'Animal' - Pearl Jam (Vs): A perfect slice of funky metallic rage, this is one of the first riffs I ever learned to play on the guitar and is definitely one of my very favourite Pearl Jam rockers. I always loved the "one two three four five against one" intro and Mike McCready delivers one of his most searing solos (live, his solo on 'Animal' is often totally unhinged and often one of my personal highlights from any Pearl Jam set that features this song). And of course, Eddie Vedder sounds more than a little annoyed as he delivers his opening line "Torture from you to me/abducted from the street.." There is a reason why I used to come home and listen to this song almost every day after working a job I totally loathed. I found it very cathartic.
'Older' - Band of Horses (Infinite Arms): This track is a lovely, loping, somewhat ramshackle country song that reminds me feel-wise of Neil Young's 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere', except with far tighter harmonies. I don't even know the lyrics but it's the sound of this song that I immediately fell in love with, as it reminds me of the best that roots-rock has to offer. I started listening to Band of Horses in 2006 or 2007 with Everything All The Time, but it's only relatively recently that I truly fell in love with them; I've been playing Infinite Arms on repeat for the last couple of weeks!
'Black Eyes' - Gary Louris and Mark Olson (Ready For The Flood): Louris and Olson's vocal harmonies are amongst my favourite in music--I'm a huge Jayhawks fan. So, when the two of them got together and cut an album for the first time since Olson left The Jayhawks in 1995, I was drooling. The resulting collection, Ready For The Flood, was great and set the stage for the return of the original lineup of The Jayhawks this year with Mockingbird Time (going to see them here in Victoria in February!!). This song is just a lovely fingerpicked acoustic ballad with gorgeous harmonies. That's really all there is to say. So good.
'One Sunday Morning' - Wilco (The Whole Love): It's very rarely that I'm absolutely gobsmacked by a song on first lesson, but this 12-minute slow burner absolutely astounded me. It seemed to embody all my sorrows and my yearnings--if great music should make you feel something, this track accomplished that in spades. It meanders and builds, with a lovely, catchy, repetitive riff accompanied by hushed piano and brushed drums. Jeff Tweedy's voice is right up front in the mix, filled with quiet melancholy. I can't really do justice to this track with words. You just need to listen.
Listen to this playlist here.