K Recommends: “Time Has Come Today” by The Chambers Brothers

At around 11 minutes long, “Time Has Come Today” stretches and tests the boundaries of time. This psychedelic anthem celebrates the unknowns of time, appreciates the time we have, and accepts that life is short. The song addresses how time is often fraught with sadness and frustration but we are also rewarded with powerful experiences.

I enjoy how The Chambers Brothers demonstrate time within the song. At the beginning, the thrill of the lyrics, the maddening guitars, the lively drumming… all instruments and musicians build this song together. Then there are instances where the background vocals are more of a shout or a statement: “TIME!” The song slows a bit; a cowbell introduced from the start clicks like a second hand.

Was it always ticking? The drums… I think they might have been leading us into something hypnotic and mysterious all along. You can contemplate this once that break fills in the song completely for minutes. Time doesn’t exist here… or does it? This is where we spin, dance and fall. We reach out to one another or pull away not knowing when or if this space is momentary or forever. As we drown in or ride on the meandering ooze of psych we can revisit memories and history or look away.

Released in the Vietnam War era, it’s a song that’s musically familiar but takes a slightly different route from the messages other bands electrified during this period. I think of “Fortunate Son” by CCR which speaks to issues with concrete examples. The Chambers Brothers take rock and current events and put them in a very surreal musical context. It really makes you appreciate these songs as more than their relationship to the decade.

Of course there are so many interpretations one could glean from this track. I love how the main pieces of the song come back at the end, and time carries on. Take the time to hear this song in its original, plentiful version. You have time. Or do you?


(Song recommendation by K Weber)

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Lauren Recommends “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

When someone asks me about a song that I have a connection with, I have to stop and think a minute, because most of my favorite songs don’t immediately bring about an event in my life. Instead, they embody the lives of fictional characters in television and movies.

Recently, I’ve added a lot of songs with witch-y, haunting undertones to my library thanks to the new Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The addition of these songs was made easier by the release of a Spotify playlist with a few getting constant play.

One of the first songs I was drawn to from the soundtrack was Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising,” and when I started digging I realized that it couldn’t have been a more perfect choice for the show.

The 1969 track was written by John Fogherty after seeing the film The Devil and Daniel Webster, in which a man named Daniel Webster makes a deal with Mr. Scratch, the devil. “Bad Moon Rising” was inspired by the hurricane scene where everyone’s crops were destroyed save Daniel Webster’s.

During a 1993 interview with Rolling Stone Fogherty revisits the song saying:

My song wasn’t about Mr. Scratch, and it wasn’t about the deal. It was about the apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us. It wasn’t until the band was learning the song that I realized the dichotomy. Here you got this song with all these hurricanes and blowing and raging ruin and all that, but it’s [snaps fingers] “I see a bad moon rising.” It’s a happy-sounding tune, right? It didn’t bother me at the time.

Though rather foreboding, the song does have a rather snappy tune. It’s hard not to shake, as eerie it is that this song brings about the show’s main villain at the expense of the title character’s favorite school teacher.

I see a bad moon a-rising
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin’
I see bad times today

Don’t go ‘round tonight
It’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise

On Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Mary Wardwell is heading home from a horror movie. “Bad Moon Rising” is playing on the radio. She’s singing to the radio when she sees a girl in the road.

Credit: lieshauntedmyfairytales/tumblr

The music stops. She swerves and gets out of her car to make sure the girl is okay. She takes the girl home and is killed by the girl who later takes her form, assuming her life to deliver Sabrina Spellman to the devil.

While the demon continues to live as Mary Wardwell, it’s hard to shake the lyrics of the song as the last one the character was singing. Especially this verse, which — in a show about witchcraft — feels a lot like a premonition.

I hope you got your things together
I hope you are quite prepared to die
Look’s like we’re in for nasty weather
One eye is taken for an eye

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has nine episodes coming out in April 2019, and has already been renewed for sixteen more.

What does this means for the demon is unknown, but as I play the song, I can’t stop theorizing about what’s to come.

(Song recommendation by Lauren Busser)

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Ashley Recommends: “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo

Lizzo has ruined my life and I am here to tell you I have never been happier.

To say I have played this song a million times is an understatement. At this point, the sole purpose of my Spotify is to ensure I have a constant feed of “Truth Hurts” funneling into my ears. No other song seems to matter to me right now, which is why I’m here. To infect the masses.

