1. Andrew Bird picks “Linus and Lucy” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio
Every week we ask one of our favorite artists to tell us about one of thier favorite songs. This week we talk to Andrew Bird.
Justin Barney: This week, we have the one and only Andrew Bird. Andrew Bird, is there one song you can’t stop listening to?
Andrew Bird: My son is nuts about the Peanuts, the Vince Guaraldi Trio record, the classic. I don’t know if it’s called the “Charlie Brown Theme Song”, but he’s been learning it on piano and he’s just obsessed with it and we sing it together and make up words to it. I never get tired of that. We listen to it every morning before school
Justin Barney: That’s so cute. Let’s hear it.
- “Linus and Lucy” was released in 1965 on “A Charlie Brown Christmas” from The Vince Guaraldi Trio on Fantasy Records
- Listen if you like: Childhood, cute stories of a father and son, bouncy piano
Rufus Wainwright – “A Woman’s Face (Sonnet 20)”
Last week was the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. To commemorate the occasion, Rufus Wainwright has released an album of of him singing 9 Shakespere sonnets. In his life The Bard wrote 154 Sonnets collectively published as “Shakespeare’s Sonnets.” Of the 154, 126 of sonnets are addressed to a young man. Which was very bold at the time, and has lead to all kinds speculation as to his sexuality. And among the 126 sonnets written to a young man, perhaps the one that took the most courage to write is probably this sonnet. Sonnet 20. Sonnet 20 is written to a man, with a woman’s face, who is the master-mistress of his passion, that was “a woman first created” until nature pricked thee out for a woman’s pleasure, and finally asks for this person to “be thy love.”
To me it sounds like this could be a very very early example of a transgender character in literature. Just read back the lines, master-mistress, a woman first created until nature changed the physical form…
And maybe I’m reading into it. That’s the beauty of Shakespeare, after 400 years we are still interpreting his writing. And the details maybe contested, but one thing is certain. This is a love song. And it remains to be just as potent as ever while being sung here, by Rufus Wainwright.
- Rufus Wainwright’s new album “Take All My Loves – 9 Shakespeare Sonnets” is out now via Prima Donna
- Listen if you like: Shakespeare, classical mixed with pop, history mixed with music
3. Islands – “Back Into It”
Mark Twain is famously quoted for his writing advice, saying “Write what you know” In making their new album, or should I say album(s), (they are releasing two albums on the same day) and in making these albums Islands took Twain’s advice to heart. In this song, “Back into it” the first song on the first disc, their first song in three years, they start off with the line “Those songs we used to sing/we haven’t sung in so long/I’ll sing one with you know” It is self-reflective, meta, clever, and just fun.
- Islands has two new albums that they are releasing on the same day. “Should I Remain Here at Sea?” and “Taste” will both be available on May 13th via Manque Music
- Listen if you like: The Unicorns, self-awareness, meta songs,
4. The Kills- “No Wow”
This week morning show host, Dori Zori joined me in the studio.
Justin: I’m here with Dori Zori
Dori: I don’t know if you heard, but I went to Coachella last weekend.
Justin: I did hear that. What were you listening to at Coachella?
Dori: Well, there was about a gazillion bands that I got to see, and a thousand songs running through my head, but the one that always sticks out is when I see The Kills. Have you ever seen The Kills?
Dori: They are so good live. Alison Mossheart and Jamie Hince up on stage are mesmerizing to watch. They play off each other back and forth, and they have this “Will they, won’t they” kind of vibe. But beyond that, she is just such a rock star and fun to watch. Their songs are like pure rock and roll goodness. And the first one that they sang is an oldie called “No Wow” and that always gets stuck in my head. I’ve been singing it ever since.
Justin: So you went to Coachella and out of all the songs and all the bands, this is the one?
Dori: This is the one.
Justin: This is the one that’s in your head after a whole weekend of music.
Dori: If you don’t play it, I’m gonna have to start singing it and nobody wants that.
Justin: Well, we better play it, and here’ it is.
- The Kill’s “No Wow” was released on an album of the same name in 2004 on RCA.
- Listen if you like: The Raveonettes, Sleigh Bells, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
5. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – “Twin”
Recently, Grammy award winning saxophonist and David Bowie collaborator Donny McCaslin wondered “Has there ever been a time in history where there’s been more deeply talented people playing jazz than there is right now? I can’t imagine it.”
One of those deeply talented people is Christian Scott. Scott’s newest album is called “Stretch Music” Stretch music has a thesis. Scott says, “We are attempting to stretch-not replace-jazz’s rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic conventions to encompass as many musical forms/languages/cultures as we can.” This song is a shining example of that thesis statement and is something that could change the shape of jazz to come.
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s new album, “Stretch Music” is available now via Ropeadope
Listen if you like: Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, calypso with be-bop