AJR “Sober Up” (feat. Rivers Cuomo) is a Radio 104.5 discovery. Whenever the song is not playing on the radio I hear it playing in my head. “Sober Up” is catchy and infectious in a way that makes it exciting to listen to every time I hear it. Plus I love to sing or whistle the lines “my favorite color is you/you’re vibrating out my frequency”. Currently this is the only song I know from AJR, the three brother DIY indie-pop group of Adam, Jack, and Ryan from New York City.
AJR will be a part of Radio 104.5’s Winter Jawn 2018. Also on that bill are: Dashboard Confessional, The Struts, and J. Roddy Walston & the Business. Winter Jawn is an all ages outdoor (rain or shine) concert hosted by Radio 104.5 held at XFINITY Live on Saturday, January 27, 2018.
It’s January 1st and a new year is here. I decided to change the intended weekly feature Five For Thought to a daily feature called Song For Thought. Yes, it’s our take on the standard Song Of The Day. So, visit this blog daily for a new song post.
The new year often makes me think of the song “New Year’s Resolution” by Val Emmich. And that would have been a fitting song to post, but I wanted to go with something a bit more positive and possibly inspiring. For those reasons Val Emmich’s “Catalyst” is today’s Song For Thought.
I see ahead a chance to breathe
I’ll start again, it’s what I need
I’ll start again, new and clean
These lyrics remind me of how I like to approach a new year—with a clean slate. This song and those lyrics are inspiring and provided a much needed catalyst to move forward and be open to the opportunities that 2018 might provide.
Ben Arnold – “Sinister Direction”
“Sinister Direction” will appear on Ben Arnold’s forthcoming album ‘Sunday Morning Meltdown’ which is scheduled for a January 2018 release. This song, as does most of Arnold’s music, has a rich soulfulness that is pleasing to the ears and lyrical sustenance for the mind, plus the delightfully distinctive tone of Arnold’s voice. So, if you get a chance to see a Ben Arnold show you should go. And be on the lookout for ‘Sunday Morning Meltdown’. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to hear the new album.
Sonofdov – “Fight Or Flight” Sonofdov is the musical work of singer-songwriter Dennis King. Sonofdov’s music was brought to my attention years ago when I used to blog for another blog. It was a great musical discovery and I’ve been a fan ever since. Anyways “Fight Or Fight” has all the elements of a great Sonofdov song: acoustic stripped-down feel, honest lyrics, and King’s voice has a humbly alluring timbre. Give this track a listen if you don’t believe me.
Square Peg Round Hole – “Hush”
“Hush” is off Square Peg Round Hole’s 2017 release ‘Five Years’. I am simply fascinated by Square Peg Round Hole’s ability to constantly create emotion filled sonically saturated soundscapes. This band is clearly gifted with amazing musical talents. Wow! Glad to see the band went for an ambient sound on this ep because they wholeheartedly make it work. Unfortunately, I don’t see any shows listed for Square Peg Round Hole now, but I hope that changes soon.
Black Horse Motel – “Bones”
I think I saw Black Horse Motel only once this year and that is unacceptable. I do remember hearing “Bones” performed live and it’s a great song. “Bones” is from Black Horse Motel’s 2017 release ‘Parable’. Sometimes you just need some good Americana/folk music in your life and Black Horse Motel dispense it in spades. YES!!!
Maitland – “Glimpse”
“Glimpse” is the title track from Maitland’s June 2017 album ‘Glimpse’. I’m so glad that I found this song while Bandcamping the other day. I know that I’ve seen Maitland perform at least once in the past and I think I liked that performance. Well, “Glimpse” is a resounding reminder that I should have been paying attention to Maitland all along. Maitland, please accept my apology—I’ll be listening.
Val Emmich – “Lately (The Crazy)”
Singer-songwriter extraordinaire (excellent actor and writer to boot) Val Emmich released his newest single last week called “Lately (The Crazy)” “It’s about this feeling of being in a constant state of alarm, not being able to turn it off, even at night, in the comfort of your own home.” An optimistic sounding song in a time of madness. Thanks for the comfort, Val, I think we can all use some.
Mike Herz – “The Acrobat”
This song, “The Acrobat” is the title track from Mike Herz’s January 2017 release. On the album this track appears last and I wonder if it was always intended to be that way or was that beautiful robotically harmonic sounding “goodbye” the deciding factor? Anyways, a great song, that voice is confident yet warm, and I know a banjo when I hear one. Catch Mike Herz at Burlap and Bean – Saturday, December 9, 2017.
Illinois – “Summer”
Listening to a song titled “Summer” does not seem seasonally appropriate when winter is near. Or, maybe it’s the perfect song to remind us of those warm, sunny days. Either way, this song embodies the fundamental underlying essence of the band Illinois—FUN. But it’s no secret that Illinois’ strength lies in their ability to effortlessly conquer any music style with confidence. You’re in luck, Illinois plays Archie’s Big Heads – Saturday, December 9, 2017.
Hemming – “Counting Stones
Hemming is a Philadelphia, PA based artist but it took me seeing Mondo Cozmo last February for me to hear her music for the first time. Well, I never claimed to be the sole discoverer of all great music. I always welcome your music suggestions. Anyways, this song sounds SO GOOD. And if I don’t get my chance to see Hemming live this Sunday at Boot & Saddle then I’ll be very upset with myself.
Strand Of Oaks – “Passing Out”
“Passing Out” is from the forthcoming album ‘Harder Love’ original recordings (January 19, 2018 digital release) by Strand Of Oaks. “Harder Love feels like Hard Love in an alternate dimension. A whole lot stranger and even more raw, it’s like the tripped out, spiritual brother to its predecessor.” Based on this song alone I can kind of see where that description comes from. It’s no “Goshen 97” and that’s where my appreciation of Strand of Oaks comes from. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing—just something different and different can be good. Strand Of Oaks’ Winter Classic 2017 starts tonight (Saturday and Sunday) at Boot & Saddle.
