Late spring is such a raw and wet time of digging out from under the ice and (maybe) melting snow (not this week though, in Colorado). There is something about the world that seems undressed, on the verge of new, and full of promise. It is as if all of nature around me is living that wonderful Ryan Adams lyric “precious little thing / with eyes that dance around without their clothes.”
I know this is late-ish, but I’m gonna call April a wash and declare it not too late to salvage this spring. Some of these songs are borderline summery too, so if you live somewhere that’s already green and warm, then you’ll find fodder to soundtrack for whatever goodness this season brings.
UNDRESS ALL THE WORLD ::
THE FUEL/FRIENDS SPRINGTIME 2013 MIX
Love Like This – Kodaline
With a whistle stretching cleanly over the horizon and a melody that explodes in technicolor bursts, this carnival of a song dives right in head first – not even caring if love like this won’t last forever. Bold move.
Needle – Born Ruffians
“I belong to no one, like the watermelon / rolling with momentum / spitting out its seeds. Buried under snow and waiting just to show us how it grows…” This song dovetails in with the last one, I find, all about the deliciousness of sometimes being “a song without an album.” And after that warmly layered fleet-foxy intro, it breaks into a full-on shiny indie dance anthem.
Undress The World – The Milk Carton Kids
The simple purity and Paul-Simon-ness of this song feels effervescent and wide-eyed believing — in spite of the fact that nothing around the heroine of the song is whole. I also realized, in a holy crap moment, that I wrote about Milk Carton Kid Joey Ryan way back in 2008, after a musical scavenger hunt to discover who did the soundtrack for the indie film Bella. Good then, good now.
Jumper Cables – Widower
A hugely wide-open song to start the terrific Fool Moon record from Seattle’s Widower. I’ve had all of these semi-woeful lyrics running a bare path through my head lately, because they are so perfectly surgical, all “ferris wheels of feelings” and such (and, you know, that’s what I do). You should really come see Widower at my Fuel/Friends BBQ House Concert on May 23, to kick off Memorial Day Weekend and summer and all those good things, and since Kevin is coming all that way.
Pompeii (house show version) – Bastille
This is my favorite recording lately, just listening to it over and over on repeat (especially in my car), and basking in all that joy. The best tiny moment comes at 1:29, after that avalanche of a drum cascade and you hear a guy laugh out loud of sheer happiness, almost disbelief. I’ve been trying to be that appreciative. That laugh made me sure that he and I could be friends.
Jericho – John Fullbright
This song, from 24-year-old Oklahoman Fullbright, is just one sonofabitch of a marvelous song, one you feel like you know as an old friend from the first time you hear it, as he struggles with waiting for something –the right thing– to unfurl.
To The Bugs On My Ceiling (with River Giant) – Edmund Wayne
I love this sundrenched, golden EP from Seattle band Edmund Wayne (joined here by River Giant, who I will see at Timber! Fest in July). There’s a slinky, inebriated feel to this song that enchants me as it winds its way through the speakers, all falsetto and rueful regrets. Maybe it reminds me a lot of the way Jeff Buckley’s “Everybody Here Wants You” also made me feel, and there is not a thing wrong with that.
Little Numbers – BOY
Two Swiss/German gals in a band called BOY; tricky — and goddamn catchy. There is no way to listen to this song without tapping something, even if it is a mental airdrum solo in your head. Spring is making promises outside.
Just To Know What You’ve Been Dreaming – Will Johnson
Centro-matic / South San Gabriel frontman Will Johnson came and stunned us all in a house show and a chapel session last week, and since then I have been listening to even more of his music than usual. This song is from his 2004 record Vultures Await, which is heavy on the piano and also helps restore some hope in me about the good things that are out there waiting. Life is wide, as Will told me with simple confidence, over my kitchen table.
Joe DiMaggio Done It Again – Houndmouth
I nestled this one up next to Will’s song because he loves baseball as much as I do, and this is the season, the most blessed season of them all. With lyrics written by Woody Guthrie, originally sung by Wilco and Billy Bragg, covered here by the fiery Houndmouth: you cannot go wrong with a song like this. I already have plans this year to see two Giants games in Denver, a Twins game in MPLS, a Mariners game in Seattle, and I couldn’t be happier.
I’ll Slip Away – Rodriguez
I love how the music of long-overlooked Seventies folk musician Rodriguez is all over the place these days after the release of the fantastic documentary about him, Searching For Sugar Man. “And I’ll forget about the girl who said “no” / then I’ll tell who I want where to go … Maybe today, I’ll slip away.” This song and this season both make me want to explore and take advantage of every sunny day and unfrozen road.
Hardly Are You Lonely – Desirae Garcia
Hazel-eyed Colorado luminaria Desirae Garcia (from the Haunted Windchimes) has devastated me in the best possible way with this little vinyl EP Ill Fitting she recently put out, just four songs recorded at home to tape. They navigate dark waters with fearlessness, a flower on the ocean floor. She plays an early show tonight at the Bridge Gallery in Colorado Springs for First Fridays.
Specks – Matt Pond PA
An older tune from 2010′s The Dark Leaves, this song bravely professes, “I believe in energies that no one has to see for us to prove,” which sums up some of the faithfulness required to completely enjoy spring, doesn’t it? Currents are rising in the specks of silver in the sky, and gold in the river running.
Time To Run – Lord Huron
On the recommendation of my friend Joe Pug, I have recently discovered that this is a terrific album to (not only name one of your favorites of 2012 but also) run to. The warmly calescent percussion and themes of appreciating this world and not wanting to leave it, even when sometimes you have to escape to the desert, make my daily runs quite a bit more enjoyable. Of course Joe gets to run in Texas and I am still fighting off ice storms, but I’ll make up for it come July.
Don’t Watch Me Dancing – Little Joy
Perhaps you remember this wonderful gem of an album, a side project from Fabrizio Moretti (The Strokes), Binki Shapiro, and Rodrigo Amarante (Los Hermanos) that feels like you wandered off in 1960s Cuba and found yourself slow-dancing on a porch somewhere after a few too many rum and cokes.
I Will Not Die in Springtime – Chris Porterfield of Field Report
For a dude who died in 1864, Stephen Foster is just absolutely tearing it up on the Fuel/Friends seasonal mixes lately — He also penned “Hard Times Come Again No More” which opened my fall mix. But to hear Field Report‘s Chris Porterfield give such heartfelt treatment to this lovely elegiac hymm about music on the breeze and soft, delicious murmurs, well….how can anyone resist?
Muchacho’s Tune – Phosphorescent
This is a song for rolling away the stone, for realizing that the river is running bigger and faster than you are, even as you lag in the dirty city snow for a while. Between the shadow and the storm lays this amazing record, one of the best of the year so far, hands down.
We’ll See The Sun – Houses
I already put this song from Denver band Houses on a summer mix in 2009, but fuck it, this season needs it all over again. I heard this song reverberating through my internal brain-speakers the other day when I was lying flat and worn out after a yoga class, and all of a sudden the sun split through the heavy grey clouds that had been blanketing Pikes Peak, right before it set, and shone directly into my eyes through the huge windows. Yes.