Track of the Week: Lament by Groove 8

This week’s track is Lament by Groove 8 off of Debut. Unfortunately  there’s no album version of the song available on YouTube, so live set it is.  Groove 8 performed one of the side stages in the 2009 (or was it 2010?) July 4th Fillmore Jazz Festival. Straight up jazz fusion / jazz funk, the set was a ton of fun and probably the best act I saw that year at the Jazz Festival. This week’s track is picked off of their Debut album, a slightly slower, slightly more melancholy tune with big horns and a trombone for a lead. It’s a little drizzly in SF today and this seems to capture a sleepy Saturday morning — and a good song to bring Track of the Week back to life after a two month hiatus.

Track of the Week: Leave The Lights On by Meiko

This week’s track is Leave The Lights On by Meiko off of The Bright Side. There’s been a dearth of new good music (at least music that has crossed my desk), so this week’s track goes back to the middle of last year. An upbeat and peppy song, it’s the most uptempo song on The Bright Side, an album that’s mostly about falling in love and other good things like that. Wondering what was catchy about this and this type of song, a friend opined: “I’m wondering what’s with the girls with husky voices singing about ‘lights’, cf Ellie Goulding”.

Track of the Week: Pompeii by Bastille

This week’s track is Pompeii by Bastille off of the Bastille EP. On the outside the melody, drum beat, and slightly Enya-esque harmonies and the like make it seem like a fun upbeat indie pop song, but the lyrics give away perhaps a darker side to all that is saccarin.

“But if you close your eyes, / Does it almost feel like / Nothing changed at all?”

Super fun song all the same. Commence head bobbing and heel tapping.

Track of the Week: Say That by Toro Y Moi

This week’s track is Say That by Toto Y Moi, off of Anything In Return. Toro Y Moi came up quite a bit last year, but I’d never paid much attention to him. His latest album, Anything In Return came by my path last week and this song is a nice piece of upbeat eletropop. The rhythm is great, but the vocals are what hook me.

Music Top 10 From 2012

Like last year, here’s the list of music I’ve listened to most, as recorded by my scrobbling to Last.fm.

Top Artists

  1. Porter Robinson – 148 listens
  2. Nero – 124  listens
  3. Alex Clare – 114  listens
  4. Kaskade – 110  listens
  5. Hed Kandi – 108  listens
  6. Morgan Page – 103 listens
  7. Frank Ocean – 103 listens
  8. Lana Del Rey – 94 listens
  9. Miles Davis – 87  listens
  10. Crosses – 87  listens

Top Songs

  1. The Kooks – Naive (Jean Tonique Remix) – 42 listens
  2. Alex Clare – Up All Night – 34 listens
  3. Morgan Page – Fight For You – 32 listens
  4. Crosses – Telepathy – 32 listens
  5. Swedish House Mafia – One (Your Name) – 26 listens
  6. Ben Howard – The Fear (Moonlight Matters rework) – 26 listens
  7. Morgan Page – The Longest Road (Deadma5 remix) – 25 listens
  8. Breaking Benjamin – I Will Not Bow – 25  listens
  9. Alex Clare – Treading Water – 25 listens
  10. Greg Laswell – Come Back Down (f. Sara Bareilles) – 23 listens

Observations:

  • This year is much more House/Electronica compared to last year. Six of the top ten acts are Electronica. Last year I was listening to a lot more indie rock. 
  • Miles Daves shows up pretty strong in 2012, and that’s mostly off the back of listening to his Birth of the Cool on repeat a large number of times.
  • Hype Machine lead to the discovery of three of the top ten songs: The Naive remix,  the Fear rework and the Greg Laswell song.

Track of the Week: Ca s’régale by Sinsemilia

This week’s track is Ca s’régale by Sinsemilia of of Debout, les yeux ouverts. Where to start. Oh yes, let’s start with the obvious: I can understand about 2% of what they’re saying. But I can say that Sinsemilia is an activist ska/punk group from France, the music is fun and it’s dark in the office and gloomy outside, so the fun pick-me-up sound and the activist message that I don’t understand is working for me today. And maybe it’ll work for you, too.

Goodbye Dave Brubeck

Today Dave Brubeck passed away, unquestionably one of my favorite jazz musicians and a legend in his field.  I had the privilege of seeing him perform live twice. Once in September 2007 at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz and again in October of 2008 at the San Francisco Symphony Hall. He was an old man, hunched over at each of those shows as he walked to the stage. But when he sat down at the piano and his quartet came alive something sublime happened and his unique, his distinct and his timeless sound filled the halls with music lodged deep in to the American musical lexicon. At the shows he told stories of the other times he’d performed in the cities. At the San Francisco show, he waxed on for a while about performing in the Fillmore and the Tenderloin in the 60s.

My words would never be able to do justice to his career, his work, or his legacy: at those two events, I was lucky enough to capture a few memories of the shows which I’d like to share with you today.

Images from Dave Brubeck Live at the Rio Theatre, September 2007

Videos from Dave Brubeck Live at the San Francisco Symphony Hall, October 2008

Goodbye Dave, your talent will be missed but your music will live on.

Track of the Week: The Fear by Ben Howard (Moonlight Matters Rework)

This week’s track is The Fear (Moonlight Matters Rework) by Ben Howard. I feel like I should know more about Ben Howard. His music, his appearances, and the whole lot. But I don’t. What I do know is that he has a song called The Fear. It’s excellent, with a gripping guitar line and Howard’s engaging vocals. And what I really do know is this remix takes a excellent song and makes it superb. Keeping all what made the original great and layering a snappy bass line, some thumpier drums, Moonlight Matters changes the genre for The Fear from folk to indie pop. Awesome song in both the original version and the Rework. Listen and treat your ears.

Track of the Week: Witch Hunt by Wayne Shorter

This week’s track is Witch Hunt by Wayne Shorter off of Speak No Evil. It’s been a while since I’ve put jazz up as a track and it’s been a while since I’ve listened to any jazz. While Wayne Shorter isn’t a household name like Miles Davis or John Coltrane or Charles Mingus (my personal fav), he’s a heavyweight nonetheless, hailing from the same bop era of jazz. This this the first track off of Speak No Evil, a Blue Note production. As quickly as the frenetic opening trumpet line grabs you, it disappears to be taken over by the laid back classic cymbals and snare. The power thru the song is delivered by beautiful, strong and convincing trumpets but my favorite part might be the piano solo at about 5m30s that takes a walk over the drum line and then easily moves back to the song’s main pattern. Take a listen and enjoy this fantastic jazz number.

Track of the Week: Sweet Nothing by Calvin Harris (f. Florence Welch)

This week’s track is Sweet Nothing by Calvin Harris, featuring Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine). The easiest way to describe this track is, it’s about time. Florence has this room filling soaring vocal that was just bound to end up on a thumping club track. Calvin Harris delivers a huge beat that she effortlessly and ethereally floats over. I’ve heard a few remixes of the song which take the stems from her vocals but nothing does justice to her huge sound as well as the original production from this track. It’s a high-repeat, high-volume song that hopefully lights up your Sunday.

Also, as a side note, me and a few friends and acquitances have started a little music blog called Looking Outside In. I’m casually contributing a song here and there, so if you’re looking for more music that’s roughly in the same generes as Track of the Week, it’s worth checking out.