ImageI follow tons of radio stations and music bloggers on twitter and every now and then someone will post details about a new artist or a snippet of a song they recommend people check out. This most recently happened when KCRW posted about an in-studio session with Australian Artist Gotye.  Not gonna lie, the thing that prompted me to give him a listen was the fact that he’s Australian (I have a slight obsession with that country) but after watching the video and the song, I was hooked.  Plus, I’m a sucker for duets and the combination of his voice with vocalist Kimbra is just phenomenal. Give it a listen. Let me know what you think.

You can also watch his KCRW performance here.


November 23, 2011 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

The Covers, a Fall 2011 Mix

For those that know me, they know that I have a love for cover songs. They are simply irresistible, especially if they rival or exceed the original. But then again, everybody has a different opinion on a cover song. Some may love it, others may hate it.  Regardless, I’ve compiled a list of cover songs that I feel are perfect for the Fall. Hopefully you enjoy. Let me know what you think.

1. Skinny Love – Birdy

2. The Chain – Bruce Peninsula

3. One – Damien Rice

4. Anyone’s Ghost – Silver Swans

5. Addicted to Love – Florence + The Machine

6. Wicked Game – James Vincent McMorrow

7. Wonderwall – Ryan Adams

8. Running Up That Hill – Gem Club

9. White Blank Page – Taylor Swift

10. I’m on Fire – A.A. Bondy

11. Make You Feel My Love – Adele

12. When You Were Mine – John Heart Jackie

13. No Surprises – Regina Spektor

14. Under the Milky Way – Sia

15. The Funeral – Serena Ryder

16. No Ordinary Love – The Civil Wars

17. Head Over Heels – Digital Daggers

18. Borderline – The Flaming Lips

November 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment

Best of 2010 Mix

Twitter has grown so much since I joined the ranks of being a tweeter three years ago. It has changed from the new, hip social media that few outside of the 20-28 year old demo knew how to operate to a form of interaction between businesses and consumers, celebrities and fans, educators and students, friends in real-life and more. Everyone from Kanye West and Barack Obama to NBC Universal and Fox News tweet.

My twitter list is composed of real-life friends, celebrities, radio people, concert venues, as well as Des Moines tweeters who I don’t know, but we share commonalities such as the city in which we live, friends, interests and more. @ljpalmer is one of those people that I don’t know…but is obviously cool because we have a lot of mutual friends and, it seems, a lot in common. A few weeks ago, she was tweeting about doing a Mixtape Exchange. She was asking interested parties to submit their info and she would pair each person up with a Mixtape buddy. Each person was to compile their list of their favorite songs from 2010 (to make the list at least 60 minutes in length), and in a few weeks everyone that was part of the group would get a mixtape.

It’s a pretty cool concept (a group of ten of my friends tried to do this a few years ago and we failed miserably), so I signed up immediately. At the time, I had just finished my top 10 singles of 2010, so I was pretty much done…that was until I realized that those top ten songs (featured below this post) only equaled 40 minutes in length. I quickly had to figure out some more songs to add to the mix to make it complete.

So…this is an addendum to my Top 10 Singles of 2010.  It still follows the format of each song is a single (well…I’m not entirely sure if the Amanda Palmer & John Legend covers were actual singles…but I digresss.) So, without further adieu, here are the 11 – 20 top songs of 2010.

11. The High Road by Broken Bells

I really dig The Shins. I have since my college boyfriend sent me Chutes to Narrow when I was studying abroad. So, when I heard that James Mercer had started a new band with none other than Danger Mouse, I knew that it had to be good. I kept hearing The High Road on the radio before I actually knew it was a Broken Bells song, but when I figured it out, I got the album and have been listening to it since.

12. Lantern by Josh Ritter

Josh Ritter. There is so much to say about this modern day Bob Dylan. Many people believe that he is one of the most talented songwriters of our generation and I don’t disagree. He’s been to Des Moines twice since I’ve moved back and both times, he’s packed the house (granted, it was the Mews…but even if it was Hoyt Sherman, he would still pack the house.)  Lantern is a beautiful love song that will definitely get your toes tappin’. (If you’ve never listened to Josh Ritter before, definitely check out some of my other favorite songs: Girl in the War, Wolves, Right Moves, Best for the Best and The Temptation of Adam. There is also a killer Daytrotter session with Josh that is FANTASTIC.)

