I used to set it to shuffle and take my bike out to the park, but I haven't done that since my accident. I'm still recovering, but I've decided to stay closer to the ground at slower speeds and take up running instead of biking. Anyhoo, here's what I've been listening to:
1. Tell 'Em, Sleigh Bells.
My new favorite band. It's just two people making all that noise and their album is a brief, searing, 32 minutes of awesome. I like a lot of their songs, but this one is my favorite. In fact, I appropriated their use of a power drill as a musical instrument in one of my new pieces, to be published and recorded by Alfred Publishing in the Fall.
2. Boy, Ra Ra Riot.
I love the propulsive bassline and the 'cello/violin duet in this one. That might be a viola, though – it's hard to tell. This video was made at the 2010 Bumbershoot Arts Festival in Seattle. I've been to Bumbershoot twice and highly recommend it. Just get in a line and be surprised at what you see.
3. Oh No, Marina and the Diamonds
If you like Florence + The Machine you'll likely enjoy Marina and the Diamonds. Marina looks like a former Disney pop star but her lyrics are sharp as razors and her voice has a surprising urgency. I was torn between including this song and the frank, confessional "I Am Not a Robot," but "Oh No" has video. But it's not a great video. I don't think the comic book style and Marina's glossy look match up well at all with the tough, introspective lyrics.
4. I Don't Mind It, Screaming Females
An aptly-named band! Lead singer Marissa Paternoster has a great voice and it blends well with her distorted guitar riffs and the fantastic thumping bassline in this song. This is a great song to run to.
5. Crash Years, The New Pornographers
Yet another strong female singer, this time backed by a more elaborate, colorful ensemble. And a great whistling interlude. I also enjoy this video, which is an homage to the opening of the 1964 French film "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."
6. When the Child Awakes, Mount RighteousThis large group consists of a tuba, marching percussion, and one guitar. And everyone sings. All their songs sound like campfire sing-alongs and have wonderful melodies. I love the earnest enthusiasm that goes into their music. And that little “whooooooop!” after each chorus.
7. Seperate, The Thermals
A great bass line, cutting guitar, and hand claps. What more could you ask for? Oh yeah – lacerating lyrics in one of the best angry breakup songs of the year. “Separate we are finally whole.” Ouch! It stings!
8. Rocket, Goldfrapp
Guilty pleasure time. I tried hard to hate this song, but it’s so ridiculously catchy that I just gave in. This song could have come straight off an Olivia Newton-John album from 1981. Just enjoy those soft synths and let the awesome wash over you.
9. Heads Will Roll, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
This song has a great attitude and swagger. And a weird video. The werewolf in red shoes dancing on a light-up floor is an obvious reference to Thriller-era Michael Jackson, and then it gets gruesome. The video actually reminds me of one I posted last year for Passion Pit's "Little Secrets."
10. Answer To Yourself, The Soft Pack
This song is like a self-help book set to music, giving empowering advice to a great tune and roaring guitars. It's nice to be reassured every once in a while.