“Grit and Glitter” playlist

The name doesn’t really make sense. I was going to put really gritty songs and some synthy pop on a playlist and sorta changed a lot of the songs eventually. The flow isn’t perfect, but there are some good up beat songs as well as some slower, melodic ones. I made a Spotify playlist, so you can listen to that here.

gritandglitter

  1. “Future People” – Alabama Shakes
  2. “She’s Not Me” – Jenny Lewis
  3. “Video Girl” – FKA twigs
  4. “Sober” – Childish Gambino
  5. “Colony (Sombear Reach 4 Remix)” – Now, Now
  6. “I Was a Fool” – Tegan and Sara
  7. “Bright” Echosmith
  8. “Crystals” – Of Monsters and Men
  9. “Master Pretender” – First Aid Kit
  10. “Call Your Girlfriend (Robyn cover)” – Allison Weiss
  11. “I Love You, Honeybear” – Father John Misty
  12. “Flying Saucer Blues” – Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s
  13. “Who is You Lover?” – yellowbirddd
  14. “Allston” – Tancred
  15. “Digital Witness” – St. Vincent

Listen to a demo from Richard Edwards

Richard EdwardsRichard Edwards, the singer-songwriter behind Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, just released a demo on his Soundcloud account titled “Something Wicked.”

Edwards, who has released music under the Margot band umbrella since 2004, has changed his sound over the years. First the band was almost an orchestra with horns and strings. The chamber pop of their first two releases got a little rowdier with Buzzard and even more so with Rot Gut, Domestic. Then he stripped everything down for last year’s Sling Shot to Heaven, which relies heavily on Edwards, his raw vocals, and gentle guitar.

There’s no saying what the new album that he already plans on recording this year will sound like, but it will most certainly feature his intricate lyrics that read almost like extremely short stories. “Something Wicked” is a perfect example. It’s about not caring about a girl’s new man and how certain that the new man is doing her wrong.

Along with releasing the link, Richards thanked fans for buying a little from the band’s merchandise store, but claimed the song probably won’t make the album.

Thanks for picking a few things up from the merch store to help fund recording. Here’s a newish demo of a song that probably won’t be on the record, as a thank you.

It’s slow and emotional. For a demo, it’s pretty perfect. Check it out below.

My 10 favorite albums of the year (so far)

My dear Paste issued their “Best Albums of 2012 (So Far)” and I love a lot of the albums the editors wrote about. But, since I have a peculiar sense of music perhaps, I have decided to grace you with 10 albums I love and can’t quite get enough of.

[Spotify play list here]


10. Random releases – Childish Gambino
: So Donald Glover hasn’t released any album just yet, but he’s released quite a few tracks that may or may not show up on his soon to be released mixtape (that may or may not come out on Independence Day). His new releases have been met with his biggest criticism yet, which resulted in him using a lot of tweets to respond to the media. There’s a reoccurring joke in the offices about my undying love for Donald, so it should come as no surprise that I would bend the rules to include him in my list. Suggested track: “Eat Your Vegetables”

9. Up & Away – Kid Ink: I’ve only heard the album a few times since it was released earlier in June, but it reminds me of mixtape era Drake.  That being said I have to say it’s the vibe the album gives me and it wasn’t the lyrics that grabbed me. It was the mixture of traditional hip-hop and R&B with a dash of modern flavor that made me throw this on here. It’s not usually what I go for in an album, but it’s more of a guilty pleasure. Who says average lyrics don’t cut it when the flow and overall attitude makes it work? Suggested track: “Time of Your Life”

8. Stars and Satellites – Trampled by Turtles: While this may be a heavily stringed bluegrass album, I never thought of it that way. It’s everything I look for in an album: melodic, intricate and soothing. These boys might be from Minnesota, but I was damned to find out that they weren’t back country of the south where all there is to do is drink and learn to diddle some impressive strings. It’s not an album that I’d throw on at a party, but it’s most certainly one I’d want to listen to as I criss-cross the country in my sedan. Suggested track: “Alone”

