th studio album. It’s spare, gorgeous and peculiar in that Robyn-Hitchcock kinda way. We can’t stop listening to it.

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Metal Mondays – Hammerfall ‘Bushido’

from (r)Evolution

As a trip through Metal Mondays past might illustrate, we love power metal, and Hammerfall’s one of our genre favorites.

“Bushido” tells the tale of a samurai: “I’m the warrior, I am/In the rising sun I stand.” In Japanese, Bushido means “the way of the warrior.”

The new album falls like … a hammer on 9/2.

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Sinead O’Connor “Dense Water Deeper Down”

(from I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss)

Sinead’s 10th studio album sees her locking back into a consistent groove after a run of frustrating 21st century albums. “Dense Water Deeper Down” tells the story of head-over-heels infatuation, powered ahead by trumpet and a determined acoustic guitar.

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Brian Setzer – “Stiletto Cool”

(from Rockabilly Riot! All Original)

Three-time Grammy-winner Brian Setzer delivers pure rockabilly on his new one, and it’s a beer-swilling, fast-car-driving, girl-chasing good time.

“Stiletto Cool” celebrates a particularly alluring female. As the song establishes, “she’s got her tight dress high and her high heels on.” Also: “She’s switchblade sharp.” Sounds like trouble to us.

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Metal Mondays – Nachtmystium “Fireheart”


(from The World We Left Behind)

The future of Nachtmystium’s been in doubt for a while, as frontman Blake Judd’s wrestled with his drug addictions. He originally said the band would have to end, and this would be its last album. His thought was that he needed to ditch the band in order to start a new life. He later thought better of that idea–apparently touring’s the real problem for him. And with that, he said Nachtmystium will stick around, but will never (according to Judd, at this point in time) tour again.

One reviewer called The World We Left Behind “blackened hard rock.” That sounds about right. “Fireheart” is heavy and catchy; dark in spirit, but light enough for general listening.

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Forgotten Fridays – Wu-Tang Clan “Gravel Pit”

(from The W)

With Wu-Tang Clan recently reuniting on the Daily Show , we thought we’d pull this stone age classic out for Forgotten Fridays.

We still have lasting memories of the Flinstones-ish video with, um, bouncy backup singers.

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The Pharmacy – “Dead Friend”

(from Spells)

Fuzzy, lo-fi psychedelic rock with unpolished vocals that walk the fence between “high school band” and “authentic indie charm.”

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Billy Joe Shaver – “Last Call for Alcohol”

(from Long in the Tooth)

73-year-old Shaver’s the real deal, putting out traditional country music since the early 70s. On today’s song, he tries to drink a girl out of his mind during the “last call for al-key-hall.”

Shaver gets credit for asking our favorite musical question of the year: “Is it a lover or a liver I really need the most?”

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Interpol – “All the Rage Back Home”

(from El Pintor)

“All the Rage Back Home” starts off lazily and bleary-eyed, then it jumps out of bed at the :50 mark and never looks back.

El Pintor will be Interpol’s fifth album (and first in four years). “All the Rage” comes cloaked in Interpol black, but some color manages to show through on this one, particularly the “hey hey hey” backup vocals in the chorus.

Fun fact: “El Pintor” is an anagram of Interpol.

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Metal Mondays – Alestorm “Drink”

(from Sunset On the Golden Age)

Alestorm is to pirate metal as Bob Marley is to reggae.

On this song from the band’s fourth shanty-rock collection, they declare, “Your alcohol, to us will fall.” Submit, bilge rat … or meet with Jack Ketch.

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Hi Ho – “The Art of Being Alone”

(from Solstice)

Acoustic indie rock that’s big on emotion and grit.

As Hi Ho asks, “Will you love me tonight?” the question is asked angrily enough that we can only answer, “Sure, but… don’t hurt us.”

Chicago fans can see Hi Ho tonight at the Beat Kitchen.

Support Hi Ho and buy the music here.

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Forgotten Fridays – Diesel “Sausalito Summernight”

(from Watts in a Tank)

Wholesome Top 40 fun from forgotten Netherlands-based band Diesel. The guitar hook is so welcoming, you can’t help but want to jump in the backseat of the song’s Rambler. Clearly, the Dutch know how to road trip.

On a day when the entire world seems to be on the brink of destruction (Hello, Iraq airstrikes! Welcome back, Gaza fighting! Greetings, Ebola!), a song that romanticizes a “burger and a root beer” sure sounds good to us.

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Daniel Bambaata Marley – “Maintain”

We’re not saying you’re old, but Daniel Bambaata Marley’s Bob Marley’s grandson. Ziggy’s kid.

Here’s the next generation of Marley music; a solid bridge between the roots grandpa Bob planted and the modern sounds of Jamaica.

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The Mavericks – “Dr. Feelgood”

(from Nashville Outlaws – A Tribute to Motley Crue)

A country tribute album to Motley Crue? Yes, please.

The Mavericks set up shop in Dr. Feelgood’s office and end up running the joint. The Latin percussion and horns transform the Crue’s sleazy drug epic into something new and wonderful.

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The Interrupters – “Family”

(from The Interrupters)

There’s nothing crazier than family, as the Interrupters corroborate in this song from the band’s debut.

Bonus: Rancid/Transplants main man Tim Armstrong is all over this one.

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Metal Mondays – Dragonforce “Defenders”

(from Maximum Overload)

This high-speed (what else would you expect) lead song from the sixth Dragonforce album treads typical power metal territory:

“Legends of darkness will be on the grave
Spill their blood under the sun
Voices are calling with anger and rage
The final war now has begun”

In short, it completely meets our expectations. We expect even more of the same when the album drops in two weeks.

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Forgotten Fridays – Jerry Harrison ‘Man With a Gun’

(from Casual Gods)

Talking Heads guitarist Harrison turned in a solid effort for his second solo album, Casual Gods.

“Man With a Gun” first caught our attention on the Something Wild soundtrack (which also featured the unforgettable David Byrne/Celia Cruz duet, “Loco de Amor”), and it fits right in with the moody and cool Casual Gods.

The lyrics really push it over the top: “A pretty girl … a pretty girl can walk anywhere. All doors open for her.”
 
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The Rentals – “Thought of Sound”

(from Lost in Alphaville)

15 years after their last release, the Rentals are back with their third album. And 15 years later, nothing about the band’s sound has changed. Nothing.

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Sloan – “Keep Swinging (Downtown)”

(from Commonwealth)

Sloan’s new album (#11)  is a double-LP, with each album side dedicated to one of the band’s members’ songs. “Keep Swinging (Downtown),” a glammy, 70s grinder with a hooky Sloan chorus, comes from guitarist Patrick Pentland’s side.

 

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alt-j – “Left Hand Free”

(from This Is All Yours)

alt-j says they wrote “Left Hand Free” in 20 minutes as a toss-off to its record company; a blatant pandering for an “American-friendly single.” Singer Joe Newman tells Consequence of Sound, “I can imagine it appealing to American truckers with ‘Good Riddance To Bin Laden’ stickers!'” 

So yes, “Left Hand Free” is a change of pace for the band.  Maybe that’s why we like it.

 

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Metal Mondays – Betraying the Martyrs “Let It Go”

(from Phantom)

Yes, it’s a cover of the song from Frozen.

Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered us anyway.

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Forgotten Fridays – Men Without Hats “Pop Goes the World”

(from Pop Goes the World)

Sure, it’s no “Safety Dance,” but “Pop Goes the World” still makes us smile.

And call us crazy, but it seems like there’s a handful of modern indie artists currently rocking the Men Without Hats sound.

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The Dagger – “1978”

(From The Dagger)

Sounding like a Blue Oyster Cult track from 1978, this song from The Dagger’s debut album should come wrapped in a black t-shirt and quarter ounce of weed.

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The Gaslight Anthem – “Rollin’ and Tumblin'”

(from Get Hurt)

The Gaslight Anthem continues to teeter on the edge of a full-blown commercial breakthrough, and we couldn’t want it more for this band. “Rollin’ and Tumblin'” shows the band continuing to crank out straight-up, earnest American rock music with punk swagger. The new album’s still a couple weeks away; in the meantime, we’ll be wearing the shit out of this song.

One cause for concern: singer/founder Brian Fallon told Rolling Stone that Pearl Jam’s No Code was an influence and inspiration for the new album. As we recall, that was the album that signified the death of grunge’s hold on popular music, if not Pearl Jam’s.

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Cold War Kids – “All This Could Be Yours”

The as-yet untitled fifth Cold War Kids album won’t arrive until October, but we already have this preview. We love the way “All This Could Be Yours” gathers its forces, starting with piano, then drums, then guitar. Nathan Willett’s voice is in top form here, too, flipping from controlled to frenetic.

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Metal Mondays – Grave Digger ‘Season of the Witch’

(from Return of the Reaper)

17 albums in, and it’s clear there’s not a whole lotta new ground for the German power metal band to cover.

Return of the Reaper is comfortable. It’s familiar. “Season of the Witch” chugs along with Sabbath-y chords, stopping along the way for a church choir-like breakdown about 3:30 in.

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Los Macuanos – “Ritmo de Amor”

Adoramos esta canción de Los Macuanos. No es una nueva canción para los fans de la banda, pero es bastante nuevo para nosotros. Espero que os guste.

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Rise Against – “Awake Too Long”

(from the Black Market)

The Black Market is easily Rise Against’s best moment since The Sufferer and the Witness. “Awake Too Long” showcases Tim McIlrath’s multilayered lyrical talents, as well as the band’s sophisticated sonic propulsion.

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“Weird Al” Yankovic – “Word Crimes”

(from Mandatory Fun)

“Weird Al” wins us over by playing grammar cop on this Robin Thicke parody (“Blurred Lines”). Homophones, “I could care less” and “literally” are all recognized here. We love this.

“Irony is not coincidence.”

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Summer break

One Song Per Day’s taking a week or two off to do all that summer stuff we’ve waited through the winter to do. Some of what we’ll be doing, in no particular order:

-Swim
-Picnic
-Go for bike rides
-Grill
-Sit outside
-Go for walks
-Go to a drive-in
-Play miniature golf
-See a baseball game

Robert Plant – “Rainbow”

(from lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar)

The Golden God’s new solo album comes out in two months, and we can’t wait. We’ve burnt holes in the carpet waiting for each new Plant release since we first bought Coda on vinyl when we were in junior high.

He describes the new album as “powerful, gritty, African, Trance meets Zep.” Sign us up.

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Metal Mondays – Deathstars “Explode”

(from The Perfect Cult)

We miss the days when industrial music was more of a big deal. This Swedish band does its best to keep the sound going on their fourth album. Bonus: the band members’ names sound like comic book characters (Whiplasher Bernadotte, Nightmare Industries, Skinny Disco, Vice).

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Forgotten Fridays – Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper “BBQ USA”

(from Bo-Day-Shus!!!)

Happy Fourth of July! Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper provide the horn-y soundtrack for your grilling and chilling today.

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Morrissey – “The Bullfighter Dies”

(From World Peace Is None of Your Business)

Continuing the decades-spanning “Meat is Murder” thread, Moz celebrates the death of a bullfighter while rooting for the bull.

This is one of the Morrissey-est Morrissey songs we’ve heard in years.

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Guided By Voices – “Planet Score”

(from Motivational Jumpsuit)

GBV’s released two albums already this year (reunion albums #5 and 6), and this is one of our favorites of the two.

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OK Go – “I Won’t Let You Down”

(from Upside Out- EP)

Like a forgotten song from disco-demolished pop radio in 1978, “I Won’t Let You Down” greases the dance floor and presses the polyester.

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Metal Mondays – Sabaton “Night Witches”

(from Heroes)

War-themed Swedish power metallers Sabaton return with their seventh album, showcasing a mostly-new lineup. Each song on Heroes deals with a different war hero. As described on Wikipedia, “‘Night Witches’ is about the all female Soviet 588th Night Bomber Regiment called ‘Night Witches.'”

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Forgotten Fridays – Rosie Ledet “I Love Louisiana”

(from Pick It Up)

We discovered Rosie Ledet by accident, while visiting the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. The zoo hosted a Louisiana music festival the weekend we were there, and Ledet’s band started just as we were walking by the performance area.

Ledet’s music is defined by her accordion work. In her hand, the squeezebox becomes something powerful, if not menacing. If “I Love Louisiana” hooks you–or you just plain have an interest in zydeco–we also recommend “Pick It Up” and “Chasing After Rainbows” from the same album.

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Willie Nelson “Crazy Like Me”

(from Band of Brothers)

Things we learned about Willie Nelson from this song:

  • He likes girls with a little extra cushion.
  • He likes girls with tatts.
  • He likes girls who drink.

For further exploration, we recommend “Wives and Girlfriends,” also from Band of Brothers.

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Spoon – “Rent I Pay”

(from They Want My Soul)

Bashing and deliberate garage rocker from the new album, due August 5.

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J Mascis – “Every Morning”

(from Tied to a Star)

The first single from Mascis’ new solo album offers a nice preview of its promised mellow and acoustic vibe.

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Metal Mondays – Savage Messiah “Hellblazer”

(from The Fateful Dark)

Screaming guitars bolster this thrashy power metal song from Savage Messiah’s fourth album.

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Forgotten Fridays – Captain Beefheart ‘Ice Cream for Crow’

(from Ice Cream for Crow)

One of modern music’s great innovators, Captain Beefheart checked out of his recording career with Ice Cream for Crow, his 12th studio album. How this song ever made it into rotation on MTV is a mystery to us, but it sure made our childhoods more interesting.

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – “Red River”

(from Hypnotic Eye)

Tom Petty’s stated mission for the new album was to make a straight-up rock & roll record. “Red River” rocks in a mystical, voodoo haze. He put a spell on us with lines like this:

a tiger tooth and a gris gris stick… still they don’t do the trick

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Rival Sons – “Good Things”

(from Great Western Valkyrie)

Dialed in to a 70s classic rock sound (we hear the influence of Bad Company more often than not), Rival Sons crushes it on this smokey, sexy track. The best of the “Good Things” heard here is the keyboard, which turns this blues-based slow-burner into something great.

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The New Pornographers – “Brill Bruisers”

(from Brill Bruisers)

After four years away, The New Pornographers are back with album #6. A.C.Newman calls it a “celebration record,” and the title track backs that up with a head-bobbingly triumphant vibe.

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Metal Mondays – Avatar ‘Vultures Fly’

(from Hail the Apocalypse)

“Vulture’s Fly” is the sort of song we think we don’t like until we hear it. We’ve often fantasized about what it would sound like if Rob Zombie and Powerman 5000 merged, and “Vultures Fly” is it: nu metal sounds-done-right.

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Forgotten Fridays – Dobie Gray “The ‘In’ Crowd”

(from Dobie Gray Sings for ‘In’ Crowders That ‘Go Go)

We love us some classic R&B. We came into this one backwards many years ago, hearing the Bryan Ferry version first. And while Ferry’s version is totally cool, the charms of the original can’t be denied.

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Chrissie Hynde – “A Plan Too Far”

(from Stockholm)

Chrissie Hynde delivers her first solo album in 35 years of recording. It’s perhaps out of line to expect more edge from a woman who’s now in her 60s, so we’re happy with what we get on “A Plan Too Far.” The guitar is bluesy, the percussion ramshackle, and vocals distinctly Hynde.

We kind of hate the line, “You’re as consistent as a weathervane cock,” but think the rest of the song rises above it.

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The Orwells – “Southern Comfort”

(from Disgraceland)

The Elmhurst, IL band has swagger to spare on this rough-and-tumble libidinous garage rocker from their major label debut.

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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Coming Down” (feat. Matt Berninger)

(from Only Run)

You can hear hints of New Order and Radiohead through the fuzz on this one. You can also hear the National, as that band’s singer Matt Berninger uses his super-broody deep voice to counter nasal CYHSY frontman Alec Ounsworth.

