Random Song Dump

A long time ago in our galaxy I used to create monthly lists that I referred to as Best of the Month (BOTM).  Along the way life became more filled and music gathering, curating, and dissemination became more and more pushed to the periphary.  Today as I was cleaning up a personal hard drive I stumbled upon these tracks that at some point I thought worthy of being shared.  So I’ll just dump them here (mostly so I can empty that folder from the drive).

Enjoy the music.

mp3 : Cee Lo – Radioactive (Kings of Leon Cover)
mp3 : Childish Gambino – Break (AOTL)
mp3 : Crooked Fingers – Under Pressure (Queen Cover)
mp3 : Deer Tick – Dirty Dishes (Live on MOKB Radio)
mp3 : Elbow – Running to Stand Still (U2 Cover)
mp3 : Ingrid Michaelson – Can’t Help Falling in Love (Elvis Presley Cover)
mp3 : KiD CuDi (feat Vampire Weekend) – Cudderisback
mp3 : Mochi Beats – Gifted Stop
mp3 : Serena Ryder & The Beauties – The Funeral (Band of Horses Cover)
mp3 : Willy Wonka – Pure Imagination

Yes I understand that “Willy Wonka” above is actually voiced by Gene Wilder, but keeping it as Wonka adds more whimsy to the piece.  And we could all use a little bit of whimsy.  Also the Childish Gambino lyrics are absolutely not safe for work, or really any sort of public consumption, but this is one of the shining examples of his trademark flow.  Same goes for the KiD CuDi track (amazing flow, don’t let your mom hear it).  The Mochi Beats track is a mashup combining too many influences/sources to name (including Glee).

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John Samson album Provincial

John Samson is arguably the best lyricist currently working in music.  He possesses a unique talent of turning even the mundane and melancholic minutiae of modern life into beautiful universal narratives.  Over his past three albums, as the front man for the Canadian group The Weakerthans, he has proven he is a poetic lyrical genius and on Provincial (amazon) (itunes), his first proper solo album, he continues to impress.  Although the music loses some of the raucousness his bandmates bring to his music it is still evident that he is the driving force behind the lyrics.

mp3 : John Samson – Heart of the Continent
mp3 : John Samson – Grace General

Provincial opens with a dirge of sorts; a rather abstract tribute to Highway 1 East where he talks about getting lost while following another car.  The GPS fails him and he pines for the car in front to wait for him.  And all of this explanation feels dull and rather boring, but John Samson creates a scene that is worth listening to over and over again.

Oh, wait for me, I fell behind
three signs for services ago

Some sarcastic satellite says I’m not anywhere
Spent every cent of your good will
On fossil fuels and magazines
So let this field of flax foreclose on everything I owe
And scratch Saskatchewan away
Make Manitoba paper dolls
Lift up a line from Highway One to tie Ontario
Oh, wait for me

From that short interlude (the opening track is just under 90 seconds) the album opens up with Heart of the Continent which sees John focus on Winnipeg.  When working with The Weakerthans he recorded the song One Great City where the chorus repeats “I hate Winnipeg.”  On Heart of the Continent both the melody, the instrumentation, and the lyrics serve as a sister song to the original much in the same way two previous songs about Virtute the cat opened and closed a story spread across multiple albums.

The remainder of this debut full length is filled with sparse songs about great Canadian hockey players (a sister song to Elegy for Gump Worsley which appeared on the last Weakerthans album), video games, the crossroads through Canada and other various subject matter that would all seem hollow and bored without the poetry of John Samson to serve as our lens.  For instance on When I Write My Masters Thesis he starts with a short tribute to Grand Theft Auto which segues into a tribute to loneliness.  I challenge you to find another song writer who can combine such disparate subject matter into a single track.

I could probably write a single post about each track on this album but I won’t drag you farther (or is it further) into my lyrically obsessive rabbit hole.  Plan on getting this album, opening your browser to Songmeanings.net, and enjoying the imagery woven through each song.  And for those who choose not to purchase albums you can stream it here.

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Cloud Cult covers The Beatles

A charity project organized by Vega Productions has a slew of artists covering classic Beatles tracks.  You can buy the entire compilation, Minnesota Beatle Project Vol. 3, on their website.  One of my favorite artists, Cloud Cult, covered the Beatles classic song Help.  It’s recognizable as the original, but  it is also entirely a Cloud Cult concoction.   Quite simply, it is a great cover.

mp3 : Cloud Cult – Help (Beatles Cover)

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The Best Albums of 2011

I fully understand that my best of the year list is usually published far after many of the hip new kids.  The World Forgot has long been a dessert blog, if you will, that might not provide enough sustenance on a day to day basis to get you through life, but I do provide a sweet finish.  On top of that I’ve been able to listen through all of the albums I heard in 2011 for an extra month.  In all reality this is the definitive list.  Enjoy the music.

