Songs You May Have Missed #629

The Dean Ween Group: “Exercise Man” (2016)

Dean Ween and Gene Ween–Mickey Melchiondo and Aaron Freeman respectively–have made a career of what reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine called “cheerful vulgarity”.

But with Dean and Gene each having now released solo material, it’s easy to discern that Dean was the writer more given to the madcap Zappa-esque tendencies and showcases for guitar pyrotechnics while Gene provided the smoother, more mellifluous  moments of a typical Ween album.

“Exercise Man” is credited to the Dean Ween Group, but it’s classic Ween.

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Songs You May Have Missed #628

Jeremy Messersmith: “Monday, You’re Not So Bad” (2018)

…and when you’re listening to the hooky, melodic Jeremy Messersmith, it almost isn’t.

Songs You May Have Missed #627

Courtney Barnett: “Need a Little Time” (2018)

On her Grammy nominated 2015 debut, Courtney Barnett sliced through the muck largely due to a brilliant off-the-cuff lyric style, a wry, witty sense of detail, and a punk lite, almost Dylanesque delivery.

All good stuff.

But “Need a Little Time”, from the sophomore outing Tell Me How You Really Feel, confounded expectation. Where most of Barnett’s work playfully jabs at your frontal lobe, this one earnestly pulls at your heart. And the melodic hook here is like a fall into a vat of strawberry-flavored taffy.

Also good stuff.

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Songs You May Have Missed #626

Walker Hayes: “You Broke Up with Me” (2017)

This blog doesn’t plug many contemporary country tunes. But we do like to give props to a clever song in any genre. And we think “You Broke Up with Me” transcends the typically safe, vacuous ear fodder emblematic of the current country genre.

Walker Hayes brings a playful lyric sensibility and vocal delivery that may bring rapper Macklemore to mind. While bro country wants to keep singing that same clichéd song that ticks the usual boxes (Friday nights, drinking beer, pickup trucks, painted-on jeans and all the other obligatory country markers) hopefully Hayes signals something fresh.

Songs You May Have Missed #625

Mortimer: “Where Dragons Guard the Door” (1968)

Although psych pop band Mortimer were signed to the Beatles’ Apple record label and had a very English sound, they actually were originally from New York.

While visiting England they had the chance to play in front of an exec at the Apple offices. In the kind of scenario that seemingly could only happen in a bad rock and roll biopic, as they began to play George Harrison literally danced through a door into the room, said “Sign them up!”, did a twirl and danced out through a door opposite the one he’d come in.

They were signed.

Their first single was slated to be a tune called “On Our Way Home”, which was given to them personally by Paul McCartney. Due to management change at Apple, the single was never released by Mortimer, and instead became the Beatles’ own “Two of Us”, which appeared on their Let it Be LP.

“Where Dragons Guard the Door” is a bit of baroque psychedelia one would never expect from an American band.

Songs You May Have Missed #624

Golden Smog: “Cure for This” (2006)

Golden Smog, the alt-country supergroup made up of members of Wilco, the Jayhawks, the Replacements, and Soul Asylum among others, enjoyed a nice decade-and-a-half run beginning in the early ’90’s.

By the time of the release of Another Fine Day, the Jayhawks band members were doing most of the heavy lifting. The gentle “Cure for This” was contributed by that band’s bassist, Marc Perlman.

If you’re the parent of a young child, this one should hit that special spot for you.

Songs You May Have Missed #623

Todd Snider: “Beer Run” (2003)

Todd Snider’s live albums, with their combination of stoner-fied storytelling and folk songwriting chops, call to mind Arlo Guthrie. This version of “Beer Run”, recorded on the Bob and Tom show, is good inebriated fun.

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