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Metal Mondays – Opeth “Cusp of Eternity”

(from Pale Communion)

Opeth’s transition to a prog metal band seems to be complete with this first listen from Pale Communion (due in August). Like what we heard on Damnation and Heritage, “Cusp of Eternity” is without death metal growling. Instead, we get a building, dramatic, pulse-accelerating showcase for the band’s musicianship.


Mother was screaming for help
She turns around to stare at a scene from her memory

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Forgotten Fridays – Elvis Costello and the Attractions “Tokyo Storm Warning”

(from Blood & Chocolate)

For a while there, we were burned out on Elvis’s music. We went months–maybe years–without listening. And then, this song pushed us right back into super-fandom. From an album that calls back to the edge of This Year’s Model, “Tokyo Storm Warning” delivers the kind of lyrics that make Elvis one of our favorite lyricists of all time.

“The sky fell over cheap Korean monster-movie scenery
And spilled into the mezzanine of the crushed capsule hotel
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery
I knew I was in trouble but I thought I was in hell”

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Camper Van Beethoven – “It Was Like That When We Got Here”

(from El Camino Real)

Camper’s back with their second California-themed album, following last year’s La Costa Perdida. David Lowery’s laid-back delivery of the titular refrain has followed us through the week; we now apply it to everything. Toilet seat’s up? It was like that when we got here. Cookie crumbs on the couch? It was like that when we got here.

And what’s not to love about the violin in CVB songs?

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Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – “My Heart Will Go On”

(from Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!)

More pop-punk ridiculousness from MF&tGG. This album is an all-diva covers release, bouncing from Lady Gaga to the Carpenters, and stopping halfway through for this titanic Celine Dion selection.

Near.
Far.
Wherever you are…

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Fucked Up – “Paper the House”

(from Glass Boys)

“Paper the House” comes from the band’s fourth studio release, a Fucked Up album the whole family can enjoy.

That’s a stretch, but it does feel like less of a listening challenge than the first three.

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Metal Mondays – Edguy “Rock Me Amadeus”

(from Space Police: Defenders of the Crown)

Here’s a goofy Falco cover done by German power-metallers Edguy from their new (and 10th) studio album.

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Forgotten Fridays – Deadbolt “Patches the Clown”

(from Tiki Man)

San Diego “psychobilly” band Deadbolt is about as obscure as Forgotten Fridays gets.

Something about the band’s rockabilly/surf/blues goth sound caught our attention in 1994, and we still have fond memories of this twisted, twisted song about an evil, violent clown named “Patches.”

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Bob Mould – “Hey Mr. Grey”

(from Beauty & Ruin)

Bob Mould’s no longer just an elder statesman; he’s become a cranky old man on this one.

It’s great to hear him turn up the volume again. Short, fast and loud … just like the old days.

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Eno / Hyde – “Witness”

(from Someday World)

Brian Eno’s collaboration with Underworld vocalist Karl Hyde is quietly compelling. “Witness” subtlely won us over with the female-delivered, emotionless spoken word that starts about 2:30 in. The choruses aren’t bad, either.

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Selwyn Birchwood – “Hoodoo Stew”

(from Don’t Call No Ambulance)

The slide guitar and horns hooked us within seconds. Birchwood’s “Stew” is a fun, blues take on “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (or, for you kids, Tenacious D’s “Tribute”).

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Metal Monday Memorial Day – Metallica “Don’t Tread on Me”

(from Metallica)

To secure peace is to prepare for war.

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Forgotten Fridays – Atlanta Rhythm Section “Imaginary Lover”

(from Champagne Jam)

 

Once kids outgrow invisible friends, they turn to imaginary lovers. What better representation of the “‘Me’ decade” than a song that takes the “other person” out of a relationship?

“Imaginary Lover” is unquestionably a 70s song, one that takes us back to a time when AM radio broke bands (fueled by payola, sure, but that’s not the point).

 

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Peter Murphy – “I Am My Own Name”

(from Lion)

The legendary Murphy goes into the studio with producer Youth and comes out with his 10th album (out 6/2). “I Am My Own Name” is a throwback to the sound that first had us excited in the post-Bauhaus days (specifically the Love Hysteria and Deep albums). We were worried that Murphy’s edge had dulled over the past 20 years or so. “I Am My Own Name” tells us we were wrong.

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The Bama Gamblers – “Georgia Clay”

(from Iron Mountain)

Evoking every likable aspect of the classic “Southern Rock” sound, this relatively-new Alabama-based band builds something memorable out of “Georgia Clay.” Perfect for porch drinking, road tripping, and sweaty summer romancing.

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Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band – “Julie (Hang Out a Little Longer)”

Nato Coles is a midwestern guy–and true to form, “Julie” offers up earnest heartland pining.

Punk rock Americana, with some Springsteen DNA floating around at the molecular level.

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(Metal Mondays) Enthroned – “Of Shrines and Sovereigns”

(from Sovereigns)

Come for the guitar brutality of ZarZax, stay for the shredded, forged-in-hell voice of Nornagest.

The band’s 10th studio album is atmospheric, boo-scary black metal; a 24/7 amusement park for the dark lord.

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Forgotten Fridays – James Hall “Pleasure Club”

(from Pleasure Club)

Hall was totally underestimated in the 90s.

His vocal delivery has hints of Jim Morrison and full-on Bowie glam. And on “Pleasure Club,” the title track from his major label debut, he crawls, squirms and thrusts his way into the sort of club you’ve only read about in naughty books.

“Well she comes on like a leatherboy on a PVC night.”

Don’t know what that means, but … dirty.

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Echo and the Bunnymen – “Market Town”

(from Meteorites)

Ian McCulloch says the new Bunnymen album “is what Echo and the Bunnymen mean and are meant to be — up there in heaven — untouchable, celestial, beautiful and real.”

The Bunnymen went down a familiar rabbit hole on this one, but we’re not complaining.

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Chico Dusty – “Shakin'”

Burlington, Ontario band delivers a song that’s raw, pure and totally fun.

We seriously can’t stop playing this one: We’re shakin’ in our new boots, baby.

You can support the band here:

http://chicodusty.bandcamp.com/track/shakin

chico

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Garbage – “Time Will Destroy Everything”

(from Girls Talk single)

“Time Will Destroy Everything” is a B-side to the “Girls Talk” single, and it … sounds like a B-side. The vocals are distorted and the technology sounds are herky-jerky in an almost disquieting way. If Shirley Manson’s voice wasn’t thrown through the electro-circle-jerkatron 6000, this could comfortably fit on a “real” Garbage album.

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Metal Mondays – Mastodon “High Road”

(from Once More ‘Round the Sun)

Purists be damned, Mastodon isn’t going to be recreating Leviathan anytime soon. Instead, we have the Mastodon of 2014: the guitars trudge through muck, the hooks are fist-pumpier, and the band’s outlook is as bright as its ever been.

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Forgotten Fridays – Urban Dance Squad “Deeper Shade of Soul”

(from Mental Floss for the Globe)

“Deeper Shade of Soul” threw everything at the wall in 1990, and it stuck. “Soul” was a monster song, edging its way to the #21 spot on Billboard’s “Hot 100.”

We remember loving it in the summer of ’90, and wanted to reintroduce it just in time for the summer of ’14.

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Rodrigo y Gabriela – “The Russian Messenger”

(from 9 Dead Alive)

Two acoustic guitars kicking up dirt and causing trouble.

Like the rest of the album, “The Russian Messenger” sounds equally appropriate for listening as a night ramps up or when dawn breaks. It’s cool without trying, which is what any good song should be.

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G. Love & Special Sauce – “Saturday Night”

(from Sugar)

The lazy, bluesy, hip-hoppy flow of G. Love is pointed in the direction of a potential one-night stand. He pulls it off with effortless charm; suddenlys Saturday night’s complete.

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Brody Dalle – “Rat Race”

(from Diploid Love)

Big-time collaborations (Shirley Manson of Garbage, members of Queens of the Stone Age and the Strokes) add to the impact of Dalle’s return after five years away.

The former Distiller and Spinnerette is more mature these days. She’s a married punk rock mom, and the songs on Diploid Love feel a lot more personal than what’s come before.

“Rat Race” has a little bit of everything we love: guitar urgency, horn sounds, big hooks, and lyrics we can totally relate to.

“I got a tree, it grows money
But it’s growing old and it’s winter now”

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Metal Mondays – Judas Priest ‘Redeemer of Souls’

(from Redeemer of Souls)

Yes, we’re biased when it comes to Priest, but we really enjoy this. The internet’s been unnecessarily unkind: “It should be faster!” “It needs KK Downing!” “They waited too long between albums!” It’s all just silly talk, as far as we’re concerned.

We think it sounds like classic Priest. Nice to have them back, and kicking ass.

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Forgotten Fridays – Ian McCulloch “Honeydrip”

(from Mysterio)

22 years later, and we’re still not sure if this is a political song or just-plain-dirty song. Doesn’t matter–we’ll listen to Ian McCulloch sing about anything.

Mysterio was his second post-Echo and the Bunnymen album, and totally in line with latter-day Bunnymusic.

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Parquet Courts – “Sunbathing Animal”

(from Sunbathing Animal)

Pedal-to-the-floor accelerated, throwback-y punk rock joy from the Brooklyn band’s second album, out in June.

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Umphrey’s McGee – “The Linear”

(from Similar Skin)

Studio album #8 for the jam band is also the first for its own indie label (Nothing Too Fancy).

“The Linear” is all about living in the moment, which we support. Carpe diem.

(And maybe it’s just us, but we think it starts out like a Police song.)

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Jack White – “Lazaretto”

Well, it set the record for the world’s fastest record release with a four-hour turnaround. But is it any good?

Sure.

Kinda.

It’s not bad, per se. It’s just not great. As a novelty and a way to get people talking about and going to mom & pop record stores, it’s peerless.

Bottom line: We’re conflicted. You be the judge.

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Metal Mondays – Slayer “Implode”

Hell. Yes.

New. Slayer.

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Forgotten Fridays – Box of Frogs “Back Where I Started”

Former members of the Yardbirds got back together in the early 80s and managed to break the Top 10 with this song.

Hypnotic with buried traces of bluesy, Yardbirdsy elements (Hey! There’s a harmonica in there!), “Back Where I Started” fell as quickly as it rose. Best listened to while driving at night. Desolate roads or areas preferred.

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The Menzingers – “In Remission”

(from Rented World)

This is what Weezer would sound like if we liked Weezer. Big guitar hooks, bigger melodies: punk rock without the scrapes and attitude.

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Caught a Ghost – “No Sugar in My Coffee”

(from Human Nature)

You may have inadvertently heard his L.A. project before; Caught a Ghost’s songs have been featured in handful of television shows (Boardwalk Empire and The Vampire Diaries among them).

The sound is something old, something borrowed, and something new: warm, well-traveled, and forward-thinking.

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Ziggy Marley – “You”

(from Fly Rasta)

Fly Rasta feels slick and safe; a family-friendly reggae affair guided by Ziggy’s increasingly more Bob-esque voice.

Repetitive though it is, “You” is our favorite track on the album. We dig the Melody Makers’ back-up vocals and the song’s funky groove.

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Metal Mondays – Gamma Ray “Born to Fly”

(from Empire of the Undead)

Straight-forward power metal from the German band’s eleventh studio album. Most of the album plays like a NWOBHM tribute album, but we’re not complaining.

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Forgotten Fridays – Metamorpho Theme Song

With Record Store Day happening tomorrow we decided to celebrate vinyl with this obscurity from the mid-70s.

Power Records (owned by Peter Pan Records) was a label that put out a series of licensed stories about DC and Marvel comic book characters. Each release was a combination of a comic book and 7″ vinyl record–the record was essentially an audiobook version of the printed comic.

We loved Power Records when we were in grade school, and one of our favorites was the super-weird Metamorpho story “Fumo, the Fire Giant.” Before the story rolled out, we got a groovy theme song that recapped Metamorpho’s background. Enjoy it in its scratchy, poppy, straight-from-the-1970s glory.

Happy Record Store Day!

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Split Single – “Never Look Back”

(from Fragmented World)

We loved Jason Narducy’s voice, guitar playing and songwriting in previous bands like Verbow, Jason and Allison, and Rockets Over Sweden. He’s been adding rock heft to Bob Mould’s band most recently, so it’s nice to see him step back under the spotlight with Split Single.

“Never Look Back” has fuzzed-out 90s guitars, lyrical charm, elevated melodies, Midwestern power pop-smarts and Narducy’s voice. Sold.

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Afghan Whigs – “Algiers”

(from Do to the Beast)

On Afghan Whigs’ first album in 16 years, the band carefully avoids taking any nostalgia trips. “Algiers” finds singer Greg Dulli walking through a haze of cigarette smoke, crooning and urging you to “sin your dreams away.”

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Old 97s – “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive”

(from Most Messed Up)

Leave it to Old 97s to make the tired rock cliche of writing about being in a band totally enjoyable. Old 97s have long been a favorite of ours, and that love starts with Rhett Miller’s lyrics:

“Most of our shows were a triumph of rock, although some nights I might have been checking the clock”

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Metal Mondays – Sonata Arctica “Cloud Factory”

(from Pariah’s Child)

Power metal that’s beautifully overblown and ridiculous:

“There is a factory clouds are made in/ They make ‘em big and blue/ The Factory eats you, it swallows you whole”

“Cloud Factory” is equal parts Meat Loaf and “What Does the Fox Say?” And we’re pretty sure that’s an endorsement.

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Forgotten Fridays – Steel Pulse “Ravers”

(from True Democracy)

“I wanna know how you’re feeling (irie)”

The weather is mercifully turning for the better, and that has us lusting for reggae sounds. This Steel Pulse classic from ’82 dutifully fulfills that need. We want to be outside under the sun with a cold beverage. Right. Now.

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Jonny Two Bags – “Avenues”

(from Salvation Town)

Social Distortion guitarist Jonny Wickersham delivers a solo album filled with America-tinged grit, regret, and self-loathing.

We especially love the accordion and female Spanish vocals on this one.

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Beastmilk – “Death Reflects Us”

Gloomy post-punk that conjures up dimly-lit images of Echo and the Bunnymen and Joy Division.

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Laibach – “Walk With Me”

(from Spectre)

Laibach’s cold and martial approach to music gave us the chills in the 80s and 90s, and we’re (glad?) to see the band still applying its cold compresses to music in the 10s.

There’s a melody and hook here, but Laibach continues to be unfit for sing-alongs.

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Metal Mondays – Vampire “Black Deserts”

(from Vampire)

Swedish death metal that goes for the throat, as vampires tend to do. If this coffin’s rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’.

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Beth Thornley – “Say That You Will”

(from Septagon)

L.A. singer/songwriter Thornley delivers Septagon on Tuesday, and “Say That You Will” is a good hint of the melodic pop goodness you can expect from it. Love her voice. Love it.

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Forgotten Fridays – Red Rider “Crack the Sky (Breakaway)”

(from Neruda)

The Neruda album was an AOR staple when we were growing up in the early 1980s, but we’d all but forgotten about it until recently trolling through stacks of old vinyl.

We love the way the song edges in with bass and 80s keys, setting the stage for Tom Cochrane’s thin-but-earnest vocals. He makes the fantasy of escaping it all with that perfect someone sound desperate, romantic and thrilling, all at the same time.

“Oh, breakaway
I can almost hear her say
The world is such a stupid place
We’ll crack the sky and get lost in space”

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Molotov – Animo Delincuencia

There’s no release date yet for Molotov’s first new studio album in over a decade, but we like what we hear here.

And no, we can’t quite sing along (damn you, high school Spanish), but we hum it pretty well. And we’re pretty sure the title translates to “moral crime,” so that’s interesting.

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Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues – “Dog House”

(from Blues Shock)

Chicago blues harmonica player Billy Branch is consigned to the couch without a pillow. Sounds like some hard lessons were learned on this one.

“Move on over, Rover. Tonight you won’t be sleeping alone.”

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The Baseball Project – “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”

(from 3rd)

Third baseball-themed album from an all-star roster of baseball enthusiasts (including half of R.E.M.).

