Artist Picks

Artist Playlist: What Music is Fort Lean Listening To?


FortLeanPlaylist

Brooklyn-based Fort Lean has been churning out some incredibly infectious, freewheeling indie rock for the last year, and their profile is about to rise even more with the release of their New Hobbies EP and album Quiet Day later in the year.

In addition to putting out hits like “Cut to the Chase” and “Easily,” the group has also spent most of the summer on the road, touring heavily throughout the west coast and southwest.

To fill those long hours on the road the quintet has been consuming plenty of tunes, and they were gracious enough to make us a playlist of what kept them going as they cruised from Cambridge, MA to Tulsa, OK. Hit the jump to continue.

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Artist Picks: What is Alice Boman Listening To?


AliceBoman

Alice Boman first came across my radar with her song “Waiting,” which immediately gave me the chills. It reminded me a lot of the song “You and Me” by Penny and the Quarters, made famous by the film Blue Valentine. It had that same vintage, warm feel to it. Since then, Alice has released a handful of other songs that all give me that same feeling – we’re not alone even on our saddest days. She’s one of a group of artists today who are making what might be worth calling alt-misery, and she stands out with her minimalistic approach.

When an artist really captures my attention, it’s fun to find out who inspires them to make such powerful music. Alice Boman fits the bill perfectly, so I asked her to take part in our Artist Picks feature. I can hear bits of who I think Alice is as a person in the music she chose. Take the song “Please Stay” by The Cryin’ Shames, for example, which mirrors the sadness and old-school vibe that Alice weaves into her songs – it’s really neat to see the similarities.

Artist Picks is a series we do where we turn the tables and ask artists for their current music recommendations. It’s a fun way to discover art that’s inspiring creators, rather than just hearing the opinions of influencers like myself. We ask the artist to list 10 songs that they’re currently listening to, tell us why they picked that song, and we put together a playlist with all of their picks plus our favorite song by that artist him or herself.

Hit the jump to listen to Alice’s picks and read her explanations for each song.

 

Follow Alice Boman on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

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Artist Picks: What Music is Raleigh Ritchie Listening To?


RaleighRitchie

Raleigh Ritchie is somebody we’ve been keen on for a while here at Sunset, but lately I’ve been unable to stop listening to his song “Bloodsport.” One of my friends told me the other day that he, too, has been unable to stop listening to “Bloodsport” ever since discovering it on my 2014 Spotify playlist. This inspired me to get to know Raleigh Ritchie a little bit better myself, so I reached out to him to see if he would participate in our Artist Picks feature.

Artist Picks is a series we do where we turn the tables and ask artists for their current music recommendations. It’s a fun way to discover art that’s inspiring creators, rather than just hearing the opinions of influencers like myself. We ask the artist to list 10 songs that they’re currently listening to, tell us why they picked that song, and we put together a playlist with all of their picks plus our favorite song by that artist him or herself.

One might think Raleigh Ritchie’s stunning music is enough to speak for itself, but there’s more to the man that I think you should know. First of all, his stage name is a result of Jacob Anderson’s (Raleigh Ritchie’s birth name) obsession with Bill Murray. He searched through every Bill Murray character he could think of, and eventually settled on names from The Royal Tenenbaums (Raleigh was Bill Murray’s character and Ritchie was Luke Wilson’s). The other thing worth knowing is that he’s also quite well known for his acting career – he acted in Game of Thrones and Adulthood. Not having seen either of those films myself, I trust that he’s a talented actor as well, but selfishly, am very glad he picked up music.

And just like his talents span multiple genres, so too do his musical tastes. I asked him to share 10 songs that he’s currently listening to on repeat, and they range from a quirky song that you might imagine hearing in a Wes Anderson film (mostly “Figure Eight” by Blossom Dearie) to an upbeat trap song (“My Different” by Big Narste). And there’s a whole bunch of variety in between.

Not all of the songs are available on Spotify, so pardon the couple of standalone extras. Hit the jump for the full song list with Raleigh Ritchie’s reasoning for each song and to stream all songs, including Raleigh Ritchie’s own “Bloodsport.”

Follow Raleigh Ritchie on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Google+

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[Artist Picks] What Music is GoldLink Listening To?


GoldLink

Do you ever find yourself wondering what hip hop artist GoldLink listens to in his spare time? Well, we did. So we asked the mysterious artist himself. This is part of our Artist Picks feature.

Artist Picks is a series we do where we turn the tables and ask artists for their current music recommendations. It’s a fun way to discover art that’s inspiring creators, rather than just hearing the opinions of influencers like myself. We ask the artist to list 10 songs that they’re currently listening to, tell us why they picked that song, and we put together a playlist with all of their picks plus our favorite song by that artist him or herself.

