Tunes From ITunes_Febru…er…March Edition

No…this is NOT the set of the latest “Walking Dead” episode…

Wow! February just flew by and now it’s March already??? What happened? Oh well…March Madness is in the air and I’ve been working too much but I’ve still had time to download some new music and if there’s one thing that keeps me plowing through these cold, winter months…it’s good music. So here are some tracks to keep you warm while the ice and snow start to melt outside…

Radiohead – “Separator” (alternative)
Hypnotic and beautiful, Yorke & Co. have come up with another instant classic! I have to admit though, the backing instrumental kind of reminds me of Dario Gands’ “Voices”…but it’s still excellent!

Bright Eyes – “Shell Games” (alternative)
The modern Bob Dylan strikes again with some fancy lyric work and a catchy tune. This is a must have and is one of Conor Oberst’s better tunes off the new album “The People’s Key.”

Hugo – “99 Problems” and “Bread & Butter” (alternative)
Yes…it is a spin on the Jay Z song with a banjo and a driving beat that keeps your toes tappin’. As for “Bread”…well…let’s just say it has some edge to it. Download them both and keep hoping this guy releases an entire album of this stuff!

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – “No” (rock)
I LOVED Adams’ “Rock N Roll” album from a while back and although everyone likes his acoustic guitar stuff, I’m all about his electric guitar. This track rocks with the best of his best and I love the lyrics…
“No wonder I fell

Nobody was underneath me there to catch me
When I go under and down again and on and on…”

Mona – “Listen To Your Love” (rock)
Catchy refrain and some deft guitar work sets this track apart from many rock tracks. Never heard of this band but I’m gonna keep an eye on them, especially after this track!

The Twilight Singers – “Blackbird and the Fox” (alternative)
Not my favorite TS track but still so much better than some of the stuff out there. A little melodic piece from Greg Dulli’s “other” band.

Runner Runner – “Hey Alli” (pop)
Like so many pop rock bands that sing about love and heartbreak, this is one of many. However if you have kids who dig The Disney Channel, this ain’t so bad.

PT Walkley – “Save The World” (alternative)
Great song! Love the horn section in the middle. Love the lyrics. Love the violins. Just an all-around fantastic little song!

The Cave Singers – “Black Leaf” (rock)
HOLY CRAP! Stealng a little bit of thunder from The Black Keys, this song KICKS and THRASHES you around in a bluesy frenzy! LOVE IT!

Lupe Fiasco – “Words I Never Said” (rap)
Hmmmm…the jury’s still out on this one. Like the loping beat and the refrain by Skylar Grey, but there is something a little too familiar here…

Paul Simon – “The Afterlife” (pop)
What a great return single from the better half of the 70’s supergroup (?) Simon & Garfunkel. Sounding very much like his heyday of “Graceland,” this song is a MUST!

Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blue” (alternative)
Speaking of Simon & Garfunkel…this sounds like a track that could have been released in the 60’s. Simon & Garfunkel…step aside! Here’s your replacement! Very mellow and songwriter-ish.

Beady Eye – “Wigwam” (rock)
The latest from Oasis…er…maybe not? Apparently one brother skipped out so now it’s the rest of the band and a new name. Very exciting. However this track is not. Kind of slow and long. But it IS Oas…wait…I just covered this…

The Hundred In The Hands – “Lovesick (Once Again)” (alternative)
Very catchy song, reminds me of classic Heart a little. Without the Wilson sister range. But still…not a bad track!

Wiz Khalifa – “Black & Yellow” (rap)
I’m sorry…but I LOVE this song. Too bad its by a Pittsburgh rapper. But still…it’s EXCELLENT!

Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks (alternative)
Almost too hip for itself, this track is catchy as hell and plays well in my car stereo!

White Lies – “Bigger Than Us” (alternative)
I absolutely loved “Death” from their previous album, “To Lose My Life.” This track isn’t quite as strong, but it’s still up to par. Give it a listen, tell me what you think!

Iration – “Fresh Grounds EP” (alt-pop-reggae)
5 tracks of pure pop/reggae awesomeness! I loved this band’s album “Time Bomb” last year and this just continues the trend!
Favorite Track: “Can’t Wait”

Wye Oak – “Civilian” (alternative)
How much do I love this song? Let me count the ways…

Raphael Saadiq – “Stone Rollin'” (blues)
It’s always refreshing to hear a little blues that tries to mix it up. This song smokes up the room with a little harmonica and female backup singers that give it a sexy tinge. LOVE IT!

R.E.M. – “UBerlin” (alternative)
Michael Stipe and the boys are back and this song kind of hints to a return to the R.E.M. of “Around The Sun.” Not a good thing. I really don’t like this song at all but it was free and I LOVE their classic 80’s stuff so I’ll give ’em the benefit of the doubt. There had to be a reason this was free in ITunes…right?

Telekinesis – “Car Crash” (alt-pop)
Great beat, great guitar, great sound. And the leader, Michael Benjamin Lerner, is from Seattle! LOVE IT!