A lot of the original songs on 3rd are worth hearing, but we couldn’t resist going with this straightforward choice. Baseball’s back. It’s been a long, hard cold winter. We earned this.

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Metal Mondays: Adrenaline Mob – “The Mob Rules”

(from Ronnie James Dio-This Is Your Life)

The Dio tribute album (out tomorrow) makes us realize just how durable Dio’s work is. Rainbow, Sabbath, solo … his songs never sound bad. Evil, sure. Just not bad.

You’ve probably heard Metallica and Corey Taylor’s contributions to the compilation; they’ve been making the rounds online. Here’s Adrenaline Mob covering Sabbath’s “The Mob Rules.” It’s 100% faithful, and still manages to roll through town like an angry mob with pitchforks and torches.

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Forgotten Fridays – Solomon Burke “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love”

Yes, the Rolling Stones and Blues Brothers covered it, but the Bishop of Soul wrote and performed the original, definitive version of “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love.”

Released just over 50 years ago, it still sounds vital. “Everybody” manages to shake our psychic and physical bones, and drive us from the dance floor to the bedroom. That’s Solomon Burke, folks.

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Supersuckers – “Something About You”

(from Get the Hell)

Supersuckers are back with their ninth album, and this full-speed-ahead song about lusty obsession reinforces our love for the band’s style of unbridled, no bullshit, rock and roll.

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The Faint – “Lesson from the Darkness”

(from Doom Abuse)

The first Faint album in six years comes out on April 8, and it’s everything we love about the Omaha electro-rockers. It wasn’t easy for the band to get to this point; they called it quits after the last album and only recently began to have fun again.

The Faint took a raw and immediate approach to recording Doom Abuse, finishing work in just three months. As frontman Todd Fink said, “Everything’s a lot faster on this record, it’s more rocking. It’s like a punk rock record in some ways.”

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Black Keys – “Fever”

(from Turn Blue)

If you had any residual doubt that Black Keys is one of the 21st century’s best bands, sweat it out with “Fever.” It’s the first dose of the new Black Keys album (Turn Blue), which will be released on May 13.

We love the infectious (sorry to keep the “Fever” thing going) new wavey and hypnotic keyboards, Like an actual fever, “Fever” makes us want to stay in bed. But not for being-sick stuff.

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Metal Mondays – Conan “Foehammer”

(from Blood Eagle)

This image was found on Conan’s Facebook page:
conan disclaimer

Seems accurate enough. “Foehammer” comes from the third barbaric Conan album, and every sanguinary second of it is grinding, bludgeoning, doom metal intensity.

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Forgotten Fridays – The Babys “Isn’t It Time”

(from Broken Heart)

Forget the rest of John Waite’s oeuvre (there’s no need for anyone to have to listen Bad English or “Missing You”); this song is all that matters. In fact, this may be one of the greatest songs ever recorded.

We stand by that: One of the greatest songs ever recorded.

“Isn’t It Time” starts with a tentative piano plinking under a contemplative Waite who muses, “Falling in love was the last thing I had on mind … holding you was the warmth I thought I could never find …”  Seconds later, the song’s momentum charges up as the backup-singing Babettes make their presence known. Acting as the angel and devil on Waite’s shoulders, they nudge him along with a synchronized reading of his inner thoughts: “sitting here all alone … whether to go on alone …” “Isn’t It Time” then explodes in a contained, 70’s AOR, sort of way, as the Babettes take center stage, Waite wails, and horns blare.

After the explosion hits, Waite ends up back where he started, contemplative over a piano, considering his next relationship move. The momentum ramps right back up, and Waite’s quiet inner thoughts again explode with Babettes and horns punctuating the moment. It’s a formula that enjoyably repeats throughout this once-popular and currently-forgotten gem.

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Bad Suns – “Cardiac Arrest”

(from Transpose)

New-ish (formed in 2012) poppy-post-punk, four-piece California band with a new-er four-song EP.

Promising start, but the dude on the left in the picture should get a real collar for his shirt.

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John Butler Trio – “Blame It On Me’

(from Flesh & Blood)

JBT’s sixth album isn’t textbook jam band stuff. Recorded in just 20 days, Flesh & Blood is the sound of a band pushing against its genre boundaries and making glorious noise with a variety of instruments.

“Blame it On Me” takes on some reggae textures that fade out of, then back into, a more traditional blues-rock approach. And the guitar work is top notch, as always.

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The Notwist – “Kong”

(from Close to the Glass)

Singer Markus Acher stretches for falsetto highs before bringing his delivery back down to a neighborly level on this Close to the Glass highlight.

“Kong” is warm, uptempo indie pop from the German electro band that sounds especially good as winter grudgingly begins to make way for spring.
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Happy St. Patrick’s Day – Black 47 “Maria’s Wedding”

(from Fire of Freedom)

We respectfully take a week off from Metal Mondays to acknowledge St. Patrick’s Day.

Black 47 was always one of our favorite Celtic rock bands, and Fire of Freedom was our first introduction to them.

“Maria’s Wedding” is the ultimate party (wedding) crasher song. Our witless hero feels like he should’ve been the guy to marry Maria, and he makes his point in a drunken, impressionable way:

“But just the thought of you takin’ your clothes off for that jerk
Oh, it got me drinkin’

And then suddenly I’m staggerin’ into church
And I’m dancin’ like Baryshnikov all across the high altar”

Have a great St. Pat’s! And learn from Black 47’s lesson: don’t go places where you’re not invited. Especially not with the goal of making a scene.

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Forgotten Fridays – The Creatures “Standing There”

(from Boomerang)

“Standing There” sneaks up on you, teasing you in like a slinky Broadway musical number. And then, it explodes into polyrhythms, horns, and Siouxsie Sioux’s multitracked, unmistakable, voice.

The Creatures was the long-running side project for Siouxsie and the Banshees’ singer Siouxsie Sioux and drummer Budgie. Recorded in Spain, Boomerang was probably the best of The Creatures’ albums, and “Standing There” was one of the band’s greatest songs.

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The Pack A.D. – “Animal”

(from Do Not Engage)

This Vancouver duo brings us to a tight heel with “Animal.” Raw, sexy, wooly guitars shred blues and punk and spit it back in our faces. One of our first sure-thing picks for 2014.

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Public Service Broadcasting – “Everest”

(from Inform-Educate-Entertain)

Yep, we missed this one, originally released last spring. We’ve spent the past 24 hours catching up by playing it, oh, about 50 times.

“Everest” pulls in samples from a 1953 documentary about scaling the song’s titular mountain. The narrator’s British accent takes an otherworldly command over the haunting keyboards and bass sounds that move the song up to its peak.

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Sam Roberts Band – “We’re All in this Together”

(from Lo-Fantasy)

Anthemic and community-centric song from Sam Roberts Band’s fifth album. Roberts explained the song’s meaning to Huffington Post:

“This is a song about breaking down the barriers, both real and imaginary, between people. A rallying-cry, calling for the realization that the only way to face the future is together!”

Still a relative unknown in the States, we keep waiting for “the one” that’ll push Roberts over. Perhaps Lo-Fantasy is it?

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Metal Mondays: Vanden Plas – “Vision 2wo the Black Knight”

from Chronicles of the Immortals – Netherworld (Path 1)


8 1/2 minutes of glorious German prog metal.

Chronicles of the Immortals is a collaboration with SF/Fantasy author Wolfgang Hohlbein; an attempt to bring his book chronik der unsterblichen to life.

Familiarity with the source material (and ability to speak German) would probably enhance the experience, but even without that knowledge, “Vision 2wo the Black Knight” is a spellbinding achievement.

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Forgotten Fridays – Tripping Daisy “Sonic Bloom”

(from Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb)

When it comes to Texas band Tripping Daisy, the songs people remember are the modern rock “hits” (e.g. “My Umbrella,” “I Got a Girl”). And that’s the reason why “Forgotten Fridays” exists: to share songs that have otherwise been forgotten.

“Sonic Bloom” was one of Tripping Daisy’s best songs, and it was tucked away on their unpromoted and now out-of-print third album (we lost our copy in a move a few years ago, which is a total drag).

“Sonic Bloom” is as perfect a pop song as we can imagine it. It’ll lift you up and make you feel like everything’s all right with the world, if only for three and a half minutes.

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Drenge – “Bloodsports”

Two brothers from across the pond, banging the hell out of their guitar and drums, trying to raise the spirit of 1993.

Drenge says they’re not terribly interested in putting out a full-length album; instead they focus on making the live show something unforgettable. They’re getting enough attention over in the UK to make their U.S. buzzapalooza all but guaranteed; they most recently won “Best New Band” in the 2014 NME Awards.

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Kaiser Chiefs – “Bows and Arrows”

(from Education, Education, Education & War)

The first single from the Leeds’ band’s fifth album is about needing each other, and dammmitall, who can’t benefit from that kind of message?

Singer Ricky Wilson explained “Bows and Arrows” to Rolling Stone:

It’s about not being afraid of emotion. It can be the strongest weapon we have. What’s wrong with a load of blokes admitting they need each other? [It’s] a sliver of hope through all the futility and loss on the record. You can also dance to it.”

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St. Paul and the Broken Bones – “Call Me”

(from Half the City)

This is a new release, but it sounds like something that’s been sitting around our parents’ 7-inch vinyl collection since the late 60s.

This Alabama sextet delivers sweet, emotive, authentic soul. Singer Paul Janeway has so much mojo and charisma in his vocal delivery, we’re pretty sure we got pregnant listening to “Call Me.”

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Metal Mondays: Scythia – “Rise of the Kraken”

(from …Of Conquest)

How do we define metal? How about a band that takes its name from “vocalist/guitarist Dave Khan’s infatuation with a painting of Nordic/Russian warriors riding bears while brandishing swords?”

…Of Conquest is a collection of epic prog metal songs. “Kraken” checks off everything pretty much everything on our “prog metal kickassery” checklist:
-Organ
-Masterful playing
-Storytelling (“Free the cannons and grab the harpoons/Tonight we fight for our lives!”)
-Time signature change ups
-A sense of drama (listen starting at about three minutes in)
-Awesome backup vocals

We’ve released the Kraken. And that’s not code.

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Forgotten Fridays – Girls Against Boys “Bulletproof Cupid”

(from Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby)

Girls Against Boys didn’t write songs; they delivered moods.

On their first album for Touch & Go, the band’s sound truly came together. Two bass guitars. Gritty and strained lead vocals (courtesy Scott McCloud). Hazy, pulsating, sexy rock and roll.

“Bulletproof Cupid” became one of the band’s signature songs, and it still puts us in a space … a dark, reckless, what-was-your-name-again, space.

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Drive-By Truckers – “Pauline Hawkins”

(from English Oceans)

The new Drive-By Truckers album comes out on Tuesday, and “Pauline Hawkins” was the last thing to make it out of the recording sessions. As an interesting sidenote, “Hawkins” has literary ties, as band co-founder Patterson Hood explained to Rolling Stone:

“I had loved (Willie Vlautin’s) first three novels and we had become pen pals in the last couple of years.”

“(His) new book was called The Free and I read it in about three sittings. Wonderful book.”

The book featured a character named Pauline Hawkins, and she made enough impact on Hood to inspire a song. “She had lived a tough life and had a brutal job, which caused her to be somewhat closed down in her emotions,” he told Rolling Stone. “I finished the book on Saturday and wrote the song on Sunday.”

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Robert Cray – “You Move Me”

(from In My Soul)

“In My Soul” will be the 17th studio album for Grammy-collecting bluesman Robert Cray. We’re already sold on the concept: it’s a “10-song collection of Stax and Chess influenced soul and blues that showcases his trademark guitar playing and his extraordinary vocals.” He’s just the man for the job.

“You Move Me” is reverential to old-school soul and R&B, and distinctly Robert Cray. He’s one of America’s great talents, and we can’t wait for In My Soul to drop.

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Temples – “Mesmerise”

(from Sun Structures)

Nothing can dog a band more than high-profile endorsements. In the case of this U.K. band, those endorsements come from Noel Gallagher (Oasis) and Johnny Marr (the Smiths). It puts an unfair amount of pressure on the band to deliver, and for a listener to find something to hook into.

Sun Structures is charming, swirling, non-threatening psychedelic pop. “Mesmerise” is hypnotic through it’s near-four minute length, but once you’re brought out of the trance, you’ll have trouble remembering what happened during that time.

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Metal Mondays – Behemoth “In the Absence ov Light”

(from The Satanist)

“I had a vision ov the impenetrable darkness …”

And so begins “In the Absence ov Light” from Behemoth’s triumphantly brutal new album The Satanist

The album’s not only a bar-raising moment for the revered extreme metal band, it’s a personal victory for Behemoth main man Adam “Nergal” Darksi. Nergal was diagnosed with leukemia a few years back … and that was followed by a bone marrow transplant.

As he told Blabbermouth, “I’ve just been for some routine checks and test at the hospital and I am happy to announce I am very much alive and well! The fact that I am healthy and I have the deadliest weapon that BEHEMOTH has ever created in my hands makes my life complete.”

Behemoth has always worked to push, prod, and rip open the envelope. On “In the Absence ov Light,” the band switches from its extreme sound to a chilling spoken word moment (about 1:25 in). We think it’s in Polish. We also believe that playing that particular passage after midnight will bring Satan to your door. Be careful out there.

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Forgotten Fridays – Spot “Moon June Spoon”

One of the 90s great, forgotten, shoulda-been-bigger, songs. Spot was a Texas band that only put out one album, and this song is its legacy. Quiet-loud was a total 90s thing, and “Moon June Spoon” repurposed it as something smarter and perhaps more snide.

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Reptile Youth – “JJ”

(from Rivers That Run For a Sea That Is Gone)

Delicous shoegazery pop from the unsigned (and pretty much unknown) Copenhagen band Reptile Youth. Think My Bloody Valentine meets Happy Mondays.

“JJ” was written for a heroin-addicted fan of the band “testing out” his immortality. The lyrics only tell part of the story; the other part is told by wide, hypnotic and dreamy guitar sounds that swirl and sparkle.

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Jimbo Mathus – “Rock and Roll Trash”

(from Dark Night of the Soul)

Jimbo Mathus is a southerner with an instinct for good ole’, down south, blues, country, and rock and roll. He’s traveled a long dusty road from his days as the frontman of Squirrel Nut Zippers, and we love the musical saloon this album finds him in.

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The Hold Steady – “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You”

(from Teeth Dreams)

“There was a side of this city I didn’t want you to see …”

Teeth Dreams will be the first Hold Steady album in a few years, and the band intends it to be a “big rock album.” Craig Finn’s pub-ready voice and smarter-than-his-peers lyrics are the band’s strength, and on “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You,” it sounds like he’s backed up by the Foo Fighters.

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Metal Mondays – Mayan “Devil in Disguise”

(from Antagonise)

We can’t get enough of symphonic sounds in metal.

Antagonise is the second album from Dutch band Mayan, led by Epica guitarist Mark Jansen.

As a complete work, Antagonise is the band’s answer to spying and NSA surveillance. The theme’s a bit more subtle on “Devil in Disguise,” but it’s there:

Exterminate untruthful measures
Erase
The ugly dissonant

A killer riff and a big, fat hook make “Devil” an easy first choice from the album.

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Sarah Dooley – “Peonies”

Perfect for your Sunday listening, we like the stage-ready feel of “Peonies.” The piano bounces, and Dooley’s voice is cute and playful as she sings about sitting around and reading all day. And swimming in a pool of bowtie pasta. Because carbs.

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Forgotten Fridays – Utopia “Love in Action”

(from Oops Wrong Planet)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

As “love” songs go on this particular Utopia album, “Love is the Answer” is the more obvious, more popular, sappy choice. We like our Todd Rundgren a little more rocked-up, though. The guitar riff on “Love in Action” is one of the band’s most memorable, and the chorus reminds us of how much Utopia was a sum of its parts (Rundgren, Willie Wilcox, Roger Powell, Kasim Sulton).

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Angel Olsen – “Forgiven/Forgotten”

(from Burn Your Fire for No Witness)

Grungy indie-pop from the (former?) Chicago songwriter (we’d heard she moved).

