music

Song of the Day: “Let Her Go”

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Mac Demarco’s voice and “slacker” guitar are the essence of “laid back.” The artist’s distinct sound is a far cry from other Montreal-based contemporaries like Arcade Fire.  His bubbly track “Let Her Go,” from sophomore album Salad Days, makes us picture a lazy summer day on the beach, while the lyrics propose an appropriately laissez faire spirit.

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Song of the Day: “What Light”

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Wilco has seen its fair share of adversity. The group, led by songwriter Jeff Tweedy, has picked up and dropped band members at various times between 1994 and 2004. However, its current iteration feels right. That cohesion is evident in the stirring artistic manifesto, “What Light,” from their Grammy-nominated 2007 album, Sky Blue Sky. Over a perfect harmony, Tweedy sings:

If the whole world’s singing your songs
And all of your paintings have been hung
Just remember what was yours is everyone’s from now on
And that’s not wrong or right
And you can struggle with it all you like
You’ll only get uptight
There’s a light
What light

Inside of you

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An Ode to Maxwell’s

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It’s been a year since Hoboken’s pivotal indie rock club and restaurant Maxwell’s has closed its doors, but it’s going to take much longer than that to wipe away its memory.

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Song of the Day: “Red Eyes”

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The War On Drugs decided to name themselves after a bitter conflict, but their last album, Lost in the Dream, invokes anything but strife. Though the lyrics of “Red Eyes,” the second track off the record, are inscrutable at times—“Come ride away/ It’s easier to stick to the earth / Surrounded by the night / Surrounded by the night”—the jubilant guitar and synth are joined by the driving percussion to create the sensation of a blissful journey.

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Sound & Vision #4: Gail Ann Dorsey

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Gail Ann Dorsey, a top session bassist and singer-songwriter who’s worked with David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Dar Williams, Tears For Fears, the Indigo Girls, Gwen Stefani, Lenny Kravitz, and many more, talks recording, touring, and learning to play.

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Swinging Modern Sounds #50: The Big 5-0!

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While it’s possible to find a lot to worry about in the world of contemporary music, there’s always something new to listen to as well, post-historical, outlying, pre- or anti- or minimally digital music. And so maybe there will be five more years of Swinging Modern Sounds.

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Song of the Day: “Just the One I Been Lookin’ For”

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The late Johnnie Taylor boasted a prolific musical career spanning almost 40 years and several different record labels, including a number of collaborations with legendary crooner Sam Cooke. During his tenure at Stax Records, Taylor was reportedly dubbed the “Philosopher of Soul.” His single “Just the One I Been Lookin’ For” proves that the honorific was well-deserved—Taylor’s exultant vocals and vibrant guitar are pitch-perfect.

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Song of the Day: “Good Day Bad”

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Meshell Ndegeocello probably knows the difficulty her audience has pronouncing her name. Maybe that’s why, on her latest album, Comet, Come To Me, she urges us: “if you love me, forget my name.”

You don’t need to know that her surname means “free as a bird” in Swahili to enjoy the rolling beauty of “Good Day Bad,” the third track from this consistently rewarding album.

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Song of the Day: “Unfuck the World”

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The most prominent feature of Burn Your Fire For No Witness is the haunting voice of Angel Olsen. The St. Louis-bred singer’s husky tone sounds a bit like Cat Power with an exposed nerve. Though Olsen is only 27 (or thereabouts), throughout her new record she manages to convey a woundedness we might expect to encounter in a much older person.

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