Tasty Tracks – Ray LaMontagne and Teenage Fanclub

From the Better-Late-Than-Never files, here are two tracks from artists (who have been around quite a while) that I’ve recently come across that are seemingly in constant rotation in the back of my head – and I’m all the better for it.

The first one, from Ray LaMontagne – is from last year’s God Willin’ and The Creek Don’t Rise, his fifth album. The track “Beg Steal or Borrow” is a rolling country song that has special significance as I can’t hear it without thinking of my son and the inevitable trials and challenges he’ll have to face as he grows into an adult. It’s a heartbreakingly beautiful song with a delectable use of the pedal steel guitar and melodies so strong it burns into your head. Think Joni Mitchell and Neil Young and you’re good to go:

Beg Steal or Borrow

Scotland’s Teenage Fanclub’s first album was released in 1990 and since then have issued nine albums with the most recent “Shadows” launching last year in 2010. I’ve always been aware of them but for some inexplicable reason, never really listened to their music. “I Need Direction” is off of Howdy! and hit only 48 on the UK Singles Chart and never got traction on the US charts. It’s a piece of pure pop perfection with a 60’s sensibility and verses conjuring The Byrds or The Mama and the Papas.

I Need Direction

Random Tasty Tracks

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything but here’s a quick post on a few tracks that I’m fixated on. Three very different bands; one a group from Brooklyn, a Danish indie outfit and a duo whose one half is a movie star. They’ve all been around – some for several years but I recently discovered them and feel compelled to share.

The first track – Across Your Knee by Robbers on High Street, is a tightly crafted rock/pop tune that randomly conjures up Nick Lowe and Rockpile which I pleasantly can’t seem to move beyond. The second track by The Figurines lingers hours if not days after hearing it – a dark plaintive track with a chorus refrain that sticks to the ribs. On the other end of the spectrum is She & Him brought to life by  Zooey Deschanel (Almost Famous, (500) Days of Summer, Yes Man and much more) who partners with country folk artist M. Ward on a fun, kitschy yet highly melodic ride channeling Beatles (Dear Prudence)… luv it. And as always, enthusiastically endorsed by the local munchkin authorities….

Robbers on High Street – Across Your Knee

Figurines – Back in the Day

She & Him – Why Do You Let Me Stay Here