“Forgiven/Forgotten” is catchy/quick and indie/sweet:

“I don’t know anything. I don’t know anything. I don’t anything. But I love you. Yes I do.”

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Xiu Xiu – “Stupid in the Dark”

(from Angel Guts: Red Classroom)

Comparisons to Suicide, Einstürzende Neubauten, Joy Division, Throbbing Gristle, etc. aside, the 9th album from Xiu Xiu (pronounced “shoo shoo”) works to be disturbing and groundbreaking  — in that order.

Angel Guts: Red Classroom takes its name from a violent Japanese porn flick from the 70s. And that summarizes the Xiu Xiu experience–the band’s trying way too hard to make you uneasy.

That’s not to completely dismiss Jamie Stewart’s project … or this album. It’s dark as all get-out, and we’ve learned it sounds pretty amazing at 3:30 in the morning, when we totally own the road.

“Stupid in the Dark” has Stewart spasming and spurting his vocals out all over a discordant, industrial-edged, brain-rattling drum machine. Intentionally nerve-wracking, and kinda cool, too.

 

 

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Built to Spill – “Jokerman”

(from A Tribute to Bob Dylan in the 80s, Vol. One)

Here’s a tribute album we couldn’t have predicted: hipster bands covering the 1980’s work of Bob Dylan. It’s an interesting enough concept: Bands like Blitzen Trapper, Deer Tick, and Langhorne Slim & The Law take on otherwise-forgotten cuts from albums like Infidels, Empire Burlesque, and Oh Mercy.

The album’s not out until next month, so we’ll have to keep our optimistic curiosity intact until then.

In the meantime, we have Built to Spill’s reverential (while still uniquely Built to Spill) take on “Jokerman,” the lead song off 83’s not-awful Infidels.

Freedom, just around the corner for you…

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Metal Mondays – Exmortus “Slave to the Sword”

(from Slave to the Sword)

 

It gallops and thumps like the final battles of the Norse Ragnarök. There’s death metal growling. Some thrash. And a very Manowar-like battle theme.

Behold the power I wield
Straight from the core
Immortal steel
Enslaving the world
Slave to the sword

The lead singer’s name is Conan.
Like the barbarian.
Because of course it is.

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Forgotten Fridays – The Fall “Dead Beat Descendant”

(from Seminal Live)



The Fall has been frustratingly tough to follow through the (many) years, and we kinda fell off around the time of Cerebral Caustic (1995). With the amount of music the Fall’s put out, there’s going to be lot of deadweight. When the band gets it right, however, they’re the coolest and most badass band you could ever want playing through your speakers.

Emblematic of the Fall’s career, “Dead Beat Descendant” was a brilliant single released on a contractual obligation, tossed-off, album of filler songs. It also happens to be one of the best songs they ever did. Try to shake that guitar riff. You just can’t.

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Hard Working Americans “Blackland Farmer”

(from Hard Working Americans)

Jam band supergroup featuring Todd Snider, Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood), Chad Staehly (Great American Taxi) and Duane Trucks (King Lincoln/Trucks family).

“Blackland Farmer” (originally done by country artist Frankie Miller) begins the band’s self-titled album with a hazy, gritty groove that fits the overall blue-collar-worker theme. “Farmer” offers the same sense of reward one gets when he pops open a cold beer after working sun-up to sundown in the parching, dry fields.

At least we assume that to be true; we run a music website. We’re pretty soft when it comes to that manual labor stuff.

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Gangstagrass – “Get Down Get Up (feat. Tone Z)”

(from Broken Hearts and Stolen Money)

Gangstagrass marries rap and bluegrass. There. That’s your elevator pitch.

We’d be wasting your time by trying to explain what’s happening here (and on the Broken Hearts and Stolen Money album, in general). Just click “play.”

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Dum Dum Girls – “Little Minx”

(from Too True)

The production on Too True sounds bigger, and it feels like Dum Dum Girls are on the verge “for real” this time around. “Little Minx” is our favorite song from the album; and for what it’s worth, the lyrics aren’t all that minxy:

Shut my eyes
Hold my breath
Watch me as I run down death

It’s no minor thing that Too True is first great album we’ve heard this year. You can play “spot the influences” on any number of Dum Dum Girls songs, but that’s not the point. This is modern interpretation of those influences, and they sound more than fine to our ears.

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Metal Mondays – Ring of Fire “Where Angels Play”

(From Battle of Leningrad)

The voice of former Yngwie collaborator Mark Boals soars above Ring of Fire’s bombastic return. And this isn’t just a return, it’s a full-fledged comeback–the band’s been off the grid for close to ten years.

The “Leningrad” album is neoclassic power metal; which, like the best of the genre, tells a story. According to Boals, the album’s about “the strength and resilience of the Russian people throughout history and particularly in this instance of 900 days of being surrounded on all sides with no food and no hope of rescue, under siege of the Nazi army.”

So metal.
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Forgotten Fridays – Sniff ‘n’ the Tears “Driver’s Seat”

(from Fickle Heart)

You may remember this one from Boogie Nights, or even from its first time around the block in 1979.

Every instrument on “Driver’s Seat” over-delivers and (um…) drives the song relentlessly ahead. We especially like the synths and keyboards, which are sonically layered slightly above the rhythm guitar for nice texture.

And we can’t say enough about Paul Roberts’ disciplined vocal delivery. We love having him behind the wheel.

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The Reverend Horton Heat – “Spooky Boots”

(from Rev)

We’ve been waiting for the Reverend to put out an album like this for years. Rev is pedal-to-the-floor, don’t mind if you spill on the seat, thumb your nose at the square kids, make questionable decisions, rockabilly. A spirited album like Rev has been a long time coming for Jim Heath and crew, and we’re glad we never lost faith.

Recommended pairing: BEER. LOTS OF BEER.

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Against Me – “Unconditional Love”

(from Transgender Dysphoria Blues)

It’s very fashionable to love the new Against Me! and talk transgender politics while doing it (for reference, we direct you to every review on the internet).

Here’s our bottom line: the album’s good, but this is really the only song we’ve been dying to play more than once.

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The Dead Weather – “Open Up (That’s Enough)”

“Open Up” is the first “a-side” in a series of two-song sets the Dead Weather plans to spit out until the end of the year.

Not a bad way to reintroduce the band (whose last recorded output was close to four years ago)–“Open Up” is psychedelic around the edges, and decadently rotten to the core.

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Metal Mondays – Iced Earth “Resistance”

(from Plagues of Babylon)

“We shall rise and resist!”

“Us vs. them” is a classic metal theme, and it’s played to great effect on “Resistance.” Tempos change, Stu Block’s vocals go from a whisper to a growl to a wail, and the guitars march forward with the resistance.

With lineup changes dogging Iced Earth from the beginning, Iced Earth mainman Jon Schaffer deserves credit for keeping the train on the tracks. “Plagues” isn’t the best Iced Earth album you’ll ever hear, but we like it a lot more than the band’s 2011 release, Dystopia.

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Forgotten Fridays – Ruth Ruth “Uninvited”

(From Laughing Gallery)

It’s 1995. We’re young. We’re invincible. And this just-exiting-grunge song’s coming on the radio. For the next four minutes, we’re thrashing around like fools.

20 years later, “Uninvited” is strictly one-hit-wonder territory … and that’s pretty much of a stretch because its “hit” status was locked down exclusively to rock and alternative radio.

These days, we’re too old to thrash like fools, but we still totally dig this one.

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Ponds and Fleshman – “Monkfish”

(From Better Days EP)

If we dreamed in claymation, we’re pretty sure the soundtrack would sound like this.

Ponds and Fleshman tag themselves as garage rock on their Bandcamp page, but there’s a lot more going on here than they’ll admit. Take, for example, “Monkfish.” What we have here is an engaging little pop freakout that ends with an oddly a capella, “Hold me close, I don’t wanna die.”

Crazy, wonderful stuff.

For more information (and to buy “Monkfish” to have and hold forever), click here.

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Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – “Stranger to My Happiness”

(from Give the People What They Want)

We completely support the funk and soul revival, and Sharon Jones continues to lead the way.

The fact that she went from bile duct cancer to Stage Two pancreatic cancer last year … and then turned around to release this album now shows Jones is built to last, much like her music.

You can’t sit down or feel bad when you listen to “Stranger to My Happiness.” If you can prove us wrong, that makes you either a robot or a fiend.

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Bastille – “The Draw”

(from All This Bad Blood)

Bastille made the deluxe reissue of Bad Blood worthwhile by loading it up with a second disc of B-sides and bonus material.

“The Draw” is a new, darker, addition to the band’s library and sound. More of this, please.

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(Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) Public Enemy – “By the Time I Get to Arizona”

Oh, Arizona.

We’re not even going to try to summarize this song. Instead, check out this interview Chuck D. gave SPIN a few years back.

(Program note: Metal Mondays returns next week)

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Forgotten Fridays – Rank and File “Conductor Wore Black”

(from Sundown)

Rank and File were too early to enjoy the wave of alt-country that splashed across the 90s.

Country and Western (and blues, for that matter) is littered with “train songs,” and “Conductor Wore Black” brought the concept into the 80s. Only on this song, the train’s headed to an especially bad place.

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Clairy Browne and the Bangin’ Rackettes – “Love Letter”

(from Baby Caught the Bus)

Wow. We totally missed this one in 2013, and we’re assuming there’s a chance that you might have, too.

This nine-piece girl group soul revival is deliciously retro and wholly welcome. When Clairy Browne sits down to write a love letter, you know it’s in pen and ink — not typed on a computer or tapped into a phone.

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Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – “Lariat”

(from Wig Out at Jagbags)

About one minute into the sweetly nostalgic “Lariat” comes the sort of line that makes people love or hate Stephen Malkmus: “We lived on Tennyson and venison, and the Grateful Dead.” Not long after that comes a reference to the Sweet: “a love like oxygen, so foxy then.”

It’s all very hipster-cute and clever. Which, depending on where you stand on Malkmus, is par for the course and A-OK.

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Silversun Pickups – “Cannibal”

(From The Singles Collection)

If you’re thinking that a “best of” compilation is perhaps a bit premature for Silversun Pickups, we completely agree.

Ignoring the quote-unquote hits on the album, “Cannibal” is a nice bleepy-and-bloopy, synth-heavy one-off.

We got hooked at the two-minute mark, when it totally blisses out.

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Metal Mondays – Grand Magus “Triumph and Power”

(From Triumph and Power)

Welcome back to One Song Per Day! Thanks for indulging our time off.

We begin 2014 with the title track from Grand Magus’ seventh album. Singer J.B. Christofferson has been tough to follow over the years–on some songs he’s sounded like Leslie West by way of Chris Cornell; on others, a 21st century nu-metaller. On “Triumph and Power,” he strikes a just-right metal croon that reverberates like a sinister invitation to the gates of hell. No RSVP required–we’ll meet you there.

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One Song Per Day RETURNS on Monday, January 13!

Thanks for your patience. We’re looking forward to turning you on to 50 weeks’ worth of music, starting Monday!

Best of 2013: 1. JJ Grey and Mofro “99 Shades of Crazy”

“You don’t have to holler, I hear you … I’m standing right here beside you”

At first, we wrestled with putting this one ahead of “Reflektor” (our #2 choice), but the simple fact
is that “99 Shades” was the song we listened to most this year. There’s something timeless and pure about the band’s sound, and damn it all if this song isn’t made for windows-down, heat-rising, flying-down-the-back-roads driving without a care in sight.

Here’s what we said about it in April.

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Best of 2013: 2. Arcade Fire “Reflektor”

We liked “Reflektor” when we first heard it, but didn’t realize how truly complex and fabulous it was at the time.

“Reflektor” is what it would sound like if Bowie’s “Fascination” ended up on Talking Heads’ Fear of Music album. This song and album are absolute triumphs.

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Best of 2013: 3. JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound “Howl”

JC Brooks should be a household name at this point, and this song is proof. “Howl” doesn’t just sound better with each listen; it takes on a timeless, always-been-part-of-your-life quality.

Here’s what we wrote about it in June.

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Best of 2013: 4. Arctic Monkeys “Knee Socks”

We like the measured amount of restraint in “Knee Socks.” There’s an urgency to the lyrics and song, but they intentionally never boil over. The song’s a subtle, sexy affair that made us rethink our previously-apathetic position on the band’s entire catalog.

“When the zeroes line up on the 24 hour clock
When you know who’s calling even though the number is blocked
When you walked around your house wearing my sky blue Lacoste
And your knee socks”

Here’s what we wrote about it in September.

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Best of 2013: 5. Satyricon “Phoenix”

We described this one as “narcotic” when we first wrote about it, and that proved to be true. Whenever we went for a drive in the middle of the night, we loaded this one up for a fix. What a surprising song and turn from the band.

Here’s what we said about it in October.

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Best of 2013: 6. Seasick Steve “Down on the Farm”

We wish there were more songs like this — and dudes like Seasick Steve.

Boogie rock swagger and roadhouse-ready riffs. What’s not to love?

Here’s what we wrote about it in October.

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Best of 2013: 7. The Builders and the Butchers “Dirt in the Ground”

Here’s a song and style we didn’t even know we liked until we heard it.

The Builders and the Butchers took us to a fire and brimstone revival on this one, and we’re quite convinced we’ve seen the light.

Here’s what we had to say about the song back in July.

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Best of 2013: 8. Waterboys “Politics”

Mike Scott of the Waterboys is a world class songwriter and performer. However, on this song (and album), he left the lyric-writing chores to the poetry of W.B. Yeats. It sounds way too pompous to consider, but the result is spectacular. We like the horns, but especially love the guest vocals from Katie Kim.

Here’s what we wrote in October about “Politics.”

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Best of 2013: 9. Oblivians – “Call the Police”

Perhaps not the most obvious song on this year’s list, “Call the Police” was a guaranteed good time for us since we first heard it. The organ–the percussion–the lyrics–this is party music from a previous generation enhanced for the current one. Give it another listen.

Here’s what we said about it over the summer.

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Best of 2013: 10. Ghost B.C. – “Ghuleh / Zombie Queen”

As 2013 new releases trickle into non-existence, there’s not an awful lot of new stuff that we’re excited to share with you.

Instead, we thought we’d use some of these end-of-year days to feature some of our favorite 2013 songs. Maybe you missed them when we first put them on the site … or perhaps they didn’t properly catch your attention the first time around.

So here goes … for the next two weeks, its THE BEST OF 2013. Thanks for your support this year!

We had a lot to say when we first wrote about this song. Looking back, we probably wrote a lot because the site was brand new, and we felt like we had to say a lot.

This was as ambitious as rock got this year. Once “Ghuleh” makes way for the “Zombie Queen,” everything goes off the rails–in a good way. As we said back in April: “Satanic surf rock. It’s here, and it’s amazing.”

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Forgotten Fridays – Pere Ubu “Say Goodbye”

(from the Tenement Year)

After breaking up in the early 80s, the super-weird, avant garde, Pere Ubu returned with the Tenement Year, an album that’s still…a little bit challenging to listen to.

There’s no obvious “single” on the album (or in the band’s catalog, to be honest), but “Say Goodbye” has managed to stay with us for all these years. When David Thomas sings, “Am I a mule or a goat?” just know that it’s a question better left unanswered.

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Jinx Titanic and Carpacho’s Combo – “Maybe You Don’t Love Me Anymore”

Here’s the story … Jinx Titanic walks into a Colombian restaurant, sees a salsa band there, and likes what he hears enough to suggest a collaboration with the band.

We’ve been playing the shit out of Jinx Titanic & the Ladykillers’ album Mister Casanova lately. Its cigar-chomping, showtune-cum-rockabilly vibe is about the freshest thing we’ve heard in years. We love that Titanic continues to stretch out and take chances … which he does with cha-cha flair on “Maybe You Don’t Love Me Anymore”

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Band of Skulls – “Asleep at the Wheel”

(from Himalayan)

We can’t say it enough: we love sleazy, bluesy, garage rock. This one roars like the Black Keys on a Zeppelin jag … and if that doesn’t move you, we can’t be friends.