If you know little about GoldLink, you’re not far off from the rest of us. Most of what I can tell you is that the 20-year-old rapper out of Virginia has been releasing incredible hip-hop tracks, but none of us yet know what he looks like. You read that right; the young artist has yet to show his face to the cameras. In his latest release, which is a music video for his song “The God Complex (When I Die),” he features some young actors, but GoldLink himself is not featured in the video. (The song is a clip from his upcoming EP The God Complex, coming out April 1st. You can watch the music video at the bottom of this post.) Oh, but the other thing I can tell you, judging from the list of 10 songs that he told us he’s listening to, is that he has a great taste in music.

Hit the jump to see and listen to his list of 10 songs he’s listening to, read about his picks, subscribe to the SoundCloud playlist, and watch the music video for his song “The God Complex (When I Die).”

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[Artist Picks] What Music Is Vance Joy Listening To?


VanceJoy-ArtistPicks

Artist Picks is a series we do where we turn the tables and ask artists for their current music recommendations. It’s a fun way to discover art that’s inspiring creators, rather than just hearing the opinions of influencers like myself. We ask the artist to list 10 songs that they’re currently listening to, tell us why they picked that song, and we put together a Spotify playlist with all of their picks plus our favorite song by that artist him or herself.

Today’s artist in the spotlight is Vance Joy, the man behind the incredibly catchy ukelele song “Riptide” that has garnered over 6 million views on YouTube and is among Spotify’s “10 Most Viral Tracks.” One day last year I asked fans of the Sunset Facebook Page what their favorite song of 2013 was. Multiple people picked “Riptide.” What these people and many other fans of Vance Joy might not know is that Vance Joy (birth name James Keogh) randomly decided to write a song while in law school, and the result was “Riptide.” Needless to say, the song was a rip-roaring success. Since then, the Melbourne-based artist has been named among Shazam’s “10 Artists Predicted To Break in 2014,” Spotify’s “Spotlight Artists for 2014,” Time Magazine declared him an “Artist To Watch,” and Billboard listed him as one of the “Top 10 Artists Making Global Noise.”

And perhaps what piqued my interest the most is that Vance Joy has been selected to go on a major North American tour with one of my favorite bands of 2014, Young The Giant. If you’re able to go to one of the shows when the bands are in your neighborhood, I would sincerely urge you to go. Vance Joy will soon be a headliner himself, so catching him as an opener for another incredible band is a steal. For full details on the tour and ticket information, visit his tour website here.

Hit the jump to see the what music Vance Joy is listening to and subscribe to the Spotify playlist.  Continue reading “[Artist Picks] What Music Is Vance Joy Listening To?” »

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[Artist Picks] What Music is T0W3RS Listening To?


Derek Torres of T0W3RS

Welcome to the 7th On The iPod feature. This is one of my personal favorite features on Sunset. To refresh your memories, let’s recap what this feature entails. We are asking people, be they artists, listeners, or fans, what they would do if they were stranded on an island with an iPod that held only 10 songs. Which songs would they pick and why? This week we asked Derek Torres of T0W3RS, a band out of North Carolina that Sunset is predicting to be a game changer. There’s a high chance you haven’t heard their music yet, because frankly they’re quite new and haven’t really hit it big in the marketing/PR game yet, but soon enough you will realize what you’re missing. Hopefully that can happen today when you are introduced to the incredible taste of Derek Torres.

A sample song by T0W3RS: “Scout/”

Introductory words from Derek:

It is a fact that when I was 11 years old I really liked Limp Bizkit. Now, it goes without saying, I think they are one of the most god-awful things to come out of the early Millennium, but there was a time in my life when “Break Stuff” got the repeat treatment. If I could now go back to visit my 11-year-old self, I would slap him around, hand him an Iggy Pop record and say, “This is real! You dumb little shit!” I realize tastes always change, and mine has indeed in 14 years. What would my 39-year-old, time-traveling counterpart say to me now? “You really think you’re cool listening to Grimes, you dumb bastard!?” These songs I have chosen, with a few exceptions, are songs I truly love. These are the songs that, after 14 years together, I can still wake up next to and whisper, “Darling, We will be together forever.” 

Hit the jump to read about and hear the entire playlist from Derek Torres of T0W3RS.

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[Artist Picks] What Music is Ludwig Goransson Listening To?


On The iPod with Ludwig Goransson

Welcome to the 7th Artist Picks feature. This is one of my personal favorite features on Sunset. To refresh your memories, let’s recap what this feature entails. We are asking people, be they artists, listeners, or fans, what they would do if they were stranded on an island with an iPod that held only 10 songs. Which songs would they pick and why? This week we asked Ludwig Goransson, one of Sunset’s favorite emerging producers. If you live like us in the hyperactive world of the Internet, chances are you’ve heard Ludwig’s music somewhere. His resumé is impressive. He is Childish Gambino‘s main producing partner, he also produced Haim‘s catchy debut EP, he dropped a solo EP this year under the Ludovin moniker, and he composes for hit TV shows such as New Girl and Community.


