(semi) weekly playlist #7


so after a few weeks (or was it months?) away from these playlists, i figured it was time to get another one up for those of you who care. i could give you a bunch of excuses about why it took so long for me to come up with another one of these, but that would be lame.

as always, i encourage you to support the artists and buy the music you like.

i think the average reader will like about 75% of the songs on this one. let me know what you think of the selections in the comments, and suggest songs i should be listening to.

without any further delay, here’s some music, and some words (after the jump).

01. “adoration” by glen campbell – from the album, the capitol years 65/77 – i was reading this interview with justin vernon of bon iver, and there are several amazing moments contained within, but the there was this great part about people who love things ironically. he says, “irony is based on insecurity; people like to not like things because they don’t understand them.” he’s right. too right. i mean, there’s this amazing song by glen campbell called “adoration.” when i first heard it i was like, “i love this shit, but there’s no way i can tell anyone that i do” because it goes against everything i’m supposed to like. but listen to it. seriously listen to it. i don’t mean just once or twice. i mean, listen to this goddamn song like your happiness depended upon it. because it does. listen to the music, especially the strings and the words, except the part where he tries to refute some rumor about his smoking habit and the part about changing his hair, and the part about teaching him what to wear…never mind. forget the words. but really, don’t forget them. just forget what they mean. pretend they’re in a language you don’t understand. listen to the sincerity in his voice. there’s no irony in his recitation of the lyrics. there’s no irony in those strings. and there’s no irony in what i’m writing now. i love this song more than some people love their grandparents.

02. “riding for the feeling” by bill callahan – from the album, apocalypse – this is so brilliant. more brilliant than any dream i could dream. his voice. the guitar. his putting into words the things i think but can’t say in a way that would make anyone take notice (let alone call them brilliant). “all this leaving is never ending” who comes up with lines that amazing? let me introduce you to bill callahan, ’cause he does. i know this song sounds effortless, almost lazy. but it’s not. it’s just that good. have you ever laid on your back in the middle of a field watching the clouds become animals? me neither, but as effortless as that kind of whimsy may seem, it actually takes a shit-ton of imagination to see those animals marching through the sky. almost as much as it takes to create a song this gorgeous.

03. “if you see her” by mickey newbury – from the album, i came to hear the music – i bought this awesome reissue of a bunch of mickey newbury’s records. as i read the liner notes, (yes, kids, this is one of the big reasons to buy physical records) i read this bit from will oldham (aka bonnie ‘prince’ billie, aka palace music, aka several other names) about one of his favorite mickey newbury songs being ripped off by that racist fuck, david allan coe for his song, “in my mind,” a song that will himself covered, a song that just happens to be one of my all-time favorite songs that will has ever recorded. anyway, so i start trying to find the song in the box with the cds, and damn it! the song was on a record not included in the boxset i just bought. so i (legally) downloaded the record because i just couldn’t wait to hear the song that will described. yeah. it’s amazing, and david allan coe totally ripped it off for his song.

04. “in my mind” by will oldham – from the 7″ record, in my mind here’s will oldham’s cover of that david allan coe song that was ripped off from the mickey newbury song that i mentioned above. a couple of days ago i tracked down a copy of the d.a.c version of this song and it sucked. but this one. oh man. it’s one of the most beautiful things i’ve ever heard. a note about this song that will only interest me…i took this song off of a 7″ record like, 12 or 13 years ago by playing it through my mom’s old turntable and recording it on to a tape (an amazing technological feat for someone like me). i filled both sides of a 90 minute tape with just this song, and used to listen to it whenever i was in my car. some years later i extracted the song from the tape and burned it to a cd, 17 or so times. then a couple of years after that i turned it into an mp3. the version you’re listening to is that same one i extracted all those years ago (i know, i know, who cares).

05. “criminals win” by wooden birds – from the album, two matchsticks – this song started playing and i was like, “how the hell did “queen of hearts” by juice newton get into my music library?” i really, really hate that song. but i really like this one.

06. “queen of hearts” by fucked up – from the album, david comes to life – a way, way better song than the juice newton song. this is not a cover version (but i kinda wish it was).

07. “i don’t want love” by the antlers from the album, burst apart – this song started playing and i was like, “how did this annie lennox song creep into my music library?” it took me a few seconds to realize i wasn’t listening to a new annie lennox song, and that the person singing was actually a man. it doesn’t really matter though. it’s a pretty awesome song.

