That’s What We Used To Do by The Muldoons

Deana Discovered It From: My hubby

Run Down: “That’s What We Used To Do” by The Muldoons is a VERY popular song in my household. The chorus is super catchy and it is fun to sing out loud while you’re going throughout your day. The Muldoons are a garage band from Michigan made up of Scott Uren, Marc Smith and Ed Andrzejewski. In 1999, Scott Uren renamed himself Scotty Alan and Marc started recording under the name Sycamore Smith and together, they released the albums Dim, The Wreck of the Muldoons and You Are Lost, & Gone Forever, Dreadful Sorry. The band eventually split up in 2004 but each member continues to make music separately. “That’s What We Used To Do” is off of The Wreck of the Muldoons.

Give Me Just A Little More Time by Chairmen of the Board

Deana Discovered It: As a kid on the radio

Run Down: Chairmen of the Board is an R&B group from Detroit, Michigan. The band formed after the lead singer General Johnson left the Motown group The Showmen and teamed up with Eddie Custis, Danny Woods and Harrison Kennedy. The four started recording under the name Chairmen of the Board. Although each member had tried out for lead vocals, Johnson’s quirky, almost trembling vocals stood out. Their first single “Give Me Just A Little More Time” was released in 1970 and featured Motown’s house band, The Funk Brothers. The song soared to number on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold more than one million copies in the U.S.

Although, Chairmen of the Board, never had another smash like “Give Me Just A Little More Time,” they went on to record music on and off with various members dropping in and out until General Johnson’s death in 2010. “Give Me Just A Little More Time” has been covered by both Kylie Minogue and Angela Clemmons.

Stay With Me by DeBarge

Deana Discovered It From: “One More Chance” by Biggie Smalls

Run Down: This month marks 19 years since the death of The Notorious B.I.G. I was a teenager living in New York when he was at the peak of his fame and his music WAS EVERYWHERE. Nerding out this week, I discovered the beat from Biggie’s “One More Chance” is from the 1983 song “Stay With Me” by DeBarge. DeBarge was an R&B sibling Motown musical group that stayed together from 1979 to 1989. Samples from “Stay With Me” has also been used in “Don’t Go” by Mary J. Blige and “Foolish” by Ashanti. It’s off DeBarge’s third studio album In A Special WayOn a side note, “All This Love” by DeBarge is one of my favorite songs.

Mixed Up Shook Up Girl by Patty and the Emblems

Deana Discovered It From: Wikipedia rabbit hole.

Run Down: Patty and the Emblems were a soul group from Camden, New Jersey. The group only had success with “Mixed Up Shook Up Girl”, which reached #37 on the Billboard Singles chart in 1964. The tune was written by Leon Huff, who later went on to pen “Love Train” and “Backstabbers” for the O’Jays and “Only The Strong Survive” for Jerry Butler. The group released more singles like “The Sound Makes Me Want To Dance” and “And We Danced” but they didn’t have any success with these songs like they did with “Mixed Up Shook Up Girl.” Patty and the Emblems developed a cult following in England in The Northern Soul Scene and Kev Roberts ranks their 1968 song “I’m Going To Love You A Long, Long Time” as #38 on his Top Northern Soul records of all time. After the 60s, Patty left the music business, got married and passed away in 1998.

The Best Songs of 2015

Counterclockwise by Oddisee

Oddisee is one of my favorite 2015 discoveries. This Maryland rapper and producer made one of my favorite albums of the year titles The Good Fight. The song “Counterclockwise” stands out because of it’s killer breakbeat and powerful lyrics. “Stay afloat, and stay a while, and take a break. All you hear is orders barking, brick and mortar stopping walls and space.” Check out his NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert to really grasp how talented he is.

Death With Dignity by Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens really tore my heart inside out with his album Carrie & Lowell. I found myself reading every article and interview pertaining to the creativity process and thought behind it. “Death With Dignity” is about the death of his mother and if you listen to the lyrics, it’s gut wrenching. I took it off my running mix because I was in tears at the gym while it played.

