February 13, 2013

The First Six Classics of 2013

I consume new music in rotations of 12 to 20 tracks—enough to fill a short playlist or occupy a drive. I'll research, read, and download for a few bleary-eyed late nights, and then spend the next week binging on the best tracks. It's a deeply sick habit. I'm a junky always in search of my next musical fix. New songs are always great in the beginning, but after a week when I've leeched all the excitement and freshness out of each song and more or less spoiled the contents with aggressive and repetitive listening, I'm back searching for my next feeding. There are exceptions to this rule however: the timeless and the classic. Songs that no matter how many times you press play or drop the needle down onto the turntable, appear as unrelentingly fresh and undiminished as that morning sunrise and reliable cup of hot home-brewed coffee.

A fellow fan of Oakland's Warm Soda recently wrote: "They sound like a band that doesn't use the internet." And there's really no higher compliment, as Warm Soda's songs are free of that digital abyss's endless fads, memes, hyperbole, and the absurdly quick turnover rate that we as music fans dictate in our actions as consumers. These six songs all sound remarkably free of that world's constraints: whether it's Adam Green and Binki Shapiro's "Casanova," a beautifully languid harpsichord-decorated throwback to the collaborations between Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood; the unbelievably dynamic dance-pop R&B single "Falling" by sister trio Haim, who retain Kate Bush-like eccentricities while seeming driven to become the Prince equivalent of the 2010s; Kurt Vile's hazy, unhurried, and lushly meditative nine-minute plus I-don't-give-a-fuck-about-radio-play single "Wakin On A Pretty Day"; the three-minutes of power-pop, Dead Milkmen-inspired, sing-along perfection that is Cocktails' "No Blondes (In California)"; rock classicists Dawes, who are invested in the tradition and art of songwriting and storytelling more than any other contemporary band, and the playfully reflective narration of their new single "From A Window Seat"; and of course, Warm Soda's "Jeanie Loves Pop," a track that crushes with roaring guitars and the endearing joyous simplicity of its title and chorus. Only time can truly paint these tracks as classics, but for this music addict, there's no amount of overplay that can blemish songs these spectacular.

Kurt Vile - "Wakin On A Pretty Day"

Adam Green and Binki Shapiro - "Casanova"

Warm Soda - "Jeanie Loves Pop"


  1. It took me a while to get into Smoke Ring For My Halo, but eventually I found myself listening to it regularly front-to-back. That you vouch for his new album is making my goddamn saturday. Thanks Matt!

  2. I own the Cocktails 7". I love these guys and think they're great. Happy to see them here.