Y'all, I've listened to that Hello, Summer album three times since it popped up randomly here, and folks: it's good. Real good! I love that my own blog is teaching me about music...from my own collection.
Less Than Jake, "She's Gonna Break Soon"
What makes late model Less Than Jake work is that, yeah, it's more or less just standard pop punk with horns. But it's catchy, cheerful, energetic, and just the musical equivalent of comfort food. It's not exactly ambitious, but there's space in my world for well-crafted music like this.
Andrew Bird, "Cock o' the Walk"
A through line in Andrew Bird's career is his interest in older forms of music, whether older jazz, folk, or various other forms of roots music. It's to his credit that he also takes these things seriously. It's not played for laughs or irony, but instead out of a respect for what came before. As a result, he manages to sound fresh, even when playing a form of music this old.
The Meters, "Soul Island"
In 2019, the Meters were my most listened to band on Spotify. Spotify isn't all my music listening, I use Bandcamp directly a lot, and my own Plex server. But still. I really do love the Meters.
Common, "Time Travelin' (A Tribute To Fela)"
It's a bold choice to start an album out with something like this, a song which takes several minutes to get to the rapping, and even then remains pretty abstract. But, Like Water For Chocolate is an ambitious record, and this song sets the tone for that.
The Stubborn All-Stars, "Crop No Drop"
King Django's vocals here are as affected as always, but it's still a charming song, a sunny little reggae jam. I suppose I should probably be bothered at the inherent inauthenticness of this stuff, but I'm just not.