Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

The Friday mix: going places

Last week I put together a travel mix for my friends who have been on the road. Those songs were about the act of traveling. I had songs about airplanes and hailing taxis and driving. I have a different take on it this week. The titles in this week’s mix are full of places you can go. These theme mixes don’t always hang well as a mix and I haven’t made an effort to sequence it, as I often do. However, all of these songs are on my iPod and I like them all. I hope you do too.

I want to go cool places...

  • Expo in Tokyo – Alan Moorehouse
    Jazzy Hammond organ and guitar playing that classic “oriental music” riff all the cartoons used when we were kids. This is a cool tune.
  • Pay Back Africa– Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
    From “Who Is This America?” This is the original song that TV on the Radio had Antibalas play on ‘Things You Can Do’ from “Return to Cookie Mountain.” In fact, I thought TV on the Radio had ripped this song off, until I learned Antiballas was playing with them. Stick around for the end of this sample. That’s what most of the song sounds like.
  • Fake Tales of San Francisco– The Arctic Monkeys
    The Arctic Monkeys play some extremely cool music. This is a simple guitar riff, but there is a lot going on lyrically and there is enough energy to power a city block for an evening.
  • Mauritania – Ben Allison & Medicine Wheel
    This is a smooth track from my favorite Ben Allison album. You can hear a bit of African flavor in the theme. Horns and flute play a pretty melody, but the soloing work is virtuoso. Ben’s bass solo explores odd corners of the groove; the trombone solo is nasty and beautiful; the flute soars and flutters.
  • Oklahoma – Bob Schneider
    Schneider is an incredibly prolific pop singer/songwriter who I have been following for decades. He actually dated Sandra Bullock for a minute (she likes bad boys). I like the syncopated percussion, the lyrics, and the kind of hopeful, inspiring chord progression in this song about the end of the world.
  • Walking to New Orleans – Buckwheat Zydeco
    An absolutely classic zydeco recording but it’s about as slow and deliberate a zydeco tune as I have ever heard. In spite of its plodding pace, it’s a joyful song.
  • Seven Years in Tibet – David Bowie
    If, for some reason, you stopped listening to Bowie, keep listening. He never quit writing interesting music or taking chances in the studio. Listen to the oozy verses and powerful, industrial chorus in this song. Dude is older than my dad and still writing kick ass rock ‘n roll.
  • Can’t Go Back to Jersey – G. Love
    This is about a douchebag (sorry, G, if this is autobiographical) who pocket dialed his girl while flirting with someone else. She is kicking his ass out and he’s faced with being homeless and having to go back to Jersey.
  • California – Gomez
    Gomez takes two full minutes to get this song going, but man it is worth the wait. The funky percussion fits perfectly with the busy guitar riff and harmony vocals. I love this song.
  • Amsterdam – Guster
    This video gives us a pretty literal take on the line, “Are you getting somewhere or did you get lost in Amsterdam.” I always thought “Amsterdam” was a metaphor for drugs in this song.
  • Little Japan – Los Lobos
    If all you know of Los Lobos is “La Bamba” you should really dig deeper. Check out this sophisticated but appealing love song.
  • Sailing to Philadelphia – Mark Knopfler (feat. James Taylor)
    OK, Taylor AND Knopfler? How bad can it be? It’s one of Knopfler historical songs, this time about Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, who mapped the Mason-Dixon line to settle a border dispute. Add Taylor’s honey sweet voice to Knopfler’s perfectly expressive guitar work and you have gold.
  • Nebraska – moe.
    Click the link and listen to the first few seconds of this song. It’s a great intro for a cool song.
  • Syracuse – Pinback
    There is something mathematical about their approach to pop. Not that it has complicated time signatures, like math rock. I just think they play very precisely and hit the downbeat most of the time, rather than syncopating anything. That doesn’t mean it’s simple, just clean.
  • Houston – Soul Coughing
    I still like Mike Doughty, but I was sorry he left these guys. Their music was edgy and weird and all of them were monsters on their instruments. Here’s a strange minimalist groove with Doughty’s cool as hell lyrics.
  • Shanghai Noodle Factory – Traffic
    I listened to a lot of Traffic in college and I always liked this track. The footage is interesting here, too, of a chef actually making noodles. I didn’t realize there was so much body English involved.
  • Santa Fe – Virginia Coalition
    VaCo plays sunny, candy-like pop that reminds me of some of Blues Traveler’s most broadly appealing songs. It’s not dark or complicated, but there is definitely something to be said for the pure pop song.
  • Birmingham – The Wolfgang Press
    Aspects of this remind me of Soul Coughing. The band is a three-piece, and the guitarist adds depth to the sound by playing atonal and rhythmic noises. In fact, if Lou Reed played with Soul Coughing, it might sound like The Wolfgang Press.

Enjoy this mix with kumis or something else you can’t get where you live. Have a great


August 6, 2010 - Posted by | Classic Rock, Electronica, Jazz, Mix CD, Popular, Rock, World Music

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