This song will one day go in my series of "listen-to-this-song-if-someone-recommends-this-artist's-music-to -you-and-doesn't-tell-you-what-to-listen-to." And I may have to consider a name change for said series. People always say to me, "hey, hot stuff, you should listen to such-and-such band/singer," but they never tell me what to listen to! This is usually somewhat infuriating. This was once again the case with Sufjan. Finally, after sifting through half a billion chirpy-bird songs, I found Chicago. I think it's a good Intro to Sufjan song.
I've been trying to think of the right descriptor word to explain his music, and I think I'm going to go with complex. He adds in a lot of different elements and it seems like you need to start by listening to some of his more "basic" songs before you can appreciate the rest of 'em. And now, crap, I'm going to screw up this six-pack at the very start by making it a 7-pack! Jacksonville is too good (and also too named after a city) to be left out of this one. So this is a two-fer.
[mp3] Sufjan Stevens - Chicago
[mp3] Sufjan Stevens - Jacksonville
Buy some Sufjan (pronounced Soof-Yawn): Amazon | iTunes
Visit his sites: Official | Myspace
If your first instinct was to ask, "are these guys Canadian?" then you, sir or madam, would be good at a little game I like to call, umm, Name Their Heritage. 100 points to you, Huzzah! If that was not your first instinct, shame on you, it's right in the title and everything! Try to try a little harder next time, will you?
Seriously though, if you've never heard of The Stills then you should at least hear of them long enough to listen to their debut album, Logic Will Break Your Heart; if you don't like them after that, then perhaps rock music just isn't for you! Ha, I jest of course, but it is definitely an album I'm glad I have, and when it gets to that point you've pretty much got to recommend it to whomever crosses your path. Take Of Montreal as an example: I never would've thought that I'd be hyping a song where a dude sings about what's turning him on, but there ya go, I just did. Crazy talk!
[mp3] The Stills - Of Montreal
Buy some music by The Stills: Amazon | iTunes
Visit them online: Official | Myspace
Collective Soul - Over Tokyo
I'm bringin' this baby out of the states and into the Far East! This is by far the best track (and probably the only track worth mentioning) from Blender. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it's actually a reworking of a much older song that Ed did on his solo album? Yeah, probably. I've included the totally 80's version from Ed' solo album, Ed E Roland, just for kicks.
PS: Anyone have a copy of Ed E Roland? I only have this track and I'm wondering if it's worth picking up...
[mp3] Collective Soul - Over Tokyo
[mp3] Ed E Roland - Over Tokyo
Buy some Collective Soul: Amazon | iTunes
Visit them Online: Official | Myspace
I know this makes me a square, but I had never heard of Ryan Adams until New York, New York smacked me upside the head. Ryan is one of my favorite artists so this song has a special place in my heart since it was my introduction to Mr. Adams. This version is from the Loft Sessions and it's a completely different beast than the original - much more bluesy.
[mp3] Ryan Adams - New York, New York (live)
Buy some Ryan Adams: Amazon | iTunes
Visit him online: Official | Myspace
As I was searching through my music collection, I realized we could very easily do a "Songs About New York and Los Angeles" six-pack. In all actuality, we could just as easily do a "Songs About Los Angeles by Counting Crows" six-pack. That being said, the following songs are not about Los Angeles...
Okay, you're right, this song does mention Los Angeles. But it's not really about LA! The Stereo is a cool little pop-rock band that sort of paved the way for the pop-punk bands on the Fueled by Ramen label. So, depending on your view of that whole musical movement, sorry...? But this song is an excellent example of the clever lyrics and catchy songwriting typical of The Stereo.
[mp3] The Stereo - Have I Paid My Debt to Minneapolis?
The Site: Label(old) | Wikipedia
The Sounds: iTunes | Amazon
When Stu first posted about Beirut, I braced myself for some sissy-la-la Frenchy music. I was sorely mistaken, my friends. There is simply nothing sissy or la-la about it, just good times folk-pop music. Hopefully you've already checked out the music video, and if you haven't purchased The Flying Club Cup you should do yourself a favor and purchase it. (By the way, Nantes is a city in France.)
[mp3] Beirut - Nantes
The sites: Official | Myspace