When I started listening exactly 3 weeks ago, I was tossing out so many songs, I started wondering if there was anything fun and interesting in the 739 tracks. In fact, true to Sturgeon’s Law, 89% of the tracks didn’t do anything for me. Follows are the 80 tracks that, listen after listen, both pulled me in and let me keep working. According to this list, a few artists only made the BitTorrent – not the SXSW website, hence no direct mp3 links.
Streaming Playlist of 76 tracks
[qt:http://garrickvanburen.com/wp-content/garrickvanburen/uploads/2012/01/Garricks-2007-SXSW-Picks.m3u 200 16]
- ‘Paradise’ from Ana Laan.
World – 5 stars. You know that super hip party you imagine when you say, “Yes, we entertain a lot” to a real estate agent? This song is playing in the background at that party.
- ‘Origin of Species’ from Chris Smither.
Singer-Songwriter – 5 stars. A fun, folky, finger-picking song covering a number of stories in the book of Genesis. Also, this is one of two songs referencing Katrina in the list.
- ‘Modern Love’ from The Last Town Chorus.
Pop – 5 stars. An amazingly dark and somber cover of the David Bowie classic.
- ‘What Else Would You Have Me Be?’ from Lucero.
Alt Country – 5 stars. Lucero made the cut last year as well. As soon as I heard the vocals, they made the cut – imagine Bruce Springsteen singing country.
- ‘Crush Me’ from Prisonshake.
Rock – 5 stars. It starts out a kinda slow, but gets going after the first chorus. Oh, and I’m a sucker for the scratchy, bootlegged-sounding vocals.
- ‘Jugglin Justin’ from Skratch Bastid.
Hip Hop – 5 stars. This is the best skratch-based song I’ve ever heard.
- ‘Energy’ from The Apples in Stereo.
Rock – 4 stars.
It sounds like lead singer Robert Schneider is doing a completely different song than the rest of the band. The two songs just happen to mash-up great. I like that.
- ‘Tokyo East End Rockers’ from Asakusa Jinta.
World – 4 stars. If the Squirrel Nut Zippers were’ from Japan.
- ‘Mystic Song’ from The Berg Sans Nipple.
Experimental – 4 stars. Light, floaty, – uh – mystic, track. It sounds very hip. Like there’s a million bands out there with this sound, and I’m completely out of the loop. Or there will be – and I’m so cool.
- ‘Don’t Bother Me’ from The Blakes.
Rock – 4 stars. This song acknowledges the ’90s Seattle sound, throws in some Iggy Pop, and then rocks steady.
- ‘Between the Moon and the Ocean’ from Bon Savants.
Rock – 4 stars. You had me at “You kiss like a Russian.”
- ‘Who Are You’ from Deaf in the Family.
Hip Hop – 4 stars. Heavy Who sampling with some harsh rhymes on top.
- ‘Mr. Milk’ from Errors.
Electronic – 4 stars. Electronica, like all music genres, has a push-pull relationship with its stereotype and interestingness. Mr. Milk is both.
- ‘Left Hand’ from The Gaskets.
Pop – 4 stars. “Sell me something I haven’t bought before” – damn straight. Isn’t that what we’re all asking for.
- ‘Eight Arms To Hold You’ from The Gear.
Rock – 4 stars. ‘That Thing You Do’ – sung by a spider.
- ‘Beautiful Mystery’ from Harris Tweed.
Pop – 4 stars. Yes, there’s some Jewel in this track. If Jewel could seduce by rhyming ‘float’ and ‘boat’.
- ‘War’ from Ladyhawk.
Rock – 4 stars. Come on, everyone sing along, “Don’t just go along – start a war if you want to.”
- ‘Tout va pour le mieux dans le pire des mondes’ from Les Breastfeeders.
Rock – 4 stars. I have no idea what they’re saying, but it sure sounds cool.
- ‘closer’ from Melissa Ferrick.
Rock – 4 stars. Melissa made last year’s cut as well.
- ‘Hardcore Hornography’ from Michelle Shocked.
Jazz – 4 stars. A sweet New Orleans jazz tune’ from Michelle Shocked – hitting all bases; Katrina, Gumbo, and Mardi Gras.
- ‘Touch Up’ from Mother Mother.
Pop – 4 stars. Coolest underwater song since Ringo’s Octopus’ Garden.
- ‘River of Daughters’ from The Old Soul.
Rock – 4 stars. This is a nice enough track, comfortable and listenable. I couldn’t remember why it made the cut, until….2:44 in. That little bit makes this a pretty cool song.
- ‘In The City’ from Peel.
Rock – 4 stars. In the vein of Trans Am, Peel’s vocals aren’t the highlight – just another instrument, equal to all the others.
- ‘Grain of salt…and a shot of tequila’ from Ray Herndon.
Country – 4 stars. Probably the best chorus in all stereotypical Country music. First time I heard it, I couldn’t stop laughing.
