Monday Mixer


The Soundtrack of Our Lives – Sister Surround
I get the feeling this song was written very quickly. The kind where one musician starts playing something, then the others join in, and all of a sudden there’s a song happening. This is a very enjoyable recording from start to finish. It’s got a movie quality sound to it as well; I think it would fit into a soundtrack nicely.

Janelle Monáe – Dance Apocalyptic
Janelle Monáe’s The Electric Lady is a very interesting album from start to finish, but this one stuck out to me the most. Though undeniably a pop song, the melody is very Motown, and that’s why I like it. The album version is interesting, but the live version seen here trumps it.

Stone Temple Pilots w/Chester Bennington – Tomorrow
By far the best song on STP’s latest effort, “Tomorrow” resembles the music they made in their prime during the Purple and Tiny Music… eras. The chemistry between the melody and music in the chorus is near perfect, and it proves they still have something to offer.

U2 – Ordinary Love
Written for the movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, this is the first song U2 has released since 2009’s No Line on the Horizon. It’s definitely not my favorite U2 song, but it has grown on me, and there are a few things that I think make it worth a listen, such as the bass line by Adam Clayton (who I believe is the secret weapon of U2) and the production by Danger Mouse. Plus, it won a Golden Globe. If nothing else, maybe it’s a look into what their upcoming album (due in March or April) will sound like.

Eric Burdon and War – Spill the Wine
For some reason, my roommate and I have been really into this song recently. Probably because there’s not many like it, and it’s in a few movies we’ve seen. We only know the chorus, but it gets us ready for the night. Give it a listen; I’m sure you’ve heard it.

Cheap Trick – Mandocello
If anyone ever asks me what bands I think are underrated or misunderstood, I won’t hesitate a moment to say Cheap Trick. The general population, for the most part, only knows three songs by them (“I Want you to Want Me,” “Surrender,” and “Dream Police”). I promise, there is a lot more to them than those three (definitely not their best three). Their first album is my favorite of all time, “Mandocello” is one of the many intoxicating tracks on it, and features one of rock’s greatest singers, Robin Zander. It transcends power pop and gives us an insight into why they have been called “the American Beatles.”

JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound – Want More
These guys have the ultimate vintage sound, one that translates nicely to the stage. Additionally they’re from Chicago, which automatically validates them for me. “Want More” is one of those songs that’s got a groove that just won’t allow you to turn it off. That’s all you ever need, a good groove.

J Roddy Walston and the Business – Brave Man’s Death
I heard this song in the middle of writing this Mixer, and I had to include it. It goes in a completely different direction than I would expect it to after the goofy piano sequence at the beginning. Make sure you listen through the chorus, because it’s the harmonies in that section that really sell me on this one. I will definitely be digging deeper into their catalog soon.

About Luke Ray

I grew up about 40 minutes north of Chicago. From 2008 to 2012 I played guitar in a band called the Burrows 4 (see iTunes or YouTube), and I still play every day. I love rock 'n' roll...always have and always will.

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