How did it happen? How could I let Week 6 go by without standing on the rooftop and shouting to the world. Rock solid, it was the best one yet. However, as Summer 2015 drew to a close, this listener got lazy and didn’t press publish two weeks in a row. With Discover Weekly completely updating every week, how can I prove this near perfect playlist ever happened without screengrabs and a link? If a playlist falls in the woods without a blog post does it even make a sound? I will have to let the songs make my case.
Week 6 burst open with an overabundance of current new rock, old favorites and wonderful surprises. Plus, the genre selection expanded (slightly and warily) beyond the usual 1960s to 2010s rock. I keep trying to hack the curation algorithm to broaden the variety, but I am battling three years of listening history.
Let’s get to some music.
“Lawyers, Guns and Money” is the closing track from Warren Zevon’s near perfect third album. 1978’s Excitable Boy was a career high point both critically and commercially. Nice start to week 6!
Brand new music from Ty Segall is next. “Mr Face” is from a 2015 7″ EP and it sounds completely 1967. Fuzzed out guitar, breezy double tracked vocals and it all ends in a wild garage rave up. Two for two.
The awesome continues with the Cambodian pop/garage rock crossover of LA’s Dengue Fever. From their 2008 release Venus On Earth, “Tiger Phone Card” is a delightful mix and match of styles! Yes.
Seth Kauffman is a veritable one man band with his indie lo-fi project Floating Action. “Don’t Stop Loving Me Now” is a wonderful example of his pop sensibilities. Nice and brand new to me.
Who can deny the awesomeness of “Take the Skinheads Bowling” from Camper Van Beethoven’s 1985 debut album, Telephone Free Landslide Victory? Is it ska, folk, rock or are they just messing with all of us? This has been their signature song from the beginning and still sounds great.
Wreckless Eric emerged from the Stiff Records class of 1977 with his classic single “Whole WIde World.” He may never have topped this one, but this cut cements his legacy to be sure.
Bradford Cox and Deerhunter have a brand new album (Fading Frontier) just out that’s damn good. Going back to 2008’s Microcastles, their third album, “Never Stops” is a tremendous track from a great album.
We jump backwards to the heavy blues groove of Savoy Brown’s “Hellbound Train” from 1972. This is the title cut and closing track to their eighth album. They’ve kept going for almost 50 years with guitarist Kim Simmonds the only constant member. This nine minute epic is one of their finest moments.
Rising out of a successful run as drummer for Fleet Foxes, J. Tillman took on the stage name Father John Misty. He has released two must-listen indie folk rock albums and “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” comes from his 2012 debut, Fear Fun.
“Killing Floor” was a 1964 single from Howlin’ Wolf. If you haven’t heard this 12 bar blues masterpiece, you might know the tune from Led Zeppelin’s “The Lemon Song” which borrowed heavily from “Killing Floor.”This is Chicago electric blues at its finest.
On their 4th album, 1969’s Liege and Lief, Fairport Convention covered the traditional British folk ballad, “Matty Groves.” It’s an epic story of temptation, adultery, betrayal and murder. Yes!
Dr. Dog is one of those bands that friends have recommended so highly and I just can’t make it happen despite my best efforts. “The World May Never Know” is the shuffling opener on their third album, 2005’s Easy Beat. Sorry, I just can’t hear it.
Who didn’t cover John D. Loudermilk’s “Tobacco Road” in the 1960s? Pretty much everybody took a shot at it. The Nashville Teens were part of the first British Invasion and they had a minor hit with their garage rock version in 1964.
“Brighton Rock” opens Queen’s third album, 1974’s Sheer Heart Attack. Brian May destroys it with one of his finest guitar solos. Hard to believe one guy could do that with only six strings. Nice choice.
Bradford Cox of Deerhunter returns with his just as excellent solo project Atlas Sound. From 2009’s Logos, his second album, he is joined by Noah Lennox (Panda Bear) from Animal Collective for the joyous “Walkabout.” So good.
