Jimi Hendrix – “Manic Depression”
One of the biggest reasons I enjoy having two rock-loving parents is that searching through records at their house always yields surprises and forgotten gems. This summer, I was floored when I came across an original vinyl pressing of Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced? Here’s the second track from his now-classic album, which I have played dozens of times since finding it a few months ago.
LCD Soundsystem – “No Love Lost” (Joy Division cover)
Back in 2007, LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire released a split single, which they originally sold at shows they played together. The 7” featured cover songs from both bands. While both of the covers have been shoved into the depths of each band’s discography over time, each is worth revisiting. This song is LCD Soundsystem’s contribution to that split single.
Lee Fields and the Expressions – “You’ve Been Cutting Out (On Me)”
Here is a bonus track from Let’s Talk It Over. The original version of the album was released in 1979, but was reissued in 2010 to include this song and many others that did not make the cut the first time around. It’s tough to imagine why anyone would not want this track on an album in the first place, but better late than never.
Colin Stetson – “The Righteous Wrath of an Honorable Man”
Colin Stetson already has a notable place in various North American music scenes, due largely to his contributions to incredible indie albums. He has played on TV on the Radio’s Dear Science, the last three Arcade Fire albums, Feist’s Metals, and many more, and is a member of Bon Iver, while touring with a number of other bands. However, Stetson’s solo work is still shockingly underrated. I saw him play live over the summer, and the show went beyond anything I could describe. Stetson is a master of circular breathing, and his technical mastery of the saxophone, paired with his apocalyptic compositions, create an otherworldly atmosphere. Listen to this song, and then imagine a person playing it without looping anything, because that is what he does and it is amazing.
Fucked Up – “Crusades”
I also saw Fucked Up over the summer, and that was another experience that cannot fully be
put to words. They played the Bottom Lounge in Chicago, and the tiny size of the venue forced everyone in the audience to be up close and part of the show. Damien Albarn and the band created an atmosphere that allowed people to let off steam and rock out without turning into rude and clumsy jerks typical of other hard rock shows. The result was an awesome and cathartic frenzy. I somehow ended up with some of Albarn’s sweat on my arm when he jumped into the crowd and moved through the room like the Tasmanian Devil. For anyone wondering.
Vashti Bunyan – “Here Before”
A few months ago, Vashti Bunyan briefly made waves when she announced that her upcoming album, set to release in October, will be her last. While the news of her retirement is disappointing, the announcement of new music came as happy news, since Bunyan’s last album was released almost a decade ago.
Jack White – “Entitlement”
For as fun as Jack White’s new album was to play around with on vinyl — it had a hologram, tracks hidden by the label, and many other unique features — the album does not rely on gimmicks to get a message across. This song is an example of how, even though he is now thought of mostly as an electric rocker, Jack White can still sit down and produce stand-alone acoustic songs that are musically charming and lyrically piercing.
Azealia Banks- “Heavy Metal and Reflective”
Say what you want about Azealia Banks, but don’t deny that this song is badass.
Lambchop- “Gone Tomorrow”
Here is one of Lambchop’s more easily-digestible songs from their 2012 album, Mr. M. I’ve loved the song since first hearing it because it has a nice balance of sounds, while remaining charmingly simple. Also, Kurt Wagner always impresses me because he looks like the lead guy of a struggling band that plays block parties and birthdays, but he hits every note without sounding too strained. In other words, he may seem rough around the edges, but time spent listening to Lambchop is time spent growing attached to the ways in which they are unpolished.
Rodrigo Amarante- “The Ribbon”
This song is from Rodrigo Amarante’s recent album, Cavalo. It sounds like a fusion of Devendra Banhart’s music and Patrick Watson’s music, which is exactly what I’ve been wanting for a while. It is a song that deserves a thoughtful listen, with good headphones.