1. Michael Andrews – I’m Not Following You

If I was stranded on an island, I would start listening to something that would help me dream away. Also because I do a lot of film scoring, I feel obligated to choose at least 1 film score song. I heard this song right before I moved to the States, and it changed my perception about what a film score has to be. It opened up my ears to how important it is to have your own voice, and that’s something I really think Michael Andrew has.

2. Loney, Dear – Airport Surroundings

Loney, Dear is one of my favorite Swedish artist right now. I love the dynamics in this song, how it grows and breaths. Also, I love the bass lines, and I think it’s kind of funny that the song sounds like an ’80s action movie in the end.

3. Kurt Rosenwinkel – If I Should Lose You

Kurt Rosenwinkel is and will always be my big idol. His interpretation of “If I Should Lose You” is flawless. Although I love his original songs I chose this one because I love music that makes you feel sentimental and melancholic. If you listen really carefully to his guitar tone, you can hear that he is singing in falsetto at the same time in the background, that’s what creates his unique tone.

4. Beach House – Used to Be

Continuing the feeling of sentimentality and melancholia, I chose the best representable song of those feelings and also my favorite song of 2010. I listened to this album so many times I can’t listen to it anymore, but I’d still choose it as one of my 10 tracks (that’s how much I like it). I also saw Beach House at the Hollywood Bowl in 2010 which was an amazing show.

5. Stina Nordenstam – So Lee

I got introduced to Stina Nordenstam by my sister when I was around 10. I remembered I thought she sounded like a smurf. A few years later I couldn’t stop listen to her. Her voice is so interesting, so whatever she sings her voice will make it sound new and different.

6. Meshuggah – Future Breed Machine

Every now and then I have the urge to listen to really heavy metal, and the only metal band I listen to is Meshuggah. They are the real innovators of metal, and I haven’t heard a band since them that has the ability to make so perfect song structures and arrangements. Meshuggah is the best live band I’ve ever seen, every time I go home after their shows I feel like I got my heart punched to a bloody mess by a double kick drum. Also, blasting Meshuggah in the car ride home from Coachella really helped me to not fall asleep, in other words they kind of saved my life.

7. Jan Johansson – Mellan Branta Stränder

I think this piece is so beautiful and simple it doesn’t need anything else.

8. The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

I just started to listen to Beach Boys a couple of years ago. Every time I listen to them I get inspiration for my productions. Even though these songs are recorded over 40 years ago, the production still feels so fresh. I have some very obvious Beach Boys references in my TV scores, especially New Girl.

9. Alexander Rahbari & The Belgian RTV Philharmonic Orchestra – Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring – Part 1: L’adoration de la terre

If I would be left alone on an island, why wouldn’t I have the best piece of music ever created with me? An interesting fact is that the premiere involved one of the most famous classical music riots in history. The intensely rhythmic score and primitive scenario and choreography shocked the audience that was accustomed to the elegant conventions of classical ballet. At the start some members of the audience began to boo loudly. These were soon followed by shouts and fistfights in the aisles.

10. Meek Mill – Amen (ft. Drake & Jeremih)

Meek Mill’s “Amen” goes hard in my iPod right now, I’m such a sucker for that gospel piano. It’s such a perfect beat.

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[Artist Picks] What Music is G-Eazy Listening To?


G-Eazy

Welcome to the 6th Artist Picks feature. To refresh your memories, let me recap what this feature entails. We are asking people, be they artists, listeners, or fans, what they would do if they were stranded on an island with an iPod that held only 10 songs. Which songs would they pick and why? Up to bat: G-Eazy, one of Sunset’s favorite emerging hip-hop stars.


1. Nas – Halftime

Illmatic is probably one of my 3 favorite albums of all time. It’s hard for me to pick my favorite song off of it, because it’s really one of those I like to listen to top to bottom. But if i had to pick one song to have on my iPod, itd be halftime. He goes in so hard on this track, these verses never get old. His bar structures and rhyme schemes are so crazy.

 

2. Kanye West – Drive Slow

It’s really hard to pick a favorite Kanye song, but this one is a classic, it just never gets old. The story he tells is so vivid… And that beat, man… He flipped 2pacs “shorty wanna be a thug” and just made it sound so much better. It’s definitely one you can play over and over.

3. Outkast – Aquemini

This is one of my favorite beats ever, that bass line… that rim shot that pops so clean with all that reverb, and that crispy hi-hat with that flanger on it… man. Then Andre’s verse comes in so clean. Just a great record. It’s perfectly weird and spacey, it kinda defines Outkast to me.

4. Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

My grandpa and my mom both used to play Johnny Cash records all the time, so I heard them over and over again growing up, and I eventually got into his music on my own later on. He’s always been a staple on my iPod or iPhone or whatever.

5. Harry McClintock – Big Rock Candy Mountain

This is legitimately one of my favorite songs of all time. The story of a utopia told from the perspective of a hobo coming down the railroad tracks in those days is fuckin classic. Plus I’d need some of that to keep my spirits up.

