This week’s playlist is the second ‘rewind’ list, drawing from the songs that have already appeared on earlier lists. This week I stuck to songs I posted this year, and whittled down my favorites to just 60, a daunting task that would only get tougher if I spent any more time agonizing over my selections. I left off most of the mainstream stuff for lack of space, but a few ‘mainstream’ tunes snuck onto the list anyway. All of these songs have been on past playlists here this year, but I doubt if any of my readers is yet familiar with all 60 of these fantastic tracks. I also learned how to paginate my posts when I wrote this one, so rather than slogging through 60 songs all on one page, they are broken up into 3 sets of 20, a bit more digestible.
The List: Songs 1-20
1. Straight No Chaser -“I’m Yours/ Somewhere Over the Rainbow” – Since this is the first song listed on the first Big List for 2013, I figured it would be a great way to start this week’s list. If you like Glee, you might like this song and band/ensemble.
2. Simon & Garfunkel – “Fueilles-O” – I have no personal connection with this song or its artists, and few of my friends know this one, but I really like it. The last language I studied formally was French, just last year, and I am fascinated by the various colonial/post-colonial French dialects in the world, so this song seems especially cool. I understand the lyrics just enough without seeing a translation to have an idea what the song is about, but yet the words aren’t quite French.
3. Franz Ferdinand – “The Lobster Quadrille” – Ditto for this song. It’s the Lobster Quadrille song from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. I love Alice in Wonderland (well, actually only when combined with the more sinister Through the Looking Glass, in which the seemingly safe dream world turns more dark and unfriendly.)
4. Shook Twins – “Wild Fire” – I got to see this band perform live this fall, and they put on one of my favorite shows of the year. I love their golden egg (percussion instrument, a GIANT yellow shaker egg) and the phone receiver microphone they use for their effects-mic. In addition to fancy gadgets, these folks have a very solid live performance that comes across as easy and natural but with all those intricate rhythms and harmonies that make their studio recordings sound so amazing.
5. Charlotte Church – “Casualty of Love” – No, I haven’t met Charlotte. But, 2013 was a busy year for her; she released a bunch of new music on a couple EPs, pop songs that ought to be very successful on mainstream radio. This song is one of her earlier pop songs, and still my favorite from her pop repertoire.
6. Bearfoot – “The Most Lonely” – I started out the year as an insecure would-be music-blogger, and fell in love with this song and thus with this band back in January. To my great surprise, Bearfoot was scheduled to play at Avogadro’s Number just 12 days after I found them on spotify, so I got to meet them and see them play live on stage and in a bluegrass jam after the show, making one of the more memorable nights of this year’s blogging adventures.
7. Ross Crean – “Phonemena” – I’ve gotten to hear a bit more from Ross since I found him on spotify last year. This song is actually from the first album I latched onto from him, and it is still among my favorites of his songs.
8. You Me & Apollo – “Opener” – I just saw this band again last week, playing at the Aggie. I also met them properly, finally, at New West Fest this fall. Their crowds are always very enthusiastic, and make it tough to take good photos in the front row without getting jostled (an annoyance for me, but great for the band- if only all bands had such enthusiastic fans!)
9. The Poxy Boggarts – My Love Is Like a Red Red Rose” – Everyone has a few well-loved songs they know are annoying to others. This is one of mine. If you listen to the chaotic dissonant vocals in this recording, they really are being sung quite carefully, by people who can sing.
10. SHEL – “Paint My Life” – As I suspected last year, SHEL is looking like the next act to break into the national music scene, though maybe not with the massive instant success the Lumineers enjoyed, yet. They had quite a lot of success this year, including a SXSW performance and a CMT-released music video. Onwards and upwards, I guess, though I know the more success they have, the harder it will be to connect with them in the future. Sharing your favorite bands with the world has its tradeoffs.
11. Down Like Silver – “Wolves” – This is a band I came across more recently on spotify. I have seen something about that the fellow from the duo Eastmountainsouth is also in Down Like Silver, but don’t quote me on that yet. Anyway, i love their music.
12. The High Kings – “Irish Pub Song” – One of my favorite High Kings songs off youtube was finally released as a single this year. I have a bodhran I am slowly learning to play, and there are several very good bodhran players in High Kings. This song’s very cool percussion is done with a bodhran.
13. Caravan of Thieves – “Raise the Dead” – I got to sing along with this one a couple months ago, live, and got to hang out with the band for quite a while after the show. For this song the band likes to get down among the audience, and the audience becomes the chorus for the song, so I really did get to sing this song with Caravan of Thieves, only a few weeks after I stumbled across their music on spotify. This was another of my favorite shows of the year, for sure.
14. Maroon 5 – “I Shall Be Released” – There was a Bob Dylan tribute concert here in the spring, at which I met several musicians who have become friends since. This was the closing song of that show, sung as a big group number with a stage-full of some of the mos talented people in the Fort Collins music scene. That was a fun show.
15. Elephant Revival – “Drop” – Elephant Revival’s commencement show at CSU was also a fun show. I got to take photos during the soundcheck, just me and the band and crew in that big theater. I got some nice photos, and met most of the band afterward. Now I just need a washboard so I can learn how to play one.
16. Justin Roth – “Crush” – I didn’t escape the crush bug this year, but by the end of the year I am still friends with both crushes and I am still single. I am not sure if I came out ahead, but it could have been worse, for sure.
17. Fiach – “Lullabye” – I do wish Fiach Moriarty was a local Fort Collins musician. It would be so cool if he were here playing casual local gigs between his big events elsewhere.
18. Thea Gilmore – “Ever Fallen In Love” – I love the syncopated rhythm of this song, and I have lots of fun while walking home at 2am some nights, humming this song to myself against the beat of my footsteps.
19. Danielle Ate the Sandwich – “American Dream” – Danielle has a few songs that capture some of the stuff that has left me angsty and worry-ridden this year. In addition to being just a ridiculously good song-writer, she is enough like me that what she writes is often the songs I would have written if I could write songs. Everyone should find a song-writer like this, to put to music those problems and feelings that need to be set to music.
20. Greyweather – “Carbon Copies” – I always feel like this band an Tyler T., its guitarist, are folks I met over a year ago, at least, but I really did just discover all of them in spring and early summer of this year. Kurt Humann, who writes most of the songs for Greyweather, is someone who really ought to be inching his way into the national mainstream soon.