13. Tighten Up by The Black Keys

I’m so happy that The Black Keys are finally getting the credit that they deserve. They’ve been at it for over ten years but it wasn’t until Attack and Release, another project that Danger Mouse had his hands in, came out in 2008 that the spotlight started to shine in their direction. Brothers definitely one ups Attack and Release, in my very humble opinion. The album, and the band, just have this attitude of “I don’t give a shit what you think…we’re gonna rock out and either you’re gonna like it or you can leave.”  This bluesy Ohio duo knows how to keep it simple but yet complex at the same time.  If you have a chance to see them in concert…do it. Their shows are amazing.

Also, I’m so glad that Dan Auerbach has cut his hair and beard….they were getting a little out of control a few years ago.

14. American Slang by The Gaslight Anthem

I remember the first time I heard The Gaslight Anthem. “This sounds like Springsteen, but I know it’s not…who IS this?” I had never heard of them until my friend Karri played 59 Sound off of their 2008 release of the same title. Honestly, and a bit sadly, I still don’t know much about this band. But what I do know, is that I like them and that if and when they come around Des Moines on their next tour, I will be there jumping around and singing their songs.

15. Fuck You by Cee Lo Green

If you haven’t heard this song sometime in 2010 then you must either A) not ever use the Internet B) be deaf or C) completely out of touch w/ pop culture. This song took the internet by STORM when it was released this summer. Despite it’s lack of radio friendly language, Cee-lo, best known for his collaboration with Danger Mouse to form the duo Gnarls Barkley, gave this bitter song a flavor of Motown that oozed with a retro-feel often found in songs by The Supremes, Martha & the Vandellas and Four Tops.  So, in other words, this song is too damn catchy. Listen to it once, and you’ll find yourself singing it for the rest of the week.

Oh, and for the record, the radio-friendly version Forget You is ridiculous….and not in a good way.

16. King of Anything by Sara Bareillis

17. Idioteque by Amanda Palmer

18. Wake Up by John Legend & The Roots

19. Parachute by Ingrid Michaelson

20. Ready to Start by Arcade Fire

January 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment

Top 10 Singles of 2010

Well, it’s the end of the year and that can only mean two things: 1) time to figure out what New Year’s resolutions I’ll create and ultimately break w/in the first two weeks of January and 2) time to create my top 10 music lists of 2010.

But before I make my lists known, I need to go through a couple of disclaimers. First, I work in radio…so I’m exposed to a lot of different kinds of music. Some will argue, that whatever the radio plays is crap…that the only good music is the stuff that’s played on NPR or college/independent radio. While I don’t disagree 100%, I will say, that a lot of what is played on radio is popular for a reason – it’s catchy, sung well, it’s well written and it’s easily accessible to the masses* and because of that, there are many artists that I really enjoy and several of them actually made this list. Secondly, I can’t rank these songs. It’s impossible for me to say what songs are better than others because each song is so different. This list highlights my top ten favorite songs of 2010 – songs I’ve listened to on repeat for days on end…songs I’ve turned up to 10 and sung aloud with in the car…songs that make me yearn to be better at the guitar…so on and so forth.

So, with those disclaimers in mind…here are my top 10 favorite singles** of 2010.

1. Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons

This summer I spent three days in Chicago at the largest musical festival in the midwest – Lollapalooza. I wandered the grounds of Grant Park checking out some of my favorite bands (The National, Spoon, The Black Keys, etc) as well as catching some new acts I’d never seen before (Jamie Lidell, The Temper Trap, Dawes, etc.) One of the new acts that I managed to see was Mumford & Sons. I knew absolutely nothing about this band but the one request my friend Rooney had was to catch their set. I was completely blown away by what I heard. To see Mumford & Sons in a festival setting was amazing. The crowd was going crazy – dancing and singing – throughout the entire set. They were definitely one of the highlights of the entire festival for me and I immediately downloaded their album when I got back to Des Moines.  Little Lion Man is by far my favorite song off their album “Sigh No More” (not to mention their first radio single as well.) Little Lion Man is also the first song I played on the guitar in public….so it’ll always have a special place for me.

2. Breakeven by The Script

Have you ever listened to an album completely through and thought that a particular song would be an instant hit? That’s how I felt about the first time I heard Breakeven by The Script. Their first radio single was The Man Who Can’t Be Moved and it, in my opinion, was a huge flop. Since I work in radio, I was able to listen to the entire full length album and after the first listen, I just had this feeling that, if given the chance, Breakeven would be The Script’s breakout song. Well, it was, and throughout 2010 you could not escape this song! This song, no matter how many times I hear it, still makes me turn the stereo up and sing along.