I started a playlist series a while ago, Songful Sundays, but I lost interest partly because Spotify wasn’t the right platform for me. I hope using YouTube works better this time. I guess we’ll see.
Here’s a few quick thoughts about these songs and the artists who created them.
1) “Someone To You” – BANNERS
I’m usually a bit reluctant to watch music videos for songs I love because sometimes a music video can ruin a song. Thankfully this is not one of those times. “Someone To You” is a great song. This music video is cute in a classically brilliant way. I love BANNERS’ music.
4) “City by the Sea” – Chris Kasper
I missed Chris Kasper’s show at Underground Arts this past Saturday and I regret it. Kasper is an absolute favorite of mine and deserving of the title “best singer-songwriter ever”. I could listen to Kasper’s music forever and never get tired of hearing it.
6) “Everybody Lost Somebody” – Bleachers
I got the latest Bleachers album shortly after it was released months ago. I have not been able to put this album down. I listen to it A LOT. Bleachers plays Fillmore Philly this Thursday (11/16) and I wish I could be there. **Does this song have that Yamaha keyboard elephant roar sample? Hehe.**
7) “Yeshe & Horus” – Hezekiah Jones
You can never go wrong with Hezekiah Jones music. Yet another amazingly talented singer-songwriter. Listen if you don’t believe me. You can thank me later.
8) “Hard Times Don’t Come” – Sonofdov
Sonofdov is another favorite artist of mine and another exceptional singer-songwriter. Gotta love that mandolin on this song. Great song! Check out all of Sonofdov’s music, you won’t regret it—I promise.
9) “Too Good At Goodbyes” (Acoustic) – Sam Smith
I had to toss some new Sam Smith into the mix. I think this is the first single of his latest album and a fantastic song. Plus, Sam Smith has one of those voices that I could listen to forever.
10) “Thunder” – Mondo Cozmo
It has been exciting to see Mondo Cozmo (Joshua Ostrander) get all the success he deserves and more. ‘Plastic Soul’ is a brilliant album and one of my top favorites this year. I love the emotion behind “Thunder” and given the right mindset this song will make me cry. I can’t help it. Yes, even wallflowers do cry.
11) “Mysterium” – Hammock
When I tweeted that Hammock’s music was “dipped-in-magic-waters-good” I wasn’t trying to be funny and borrow a sentiment from my favorite movie. I was being serious about how powerful this music is. WOW!
12) “Someone To You” (Acoustic) – BANNERS
I decided to add this acoustic version of “Someone To You” because it really highlights BANNERS’ voice. Yes, I’ll say it again and keep saying it, BANNERS/Michael Nelson I love your voice—it’s perfect and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I’m hoping to make this a weekly thing so stay tuned.
On Tuesday, May 30th, The Reminders, the debut novel by Val Emmich will be released. “The Reminders is a hilarious and tender exploration of loss, memory, friendship and renewal.” Grief-stricken over his partner’s death, Gavin sets fire to every physical reminder in the couple’s home. A neighbor captures the ordeal on video, turning this unsung TV actor into a household name. Now, Gavin is fleeing the hysteria of Los Angeles for New Jersey, hoping to find peace with the family of an old friend. Instead, he finds Joan. What happens when a girl who can’t forget befriends a man who’s desperate to remember?
My interest in this novel as a music blogger goes far beyond the fact that preordering the novel gets you a special download of The Reminders EP (Music Inspired By The Novel)—featuring covers of a few The Beatles songs in true Emmich style. But in my unfaltering support of the immensely talented person that Val Emmich is. Honestly, I know that songwriting and novel writing are only distant relatives at best when it comes to the writing family but knowing the depth, emotion, and compassion that Val Emmich brings to his songwriting makes me absolutely believe in his novel writing ability. Also, I’m certain that this The Reminders (Sample) will undeniably pique your interest.
To celebrate the release of The Reminders Val Emmich has several upcoming events scheduled.
See you at a concert and or book reading!
I kind of ditched the theme aspect of Songful Sundays. I’ll continue to post songs as they come to me. Some songs might be new finds while others will be past faves but all will be worth a listen. Enjoy!
In a Black Out – Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam
All You Ever Wanted – The Black Keys
I Knew You When – Ike
Love Always Remains – MGMT
Spineless – Jealousy Curve
Angel Down – Lady Gaga
What Can I Do For You? – Illinois
Wake Up – The Walkmen
Change Of Scenery – Val Emmich
Don’t Follow Me – Overlook, Billy Roach
Goshen ’97 – Strand of Oaks
Last Words – Quick Step John
This week’s Songful Sundays theme is relaxation: the state of being free from tension and anxiety. Relaxation is a good thing and a state I like to experience on Sunday evenings before the chaos of the work week sets in again. Also, maybe this is the relief you need after a potentially stressful Thanksgiving holiday. Whatever the reason (or lack thereof) these songs will take you to a happy place. Enjoy!
“Varðeldur” – Sigur Rós
“Tomorrow River” – Square Peg Round Hole
“You Walk Around… Shining Like the Sun” – Hammock
“Ambo” – The Album Leaf
“The Ecstatics” – Explosions In The Sky
“Aperture” – The Sound of Rescue
“Two Rights Make One Wrong” – Mogwai
“The Mighty Rio Grande” – This Will Destroy You
“Neighborhood” – The American Dollar
“Fading Sky” – Halcyon Chamber
“Telegram” – Amiina
“‘I Will Be True…’/ Reign Rebuilder [Head]” – Set Fire To Flames
Do you have your own set of songs for relaxation? Please comment with your suggestions.