Songs You May Have Missed #378


Enya: “I Want Tomorrow” (1986)

In all likelihood you’ve already formed an opinion about multi-million selling Celtic new age superstar Enya. Still, you may not be familiar with one of her most beautiful melodies, “I Want Tomorrow”, from her debut, which was served as musical score for the BBC-TV series The Celts a couple years before the Watermark album–and international acclaim–came her way.

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Songs You May Have Missed #377


Fyfe Dangerfield: “So Brand New” (2009)

The chorus of “So Brand New” sounds like it owes a little something to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. But’s a nice pop song in its own right.

Classically-trained pianist Dangerfield was founding frontman of British top-20 selling band Guillemots.

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Songs You May Have Missed #376

owsleyOwsley: “Matriarch” (2003)

Will Owsley, former guitarist/harmony vocalists in the touring bands of Amy Grant and Shania Twain, leaned more toward power pop in his self-written solo work. His two albums show combination of influences from Ben Folds (a former member of one of Owsley’s early bands) to 10cc and Something/Anything-era Todd Rundgren…and, of course, the Beatles. An apparent suicide victim, this talented writer, singer and musician was taken too soon.

Owsley makes it clear who “Matriarch” is dedicated to with a whispered “Thanks, Sis” at precisely 3:38 of the song. (If you miss it the first time, click on the elapsed time to skip back 30 seconds.)

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owsley big

Jerry Garcia’s Death on Nightline

This would have been more appropriate to post in August of course. But here it is anyway…

Recommended Albums #42


Riverside: Shrine of New Generation Slaves (2013)

Riverside emerged as the best of a crop of metal-influenced Polish progressive rock bands who formed in the 2000’s. Their debut, 2004’s Out of Myself, was remarkable for its seamless blending of the metal and prog genres. It was a brooding concept album on which quiet, contemplative acoustic tracks intermingled with heavier guitar songs over a well-paced, melodic, and never-dull 53 minutes.

Subsequent releases have possessed the same magic to lesser degrees, or have leaned toward one or the other of the band’s main dynamic moods, but each seemed to trade chiefly on guitar and keyboard atmospherics ahead of songcraft.

With Shrine of New Generation Slaves  however, the focus seems to have shifted. Lead singer and chief songwriter Mariusz Duda’s propensity for acronym literally spells that out. Where their last release, Anno Domini High Definition, was an exploration of modern life’s constant swirl of motion and activity–and had a title with the acronym ADHD, the acronym code this time, SONGS, bears out the stronger emphasis on tighter, more focused writing.

And if this is indeed the breakout album for Riverside in America that many are saying it could be (they’ve already established significant followings in countries like Holland and Germany and are unquestioned kings of Poland’s prog scene) it will be the songs that kick down the door. From the multi-textured beauty of “The Depth of Self-Delusion” to the retro stoner rock sound of “Celebrity Touch” to the emotional resonance of “We Got Used to Us”, the band have assembled their finest collection of songs at least since their debut.

Nothing feels forced, it all feels organic: a well-placed riff here, a spare breakdown there…all adding up to a masterful album by a band who’s clearly come of age. And all in the capable hands of singer Duda, one of contemporary prog’s most lauded vocalists.

Spend some time with this one and it’ll reward your effort.

Listen to: “The Depth of Self-Delusion”

Listen to: “Celebrity Touch”

Listen to: “We Got Used to Us”

Listen to: “Feel Like Falling”

Listen to: “Coda”

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An Easter Reading from the Book of David Sedaris


David Sedaris: Jesus Shaves 

Praise for David Sedaris:

“Sedaris is the preeminent humorist of his generation.” (Entertainment Weekly Whitney Pastorek )
“David Sedaris is horribly observant. He sees things as they are…. He’ll be telling some weird story, and all of a sudden, just at the end, it turns out not only to be about him, but also about you.” (New York Observer Nancy Dalva )

He’s all that and more, which is why I’ve invited him (or at least his disembodied voice) to share an appropriately seasonal story about French class, Easter traditions and–true to the quote above–himself and us.

Songs You May Have Missed #375


Dido: “No Freedom” (2013)

The honey-voiced English singer-songwriter Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O’Malley Armstrong makes a welcome return in 2013 with Girl Who Got Away, and its standout lead track, “No Freedom”.

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Songs You May Have Missed #374


Barenaked Ladies: “Upside Down” (2003)

Another anthem of cynicism from one the foremost practitioners of the subgenre, Steven Page. I’ll say it again: no one since ABBA makes romantic dysfunction sound so damn catchy.

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Songs You May Have Missed #373

biffyBiffy Clyro: “Opposite” (2013)

From the Scottish band’s sixth LP, 2013’s Opposites, which was released in both single and double-album versions. There’s something to like about this band whether your taste leans toward nerd rock of Weezer, the blustery neo prog of Muse, or straight-up melodic pop rock (formerly more common in this country before folk, noise pop and chamber pop influences recently became predominant strains in indie pop).

“Opposite” is an atypically mellow moment for a band whose metal influences are commonly in evidence.

The Beach Boys–Minus the Autotune

Did you know the Beach Boys relied heavily on autotune? Here’s how they sounded without it…

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