Oh, and the album’s not out until March. Rats.

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Bruce Springsteen – “High Hopes”

(from High Hopes)

Horns, baby. It’s all about the horns. This boss new Boss track has a refrain that plays like something that’s been kicked down Basin Street.

Admittedly, we’ve kinda fallen out with Bruce over the years. We’ve been only vaguely aware of what he’s released since The Rising… and the only reason we knew about that album was because of its branding with 9/11.

“High Hopes” makes us wonder what we might’ve been missing for the past 11 years.

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Metal Mondays – Hell “Something Wicked This Way Comes”

(from Curse and Chapter)

Cult metal legends return with their second album since reforming in the 21st century.

Curse and Chapter is ball-and-earsplitting traditional metal; Maiden meets Mercyful Fate at a Rush show. This is the sort of heavy metal that hooked us on the genre in the first place, and we can’t believe it’s being made this fucking well in 2013.

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Forgotten Fridays – My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult “Hit & Run Holiday”

(from Hit & Run Holiday)

When Thrill Kill Kult put out Hit & Run Holiday in ’95, it pulled hard to the right of the Wax Trax!-y and dancey sounds it was known for. Sure, the sex and drugs were still there, but the sound was something different. It was goofy. Campy. Fun.

The title track swings and howls as it rolls into a “supersonic cool drag.” And that bass line at about 1:45 in? Sexy.

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Reggie and the Full Effect – “Super Croc vs Mega Doosh”

(from No Country for Old Musicians)

Reggie and the Full Effect Kickstartered “No Country” earlier this year, and now there’s a full album to show for it.

“Super Croc” is a fun, hooky song with a dumb-as-shit title. Pop-punk, everybody!

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Hospitality – “I Miss Your Bones”

The new album from Brooklyn trio Hospitality doesn’t come out for another two months, so this is all we have to go on.

“I Miss Your Bones” is cute, 80’s-flavored indie-pop that borders on being too repetitive. It’s singer Amber Papini’s voice that really sells it–her angsty cries of “I miss your bones” quickly become irresistible. Like, we’re ready to offer her our bones by the end of the song.

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Metal Mondays – Obliteration “Goat Skull Crown”

(from Black Death Horizon)

We can’t say for certain, but we imagine this is what it sounds like to die a horrible death. Enjoy the beginning of a family holiday week with some arty, thrashy, dangerous death metal.

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Forgotten Fridays – Slugs “Clock That Won’t Stop”

(from Non-Stop Holiday)

The Slugs were another one of the many fabulous bands from Chicago that came dangerously close to lift-off in the years when college rock was slowly morphing into “alternative music.”

Smart lyrics, big power-pop chords, and the swaggeringly charismatic voice of Dag Juhlin led us to play the shit out of “Clock That Won’t Stop” on college radio back in ’88. Wouldn’t you know it? The song still sounds fucking awesome.

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Foals – “Inhaler”

(from Holy Fire)

Yes, it seems like Holy Fire came out forever ago (February, to be specific), but we’re only now falling prey to its charms. Why the delay? We have an unreasonable bias against falsetto vocals that we’re working to get over.

“Inhaler” is at once funky and defiant. The slinky bass lines and atmospheric guitars give way to something that sounds like a filthier Audioslave on a U2 bender.

Cool stuff. Better late than never.

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Rush – “Dreamline (with Clockwork Angels String Ensemble)”

(from Clockwork Angels Tour)

We love Rush above all other bands, and the “Clockwork Angels” tour was further evidence that our love is just and grand.

The string ensemble that came out mid-show was pretty much the coolest thing ever–it added depth and excitement to the concert-untested new songs, and gave extra loft to “Dreamline,” one of the absolute best songs from the band’s decades-spanning catalog.

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Zoé – “10 A.M.”

(from Prográmaton)

Zoé is a big deal south of the border. They’ve won Latin Grammy awards, and with Prográmaton, they now have five albums to their credit.

Our Chicago readers/listeners might be interested to check them out on Friday:

http://www.clubtix.com/concordmusichall/zoe-at-concord-music-hall-tickets-233972?p=9144

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Metal Mondays – Within Temptation – “Paradise (What About Us?) [feat. Tarja]

(from Hydra)

Within Temptation’s sixth album won’t be available until we’re balls-deep into Winter (January 31, 2014), but back in August the band offered up this hint of what’s to come.

Guest-featuring the familiar voice of Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish), “Paradise” may thwart Within Temptation’s older fans who’ve been growing frustrated with the band’s increasingly more pop sound.

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Forgotten Fridays – Li’l Ed and the Blues Imperials “Hold That Train”

(from Full Tilt)

When it comes to this band, we can’t get enough of Ed’s slide work and the good humor and general positivity in the lyrics. We interviewed Ed last year about “Hold That Train,” and he explained that it’s not your typical blues “train song”:

“The guy’s running after the train … he ain’t standing there, going, oh well, she left me–she got on that midnight train; I don’t know where she’s goin’. This cat–he’s running after the train!”

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Motörhead “End of Time”

(from Aftershock)

We’re not even sure what qualifies as a good or bad Motörhead album at this point. Aftershock is everything you’d expect, and “End of Time” is a song from it.

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The Hawk in Paris – “Freaks”

(from Freaks)

Apparently this song’s been floating around for a year. Apparently the band is also a Christian rock thing featuring ex-Jars of Clay members. We knew none of this.

All we know is that we like what we hear. “Freaks” is groovy in an acoustic “Personal Jesus” kind of way, and totally re-listenable.

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AFI “A Deep Slow Panic”

(From Burials)

We’ve always wanted to like AFI, but felt like there was a maximum age requirement to get in on the fun.

We were wrong. So wrong, in fact, that this mini-masterpiece has tendrils snaking back to the 1980s, which is right in our comfort zone. “A Deep Slow Panic” is a big song that doesn’t announce itself as such in the beginning, which is to say it keeps getting better the more we hear it. Excuse us while we break out the guyliner…

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Metal Mondays – Warbringer “The Turning of the Gears”

(from IV: Empires Collapse)

Straightforward new school thrash from the California band. “Gears” is a pressure cooker that builds with throwback drum mic-ing, then explodes into a relentless slash-and-burn.

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Forgotten Fridays – Devo “Peekaboo!”

(from Oh No! It’s Devo)

Hard to believe, but this was actually a single in 1982–a twisted, nightmarish single, at that. We’ve been re-listening to “Peekaboo!” from the perspective of it being a prescient, pre-NSA, warning. And you know what? It totally works.

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David Bowie – “Like a Rocket Man”

(from The Next Day Extra)

Bowie keeps the new music coming with a previously unreleased track that’s been bundled into the rerelease of his excellent The Next Day album from earlier this year.

We’ve been vexed by Bowie’s output since the early 80s–it didn’t help that his catalog up until that point was fairly brilliant and bar-raising. With The Next Day, we were excited to learn that he still has artistic statements to make. Even though it’s a cast-off track, “Like a Rocket Man” helps to reaffirm that opinion.

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Luscious Jackson – “#1 Bum”

(from Magic Hour)

Luscious Jackson’s back after a 14 year hiatus, and they’ve totally locked back into their old groove. As far as we can tell, “#1 Bum” is an ode to … a man’s ass. It took long enough, but it seems only fair that someone has finally turned the tables on Sir Mix-A-Lot.

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Monster Magnet – “Mindless Ones”

(from Last Patrol)

New Jersey stoner rockers Monster Magnet have never been the prettiest or most popular band. They have, however, been consistently awesome. We’ve loved them since the early days.

On their new album, the band again professes their love for Marvel Comics’ deep history by giving us a song about the cast of characters in Dr. Strange’s universe. And that, friends, is fucking fantastic.

Doc

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Metal Mondays – Avatarium “Boneflower”

Leaning more on the hard rock side than metal, this very-new Swedish band has a Sabbath/BOC lean that’s punched up by frontwoman Jennie-Ann Smith. Their first album comes out soon, and we’re kinda anxious to hear it.

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(Halloween Week) Blue Oyster Cult – “Don’t Fear the Reaper”

(from Agents of Fortune)

Sure, you’ve heard this one hundreds of times before, but when was the last time you really listened to it? This is masterful stuff; easily one of the best rock songs ever written about death.

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(Halloween Week) Alice Cooper – “The Ballad of Dwight Fry”

We wouldn’t dream of playing anyone other than Alice on Halloween.

If you haven’t seen Alice live, he still…kills…on stage to this day. He slings his swords and snakes with precision and venom, and puts his props to good use–you’re not going to see any other show where the star gets electrocuted, hanged, and then chased by a giant Frankenstein.

The highlight of any Alice performance (if not his entire recorded catalog) is “The Ballad of Dwight Fry,” an unsettling, unspooling, tale about a man taken from his family and committed to an insane asylum.

Happy Halloween.

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(Halloween Week) Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds “Red Right Hand”

(from Let Love In)

When it comes to “dark,” Nick Cave has that shit locked down. We were tempted to go with a few different Cave songs (“The Mercy Seat” is an obvious one) for Halloween Week, but we eventually settled on this mid-90s creepfest.

All you need to know is that you’re one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan, designed and directed by his red right hand.

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(Halloween Week) The Velvet Underground – “The Gift”

(Quick note, 10/25/13: The songs for Halloween Week were picked out and scheduled over a week ago, long before Lou Reed’s death on Sunday. We featured a Reed song on Sunday, and are glad that we coincidentally happened to have this VU song ready to go for today.)

Halloween Week continues with one of our favorite “story” songs of all time. This over-ten-minute monster tells the story of poor Waldo Jeffers, who simply wants to be reunited with his love, Marsha. His solution? He mails himself to her. It doesn’t end well.

The original version appeared on the VU album White Light, White Heat, and was recorded in an unusual way–John Cale’s storytelling was separated into one channel, while the instruments were piped into the other. As a result, it’s sometimes too distracting to follow Cale’s narrative. This live version from the band’s 1993 reunion set, MCMXCIII, is infinitely better.

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(Halloween Week) Slayer “Raining Blood”

(from Reign in Blood)

It’s Halloween Week on One Song Per Day, and we’re kicking it off with a song that fits in beautifully with our Metal Mondays benchmark. Hell, this band probably inspired 75% of the bands we usually feature.

Slayer’s Reign in Blood album scared the shit out of America when it was released in 1986. It wasn’t just the speed at which the band played. It wasn’t just the terrifying cover art. It was the lyrics and creepy themes (“Necrophobic,” anyone?) that helped set the band apart.

On the album’s sort-of-title track, Slayer rains blood from a lacerated sky, proving conclusively that metal and Halloween belong together.

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Lou Reed, R.I.P.

Lou Reed died today at the age of 71.

In his memory, we thought we’d play the title track from his 1984 release New Sensations. (It has a quiet fade-in, in case you’re wondering where the sound is.)

“I want the principles of a timeless muse
I want to eradicate my negative views
And get rid of those people who are always on a down”

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Coming Monday: Halloween Week

Next week begins our first-ever theme week. To celebrate Halloween, we’re dedicating each day to a Halloween-appropriate song. It all starts on Monday, and we’ll do it with a song that’s right in line with our Metal Mondays history.

Thanks for reading and listening!

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Forgotten Fridays – King Kong “Animal”

(from Animal)

We’ve always thought of King Kong as a sexier, bluesier, sometimes more ridiculous, version of the B-52’s. The Me Hungry album is completely silly, but the musicianship reminds us that this no mere novelty band. Further proof: the band was founded by original Slint bassist Ethan Buckler.

“Animal” settles into a groove right from the start, as Amy Greenwood’s voice seduces the caveman-ic (new word alert!) Buckler out of his hole.

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Dot Dash- (Here’s to) The Ghosts of the Past

(from Half-Remembered Dream)


 

We’re old enough to remember when college radio really kicked ass. It was the late 1980s, and every new song we heard sounded like a secret that had been hidden from us for our entire life. Dot Dash reminds us of what college radio sounded like back then.

With a line-up whose resumes include supercool bands like Velocity Girl and Swervedriver, Dot Dash provides the missing link from indie past to indie present. “(Here’s to) The Ghosts of the Past” is blissful alty-pop that puts us in a celebratory mood whenever we hear it.

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Seasick Steve – “Down On the Farm”

(from Hubcap Music)

Seasick Steve has been fighting for a while to get our attention. He’s already something of a legend over in the UK, and Hubcap Music may be the album to put him over in his native U.S.A. The songs are definitely there, and with Jack White and Led Zep’s JPJ in tow, the odds have never been more in his favor.

“Down on the Farm” is tough, gritty, boogie rock, blues. The guitar sounds on it are going to follow us into every bar we walk into for the next month.

(Be aware that the song has a long and quiet fade-in which can lead you to think the file isn’t playing. It is. Trust us.)

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Gary Numan – “Everything Comes Down to This”

from Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind)

Just like in The Lion King, the Circle of Life is now complete. Gary Numan begat Trent Reznor, and Reznor’s work begat this very dark and aggressive period in Numan’s career.

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Metal Mondays – Death Angel “The Dream Calls for Blood”

(from The Dream Calls for Blood)

Death Angel were there for the beginning of West Coast thrash, and since getting their act back together earlier this century, they’ve been tenacious about lunging for our throats. On the title track to their just-released new album, they sound as hungry and brutal as ever.

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Forgotten Fridays – Possum Dixon “Emergency’s About to End”

(from Star Maps)

Possum Dixon was mostly dismissed as a one-hit wonder in the “next big thing” 90s, due to the success of the quirky single “Watch That Girl Destroy Me,” from their debut album.

Star Maps followed the first release, as did drug abuse and loads of personal tragedy. It’s a miracle then, that the album is any good. We think it holds up remarkably well, and that this song is particularly strong. The Possum Dixon sound was really enhanced by its keyboards, and on “Emergency’s About to End,” they’re beautifully–and subtlely–insistent.

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Yuck “Lose My Breath”

(from Glow and Behold)

We love the way Yuck lowers expectations with their self-deprecating band name. We’re still digging into their new (and second) album, but this Blur-by-way-of-Pavement track really stood out on first listen.

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Satyricon – “Phoenix”

(from Satyricon)

If this were any other Satyricon song, it would have ended up as a Metal Mondays posting.

The black metal band surprised the living shit out of us with this moving, melodic, track featuring completely clean vocals from Satyricon frontman Satyr. “Phoenix” is a narcotic six-and-a-half minutes that transcends the rest of the band’s catalog.

Satyricon took a wild and wonderful risk with this song, and it paid off. Highly recommended.

 

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Temples – “Keep In the Dark”

Sideburned, sexy and T-Rexy, neo-psych British band whose singles (like this one) leave us wanting for a full-length release.

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Metal Mondays – Vulture Industries “Blood on the Trail”

(from The Tower)

Proggy, avant-garde, metal that’s just … nuts.

The Norwegian band can certainly play, and they aren’t afraid of showing off on their third album. “Blood on the Trail” feels like three songs in one, all of which are pretty damn good.

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Forgotten Fridays – The Cars “It’s All I Can Do”

(from Candy-O)

The Cars were one of the best studio bands of the late 70s/early 80s. It’s mind-blowing to consider that they released a brand new album each year from ’78-’81 … and that those albums included the self-titled debut, Candy-O, Panorama, and Shake It Up.

While it would be impossible for us to narrow down a favorite song from that period (okay, “Cruiser,” “Just What I Needed,” and “Touch and Go” are right up there), we wanted to share “It’s All I Can Do” for today’s Forgotten Fridays song. It’s a sweet, otherwise-overlooked, three-and-a-half minute, pop masterpiece.

And if you haven’t listened to the Cars for a while, we hope that we’ve been able to steer you back in that direction.

Pun intended.

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Ha Ha Tonka – “Arabella”

(from Lessons)

Missouri four-piece Ha Ha Tonka delivers another winning set of Americana for their fourth album.

We especially enjoy the way that the downtempo “Arabella” kicks up some dirt about :60 in before putting its hat back on at the 1:30 mark.

