Listen (!): The Lion’s Roar

26 Feb

Here are some songs that are currently rocking my world. May they rock yours too.

1. Billy Joe Armstrong & Norah Jones “Long Time Gone” – when the lead singer of Green Day and a modern day jazz interpreter get together to record an album’s worth of largely forgotten Everly Brothers covers, we should all be skeptical. But gol’ darny it works. Billy Joe has never sounded better suited to something so many worlds away from his Dookie days; I love to hear unlikely influences come to life in an obvious labour of love.

2. Temples “Move With The Season” – the latest new British band obsessed with the spring of 1967, sounding and acting like the last 50 years never happened. Their debut album is a mix of Kula Shaker (RIP), early Pink Floyd, opium blossoms and apple cider. Groovy baby.

3. Cold War Kids “Audience” – my brother keeps trying to get me in the CWK….but I can never seem to grab hold because I don’t know where to start. Until he sends me a Gateway song….this will just have to do.

4. The Pharcyde “Runnin” – this takes me back to the mid 90’s, hoopin’ and ballin’. There was always a great hip hop track blastin’ on the ghetto blasta, while we made it rain on the asphalt. Yeah, I was that small town suburbanite white teen who dreamed of a better life in the ‘hood – sue me. Who’s got next?

5. Bob Marley & The Wailers “Concrete Jungle” – picture yourself sitting in an English living room in 1973. Disco, ska, alternative and rap haven’t been invented yet. You’re probably wearing terrible bell bottoms. Then this strange reggae band from Jamaica makes their telly debut and you pop your proverbial British buttons. This is the sound that launched a thousand trips.

6. Al Green “Love and Happiness” – one good soul turn deserves another. I think our generation doesn’t really understand Al Green, because he never had a big hit. But he’s a legend, right up there with Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Marvin Gaye. Check out his greatest hits.

7. Paolo Nutini “Scream” – coming soon to an Unsung profile near you, the very intriguing and eccentric Paolo Nutini and his new single from forthcoming album ‘Caustic Love’. He seems to have abandoned his previous Van Morrison meets the aforementioned Otis brilliance for whatever this is. While there are moments of funky freshness, I’m not sold on that rap breakdown and his growing reliance on the ‘green stuff’. Stay tuned….

8. Bad Company “Bad Company” – you read that right. This band was so bad ass 70’s awesome that they named a song after themselves. Paul Rodgers is one of the all-time great rock singers and appears on so many of the classics you love and know. Because of their now universal sound, I dare you to pick a Bad Company song out of a lineup with Foreigner, Free and Black Crowes songs. You can’t do it, but that doesn’t mean all those bands aren’t awesome. Til the day they die.

9. Brody Dalle “Meet the Foetus – Oh The Joy” – I’ve had a soft spot for this punk vixen since her days with the Distillers, when she routinely scorched the earth with her captivating vocals. She’s the hardened edge natural evolution of Hole, if only Courtney Love had sobered up in time/done more debauchery (you decide).

10. First Aid Kit “Emmylou” – if you haven’t checked out our Unsung profile on this wholesome duo from Sweden, start there. Teenagers shouldn’t be this good!

11. Rose Cousins and Jordie Lane “LA Freeway” – it wouldn’t be an Unsung playlist without a cover song, and what a dandy from this Aussie dude and Canadian gal. He’s touring Canada this spring and if you are a friend of mine, you will be there with me at his Calgary stop in Inglewood. I will buy you a beer, promise.

12. Madison Violet “Come As You Are” – meeting our required CANCON for this playlist was a breeze thanks to this outfit from Toronto. I think when a certain one of my friends hears this, he’s going to have to add Madison Violet to the list of female folkies he stalks. Move over, Sarah Harmer.

13. Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac “Fare Thee Well” – I’ve previously been critical of Mumford and Sons and their well-worn shtick. However this is a genuine cracker  (a cover again – maybe they should just realize their manifest destiny already!) by lead singer Marcus from the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack, which is plumb full of nice traditional folk ditties.

As we sign off for another Unsung Playlist, remember that love is happiness, and don’t forget to have a little swagger this spring. Rawrr.

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