January 15, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

Start the week off right with some satire, courtesy of The Onion in their article History of Rock Written By The Losers:

“BOSTON—Fifty years after its inception, rock ‘n’ roll music remains popular due to the ardor of its fans and the hard work of musicians, producers, and concert promoters. But in the vast universe of popular music, there exists an oft-overlooked group of dedicated individuals who devote their ample free time to collecting, debating, and publishing the minutiae of the rock genre. They are the losers who write rock’s rich and storied history.” [full article here]

Well come on. Someone has to do it.

Here’s some of the music that I am listening to this week, avoiding sunlight, hunched over my laptop (wait, it’s currently zero degrees here, so what else am I to do?!):

The Swimmers

A delightful jaunt from this new indie-pop group from Philadelphia, off their upcoming album Fighting Trees. Friend Tom passed this along with the highest recommendation, calling it the first truly important release of 2007. Those rock-nerd trivialists may know singer Steve Yutzy-Burkey’s first band One Star Hotel, but this new incarnation in music remains relatively unknown outside Philly and strays (appealingly) from the previous alt-country sound. You can stream the entire album on their minimalistic website, or peruse their MySpace. The album Fighting Trees comes out this Spring – refreshing, lithe, insanely catchy pop.

Frank Black
I almost did backflips when I listened to this yesterday for the first time since high school. From the cascading opening drumbeats, this is a perfect pop song that I had completely, utterly forgotten until I read Ben Kweller’s Celebrity Playlist and suddenly it all came flooding back to me. Playing it loud, I effortlessly sang along from the deep recesses of my memory. From (former Pixie) Frank Black‘s 1994 album Teenager Of The Year.

Money To Burn
(acoustic on BBC Radio One)
Richard Ashcroft
A great song from Ashcroft‘s 2000 album Alone With Everybody, I love the urgency and blissful romantic short-sightedness in this song: “You light my fire, I want to burn all night, I want to burn on through. I got one short life, I want to spend it on you. Oh we got one last dance, I want to dance with you — Come on now.” Download the other two songs in this ace mini-set from the BBC on Sweet Oblivion while you can.

Kaiser Chiefs
A stomping new one out of Leeds from Kaiser Chiefs, who were basically hailed as the second coming of The Jam or The Clash for awhile there in 2005 when they invaded the States and taught all the indie kids that it’s okay to pogo a bit during their ferocious live shows. A fine (if slightly nonsensical) ode to a classy dame named Ruby (like my Grammy was), this is from the upcoming Yours Truly, Angry Mob, due in late February on B-Unique Records.

I Have A Dream
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Not a song, but still an mp3 that’ll do you good to listen to. Anyone who has ever taken a public speaking class likely knows the genius of the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. From the cadence and the repetition, to the alliteration, the biblical metaphors . . . dude had it all — and used it to get under your skin in a (thankfully) unforgettable way. Although he had dozens of superb speeches, this one is his most famous and also the one that still makes the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It’s got a lot more to it than the parts you hear quoted most often, and is worth a re-read. This was delivered August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. You can also read and listen to excerpts of other great speeches by MLK Jr here.


  • Great roundup today!
    That Onion article was damn funny.
    I’m almost afraid to admit it, but my desk looks almost like the one in that picture surrounded by stacks of cds.

    Good call on the MLK, listening to that man talk is as good as any song.

    -tom — January 15, 2007 @ 10:50 am

  • Ditto what Tom said re: posting the MLK. Thanks.

    Rich — January 15, 2007 @ 2:22 pm

  • There’s a song Santana’s “Milagro” album that opens with that speech :)

    groovyf — January 16, 2007 @ 11:28 am

  • I read the I have a dream speech to my kiddo’s last night. Not sure that it had quite the impact that I was hoping for, but maybe it will when they’re a little older than 4 and 2.

    JJ Courtright — January 16, 2007 @ 11:31 am

  • Thanks for the Philly shout out.
    We dig these guys!


    Bruce — January 16, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

  • I’ll be interested to see if the new Kaiser Chiefs record is any good… saw them open for Foo Fighters and Weezer a while back, and they were pretty solid.

    F.J. Delgado — January 19, 2007 @ 5:50 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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