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William Shatner “Ponder the Mystery”

(from Ponder the Mystery)

Buy the song here:

Check out the whole freaking album:

It’s William Shatner doing prog, with Steve Vai on guitar. In other words, it’s 10 pounds of “fuck you, you sanctimonious elitist” in a five pound bag. If you don’t like it, or misbehave, we’ll roll through every other song on the album in the days to follow.

HASHTAG MOTHERFUCKING SHATNER!

Space age prog rock from Captain Goddamn Kirk!

YES!

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Moby (featuring Wayne Coyne) – “The Perfect Life”

(from Innocents)

This team-up between Moby and Flaming Lip Wayne Coyne is the kind of collaboration post-35 year-old wannabe hipsters love to talk animatedly to their friends about. Since we’re well within that definition, we’d like to animatedly say that this feel-good, soulful, sing-along is pretty tough to resist.

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Metal Mondays – Saxon “Made in Belfast”

(from Sacrifice)

Saxon was there at the beginning of the celebrated New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), and from the looks of things they’ll be here long after we’ve all ascended to Valhalla.

The new Saxon album plays as expected; a few of its tracks are sounding right at home on the band’s current U.S. tour, alongside classic Saxon cuts like “Crusader” and “Wheels of Steel.” “Made in Belfast” happens to be our favorite of the bunch.

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Forgotten Fridays – John Doe “Let’s Be Mad”

(from Meet John Doe)

X co-founder John Doe released Meet John Doe shortly after the band took its first hiatus in the late 80s. “Let’s Be Mad” offers a nice spin on the “agree to disagree” concept, although perhaps it’s a more dysfunctional approach.

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Calling All Astronauts – “Red Flag” (Album Version)

(from Red Flag EP)

UK independent band Calling All Astronauts first caught our attention for their active and engaged social media presence.

Once we moved past their written words, we dug in to the trio’s music. Calling All Astronauts reminds us at alternating times of bands we grew up with (and loved) like Skinny Puppy, Front 242, and Sisters of Mercy. Frontman David B bridges the nuances of Ian Curtis to the present day, sounding dark and confident in the process.

On the Red Flag EP, due out in November, the band turns one song (“Red Flag”) inside out and rebuilds it in a variety of different ways that are independently fresh and somehow stand on their own (we’re also quite fond of the Goth mix).

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orbé orbé – “Let Me In”

(from Invisible Kingdoms)

Seattle singer Cristina Orbé launches her new project’s ambitious debut album later this month, and we’re already fawning over this track.

Orbé’s voice is big and soulful, but it’s the space-age, sorta trip-hoppy, production on “Let Me In” that really gets us.

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North Mississippi Allstars – “Turn Up Satan”

(from World Boogie Is Coming)

The brothers Dickinson (along with Chris Chew) romp and stomp their way through their eighth studio album.

On “Turn Up Satan,” the Allstars embrace a hell-spawned femme fatale, understanding that one has to “turn up Satan” to get with her. This is no mere woman–as the song insists, “That girl put the fear of God in me ….”

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Metal Mondays – Tyr “Blood of Heroes”

(from Valkyrja)

What’s in a label, anyway? Týr are traditionally thought of as folk metal, but we’re hard pressed to find many folk metal elements on the power metal-minded Valkyrja. Týr is so much in the realm of power metal on this album that they even cover an Iron Maiden song (“Where Eagles Dare”).

“Blood of Heroes” follows typical Týr themes, and involves dining in hell, which is the sort of stuff that warriors do.

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Forgotten Fridays – Professor Longhair “Hey Now Baby”

(from Rock n’ Roll Gumbo)

From an arguably classic album recorded in 1974 and later released after Fess’s death in 1980, “Hey Now Baby” speaks to the pianist’s easy cool and total embodiment of New Orleans culture and sound.

Despite having a posthumous Grammy and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction to his credit, Professor Longhair (“Roy” Byrd) remains one of the best-kept secrets in music. Rock n’ Roll Gumbo is an essential introduction to the man, and a gateway drug for further New Orleans music exploration.

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Waterboys “Politics”

(from An Appointment With Mr Yeats)

Get the song:

Get the album:

Perhaps you’ve heard about this already … head Waterboy Mike Scott conceptualized and produced an entire album’s worth of songs around the poetry of W.B. Yeats. Like us, you might expect the result to be something unnecessarily highbrow and pretentious. And, like us, you’d be wrong.

If we had never told you that the lyrics on the album were (for the most part) verbatim recitations of Yeats’ poems, you’d never know the difference. Scott lifted the words and dropped them into frameworks that rock, and completely sound like the Waterboys. To that end, the whole album is fairly remarkable and eye-opening.

As for “Politics,” we love the way the horns drive the song forward. For fun, follow along with the poem as you listen:

HOW can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics?
Yet here’s a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there’s a politician
That has read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war’s alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms!

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The Mission “Everything But the Squeal”

(from the Brightest Light)

We were as surprised as anyone last year when we heard that the Mission was going into the studio to record a new album. Fans of the band’s slick 80s output might take a while to warm to Brightest Light, but we love how raw the overall album sounds.

For today’s entry, we were torn between sharing “Born Under a Good Sign” and “Everything But the Squeal.” We went with “Squeal” because it sounded darker and nastier.

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Arctic Monkeys – “Knee Socks”

(from AM)

Arctic Monkeys celebrate a staple of the Catholic school girl uniform with this hypnotic 80s throwback.

We can’t figure out why “Knee Socks” is buried at the end of AM; it’s our favorite song on the album, by far.

 

 

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Metal Mondays – GWAR “Nothing Left Alive”

(from Battle Maximus)

The best monster rock band on the circuit today (it’s a small, but honorable, niche) doesn’t get enough credit for being a solid metal band. Yes, we know it’s their own fault–it’s hard to look beyond the costumes and the blood-soaked shows. Maybe the balls-out drumming on “Nothing Left Alive,” along with the horror-infused sexual charisma of Oderus Urungus, will change your perspective.

Or not.

Regardless: GWAR! GWAR! GWAR!

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Forgotten Fridays – Black Grape “In the Name of the Father”

(from It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah)

Count us among those who thought that Happy Mondays were going to steamroll through the 1990s. Unfortunately, the band fell apart in the early 90s, largely due to the drug problems of Monday main man Shaun Ryder.

Only years later, Ryder reemerged with Black Grape, a fun and funky affair that gave us this forgotten-but-awesome track.

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Terminal Gods – “Lessons in Fire”

Remember a few years ago when you thought She Wants Revenge was the band that was going to help you to scratch that 1980s, black eyeliner, itch you didn’t realize you had? Well, since that didn’t work out, let us introduce you to “Lessons in Fire” by Terminal Gods.

We feel as though we’re lost in a dark room filled with dry ice steam whenever we listen to this one. Not a bad feeling at all.

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Red Fang – “Blood Like Cream”

(from Whales and Leeches)

“Blood Like Cream” sounds like early Queens of the Stone Age, only if that band had leaned heavier on booze than drugs back in the day. This song is muddy, poundy, raw, and glorious. By now, you should know that we can’t resist stuff like this.

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White Denim – “Pretty Green”

(from Corsicana Lemonade)

We can’t get enough of this track from White Denim’s forthcoming fifth long-player.

“Pretty Green” rocks with confident machismo and somehow manages to build a bridge that connects rockers, hipsters, and non-declared passive music fans.

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Metal Mondays – Ministry “Fairly Unbalanced”

(from From Beer to Eternity)

“We interrupt this program to bring you a news bulletin” …

A stream of Fox News soundbites provides the intro and context to “Fairly Unbalanced,” a Fox News-baiting, blistering and jagged-edged, standout track from what Al Jourgensen swears will be the last-ever Ministry album.

Subscribing to the show biz adage of “leave ‘em wanting more,” From Beer to Eternity does just that. As the world around us seems to be moments from sliding into chaos, Jourgensen chose an unfortunate (for us) time to check out.

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Forgotten Fridays – The Chills “Tied Up In Chain”

(from Submarine Bells)

Huge in New Zealand, The Chills made a run at U.S. recognition with their major label debut, 1990’s Submarine Bells.

You know that relaxed and wobbly feeling you get when you step out of a hot tub after an extended stay? Chills singer Martin Phillipps leaves us feeling like that.

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The Kickdrums – “Atonement”

(from Thinking Out Loud)

Brooklyn-based producer and creative genius Alex Fitts has evolved past mixtape-making to building an empire of sound that is exclusively his own.

On “Atonement,” the downtempo production is big and consuming, and the foreboding keyboards create an engrossing level of menace.

While we like listening to this song at any time of day, “Atonement” will likely sound best when treated as driving-on-an-open-road-at-1-a.m., lost in your own dark thoughts, music.

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Arcade Fire “Reflektor”

(from Reflektor)

It’s funky, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy produced it, David Bowie provided backup vocals, and it’s almost as long as “Stairway to Heaven.”

The end result is a seriously fun, danceable track … fun and danceable in that arty way you might expect from Arcade Fire.

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Neko Case – “Man”

(from The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You)

Critics love Neko Case, and we can’t help but agree. We especially enjoy this gender bending, role reversing, track that plays like a “Boys Keep Swinging” for the 21st Century.

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Metal Mondays – Turisas “Piece By Piece”

(from Turisas2013)

We’ve always admired the way that Turisas touches on various corners of symphonic, folk, power, and Viking metal (yes, all four are distinct and awesome metal sub-genres).

“Piece By Piece” is our early favorite from the just-released Turisas2013: It sounds like comfortably familiar, and it features the Finnish Mens Choir. Metal!

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Forgotten Fridays – Cheap Trick “So Good To See You”

(from In Color)

Definitely not the most obscure song you’ll find on a Forgotten Friday; we posted it to remind everyone just how fanfuckingtastic Cheap Trick is. In Color is arguably the band’s finest album, and “So Good To See You” is damn near flawless.

“So Good To See You”: Not necessarily forgotten, but worth remembering much more often.

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Daniel Wade “Fun With Destruction”

(from Stronger Machines EP)

Singer/songwriter Daniel Wade (ex-Treaty of Paris) is keeping himself busy, working to release four EPs by the end of 2013.

“Fun With Destruction” is fun in all kinds of ways. We love Wade’s voice, the backup vocals, the acoustic guitar, and the cut-through-the-crap electric guitar.

Check out the video for the song here. Indie artists, take note: this is how it’s done.

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Gov’t Mule – “Funny Little Tragedy”

(from Shout!)

Gov’t Mule’s high-concept new album (due 9/24) features 11 new Mule songs and 11 versions of those same songs with high-profile singers covering them.

Playing right into that, we thought “Funny Little Tragedy” had elements of Elvis Costello and the Attractions in it … and then we learned that Elvis himself does the cover version for Shout!.

Enjoy the proper Gov’t Mule version for now. When you do hear the Elvis version, we’re positive that you’ll be aching to listen to your well-worn copy of This Year’s Model.

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The Crookes – “Bear’s Blood”

“You know I’m lost” is repeated frequently in this less-than-three-minute British indie rocker. Hopefully The Crookes anticipated third album will be found soon; we like where this is heading.

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Metal Mondays – Trivium “Strife”

(from Vengeance Falls)

Trivium enlisted Disturbed’s David Draiman to produce Vengeance Falls, and no doubt critics will try to make connections from the new Trivium album back to Disturbed.

“Strife” is still unquestionably Trivium, and chugga-chugga-chugga catchy as it builds up to some tasty soloing at about the 3:30 mark.

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Forgotten Fridays – Barleyjuice “Weekend Irish”

(from Bonny Prince Barley)

We all know people who are recreationally Irish, especially when it comes to Saint Patrick’s Day. “Weekend Irish” celebrates the wannabe Irish, that group of suit-and-tie-wearing straight arrows that lives to shamrock and roll, on this forgotten-but-fabulous Celt rock blast.

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Superchunk “FOH”

(from I Hate Music)

Album #10 from the indie stalwarts is most likely one for the previously-converted. That said, we recommend the poppy “FOH” (Front of the House). It’s a song specifically about being in a band, the sort of content we’ve hated since Seger’s “Turn the Page,” but Superchunk makes it work.

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Travis “Mother”

(from Where You Stand)

The key to Travis has always been Fran Healy’s delicate and measured voice. On the opening song to Travis’s first new album in five years, it’s Healy’s voice that’s front and center for a solid minute before the band makes itself known.

Patient listening is rewarded as “Mother” continues to gather steam, the band starts to coalesce, and the piano shambles along.

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Crocodiles – “Marquis de Sade”

(from Crimes of Passion)

We think this band and song sound so much like the Jesus and Mary Chain that they should be punished. That’s right: “Marquis de Sade” has been naughty. Very naughty.

Break out the ball gag and try not to leave a mark.

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Metal Mondays – SOiL “My Time”

(from Whole)

With the return of frontman Ryan McCombs, SOiL is, as the album title suggests, whole once more.

Sonically consistent with the last McCombs-fronted release (Scars), Whole does less to evolve the band than it does to remind us why we were all pissed when McCombs and the band went their separate ways in the early aughts.

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Forgotten Fridays – Grateful Dead – “My Brother Esau”

(from Complete Studio Rarities Collection)

While we were never the types to throw on tye-dye, eat mushrooms, and awkwardly dance to bongos in the parking lot of a Grateful Dead concert, we’ve always loved the band’s music.

We were pretty psyched (pun intended) to see that all of the band’s studio rarities have been collected on the Complete Studio Rarities Collection. We couldn’t wait to download this newly-mastered-for-iTunes version of “Esau,” a Bob Weir-fronted B-side from the late 80s, when everyone seemed to be a Dead fan.

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The Vaccines – “Do You Want a Man?”

(from the Melody Calling EP)

Infectious (get it?) new song from the British indie band’s new EP. Spoiler warning: the song’s title question isn’t asked out of genuine concern; it’s meant to set up the song’s protagonist as an obvious answer.

Enjoy the EP for now–the next full Vaccines album isn’t expected until early next year.

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Chris Shiflett and the Dead Peasants – “Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young”

(from All Hat and No Cattle)

Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett takes advantage of the band’s down time by delivering a surprise collection of country and honky tonk covers.

We went right for the Faron Young classic,”Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young.” Perhaps it’s not the best advice ever given in song, but it sure sounds purty here.

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TV on the Radio – “Mercy”

No one was really expecting this new single from TVotR, which makes it a thrilling surprise.

Now off Interscope and in control of their own destiny, TV on the Radio rip it up with a feistier, more raw, song than anything that appeared on their last album, Nine Types of Light.

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Metal Mondays – Powerwolf “Amen and Attack”

(from Preachers of the Night)

Bombastic album-opening anthem from one of the more dependable power metal bands today.

And sure, Powerwolf sounds great on the new album, but isn’t a kickass album cover what truly matters? Check this shit out:

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Forgotten Fridays – Trio “Anna (Letmeinletmeout)”

Trio had more to offer the world than just “Da Da Da”–not much more, but more.

“Anna” is the kind of song that gets better once it gets stuck in your head, and you find yourself singing it in the car … in the shower … and at work. There’s nothing better than a modern American trying to sing an emotionless, repetitive, 80s song with a bad German accent.

Bonus: a “Dieter” gets name-dropped!

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Ryan Powers and the Secret Weapons – “Weekend”


(from the Goodnight Goodbye Hour)

We grew up in the Greater Metropolitan Area of Chicago, a geographic region that knows a thing or two about power pop (and hot dogs, corruption, and crime). Because of our cultural background, we’re the first ones in the pool for bands and songs like this.

“Weekend” from indie/Chicago artist Ryan Powers and the Secret Weapons honors the power-pop tradition with a big hook, charismatic vocals, and the kind of energy one needs to properly launch into a weekend.

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The Orwells – “Who Needs You”

“Listen up, forefathers: I’m not your son!”

We’ve been watching the Orwells (in an Orwellian way) since we first heard last year’s Remember When album (“In My Bed” and “Ancient Egypt” are among our faves). On “Who Needs You,” the Chicago area-based band have given us three minutes of garage rock perfection.

