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Heavy Rotation #23

While my music listening continues to be more scattered than focused, I have digitally or physically spun two albums on a regular basis over the last few weeks. Read (and maybe listen too?) on...

Death Cab For Cutie/Transatlanticism - This album came out 10 years ago and was recently reissued. Naturally, there was coverage about the reissue and that led to me picking it up once again. It was the first Death Cab album I bought and it remains my favorite (though I like all their albums...also,  Narrow Stairs is a strong second). Lines like "I wish the world was flat like the old days/Then I could travel just by folding the map/No more airplanes, or speed trains, or freeways/There'd be no distance that could hold us back" and "There's a tear in the fabric of your favorite dress/And I'm sneaking glances" are catnip to me and those are from the first two songs. I love the juxtaposition of the music and lyrics in "The Sound of Settling," where the steady beat and chiming guitars and melodic "ba-ba"s belie a narrator who's giving up, who "can't wait to go gray." That's all in a 2 minute and 13 second package. The title track does the slow build to a soaring crescendo and has a refrain of "I need you so much closer" and it is tremendously affecting even after hearing  its almost 8 minutes countless times. Here's some fact, not fiction - this is a great album.

Pearl Jam/Binaural - Pearl Jam just put out a new album (Lightning Bolt) and in the run-up to its release I decided to go on a back catalog binge. I haven't given the band's 2000s output much of a listen after initial spins (at least from what I can remember), so a lot of the latter albums were a bit of a revelation. I fell for Binaural in a big way. I love the nod to the Who that opens the album and the short, spiky trio of songs that follows. After that come some of my favorites - the mid-tempo, minor key crunch of "Light Years"; the ominous "Nothing As It Seems" with its short, siren-like guitar solos;  and the acoustic stomp of "Thin Air." The second half of the album is rock solid as well and closes out with the solo Eddie Vedder ukulele moral fable, "Soon Forget," and the Eastern-influenced "Parting Ways," which also makes a nice noise. Is this album underrated by PJ fans? I don't know really know but I do know that I've underrated it. Always good to revisit an album and see how it sits with you at a different point in life, you know?


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Sunday Shuffle #413

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Here's today's ten...

1. I 4 U & U 4 Me (Home Demo)/The Decemberists (15) - last played on 8/19/15
2. Part One/Band of Horses (6) - last played on 5/7/16
3. Shame Chamber/Kurt Vile (5) - last played on 7/23/15
4. In the Eyes of My Friends/Sugar (2) - last played on 10/5/14
5. I Could Have Done This Myself/Lightspeed Champion (4) - last played on 9/1/14
6. Nonstop Disco Powerpack/The Beastie Boys (10) - 5/15/16
7. Mountain/Lucero (7) - last played on 4/29/12
8. Evergreen/Matthew Sweet (1) - played countless times on CD
9. The Sleeping Beauty/American Music Club (4) - …

Sunday Shuffle #448

I'm going to do a bit of a "spring forward" edition this morning, which means I'm going to skip over the first song that pops up and start with the second. I think I'll keep doing that throughout, so you get all the even numbered songs, #2 - #20. Why not?

2. Bechamel/Pernice Brothers (16) - last played on 5/15/15
4. Red Hill Mining Town/U2 (5) - last played on 3/13/16
6. Late-Century Dream/Superchunk (18) - last played on 11/18/15
8. Your Weather/Dinosaur Jr. (19) - last played on 8/3/16
10. Centre For Holy Wars/The New Pornographers (2) - last played on 1/27/15
12. Girls and Boys (Pet Shop Boys 12" Remix)/Blur (3) - last played on 2/28/16
14. Hard To Find/The National (25) - last played on 2/12/17
16. Metal School/Spoon (17) - last played on 1/20/17
18. I'm in Love (With Arthur Dove)/Portastatic (8) - last played on 7/29/16
20. Simple X/Andrew Bird (4) - last played on 5/1/16

5 X 10

I've recently found myself listening to albums that came out 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 years ago. Here are some thoughts...

The Broken West/I Can't Go On I'll Go On (2007) - "Down in the Valley" hooked me the first time I heard it streaming on KEXP. At the time, the band was still called The Brokedown, but that would soon change to due copyright issues; that's okay, I like The Broken West as a name better anyway. To get back to "Down in the Valley," what grabbed me were the ringing guitars, layered harmonies, and the organ that weaved in and out. And the lyrics, of course - "I had my feelings like the Dutchman has his gold/Deep in the canyon by the river that runs cold." Speaking of The Dutchman's Gold, that was the name of the EP that I learned had already been out and used my eMusic credits to grab it. "Down in the Valley" was the lead-off track, but there were six other great power pop songs and I was both in love and even mor…