7. Breakfast – Chiddy Bang: Knowing how to have fun is what makes a lot of hip-hop work for me. Chiddy Bang is a duo that has infectious rhymes over poppy, indie electronica. I was really grooving on “Handclaps and Guitars” for a bit, but now realize that the song is really just a piece to the puzzle. It’s filled with a lot of clever wordplay that keeps surprising me with each listen. Still, it really is the beats that makes this album. Suggested track: “Mind Your Manners”

6. Rot Gut, Domestic – Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s: So, one of my favorite bands only hit number six on my list. It’s not because I don’t love how much darker Richard Edwards made this album. From the first chord throughout the journey of self-loathing and recovery I still find myself rearranging my list of all time favorite Margot tracks, with a lot of these near the top. I feel like I spent a lot of time with Edwards through interviews, but more so through his lyrics and this bad boy is no different than any other album he has crafted. While there are still fans bitching and moaning over how “old-Margot” is better, this second album from the heavier sounding band goes to show Edwards and crew aren’t messing around. Suggested track: “Books About Trains”

5. The Lumineers – The Lumineers: Wholesome love ballads and one of the catchiest tracks (“Ho Hey”) in recent memory. That’s what this adorable trio from Denver laid out in what I strongly feel is this year’s The Head and the Heart. Passionate acoustic guitar and raspy vocals lead the way over foot stomping drums and a classic cello weaving through song after song. It’s one of those albums that I have to tell people,”You know that famous song? Well, the deep cuts are better. By leaps and bounds.” Yes, that is a sentence taken verbatim. I feel that once you listen to this self titled debut you’ll understand the magic behind the quirky and wholesome nature put behind each lyric and melody. Suggested track: “Stubborn Love”

4. Boys & Girls – Alabama Shakes: This is one of those albums that when you listen to the vocals you can’t help but make the “stank face.” What Brittany Howard is able to accomplish feels so dirty. And so good. She’s a modern day Janis Joplin, but packs a punch. You listen to the band and you can’t help but want to get down. It’s grimy. It’s soulful. It’s what music needed and it’s something you should most certainly pick up if you haven’t. Not only will pretentious 18-year-olds tell their friends that they’ve heard of these guys since before this album dropped, but middle-aged folk who know nothing about music will understand the wonders that unfold on this debut. Suggest track: “I Ain’t the Same”

3. The Lion’s Roar – First Aid Kit: First of all I’m tired of hearing these sisters’ music described as “Swedish Americana.” I know I’m guilty of it because it’s so simple to refer to the Swedish duo’s genre as Americana, but it’s really just Swedicana…if that even is such a thing. Everything is perfect on this album. The instrumentation, the lyrics and, above all else, the vocal harmonies. It starts off with two smash singles (“The Lion’s Roar” and “Emmylou”) so you’d expect the rest of the album to pale in comparison. You’d just have to, right? Wrong. Just listen to it all and fall in love. Suggested track: “Blue”

2. My Head is an Animal – Of Monsters and Men: This is probably my most listened to album on the list. I technically have the European version, but even with the switched tracks and rearranged order, this break out debut is a stand out. It blends everything I could ever want. Female vocals paired with a male. Offbeat instruments like an accordion. Cinematic build. An explosion in my brain. I pick a new favorite song every time I listen to it because the album is just. That. Good. And while all of these performers are amazing live (I haven’t seen Kid Ink, Trampled by Turtles, Chiddy Bang and First Aid Kit) this Icelandic band takes the cake…right behind Mr. Glover. but that’s comparing apples and oranges. Suggested track: “From Finner”

