Van Toffler is the CEO of the MTV/VH1/CMT Music Group, but beneath that lies a heart that beats for music. When he's not busy running Viacom's music division, he's busy checking out shows and listening to an unimaginable volume of music (sometimes at unimaginable volumes!). Check out 10 underrated songs he's been obsessing over these days. With any luck, they'll keep you warm as winter blasts on.
It's been a minute since my last one of these blogs, with the harsh realities of life getting in my way. Music industry –- still in the throes of an era of suckage; yet the music still remains strong as hell, as long as you can find the good stuff.
So here goes my little effort to curate some decent underappreciated tunes for all you like-minded souls and you'll find my Spotify playlist at the bottom of this post:
“Do You” – SpoonTom Hines
Best song of 2014: kick-ass rhythm with Spoon's crazy scratchy soulful vocals. “Do You Wanna Get Understood Or Are You Looking For Sainthood” – don’t know or care what this song’s about -- just gritty vocals and a killer beat. Seek it out.
“Rise Up Singing” – Trigger HippyJacob Blickenstaff
Some Southern twangy, soulful gospel feel harkening back to the Waters Sisters, The Band and Delaney & Bonnie. Oh yeah, and with a former Black Crowe Steve Gorman drumming. Trigger Hippy's an undeniable mood elevator.
"Nature’s Call” – Shaun Escoffery
Shaun Escoffery is a brand-new soulful Brit who’s been listening to some Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye in his spare time. I’m not sure if this will ever get noticed in the U.S., but it should.
“Spring” – Ben Watt
Most people know him as the other half of Everything But The Girl or as a DJ of note, yet Ben Watt put out a great solo album in 2014. This song has the brilliant guitar fills of Bernard Butler, former member of Suede, and a great player.
“Someone New” – Banks
Straight-up ballad, mellow as hell. Banks is a rising star. Love her.
“The Oil Rigs At Night” – The Delines
From Willy Vlautin of the underappreciated band Richmond Fontaine and now a novelist of note. The singer in the band is Amy Boone, from Austin’s The Damnations, and Uncut.co.uk's Allan Jones put it well: “she can put as much hurt into a song as it can stand and then find room for more.” A song of heartbreak Americana for fans of Mazzy Star.
“Get Home” – Angus & Julia StoneJennifer Steinglen
A nice, mellow folky tune from Aussie brother/sister combo Angus & Julia Stone. Great relaxed feel to the whole record.
“Good Gracious Abbey” – The Madden Brothers
“The Garden” – New American Farmers
For jam band-loving fans – New American Farmers can rock kinda hard when they get in the flow.
“See Me Now” – The Kooks
Anybody who has lost a parent needs to hear this one. U.K. band The Kooks have got the goods.