OMG, You guys it’s Christmas!
This week we’re looking at JOY! It’s been a busy month of a lot of projects and late nights and Hugo and I have had a lot of dance parties. With any luck, I will be holding the best little bundle of joy in my arms Thursday when I will hold my nephew and fulfill my calling as the greatest aunt ever. I’m so excited. This you know because becoming an aunt is like the only thing I’ve talked about for months. It’s a joy I can’t even begin to comprehend. Can’t wait to sugar up that kid and then hand him back to my sister and her husband.
Anywho, without further ado, here are some tracks and artists for a guaranteed good dance party or a happy day. We’ve gotten a peek of sunshine this week and I am soaking it up.
This became a bit of a dive into indie pop. Enjoy.
A Little Ray of Sunshine
OH my word how I love The Weepies. You can’t have a bad day if you listen to The Weepies. I have been listening to them for years and they did not disappoint when I saw them at Knuckleheads a year or so ago. It’s a husband and wife duo of Deb Talen and Steve Tannen, who are both talented in their own right. Deb survived cancer a few years ago and throughout her treatment, they recorded an album. Wow. Talk about people full of hope and love. They’re an incredibly kind and sweet couple with whimsical tunes that sound like sunshine but could also make you cry. They’re quirky and endearing and never ever get old. Also like literally, they’ve been doing this for like 20 years and their voices sound the same.
Intro: just press play. But if you need specifics: World Spins Madly On, Gotta Have You, Can’t Go Back Now, No Trouble, Fancy Things.
For fans of Brandi Carlile, Ingrid Michaelson, Katie Herzig, Patty Griffin.
If The Weepies had teenage kids who started a garage band, it would be San Cisco. Their song “Awkward” is probably one of my favorite songs and one of the funniest I’ve heard. It’s what originally turned me on to their music. The Austrailian indie pop group has been together since 2009. They released an album in 2017, but I’m hoping another one is on its way. They’ve got some great songs, but man, “Awkward” takes the cake. It’s about being obsessed with your crush. Also “Too Much Time Together” is hilarious and an anthem for anyone who needs alone time.
Intro: Awkward, Fred Astaire, Too Much Time Together
For fans of The Greeting Committee, Bad Bad Hats, Caroline Rose, Middle Kids, Matt Corby.
Guys on a Bus
Lol these guys are so awkward. But their music is great. They’re a bunch of nerds with some poignant lyrics and upbeat melodies that produce a very tongue-in-cheek soundtrack to high school/college or really any awkward social interaction. I don’t know why I’m finding so much joy out of awkward artists, but I am.
Their song “Little Problems” came on my radio a while back. In their Sofar Sounds session in Atlanta, they say the song is “about being an insecure college student who worries about what people think of you. I think we all worry about what people think of us–college, high school, actual adults–so this song is called Little Problems and it’s about the lifestyle that I use to hide from strangers.”
It’s made up of four guys—Nathan Hurley, Caleb Hurley, Davis Drake, and Evan Todd—all who often perform in matching or coordinated shirts and ties. Like a cheeky nod to a boy band. They dropped a new album in September 2018 titled “Love Brings out the Worst in Us.”
Intro: Little Problems, Uptight and Conceited, Bella
For fans of The Greeting Committee, Hobo Johnson, Jukebox the Ghost, Bo Burnham.
George Ezra is a modern Elvis. His voice is this deep velvet and his music is a soulful mash of British folk-pop echoing the troubadour style of Bob Dylan and Hank Williams. The British singer actually took a trip around Europe by train, busking and writing songs as he traveled. These became his first album “Wanted on Voyage” which was named after a line from the Paddington Bear books. His single “Budapest” propelled him into the spotlight, which led to touring with Sam Smith. Critics weren’t huge fans of his second album “Staying at Tamara’s” which he wrote and recorded at an Airbnb owned by a woman named Tamara. But I jammed a lot to it this summer. He just has such sunny songs.
Intro: Budapest, Paradise, Blame it on Me, Hold My Girl
For fans of James Bay, Vance Joy, Lumineers, Hozier, Jess Glynne, Kodaline.
The Wind and the Wave
The Wind & The Wave is a duo from Austin, TX with indie folk vibes that sound like the soundtrack to some fun montage on a California boardwalk. Their melodies are charming, with the voice of Patricia Lynn and the songwriting of Dwight Baker. They struck a deal with Island Records, the same label that signed Sigrid (mentioned later). They also do some great covers, like “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” and “Ignition.”
Intro: Happiness is Not a Place, Grand Canyon, Raising Hands Raising Hell Raise ‘em High
For fans of The Wild Reeds, Noah and the Whale, Hey Ocean!, Delta Rae, The Oh Hellos, Joseph, Misterwives, Elle King.