3. Draw Me a Map by Dierks Bentley

I grew up listening to country music and while I don’t listen to it as much as I used it, it still holds a place close to my heart. I was instantly drawn to this song because of the harmony sung by one of my favorites of all time – Alison Krauss. Dierks Bentley’s solid baritone voice, complimented by Alison’s spot-on harmony, make this song almost three-dimensional.

You’re my destiny and destination
Understand my desperation – you
The only place I wanna be
So get us back to you and me

Most people know that I’m a sucker for harmony and the harmony during this part of the song sends shivers down my spine.  The combination of the beautiful lyrics, angelic harmony, fiddle and mandolin make this one of Dierks’ best songs in his entire catalogue. If I could make music, this is the kind of music I would want to make.

4. Let Go by Everest

A few months ago, I was chatting w/ one of our record reps and asked him if he had any musical recommendations that I might enjoy. He mentioned the band Everest and suggested that I check out their song Fallen Feather. A few days later, I did a google/youtube search to hear some of their songs and the song that kept popping up was Let Go. I listened to this song several times and ended up buying the entire album based solely off of Let Go. While Everest’s album, “On Approach,” is a decent album, Let Go, is definitely the stand out song. It makes me bob my head in beat whenever it comes on my iTunes and also makes a great song to include on a running mix.

5. Radioactive by Kings of Leon

Let me start off by saying, I haven’t really decided if I’m a Kings of Leon fan or hater. Before you ask, yes…I have all of their albums. And yes, I’ve seen them in concert. But there is just something about them – maybe it’s just their arrogance and inflated egos – that make me want to join the thousands of others and proclaim my dislike for them.

But I can’t help liking them, despite all the things that make me really despise them. Their music is extremely catchy and Radioactive is no exception.  There is something about the opening bass line and guitar riff that pull you in from the get-go and give this song an energy that you don’t hear in a lot of music. Caleb Followill’s raspy voice makes this song. Had someone else sung this, such as Daughtry or The Killers, the song would lack mass appeal because it would be missing one of the core elements that make Radioactive a hit. Despite my like and dislike for KOL, this song is too damn catchy to hate and is one of my favorite songs of 2010.

6. Teenage Dream by Katy Perry

Sometimes the perfect remedy for a bad day is a sugary pop-song and Katy Perry‘s Teenage Dream is a perfect prescription for those bad days. There is a reason that Katy Perry is as popular as she is…she’s a damn catchy song writer that knows the right producers to put a shiny gloss on everything she touches. When you get to the core of the song – it’s really just another song about a girl singing about a boy – but it’s done a little more tongue n’ cheek.

7. The Dog Days Are Over by Florence & The Machine

My friend Karri has a fantastic taste in music and often shares recommendations of new bands or songs she knows I’ll dig. Last year, Karri recommended that I pick up Florence & The Machine‘s “Lungs” – as she knew I was a sucker for a strong female singer.  I have many favorite songs on this album but The Dog Days Are Over is one of my favorites.  Maybe it’s the clapping or maybe it’s the sense of urgency in the chorus but regardless of what it actually is, this song will get stuck in my head for days on end.  Florence’s distinctively English voice is so powerful that it commands attention in each song on “Lungs” and makes for some fantastic road-tripping music.

Plus…the girl has got some legs! (I’m super jealous!) Check out her performance of The Dog Days Are Over on Saturday Night Live.

8. When I’m Alone by Lissie

I’ve read about Lissie throughout the year on various blogs like Daytrotter and I Am Fuel, You Are Friends (two of my favorite music blogs ever!) but never really gave her much thought. There is so much music out there and there wasn’t anything that really provoked me to give her a listen….that was up until last week. As I was searching for some holiday tunes on Amazon, I came across her album “Chasing the Tiger.” It was on-sale for $5 and since it was a fairly reasonable investment, I bought it sight-unheard, knowing that I wouldn’t be too upset since if it totally blew.

But, Lissie did the exact opposite. Her album blew me away. Every song is catchy and well written. Lissie just oozes that great sixties summer sound and makes for perfect music to roll your car windows down and take a roadtrip on country roads. When I’m Alone is my favorite song so far and I’ve had it on repeat since I first downloaded it last week. The two verses, where she speeds up as she sings, are my favorite. The combination of her fast singing followed immediately by slower, drawn out crooning just add something to this song that’s hard to put into words.

