#XMR30Day

Apparently I’m worse at following through on things than I thought. I wanted to participate in Xtra Mile Recording’s 30 Day Music Challenge during November, following the chart below, but I think I got to the 5th before fizzling out. Rudy had the right idea though – make it a blog post (I’d link to it but his blog appears to have vanished. Where’d it go, Rudy??). So, here it is, a little late:

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Day 1: a song that makes me feel alive

I challenge you to find a more joyful song than this. My heart swells every time I listen to it.

Elbow, “Open Arms”

2: a music video that makes me laugh

Rock ‘n’ roll that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Love the Foo.

Foo Fighters, “Walk”

3: an album that changed my life

I quite literally would not be the person I am today if I didn’t stumble across this album. Life turns on a dime…

JD McPherson, Signs and Signifiers

4: an LP I feel is underrated

(I changed this to LP because EP didn’t seem right.)

This one fell out of the public consciousness far too quickly. Good lord, what a fantastic, bluesy, groovy rock ‘n’ roll record. This has been in steady rotation in my house since it was released.

Keith Richards, Crosseyed Heart

5: the song that made me fall for my favorite artist

If you’re not familiar with the backstory of how I found (or, more accurately, was led to) Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, you might want to just read this. After I’d committed to driving to an isolated, unfamiliar area to see a band that I’d never listened to with a person I’d only met once, I spent hours on YouTube, exploring their catalog and trying to learn what I could of their music so I wouldn’t look like a complete dope, standing there unable to participate. And the very first video I watched was this one. And then I watched it again…and again…and again. The video itself is visually arresting, but the lyrics struck a nerve. I was fascinated. Who exactly were these well-dressed Englishmen? I’d find out in due time.

Frank Turner, “Josephine”

6: a song I prefer acoustic to full band

Guys, I’ve racked my brain for weeks over this and come up empty every time. That’s not saying that that I don’t have a song that I prefer acoustic – it’s just that I can’t think of it. Of course, I’m sure half a dozen of ’em will come to mind as soon as I publish this.

7: a song I love to scream along to

It’s one of my favorite running songs too. RIP, Chester.

Linkin Park, “Bleed It Out”

8: my favorite vinyl record

Not because it’s a fancy color, or because it’s a rare limited edition – rather, because it reminds me of being a kid, sitting in front of the record player on the hideous burnt orange carpet we had in the living room, reading the album insert, utterly entraced by this slick, brash, LOUD rock ‘n’ roll band. These guys will always be my first music loves.

Aerosmith, Permanent Vacation

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9: the best gig I’ve gone to this year

You’re gonna make me choose? Since you’re putting me on the spot, I have say it’s a tie between Frank’s arena show in Boston in February:

and Arkells outside Niagara Falls in August.

BUT I was lucky enough to see quite a few other special shows this year. The “Barry, Me, and Phil E.” secret show at Boot and Saddle; Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot in the middle of Amish country; the insane double-bill of Garbage and Blondie; Elbow, for the first time in almost four years; Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, a show I will forever be glad I attended. It was a good year for live music for me.

10: a song that makes me want to dance

Listen to this and just try to not dance.

Atlas Genius, “Molecules”

11: my favorite cover song

This version, for lack of a better term, fucking rocks.

Aerosmith, covering Fleetwood Mac, with Joe Perry on vocals, “Stop Messin’ Around”

12: a song I would have tattooed on myself

I wouldn’t. Regardless of how deeply some lyrics resonate with me.

13: my favorite holiday song

I have two:

First is this beautiful, unlikely collaboration. I don’t know why it makes me think of my grandfather – as far as I know, it had no special meaning for him (he might never have even heard it). But it does, and every time I hear it, I remember his threadbare button-down shirts and the way he smelled of tobacco and spearmint gum, his faded blue sailor tattoos, his gruff but kind manner, eyes twinkling at me behind his glasses as he sat in his recliner, legs crossed & so thin that both feet touched the floor.

Bing Crosby & David Bowie, “Little Drummer Boy/ Peace on Earth”

And the second, a modern-day classic by one of my faves, the only Christmas song that stays in rotation year-round in my house.

JD McPherson, “Twinkle (Little Christmas Lights)”

14: my favorite piece of band merch

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15: an album that is perfect from start to finish

Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run. Nothing more needs to be said.