No Colonial Fiction by Yasiin Bey

Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, hits it out of the park with this song. Released the day after the Paris attacks, “No Colonial Fiction” is the first song released off of his upcoming mixtape The Human Being (My Favorite Band). The song embodies some of my favorite qualities about Bey’s creativity. He’s always direct, passionate and is able to get his message across in such a creative fashion.

REALiTi (demo) by Grimes

I’m on team Grimes. I love her ability to balance the fine line between indie, electronic and pop music, although I’ve learned not to classify her music under any category. Her ability to have total control of her image and music is beyond impressive. This demo version of REALiTi is infectious and perfectly exemplifies her ethereal voice and synth sound.

Before We Begin by Martin Courtney

Real Estate is one of my favorite bands making music right now. This year one of the lead singers of the group, Martin Courtney, released his solo album Many Moons. It was the most listened to record of 2015 in my house. There are so many good songs on it but I chose “Before We Begin” because of the beautiful string arrangements throughout the song. I also love the chorus, “Will there be feeling? Will there be love all around you?” Bravo, Martin. Bravo.

Depreston by Courtney Barnett

This year is Courtney Barnett’s year. The Australian singer was just nominated for Best New Artist and also tops several lists as having the best album of 2015. Her “say it like it is” vocals and lyrics remind me of a combination of a young Lucinda Williams and The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn.

Expressive by Slum Village

Slum Village still slaying it after all these years. Even though the line up continues to change, I’m always impressed with the music they make. “Expressive” really takes me back to why hip hop is my favorite type of music. From it’s Dilla beat to the smooth lyrics, I’m on board.

Pretty Pimpin by Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile wins the award for the catchiest groove of 2015 with “Pretty Pimpin'”. I love everything Kurt Vile touches – from his time spent in War on Drugs to his solo career. There is no way you can’t listen to this song without bobbing your head.

 

Top 5 Podcast Episodes (if you care)

A Mom, A Transgender Daughter And A Podcast by How Sound

Lower 9 + 10 by This American Life

Women of the Hour – The Body Episode by Lena Dunham

Any episode of Serial

The WTF Marc Maron interview with Terri Gross

 

 

They Don’t Know by Kristy MacColl

Deana Discovered It From: Tracy Ullman’s cover in the 80s

Run Down: English singer and song writer Kristy MacColl wrote and released “They Don’t Know” in 1979. It was her debut single. However, due to strikes at her record label’s distributor it had difficulty getting airplay and distribution overseas. In 1983, actress Tracy Ullman made the song a hit when she covered it and released a corresponding music video that had a cameo from Paul McCartney. Ullman’s version reached #8 on the Billboard charts and it later became the theme song for her television show Tracy Takes On… Kristy MacColl, in my book, is most notorious for her vocals on The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” and for singing backup on  Smith’s, Talking Heads and Robert Plant songs. She also went on to work with Johnny Marr and David Gilmour. MacColl tragically died in 2000, when she was hit by a boat while scuba diving in Mexico.

Cotton King by Sherwin Linton

Deana Discovered It From: Uncle Gil’s Rock Archive

Run Down:  Sherwin Linton is a country singer from Watertown, South Dakota and a huge Johnny Cash fan. In 1971, he played for the inmates at South Dakota’s Penitentiary as a nod to  Cash’s 1968 live gigs at Folsom Prison. At the South Dakota Fair in 1975, Cash surprised the audience by removing his cowboy boots and giving them to Linton. In response, Linton said, “I could never fill your shoes, Johnny.” and Cash replied, “Oh, yes you can.” Sherwin Linton has been performing for over 60 years and still tours with his band The Cotton Kings. Musician Paul Metsa boasted,“As an entertainer he has no equal: 60 years as a professional musician, a repertoire of over 5,000 songs, 14,000 gigs and counting, and he has never missed a show!” There is a great documentary about him called Sherwin Linton: Forever on the Stage. “Cotton King” is from the 1971 album Hello, I’m Not Johnny Cash.