 

6. 2Pac – Thugz Mansion

This is basically pac’s version of ‘big rock candy mountain’. If I was stranded on an island I would definitely need these records on my iPod, just so I could imagine being there.

 

7. The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby

I’ve always considered myself a loner, but I actually really enjoy my solitude – so this song in a lot of ways has always spoken to me. Plus it’s just basically awesome as fuck. I mean that double string quartet arrangement goes so ham, and the vocal harmonies on the chorus are so dope. I’m typically more of a John fan, but Paul really did his thing on here.

8. The Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever

It’s so hard narrowing it down to just 2 Beatles songs. To be honest, I could probably live with all 10 being by the Beatles, but for the purpose of this list I’ll keep it to 2. But this one is really a masterpiece of a song.

9. Daft Punk – Something About Us

This song is just beautiful. I mean that whole album is great but this song always stood out to me. It’s something I’ll always be able to listen to and appreciate.

10. Lupe Fiasco – Day Dreamin’

I figure if I was stranded, I’d have plenty of time to lay around and kick it… this would be a perfect record. It’s also my favorite Lupe song.

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[Artist Picks] What Music Is The Record Summer Listening To?


The Record Summer Bret Rodysill

Welcome to the 5th Artist Picks feature. To refresh your memories, let me recap what this feature entails. We are asking people, be they artists, listeners, or fans, what they would do if they were stranded on an island with an iPod that held only 10 songs. Which songs would they pick and why? Up to bat: Bret Rodysill, better known in the music world as The Record Summer.

Reading back through this, there are more contemporary, and sometimes even cheezy or overwrought songs on this list than I might have expected.  But when I really thought about which songs would make me okay, if truly stranded on a desert island–the things that have the strongest memories, heartbreaks, and summers that were, well, great fucking summers–these were the songs I’d personally most like to listen to for better or worse if I had nothing else, and that was the question I was asked.  These are the songs that could put me somewhere in the world if I was nowhere in the world.

1.  Rip It Up–Orange Juice

One January I was sitting in this bar around Brick Lane in London, where there are all these curry houses and rock clubs, and this song came on.  I went up to the DJ, asked him what it was, and afterward I was playing it for weeks.  That guitar riff is so simple and shrill, but works so well with the melody.  It’s a great example of a song with very few changes that sounds bigger.  Shows the power of melody, I suppose.  I included this song because it always pulls me out of where I am and just makes me want to move around ridiculously, which seems okay in the context of the song.  Just Youtube the video and you’ll know what I’m talking about.  Plus the lead singer looks a little like Rick Astley.  Just saying.

2.  Gimme Shelter–The Rolling Stones

This was an easy one for me.  I’ve always loved this song because it’s absolutely sinister, like everything is on the verge of going wrong, like someone just looked across the room at someone he knows he shouldn’t screw, but he will, and she knows it too.  It’s about the good parts of the dark parts.  There’s something to be said for those parts.  The title of the album, “Let it Bleed,” is fitting; sometimes you just have to let go, even if it’s really, really going to hurt later.

3.  Check the Rhyme–A Tribe Called Quest

This may appear to be an odd choice, and it is, but I couldn’t do without it.  An older friend of mine got me into these guys early in high school, and I really started to dive in deep around the time I got my driver’s license.  My birthday is at the end of May, so it was perfect–I got my license, and I chose to use it by dicking around with a friend all summer in the car during the hours when I wasn’t at my job at another friend’s pizza restaurant.  These were a lot of hours.  The Low End Theory was on constantly in the background.  Oh, and by the way, this was in Minnesota, the whitest place on earth (according to Chris Rock).  He’s probably right.  Everyone lost their fucking minds when they heard us pulling up to a stoplight.  But we weren’t blaring the bass or anything.  We just loved the music.

4.  The White Stripes–The Hardest Button to Button

I chose this for two reasons: (1) because it’s a great song to remember how a simple two piece can be devastating and (2) because I remember hearing them play out at Coney Island a couple of years ago, and when Jack White ripped into this, it was probably the best live display of letting yourself run as a performer I’ve ever seen.  Something like when he played Son House’s “Death Letter” at the Grammys and just lost it.  You see Quentin Tarentino standing up in the crowd thinking, “He does with music what I try to do with movies.”  I normally play and write pretty restrained music, but it’s great to know I could rip the strings off my guitar if I wanted to.  I’d just never be able to do it nearly as well as Jack White.

5.  Summertime–DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Surprised?  I’m not.  I’m not saying Will Smith is a good musician, or really even a musician at all, but this song came out when I was eight years old, and holds a certain place for me off in the distance.  It always reminds me of times when I didn’t have to worry, as if everything were alright because nothing that went wrong could possibly be my fault, as if I was too young and stupid to know any better, and at the time I was.  There’s nothing wrong with pleading ignorance every once in a while, and that’s in a way what this song is for me; I’ll always plead ignorance on this one.  This song is a guilty pleasure, and I find nothing wrong with that.