S. Carey – “In The Dirt” (alternative)
I just love this song. Pretty piano with hand claps in the background. Kind of mellow in all the right ways. I dig it…

CLASSIC TRACK OF THE WEEK: The English Beat – “Tears Of A Clown”
What happens when you take a classic R&B song, add a reggae beat and bring the tempo up a few notches? Pure pop goodness! And The Beat know how to do a remake the right way!



My Top 10 Favorite Saxophone Songs

I realize that the sax went out of style in 1989…and I’m okay with that. You don’t hear too many bands with a horn section anymore. But there are a few, such as The National and Spoon, who use a horn section and a few bands who still implement the sax here & there. So…I figured I’d present my Top 10 favorite songs that include the coolest, uncool instrument out there…

10. Al Stewart – “Time Passages/Year Of The Cat”
Oh…I know…that’s 2 songs! That’s cheating! But not really. If you think about it, the sax in both is eerily similiar and I love both songs equally. They both clock in over 6 minutes, both have a sax solo in the middle and both are the title track of each album from which they were released. Basically…they’re the same freakin’ song! But Al managed to sell them as 2…so I am saying BOTH belong here!

9. Violent Femmes – “I Held Her In My Arms”
Quirky isn’t exactly how I would describe this band. Everyone knows “Blister In The Sun”, but this track from 1986 is one of their best and the sax really kicks it up a notch!

8. The English Beat – “Mirror In The Bathroom”
With its bouncy beat and the catchy rhythm, I can’t NOT bop my head anytime I hear this little ditty.

7. Michael Stanley Band – “Someone Like You”
For the opening alone, this song belongs here. Seriously, the first 30 seconds reminds me why I love this instrument so much. It sounds like a heart yearning for love. It’s THAT good!

6. Oingo Boingo – “Dead Man’s Party”
Ok…if you are ever at a party at MY house, and this song isn’t playing at some point, you are allowed to kick me in the head as hard as you want. Because it is NOT a party until some Boingo has been played. It’s inevitable. And the sax in this song kicks butt. And it’s not just the sax…but the entire horn section that is just cool.

5. Eddie Money – “I Wanna Go Back”
Remember THIS little tune from a guy who could have been bigger if Huey Lewis hadn’t stolen his thunder? Okay…that might be a stretch, but I love so many of Eddie’s songs and no one ever plays them anymore? But I hear plenty of Huey Lewis on the radio. WTF?!? Whatever, this tune has a great sax intro and then it reappears at the end. LOVE it!

4. Bruce Springsteen – “Born To Run”
Oh Clarence. Where would the sax be without you? I mean, you could take just about ANY pop song, have Clarence blow on his wonderful sax and it would make the song 10 times better! And then you stick him with The Boss and you really can’t go wrong. So many songs to choose from, but I choose the signature song simply because his sax is the heartbeat of Bruce’s amazing tune.

3. Morphine – “Whisper”
This band was never gonna be huge. They weren’t built that way. 3 guys. That was it. And 1 of ’em played sax. They played what some called “low rock”. It’s as underground sounding as any music I’ve ever listened to and, if lead singer Mark Sandman (it’s even a cool name for a lead singer!) hadn’t died of a heart attack in 1999, this band would still be playing in smoky bars all across the world! This track is amazing! But it’s only one in a whole listing of great songs by Morphine.

2. R.E.M. – “Fireplace”
Not a band to use the sax, Michael Stipe & Company surprised everyone (and by everyone, I mean me) with this gem on their awesome album, “Document”. Quite possibly my all-time favorite REM track, and it IS because of the sax.

1. Gerry Rafferty – “Baker Street”
Think about it. If you are thinking “sax song”, where does YOUR mind drift? Seriously, the sax at the end of this song is so prolific in my mind, that it might very well be the reason I love the instrument so much. Just a little sidenote…according to Wikipedia, this song inspired a resurgence of saxophone use in music and commercials known as “The Baker Street Phenomenon” in 1978. Sax sales also jumped and the song itself went to #2 in the U.S. Soooo…some might consider this to be a one-hit wonder from the 70’s. I consider it to be a classic song that has always been an important part of my musical growth! Plus….it was covered by the Foo Fighters. And that automatically makes it cool…

Honorable Mention & late additions from readers….

Wham – “Careless Whisper”
Pink Floyd – “Us & Them”
Dire Straits – “Your Latest Trick”
Sade – “Is It A Crime”, “Smooth Operator”
Paul McCartney – “Silly Love Songs”
Skipper Wise – “Standing Outside In The Rain”
Breathe – “Hands To Heaven”
Bob Marley – “Roots, Rock & Reggae”
Kenny Loggins – “Danger Zone”
Ian Gomm – “Hold On”
Collective Soul – “Better Now”
OMD – “So In Love”
Billy Idol – “Catch My Fall”
All my life – Phil Collins
Sad Cafe – The Eagles
Bad to the bone – George Thorogood
Die Trying – Dave Matthews Band
Crack in time – Calvin Harris
River of time – van Morrison
You aint smiling – Audience
House on the hill – Audience
Inside Out – Pink Floyd
The Edge Of Glory – Lady Gaga
Last Friday Night – Katy Perry
Time – Culture Club