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The Polyphonic Spree – “Hold Yourself Up”

(from Yes, It’s True)

Maybe it’s the 80s kids in us, but we can’t help but hear “The Walk” by the Cure and “Temptation” by New Order on this new offering from the cast of thousands that comprise the Polyphonic Spree.

Four studio albums in, and we continue to be swept up and into the euphoric glee that the band generates.

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Metal Mondays – Dream Theater “The Enemy Inside”

(from Dream Theater)

Dream Theater is simply the one of the absolute best at what they do. This teaser from their self-titled new album (due next month) comes in hard-charging, symphonic, and melodic, and exits only after it progs and shreds the fuck out.

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Forgotten Fridays – Aterciopelados “Luz Azul”

(from Gozo Poderoso)

 

We are deep into summer at this point, and this is the sort of song that always sounds better when the mercury is spiking.

Aterciopelados comes to us from Bogota, Columbia, and has been one of our favorite Latin rock bands pretty much since we first heard the Gozo Poderoso album 12 years ago.

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Omar Dykes – “Smokestack Lightning”

(from Running With the Wolf)

The titular Omar of Omar and the Howlers devotes an album to the music of Howlin’ Wolf, and in a couple of instances takes ownership of the Wolf’s legendary songs.

We find that to be most true on “Smokestack Lightning,” one of our favorite songs in the history of the world. Here, Omar sends shivers with the iconic one-chord guitar sounds and his own menacing growls and howls.

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Elvis Costello and the Roots – “Walk Us Uptown”

(from Wise Up Ghost)

Two forces of cool collide in a collaboration that exceeded our admittedly low expectations.
We’d think this sounded like a Clash album track if the vocals weren’t so clearly Elvis, and the Roots didn’t sound so Roots-y.

We can’t help but like this. If the album is at all consistent with this single, we’ll be playing it through Thanksgiving.

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Ezra Furman – “American Soil”

(from the Year of No Returning)

It’s not new by a longshot, but we were pretty pumped to see Furman’s debut album recently rereleased on CD for the first time ever.

We decided to feature “American Soil” from The Year of No Returning as we pace back and forth around the house waiting for new music from Ezra and his band, coming this October.

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Metal Mondays – Doyle “Cemeterysexxx”

(from Abominator)

Former Misfit Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein has given unholy life to Abominator, a skull-crushing, tongue in cheek, collection of veddy scaddy horror rock songs which includes this sweet summer lullaby.

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Forgotten Fridays – Syndicate of Sound “Little Girl”

When it comes to one-hit wonders, sometimes that one hit is all you need. This song from 1966 never doesn’t sound great in the summertime (please excuse the double negative), and we hope you’re listening to it right now in a place where summer, Friday, and this song converge in a glorious intersection.

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Dead Ghosts – “That Old Feeling”

(from Can’t Get No)

This BC band is unabashed in its appreciation for Nuggets-y psychedelic rock. Dead Ghosts haunt the garage with sparkly, trippy, fuzzed-out guitars that beg for a black-lit room.

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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – “Life is Hard”

(from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros)

When we first heard Edward Sharpe a few years back, we had a hard time taking the music seriously. It seemed like a parody of the Polyphonic Spree, which in itself was a challenge for us to get into bed with.

We’ve since learned to accept the sunny, optimistic, and 60s-timelocked sounds of Sharpe and the Zeros. “Life is Hard” features some terrific vocal interplay, and maybe a life lesson or two.

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of Montreal – “Fugitive Air”

(from lousy With sylvianbriar)

As we’d expect and hope, the first song from of Montreal’s not-coming-out-soon-enough new album (October? Ugh.) is a melodic, psychedelic charmer. Ever wondered what it would sound like if Lou Reed had recorded Transformer in San Francisco? We have, but we realize that we don’t speak for the majority. In any event, we kinda expected it to sound like this.

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Metal Mondays – Black Tusk “The Weak and the Wise”

(from Tend No Wounds EP)

Cellos and violins dominate the first minute of “The Weak and Wise” before jackknifing into the chug-chug explosions that Black Tusk is known for.

The EP offers no real surprises, but it does make us anxious for a proper album from the sludgy Southerners.

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Forgotten Fridays – Buffalo Tom “Birdbrain”

(from Birdbrain)

Angry guitars and a massive hook define this song that was a year or two too early to draft on grunge’s momentum.

Buffalo Tom was always the bridesmaid, never the bride, during the “everyone’s a star” 1990s. They deserved more, and this song proves it.

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Richard Thompson – “Good Things Happen to Bad People”

(From Electric)

Richard Thompson released the under-polished album Electric about half a year ago, but we’re just now catching up.

No one can touch his subtle, sardonic turns of phrase, as illustrated by “Good Things Happen to Bad People”: “You must have been running around, ’cause you were smiling.”

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Scott Lucas and the Married Men – “Cruel Summer”

(from the Cruel Summer EP)

Scott Lucas has long been one of the most prolific songwriters and players from the Chicago area. On this new outing from his band of Married Men, Lucas chews up Bananarama’s bubblegum pop song and blows it up into something that’s mostly unrecognizable … until the chorus.

And isn’t that what a good cover song is all about? An innovative, total reinvention of the source material?

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The Builders and the Butchers – “Dirt in the Ground”

(from Western Medicine)

This is why we never went to church: we knew that someday a fire-and-brimstone spouting, twisted gospel-spinning, band would eliminate the need for us to do so.

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Metal Mondays – Avenged Sevenfold “Hail to the King”

(From Hail to the King)


For us stubborn, aging metal fans, the fact that “the kids” love this band is enough to make us want to take a pass. Good thing our older age means we have an evolved sense of reason.

We’re big fans of “Hail to the King,” the title track from A7X’s sixth album (and first without deceased drummer The Rev), due out at the end of August.
 

 

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Forgotten Fridays – Elsa Cross “Because of You”

(from Unavailable)

It’s not so much that Elsa Cross’s music is forgotten; it’s just that it hasn’t been widely heard.

For music performed so cleanly, there’s plenty of grit to Elsa’s twangy alt-country songs. We love this song from her 2008 debut, Unavailable. It’s a classic “I love you/you drive me crazy” song, made more feverish by a well-played fiddle.

 

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The Front Bottoms “Twin Size Mattress”

(from Talon of the Hawk)

These two Jersey boys come dangerously close to completely grating on our nerves, but there’s something about them–and this song–that we find oddly compelling.

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Bloc Party – “Ratchet”

(from The Nextwave Sessions EP)

Bloc Party aims to dial it down and take an extended break, but not until a new EP drops next month.

We quivered, pulsed, and bounced to the groovy tempo shifts on this one. And are those phasers we hear?

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Pixies – “Bagboy”

Here it is: the first new Pixies song in nine years.

While we’re bummed that Kim Deal is no longer part of the band, this song is fucking awesome.

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Metal Mondays: Children of Bodom – “Transference”

(from Halo of Blood)

It doesn’t feel right using the word “melodic” in conjunction with death metal, but “Transference” comes dangerously close to fitting that description.

Halo of Blood is the eighth album from the Finnish band–don’t be surprised if it also becomes their most successful.

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Forgotten Fridays – Stewart Copeland and Stan Ridgeway “Don’t Box Me In”

(from the Rumble Fish soundtrack)

This collaboration between Police percussionist Stewart Copeland and Wall of Voodoo frontman Stan Ridgeway is too good to be left for dead on the soundtrack to the film adaptation of the S.E. Hinton biker story.

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The Wild Feathers “Backwoods Company”

(from The Wild Feathers)

“Backwoods Company” is tough, bluesy, Nashville rock and roll that kicks up a cloud of dust and leaves you with a farmer’s tan.

Strong opening song from an equally sturdy debut album.

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Hugh Cornwell – “Bad Vibrations”

(from Totem & Taboo)

Hugh Cornwell’s post-Stranglers solo career has been frustratingly hit or miss. On this totally DIY, for-the-fans, release, Cornwell cautiously dips his toes back into some of the sounds he’s most known for with the help of engineer/producer Steve Albini.

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Franz Ferdinand – “Love Illumination”

(from Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action)

We won’t get the rest of Franz Ferdinand’s fourth album until the end of August, but we like this tease of what’s to come.

The horns are a little more subtle in the mix than we’d like, but it’s a minor quibble with this fun, get-‘em-on-the-floor, track.

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Metal Mondays – Manegarm “Hordes of Hel”

(from Legions of the North)

When we try to pronounce Manegarm, it sounds like a breast exam. Shame on us foolish Americans. In Sweden, Manegarm is the name of a wolf from Norse mythology. How freaking metal is that?

“Hordes of Hel” is a lovely dose of Viking Metal, perfectly suited to your Monday pillaging needs.

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Forgotten Fridays – Guitar Slim “The Things That I Used To Do”

Flamboyant showman Guitar Slim was a hard-living, hard-partying legend when he died at the age of 32 in 1959. He left behind a handful of songs that would become blues classics, notably including today’s Forgotten Fridays song: the New Orleans-stamped “The Things That I Used To Do.”

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Sebadoh – “Keep the Boy Alive”

(from Secret EP)

We can admit it: we never visited Sebadoh’s Bandcamp page where these songs have apparently lived for monthsandmonths. Better late than never, though; we’re suckers for Lou Barlow’s voice and songwriting.

 

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Transplants – “Back to You”

(from In a Warzone)

 

This is easily our favorite track from the Transplants’ just-released third album.

To date, one of our most-played songs from the band’s 2002 debut remains “Sad But True,” a clear sonic precursor to “Back to You.” The interplay between Rob Aston and Tim Armstrong is what sells the band (apologies to Travis Barker), and it’s in top form here.

 

 

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Nadine Shah – “To Be A Young Man”

(from Love Your Dum & Mad)

This aching, mournful, slow-burner from Shah’s forthcoming debut is only a hint of what the rest of the album offers.

Though she’s quick to shake off the comparisons, more than a few critics have compared her work to P.J. Harvey and Nick Cave. Cool combination, and we hear the similarities, too.

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Metal Mondays – Jorn “Traveller”

(from Traveller)

Jorn Lande’s been around–he’s previously logged hours as the lead singer of Masterplan, Ark, Beyond Twilight,Millenium, Vagabond, and The Snakes. Beyond those bands, he’s released ten studio albums as a solo artist, including his most recent, Traveller.

Like a rougher-around-the-edges Dio slamming it out with 2003 nu metal, there’s something comforting about the title track. Yeah, we’ve heard it before, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like it.

 

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Forgotten Fridays – The Silos “Over You”

(from The Silos)

The Silos creative partnership of Walter Salas-Humara and Bob Rupe could have inspired a Farrar/Tweedy-like legend had it stuck around long enough. Before their version of the Silos dissolved in 1991, the band dropped a memorable (and completely MIA in digital distribution) self-titled album that included the standout “Over You.”

Here, the Silos give practical advice for getting over someone: hit the road. Blast some music. And drink beer.

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Mowgli’s – “Say It, Just Say It”

(from Waiting for the Dawn)

“Say It, Just Say It” is a breezy, West Coast-born, sing-a-longy, summer vibe-a-thon. We’re pretty sure we’ll hate this song after the 10th listen (or when it inevitably gets appropriated for use in a television commercial), but we’re cool with it for now.

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Editors – “A Ton of Love”

(from The Weight of Your Love)

It’s not just that singer Tom Smith sounds like Ian McCulloch; the whole band sounds like Echo and the Bunnymen here. Bring on the dancing horses and the new Editors album–we’re ready.

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True Widow – “HW R”

(from a single)

Deliberate, haunting, and affecting stoner shoegazing from the Lone Star State. We feel buzzed after listening to this one every single time.

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Metal Mondays – Suidakra “Beneath the Red Eagle”

(from Eternal Defiance)

Galloping German melodic death metal. We like the balance of Tina Stabel’s clean voice contrasted with the growls of dairy-throated Arkadius Antonik.

This is great prepare-for-battle metal.
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Forgotten Fridays – House of Freaks “Sun Gone Down”

(from Tantilla)

Richmond, VA duo House of Freaks was never better than on their second release, Tantilla.

Americana more in content than in vibe, “Sun Gone Down” conjures up a hillside, a graveyard, and a lonesome dark road with sticky melodies and undeniable punch.

When mentioning House of Freaks, it’s unfortunately impossible to not also reference the senseless violence of the Richmond spree murders of 2006, which band lead singer Bryan Harvey and his family were victims of.

Harvey was a hell of a songwriter, and we hope this song drives home that fact.

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Black Star Riders – “Kingdom of the Lost”

(from All Hell Breaks Loose)

Black Star Riders are not Thin Lizzy, but they kind of are. The touring members of Thin Lizzy recorded an album, but decided not to put it out under the Lizzy name out of respect to the late Phil Lynott and the band’s legacy.

Names and legacies aside, this song stands on its own.

 

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Silver Arm – “Man the Falcons”

(from a forthcoming album)

Frantic indie rock from the UK where the rhythm section and guitar take turns threatening the audience.

We don’t have the slightest clue about what the Falcons are, exactly, or why they should be manned. Perhaps it’s a British thing. Perhaps it’s nonsense (rubbish?). We do however know that this song kicks ass.

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JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound – “Howl”

(from Howl)

JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound are back with their third album, and it’s fucking glorious.

The title track sounds timeless–old, new, yearning, and hopeful. If this is your first time hearing the band, we’re excited for you–you’ve just landed on one of the few bands capable of getting us up on our feet.

 

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Metal Mondays – Dark Tranquility “For Broken Words”

(from Construct)

Swedish metal favorites return with a gutsier, less predictable, album than their past few outings. The album opener, “For Broken Words,” is a first-blood-drawing solid kick of melodic death metal.

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Forgotten Fridays – Rocket from the Crypt “On a Rope”

(from Scream, Dracula, Scream)

Hands down, this is one of our favorite 90s singles.

We recommend “On a Rope” (found on Rocket from the Crypt’s 1995 major label debut) for those moments when you desperately need a Pulp Fiction-level of epinephrine pumped into your veins; for when the coffee has failed you and you just need to getthefuckup and go.

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Oblivians – “Call the Police”

(from Desperation)

We’re so glad that Memphis-based Oblivians have come back for real (they disbanded in 1998). As Desperation illustrates, they picked up right where they left off, cranking out sleazy garage rock that can barely pick itself up off the dive bar floor. (And in the case of this new album, they even sound well-produced.)

As the band kindly warns, “You better call the police, call the police … we’re gonna get our drinks on.”

 

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…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead – “Time and Again”

(from Lost Songs)

This is a total sleeper song.

Because “Time and Again” is buried at the end of Lost Songs, we’re not sure we even listened to it when the album came out at the end of last year.

And then, it popped up on our iPhone while driving to work recently. Essentially, the song found us … and it was meant to be. We think you’ll love this dreamy, insistent, and passionate-in-its-own-quirky-way album track.

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Dave Davies – “Cote du Rhone (I Will Be Me)”

(from I Will Be Me)

Dave Davies’ first album in a few years is the type of release that the general public will likely never hear. It’s a shame, really, because we’re ecstatic about it.

Built on collaborations with mostly-underground and lesser-known players, I Will Be Me is full of pleasant surprises. We love “When I First Saw You,” a haunting duet with devastating female vocalist Geri X. Another favorite is “Little Green Amp”: backed by Anti-Flag, the legendary Kinks guitarist flips the iconic riff of “You Really Got Me” backwards and lands a striking 21st century blow.

As for today’s song, “Cote du Rhone” is inexplicably buried at the end of the album. Why inexplicable? From our perspective, it’s easily the album’s finest moment. Calling out technology, whipping up some feisty guitar work, and pushing his inimitable voice forward, Davies satisfies our Kinkiest urges and underscores his overall talent.

 

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Metal Mondays – Megadeth “Dance With Angels”

(from Super Collider)

 

Dave Mustaine is a polarizing figure in metal, as he continues to get crabbier and crustier, and his lyrics continue to pull harder to the right. He’s still a fiercely talented SOB, however, and Super Collider is much better than we biasedly expected.