08. “county line” by cass mccombs – from the album, wit’s end – i absolutely love this record. like, i want to listen to nothing but it, but i found that it’s hard to listen to under certain circumstances. for instance, it’s not the best thing to listen to while driving. it’s too soothing. i tried to listen to it while i drove from milwaukee to chicago a few weeks ago. i almost fell asleep. that may sound like a bad thing, but it’s not. except when you’re driving. so i got to thinking, “damn, there has to be a perfect place to listen to this record…i hope i find it someday.” a few days later i was in chicago and found myself with a couple of new friends, being led through a graffiti-covered plywood wall and into total darkness. it was after 1:00am. we were stopped by an enormous doorman who used the light of his mobile phone to check our ids. he disappeared and a few seconds later he returned and escorted us through a set of floor-to-ceiling curtains into the most elegant place i’d ever been allowed into. it was bathed in a sea of aqua blue (i remember it being aqua blue, but maybe it wasn’t), and as soon as i stepped into the room, i heard the words, “county line, county line, county line, i left so far behind” and was like “this is it! this is exactly the place this record should be played!” i drank the second best, and by far, the strongest old fashioned i’d ever had as i talked to my new friends. this whole record played as we did so. it was a perfect night.

09. hard to break by vetiver – from the album, errant charm – this song is also soothing, but in a less elegant, more 70s am radio kind of way than the cass mccombs song. if your parents graduated from high school in the 70s (like mine did), they’ll love this. it will remind them of their youth, even though it was released in 2011.

10. “nothing can tear it apart” by l’altra – from the album, telepathic – i have loved this band for a while, then when i was drinking with my new friends in chicago, the guy was like, “i played drums on that new l’altra record.” i thought that was pretty awesome, but i was kinda awestruck so all i could say was, “yeah? that’s pretty awesome.”

11. “minnesota, wi” by bon iver – from the record, bon iver, bon iver – enough has been written about this record in the last few weeks, so this will be short. i suppose i could talk about how a couple of songs sound like they were written/arranged/recorded by bruce hornsby, or i could tell you about the sort of uncomfortable moment that happened last week when one of those hornsby-sounding songs started playing while i sat in my backyard with two of my most cynical friends. or i could tell you how seeing the cover art finally convinced me to pull the trigger on buying some artwork by the guy who created the piece on the front of the record. but none of that is interesting. as justin (sort of) said in the interview i quoted at the top of the page, take off your ironic cap for a minute and just enjoy the damn record.

12. “witches” by low – from the album, c’mon – i heard this song and was instantly entranced. i love the part where the singer (alan sparhawk) is talking shit to some guys for trying to sound like al green. i keep trying to figure out what led to this song. you know, like, does he just keep ending up at bars where he hears dudes trying to sing like al green? was he finally so pissed off after this happened the 15th time that he felt compelled to write a song like this, just to knock these dudes down a few notches? and how awesome is that, really? i mean, when i go to bars and have to listen to shitty, no-name bands, all the lead singers are trying to sing like the guy from def leppard or poison or some other terrible band. i know i’d rather listen to an al green sound-alike any day.

13. “especially me” by low – from the album, c’mon – same band as above, with the wife singing this time. i really like records with that sound completely different from song to song.

14. “without a focus” by the rosebuds – from the album, loud planes fly low – everyone needs a focus. if you don’t have one, your life will be meaningless, and you’ll just stare off into nothingness, life jack nicholson’s character at the end of one flew over the cuckoo’s nest. i did that for awhile once. it wasn’t as fun as you may think.

15. “double demon” by starlicker – from the album, double demon – it’s songs like this that make me wish my parents would have been really overbearing and forced me to be in band or orchestra or something when i was a kid. if i could make music like this, i would feel invincible. but i can only listen to stuff like this, so i feel pretty dumb most of the time.

16. “everybody’s got a problem” by father’s children – from the album, who’s gonna save the world? – more r&b/soul genius rediscovered/rereleased by the numero group. i think i’ve said this before, but if you see the numero logo on a record, buy it. you won’t be disappointed. unless you hate great music. in that case, you should buy it anyway and learn once and for all that coldplay is not the only band in the universe and that they in fact, suck.

17. “comfortable home (a true story)” by ty segall – from the album, goodbye bread – everybody wants a comfortable home. i love my home. as cluttered as it is with maddy’s toys, our books and my records, it makes me feel good to know that i can live in some measure of comfort. and if for some reason things went south for us, i would have enough records and books with which i could construct a pretty amazing (if not completely structurally sound) home for us to live in. and maddy would still have her toys, which is cool.

18. “tangle for the less” by will johnson – from the ep, little raider – i used to work with a guy who had the same name as this guy. he was a nerdy guy who rose pretty quickly through the ranks of the corporate world (which is great if you’re into that type of thing). one day during an offsite meeting he ended up mispronouncing the word “rococo” over and over again. i tried not to laugh, but i couldn’t help myself. that was the day he lost my respect.

19. “blue spotted tale” by fleet foxes – from the album, helplessness blues – a beautiful lullaby. i could see it adapted into a children’s book or something.

20. “razorbacked” – d. charles speer & the helx – leaving the commonwealth – i had no idea what to think about this record before i bought it, but the label that released it only releases great records, and the cover art had me intrigued. i was a little worried that it was going to be some pretentious noise-rock record or something, only because the guy uses one letter and a period for his first name (something usually practiced by total dicks), but i was way pleasantly surprised when i got it home and it turned out to be a totally unpretentious country record. this song is great.

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