The Dunce Cap: Week of Jan. 16, 2012

The Dunce Cap, Vol. 41: You’ve been chosen as an extra in the movie adaptation of the sequel to your life. (click on link to listen to mix via 8tracks or play above)

1. “Shady Lane” – Pavement
2. “Modern Love” – The Last Town Chorus
3. “Dance Music” – The Mountain Goats
4. “I Still Remember” – Bloc Party
5. “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” – Iron & Wine
6. “Poison Oak” – Bright Eyes
7. “Round Here” – Counting Crows
8. “Honolulu Blues” – Craig Finn
9. “Heartbeats” – Jose Gonzalez
10. “Specks” – Matt Pond PA

Welcome back to the Interwebs, guys. It’s been a strange and winding road up ’til now, but I’m really starting to dig this reinvention thing. I know it’s become a bit of a cliche (though I prefer to term it a “mantra”), but I truly believe that, this time around, I woke up new. And what is Barney Stinson’s one rule? “New is always better.

The site is looking more streamlined and – dare I say it? – professional, and I’m looking svelter, more confident and altogether happier. I’m getting back into the swing of this writing business, and I’m edging into that dangerously peppy territory wherein I just want to high-five everyone always. This mix isn’t really a reflection of that. It sort of is. Kind of. Okay, not all.

These ten really excellent tracks are a mish-mash of things I’ve loved recently. A handful of them (notably “Poison Oak,” “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” and “Heartbeats”) are rediscoveries, while some have been round n’ round my repertoire for years. There’s a more somber note to a number of these songs, but there remains a definite beauty to each one. The Last Town Chorus‘s take on David Bowie’s “Modern Love” is a sweetly feminine, muted departure from the original, but it retains the earnest sting of heartache. And, I’m starting to see a pattern, in that a fair number of the songs I listen to discuss finding god and losing ‘im, but that’s a topic for another time. For now, there’s also the excellent danceabilly-esque lead track from Craig Finn’s upcoming solo album; the lead singer from The Hold Steady named his album, out Jan. 24, “Clear Heart Full Eyes” after the television show “Friday Night Lights.” Such win. There’s also a great single from Pavement‘s 1997 album, Brighten the Corners, as well as truly exceptional Mountain Goats tune that I still can’t quite understand (though I suspect it involves alcoholism, domestic violence and euthanasia, with that last one a bit fuzzier and more ambitious).

As always, happy listening. And don’t you dare judge me for that Iron & Wine jam. It’s on a “Twilight” soundtrack, yes, but it’s also just really damn good.

Oh, and, Luke Perry, ♥, forever n’ always.

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