6.  Breathe–Telepopmusik

After I had moved to New York and started college, I went to Thanksgiving at this girl’s house in Connecticut.  It was wild and strange–her older brother and sister came in drunk the night I got there, and the sister threw a high heel at the brother and split his nose open.  The girl was leaving for some work-related thing a few days later, and was preparing for that, so I felt slightly on my own, and everything was just all over the place around me.  But, I remember the second day I was there, in that bizarre afternoon pause before you go eat the Thanksgiving meal, she and I were sitting in her study and she put this song on.  It was so mysterious to me for some reason, just the sound of it.  It made sense.  I felt like everything around me was mysterious.  It confirmed something fundamental in my mind, and I always still put it on when I want to have some reason to open my eyes up a little at what’s going on.

7.  Poison–Bel Biv Devoe

Mostly to remind me of vocals–the impact of a good vocal break.  This is clearly a hip hop song, and most of it is pretty linear, but there’s this pre-chorus (“can’t drive me out of my mind”) where he just kills it, and when I was a young kid sitting upstairs with a collection of three tapes–this, the Top Gun soundtrack, and Roxette’s Joyride (yeah)–I could not get over it.  I sang along over and over.  I still sing along with it.

8.  Rebel, Rebel–David Bowie

The main riff throughout this song just cuts into you like knives.  It’s raw and unrestrained.  It’s absolutely wild.  That’s what I love about it.  The guitar tone is about as exposed as it could be.  You can hear every little crack in it, and it works.  When I record electric guitar tracks for my next record, I’m going to try to go for this tone, exactly, as I’ve always loved it.  It just sounds how an electric guitar should sound.
9.  Kreuzberg–Bloc Party

I can’t think of a more beautiful song.  I never expected to say that about a Bloc Party song, but it’s true.  Every time I listen to it, I get uncontrollably sad, and I like that for some reason.  Maybe it’s because sadness is an extremely strong emotion for me, definitely stronger than anything close to happiness.  But I’m alright with that, as awful as it is.  The song sounds like the season’s changing and you’re getting ready for one hell of a winter to come.  I had broken up with the first girl I was probably in love with around when I first heard this song, and I related it to that, to the sadness stemming from that, which may have been an obvious reference in retrospect, but still, it was a perfect metaphor for what was coming.  And, as it turns out, I was right.  That next year was a shitty year.

10.  Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl–Broken Social Scene

This is such an abnormal song.  There are all kinds of Eastern elements in it, these bends and sighs, and it’s fitting for the subject matter.  We’re all always sighing when we’re growing up, always getting over something.  In fact, I think I’m still growing up, still bending, still sighing, still getting over something.  This song is probably meant to memorialize the specific time and place of that experience–growing up in suburbia–but it sweeps wider.  We’re all still growing up in one way or another.

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[Artist Picks] What Music Is Brett Shady Listening To?


brett-shady_the-devil-to-pay-06

Welcome to the 4th Artist Picks feature. This feature was created about seven months ago, and I was hoping to make it a more regular feature, but, totally understandably, it takes people a while to prepare their list of what could be their Top 10 Songs of All Time. To refresh your memories, let me recap what this feature entails. We are asking people, be they artists, listeners, or fans, what they would do if they were stranded on an island with an iPod that held only 10 songs. Which songs would they pick and why?

Brett Shady began writing songs four years ago after a cross-country tour with the band Golden Shoulders. His songs paint a picture of heartbreak and regret and raise questions of good and evil deeply rooted in the American songwriting tradition. Most of the ten songs on his debut album, The Devil To Pay, were written about his move from Northern California’s gold country to Los Angeles ten years ago, a period Brett says was “full of isolation, depression and struggling to find my place in the world.” Recorded in Nevada City by renowned engineer/producer Dana Gumbiner, the album features an ensemble of veteran musicians and is now available.

Here’s what Brett had to say:

***

I’ve been agonizing over this list for the past few days, as I always tend to do when trying to come up with a definitive list because I know I’ll think of something I left off or forgot.  And I’m sure I’ll have a completely different list within about a month.  But the basis of this feature is very cruel anyway: only having ten songs on a deserted island?  For the rest of my life?

Well, here’s my list. I tried my best to include individual songs that really mean something to me personally, instead of just trying to represent my favorite bands or artists, which means I regrettably have left off Randy Newman, Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith and others (picking one song from them would be nearly impossible so I chose not to).  Anyway, without further ado and in no particular order:

1. “Summertime” – The Zombies
The Zombies were all I was listening to during one of the my best and most unforgettable summers.  It was after I graduated high school but before moving to LA.  I was unaware of how complicated and unforgiving life was about to become, but knew something was about to change.  It was an exciting, innocent and heartbreaking summer. Colin Blunstone’s vocals are so smooth and cool, especially on their version of this song.  It’s been done by so many great people, but this Zombies cover is probably my favorite.

