April’s Picks: November 2013

April MoseleyWhat’s this? A new feature on Why It Matters?  Let’s hope so. April Moseley is a long time reader who approached me with the anti-“Deep Cuts”–a playlist of new music that you should be listening to. Here’s how she describes herself:
I am a child of the late ’70s and ’80s.  I cut my musical teeth there, for better or worse. I grew up begging for a 45 at the grocery store or an LP for Christmas.  Neither worked out on a regular basis; however, that didn’t dent my need, my love, for music.
I can relate. Here are April’s recent picks. Give her lots of love so that she comes back next month with more:
 “Normal Person,” The Arcade Fire (Reflektor). This track begins as a skulking, piano driven soul rock tune that eventually breaks down into a strong, guitar driven chorus.  Anthemic background vocals lend the song a vast sound. I chose this because it is the most sonically accessible song from the album.
“Strike Gently,” The Dirty Heads (Home Phantoms of Summer: The Acoustic Sessions). Stripped down vocals featuring a mandolin characterize this track. I chose it because of the raw lyrics, their musical presentation, and their ability to convey honesty.
“Hell and Back,” Airborne Toxic Event (Dallas Buyers Club Soundtrack). A powerful electronic rock anthem. This regret stained tune builds to a raucous chorus, musically and vocally, equally drawing the listener in. Chosen because it resonates with the plight of the everyman, plus it rocks.
“Come Back,” White Denim (Corsicana Lemonade). A loose funk/rock track with a definite seventies influence. Laid back guitar and bass with a liberated percussion evoke Southern California. Chosen for it’s great ’70s sound and the way the song transitions throughout, constantly engaging the listener.
 “Freaks,” The Hawk in Paris (Freaks). A pulsating, somewhat haunting track. Vocally driven by provocative lyrics and sound. Chosen because of the driving, hypnotic beat.
“I Can Bet,” Paul McCartney (New). Classic Wings era McCartney: jaunty guitars, sonically rich vocals.  This well-produced (Giles Martin, son of famed Beatles producer, George Martin) cut blends unobtrusive electronic sounds with acoustic guitar pop sound. Chosen because it encompasses and  bridges Sir Paul’s sound, old and new.
“Sleeping By Myself,” Pearl Jam (Lightning Bolt). A lilting, mid-tempo track that showcases the vocal evolution (and production) of Pearl Jam as a band. Eddie Vedder’s voice is strong and clear, while the band’s backing vocals really help to bring this song together. Chosen because the sound is unmistakably PJ, but different enough to intrigue.
 “Far Away Places,” Willie Nelson feat. Sheryl Crow (To All The Girls…). A classic ballad previously remade numerous times (most notably by Bing Crosby in late 1948) that speaks to the wanderlust of the human spirit. Sheryl and Willie complement one another very nicely on this simple song of “maybe someday.” I chose it because it is soothing and beautiful.
 “This Lonely,” Ernie Halter (Labor of Love). Funky, rock track reminiscent of early 80’s Stones. Bass driven, pop gem. Chosen because it’s got a great, if unoriginal, beat and song structure. Also, well produced.
“Open Ended Life,” Avett Brothers (Magpie and the Dandelion). An honest, well written song. Though classified as country, this song has rock ‘n’ roll bones. A beautiful ode to domestic freedom.
“The Night Comes Again,” St. Lucia (When the Night). A slow burning intro gives ‘way to nostalgia fueled lyrics before embarking on an ’80s synth odyssey. Chosen for its expansive sound.
“Shotgun Shoes,” The Fratellis (We Need Medicine). Raw vocals and a strong backbeat propel this gritty tune. A plucky glorification of the Rock n Roll Lifestyle.
(no clip)
 “Wake Me Up,” Avicii (True). A unique marriage of vocally driven electronica with a smattering of bluegrass chord structure and instrumentation. A catchy send up of youth being wasted on the young.
“Dark Age,” Capsula (Solar Secrets). A sludgy rock track that harkens to the 1970s drug hazed sound. This song has a big yet sparse, sound. The backing vocals also help frame this song chronologically. Chosen because of its gritty sexiness.
“Cry Cry,” Stone Temple Pilots (High Rise). Slinky, fluid track builds into a biting chorus.  This is the band’s first album with new lead singer Chester Bennington (Linkin Park).  Bennington and the boys remain true to the STP sound structurally while Bennington forges his own way without straying too far from what fans have come to expect vocally from STP. Chosen because it is an encouraging new direction for this band.

2 replies »

  1. Some great picks. I personally LOVE White Denim and was nervous if the new album would be a sophomore flop or not. It certainly isn’t and has been spinning here at my house non stop.

    I think Reflektor is a grower album with a few tracks that feel a bit too long. My fav track after a few listens is Afterlife.

    A few other new albums I would ad to the list are: Arctic Monkeys, Jagwar Ma, Dr. Dog, Lissie and Wahsed Out.

    Thanks for the list, a few were new to me artists that I enjoyed listening to.


  2. Thanks, AnnieBanannie! I appreciate your feedback! I dig the new Artic Monkeys too. I’ll have to check out the others you mentioned. Not familiar with Jagwar Ma or Lissie, I’m intrigued.


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