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Mark Mulvey

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Singer-songwriter Esmé Patterson composed an album, "Woman to Woman," full of songs from the perspective of "women immortalised in popular songs over the years":

Check out "What Do You Call A Woman", a song written from the perspective of Billie Jean:

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My best playlist yet, in four soulful acts: love, betrayal, sadness, redemption. ♫ "Soulsearchin'" … ♫

- Sam Cooke
- James Carr
- Otis Redding
- Wilson Pickett
- Marvin Gaye
- Joe Tex
- Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
- Etta James
- Ray LaMontagne
- Ray Charles
- The Contours

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Loving this debut jam from Listenbee, which I would categorize as 'Acoustic EDM Soul.' Avicii's "Wake Me Up" may have gotten there first, but it's a genre I can definitely get on board with.

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I hear those sleigh bells ringling, ting ting ting-a-ling tooooo... It's that time of year, so here's a roundup of all my favorite tracks from 2014 on Spotify:

And for you traditionalists who appreciate an old fashioned start-to-finish LP... My Top 12 Favorite Albums of 2014 (listed alphabetically, and with notes because the why matters):

- The Antlers, 'Familiars' ( Sustained horns, delicate falsettos, and layered textures make this entire album a consistently beautiful piece of work, with mysterious hints of Spain and soul. Completely unlike everything the band has ever done before.

- Banks - 'Goddess' ( She stormed 2014 like a couture Lorde--just as confident but a bit more sexy. Turns out her album had more depth and grit than I saw coming. 

Ben Howard - 'I Forget How We Were' ( This guy was one of my favorites back in 2012, but this album has him scraping at deeper, darker, more melancholy source material. A stylistic continuation of his Burgh Island EP from 2013.

- Damien Rice - 'My Favourite Faded Fantasy' ( I've never fully dug into Rice's work before, but this recorded-in-Iceland re-emergence still caught my eye. I decided to give this a shot and am really glad I did. It's got tight lyrics that balance sensitivity with quiet defiance. Long songs full of unexpected transitions and instrumentations. 

- Damon Albarn - 'Everyday Robots' ( This Blur-turned-Gorillaz frontman is one of our more adventurous musicians these days, and this album is a dystopian look at our smartphony cyborg-ish path to depravity. The album is interesting, ambitious, and beautifully unsettling.

- D'Angelo - 'Black Messiah' ( D'Angelo came out of nowhere on December 15th and threw an unannounced haymaker at the world. His first album in nearly 15 years was never intended to drop in 2014, but he rushed to release it in the midst of the controversial protests surrounding a series of police killings of unarmed black men. The album itself is funky, soulful, and experimental. (check the whistles and folky guitar strum of "The Drum."). 

- Got A Girl - 'I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now' ( This album, a collaboration between music producer Dan the Automator and actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, really works well and quietly defies categorization. Winstead shines, and the songs are twinkly, relaxed gems.

- Misterwives - 'Reflections' ( This is the most unabashedly pop-forward album I have on here. (Technically it's an EP, but I don't care because it's my list.) I've caught them live twice and they are the real deal. Singer Mandy Lee has a voice that is distinctive and powerful, the entire band exudes fun and energy, and the songs are catchy as hell.

- MØ - 'No Mythologies To Follow' ( I've been an early believer in this ponytailed Danish wizard since her only song was only on YouTube, and this album is a killer payoff. Her whole style is just so cool and fierce, but she's got rock-solid electro-pop instincts.

- The Preatures - 'Blue Planet Eyes' ( This is one of my favorite bands ("Is This How You Feel" is perfection), inside or outside of Australia. Their debut album is a little uneven and the pop quotient is high, but there's no doubting the sheer rock & roll charisma going on. I've looped it far more times than I can remember.

- Ryan Adams - 'Ryan Adams' ( Ryan Adams is one of the last holdouts of old-fashioned rock going on right now. To my ears, his series of completely admirable releases spanning four labels since the 90's were just prelude to this one. Confident, sincere, raw, soulful, and radio-ready without being shiny and polished. This guy is all kinds of great.

- Sharon Van Etten - 'Are We There' ( I can't explain why, but this album hit me hard. It reaches a level of honesty that pierces you like a jagged blade. The closing track aches its way toward bearing all, and the same can be said of the entire album. Tremendous.

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One of my favs out of L.A., The Peach Kings, have released the latest installment of their "Crown Jewels" series. They rip tracks from their personal vinyl collection and share them with the world:  Lots of great stuff this time around, with songs from Tom Waits, Beastie Boys, Francoise Hardy, Jimi Hendrix, and Lee Michaels.

The Peach Kings are also on tour in California. If they're hitting your town give 'em a shot:

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The new album from Banks, "Goddess," is sexy and layered and ethereal. Give it a go: It's no wonder her show at Terminal 5 on September 30th is already sold out.

If you're thinking of picking up a vinyl/physical/mp3 copy of the album, consider getting it directly from the artist. Limited time only merch bundles too!:

One of the album's producers is SOHN, who just released a solid album in his own right:

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As September 23rd approaches, my Spotify collection of summer discoveries draws to a close. Give it a look, you'll find plenty to hear:

Artist list is below. In the meantime stay tuned for the posting of my autumn playlist once the season gets underway...


chasing Tremendous - Summer Discoveries 2014
Artists included:
- Ryn Weaver
- Bleachers
- Slow Club
- alt-J
- Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj
- Meghan Trainor
- Weezer
- Jenny Lewis
- Got A Girl
- The Knocks, Powers
- Ella Eyre
- Eliza Shaddad
- Porter Robinson
- FKA twigs

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One of my favorite new bands, The Peach Kings, is making mixtapes from their personal vinyl collection. Ripped straight from a record player, "pops, hisses, and all." It's an impressive selection of cuts:

You Got To Funkifize - Tower Of Power
The Way I Walk - The Cramps
Because I Love You - Sam The Sham and the Pharoahs
Run Run Run - Velvet Underground
Memphis - Johnny Rivers
It Ain't Necessarily So - Aretha Franklin
Talkin Bout My Baby - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Almost Cut My Hair - Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
Town Without Pity - Gene Pitney
Make The World Go Away - Eddy Arnold
Ton Meilleur Ami - Francoise Hardy
South Of The Border - Wes Montgomery
Jive Turkey - The Ohio Players
Jerking Back N Forth - Devo
Clap Hands - Tom Waits
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover - Paul Simon
Ghetto Life - Rick James
Death Don't Have No Mercy - Hot Tuna
Tragedy - The Fleetwoods
Smile - The Lettermen

Download or stream it here: 

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New favorite: L.A.-based singer/songwriter Meg Myers.

EP available on iTunes:

And check out her striking and simple homepage while you're at it:

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The vernal equinox means it's time to start a new Spotify playlist of seasonal discoveries. Check out my winter 2013/2014 playlist for some gems you might dig:
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