- ‘Lay Em Down’ from Rico Pabon.
Hip Hop – 4 stars. Sure, the beat is Rico Suave, but the rapping is far better.
- ‘The Girl’s Distracted’ from Saturday Looks Good To Me.
Pop – 4 stars. I vote this song for Target’s next commercial.
- ‘Self Inflicted Wounds’ from Sole.
Hip Hop – 4 stars. This track is so timely, I’m not sure how well it’ll age. Hopefully, in a year if I can’t get past the rhymes, I can still dig the clapping.
- ‘Oregon Girl’ from Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.
Pop – 4 stars. Special award for coolest name. Think Fountains of Wayne…from Missouri.
- ‘Ten Years Pass’ from Sunny Sweeney.
Country – 4 stars. Sunny’s captured the feelings of revisiting a small town for a class reunion, down to the smell.
- ‘Moving to New York’ from The WOMBATS.
Rock – 4 stars. This song has clapping in it too. I think that’s why it made the list. Oh, and Matthew Murphy’s really cool voice.
- ‘Hummer In My Hummer’ from Yuppie Pricks.
Punk – 4 stars. This is an updated version of the Dead Kennedy’s classic ‘California Über Alles‘. The similarities between these two songs is amusing enough to make this list. The Yuppie Pricks are even on Alternative Tentacles.
- ‘Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here’ from 65daysofstatic.
Experimental – 3 stars. Consider this as the alternative background music in Blade Runner or Ghost in the Shell.
- ‘Bring The Good Boys Home’ from The 1900s.
Pop – 3 stars. The echoing background vocals and synthesizer grabbed me on this one.
- ‘Figure Out’ from A Cursive Memory.
Pop – 3 stars. I kept trying to figure out who they remind me of…turns out, it’s themselves. They made the list last year as well.
- ‘Think Niles Drink’ from About.
Electronic – 3 stars. Like being trapped inside a broken hard drive. In a good way.
- ‘Gonna Be Alright’ from Abram Wilson.
Jazz – 3 stars. Trumpet as lead vocals. Yeah, it’s pretty cool.
- ‘The Rifle’ from Alela Diane.
Singer-Songwriter – 3 stars. There’s something unsettling about impending death being sung about so calmly.
- ‘Heaven Is For Easy Girls ‘ from The Awkward Stage.
Rock – 3 stars. I’m trying not to listen too carefully about the lyrics. Just bounce to the beat and clap along.
- ‘Shine In Exile’ from Beat the Devil.
Experimental – 3 stars. If a Bond movie was ever placed in the future – this is the background song to the first martini.
- ‘HeavyMetal’ from Bisc1.
Hip Hop – 3 stars. Feels more like Rhymesayers, MN than Brooklyn, NYC.
- ‘Must You Throw Dirt In My Face’ from Charlie Louvin.
Country – 3 stars. By the second line, you’ll either bust out laughing or give this song a big hug. Hopefully, by the end you’ll do both.
- ‘Patience’ from Damien Dempsey.
Hip Hop – 3 stars. Pissed-off Irish hip hop mixed up with gentle, affectionate R&B.
- ‘Fa-Fa-Fa’ from DATAROCK.
Rock – 3 stars. I always liked MC 900 FT Jesus’ lyrics, but never his beats. He shoulda had DATAROCK to the beats.
- ‘Story Never Gets Old’ from Death Ships.
Rock – 3 stars. A rather fortune combination of Elvis Costello, TMBG, and the Decemberists.
- ‘will to doubt’ from Delicious Food.
Experimental – 3 stars. Yes, there is such a thing as ‘New Classical’ music.
- ‘Everything’ from Dolly Varden.
Alt Country – 3 stars. Good, solid, Chicago rock. Ok, I admit, it made the list for the clapping.
- ‘KeMo Thera-P’ from E>K>U>K.
Pop – 3 stars. Dinosaur Jr.-esque guitar work with just the right amount of screaming.
- ‘Not Giving Up’ from The Femurs.
Punk – 3 stars. This track is far more 80’s British punk than ’06 Seattle, and Ramones influence is obvious.
- ‘Act 7, Scene 8’ from Going Home.
Rock – 3 stars. If Sum81 sang catchy pop tunes’ from the 60s.
- ‘Dead Fish on the Banks’ from The Goodnight Loving.
Alt Country – 3 stars. Wisconsin’s answer to Uncle Tupelo. Probably the best thing outta Milwaukee since I-94.
- ‘TV’ from Headlights.
Rock – 3 stars. Erin Fein is a siren. Her singing on this track are so faint, so elusive, the closer I listen, the further away she drifts.
- ‘Don’t Play this’ from Hera.
Singer-Songwriter – 3 stars. I dig really bad break up songs like this. So many love songs are.
- ‘Rattling My Tin Cup’ from Honeydogs.
