one of the first ideas i got when beginning to write this blog was to buffer some of the more heavy elements of the things i was writing about with simple music recommendations. music has always been an integral part of my life, providing a soundtrack to the legion of thoughts running through my brain at any moment, and helping me define emotions and life experiences with corresponding sympathetic tunes of artistic expressions of pain, guilt, loss, elation, love, regret, and a thousand others. i used to love sending special people mix tapes, which later turned into mix cd’s, which in turn has given way to playlists (ah the hurried joy of technology), and while i still miss the tactile sentimentality of a mix tape, spotify really has made my life a lot simpler and easier as it relates to finding and sharing new music.
i realize it takes a little patience for some of you to wait for a slow building playlist over the course of months in a year when only 1 song gets added per week, so for that reason, i’m going to work on trying to get out lots of little extras each month. things like seasonal playlists, new artist spotlights, and even playlists for specific occasions will start being sent out on the semi-regular. just make sure you have a spotify account and you are following me (brandonmiq or brandon miquelon if your account is connected to facebook), and you’ll have free access to anything i put out there. if you don’t have spotify, well then i can’t really help you. i’m working for free here.
so here’s our first freebie of 2015, my wePhilistines honorable mention of 2014 list. these are all the songs that were basically “leftovers.” great songs that i really enjoyed listening to throughout the year, but was just unable to find a way to fit them in to any of my posts. these genres range all over the board and the artists vary wildly in exposure and popularity, but i’m sure you’ll be able to find more than a few songs from artists you were previously unaware of that make your audio nerve tingle. as always, i say “listen first, talk later,” so here’s the playlist first, and if you’re interested in my thoughts about what makes it a great song, i will list 1 thing i love about each song after the jump…
“the wanderer” by shawn james – well, the song is called “the wanderer,” and this is a travel blog. So, duh. plus that beat is just dirty.
“housebroken man” by quiet life – when i listen to this song, i imagine myself dressed up in old 1920s garb with a thin mustache, riding around in a little motorcycle with a sidecar with a special lady along for the ride. i really can’t explain why.
“thunder clatter” by wild cub – i think this song is what its like to be young and in love and dancing.
“even the darkness has arms” by the barr brothers – i love this song so so so so much. that guitar riff is everything i want to be as a songwriter, and with lines like “even the darkness has arms, but it ain’t got you. and baby i have it, and i have you too,” i can listen to this song over and over.
“stronger than that” by bahamas – the whole album last year by bahamas was great, but this was the sing-along-feel-good track that grabbed me immediately, and that lead guitar at the end just drives it all home.
“home (leave the lights on)” by field report – “the body remembers what the mind forgets / archives each heartache and cigarette / and these reset bones, they might not hold… yeah / but they might yet” = may be a line I’ve most closely identified with in a long time. this may have been my favorite album of 2014, but i saved the lead track “decision day” for the first wePhilistines track of 2015, so this one got the boot. save this one, listen to the whole album while you’re at work. you won’t regret it.
“quartz” by tv on the radio – listen to the background vocals in this song. seriously, turn it up and listen. i don’t even know how you write a song like this.
“hey mami” by sylvan esso – off another favorite album of mine in 2014, this song is a tongue-in-cheek barb toward catcalling in new york city. try to listen to the words, but i guarantee you’ll get distracted by how cool the music is once the bass starts to reverberate in your eardrums. plus, this woman can sing. to me. anytime she wants.
bonus: check out this unplugged and completely re-tooled version of the song:
“old 45’s” by chromeo – this song sounds like somebody crossed the dna of michael jackson and hall & oates, and this frankenstein was born. and i like it. also, on a personal note, i bought tickets to their show at colorado’s red rocks amphitheatre this past summer for the sole reason of wanting to hear this song. and they didn’t play it. i was like that kid who took two licks from his ice cream cone and then dropped it on the ground. it was a tragedy.
“last forever” by fenech-soler – remember that band phoenix that had that song “lisztomania” with that infectious sound that got into everybody’s blood for a year? and then they came back with a follow-up album that was just absolutely terrible and sounded nothing like what made everyone like them? yeah, well this band is bringing back that sound we were cheated out of.
“I wanna go” by summer heart – I literally have no idea what is said in this entire song, other than the words “I wanna go.” But as a traveler, I like to think he or she is singing about all the places they want to go, and with a sound like this, who wouldn’t want to go with?
“from nowhere” by dan croll – I just like the heavy distorted guitar part that comes in waves every 4 bars. I don’t even know what the song is about.
“Cecilia and the satellite” by Andrew mcmahon in the wilderness – the heavy drums in this song just do it for me. I still haven’t completely worked out how the metaphor in this one makes any sense, but it’s got a good melody and a heart-warming message to whomever he is singing this song to.
“this is how we walk on the moon” by jose Gonzalez – jose Gonzalez has been the guy over the last 2 years who’s music I have connected with the most. Every time this guy puts out a song, I can’t get enough of it. This one is actually a cover of a song from a long time ago, but jose’s take on it is fantastic. It’s all about the brass section in this song.
“home is where you hang your head” by st. even – I love how many disjointed things this song has going on inside of it that all come together to form a coherent, wonderful pop song.
“don’t marry the one you love” by laura jean – this song sounds so happy. And it’s not. I love it.
“happy alone” by saintseneca – I love the big sound of this song. I feel like I’m in a big long hallway and this band is playing at the other end, and the song is just drifting down along into my ears.
“on the rocks” by the rural alberta advantage – love the drumbeat here. Good harmonies too.
“above the clouds of Pompeii” by bear’s den – I always gotta have a little banjo in every playlist. And sometimes, you just need to hear words like “don’t cry, hold your head up high.”
“the longer I run” by peter Bradley adams – the accordion is perfect in this song. “The longer I run / the less that I find / selling my soul for a nickle & dime / breakin my heart to keep singin these rhymes, and losing again.” – I’ve been there before.
“castle of pretending” by will dailey – I’m a game of thrones fan, so when I hear a song with the words “these are not the walls you should be defending…” I listen.
“running for cover” by ivan & alyosha – “…if I was there right from the start, to feel what it was like to be turned on…” do you ever wish you could go back to a first experience? Despite how much I’ve written in this blog, I still wish I could capture more of the moments more accurately.
“I just don’t understand” by spoon – the keys at 1:06 in this song make my knees buckle every time.
“invisible” by the zolas – I love how this song sounds so semi-sinister or suspicious, but then the chorus hits and it is so uplifting. “When the nighttime crashes in / look around beside ya babe, we’re your friends / when you need some oxygen, jump into the fire with us.”
“big thinks do remarkable” by and so I watch you from afar – this song makes me want to go to space. Also, if you listen to the words (the few there are), it makes you wonder… would this song have ever been written if these guys owned sunglasses?
“hairspray heart” by black moth super rainbow – if the last song makes me want to go to space, I hope this is what the music sounds like when you go to the club to dance with the aliens.
“north side gal” by j.d. mcpherson – okay sorry about that, things got a little weird there during the last two songs. This one will bring us back to earth. This song makes me want to grease up my hair, comb it straight back, shave my beard, throw on a white tshirt and rolled up jeans, grab my girl and head to the dance.