01 : Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

Fleet Foxes crafted a pitch perfect sophomore album that cleverly showcases all of their strengths.  There really isn’t much you could change about this album.  It’s the perfect soundtrack for a long drive and is very enjoyable to sing along with tales of Montezuma or of owning an orchard.

mp3 : Fleet Foxes – Montezuma
mp3 : Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

02 : Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Bon Iver came out swinging with his sophomore album as well.  In fact he almost topped the chart (and depending on the weather outside my window when writing this he probably could).  His second album proved beyond a doubt that he has a bright and long future ahead.

mp3 : Bon Iver – Holocene
mp3 : Bon Iver – Hinnom, TX

03 : I Break Horses – Hearts

I fell in love with this album as soon as I heard the first two tracks.  There is something overwhelmingly captivating about their synth heavy crescendos.  (And as icing on the cake they’re supposed to tour with M83 in 2012).

mp3 : I Break Horses – Hearts
mp3 : I Break Horses – Empty Bottles

04 : Foster the People – Torches

Somewhere between becoming extremely radio friendly (with their single Pumped up Kids) and having songs featured in the video game Fifa 12 as well as on Nissan commercials I feel like a lot of bloggers and critics wrote them off without listening to their entire album.  Let’s face it, this is a great pop/indie album; this is the kind of album we all wanted MGMT to make.

mp3 : Foster the People – Helena Beat
mp3 : Foster the People – Miss You

05 : Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys

And just like that roughly 80% of you have stopped reading this list.  Get over it.  Yes, I know that this isn’t as good as Transatlanticism (or maybe even Plans).  But this is a solid album with signature Death Cab moments sprinkled throughout.  It keeps the hope alive that the man who brought us the Postal Service album Give Up and the aforementioned Death Cab masterpiece Transatlanticism in the same calendar year still has what it takes to create amazing songs.

mp3 : Death Cab for Cutie – Underneath the Sycamore
mp3 : Death Cab for Cutie – St. Peter’s Cathedral

06: Cults – Cults

Clever indie for the entire album.  It’s the type of album that’s hip enough for you to love, but if you threw it on a scratchy record player you might convince your parents it’s a band you can all enjoy together.

mp3 : Cults – Go Outside

07 : Hooray for Earth – True Loves

Maybe I’m addicted to shoegaze and synth (or maybe I’m finally starting to like this so called 80’s revival), but whatever the reason I fell in love with the Hooray for Earth album over the past five weeks.

mp3 : Hooray for Earth – Last Minute

08 : M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Easily their most well received and easily accessible album to date this album by french artists M83 brought to light the fact that many artists have been perfecting shoegaze and synth (notice a theme here) for more than the past eighteen months.

mp3 : M83 – Midnight City

09 : Radiohead – King of Limbs

It’s hard for me to listen to a studio album from Radiohead and not immediately compare it to two things.  First, their live show is unbelievable.  Second, Kid A and OK Computer are still the peak of their recordings for me.  Also, to be fair, at times while listening to this album you’re thinking “I really wish every song was as good as Bloom.”

mp3 : Radiohead – Bloom

10: Adele – 21

A, her voice. B, her voice on the song Someone Like You. (that should be enough to be in a top ten).

mp3 : Adele – Someone Like You

That is my list for 2011.  We had a decent year as far as music goes.  Foo Fighters and Coldplay played true to their sound (although Rihanna tried very hard to ruin Coldplay).  Beastie Boys released an album that was, essentially, in homage to their former selves.  In addition to more established acts there were solid efforts by other bands like The Kills, We Were Promised Jetpacks, New Villager, Josh Garrels, and The Dodos.  This, however, is my list and I’m sticking to it.

For previous years just follow this link.

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The Long Winters track The Commander Thinks Aloud

A few days ago I wrote a post about a track called Boeing 737 by The Low Anthem.  In the lyrics of that song The Low Anthem intertwines the tragedy of the World Trade Center terrorist attack with hanging out in a bar with Philippe Petit (the man who strung a high wire between the twin towers).  In that track there is a certain beauty found in what is ultimately a melancholy and utterly tragic experience.  It takes a unique talent to capture the bittersweet emotions of certain events and forge from that fire something beautiful and worthy.

