Independent music is unheard by so many. It’s hard to know what is good out there in the indie scene, so I’ve done the hard work for you (well…some). I’ve posted below a mix and short review-type writing on each song for your listening pleasure. Click the play button in the player above to stream and/or you can download the individual .mp3’s at the end of this post. Enjoy and let me know what you think!
“Save Me” by Aimee Mann
Inspired by the film, Magnolia, “Save Me” cries out from the depths of every one of our hearts. “But can you save me, from the ranks of the freaks, who suspect they could never love anyone?” Magnolia is a provocative but necessary film that pushes us all to love those around us, despite how different we really are from each other. Aimee’s theme track for this film is perfect.
“There is So Much More” by Brett Dennen
“I wonder how so many can be in so much pain,
While others dont seem to feel a thing
Then I curse my whiteness,
and I get so damn depressed,
In a world with suffering,
Why should I be so blessed?”
“Selling Advertising” by David Bazan
“Am I a christian?
Are you a jew?
Did you kill my Lord?
Must I forgive you?”
Bazan is a brilliant lyricist (see also: Pedro the Lion). These questions beg us to stop and think about our dividing religious lines and how we treat people of other faith practices. This intentional portrayal of confusion shows that sometimes things are not as black and white as we make them out to be.
“1234” by Feist
“1234…Money can’t buy you back the love that you had then”.
This song has a bouncing melody that makes it an easy listen. Lyrics like “1234” gives imagery of ease and simplicity, but is really an irony against the complexity that the real thing desired (love) is now lost after the pursuit of financial gains. Apply this individually, corporately, or on a national level and I think it will resonate well for you. Plus, isn’t Feist’s voice awesome?
“Let Go” by Frou Frou
“so let go, just get in
oh, it’s so amazing here
’cause there’s beauty in the breakdown.”
When we are falling apart it so often feels terrible, but in reality, that is where our growth takes place. Frou Frou talks of these back-against-the-wall type of experiences in life as being beautiful. She is right.
“When Your Mind’s Made Up by Glen Hansard
This 5/4 song is written with absolute brilliance, just like everything Glen Hansard touches. Hansard made his big debut in one of my favorite films, Once, and has huge success with Marketa Irglov in their band, The Swell Season. And as the chorus states, “When your mind’s made up, there’s no point tryin’ to change it.” The application for that phrase is endless.
“Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap
Amazing engineering/production combined with an opening, honest phrase like “Where are we? What the hell is going on?” Beautifully original.
“Hymn #101” by Joe Pug
Joe Pug released his first EP last year. Although I thought the EP was only decent, his modern-day Johnny Cash vocals are great.
“The more I buy the more I’m bought
And the more I’m bought the less I cost.”
“Soul and The Sea” by Joshua James
Another singer-songwriter on the list with a mind more advanced than mine. I eat up Joshua’s music like pumpkin pie on a Thanksgiving evening.
“I dream of dusty roads, paved with gold that lead me in your eyes.”
“Mr. Pitiful” by Matt Costa
This is a break from the heady to a more simple song I enjoy for the sound.
“How Lucky We Are” by Meiko
Meiko’s vocals, like Feist, are just breathtaking (and that can be said of her live as well). In this track, Meiko reminds of how lucky we are right now, yet are hopeful of things to change (being in a nicer living space, stay in a huge hotel, the ending of the war, etc.). I love the lyrics she follows up these “dreams” of hers that say, “I’ll make coffee and you’ll read the paper” – meaning the same ole, same ole. It reminds me that we are very lucky in the here and now, but to not miss it and be thankful when new things come for us. It also points to relying on your loved ones when things are uncertain/unpleasant around us. I’ve also thought that “How Lucky We Are” could completely be sarcastic in this song. I guess that is the brilliance in the songwriting…
“Brand New Colony” by The Postal Service
You may have heard this song on the UPS commercials (get it? Postal Service? clever.), but Ben Gibbard is the brains behind this group (you may know him from a little band known as Death Cab For Cutie). Anyways, I’m a sucker for creative panning and electronic sounds with elegant vocals, so The Postal Service won me over as a fan long ago. Also, writing a love song is one of the hardest things to do, since it is incredibly difficult to be original. Gibbard always has a way of doing it, and writes with great imagery here.
“I want to take you far from the cynics in this town
And kiss you on the mouth
We’ll cut our bodies free from the tethers of this scene,
Start a brand new colony…
Everything will change.”
“Steady, As She Goes” by The Raconteurs
Every man wants a woman who is “steady as she goes.” This is not the meaning of the song, but it’s what I pull from it. Solid rock sound from The Raconteurs.
“Why Do You Let Me Stay Here” by She & Him
Paste magazine ranked She & Him as the album of the year. Although I wouldn’t call it that, I do indeed love this song. The “Him” is M. Ward who has a new album called “Hold Time” out that is really great. The “She” is Zooey Claire Deschanel (the girl in Almost Famous and Elf) and her voice is amazing. Definitely an album worth purchasing.
“Casimir Pulaski Day” by Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens, as far as I am concerned, is the founder of indie music. Yes I’ll give props to Radiohead (and many others), but Sufjan’s folk sound is so relaxing I have made a vow to no longer listen to him in my car in fears that I will fall asleep. It’s good.
“Sky Blue Sky” by Wilco
If you aren’t listening to Wilco, you should be. Awesome experimental rock.
“Anyone Else But You” by The Moldy Peaches
I had to throw a fun song from Juno on the end. I hope you’ve enjoyed the mix.
You can download it here.
Give me your thoughts on the different artists/songs…