This commanding anthem of power is equivalent to the buzz of that first hour of drinking; that sweet hum of confidence shrouded in a thin veil of invincibility. Lizzo gets your hands and your heart rate up with the fact that vulnerability does not break a bad bitch. In fact, it makes a bad bitch even badder. Go ahead with your crying crazy and your boy problems. You’re a fucking goddess regardless.

Gift this song to your little sister or brother who is struggling with, what the youths of today refer to as, a “fuckboy.” Blast this song alone in your car and feed your soul. Play this shit in the kitchen while you’re watching your husband make dinner and in between verses, remind him that you are 100% “That Bitch” and he’s lucky you don’t have a new man on the Minnesota Vikings.

(Song recommendation by Ashley Green)

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Andy Recommends “Oh! Sweet Nuthin” by The Velvet Underground

Today, I’ve got it all — a good job with a walkable commute from a home three miles from the beach where I live with my beautiful wife. I’ve got some money in the bank, and some AirPods.

Tomorrow? Who fucking knows. I can tell you about plans. I’ve got them. And I can tell you about showing up. I do that. I could probably speak more eloquently from more experience on confusion and half-assing though. More to the point, I’m walking to work and one of the crosswalks I use is basically invisible to cars making a right until they’re around the corner.

Listening to “Oh! Sweet Nuthin,” I know I’m a far cry from Lou Reed’s Jimmy and Ginger Brown in terms of shirts and shoes. I have them. When I feel my teeth make contact with each other, I know I’ve been grinding them because I don’t want to lose those things.

But as I saunter with the blues of Lou Reed’s vocals and guitar, and start bobbing my head through the guitar solo and drum roll, I know I’m not a far cry from having nothing at all. As the solo breaks, that understanding turns into a feeling. I’m in stride with the helix motion of matter, driving the feet beneath me and the universe at the same time, as we always are, despite nothing at all.

If the next day I’m in that crosswalk on my way to work, and some other sweet nuthin in their car barrels through it, I might have a brief understanding of what it’s like to have my insides rearranged, and then all the same, nothing at all.

(Song recommendation by Andrew Len)

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K Recommends: “When Night Falls” by Medicine Head

When I first heard Medicine Head’s song, “When Night Falls,” I truly thought it was a new release. I was introduced to their “New Bottles, Old Medicine” album around 2008. This song especially reminded me of all the effortless, hazy sounds very much alive at the time by artists like Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes and more “freak folk” modern artists like Devendra Banhart and Brightblack Morning Light.

This song was actually released in 1970. It still seems so visionary and pioneering. It pre-dated similarly-influenced indie bands by nearly 40 years! The whole album is a showcase of beautifully-structured folk songs with some blues rock tracks that are really fun. But “When Night Falls” just soothes me like a musical balm, liniment, salve… or haunts me like old love.

Here in these few minutes it feels like night truly has fallen to dark. The contemplative vocals, that almost motionless percussion, and the nearly breathless harmonica manage to create a feeling of nighttime’s stillness. The listener can piece together other sounds using the band’s cues; heartbreak or loneliness set in, crickets tick the seconds, a relationship can save everything by hands held in the dark.

This may be a slow-paced song but it creates room for so much. By Medicine Head painting a night-scape musically, the listener can enjoy the mellow quality, find inspiration, or fill in the blanks of a blank-dark night and see where things go.

Be sure to wear long sleeves, a jacket, a bulky sweater or a heavy caftan because this track might induce chills. I hope you find this song with the awe I did and still do. Additionally, if you enjoy music trivia you really should read more about this group. You might find a unique connection to “Dark Side of the Moon.” Medicine Head has some interesting ties with several well-known bands from the UK. Enjoy!

(Song recommendation by K Weber)

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Devin Recommends: “Fool For Waiting” by Dan Mangan

Ok, maybe I should not have said it. I was going for a non-tropey version of wanting to bathe in it. I was going for something about how the way he sings just makes me feel good. What I actually said was I want to put my dick in his voice. Not in a weird way. This is the expression that fumbles out of my mouth while listening to “Fool For Waiting” to get amped for the show tomorrow night. My wife can never unhear it.

