Written by Emma Goodwin
Gregory Alan Isakov – St. Valentine
I choose to ease into my Mondays. I don’t need anything brash or heavy to energize me – I need a gentle pat on the back to reassure me, preferably from Gregory Alan Isakov. This song is cheery, relaxing, and the perfect amount of soothing for the start of another week.
Wintersleep – Weighty Ghost
I am convinced that this song was written with the intention of being the perfect bonfire song. It makes me miss summer and friends who can play the guitar to welcome in nighttime. Not to mention the fact that Paul Murphy’s voice is pretty sublime.
Eliza and the Bear – It Gets Cold
Don’t ask me where I first heard this song. (Spoiler: the answer is in a Hollister. You heard me; I first heard this song in a Hollister…sorry). Anyways, this song has a great groove and a fun, almost Two Door Cinema Club-y sound that makes it really hard to turn off. It also makes me want to run a marathon. Take that however you want.
Phoenix – Love Like a Sunset Pt. II
I have a very real problem with the fact that this song is under two minutes long, but trust me when I say that these two minutes are chock-full of some of Phoenix’s best music. If love was like a sunset and had a sound, this song would be it.
Theophilus London – Why Even Try (RAC Mix) [feat. Sara Quin]
RAC really knows what they’re doing as far as mixes go – and this reformed rap song is a prime example. Here they are, changing a sultry-disco rap song into a light, playful tune. The vocals from Miss Quin really distinguishes this mix from the original.
Damien Rice – Lonelily
One of the cheerier-sounding songs from Damien Rice (despite the title). I just appreciate how simple it is, as well as how conflicting the tone of the song and the lyrics are. It almost makes me forget how apparently angry he is at whoever is “coming home.”
Belle and Sebastian – The Boy with the Arab Strap
With the instrumental styling attune to The Decemberists’ “The Crane Wife Part 1” and an album cover face that reminds me a bit of Ringo Starr, this calmly catchy single carries on for over five minutes with subtle builds which beg for head bopping and foot tapping.
A Fine Frenzy – Liar, Liar
One of the best female vocalists of today has to be Alison Sudol, commonly known as A Fine Frenzy. This song from her first album remains to be one of her best, complete with an accordion intro, her classically kooky lyrics and instrumentation, and an invigorating flight that her first two albums thrived upon.
Sufjan Stevens – Romulus
Sufjan Stevens was just announced as Illinois’ favorite artist – not surprising considering he has one album and many other songs about this state. However, this song is from his album titled Greetings from Michigan. Telling the tale of a child’s awful mother, this song stands to be one of my favorites by him.
PAPA – I Am the Lion King
After seeing this duo open up for GROUPLOVE a year ago, I’ve been addicted to their lazy drawl and sleazy beat. In this single (which is different depending on which video you watch) the giddy guitar riff balances out Darren Weiss’ thickly deep voice, resulting in an amalgamation of semi-nonsensical lyrics and groove heavy percussion.