2. “The Only Living Boy in New York” – Simon and Garfunkel
When I was recording my album, we were trying to come up with a percussion idea or something and someone suggested listening to this to get an idea.  As soon as it started, just hearing it coming through the same speakers I’d been listening to my songs over and over on, I felt so defeated and depressed by how beautiful it was.  It’s always been one of my favorites from S&G, but hearing it then just illustrated how much further I had to go.  It was a wonderful ego-check and I think I’d need to have it handy.

3. “Detour Ahead” – Billie Holiday
When I was about ten, I had a Blue Note Female Jazz Vocalists cassette tape compilation that I would listen to every night to get to sleep.  It had about ten or twelve songs that got burned into my brain, this one being the song that stuck with me the longest and most intensely.  It’s definitely in the top five of the best songs I’ve ever heard.  So good! I think I’ll actually put it on right now.

4. “Bring It On Home To Me” – Sam Cooke
It was between this, “These Arms of Mine” by Otis Redding and “Try Me” by James Brown as the one soul ballad I would have to have on that horrible songless island.  But Sam edged the other two out slightly because this song is one of the greatest ever recorded.

5. “When You Find Out” – The Nerves
This list so far is missing some energy. I’m sure I’d also want to dance around at some point, and this song would definitely get the job done. There was a period of time several years ago when I was looking all over the place for this song and couldn’t find it anywhere.  Now that it’s readily available, I’ll never have an iPod without it.

6. “Big Iron” – Marty Robbins
I don’t think I could go too long without hearing Marty Robbins’s voice (and those background vocals!).  I was going to pick “El Paso”, but my friend Dana played it live once and had me come up and sing with him on it and I screwed up the lyrics pretty bad, so I figure it would just make me think of that over and over again.  There are too many other great Marty Robbins songs to choose from anyway.

7. “You and Your Sister” – This Mortal Coil
This version of the Chris Bell song is one that I would never want to be without. Kim Deal and Tanya Donelly’s vocals can make my heart totally melt or break it into pieces depending on when I listen to it. There’s a quality in those voices that, along with the simple arrangement, is hard to forget or top.

8. “Ode to LRC” – Band of Horses
I think I need to have at least one song from the 2000s. I figure it would make a nice moment if I’m sitting, watching the sun set on my private island while hearing Ben Bridwell sing, “The world is such a wonderful place” and then it hits that great crescendo…  Ah, life.

9. “Rise Above” – Black Flag
I’d need some aggression so things don’t get too sappy.  This song can act as the representative for all the punk in my heart.  One of the best live shows I ever saw was the Black Flag Tribute/West Memphis 3 Benefit at Amoeba Music in Hollywood with Henry Rollins, Keith Morris and Chuck Dukowski.  When Rollins came out and ripped into Rise Above, I knew it was a moment I’d always remember.  Screaming at the top of my lungs with my good friends Matt and Geoff along with the rest of the crowd in positive solidarity is a moment I’d love to have with me there.

10. “Familiar Terrain” – Bobby Birdman
This song doesn’t seem to be available and I’m not sure if he ever recorded it in a studio. Back in ‘99, I moved from Nevada City, California to Los Angeles (Van Nuys, to be exact). During my first trip back to my hometown the following year, my buddy Adam gave me a cassette tape of a show I had just missed. My friend Rob was now called Bobby Birdman and he played with Adam’s great band at the time, The Gears (not the LA punk band, the Beatlesy pop band) at a local coffee shop. I completely wore out that tape over the next few years. This song in particular became the soundtrack to what I had left behind: the security and warmth of a beautiful hometown that I knew I had to get out of but also knew would haunt me from that day on. It begins with my friend Alison’s awesome laugh and voices that I can instantly recognize talking in the background during some awkward crowd participation, and then Rob totally kills it. Whatever the song meant to him, to me it will always be a way I can get back home.

Honorable Mentions:

“Any Old Wind That Blows” – Johnny Cash
“Marie” – Randy Newman
“So I Finally Belong To The Night” – Little Wings
“Unchained Melody” – The Fleetwoods
“Take It Or Leave It” – The Strokes

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Hear “Angels, Ghosts, and Demons” by Brett Shady

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[Artist Picks] What Music Is Brenton Duvall Listening To?


brenton duvall

Welcome to the third Artist Picks feature. This feature was created about seven months ago, and I was hoping to make it a more regular feature, but, totally understandably, it takes people a while to prepare their list of what could be their Top 10 Songs of All Time. To refresh your memories, let me recap what this feature entails. We are asking people, be they artists, listeners, or fans, what they would do if they were stranded on an island with an iPod that held only 10 songs. Which songs would they pick and why?

 

Brenton Duvall is a 19-year-old producer from Washington D.C. and a sophomore at the University of Colorado.  Since he began releasing tracks in April 2010, his remixes have blown up, getting thousands and thousands of downloads as well as reaching the top of HypeMachine charts numerous times.  Brenton’s music is unique because it is melodic and frequently downtempo, while still being a hip hop track you can dance to.  Without any promotion of any sort, Brenton is slowly gaining momentum and being recognized for his work.

