Ugh. After 2 bouts of flu, plus technical difficulties that made creating new posts nearly impossible this past week (no doubt a new automatic update, hopefully all fixed now)… it is a bit of a miracle that this songlist is up (last week’s was not so lucky). Actually, this is the song set I picked for last week, but it fits well with the rock/pop/party band theme I wanted for this weekend. Last time I focused in on country music, so this week I have here a set of 20 songs that I might pull together for an hour-long radio spot on a pop/mainstream radio station (the list is a bit over an hour long, but it’s close).
1.Florence + the Machine (Ceremonials)- “Never Let Me Go” – A choir buddy I still run into far too rarely is a big fan of Florence + the Machine, but last year I didn’t focus so much on mainstream acts I didn’t already like. This year though will be different, if only because I don’t want to be stuck writing only about folk, country and easy listening for the rest of my life. This song has been around a while, I know, but not on my playlists, yet.
2. Keller Williams (Odd)– “Spartan Darn It” – Isn’t this such an adorable song? A friend of mine, who had the pleasure a while ago of playing a show with Keller Williams, was telling me about this song, but I forgot all about it till this week when I came across it by accident.If anyone ever writes songs about me, I do hope I come across in a much better light.
3. Fierce Bad Rabbit (The Maestro and the Elephant)- “Shine a Light” – These guys haven’t been very active lately, since their lead singer now lives in Boston, but they did all converge in Texas to do some recording this past week, so they are still alive and kicking as a band. This is one of their popular songs at live shows, and is from their most recent album.
4. Varlet (American Hymns)- “Cellophane” – I wish Varlet played in Fort Collins more often. They played at our Fortoberfest event last year, and were fantastic. Unfortunately we lack the mid-range venues that would best suit many of the great Denver bands that turn up occasionally at our city festivals. The only stage that size that I frequent right now is the Aggie, which currently doesn’t serve the under-21 portion of our scene (they had enough underage drinking violations recently that they are walking a thin line to keep their liquor license at all right now). Varlet could probably do well at the Avo’s patio stage and at Hodi’s, though, at least for this year while they are still building a following here.
5. Mustang (Tabou)- “Qu’ est-ce qui se passe” – One thing I left out too much last year was ‘foreign language’ music. I’ve studied 9 languages and while I am not fluent in any of them, I love hearing music in languages I don’t use every day. In other parts of the world languages are more common, and I often feel that the fact of our continent being almost entirely English-dominant has cost us Americans by not forcing us to learn to understand and use more languages outside school.
6. Elton John (Rocket Man – Number Ones)- “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” – I had to include at least one classic song in this set. I am in my 30’s and grew up listening to oldies and classic rock, so I forget sometimes (most of the time) that the young crowd at shows around town is too young to really know what the Challenger was except as the answer to a random trivia game question. So yes, many of my readers know these songs, but many of my readers who love Florence + the Machine or Jason Mraz have not actually heard all the Elton John hit songs yet. Crazy thought, I know.
7. Jason Mraz (We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.)- “I’m Yours” – I love this song. Even when it was at the height of its popularity, I loved this one, and Jason Mraz really does it better than any cover at any live show I’ve seen so far, including open mics. I have friends who cover Paolo Nutini songs well, and John Prine songs, and lots of others, but this one Jason Mraz song so far is unmatched (which is not to say that the covers I hear are always bad-some are quite good, just not this good).
8. 6 Day Riot (6 Day Riot Have a Plan)- “So You’re a Writer” – After 3 college degrees, and a migration away from academia entirely to be a music blogger, I do find myself twitchy to write more than just blog posts. This song turned out to be one I liked, but I added it to this set initially just for the title. I do have friends who buy new albums they have never heard just because the cover art is pretty, so picking music because I like the title seems at least semi-defensible.
9. Bense (Album Reedition) – “Dans ma Soucoupe”
10. Regina Spektor (Far)- “Folding Chair” – Another friend I never see anymore loves Regina Spektor. She was as excited about my including this artist on my playlists as I am when one of my friends becomes a fan of Winchester Holiday, Patti Fiasco, or any of my many other favorites.
11. Calhoun (Heavy Sugar)- “Thrown In the Universe”
12. The Crane Wives (The Fool in Her Wedding Gown)- “Strangler Fig” – This song is a bit more folk than pop, but if this were a pop radio playlist, I don’t think it would feel out of place. Harmonies seem to be an increasingly popular trend in our music scene, and maybe in the regional and national scenes as well, and this group has a great sound on this song.
13. Pocket Satellite (Toy Train)- “Windows” – This song reminds me a lot of one of my favorite local acts, Catch Bees. I’m really hoping Pocket Satellite might tour through Colorado with a stop here in Fort Collins this year or next.
14. Thea Gilmore (Harpo’s Ghost)- “Cheap Tricks” – I left off David Francey and Dar Williams this week, for lack of space, but I had to leave in one of my top 3 current non-local favorite solo artists.
15. Aqua (Aquarius)- “Good Guys” – Yes, this is the band that did that bizarre Barbie Girl song, and in fact this is the same album. It has a few other songs I really like that have nothing to do with Barbies. I have no idea if Aqua is still existent and what other projects its members have done since this album, but it might be worth finding out this year.
16. Bee Gees (Still Waters)- “Still Waters Run Deep” – I resisted CDs for a long time, ever loyal to my cassette tapes (and I didn’t own a CD player for a long time). This was my very first CD. Around this same time the majority of my tape collection was stolen, and I had little choice but to replace all my favorite albums, on CD, but for quite a while I owned just this CD, a few burned discs of electronica and mp3s my friends gave me, and a set of data discs of the Complete Works of Shakespeare.
17. Zach Heckendorf (The Cool Down)- “The Cool Down” – I admire artists who choose to keep these longer Germanic last names, forcing fans to learn how to spell German names correctly rather than taking simpler stage names.
18. You Me and Apollo (Cards With Cheats)- “Circles and Graves” – This is one of the bands I saw in the last few weeks of 2013, so I picked one of their songs for this week’s list. I tell some of my local musician friends they ought to build themselves up as boybands to get the lady-fans (not advice they seem eager to follow for some reason). I’m not sure what all these guys have done to get that sort of attention, but I see a surprising amount of stuff online about how cute or sexy their lead singer is (he’s very nice, and has a certain charm, but sexy? really? I’m just not seeing it, I guess.)
19. Ronan Keating (10 Years of Hits)– “Words” – I always associate Ronan Keating with bland covers of all the songs ‘everybody’ covers. Still, he has some really decent covers. I’d bet the has some really decent originals too, but that doesn’t seem to be the image he has capitalized on so far. In any case, I heard a really good cover of this one locally in recent weeks, but from a band that doesn’t have their cover on spotify, and Ronan’s version is a bit similar and pretty good.
20. Matthew Santos (This Burning Ship of Fools)– “Daughter of the Sun” – Hopefully this fellow will be back in Fort Collins this year. He played a great show last summer at Avo’s. We have a few musicians here who use looping pedals well in their live shows (my favorite being of course Tyler T.) but Matthew Santos uses his to do stuff that reminds me a lot of Paolo Nutini, which is quite a bit different from what most folks around here do with such toys. (And yes, I still want one, mainly to record more complicated multi-voice a capella songs for my own amusement.)