- "Lithium", The Polyphonic Spree
It was fifteen years ago today that Kurt Cobain died. Was it suicide or Courtney Love? Who knows? Many thought of Cobain as the John Lennon of my generation. I wouldn't go that far, but they were definitely one of the most influential bands of the past 20 years. So as a tribute, I'm kicking off this week's playlist with the Spree's cover of "Lithium". Who ever thought a Nirvana song could sound so happy?
- "Private Ballroom", Red Monroe
I've often wondered what happened to Red Monroe. The last time I saw them live was at the 2007 Wall of Sound Festival, and I know they haven't played a show in almost a year. The band finally posted three new tracks that can be downloaded for free on their website. This particular track continues their trademark sound, a halfway point between New York City cool (a la The Strokes) and new wave (vocals very reminiscent of Fred Schneider).
- "My Girlfriend Is a Rock", The Nervebreakers
These Dallas punk pioneers reunited for SXSW, and are finally playing this Saturday at Club Dada, with Spector 45 opening. This is your basic sloppy three chord punk song, and it's about a guy who has obviously taken the pet rock fad of the 70's a bit too far. Rocket science, this isn't. Is it fun? Oh yeah!
- "Wire to the Walls", RTB2
The White Stripes have received countless kudos for their original blend of bluesy raw rock and roll energy, and for making such an incredible sound for a mere duo. On occasion, Jack & Meg live up to this hype. I have yet to hear a White Stripes song that is as creative, energetic, and fresh as an RTB2 song. On this particular track, RTB2 pack in more rock and roll punch in less than 100 seconds than some bands can cram into an entire album. "Wire to the Walls" is easily one of my favorite tracks at the moment.
- "She's from the Other Side", Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights
Mr. Tyler and the rest of the gang have spent way too much time away from this city. That will be changing this month. They will be playing the first of several local shows this Friday at the House of Blues Pontiac Garage.
- "Went Walking", Bosque Brown
The good news: Bosque Brown finally gathered the attention of Pitchfork and her latest effort, Baby, has been reviewed. The bad news: it received a mere rating of 4.6. In regards to lead vocalist Mara Lee Miller, reviewer Matthew Perpetua compares her to "a talented character actress who has somehow been cast in a lead role against type, and the very qualities that would make her charming and memorable in a smaller role become unflattering when exposed to too much spotlight." With all due respect, it is her voice that carries these tunes and is what makes Bosque Brown memorable.
- "I Break", Frenchy & The Ferals
This band's sound is somewhere between quirky and unique. It's taken me several listens to even establish my opinion on the band. However, with each listen, lead vocalist Carolyn Kurtz's vocals and the band's sound continue grow on me. On a completely separate note, I wonder how many people have given the band's guitarist/synth player Adam Lambert a hard time for sharing the same name as the American Idol contestant.
- "Hollowville", Iris Leu
Have I mentioned lately how great Iris Leu's new CD, Hushaboo, is? Well now you know.
- "Hell Below/Stars Above", Toadies
As of late, I have become addicted to the "Pick Your 5" feature on Facebook. One of the top 5's I did was the top 5 songs I like to play loud. This track was my number one, and I got kudos for Mr. Good Show himself, Tom Urquhart, for my choice. He thinks, much like I do, that Hell Below/Stars Above is a severely underappreciated album. For my money, it is a far more ambitious and intriguing CD than Rubberneck.
- "My Beautiful Life", Sparrows
I got a little flack for not including Sparrows in last week's playlist, so I figured I'd wrap up my playlist with this track. It reminds me of Nick Drake in style, but without the overly melancholy feel in much of his music. This is one of the most beautiful songs to ever emerge from our city.