1. Threads – Now, Now: This is different for me. Now, Now’s music isn’t what I’d normally call my preferred genre. I feel a really strong connection with the album. The notion of searching for a common thread in life is something that I have been seeking for myself. If music were books, this might fall under the “Young Adult” section. That’s not to take away from the gravity of the album. In fact, the emotional topics are expressed vibrantly in a dreary manner. The misty exploration will have a lot of listeners going, “Yup. Know that feeling.” It’s the album that I put on for people to see how compatible we are. I know a lot of people will overlook this one, but if you don’t appreciate it at all then…you’re done, son. Suggested track: “School Friends”

‘Laaadies’

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a themed-playlist. Luckily, I’ve been thinking of a few and this one is a set of songs that have beautiful ladies’ names in the titles. I’m not sure if I have perfected the flow yet, but this is as close as I’m going to get for the moment. he list features some popular songs from their respected bands, as well as some of my favorite tracks and even some I don’t listen to as much as I should.

You can enjoy the playlist here via Spotify. It is also availble via Rdio here. (Note: David Wax Museum and yellowbirddd are not currently on Rdio and have been left off…)

  1.  “Sweet Louise” – The Belle Brigade
  2.  “Lorelai” – Fleet Foxes
  3. “Yes, Maria, Yes” – David Wax Museum
  4. “Hannah” – Freelance Whales
  5. “Chloe in the Afternoon” – St. Vincent
  6. “Shannon” – Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s
  7. “Miranda” – Surfer Blood
  8. “Alex” – Girls
  9. “Katy With a Y” – yellowbirddd
  10. “Mariah” – Cass McCombs
  11. “Willetta” – Dear and the Headlights
  12. “Jade” – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
  13. “Emmylou” – First Aid Kit
  14. “Ada” – The National
  15.  “Betty’s a Bombshell” – Grouplove

Richard Edwards on his own music

I talked to Richard Edwards, frontman of Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s quite a bit over the past couple of months at places like Drunken Unicorn in Atlanta and at DeLuna Fest  in Florida as well as multiple phone conversations for a feature that will go live in tomorrow’s (March 20) Paste Magazine mPlayer.

At the tail end of one lengthy conversation I asked him to discuss his favorite songs he had written for each album and which one he’d like to change. It was more of a fanboy moment than a journalist moment, but I wanted to share part of the transcript. This particular interview took place on January 30 via a phone call.

On favorite tracks written for each album:

Dust of Retreat – The only one on there that I can still listen to without cringing – I think “Skeleton Key” is a really interestingly laid out song. I get why people like it. I wish the lyrics were different – but the one whole song on there that I still think is pretty good is “Bookworm.” I know it’s probably not most people’s favorite, but that one sounds a little bit mature, I guess, than any of the other stuff on there.

Not Animal – I don’t think it’s the best song on there necessarily, but I really like that “Shivers” thing. I just like listening to it and it was always fun to play. It never seemed to go over that well; that’s why I think we quit playing it. I don’t think that’s the best song on that record. That record has some songs that are pretty good, but that’s definitely one of my favorites.

Animal! – It’s not quite as easy. “O’ What a Nightmare!” is always kind of up there for me. I really like that “Mariel” song. I still think “My Baby Shoots Her Mouth Off” is a creepy, cool song. If I had to pick out of all of them I’d probably say “O’ What a Nightmare!”

Buzzard – It’s tough. I still like quite a bit of those a lot. Probably “Birds.” It’s probably the best song I’ve written in general. It’s number one on there. I think “New York City Hotel Blues” and “Claws” are pretty good songs. I really like “Tiny Vampire Robots” a lot. It feels really cool when I listen to it.

Rot Gut, Domestic – My favorite song on there is probably a song called “Fisher of Men.” It’s kind of another rock song. It’s another one that I don’t really know if it’s the best song on there technically, but I like it the best.

On the song he would want to change the most:

I can’t get into Dust of Retreat that much and I’m happy for people who can. I was still very young and didn’t quite have my voice as a singer. It’s hard to listen to it without wishing I could have discovered my voice which I guess I have found since that record. That whole record is kind of difficult to listen to.