Sigrid – “Don’t Kill My Vibe”
Okay slow build, but this one came on my radio and then suddenly I was just starting it over every time I got to the end. Also, I love when the artist dances the same way I do to their song. Brb gonna go order a red jumpsuit so I can dance in it.
This Norwegian pop singer comes from a family of musicians and cites Joni Mitchell and Neil Young as influences. Her music couldn’t be further from that. She’s basically got a 100% millennial sound even including lyrics like “better work on that hype bro. shots fired.” Sigrid’s here to make fun dance music and she does. Don’t kill her vibe.
Intro: Don’t Kill My Vibe, Plot Twist
For fans of Maggie Rogers, Mallrat, King Princess, Tove Styrke.
Tove Styrke – “Say My Name”
This bop tho. About as catchy as back when Destiny’s Child made this phrase famous. Tove is like if Destiny’s Child went Swedish. My shoulders can’t stay still when this song comes on. “Say My Name” was voted #11 on Best Songs of 2017 and Shawn Mendes said “Mistakes” was his jam. Tove rode that wave and released a full-length album this year. If you love beats that make you sway but also love hip hop vibes, check her out.
Intro: Say My Name, Sway, Mistakes
For fans of Ofelia K, Shawn Mendes, LEON, New Ed Sheeran, New Taylor Swift.
Jukebox the Ghost – “Fred Astaire”
I would go to a Jukebox the Ghost show just because it would be the best time. These guys can right one catchy melody. They make me want to do some modern version of the Charleston. Oh, whaddayaknow! They’ll be at the Truman with The Mowgli’s March 16.
Jukebox described their latest album as a “giddy, vibrant collection” and their “most bombastic, colorful songs to date.” Yup, agreed. They sound like if the movie Moulin Rouge was more pop. Lots of pianos, very catchy, almost as sing-song as a musical, almost bordering on a burlesque dance number. They’re inspired by Queen or the Beach Boys’ harmony stacks.
Intro: Fred Astaire, Everybody’s Lonely, Diane
For fans of fun., Bleachers, old Relient K, The Mowgli’s, Ben Folds, Queen, Beach Boys, Regina Spektor.
The Mowgli’s – “Kansas City”
This band called KC home before they abandoned the Midwest for the west coast. Their bio calls California their home. But they, and all of KC, know better. After their hit “San Francisco” got The Mowgli’s a lot of attention, KC fans cried out for a song about their hometown, which we finally got FIVE years later.
Intro: San Francisco, Kansas City, I’m Good, Alone Sometimes, whole 2016 album of “Where’d Your Weekend Go?”
For fans of fun., Bleachers, old Relient K, Jukebox the Ghost, Ben Folds, Atlas Genius, Grizfolk, WALK THE MOON
Here’s a stripped down version about missing Kansas City:
Honestly. The “San Francisco” song is more catchy. It’s the do do do’s. They’re irresistable. Ya know, it’s the one that goes
I’ve been in love with love and the idea of
Something binding us together
You know that love is strong enough.
courtship. – “Tell Me Tell Me”
Does it get any more hipster dance party than a Moonrise Kingdom music video remake with synth beats? These guys are a duo from LA made up of Eli Hirsch and Micah Gordon who supported Passion Pit on their latest tour. Their Spotify bio is charming. “We added the period [at the end of courtship] because we’re dirty rotten hipsters,” they wrote. There’s also a clear bromance going on.
Intro: Tell Me Tell Me, Islands
For fans of Passion Pit, Rostam, COIN, Coast Modern, Colony House, Vinyl Theatre, Smallpools.
Throwback: Cascada – truly madly deeply – tune up radio edit version
Did I possibly play this song on repeat and do an interpretive dance in my bedroom. Yes. Yes, I did. And I dare you not to do that when you listen. It’s a cover of the very slow original 1997 version by Savage Garden. So the super sped up punch-dance version by Cascada is pretty fun and gives me throwbacks to high school. She also covers “Every time We Touch.”
For fans of a good dance party.
Other Mostly Joyful Artists
Sufjan Stevens – Hey Guys it’s Christmas!
Mt Joy – Silver lining
Matt and Kim – Daylight
Tokyo Police Club
Years & Years
Paul Simon – Graceland Album
Maggie Rogers covers TSwift.
You know what’s better than old Taylor Swift? Maggie Rogers covering “Tim McGraw” by TSwift.
Playlists n Things
PlaylistPlay’s 2018 Best of 20 Under 1,000 – a breakdown of the best songs/artists with under 1,000 streams on the spotifies.
Matt Damon kills it on SNL every time. Best Christmas Ever skit.
Manifest (TV Show) – for fans of LOST. I binged watched the whole thing Sunday. Available on Hulu.
OG XMAS – my ultimate list of original or well-done covers of Christmas songs
Christmas Hits (feat Mariah Carey)
Christmas Classics (feat Bing Crosby)