The spoken-word verse and squealing guitar solos dragged us in to this particular “Dance.” Disturbed’s David Draiman dominates the last minute of the song, and the muted production on his voice makes him sound appropriate, Mustaine-compatible, and fairly badass.

 

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Forgotten Fridays – Guadalcanal Diary “Trail of Tears”

(from Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man)

While “Watusi Rodeo” was the entry point for many to Guadalcanal’s ’84 debut, we’ve always preferred “Trail of Tears,” a quick shot of tragic American history rendered as jangly 80s alt-pop.

 

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Ten Foot Polecats – “Lost at Sea”

(from Undertow)

The marriage of blues and rock and roll has changed over the years. In this case, the kids are off at college, and the parents have moved into a condo downtown.

“Lost at Sea” is a no-shit jam. This is Jack & Coke-drinking, working up a sweat, do it until it hurts, American music. We can’t wait to see them at a watering hole near us.

 

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Airbourne – “Cradle to the Grave”

(from Black Dog Barking)

While listening to Airbourne’s past two album releases, it was impossible to not compare the band to AC/DC. When Black Dog Barking came out, we gave the album the benefit of the doubt, thinking that perhaps their sound might have broadened a bit. And? … nope.

Great song, though.

 

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Super Happy Fun Club – “Way Back”

(from All Funned Up)

The piano and guitar are straight out of the 1980s, the hook is straight out of Warped Tour 2003, and the combination has us excited in 2013. Super Happy Fun Club continues to crank out consistently good pop music for people who hate pop music.

If you’re near their hometown of Chicago, check them out with other local favorites Plain White Ts at … the Lincoln Park Zoo on June 22!

All Funned Up comes out today.

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Metal Mondays – GloryHammer “Magic Dragon”

(from Tales From the Kingdom of Fife)

Look at the album cover.

No, seriously. Look at the album cover.

This is metal. Epic, fucking, questing metal.

This is real wizards and warriors shit — the song’s about a magic dragon, for fuck’s sake.

This song’s not about Puff the Magic Dragon, though. GloryHammer would eviscerate Puff and then set fire to a village of women and children just to make a point.

Metal, metal, metal.

METAL!

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Forgotten Fridays – Felix da Housecat “What Does it Feel Like”

(from Kittens and Thee Glitz)

Chicago house music pioneer Felix Da Housecat went “all in” with the electroclash movement when he released 2001’s memorable Kittens and Thee Glitz album.

Make no mistake: “What Does it Feel Like” is about sex. When Felix da Housecat was interviewed about this song on WZZN radio/Chicago in 2002, he explained, “It’s about a girl who’s a nympho, basically … It’s a fun song about a nympho girl who’s out of control and just wants to know what it feels like, to feel like a nympho.”

We loved the early aughts electroclash moment, and “What Does it Feel Like” is one of our favorite expressions of the genre: disaffected European female vocals over chilly technology, singing about wild sexual abandon.

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Graveltones – “I Want Your Love”

 

Two-piece band from the UK that evokes Queens of the Stone Age, the Black Keys, and the Hives over the course of this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 2 1/2 minute song.

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Andrew Stockdale – “Keep Moving”

(from Keep Moving)

Title track from Stockdale’s forthcoming solo album which would have been the third Wolfmother album, had that band not recently gone south (or more south, given that they’re from Australia).

Fat guitar rock that wears modern clothes but feathers its hair like it’s 1978.

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Mexican Institute of Sound – “Revolucion!”

(from Politico)

Politico, from Mexico City-based Mexican Institute of Sound, came out late last year, but we just heard it for our first time. Our guess is that you probably weren’t aware of the album either, but we wanted to at least be transparent.

You know how you know when a song is good? When the lyrics are in another language and you can’t help but sing along in that awkward, language-butchering, sort of way. This is one of those songs.

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Metal Mondays – Amorphis “Mission”

(from Circle)

Happy Metal Memorial Day Monday!

At this point in their lengthy career, Finnish band Amorphis seems content to keep their mainstream-friendly, accessible goth-pop-metal, thing going.

We’re not sure we know what this song’s titular mission entails, other than it seems to have been spelled out high atop a mountain by some whispery, shadowy, folks. Metal!

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Forgotten Fridays – Shriekback “Sticky Jazz”

(from Big Night Music)

Rhythmic and more “fun” than the previous three Shriekback albums, Big Night Music features one of the band’s most memorable (and sadly forgotten at this point) songs: “Sticky Jazz.”

Do-do the cruel immersion. Do-do the flaming tongue. The band had been making “big night music” long before this album; this time around, it managed to … wait for it … stick.

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The Blank Tapes – “Brazilia”

(from Vacation)

This love song to tropicalia from West Coaster Matt Adams has us reaching for a shaker and highball glass. Like the best summer nights, this one won’t last forever … but when you’re in the moment, it’s everything.

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The Airborne Toxic Event – “The Fifth Day”

(from Such Hot Blood)

Our favorite Airborne Toxic Event songs are those that tell dramatic, aching, stories of total relationship collapse. The best example, of course, is “Sometime Around Midnight,” a song whose textures the band occasionally revisits (e.g. “Half of Something Else,” from 2011’s All At Once).

Similarly, “The Fifth Day” glooms away in the same direction, and we can’t help but play along.

 

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Stone Gossard – “I Need Something Different”

(from Apollo EP)

We’re not sure if “I Need Something Different” was intentionally written like a mid-aughts Pearl Jam album track to make its point, but we’re fine with the result. “Different” is a blazing guitar rocker that makes us feel like driving fast on the highway and taking some chances.

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METAL MONDAYS – Cathedral “Cathedral of the Damned”

(from The Last Spire)

After more than 20 years together, Cathedral is officially no more; last month’s the Last Spire proved to be their swan song. To their credit, they’re exiting on a high note … or at least a slow, doomy, note. “Cathedral of the Damned” has a Killing Joke-meets-Motorhead brilliance to it; the tweaked freeform madness that takes over halfway through the song reminds us of how much the band will be missed.

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Forgotten Fridays – Bill Justis “Raunchy”

Sun Records gave the world some of the greatest etchings into rock and roll’s Rosetta stone, including indisputable classics from Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins. As the decades roll on, the other players on Sun tend to get overlooked. And really, that’s the sort of thing that Forgotten Fridays aims to fix.

Today’s Forgotten Fridays song is producer/songwriter Bill Justis’ instrumental great “Raunchy,” rock and roll’s first instrumental success (released in 1957). That guitar … oh, man … that guitar.

One of the best music purchases you can ever make is this collection. Trust us.

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Cayucas – “High School Lover”

(from Bigfoot)

Quirky California indie rock that clothespins the most likable aspects of Beck and Vampire Weekend and lets them hang out in the summer breeze.

“You should have been my high school lover?” Oh, Zach Yudin, you really need to let it go. Move on. She has.

 

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Os Mutantes – “Time and Space”

(from Fool Metal Jack)

The cult favorite psychedelic band emerged from their mind-altering cocoon a few years back and hipsters have been scrambling to claim long-term knowledge of the band ever since.

“Time and Space” isn’t the más interesante Mutante track on the album, but we like its Red-Hot-Chili-Peppers-if-they-were-interesting vibe.

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The Howlin’ Brothers – “Gone”

(from Howl)

This Nashville trio shares no genetic link, making their band name something of a misnomer.

What they lack in sibling honesty, they deliver in old-timey, foot-stompin’ bluegrass and acoustic blues fun. Try your hardest not to shout “Gone!” back to the song at the appropriate times (“I’m gone — GONE!”); it’s damn near impossible.

Belly up to a mason jar of moonshine, throw on some overalls, and enjoy.

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METAL MONDAYS – Kadavar “Doomsday Machine”

(from Abra Kadavar)

In Star Trek, the Doomsday Machine was an all-annihilating planet destroyer; in Kadavar’s hands, it’s a stoner rock callback to the hazy crunch of Sabbath’s best days.

Abra Kadavar is only the German band’s second album, but it sounds like they’ve been making them since 1971.

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FORGOTTEN FRIDAYS – Sugar “A Good Idea”

(from Copper Blue)

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Crawling out of the Husker Du wreckage, Bob Mould launched a solo career in 1989 with the superior release Workbook. Three short years (and another solo album) later, Mould poured some Sugar on us. Copper Blue sounds better every year; so much so that we can’t understand why Mould didn’t become a kajillionaire from that album alone.

Copper Blue has its share of great songs, and you’re probably well familiar with “Helpless,” “Changes,” and “If I Can’t Change Your Mind.” One of our favorites remains “A Good Idea,” a song which reminded us that Bob Mould hammered out the foundation for the alt rock revolution, just as Nirvana was blasting off into hyperspace.

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Team Ghost – “Somebody’s Watching”

(from Rituals)

Groupe français d’équipe Esprit parvient à sonner comme l’Eglise et mon Bloody Valentine sur cette piste qui célèbre (?) voyeurisme.

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… and yes, we used Google Translate to write this.

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Paul Weller “The Olde Original”

(from Flame Out!/The Olde Original single)

The Modfather has had one of modern rock’s most prolific careers, from the Jam through his current 20+ year solo career. It’s not something we acknowledge much in America, but in the UK, Weller collects Platinum, Gold, and Silver like a pirate.

We love the split single he created for Record Store Day this year (“Flame-Out” is the other ‘A-side’). If you like what you hear, get it while you can–it’s being pulled from iTunes on 5/20.

 

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I Monster – “Checkout Luv”

(from Swarf)

Not new, per se, but far enough from known to make this a valid entry for today, “Checkout Luv” appeared on the Sheffield production group’s Dear John EP a few years back, and has now been rereleased on this rarities collection.

We love the glammy, lazy, T Rex sound of “Checkout Luv,” sexed up with some early Bowie-era sax sounds. Falling in love with a checkout girl from another world? Groovy, man. As I Monster summarizes, “Oh, eye-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yah.”

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METAL MONDAYS – Darkthrone “Valkyrie”

(from the Underground Resistance)

Darkthrone’s The Underground Resistance is one of our favorite metal albums of the year so far.

With trace elements of NWOBHM, doom, and thrash, “Valkyrie” finds the long-running and ever-evolving Norwegian band pounding out thunderous riffage for singer Nocturno Culto (yes) to falsetto over.

 

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FORGOTTEN FRIDAYS – Treat Her Right “I Think She Likes Me”

(from Treat Her Right)

Before Morphine, the late Mark Sandman made his mark with the bluesy Boston rock band Treat Her Right.

As Sandman sings about a late night pickup at a cafe (which sounds an awful lot like a dive bar), we swear we can visualize the scene. Through cigarette smoke, we can make out a couple shooting pool in a corner, flickering beer signs, and an enraged mister pulling the safety on his gun.

 

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Dale Watson and His Lonestars – “I Hate to Drink Alone”

(from El Rancho Azul)

Country music isn’t what you hear on country radio; country music is something that’s better represented by the likes of Dale Watson. Watson brings an authentic sense of purity to a genre that’s been so watered down that the ink has run off its star artists’ CD covers.

Watson makes El Rancho Azul his cheatin’ heart, beer drinkin’ playground. While love is a pervasive theme on the album, it plays second fiddle to demon alcohol. Sample titles:

“I Lie When I Drink”
“I Drink to Remember”
“Drink Drink Drink”

And then there’s “I Hate to Drink Alone”:
“Every beer I’m a-drinkin’, dear, I’m a-drinkin’ here with you.”

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Queens of the Stone Age – “My God is the Sun”

(from Like Clockwork)

We missed Queens of the Stone Age in the six years since their last album, Era Vulgaris.

On this first taste of Like Clockwork, the guitars lacerate, the bass goes deep, the drums Grohl, and frontman Josh Homme layers on a disaffected swagger.

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JJ Grey and Mofro – “99 Shades of Crazy”

(from This River)

This band and song are pure R&B, in the pre-millennial sense of the term. “99 Shades of Crazy” has a real groove. It’s rockin’. It’s got soul. It’s what we wish the Black Crowes could be.

Open the beer gardens early and let us in; we’ve found our first summer song.

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METAL MONDAYS – Moth Gatherer “The Womb, the Woe, the Woman”

(from A Bright Celestial Light)

This is a tough one to pin down or even attempt to categorize. Over the course of its almost-ten minute run time, “The Womb …” angrily and methodically scorches through an array of sounds, in the process extending a claw into jazzy jam interludes and solo piano. The song always re-finds its center, however: a sneering, grinding, and deliberate hardcore beating.

 
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FORGOTTEN FRIDAYS – Swervedriver “Last Train to Satansville”

(from Mezcal Head)

We love songs that tell stories, even dark-as-soot stories like Swervedriver’s “Last Train to Satansville,” which finds the song’s hero contemplating the murder of his girlfriend … or just killing himself instead.

Mezcal Head was one of the best albums released back in 1993 (how could that have come out 20 years ago? Surely we’re not that old). “Satansville” impressively holds the distinction of being the most memorable, want to play it over and over, song on Mezcal Head, an excellent collection of playlist-worthy, swirling guitar-pop shoegazery, including “Duel” and the sprawling, feedback-drenched, “Never Lose That Feeling.”

“Last Train to Satansville” relentlessly gallops and twists through the up-and-down emotions tied to betrayal and no-way-out redemption:

“I’ll squeeze it twice and not think twice / And relish every scream”

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The National – “Demons”

(from Trouble Will Find Me)

“I’m secretly in love with everyone that I grew up with”

Matt Berninger of the National has the kind of voice that follows you around like a night of bad decisions. It doesn’t so much haunt you, as much as it distracts you from thinking clearly through the events of the new day.

Moody and beautiful, it doesn’t seem as though the National is doing anything new with “Demons.” Then again, why would they? They’ve got this stuff down cold … cold and somber.

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Dumb – “Dive”

We don’t know much about this Birmingham, UK band other than:

  • They’re a very new band–their first live gig was last month
  • They have the least search engine-friendly name ever
  • This song is Dumb’s first release, and it proves to be a nice start. We love the insistent, almost euphoric, guitar. We’re curious to hear more.

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Alice in Chains – “Stone”

(from The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here)

As far as we’re concerned, Alice in Chains’ comeback in 2009 with Black Gives Way to Blue wasn’t given anywhere near the amount of credit it deserved.

We’ve since come to fully embrace William DuVall as Layne Staley’s heir apparent, and are ecstatic to know that the band soldiers on. “Stone” precedes the new AIC album due out next month, and it has everything we need from the band: distorted and tormented guitars, insecurities, and weathered Jerry Cantrell vocals.

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METAL MONDAYS – Volbeat (featuring King Diamond) – “Room 24″

(from Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies)

We first thought about featuring Volbeat’s cover of Young the Giant’s “My Body,” but decided that wasn’t the best representation of the band or Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies. Furthermore, that particular track comes across as a transparent play for mainstream recognition. We don’t approve.

Instead, here’s a standout track that works off of sludgy Sabbath source inspiration and churns into a thumping metal fist pumper made more menacing by the Satan-approved pipes of metal legend (and parents-frightener) King Diamond.

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FORGOTTEN FRIDAYS – Diane Izzo “Polyphonic”

(from One)

Diane Izzo was regarded as one of Chicago’s most talented and promising independent artists when she released her debut album, One, in 1999. The album–haunting and melodic–turned out to be her last. Izzo died of cancer just over two years ago at the too-young age of 43.

We think artists like Izzo, and songs like “Polyphonic,” give extra meaning to “Forgotten Fridays.” We hope the song resonates with you as it continues to resonate with us.

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James Cotton – “Cotton Mouth Man”

(from Cotton Mouth Man)

One of the blues’ greatest living performers is back to teach us a new lesson on how to play blues harmonica.

Cotton’s faced down throat cancer, played with Muddy Waters, and won a Grammy. The man’s an undeniable blues legend. We throw our full support behind him and this track, the new album’s titular “Cotton Mouth Man.”

Oh yeah, Joe Bonamassa’s on the song, too.

 

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