Fourth time. This is the charm. The first time he was here, tickets were only ten bucks. They’re more now, but it’s a fair upscale compared to the regret of missing each show until now. Now, I’m finally here. We walk towards the steepled building and see the congregation of fans all filing into the church with us. Moving away from the main entrance, the alcove of stairs leads us to a vantage point that puts us further away but makes it more intimate. It feels almost voyeuristic. But there’s no moment of “this is so personal, this is just for me, this is between me and him.” The sound is communal, and it makes it so very strong.

Looking down from the balcony into a sea of people, their faces darkened by the absence of phones that are kept tucked away into pockets. We all want this experience together. Dan brings us together. Everyone sitting on the edge of their creaky church pew, as if we are all slowly being pulled closer to the stage. There’s a gravity to his vocals. He speaks into the crowd as if we’ve been friends for years, and he’s just playing these songs instead of catching up with small talk. He thanks the girl in the front row for singing along so well. He pauses after every song to ask what we want to hear. He takes the time to be our storyteller and give us details of each song before the first chord strums out. The church creates an ethereal echo that keeps us rapt together. The softer songs are accompanied by our hesitant shifting in our seats. The louder songs allow us to become a choir of handclaps.

When Dan plays “Fool For Waiting” the audience is so still. It’s that voice. I fucking love it. I want to bathe in it. To pluck out that glowing orb of a beautiful voice as if I’m Ursula the sea-witch and tap it against the side of the tub letting it break apart spilling it’s glowing yolk, watching that glorious voice fill the basin before I sink myself into it. But there’s more to it. It’s not just this passive soak of prolonged fermatas and dulcet words. There’s an excitement to it. Like wading into the water as it reaches your thighs and you have to bear the threshold before you can swim. It’s refreshing when you get your head under the water.

We are all happily drowning.

(Song recommendation by Devin Matthews)

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M. Recommends: “La Nave del Olvido” by José José

El Principe de la Canción.

I’ve been a professional musician since I was a child; from the very first time my grandfather made me climb a stage at age 8 (at a wedding, no less), I just know this is my thing. My main instrument is bass, but I can play percussions, keyboards, and other string instruments, which is an advantage if you don’t want to starve to death in Mexico’s difficult music environment. Yes, everyone is my mom’s side of the family is a musician, and they’ve been involved in musica tropical (think salsa, cumbia, merengue, rumba) for generations. My mom is a singer and singing coach herself, and her vast knowledge of ballads has informed my perspective on music for as long as I can remember.

Despite playing instruments for years and years, I had never thought of myself as much of a singer, and yet, I’m mainly known in my hometown for being the vocalist of my current band. A few months ago, we decided to play a tribute show to José José, perhaps Mexico’s most legendary crooner. I studied his discography religiously, I went to my mother’s entire collection of cassettes for different versions of his songs (from him and other performers), and became obsessed with his live recordings. Simply put, the man in his prime was a monster. I just couldn’t believe how frustratingly clean his live vocals were. I wanted to do this right, but I eventually had to face the fact that my voice just wasn’t as perfect; you see, José José comes from a jazz tradition, but he was also classically-trained —  his father was a tenor and his mother an organist — and that puts a special emphasis on solfège and pitch perfection. Singing a José José cover is a daunting task for anyone, let alone a guy like me who’s not a natural singer.

I love “La Nave del Olvido,” José José’s first big hit, for its 3/4 rhythm, his brilliant phrasing, but most importantly, for how freakin’ massive the chorus is. The expectation created by the line “espera un poco,” the pause, and then the powerful “un poquiiiiiiiito más” is just anthemic, immortal, transcendent. All that momentum, all that emotional energy. José José’s take on Dino Ramos’ ballad was not the first; the song was already a hit in South America by Venezuelan singer Mirtha Pérez, but to be honest, her version pales in comparison with that from El Principe. Back in 1969, his label planned this song to go to Spanish singer Dyango — he was the bigger name and an already established hitmaker in his homeland — but José lobbied hard for it. He even sneaked into a recording studio to bring his rendition forward. It quietly became a hit, and little by little, it conquered the entire continent.

It’s the song that created the legend.

(Song recommendation by M. de la Rosa)

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Iris Recommends: “Marching Bands of Manhattan” by Death Cab For Cutie

Ask me where in Italy I grew up, and the answer will be a variation of middle of nowhere, you won’t know it, let’s change the subject (you’ve never heard of the place, I promise). Ask me what’s the nearest important city and I’ll tell you there isn’t one: to get anywhere worth going, you’ll need a car and at least an hour.

