Mental Jukebox: Week of August 4-8, 2014

The best part of my career in radio and records was the ability to discover good music and tell others about it. Whether it’s due to all the changes in the industry (no more record stores, fragmented radio formats) or just the fact that we’re older now and have too many “adult” responsibilities, many of us no longer have quite as much time or ability to discover new music, and it makes me sad to think of all the great bands that we might be missing.

It’s typical for people tend to prefer the music of their own generation. But I’ve always been interested in hearing what’s new, and taking the time to seek it out.   I’ve been doing that more often of late, with the result that my head has turned into a mental jukebox of sorts. Certain songs seem to keep playing on repeat – which is usually the mark of a good song. So I’ve decided to start sharing. I know a lot of people who are into music and might be more inclined to check out new bands if someone could just make it easier for them to do so.

I’ve often thought about doing a music blog but never had the time to devote to it. Doing a “Mental Jukebox” instead is a good way not only to share tunes that have caught my ear, but also gives me a place to bookmark those songs and bands for future reference. Put those daily references together in a weekly format, and voila! A blog.   Combining them this way also allows me to share just a little more info about each band or song than Facebook gives me room for.  And it allows me to combine new up-and-coming acts with established hits (that my older friends might have missed) as well as some fun “Throwback Thursday” tunes – which are older songs that my younger friends might not be familiar with. Win-win!

So without further ado, here are the Mental Jukebox selections from the week of August 4-8, 2014:

Monday: Big Data “Dangerous”

One of the first songs to get seriously stuck in my head this year, Big Data is an electronic music project created by producer Alan Wilkis. The song “Dangerous” featuring Joywave (a NY band also cracking the charts with the catchy song “Tongues”) made it to #1 on the Billboard Alternative charts this month (August, 2014).   I must confess I’m not a huge fan of this video, although some folks may call me old-fashioned for saying so. I don’t find blood and violence to be all that entertaining even when presented in a somewhat humorous style. But the song just won’t get out of my head!!

Tuesday: Vance Joy “Riptide”

Also riding atop the current Alternative charts. Tuesday’s Mental Jukebox selection comes from the land Down Under – i.e. Melbourne, Australia, From the 2014 EP “God Loves You When You’re Dancing”, “Riptide” was a huge hit in 2013, not only in Australia but also in the UK and parts of Europe.  This song a bit more insidious.. it sneaks in and gets its hooks in you.  Some reviewers have compared Vance Joy to the likes of Jeff Buckley, which is lofty praise indeed.  Vance Joy’s studio album “Dream Your Life Away” is due in the US on September 9, 2014, and he will be touring the US in October and November. A good reminder that I need to check out the Australian charts more often!

Wednesday: Junior Prom “Sheila Put The Knife Down”

Sheila put the knife down, and come on back to bed
Sheila put the knife down, I was joking when I said
You’re an only child, and it really shows
I’m a heartless prick, God only knows….

We’re all fucked up some or other way
Some of us collect, but most of us pay…

Ain’t it the truth!!!  I spent last weekend with this stuck in my head.  Hailing from NY, the band Junior Prom “navigates the terrain between indie rock, punk, and dance-pop” according to their record label, Elektra. The band describes themselves as “punk soul dub dance music” and they’ve been compared to bands like Phoenix, Cut Copy and New Order. For extra kicks, check out their cover of Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That” via YouTube.

Throwback Thursday: Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. “You Don’t Have To Be A Star”

Going way back for Throwback Thursday Jukebox….heard this the other day and did one of those bug-eyed “OMG I haven’t heard this since 1976!” moments. Remember when this song sat at the top of the charts?  A huge hit for former 5th Dimension members (and husband/wife duo) Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. This #1 song was ubiquitous in late 1976/early 1977 and won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group.

Friday: Vampire Weekend “Step”

As a former symphonic band geek from Northern California, how can I NOT love a song that’s based on Pachelbel’s Canon in D *and* calls out several of the Bay Area cities that I know and love?? The band is from New York City and debuted in 2008, with Ezra Koenig on vocals. Their third studio album “Modern Vampires of the City” was released on May 14, 2013 and won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.

Until next week…..!


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