The Low Anthem succeeded with their song Boeing 737.  Sufjan Stevens somehow paralleled his own short comings with those of John Wayne Gacy, Jr., in a heartbreaking song.  The Weakerthans have a brilliant song called Night Windows which details the loss of a friend to the war in Afghanistan.  And although this list could probably continue, I am often reminded of the following track by The Long Winters.

mp3 : The Long Winters – The Commander Thinks Aloud (Live in the WOXY Lounge)

In The Commander Thinks Aloud, John Roderick, lead singer of The Long Winters, tells the story of astronauts on their way home from a mission.  He details their euphoria, the return of gravity as they descend, and the amazing and breathtaking view they are afforded from their seats.  And yet, just as they begin to descend, as he sings the line “Can you feel it we’re almost home? / Yay! Yay!” it all starts to fall apart.  The song ends as the space shuttle Columbia begins to disintegrate and fall apart.  Yet from this great tragedy; not only for the astronauts we lost (and their loved ones), but for the entire space program as well, The Long Winters have found a beautiful way to tell their story and commemorate this event.

It’s tracks like this that keep me blogging.  Originally recorded for their 2005 EP Ulitmatum (amazon) (itunes), the original version of this song is filled with guitar distortion and feeback.  The version I have posted today was recorded live in the WOXY Lounge (which no longer exists as both WOXY and their website went out of business and were closed permanently in 2010) and I believe it is the definitive version of the song.  I am fortunate enough to have snagged this version a long time ago and I wanted to make sure it was passed around the internet a few more times.  Enjoy the music, no matter how tragic it can be.

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The Low Anthem track Boeing 737

Over the past few weeks, in between listening to appropriate Christmas music*, I have been working my way through various Best of 2011 lists.  One album that has popped up on a few lists has been the most recent work from The Low Anthem entitled  Smart Flesh (amazon) (itunes).  For various reasons I can’t really recommend the entire album.  It’s too, well, slow for my taste.  And it veers unnervingly close to pure country at times.

Even though I couldn’t bring myself to love the entire album there is one track that I cannot get out of my head.  The track Boeing 737 talks abstractly about the fall of the World Trade Center.  I’ve included the lyrics below.  The tragic subject matter reminds me a lot of The Commander Thinks Aloud by The Long Winters (which dealt with the space shuttle Columbia breaking up on reentry).

mp3 : The Low Anthem – Boeing 737

I was in the air when the towers came down
In a bar on the 84th floor
I bought Philippe Petit a round
And asked what his high wire was for
He says, “I put one foot out on the wire,
One foot straight into heaven”
As the prophets entered boldly into the bar
On the Boeing 737, Lord, on the Boeing 737
Hey little bird, would you be the one
To nest beneath my Gatling gun?
There’s nothing left I call my own
Come down and build me a home.

I was in a bar when they rigged the towers
Trying to leave all my sins
The barmaid asked my order
And where my mind had been
I tried to recall the high wire
Philippe and his foot there in heaven
As the prophets entered boldly into the bar
On the Boeing 737, Lord, on the Boeing 737
Hey little bird, would you be the one
To nest beneath my Gatling gun?
There’s nothing left I call my own
So come down and build me a home.

Hey little bird, would you be the one
To nest beneath my Gatling gun?
There’s nothing left I call my own
Come down and build me a home.

*The phrase “appropriate Christmas music” refers to either Andy Williams or Sufjan Stevens.  That is all.

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BOTR vol 18

It is December.  I’m feeling generous.  Here is the latest installment of Best of the Remix.  Tell your friends.  Enjoy the music.  If you want to see the other volumes just click here.

mp3 : Adele (feat Childish Gambino) – Rolling In The Deep (Jamie XX Remix)
mp3 : Age of Consent – The Beach (IS TROPICAL Remix)
mp3 : Band of Horses – The Funeral (Butch Clancy Remix)
mp3 : Deadmau5 – Strobe (Klaypex Remix)
mp3 : Edward Sharpe and T.I. – Bring Em Home (D.veloped Gold Jacket Remix)
mp3 : Foster the People – Houdini (RAC Remix)
mp3 : Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks (Gigamesh Remix)
mp3 : Gorillaz – Melancholy Hill (Feed Me Remix)
mp3 : Jonathan Johansson – Bloomorna (Niva Remix)
mp3 : Kavinsky – Nightcall (Studio Brussels Remix)
mp3 : Mashup Germany – Who Knew Someone Like You (Adele, Pink, 4 Non Blondes, Ben E King, Snow Patrol, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston)
mp3 : Nero – Promises (Skrillex & Nero Remix)
mp3 : Niki & The Dove – Mother Protect (Goldroom Remix)

I wasn’t much a fan of the standard Jamie XX Remix until I stumbled onto the version featuring Childish Gambino. His verse literally makes the song.  Clearly, as with most of his rhymes, it is not safe for work.

Also the Edward Sharpe / T.I. mashup is really interesting.

