Convergence of everything good…. a perfect storm of wonderment…
Today is like a near perfect early October morning and here it is mid August! The mix of songs that shuffled out of my MP3 player was almost as perfect as the weather. I can’t wait to bring it to you, and so I won’t.
Be prepared – after the jump…
So when I say it is a near perfect mix, what do I mean and why is it not a perfect mix? First of all, I’m not sure a perfect mix is even a thing. To me, it’s kind of like those “definitive” lists you see all the time on Facebook or wherever – “Top 10 Guitarist of All Time” – “Beatles Albums from Worst to Best” or whatever. Whenever I read these lists, it is almost guaranteed that there will be at least a couple of items that are questionable if not downright objectionable. So for my near perfect list, how can I call it perfect if it doesn’t have The Minutemen or Townes or The End Men or Valued Customer or Don Ryan or whomever?
Why this mix is near perfect: It was a perfect storm of an almost unbelievingly gorgeous day and a succession of songs that seemed to flow perfectly. Plus, it includes some of my favorite people that I’ve met through this blog.
Such a near perfect mix deserves more than the usual list format – so indulge me a bit.
The Near Perfect Mix:
I first heard about the new album by Those Darlins back in the spring. I was excited because I love Those Darlins who always bring the right combination of sass and twang. A few weeks back, I was driving home from work, and as I passed Grimey’s New and Preloved Music as I do almost every day, I saw this huge poster on the side of the building. Turns out this was the cover image of the new Those Darlins album – a very revealing image at that. So, I finally got my hands on the first song from the record “Oh God” which happens to be the first song in this morning’s mix. Despite my high expectations (did I mention I love Those Darlins?) this song does not disappoint. To me, it’s one of those great songs that sounds like it has always existed. We shall have to wait until October for Blue the Lines to be released. BTW, the very revealing cover image is featured in the PLAYLIST posted at the end of this post. So, we warned or notified.
Calexico is another band I dig. For some unknown reason, they’ve always flown a little under my radar, but every single time one of their songs comes up, I think “Why don’t I listen to these guys more often” which is exactly what I was thinking as I listened to “Splitter” which I got from a Noisetrade ANTI Records Summer Sampler and which is taken from the band’s most recent album Algiers which was released almost a year ago. The song flowed beautifully from “Oh, God”.
When the familiar blues riff of Year of October‘s song “Black Hearted Man” came up, I began to suspect that this mix was going to be special. Nashville-based, Year of October, which is fronted by husband and wife – Josh and Phlecia Sullivan, are working on their next album. This song comes from the album Stories. Very quickly, Year of October have become one of my favorite bands.
At this point, it is almost like a perfect game, and I hate that I’ve noticed the near perfection because the wrong song could throw the whole thing off. Keep in mind, that I add the songs that make up the Playlist, and I don’t put bad songs on the playlist, but this mix was so perfect that the wrong song (even if it was a great song) could really mess things up.
Which makes it ever so sweet when “Monkey Dance” from Tim Lee 3‘s Devil’s Rope comes up. By now, I hope I’ve made it clear how much I love Tim Lee 3. Besides the great music they make, they are really awesome human beings. “Monkey Dance” is just a flat out great song which addresses some realities of the music business and does so in a way that is so much fun and makes me want to dance around.
One thing I didn’t know until recently is that Tim Lee was a onetime de-facto member of the iconic 80s band, Let’s Active. So, it is fitting that we follow up Tim Lee 3 with “Edge of the World” which was on the 1983 Afoot EP. As you probably know, founding member Faye Hunter recently and tragically took her own life recently. Therefore, this makes it good time to direct you to the second volume of Country Fried Rock’s benefit for Nuci’s Space – an Athens, GA based organization which specifically addresses Suicide Prevention for Musicians. I posted about the first volume when it was released last year. If you pre-order Vol. 2 right now, you can get a free download of the first Volume.
So as “Edge of the World” finished up, I arrived at the parking lot, and I breathed a little sigh or relief, no matter what came next, I had a near perfect Pre-Shuffle.
But, the near perfect mix wasn’t done yet. Taco Land has been on my radar since the first year of this blog. When they dropped their latest album, Pancakes and Pizza, I knew I was in for a treat. The album featured some more hard hitting music than I had come to expect from Taco Land, but it is very much as good as I have come to expect. “Machine Gun”, our track today, is great representation of the album.
Recently, I began adding some of my all-time favorite music into the Playlist – it’s always fun when a classic song comes up in the mix, and it is interesting how the “old” stuff sounds along side all the great new music (and vice-versa). Besides, Let’s Active, the most recent “classic” album added was More Fun in the New World by X. “Painting the Town Blue” came up today and it sounded great in the middle of this awesome mix of music.
When someone named Elwood Kuddles – who performs under the moniker Killing Kuddles – asks you to listen to his music, you don’t hesitate. Well, I honestly don’t know what you would do, but I didn’t hesitate, and I can recommend you do the same. Killing Kuddles has become another of our favorite artists. Punkish Troubadour Alternative Folk Music for the rapidly aging millennium. He released an EP called Odd Man Out back in the spring, and we actually did a dual non-shuffle review of that album along with the latest Taco Land. “Not Coming Back” is an energetic fireball of a song – I love it!
The Killing Kuddles song almost got me all the way to the office, and given the near perfect streak, I almost cut off the Shuffle after that song, but I’m glad I didn’t. And so, on this near perfect morning, my near perfect mix came to a near perfect end with a near perfect song from a near perfect album by a near perfect band – another of our favorite artists from one of our top albums of the year so far. “Santa Cruz” by The Imperial Rooster from Cluckaphony. Ah… sweet near perfection….