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Tuesday, Jul 9, 2013
When critics assail Paul McCartney for his lightweight material, it's songs like "Tomorrow" that they have in mind.

I’m glad I don’t belong to those circles because I can’t imagine not appreciating all of the melodic charm, rosewater whimsy and—believe it or not—disguised tension that “Tomorrow” has to offer. Notably more fetching than “Yesterday”, this dreamy, piano-driven cut from 1971’s Wild Life, the debut record by Wings, finds Paul beseeching his dear to stay strong and true as they map out a brighter future together. Backed by airy “ohs” and “ahs” and using an altered vocal that makes him sound younger, Paul projects hope—urgent, infectious hope—even as pain and doubt are plainly evident. “Don’t you let me down tomorrow” doesn’t exactly brim with confidence, and “Holding hands we both abandon sorrow” means there’s sorrow to overcome. And as he sings on my favorite line, “Through the week we beg and steal and borrow / Oh for a chance to get away tomorrow.” It’s a tricky balancing act, cloudy skies and uncertainty mixed with idyllic visions of picnics and “country air”. The glue seems to be those sustained, spacious “ohs” that Paul belts out again and again. They pack both anxiety and optimism. Far from merely twee, “Tomorrow” is fraught emotion made irresistible.


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Monday, Jul 8, 2013
"Another Space Song" from Failure's 1996 release, Fantastic Planet.

It was the mid ‘90s saturation of alternative rock bands that allowed this record and this band to really stand out. Poking their way into the lives of the few that understood their artistic vision, Failure had built their sound on mid-tempo hard rock, easily accommodating many metal fans along the way, instigated by their modest hit “Stuck on You”, but like most singles, all it did was bring you in. Just before the single’s appearance on the record, “Another Space Song” gripped right in as the absolutely wonderful textures, and ominous melody that have remained a part of my life.


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Tuesday, Jul 2, 2013
New Tunes from Caveman, Rogue Wave and Portugal. The Man. and more, plus notes.

Let the summer anthems rule! New tunes by Holy Ghost! and Empire of the Sun pave the way for this latest playlist. Debut albums from the Olms, Palma Violets and Secret Colors are juxtaposed next to the latest from Divine Fits, Portugal. The Man. and Cold War Kids. During the next heat wave, why not cool down by listening to the breezy acoustic strumming of the Olms, ambient music from Eluvium, Bibio’s electronica and more?


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Monday, Jul 1, 2013
"It takes more than luck to last the ride / It takes strength and it takes courage to survive." -- Nerina Pallot

This is a literate, emotional song, the kind to get you through bad times. The lyrics, with thoughtful, sisterly Zen advice could possibly make you cry if you’re feeling a little sensitive, but the melody is catchy enough to pull you out of whatever downer I hope you’re not in.


There’s a strong sense of movement, but it’s compactly written, covering a relatively wide narrative and impressive musical ground in only three minutes.


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Friday, Jun 28, 2013
In the fall of 2004, I was working at WRAS-Atlanta, Album 88, and was on the graveyard shift. I was new to the world of college radio and my mind was being blown every day by bands I had never heard of.

One morning, I finished my announcements and started the track I had loaded up. Suddenly this beautiful, lush, and violent sound filled the studio - pianos and violins played by madmen, yet accompanied by an almost jazzy bass and drum section. And then this voice, haunting, yet mollitious, crooning, “I lay down by the river / Shadows moved across me inch by inch / All that I knew / Was the war between the water and the bridge.”


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