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Bruce Springsteen track My City of Ruin

I could probably subtitle this post “It was songs like this that ultimately led me to starting a music blog.”  The year was 2006 and Amazon didn’t have an mp3 store, iTunes was still wobbling around, and the idea that virtually every song, ever recorded, would be available for instant streaming on a mobile phone was unheard of.  2006 is when The World Forgot officially began and it was because of songs like My City of Ruin.  I would occasionally stumble upon standout tracks (or in this case versions of tracks) that were so moving that I simply had to share them.  I was compelled.

For awhile I made do with mix albums, painstakingly burned to CD, and mailed to friends and family.  Eventually that evolved into electronic distribution (via email and now ancient sites like yousendit or zshare).  Finally I settled upon the name The World Forgot, started a blog through Blogspot (back before the name change to Blogger), and the rest constitutes five years of finding songs, feeling compelled, and sharing them online.

On April 16th, 2006, I posted this live recording of My City of Ruin and to this day it is still the definitive version of the song for me.  At that time this version was rare, almost impossible to find.  Now, of course, you can simply order the entire album America: A Tribute to Heroes via Amazon (although curiously it still is not available in any downloadable format).  Here I choose to present it again.  This is the best version, ever recorded, of My City of Ruin and this song remains one of the reasons I have a music blog.

mp3 : Bruce Springsteen – My City of Ruin

(below is the original text from the April 2006 post)

One of the greatest songs Bruce Springsteen ever wrote has been relegated to a simple prayer for 9/11. What’s really unique is that this song, My City of Ruins, was written before the events of 9/11. In fact Springsteen wrote the song looking back on his beloved city of Asbury Park, NJ. It’s the story of a once great place slowly slipping into decay as the people, and the money they had, migrates to other parts of the world. He speaks of empty churches, evoking images of rust and ruin, images of things long since past. It’s quite a change of pace from his more well known tracks such as Glory Days or Born in the USA.

Regardless of how it’s viewed now, how we’ve misinterpreted this song or labeled it as something it is not, it is ultimately a haunting tale. When The Boss sings mournfully “tell me how do I begin again?” you are forced to wonder if anything this far gone could find a new beginning. You want to have the answer to that question, to be able to give him a solution to all these troubles, but in the end you know that all you can do is clasp your hands and pray with him.

As originally recorded for the album “The Rising” this song takes on almost a sick sense of slick production and radio friendly vibe. The version below is the best one available of this song. Coming from the album “America: A Tribute to Heroes” this version is stripped down, filled out with harmonica and a gospel choir, and contains more emotion in the first fifteen seconds than all other versions of this song combined.

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Coldplay album Mylo Xyloto

Despite what you may think the latest Coldplay album, Mylo Xyloto (amazon) (itunes), is a decidedly Coldplay effort.  Sure it is an evolution and continuation of their sound.  Granted it might not be their greatest work, but it’s not their worst album either.  Maybe we should call it what it is; an experiment.  And to be quite fair, they should be allowed to experiment.

Unless, of course, that experiment leads to collaborating with Rihanna.  If you strike that one song (Princess of China) from the record it’s mostly a solid Coldplay set list.  Their previous work, Viva la Vida, grouped song pieces together to make short audio plays such as the extended tracks Yes and Death and All of His Friends.  On Mylo Xyloto the boys instead opted to separate all tracks into more radio friendly segments and as such we’re treated to short 45 second lead in songs such as Mylo Xyloto, M.M.I.X., and A Hopeful Transmission.  So while at first blush these song segments may appear “new” to Coldplay, they’re really just repackaging their own system.

Where the band really experiments is with their sound.  Although a large part of the album is pure and simple Coldplay they do find some room for a new vibe.  On the fourth track, Us Against the World, the opening thrity seconds could have come directly from Explosions in the Sky.  The track Paradise feels  like a rnb deconstruction of classic symphonic Coldplay.  Major Minus comes across as a tribute to U2.  The album’s closing track Up With The Birds has a brief flirtation with sparse atmospheric rock before galloping back into a standard Coldplay close.

mp3 : Coldplay – Charlie Brown

At the end of the album you’re left with the feeling that this is undoubtedly another Coldplay effort.  There is enough new material to stay interesting (and sell tickets on their next tour), but it’s also familiar enough that they won’t be alienating any of their fan base.  Well, except for the one track Rihanna.  That track is an aberration and should probably be erased from your memory.

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Cults debut album Cults

The debut album from Cults (amazon) (itunes) is the type of sound that makes you nostalgic for an era you never lived through.  At times it feels like I’m sitting in a retro 50’s throwback diner, spinning singles in a genuine jukebox.  A handful of tracks bring me back to the mid seventies (which I never experienced), wistfully slotting wildflowers into rifle barrels.  Yet, at the same time, this album is grounded in today; each song is unique, breezy, and easy to listen to multiple times.

mp3 : Cults – Go Outside
mp3 : Cults – Bad Things

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