1. Modest Mouse – “God is an Indian and You’re an Asshole”
Nothing says “have a great week” quite like being called an asshole. Lyrics aside, this short track has a lovely, simple melody which signals that, after so many records, Modest Mouse is still capable of putting out the occasional straightforward song that doesn’t get bogged down in its own layers.
2. Kevin Morby – “The Ballad of Arlo Jones”
Kevin Morby somehow stayed off my radar until about a month ago, but he has quickly become a staple in my morning playlists. He seems to have a ton of potential, and I’m excited to see what he makes of his career. I also can’t wait to see him perform at Pitchfork this summer.
3. St. Vincent – “Marrow”
For anyone who knows me, this song might seem like a rather obvious choice for a Mixer. I’ve been singing Annie Clark’s praises for years now, and have loved watching her evolve as a musician and performer over the course of four albums and the odd soundtrack contribution. Yet as kickass as her most recent work is, I still like to turn back to her first couple of albums once in a while. “Marrow” is an excellent example of what can happen when a highly intellectual musician taps into her anxiety and raw emotion.
4. Woods – “Pushing Onlys”
It truly pains me to say this, but I did not enjoy Woods’ most recent album City Sun Eater in the River of Light. There’s not exactly anything wrong with it. It is relaxing and layered, and showcases the various bandmembers’ smooth talents. But it never quite reaches toward any intriguing, joyfully tear-jerking melodies that were a major strength in their first string of albums. So to alleviate the pain of their recent disappointing release, I turn back to this gem from Sun and Shade.
5. The Surfaris – “Wipeout”
I am currently in the process of training myself to write with my non-dominant hand, for reasons that cannot be articulated at this time. This song just about captures the emotional journey I go on every day when I sit down to write out the alphabet and draw basic shapes, and they all turn out looking like the work of a three year old drawing on the wall with lipstick.
6. Actual Wolf – “Victims + Things”
Way back in the day (maybe three years ago?) I included a live version of this song on a Mixer, and then forgot to listen to it again until a couple weeks ago. It’s a nice throwback, and reminds me of my carefree youthful summer days, when my most important decisions centered on cheap beer purchases (PBR or Rolling Rock?). I miss those days already.
7. Franz Joseph Haydn – Symphony no. 45, “Finale: Presto-Adagio” (Performed by the Ferenc Liszt Chamber Orchestra)
As an outgoing gift on the eve of graduation, I reveal to you my favorite “song” (piece) of all time. Long concealed from family and friends, under the guise of “I mean, how can I possibly pick a favorite song when there are so many?” I have to admit that this is a piece of music that has stuck with me and brought tears to my eyes for years. I have a sentimental attachment to it, of course, which factors in to its status as my favorite piece. But it is also a flawless and underrated composition. And I will go to my grave glaring at anyone who claims they don’t enjoy the ending because they’re just not into classical music. Those two violins…perfection.
8. Danny Brown – “Kush Coma” feat. A$AP ROCKY & Zelooperz
Finally, this song comes to you in honor of last week’s holiday. Remember to treat yourself every now and then. Let your brain go on vacation.