Here’s what Brenton had to say:

***

This was really, really hard.  I love music, obviously, and all different kinds, so condensing this list to ten songs was a daunting task.  I decided to pick tracks that have been extremely inspirational to me as a person and artist, but that you could still listen to when you are driving with the windows down.  A lot of these tracks are different than the kind of music I make.  In fact, they all are.  Still, these are some of the best songs ever written.  Throw on some noise cancelling headphones, prepare your favorite variety of potpourri, turn off the lights, and listen to this playlist.  I promise, you will be a better and more humble person afterward.

1.  “This Must Be The Place” – Talking Heads

What I consider to be the greatest song ever written.  The fact that David Byrne can make a beautiful love song out of a single four bar phrase is what blows my mind…it’s literally the same bass line over and over.  His lyrics are so perfect and and powerful…experiencing this song in the right way makes you know what it feels like to really be in love.  I can’t say enough good things about it.

2. “The Temptation of Adam” – Josh Ritter

Josh Ritter is the best songwriter today, and he is extremely underrated.  This song, which tells an apocalyptic love story from the perspective of a guy named Adam, is hauntingly beautiful.  While the subject matter is something we may not be used to, you’d be surprised with how well the lyrics resonate with you.  They will make your heart wrench and your brain swirl…it is very intense.

3.  “Futuretapes” – CSLSX

This song came out early this year, I think.  Nobody knows anything about CSLSX except that they’re an experimental pop-collective out of Philadelphia.  This track makes you DANCE.  So funky, so sexy, so awesome.  Warm bass lines over blisscore vocals with heavy ass reverb…you can barely comprehend the lyrics, but you still know what they’re getting at.  I never get tired of this song, it makes me feel SO ALIVE.

4.  “Jesus, Etc.” – Wilco

As a musician, this song is a kick in the ass.  One listen to this makes you wonder how creating such a track is possible.  Jeff Tweedy just knows the right lyrics for his voice, so that you can feel the emotion behind his singing.  Maybe this is just quintessential Wilco for me.  Lots of beautiful, acoustic instruments and brushes on drums.  You can sense the cigarette smoke filling the studio, if that makes sense.  Andrew Bird does a lovely live version of this song as well.

5.  “Since ‘84” – Mac Dre

This playlist was gettin’ way heavy so I had to get a little hyphy.  I started listening to Mac Dre when I came out to school in Colorado; my roomates are from the Bay.  Alot of the synths in hyphy music are really inspiring, at least in the songs I make.  Fat basses that make you throw on your thizzle face.  This shit will cause even the whitest of crackers to GO DUMB.

6.  “Glad I Met You” – D. Gookin

You’ve probably never heard this song.  That sucks.  This guy, D. Gookin, is from right around D.C., but I’m not even really sure what kind of artist he is.  I’ve only heard some of his other stuff, but it’s all pretty great.  It’s kind of like art rock electro.  This song is my anthem…once you hear it, I’m sure it will be yours too.  Trust me: this shit is the definition of infectious.

7.  “Gimme Sympathy” – Metric

Emily Haines just has such a great voice.  Especially when you hear this song acoustically, it gives you chills.  I don’t have alot to say about it, but it probably speaks for itself.  If I hadn’t put this song in any top ten list I was making, I’d feel really bad.

8.  “Tryouts” – Javelin

You know when you hear Ratatat for the first time and you’re like “WHAAAAAT?”  Well it’s the same thing with Javelin.  Their set up is so crazy, it’s like 4 samplers and a bunch of old Mexican rock records, all electric pink and yellow and stuff.  They really do their own thing.  THIS is what rappers should be going in over.  Pure insanity…you’ll wonder why you haven’t heard of these dudes yet.

9.  “Hazelton” – Justin Vernon

I’m pretty sure Hazelton was Justin Vernon’s solo record that he put out before he became Bon Iver.  I’m lucky enough to have a copy, and I think it’s out on the internet somewhere.  It’s got that same Bon Iver simplicity: a set up that’s probably just Justin, an acoustic, and a shitty drum kit that you can layer tracks over.  It’s really a haunting song, and the lyrics are almost terrifying.  Nonetheless, Justin Vernon just has a way of presenting himself so that you know exactly what he means with his music.  I really wish more people knew about this record.

10. “Disorder” – Joy Division

When I listen to this, I imagine how it might sound today, and it really can’t be that different.  Joy Division were SO ahead of their time.  This isn’t any different than what alot of bands do today, and I hope the music industry recognizes how much they owe to Ian Curtis and Joy Division.  The guitar riff in this song really evokes a particular feeling for me…like hope and sadness mixed into one.  That’s what I love about this band.

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[Artist Picks] What Music is Photographer Emma Simmons Listening To?


