1. The Beach Boys | Don't Worry Baby
My Quiet Loudly bandmates, Tony and Max, along with our disgustingly good musician friend, Drew St. Aubin, and I came together to form a one-off wedding band called The Wedding Dreams for our friends' wedding a couple years ago. One of the songs we played, and my personal favorite, was Don't Worry Baby by The Beach Boys. The back-up vocals are so pretty and soothing. It's a classic Beach Boys song and has the power to bring calm to any stressful situation.
2. Fruit Bats | The Banishment Song
The main dude in this band, Eric D. Johnson, is an incredible songwriter. The song starts out with a beautiful guitar intro, before busting into a perfectly orchestrated, sad Pop song. The high notes he hits appear impossible to replicate, so I'm shocked whenever I see him do it live - so flawless and effortlessly. One of my forever bandmates, Max Goransson of Quiet Loudly/The Governors/Pinocchio Syndrome, first introduced this band to me when their record Mouthfuls came out in 2003. I fell in love and, sure enough, the entire Fruit Bats catalog is stellar. I also have unforgettable moments from a road trip across the Southwest, driving through the mountain and desert landscapes while listening to The Ruminant Band.
3. Otis Redding | I've Been Loving You Too Long (Live At Monterey International Pop Festival 1967)
It's hard to pick just one Otis Redding song, but this live performance is easily the best I've ever heard. The emotions dripping out of his pores are contagious. Before he begins, he addresses the crowd and embraces Love in all of it's power and glory. This is the Love crowd, right? We all love each other, don't we?! He continues and hits us with a powerful break, complete with a Can we hit it one more time? bit that actual goes down four more times. Incredible performance, incredible song. I'm always in awe after hearing this one.
4. pow wow! | 23 19
Quiet Loudly had the pleasure of having pow wow! as our tour mates back in 2012 and they instantly became our best friends. It was such a pleasure to share a stage with them every night -- they're such a positive presence and all of their songs remain in my head to this very day... I'm sure a lot of that has to do with the fact that their record Don't Stop To Look is one of my favorite records of all time. This particular song displays Eddie Nazareno's exceptional and original vocal talents that I'm constantly caught singing along to. Full disclosure: After the tour, their drummer, Pat Sarabia, decided to make a move back home to the Philippines and I was honored to have been asked to step in and attempt to fill her enormous shoes. She's one of the best drummers I've ever had the pleasure of watching perform. It's a dream to be playing alongside the pow wow! boys and perform so many of the songs I love from their extensive back catalog, plus write new jams we're all really excited about.
5. Sega Genocide | Portrait Studio
Quick back story... Our friend and Sega Genocide frontman, Brian Crudwell, is so consistently forming incredible bands with perfect names as far back as I can remember. One of my favorites is Spooktober, and now there is Sega Genocide. They are the other band that is responsible for an out-of-body, super emotional Live show experience. When Quiet Loudly shared a bill with them in Columbus, Ohio, it was the last night of our tour and they were the final performance of the night. At that point, the show had gone well beyond midnight, but people were still partying and showing no sign of stopping. SG were spot on, had tons of energy, and were super tight. During Portrait Studio, I was pulled with another emotional tug when I had to bid farewell to a few tourmates from pow wow! who had to rush back to New York that night. Between the solid rockage and the emotions of an incredible tour having ended, I was overwhelmed. Sega Genocide was the perfect soundtrack.
6. Yellowbirds | Love Stories
One of my favorite contemporary songwriters of the moment, Sam Cohen, consistently delivers on some dreamy, Psychedelic Love songs. I've seen a ton of their live shows, all of which carry special memories ranging from a Quiet Loudly band outing to see them play down the block from our practice space, to their final, heart wrenching show at Baby's All Right. A beautiful surprise was an intimate performance I saw this past year called Alone And Together. Cohen was joined by Eric D. Johnson from Fruit Bats, Kevin Morby from Woods, and two old Yellowbirds bandmates holding up the rhythm section. They all accompanied each other on their songs, some special covers including a Bowie classic, and they spent a good chunk of the show covering each other's songs as well. I was nearly brought to tears when EDJ covered Love Stories.
7. Paul & Linda McCartney | Heart Of The Country
One of the longer tour drives I've done is a stretch between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We had been listening to iPods on shuffle for a while and I was looking forward to getting into the driver's seat (therefore claiming Stereo duties) and putting on a full album. McCartney's Ram is one of my favorite post-Beatles records (next to another Macca solo record McCartney and John Lennon's Mind Games). When Heart Of The Country came on, the Sun was just beginning to set and it was one of those picturesque moments where I was transported to a carefree life in a rural environment, living off the land, and surrounded by the ones I love.
8. Spirit Kid | Fool To Fall
Falling into the same category of van-jams that provided the perfect soundtrack to being on the road, the endlessly talented Emeen Zarookian of Spirit Kid provided us with a calm and beautiful moment while driving. Fool To Fall is actually a stand-out track from a SK EP. It's not like his traditional toxic 60s-style Pop songs from the rest of the Spirit Kid collection... Instead, this peaceful and sad Love song brings it down and really hits ya in the heart. It felt damn good.
9. Chris And Tad | When You're Dead
My favorite songwriter of all time is Chris Ballew from The Presidents Of The United States Of America. He's the reason why I'm playing Music today and he's written some of the best Pop songs ever, in my opinion. It doesn't hurt that he's also incredibly humble and a super nice dude. One of his many projects was called Chris And Tad with Young Fresh Fellows drummer, Tad Hutchinson. It may very well be my favorite side project of all, but there are so many that it's hard to say. There is a really funny call-and-response vocal part to this song that is super catchy and the lyrics are hilarious. Also a killer organ breakdown on this track that can't be beat.
10. The Giraffes | Congratulations In Advance
Here's another Chris Ballew ditty because he's the best. Right after The Presidents... disbanded, he put out a solo record under the moniker, The Giraffes. The records he's done as The Giraffes are really dark and spooky compared to the stuff he was doing with PUSA. The project slowly faded in the years to come as he began focusing on a bunch of other projects he was working on. Then, out of nowhere, he hit up a few super fans and shared a 33 track, previously unreleased double record he had resurrected. We were given the opportunity to hear it before anyone else and distribute it to the masses through whatever means necessary to get it out there. So many good songs in this collection, but this one has me skipping back to re-listen over and over.
+11. GunFight! | A Retail Job
I may or may not have gotten my hands on this currently unreleased record by GunFight! that is so damn good it hurts. So, let's not talk about that record and instead talk about the all encompassing talent of these guys. Their origins are in the dirty basements of Allston, Massachusetts, later moving to the now infamous McKibben lofts in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and continuing to mature and impress with some of the best Country Rock And Roll songs I've ever heard. They're also some of the best dudes I know. Quiet Loudly did a tour with them many years ago that I wish never ended. I'm dying for their follow-up to Frontier Land to see the light of day so that everyone could hear how good it is.