When I reach out and I only grab air
And it kills me to think
That you never did care and it’s hopeless
You’ve always gone off somewhere else

Plus, she does some rad covers…such as this Lady Gaga cover of Bad Romance.

9. Bloodbuzz Ohio by The National

The National have been my favorite band since Beverly gave me “Boxer” as a going away gift when I moved to Iowa. Matt Berninger’s voice just has this amazing syncopation and his choice of emphasis on the lyrics of Bloodbuzz Ohio make the song a standout. This song, leaked on music blogs across the interwebs before “High Violet” came out in May, made the wait until the album release a long one. This was the first new song I heard and is still my favorite song off of “High Violet” (but Conversation 16 is a pretty close second…who doesn’t love a song about Zombies?? C’mon!)  If you have a chance to see The National in concernt…do it. They are amazing.

10. Written in Reverse by Spoon

Britt Daniels. He is sooooo dreamy. Seriously. What’s not to love? Tall, handsome, mysterious, a musician. Dream Man. But I digress. Spoon is just one of those indie bands that always put out great music and continue to collect fans as the years go by. “Transference” is a completely different album than “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” in a good way. “Ga x5” was very polished. Very poppy.  “Transference” is gritty and angsty and I love it.  I love the way Britt screams I’m not standin’ here! / Oh I’m not standin’ here! / And I’m writing in reverse / I know it could be worse. He really just puts himself out in this song which is why it’s my favorite single off of “Transference” and why it’s on my top 10 singles of 2010.

So…that’s it in a nutshell. My top 10 singles of 2010. While I love these songs, you probably don’t…but that’s okay! I wanted to include more…but forced myself to limit it to ten songs total. Some fantastic honorable mentions though, include: Sara Bareilles King of Anything, Arcade Fire Ready to Start, Broken Bells High Road, Cee-Lo Fuck You, Eminem Love the Way You Lie, Miranda Lambert White Liar…

Here’s to a fantastic 2011 filled with all things awesome – including great concerts, music festivals and new tunes!

*not all songs on radio combine all four of those things.

**A single (short for promotional single) is a single that is made available to nightclubsradio stations, music publications, and other media outlets by a record label for the express purpose of promoting a new single or an entirely new album.

December 30, 2010 at 10:38 pm 1 comment

The Enemy Lovers

The Enemy Lovers are the band I have to thank for inspiring me to put together a music blog.  I first heard “Coming Down” when I was visiting my dad in Birmingham, AL in April 2009.  I had the luxury of borrowing my his car to drive from Birmingham to Mobile for my friend Adam’s wedding when I happened to tune to the now defunct station, LIVE 100.5 Birmingham’s Modern Music.  LIVE 100.5 was a fantastic AAA Radio Station (Adult Album Alternative) that played everything from Jack Johnson & The Cure to newer and undiscovered artists like Grace Potter & the Nocturnals and Phoenix.  It really is a shame that it no longer exists…but that’s another post for another day.

“Coming Down” was so damn catchy that upon first listen, I pulled out my iPhone and shazam’d it to find out who it was. When I got back to Des Moines, I went online and downloaded it and have been listening to it ever since.  It’s an incredibly catchy song and I find myself turning up my stereo anytime it comes up on my iPod.  The Enemy Lovers are an unsigned band from Asheville, NC consisiting of two brothers, Steven and Tim Scroggs, Kent Recktor and Kevin Stipe.  According to their website, The Enemy Lovers actually formed by accident.  Originally pursuing a solo career, Tim went into the studio to record his first album.  It was during this recording process that the producers asked for a couple of more up-tempo songs that Tim and Steven began writing together.  “Coming Down” was the song the hit a chord with both Tim and Steven and eventually helped create The Enemy Lovers.

They recently made a video for “Coming Down.”  You can check it out below.  Purchase their EP The Enemy Lovers now on their website.

June 12, 2010 at 8:00 pm Leave a comment

Hello world!

Well, here goes nothing! I’ve been toying around with starting a music blog for quite some time and today, out of sheer boredom, I took the jump.  Music is everything to me – it is the soundtrack to my life.  Certain songs take me back to places and times in my life, while other songs inspire me to go pursue certain goals. There are definitely songs for when I’m feeling sad and songs that work best on a rainy day.  This blog, which has yet to be named, is a forum to discuss those songs and more.  Please feel free to contribute your thoughts and suggestions.  I look forward to hopefully opening your ears to some new artists as well as bringing you back to artists and songs you might have forgotten.  And remember “Without music, life is a journey through a desert.”

June 11, 2010 at 9:30 pm 1 comment