Songs You May Have Missed #153


The Kooks: “Eskimo Kiss” (2011)

British pop band the Kooks, fronted by Luke Pritchard, make sunny, unabashedly catchy pop tunes that you may have a hard time dispelling once they get inside your head. This one just transports me to a nicer place…

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2013/04/24/songs-you-may-have-missed-396-2/

Songs You May Have Missed #152


Garfunkel & Oates: “Pregnant Woman Are Smug” (2011)

…or if you prefer, a live performance:


It’s true. Oh, it’s damn true.

Songs You May Have Missed #151


Camera Obscura: “Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken” (2006)


Glasgow’s Camera Obscura revives sounds of 60’s pop to delightful effect, similarly to The School (Songs You May Have Missed #79, Recommended Albums #20) but with less of a lean toward bubblegum girl group sounds and more of the orchestral country pop flavor of Connie Francis and Skeeter Davis. Tracyanne Campbell’s delivery, with just a touch of a Scottish accent, is definitely part of the quirky appeal.

Another example of indie pop plundering the pop gold of past decades and melting it down to make pretty new things.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2013/07/03/songs-you-may-have-missed-439/

Justin Bieber Lyrics

funny graphs - Justin Beiber lyrics

PBS History Detectives: Dylan’s Newport Folk Festival Guitar?

Everything changed the moment Dylan went electric at Newport. Dylan’s own music, folk music, rock ‘n’ roll — they all moved in new directions. And the guitar at the center of the controversy, it went silent for almost five decades … until now.

The PBS program History Detectives aired an episode that tried to determine whether Dylan’s electric axe may have wound up in the hands of Dawn Peterson, the daughter of a pilot who flew planes boarded by Dylan and other folk musicians. The forensic evidence suggests that it’s the real deal. But Dylan, through his lawyers, insists that he’s still in possession of the history-making guitar. It’s another layer of controversy that began 47 years ago.

(reprinted from Open Culture)


The World is Full of Pretty Girls (And Pretty Girls Are Full of Themselves Too)

Robbie Fulks does a moderately amazing Jerry Reed impersonation on a song Jerry would have been proud to have written.


Destination/How to Get There

Recommended Albums #22

Do Things

Dent May: Do Things (2012)

Dent May’s latest is a departure in style from 2009’s Good Feeling Music of Dent May, which was credited to “Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele”. First, the uke is gone. Do Things makes use of a wider variety of instrumentation to explore a broad range of pop textures. The resulting sound may not be to everyone’s taste, but is decidedly fresh.

More importantly, the songwriting has taken a step forward from May’s past releases. This album is a consistently pleasing listen almost from start to finish, although it may take you a few spins to warm up to it–one must get past the delivery and unconventional sound. After that, though, it’s pure Brian Wilson-informed pop bliss.

May inhabits an idyllic 50’s-60’s pop dream world of happy vibes and positive messages. The instrumentation of certain songs and high-pitched lead vocal may bring the Beach Boys to mind, but the beats are a mix of cheesy Casio keyboard and 70’s disco. In fact, you can match up the beats of certain tunes with the specific disco song they emulate. “Don’t Wait Too Long”, for example, contains the rhythmic skeleton of Chic’s “Good Times”, while “Parents” has the same beat as Shirley & Company’s “Shame, Shame, Shame” with a slower tempo. Maybe this is what the Beach Boys would have sounded like had they formed in 1977, at the height of disco, rather than the peak of a surfing craze.

Contemporary pop may have no single sound that will define it for kids of the future to some up neatly because it’s mostly made up of borrowed and recycled sounds of past eras. You could choose to see this as reason to criticize its lack of originality, but the originality comes in the synthesis of past styles. Let’s face it, almost everything’s been done at this point. What makes the best new pop so much fun is that someone like Dent May can take the innocence of the sixties, the disco beats of the seventies, the synths of the eighties, and mix in a little of that contemporary ironic/homage viewpoint to create a found art from the borrowed parts–a great summer record for 2012.

Listen to: “Best Friend”

Listen to: “Tell Her”

Listen to: “Parents”

“Best Friend” video clip:

Recommended Albums #21

Rumor & Sigh

Richard Thompson: Rumor and Sigh (1991)

For the uninitiated, Richard Thompson is, quite literally, a legendary British singer, songwriter and guitar god. His renown is somewhat limited outside circles of fans of British folk rock, but catalog is rich with musical treasures waiting for those of eclectic tastes to explore.

Thompson was the teenage lead guitarist and contributing songwriter with the iconic folk rock band Fairport Convention, where he made a huge impact despite his limited time with the band. Shortly after going solo, he made a series of highly regarded albums with his then-wife Linda, herself a leading light of the English folk rock movement. Two of their albums, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight and Shoot Out the Lights made Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the Top 500 Albums of All Time.

After his early 80’s breakup with Linda, Richard again recorded alone, and Rumor and Sigh is a highlight of his solo career. There’s lots to like here, from RT’s twisted, acerbic outlook, often presented through the point of view of a made-up character (a la Pete Townshend) to catchy almost radio-friendly hooks, to his incredible virtuosity on acoustic and electric guitar, to songwriting of the highest caliber.

“I Feel So Good” is sung from the viewpoint of a newly-freed inmate looking to make someone pay for the time he lost. “Keep Your Distance” is an acknowledgment of weakness in the face of an old love (with us it must be all or none at all). And “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” is nothing short of a modern folk classic–the tale of an ill-fated relationship between a red-headed girl, a hell-bent boy, and his prized bike–featuring some of Thompson’s finest acoustic picking.

If you appreciate intelligent rock with an English flavour and aren’t yet familiar with this man’s work, allow me to hold the door for you: you’re about to enter a dark wonderland…

Listen to: “I Feel So Good”


Listen to: “Keep Your Distance”


Listen to: “1952 Vincent Black Lightning”

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