16: a song that’s better live than recorded

As much as I love their recorded albums, this is a band that BEGS to be seen live. They put on one of the most dynamic shows I’ve ever seen…I fell head over heels for them, having never even heard of them before, thanks to their live performance.

Paronsfield, “Stronger”

17: a song that reminds me of summer

It’s not summer until I’ve cruised around with the windows down on a warm, sunny day, blasting this song.

The Beatles, “Drive My Car”

18: a song that reminds me of my friends

Oh geez, this is a difficult one. There’s no one song that encompasses all of my friends and loved ones, so I’ll list a few:

My husband: our first dance song. Lonestar, “Softly”

My sister: I could be here all day, so I’m going to limit myself to two. Buckcherry, “Lit Up”…

…and Elton John, “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road”

My best friend: Phil Collins, “True Colors” (yes, we’re schmaltzy. Shut up.)

But these are the ones that make me think of all my friends in general:

Elbow, “Dear Friends”

Frank Turner, “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous” (bet you thought I was gonna say “The Ballad of Me and My Friends,” didn’t you?)

19: an older song by a favorite artist that I love

*sigh*

Noel Gallagher, “Talk Tonight”

20: a song with my name in it

There aren’t many but this one is kind of hilarious. I like the lyrics too. AND they spelled it right.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, “Colleen”

21: a song I love by a band that broke up

I’m still upset that this band called it quits. Their music was so unique and refreshing with such clever songwriting. And Joey Simeone’s voice! They’re great guys too & I hope they’re doing well in their current pursuits.

The Bellfuries, “Loving Arms”

22: an album I listen to when I’m sad

I don’t have one specific album that I listen to when I’m feeling low, just a bunch of individual songs. This is one of them.

The Gaslight Anthem, “Get Hurt”

23: an album I listen to when I’m happy

Same as above – no one album, but a bunch of miscellaneous songs. It’s funny too, there are a bunch of tunes that I actually refer to as my happy songs. Here are a few (and don’t even think of judging me) :

The Eagles, “Already Gone”

Shania Twain, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman”

JD McPherson, “Let the Good Times Roll”

Backstreet Boys, “Larger Than Life” (Hey! I told you NO JUDGING!)

Dave Hause, “Melanin” (this one also applies to the “song that reminds me of summer” category)

24: a song that reminds me of autumn

Not just the song, the whole album. A reviewer said that it was full of “autumnal melancholy” and that describes it perfectly.

Elbow, The Seldom Seen Kid

25: a song to waltz to

I can think of two:

1) Have you ever heard anything so lovely?

Elbow, “Real Life (Angel)” (stripped down)

2) This is another favorite from his catalog.

Frank Turner, “Cleopatra in Brooklyn”

26: a photo of or with my favorite artist

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27: best festival I’ve ever been to

I haven’t been to Newport Folk Fest or Lost Evenings (yet), but lemme tell ya, WXPN’s XPoNential Festival is pretty damned awesome, and practically right in my backyard.

(Hi, that’s me in the second row.)

(Hi, I’m in the front row here too.)

28: a song I could listen to on repeat for ages

My husband will attest that I do this all. The. Time. Here are some of the songs that have been the focus of my obsession at one time or another.

The Civil Wars, “The One That Got Away”

Beastie Boys, “Sabotage”

Florence + the Machine, “Howl”

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, “Lock All the Doors”

Blondie, “Call Me”

The Offspring, “Can’t Repeat”

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, “Cumberland Gap”

The Gaslight Anthem, “Handwritten”

Nick Curran, “Tough Lover”

Garbage, “Push It”

Johnny Marr, “Back in the Box”

Prince, “Let’s Go Crazy”

29: my dream tour line-up

How ’bout if I list the bands that I wish would reunite & tour so I could see them? The Civil Wars & the Gaslight Anthem are at the top. It would be nice if Bowie & Prince would come back to life too. And while we’re at it, bring back John & George & have a Beatles reunion.

30: my favorite album of the year

I could have listed this as my favorite underrated album too, but I decided to save it for this spot. If you’re not listening to this one, you’re missing out on some of the best, honest-to-goodness rock ‘n’ roll I’ve heard in a while.

Dave Hause, Bury Me in Philly

Well, that took a lot longer than I thought it would! Feel free to comment/debate/laugh!

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