Spoon – Written In Reverse

One of my favorite tracks from probably the most consistent band of the ’00s. I see them as having followed a Beatles-esque trajectory – they released a few poppy albums that were solid but didn’t break any molds, then Gimme Fiction was their Rubber Soul (moving in a new, more complex direction, but retaining some old qualities), Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga was their Revolver (getting weirder while remaining amazing pop-rock), and Transference their Sgt. Pepper (embracing full-blown weirdness, doing things few, if any, people have done before with the genre). This version of “Written In Reverse” isn’t quite as smoothly mixed as the studio version, and lacks some of the flourishes like the weird background piano at parts, but it’s very cool to see the band at work together like this, something that I feel has declined recently in the music world.

Kid Sam – Mirror Drawings

I was recently shown this by a person I met on the internet, whose name I don’t know. But you know who you are, so thanks. Kid Sam are an Australian band, and the two members are cousins. Other than that, I know nothing about them. Anyway, this song is an interesting take on the guitar-driven indie ballad. The lyrics achieve what I find to be the best indie-lyrics can do – semi-mystic and romantic, melancholy and hopeful at once. My favorite part of this song, though, is the guitar, which within a very simple riff and solo manages to switch between melodic and tuneless to great effect. I’ll have to acquire their album and see what I think.

Your Serious Moonlighters Christmas Mixtape – with James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Queen, The Pogues, and more.

Since tomorrow is some type of holiday, I decided to compile my favorite songs regarding that holiday into a playlist for you guys to enjoy, as a way to get away from the typical xmas radio trash but still stay in the musical spirit. Enjoy.

Alt-J – Taro

Hands-down my favorite Alt-J song. I think this whole nerdy-psychedelic thing is what they’re best at. They create this amazing sense of majesty with the buildup to the “chorus,” and then that weird sound he makes the guitar make, like halfway between a sitar and a mandolin, completely pays off. I saw a video of them performing this live, and the way he does it is by hammering on the guitar strings with something that looks a lot like a roll of tape. I still don’t totally get it, but this song is perfect. This video is completely unrelated, but it works I guess, so who cares.

Radiohead – Lucky

One of my favorite Radiohead songs. It combines triumph and hopelessness in a way that I’m not sure I’ve heard pulled off in other places. My favorite part is Johnny Greenwood’s guitar solo. It perfectly encapsulates the feel of the song – anguished, but not in a gloomy way. Instead it soars, pleading to the heavens rather than dwelling on the pain. It’s also simple (pretty much just echoing his part from the chorus), which can sometimes make for a better solo than a guitarist showing off. Overall, a fantastic song from a fantastic album.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young – Almost Cut My Hair

This is, of course, a classic of post-Woodstock psychedelic rock, and has almost been played into corniness by hippies and counter-culture enthusiasts everywhere, but it remains a great rock song, and what has always struck me about it is Crosby’s ability to find such significance in so mundane a thing. This is also a pretty cool live recording, seeing what he actually means by his “freak flag,” because the idea of someone who looks like that selling out Wembley stadium today is outlandish.

Review: Haim – Days Are Gone

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We’re going to do two reviews a week here – one of a new album (less than a year old) and one of an older album. We also thought it’d be cool if our reviews took the form of a discussion, with humor and personality, rather than a dry essay. Our new album review this week is of Haim’s album Days Are Gone. Click “continue reading” to check it out.

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