Emma Simmons

Welcome to the second-ever Artist Picks feature. I was hoping to make this a more regular feature, but, totally understandably, it takes people a while to prepare their list of what could be their Top 10 Songs of All Time. To refresh your memories, let me recap what this feature entails. We are asking people, be they artists, listeners, or fans, what they would do if they were stranded on an island with an iPod that held only 10 songs. Which songs would they pick and why?

[Photo Credit]

Emma Simmons is a Photographer based in San Francisco, California. She is pursuing her dream of capturing the beauty of life on camera, and loving every minute of it. Since finishing school, she has worked as an Assistant and traveling wing-woman to several world-famous photographers. She has mastered the art of portraiture, wildlife, and landscape photography. Here are some links to her work:

Website

Blog

Twitter

And on top of all of this, she just so happens to be my sister! :)

Here’s what she had to say:

***

If I only had 10 songs on my iPod…

Being someone who LOVES to listen to music, be it sitting at my computer editing photos, driving in my car, sitting on a train or walking, I love having music right there, so limiting it to 10 songs was a little difficult, but I decided to categorize why I would choose each song. Sitting here at my desk, I chose to write down the numbers 1-10 on a napkin that was next to me. I labeled each number with a category: Dance to, Whistle to, Relax to, Daydream to, Drive to, Sing to, Smile to, Frolic to, Travel to, and the YOU song.

1. Dance to: ”Say Hey (I Love You)” (ft. Cherine Anderson) – Michael Franti and Spearhead

Last Labor Day I was in Aspen with my boyfriend and best friend. We went to hear Michael Franti, who was playing at Aspen Jazz Fest, and it could not have been a better night. While he performed (outdoor show), the moon was rising over the mountains and dancing with a cold beer in hand was the picture perfect setting.

“Say Hey (I Love You)”

2. Whistle to: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – Bobby McFerrin

An all-time favorite. I did a summer program back in high school, living on a 69’ sailboat in the Bahamas, tagging sea turtles and sharks. The first mate of the boat didn’t allow whistling. I’m not sure if you have ever been told not to whistle, but when you have that freedom taken away from you for 3 1/2 weeks, you realize how much you tend to whistle in life…

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

3. Relax to: “Caribbean Blue” – Enya

My family grew up listening to Enya NON-STOP, literally! We would wake up to Enya playing in the house and go to sleep to Enya playing, the CD was the only one in the CD player and repeat must have been a new function on CD players because it was on repeat for months at a time. I love listening to her music – it helps me slow down (which is hard to do at times!)

“Caribbean Blue”

4. Daydream to: “The Wind” – Cat Stevens

I was having a hard time picking my perfect daydream song, but “The Wind” is one of those songs that just never gets old. I find it too short, but it’s about the journey, which my mind is constantly fixed on.

“The Wind”

5. Drive to: “Settler” – Balmorhea

I can really drive to anything. If there are words to sing at the top of your lungs to, even better! But, a little over a year ago, a friend sent me this song and I had this vision in my mind of one of my all-time favorite memories: driving my parents’ 1982 Range Rover to this lake in Maine with one of my closest friends. We would have the windows rolled down and most likely would be listening to the Top Gun soundtrack (which is the exact opposite song choice). We would park the car on the side of the road, jump into the lake for an afternoon “dip” and then continue on with a beautiful drive with wet hair drying in the crisp Maine air and summer sun in the REARVIEW! Somehow this song is so peaceful that it reminds me of growing up (although I still do this routine with my friend) and beautiful days in Maine.

“Settler”

6. Sing to: “Man in the Mirror” – Michael Jackson

I guess if you are told you can’t whistle, you can always snap your fingers! Absolutely incredible lyrics and inspirational for sure!

“Man in the Mirror”

7. Smile to: “Way You Do The Things You Do” – UB40

UB40 is one of my favorite bands. EVER. Seeing them live (minus the lead singer) was one of the best nights I had while living in NYC. I totally believe in doing things your own way. It’s okay, you too can be custom!

“Way You Do The Things You Do”

8. Frolic to: “Wide Open Spaces” – Dixie Chicks

I went on a trip with my family before the iPod existed…and being that I lOVED listening to music, I decided to bring my whole CD collection with me (not smart-lugging that weight around at that age…). For some reason, though, I gravitated towards one CD: The Dixie Chicks. My two older sisters and I went on a long hike one day and found a huge field, which we happily “frolicked” in. This song will always remind me of this unique experience.

“Wide Open Spaces”

9. Travel to: “Praan” – Gary Schyman

Ever since the YouTube phenomena, “Where The Hell Is Matt,” surfaced, I have LOVED this song. Playing it on your iPod in the airport, on a crowded bus, an open-aired market, it works for any setting!

“Praan”

10. The YOU Song: “Kokomo” – The Beach Boys

I believe everyone has a song that people hear and immediately think of you. A family friend hosted a lunch for me when I was graduating from high school and as party favors, she gave out cds, with one song on the CD to remind them of me. That song was “Kokomo.” I’ve claimed it as my song ever since!

“Kokomo”

***

As always, keep your eye out for the next On The iPod feature!

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