My early twenties involved a fair share of Death Cab songs played while driving on winter nights, heating at full blast, speeding through empty roads with nothing but fields in sight for miles. “Marching Bands” carried me straight where lack of prospects and flight anxiety had no intention of taking me; I swallowed its words like shots at a party, as if I could wind up on the other side of the ocean if I got intoxicated enough.

The opening verses spoke of a Manhattan I doubted I’d ever see, and therefore could picture just as I liked. Maybe it wasn’t as insufferably cold and rainy as my hometown. Maybe it was the kind of city I imagined I’d thrive in: big enough to never feel dull, to lose myself into and not be found unless I wanted it. Until the next stretch of orange lamplight came into view, I could pretend I was heading to a place just like that. The streets I knew like the back of my hand could be anywhere. Cloaked in the darkness of the cabin, I could be anyone and the truth didn’t hurt as much: just like a faucet that leaks, and there is comfort in the sound.

Over a decade, one move abroad and some thousands of air miles later, the beam of headlights on a deserted road is still the first image “Marching Bands” brings to my mind. These days I listen to it through headphones, on the top decks of red buses or on crowded tube platforms; on my own, but never really alone. It feels a bit surreal. I tell myself it’s because I’ve come a long way.

(Song recommendation by Iris)

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Seigar Recommends: “Everyroad” by Parcels

Like The Beatles, Parcels ready for the flying invasion.

Seigar, the photographer, is back.

Can I have 8 minutes of your time? OK, so scroll down, press play and come back to read my thoughts on this track.

Parcels is a Berlin-based Aussie band that signed for a French electronic music record label. They are also a Daft Punk’s protegee band. This is maybe the most delicate data about their music, because the French group influences them too much. It can’t be considered a copycat, but the sound is quite similar; and this wonderful song is an example.

Their debut record has received great reviews everywhere. Critics find this album quite timeless and epic, but with a clear 70s touch. These guys make an electro funky music that sounds like summer. Songs, lyrics and their polished image work.

The lyrics on this one suceed creating, describing and taking us to a space full of existentialism. The confessions we hear are “selections from interviews conducted with three unique characters found in Berlin,” the group told Conquesence of Sound about this track. The physical details are visual and can be felt with all the senses. Nature and arquitecture lead to an abstract world:

All of the ghosts, people you love
Even your friends don’t want to know
But you can depend on every note
Over the end of every road
I keep a dungeon for the darker thoughts
To cleanse myself, to be able to go downstairs and scream

The experimental bridges and changes in this song keep the interest, it’s like their Bohemian Rhapsody. Wait until the final third to enjoy those beats that remind me of Mirwais or Jim James.

(Song recommendation by Seigar)

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K Recommends: “Delicate Cycle” by The Uncluded

Parts of this write-up may seem familiar if you read my recent Our Lady Peace feature: a selfless friend/radio mentor, a much-loved family man in his 40s, a health anomaly… all coincidental. I even have one more similar story to tell sometime after this one…

Drazzle was a DJ’s DJ. When I started my radio show in 2011, I could count on him for moral support, answering technical questions or talking about music interests. Before I became a DJ he was a friendly, welcoming fixture on the airwaves and in the chatroom. He had 3 shows spanning genres like Celtic punk, blues, Americana, soul, country, and indie. It amazed me how Drazzle would often listen and cheer on many of us regardless of where we broadcast our shows over time.

I started another show, periodically presenting songs selected by listeners. Drazzle was my upcoming featured listener and sent me 5 songs on October 12, 2013. He hadn’t been doing his shows with regularity. His physically demanding job had landed some coworkers in the ER. Not one to complain, he asked more about my next show.

The following evening I got a call from another DJ. He shared distressing news that Drazzle had died earlier that day from a sudden heart event. I had now lost two good radio friends in a year. My show in the days that followed became a tribute. DJs, relatives, and listeners contributed requests along with his pre-selected block of songs.

A song I will forever associate with Drazzle was one he sent the day before he passed. When I played “Delicate Cycle” by The Uncluded (Kimya Dawson and Aesop Rock) on his tribute show, everyone wanted to know more and enjoyed the quirkiness of his song choice.

Here’s to David Scott Rasile who brought music to the masses with kind, genuine interest. There’s no doubt his afterlife includes a vintage jukebox with endless 45s.

A gentle reminder to all: life is indeed a delicate cycle.

(Song recommendation by K Weber)

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