“Big Love”, Matthew E. White

Label: Hometapes (released August 21, 2012)

Big Inner is by far one of the more intriguing debut albums to come out this year: it’s equal parts experimental Beck, cynical Randy Newman, brooding The National and Big Easy celebrating Allen Toussaint.  "Big Love" grooves with a percolating bass line and a fantastic jazzy piano hook that could have found a home on a Nina Simone album. It’s an arrangement that you want to stick around for as it bounces from “Tomorrow Never Knows” territory to a loose gospel-influenced call and response. Surely one of the better cuts of the year and coming from a man who looks like he could have been a cult leader. Check out the beautiful brass/string arrangement on the epic “Brazos”, one of the more enjoyable nearly 10:00 songs perhaps ever and surely a call to inherit Harry Nilsson’s long lost throne.

Big Love

Brazos

RIYL: Harry Nilsson, Beck, Randy Newman, Allen Toussaint, The National

Elvis Costello’s debut album My Aim Is True sounds as visceral now as it did in 1977. Equally due to both strong songwriting by Costello and subtle production by Nick Lowe, songs from the album like “Alison” “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”, “Less Than Zero” and “Watching The Detectives” have all become classic rock staples.  Yet for all the rock criticism that focuses (deservedly) on Costello’s cynical and smart lyricism, a New-Wave/Punk Randy Newman if you will, many don’t emphasize that My Aim Is True is just chock full of powerful and catchy melodies.

Following the devastating “Alison”, “Sneaky Feelings” features quite a hook and replete with nice backing harmonies and a swaggering Costello putting on his best Van Morrison impression trying to deal with being in love. A great song off of a great album. Also check out the excellent album opener “Welcome To The Working Week” which packs a Beach Boys homage and some powerful pop-punk into its under 1:30 run time.

Sneaky Feelings – Elvis Costello 

Welcome To The Working Week –  Elvis Costello 

After hours

Last call for drinks everybody pull up a chair, this mix is for those late nights whether you’re alone in a bar or in a haze or just wanting to be whisked away by the power of music, enjoy

Drunk Hearted Boy

The Allman Brothers at their boozy, wistful best

Tears Dry On Their Own

You’ll recognize the backing track, but you’ll hear it in a clearer way than ever before

Nice Day

You can almost watch the sun setting from the porch in the midwest listening to these guys

Baby, Baby, Baby

Aretha Franklin may best be known for Respect, but I’ve never heard her more soulful

Yes it Is

A beautiful understated melody and lyric by the Beatles, sometimes called a rehash of This Boy by jaded critics but it has its merits and its all the more sweet

La Mar

Wistful acoustic  beauty

Earthquake Weather

This song belongs in a Wes Anderson movie, or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, after a character has gotten to a drunken/drugged stupor and the world around him is unfolding

Lean On Me (live)

The best anthems are those that are the most simple in their message, and this makes simple look complex

New York State of Mind

Is their anything better for those late lonely nights than a pianist with chops, i think not

Things Ain’t Like They Used To Be

Beautiful melody

Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands

Bob Dylan, in a bar, at 4 am, theres no other way to describe it

You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome

There is a certain familiarity and beauty in Bob Dylans meld of harmonica and guitar that the world hasn’t heard since

Put it On

A criminally underrated Bob Marley song

Evangeline Tonight

This guy is pretty much unknown but this melody is timeless

Meeting Across the River

Bruce Springsteen, sounding more forlorn than ever, and yet the songs beauty is on parallel to West Side Story

New York City Serenade

A stunning piano intro that melds into the most gorgeous acoustic guitar and piano interplay in the history of music

Dancing on the Ceiling

Frank Sinatra simply sounds better and more talented when he’s not trying to swing

Political Science

For the cynic in all of us

Just Like A Woman

As much as Bob Dylan wrote beautiful songs, Richie Havens interprets it as if it shouldn’t have been recorded any other way.

New Coat of Paint

A nightcap to the end of a very late night, hell i can smell the bar