Pop – 3 stars. Finally, the Minneapolis sound, with a hint of Elvis Constello. This song sounds as solid and experienced as the band themselves.
- ‘Westboro Baptist Church’ from I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House.
Rock – 3 stars. This curse-filled song has a real simple message and a real catchy chorus. This is one of a bunch of songs in the list offering insightful critique of our current admistration.
- ‘Breakfast by the Mattress’ from Kristoffer Ragnstam.
Pop – 3 stars. This is a silly song. How Kristoffer says the title makes me giggle.
- ‘Where I Live’ from Leeroy Stagger.
Country – 3 stars. Another portrait of a town paved with broken hopes.
- ‘Pissing on the Mainframe’ from Live Fast Die.
Punk – 3 stars. If you were introduced to punk with badly-copied cassette bootlegs, this song was probably on those tapes.
- ‘Passenger 24’ from Melissa McClelland.
Singer-Songwriter – 3 stars. Noir. Bad trouble. As persistent, poetic, and pesismistic as Sin City.
- ‘Batterie’ from Omni.
Hip Hop – 3 stars. A modern day version of early Hip Hop, back when sampling wasn’t such an issue. There’s hints of early Beastie Boys and NWA in here.
- ‘Far Side of Nowhere’ from Onion Creek Crawdaddies.
Alt Country – 3 stars. The line, “don’t miss me while I’m here”, makes this one of the great good bye songs.
- ‘Miss Idaho’ from Ox (Canada).
Alt Country – 3 stars. This track is a classic, up there with Son Volt’s ‘Out of the Picture’.
- ‘Turning Colours Into Greys’ from Paper Moon.
Pop – 3 stars. This song played after the last fight with your best friend. If you starred in a very popular television sitcom.
- ‘Red Eagle’ from Paul Duncan.
Country – 3 stars. Non-stereotypical country mixed with classical.
- ‘Moving Forward’ from Protokoll.
Rock – 3 stars. Trans Am with less geekiness.
- ‘Much Farther To Go’ from Rosie Thomas.
Singer-Songwriter – 3 stars. If Simon and Garfunkel weren’t two guys, but one woman in-between hometowns.
- ‘Psalm 102’ from San Saba County.
Alt Country – 3 stars. This to me, is what a country song should sound like. Very audible finger picking and a weary, tired voice.
- ‘Don’t Believe Everything’ from Shane Bartell.
Rock – 3 stars. A great track for a Sunday brunch, or spring cleaning with the windows wide open.
- ‘let it go’ from Shannon Moore.
Pop – 3 stars. Shannon Moore’s voice, and this song especially, reminds me of my favorite Aimee Mann tracks.
- ‘Weather Machine’ from Signal To Noise.
Rock – 3 stars. Stiff Little Fingers mixed with Blink 182 and a tinge of New Jersey Bon Jovi. Good rocking beat, scratchy lead vocals, and comfortable backup vocals sounds.
- ‘Love Show’ from Skye.
Singer-Songwriter – 3 stars. Come on, I liked Dido.
- ‘Try’ from Sparkle Motion.
Punk – 3 stars. Garrick’s a sucker for all-girl punk bands. It’s as simple as that. Even if one of the girls is named Pete.
- ‘Mega Lamb’ from Tammany Hall Machine.
Rock – 3 stars. Cousteau without his morning coffee.
- ‘What We Have Is Now’ from To Live And Die In LA.
Rock – 3 stars. They used to call this ‘College Rock’.
- ‘Shattered’ from The Trucks.
Pop – 3 stars. This is a cute track. The lead voice is cute, the nostalgic 4-4 techno is cute, the angry attitude is cute. There are a couple of interesting bits in the song, but really, I included this song cause it’s cute.
- ‘Yeah Right’ from Unbusted.
Rock – 3 stars. The essence of rock and roll: three guys, a mic, a guitar, 3 chords, and a drum kit. Singing ‘Yeah Right’.
- ‘Trouble’ from Voxtrot.
Rock – 3 stars. 40 seconds in and Voxtrot had me quietly floating down the river. Sure, there’s a few rocks to dodge and in some places, you need to paddle. Totally worth it.
- ‘Jarvis Cocker’ from Washington Social Club.
Rock – 3 stars. A great dance tune about dance floor drama. Plus clapping. I dig the clapping.
- ‘Better Off This Way’ from We Are the Fury.
Rock – 3 stars. Solid Midwest rock (Toledo) with two shots of espresso.
- ‘Catching & Killing’ from Youth Group.
Rock – 3 stars. This is a real simple, comfortable track. Something I could listen to a hundred times (the goal of this culling). I quite like the lead voice.
- ‘Wipeout (Try Waking Up!)’ from Zykos.
Rock – 3 stars. How many instruments and sounds are in this track? Lots. That’s what makes it a fun listen.