Architecture and Music … they go together extremely well as music frequently fuels the creative process and there are few things I enjoy more than turning on some music and jamming out in the studio.
Except I can’t do that … not really, because we have an open office plan and it’s already a lot louder than it should be without adding a driving bassline into the mix. The other thing that makes me happy is when I expose some music to somebody that they like. In my office, if you can believe it, just about every song I play nobody has ever heard of before, and I’m not talking about super deep cuts. I once put together a playlist and it took about 45 minutes before anybody recognized a song, and we had already played U2, Kool and the Gang, The Pretenders, and Earth, Wind & Fire.
Last Friday, as Landon and I were preparing to record our next podcast, I mentioned that I used to put together posts where I listed off some of the music that I was currently listening too. He is currently going back through my old posts as we work on assembling our podcast editorial calendar, but he has yet to discover any of my “musical” posts so I thought I would take a look at my listening history and list the last handful of songs here in hopes of exposing you to something you like that maybe you’ve never heard before. Of course, if you are reading this via email, you are going to have to click through onto the website to get access to the videos.
So let’s get this party started – right?
Reignwolf – Are You Satisfied
Canadian rocker Jordan Wolf has yet to release a full-length album (as far as I can tell) but I have stumbled across a handful of his songs dating back to 2014. If you like rock, then this is a song you should appreciate.
Joe Cocker – Feelin’ Alright
I actually had this song on 45 back in my youth … and I feel somewhat positive that the majority of people reading this post have no idea what a 45 is. Joe Cocker has one of the more unique voices, but that’s not why I like this particular song. There is a lot going on in the rhythm section and I think this is just one of those songs that makes you want to open a bottle of wine and dance while your cooking dinner.
That’s an awfully specific description but if you take a moment and listen to the song, I think you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign
I was actually just looking for a pure Albert King version of this song but since I am also a huge Stevie Ray Vaughn fan, I am still happy putting this song up for your enjoyment. A lot of people have actually recorded this song but Albert King was the first. Even if you don’t really like rhythm and blues, I think you’ll have a hard time not thinking this is a great song. It also has one of the best blues lyrics ever:
Born under a bad sign, been down since I began to crawl
If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all
Vance Joy– We’re Going Home
This is a new one for me and I have my daughter to thank for pointing it out. Of all the people I try to introduce “new” music to, my daughter tops the list. I’m sure she equally enjoys it when she is able to show me something new.
Eels – Fresh Blood
This song has been in my rotation for quite a while but I remain a bit luke-warm on the rest of their songs. The band is really just front-man Mark Everett with a constant revolving door with all other members. This song supports my wife’s observation that if the song doesn’t have a driving bassline or a particularly clever drum pattern, you probably won’t hold my attention in the long run.
I gotta say … she’s not wrong.
The Roots – Break You Off
While some people might only know The Roots as the band for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, those people would be missing out on some incredibly innovative musicians. I will admit that I don’t really ever listen to the words of any song and if the video for Break You Off is any indication, this is a fairly dirty song. What I will point out is that the drum lick and the organ riffs in this song are what make this song worthy of today’s list … I dare you to tell me that I’m wrong.
Queens of the Stone Age – Feet Don’t Fail Me
While I don’t really consider myself a “hard rocker”, I will admit that I am a sucker for just about every song Queens of the Stone Age have ever recorded. While this song takes a while to get going (at the 1:50 mark) the build-up to that moment is totally worth it. Of all the groups represented on today’s mini-playlist, this is the group that I want to see most in concert … with the possible exception of the next entry …
Silversun Pickups – Catch and Release
I basically love all the songs this group has recorded – they definitely hit all my sweet spots (rhythmic drums and contributing bassline). In fact, if I could be in a band, it would be this one and I would be okay being either the bassist or the drummer (although, they would also have to still be the bassist and the drummer because I like them so much). This particular song, Catch and Release, was one of the first songs that I played for my daughter that she completely loved (learning all the words and singing the song to me the next day) and for that reason, this will always be one of my favorite songs.
Silversun Pickups – Substitution
That’s right, I put a second song by the same group on this extremely short list … and “why” you ask? I felt that the live recording of the last song, as good as it was, might not have shown them in all their studio quality awesomeness.
And who wouldn’t get a kick out of watching the drummer flop around like a fish out of water while he’s perfectly rocking those asynchronous beats?!? And did you happen to notice how high he’s placed his crash cymbal?
Mazzy Star – Into Dust
Mazzy Star is one of those singers that you either love … or don’t know that you love them yet. Mazzy Star, with haunting lead vocals from Hope Sandoval, came into modest success in the very late 1980’s – the perfect time for me as this was the height of my “working up at studio 10-hours a day” period of architecture school. While their song Fade Into You was their biggest commercial hit, this song was always my favorite. I always imagined that as beautiful as this song is, it is only the people in absolute pain who would appreciate it the most.
Dave Brubeck – Take Five
Dave Brubeck was a pianist known for the genre of “Cool Jazz” (yes, that’s a thing) and Take Five is probably one of the most recognizable jazz songs for people who don’t listen to jazz. This song was actually written for him by Paul Desmond, an alto saxophonist in his band, which you can tell because the alto sax has a pretty big role in this song. I always wondered if Dave liked that one his most popular songs a) wasn’t written by him, and b) didn’t heavily feature the piano.
Interpol – Obstacle 1
I gotta say, Interpol gets props for possibly having the best band name of all time. A band that came onto the scene in the late 90’s, they quickly became one of my all-time favorites. They check my drum and bassline boxes and when I saw them live in 2007, it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. When bassist Carlos Dengler left the group sometime around 2010 the band wasn’t ever really the same … still good, even great at times, but not the same. Carlos is in the song I picked for today’s playlist.
First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining
I can’t recall how I stumbled upon First Aid Kit but I’m glad I did. The group is basically a Swedish Folk duo made up of two sisters.
I know … crazy, right?!?
For someone like me who doesn’t really ever listen to the singing or to the words in a song, I’m not entirely sure how I became a fan, but I did. A pretty big fan as well.
Wow … I love these sorts of posts even though I am pretty sure that few people really care about what I’m currently listening to at the moment. I occasionally get an email asking for a playlist of what we are currently playing in the office but for me, these are the sort of posts that definitely fall into the “Life” portion of the site and I quite honestly have a lot of fun putting them together. If by some chance you like them, please let me know so I won’t feel quite as quilty the next time I’m sitting down on Sunday evening putting together a blog post.
I am also going to include a few links to past entries into my “What Am I listening to” series just in case you make it through today’s list and you’re hungry for more.
here you go:
Turns those speakers up to 11 and have a great week!
** thanks to Brad Feinknopf for today’s feature image of his own personal record collection – taken from the amazingly cool post “A Photographer’s Tool Bag“