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 clich├ęd 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

Jeremy Messersmith: “Organ Donor” (2010)

Gifted Minneapolis-based indie singer-songwriter Jeremy Messersmith can drop a devastating lyric line into an understated arrangement or find a fresh metaphor that makes you laugh out loud at a heartbreaking truth. After his first LP caught the ear of twin cities vet Dan Wilson of Semisonic, Wilson produced Messersmith’s second release, The Reluctant Graveyard, which made multiple year-end best-of lists for 2010.

Wilson and Messersmith make effective use of spare accompaniment at times. The video for “Organ Donor” has an effective barebones arrangement too…

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.

Songs You May Have Missed #622

Supergrass: “Seen the Light” (2002)

3-chord punk pop was a thing in both Britain and America in the 90’s. The difference is that, whereas bands like the Clash, the Jam and the Sex Pistols may have influenced bands on both sides of the big pond, British pop punks of the 90’s additionally had a strain of Madness in their DNA…along with some Kinks and Small Faces. And Supergrass is the result. Sort of the English Green Day. Sort of.

Songs You May Have Missed #621

Moby Grape: “8:05” (1967)

 

1960’s San Francisco band Moby Grape were the epitome of a perfect democracy–or perhaps a hippie commune. Every member sang. Every member contributed material. And that material was more diverse than their pigeonholing as a psychedelic band would suggest.

moby

Their catalogue shows off a variety of influences: blues, folk, country and straight-ahead three-guitar rock, often ornamented by four-part harmonies. “8:05”, from their much-hyped 1967 debut, shows their acoustic country rock side.

The band were short-lived due to personal issues and poor management. Like the innocence of hippie 60’s San Francisco, they basically washed out by the end of the decade; their chapter in rock history is perhaps a perfect microcosm of the story of the summer/bummer of love.

Songs You May Have Missed #620

The Monroes: “What Do all the People Know” (1982)

San Diego pop band The Monroes enjoyed their one moment in the sun in 1982 with the infectious “What Do all the People Know”, which peaked at number 59 on the American pop charts. It echoes the sounds of all those new wavey songs you’ve heard before–except you’ve probably not heard this one before.

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