Psychedelic electronic music pioneers Silver Apples came and went in the late sixties, leaving two brilliant albums behind. They returned in the late 1990s, but their greatest work is captured on those two early records. “Oscillations” is the opening track from their 1968 eponymous debut.
They only lasted one album, but Blind Faith made a classic. Steve Winwood of Traffic, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker of Cream and Ric Grech of Family teamed up to form one of the first supergroups. “Can’t Find My Way Home” is a nearly perfect song from their brief time together.
“Easy Plateau” is a gorgeous Grateful Dead-influenced song from Ryan Adams. It leads off the second disc of his 2005 LP Cold Roses, his first with backing band The Cardinals.
With more than a slight nod to “Baba O’Riley,” “Teenage Wasteland” from Wussy’s 2014 terrific Attica! features Lisa Walker on vocals recalling her youthful memories of listening to The Who. So good!
Vetiver emerged from the freak folk scene in the early 2000s. “Strictly Rule” is a hypnotic jam with a slight Latin vibe from their 4th album, 2009’s Tight Knit.
Ginger Baker rears his head for the second time this week, but on a radically different recording. Fela Kuti and Ginger teamed up in 1970 for Live!. “Let’s Start” leads off this classic afrobeat album. There are a many ways to explore Fela’s music for a newbie and this is definitely one of them.
“Hot Dreams” is the title song on Timber Timbre’s fifth album from 2014. The Canadian band leaves their freak folk roots behind and explores more traditional soft rock territory.
Seaming together Modern Lovers, Velvet Underground and a little early Talking Heads all propelled by Anton Fier’s hyperkinetic percussion, “The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness” leads off The Feelies 1980 debut, Crazy Rhythms. This one is the first of many classic moments from a band that keeps on rolling.
“Jackie Blue” is the biggest song Black Oak Arkansas ever had. They hit on their first album with “If You Want to Get to Heaven” and hit even harder with their second album, It’ll Shine When It Shines. “Jackie Blue” hit #3 in 1975. Sadly, their fortunes went downhill from there.
Boom! “Passage to Bangkok” is always welcome on pretty much every playlist ever. Opening side 2 on Rush’s 1976 breakthrough album, 2112, this is an incredible song from and even more stellar album.
The Allman Brothers first released “Midnight Rider” in 1970 on their Idlewild South album. Three years later Gregg Allman rerecorded the track for his debut album, Laid Back. The earlier is rawer and sparser while Gregg’s version is smoother, more heavily produced and became a Top 20 hit.
The Meat Puppets changed styles quickly early on in their career. The angry fast punk of their debut gave way to the wild cowpunk visions of Meat Puppets II. By 1985’s Up On The Sun, they had begun evolving into the proto alt-country band they would become. The title song is a great snapshot of a band with punk roots and big ambitions.
Simon & Garfunkel released only five albums in their short time together and Bookends could be the finest. “America” tells the tale of a young couple hitchhiking across the USA. Poignant and beautiful, it was originally released in 1968 and reissued as a single in 1972 in support of a post-breakup greatest hits package.
And now we hit the one big turd in this week’s playlist. Yes, it is a jam band, The String Cheese Incident to be exact. “Colorado Bluebird Sky” is the opening cut on their 2014 studio album, Song in my Head. I don’t hate this, but I just don’t want to have to listen to it. Ever.
Finishing up this week’s playlist it’s MIracle Legion. Like so many jangly eighties college rock bands they play, yep, great jangly eighties college rock. From their 1987 debut Surprise Surprise Surprise, “All For the Best” delivers for five minutes and eight seconds. Yes, indeed.
There it is. One more week with some great tunes. The only real clunker for me is String Cheese Incident. I could also do without Jackie Blue and Dr Dog, but loved, loved, loved the Feelies, Silver Apples, Deerhunter, Atlas Sound and Wussy. And hell yeah, Rush, anytime anywhere. It was excellent to hear some variety, a little blues, Fela, Fairport Convention and more. I am working my other Spotify plays hard to break the mold and get a playlist that really knocks me out with bold choices. Will it happen? Not sure, but I will be checking it out first thing Monday morning. See you next week.