I really, really, really wish “I Am a Lightning Rod” was not recorded the way it fucking is. And “A Love Song For Schuba’s Bartender.” Those are the only two major regrets that I have as far as recordings and they are kind of huge major regrets. I think “Love Song” was a nice kind of funny ballad and it got worked over to where it sounded – I don’t know. It doesn’t sound like us. It sounds like a band trying to record a song that they feel self conscious about being a ballad. “Lightning Rod” was one of my favorite songs and I kind of thought of it as sort of – I don’t know. Forget what I thought it was, but what it ended up being I really, really have a problem with some of the guitar stuff on it. I think it kind of Radioheaded it up. It’s another one that I listen to that when those moments come up it kind of bums me out because I feel less like naturally what comes to us and a little bit more like it’s trying a bit too hard to mess with something as opposed to playing it pretty naturally like we would. I wish that song was a lot more sparkly. I wish I would have just recorded by myself with an acoustic guitar. Then it, at the very least, it will sound like us and not like a stretch.

After those songs specifically I became a lot stricter and proactive about making sure that nothing was happening on tunes that didn’t feel like it came from me or us naturally. I like the songs and that’s the bummer; I just wish that they were done with a bit more whatever-who-gives-a-fuck mentality.

‘Crackpot Mind’

Made another playlist. This one really didn’t have much thought to it and I’m not sure about the flow yet. There’s a lot of slower jams (what else is new?) and some artists I’ve never included in a 15 song set. I’m also too lazy to link all of the bands, so you’ll have to Google them yourself.

The title of it comes from one of the first lines from the first song. Enjoy.

  1. “Lunatic, Lunatic, Lunatic” – Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s
  2. “second wind” – yellowbirddd
  3. “Dane to Another Tune” – First Aid Kit
  4. “Yellow Brick Road” – Angus & Julia Stone
  5. “Missing Things” – JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound
  6. “That’s My Baby” – Sleeper Agent
  7. “Dead Sea” – The Lumineers
  8. “Sloom” – Of Monsters and Men
  9.  “Cheerleader” – St. Vincent
  10. “Hold You Down” – Childish Gambino
  11. “I Know Places” – Lykke Li
  12. “Prehistoric” – Now, Now
  13. “Gold Mountain” – Slow Club
  14. “Won’t Back Down” (acoustic Tom Petty cover) – Company of Thieves
  15. “Down in The Valley” – The Head and the Heart

My 5 most anticipated albums of 2012

Paste recently posted our 25 albums that the staff is looking forward to. My main man Tyler compiled the list and I had a hand in writing two write ups. One was my most anticipated album of the year (which is Paste’s 13th) and the other was just because I’ve been doing a lot of write-ups on the band.

Anyway, I’ve decided that I need to give you my five albums I’m most looking forward to.

5. TBA MixtapeChildish Gambino (TBA)
Donald Glover recently posted a blog saying that a mixtape was coming soon. While it’s still up in the air about when this would happen, it sent me into a frenzy. I’m trying to get a hold of his publicist so that I can get confirmation. Needless to say, a follow up to my favorite album of 2011 so soon would be the ultimate gift.

4. TBADavid Wax Museum (TBA)
I recently interviewed David Wax and Suz Slezak, and they told me their ideal release for the follow up to last year’s Everything Is Saved would be September. Their last album was one of my favorites from 2011 and I’m excited they want to make a more concise sound so quickly and are pushing to get another set of songs out by year’s end.

3. The Lion’s RoarFirst Aid Kit (Jan. 24)
You won’t have to wait long for this album. These Swedish sisters sound like they’ve been playing Americana since birth and have nearly perfected the folk singer-songwriter skills. What makes the album special is that it takes classic American folk, but uses Swedish influences that put a unique spin on what you’d expect.

2. The Lumineers The Lumineers (March)
I’ve already obtained an advanced copy, and can promise you this will be a favorite for many of you. Think Edward Sharpe, but less kitschy and more solid. It takes an autobiographical approach to a mixture of emotions and adds layers of fun sounds that have become quite popular in recent years. I can already count four possible singles off of it, but the rest of the album is just as solid.

1. Rot Gut, DomesticMargot and the Nuclear So and So’s (March)
When wouldn’t a Margot album be my most anticipated album of a year? I was shown the album cover during an interview (which will turn into a feature in March) with Richard Edwards a few months ago and he told me I was the first person outside of the band and close friends to see it. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this and loved the acoustic versions I witness Edwards play in Florida of “Prozac Rock” and “Coonskin Cap.”  It took me a bit to get used to Buzzard, but now that I know what to expect…boy, oh, boy! March can’t get here fast enough

‘Letter Home’

Lately I’ve relied on the good nature of friends to allow me to stay at their places while I lead what I’ve been calling a “homeless chic” lifestyle. I’ve been on the search for income, but that’s another story for another day. Needless to say my sleep pattern has been off because of a lot of aspects of my life have been pulling me in all sorts of directions and crashing.

But I digress.

Last night I got the three and a half best hours of sleep that I’ve had in a long time and I guess my body decided that four a.m. was an appropriate time to wake up. Throughout that time I thought of a new mix I wanted to create and just finished it up. I tried to pick out lyrics that helped explain my search of a home and a better understanding about where I’m going in life.

I’ve accompanied the track listing with lyrics I pulled out. It’s weird, looking back on them I realized that I think a lot of the “you’s” that are mentioned are some sort of home, or in some cases they’re me.

Its title is ­Letter Home; here it is.

  1. “Letter Home” by Childish GambinoCamp
  2. “Rivers and Roads” by The Head and the HeartThe Head and the Heart
  3. “Lucky Guy” by The Belle BrigadeThe Belle Brigade
  4. “Won’t Go Quietly” by Company of ThievesRunning From a Gamble
  5. “Plant a Garden” by TW Walsh Songs of Pain and Leisure
  6. “To a Poet” by First Aid KitThe Lion’s Roar
  7. “Look What You’ve Done To Me” by David Wax MuseumEverything Is Saved
  8. “Call It Off (Live) by Tegan & SaraGet Along
  9. “Mistaken For Strangers” by The NationalBoxer
  10. “Never Let Me Go” by Florence + the Machince –  Ceremonials
  11. “bare bones love” by yellowbirddddmissing
  12. “Cookskin Cap” by Margot and the Nuclear So and So’sLive From DeLuna
  13. “Cruel and Beautiful World”  by GrouploveNever Trust a Happy Song
  14. “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” by Noah and the Whale – Last Night On Earth
  15. “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Up From Below

Here’s some lyrics that stood out from each track:
  1. “You’re the only girl that I have ever wanted, every other girl is trying to be you”
  2. “And they’re going to better places, but our friends will be gone away”
  3. “Seems like a hell of a way to start out for me: walk right in and cause such misery”
  4. “I will not go quietly! I will not be silenced!”
  5. “I cannot stress this point enough: plant a garden when the going gets rough”
  6. “Oh, there’s nothing more to it; I just get through it”
  7. “I stay right where I am for the sake of this love”
  8. “Maybe you would have been something I’d be good at”
  9. “Make up something to believe in your heart of hearts so you have something to wear on your sleeve of sleeves”
  10. “Though the pressure’s hard to take, it’s the only way I can escape. It seems a heavy choice to make”
  11. “But now the world is getting smaller and i’m losing track of the days”
  12. “Keeping my ears warm, breaking my heart”
  13. “If it seems like we’re falling behind, we’re just slippin’ and tuggin’ from the mouths of our mind”
  14. “You’ve got more than money and sense, my friend, you’ve got heart and you go in your own way”
  15. “Home is wherever I’m with you”