The 15 best stage banter spewing musicians in live music today

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Photo by Sam Heller // Written by Mike Frash & Kevin Quandt //

For better or worse, these 15 artists entertain, control and impact the collective mindset of a capacity crowd with between-song bantering as much as their music. Here’s a hint: we like our banter dry.

What did we miss? Drop us a comment to to continue the flow.


15. Dan Deacon
Dan Deacon’s stage banter serves the purpose of helping to curate a mad, collective experience. If you’ve never taken the Dan Deacon plunge, do it. And come with an open heart and mind. -MF


14. Samuel Herring (Future Islands)
Samuel Herring’s motivational banter nicely segues into Future Islands’ songs, combining over-the-top crowd engagement, fully-committed dance moves and passion that boarders on possession. For example, when introducing “Lighthouse” (watch above at 4:24), Herring says “this is a song about those dark moments in our lives, and the friends and the family that bring us back.” Here the introduction makes you ponder about the song’s lyrical meaning, magnifying its importance. -MF


13. Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day)
Billie Joe Armstrong has already had a long, epic career on stage and has seen it all and has done it all. After one logs as much time as Green Day on stage, some epic moments in banter/antic history are bound to happen. In the early days, they egged on the crowd to pelt them with clumps of mud, while more recently Billie Joe has decided to take his anger out on the teleprompter crew and likely be extension, Clear Channel. -KQ


12. Tom Waits
Tom Waits is no doubt one of a kind, and the man surely isn’t a road warrior these days on the live circuit. But he did perform at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit last year to steal the show with his banter as much as his iconic, raspy voice. -MF


11. Dave Matthews
If the whole music thing doesn’t work out for Dave Matthews, he can likely take up a career in being an aspiring stand-up comedian as he has entertained crowds between songs for decades. The stream-of-conscience delivery that Matthews regularly launches into has become a fond pastime for longtime fans, even going as far to create an endearing term for it known as “davespeak”. -KQ


10. Jack White
White can talk up a storm during his gratifying live performances — no doubt he’s in the running for best live musical act of 2014. The biggest rock star in the world made headlines earlier this year at Fenway Park when he trashed Rolling Stone while also dumping on the Foo Fighters. But White’s banter can also be fun, lighthearted and engaging, something most everyone can appreciate. -MF



9. Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age)
Ya don’t fuck with Josh Homme when he is onstage. Period. However, if this happens, you should be prepared to be entertained, as he will fully launch into a tirade of epic proportions upon his deserved target. I weep for those who have been on the receiving end of these legendary diatribes. -KQ


8. Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams’s passion flows from him like an angst-filled teenager, often spastic and random. But at his headlining show at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass this year, Adams transitioned his banter into an impromptu gem revolving around a someone holding balloons in the back of the park in SF. If you haven’t yet, listen to his new album — it’s wholly deserving of being his self titled record. Also, watch this montage of banter highlights from the aughts. -MF


7. Les Claypool
Les Claypool is weird in all the right ways. And he’s willing to stop mid-show and comment on circumstances that surround him, whether he gets spit on from the pit, gets hit with an empty water bottle by some spunion or if he witnesses two chicks brawling front and center. -MF


6. Jeff Tweedy
Tweedy has interpreted Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” as historical spoken word poetry. There’s the time the Wilco frontman told the story of ending up two doors down from former bandmate Jay Farrar in Mexico. No matter the show, his banter contains the all important element of surprise, even that time he said “I’m trying to balance fun with crushing depression. Always a challenge.” Dry wit and wisdom define the man, yes indeed. -MF


5. Run the Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P)
El-P and Killer Mike are two of the most creative minds in music, plain and simple. You hear it in their rhymes and in El-P’s production, but also in how they grasp control of the crowd between songs. A perfect example: El Producto’s recent story about meeting Mark Kozelek before they took to their competing sets at Fun Fun Fun Fest. El got his crowd to yell “Suck My Dick Sun Kil Moon”, injecting Run the Jewels into Kozelek’s war on The War on Drugs. And the duo’s banter about finding your own 36″ Chain is an empowering lesson of personal pride and swagger over materialism. On top of that, count on Killer Mike and El-P to crush every moment with excitement and ownership. Just never forget, Run the Jewels is not for your children. -MF


4. Mac Demarco
Mac Demarco holds a mellow, irreverent spirit that is contagious. He can also stage dive like a boss, too. Then there was that time he performed naked and semi-attempted to stick the mic up his bum. He’ll never live it down. He often introduces his songs with a healthy dose of charm, and you gotta love his propensity for spontaneity. The key ingredient: Demarco ain’t afraid to engage with his audience and among the band, creating a spoken word moment out of nothing. -MF


3. Kanye West
Stage banter usually means an epic rant or four when it comes to Yeezus live, and some of the soliloquies this year have lasted longer than a Type II Phish jam. At London Wireless Festival, Kanye gave a 20 minute-plus speech, he addressed the “Fuck Kanye” mantra, attacked the media and proclaimed he’s the No. 1 fucking rock star on the planet in his return to Bonnaroo. And at Outside Lands this year, West commanded that we “make some circles … and push whoever is next to you and shit.” In most all cases, Kanye’s stage banter collects both awes and boos, while at the same time, signifying his narcissistic tendencies better than any South Park joke or comedic parody. -MF


2. Father John Misty
I know it’s early, but J. Tillman is on a legendary path. Sure, he’s a captivating storyteller, but he also has the uncanny ability to add improvised, add-on words and phrases at the end of each line at a whim (particularly with his acoustic performances). You get the sense that Tillman looks to keep things interesting for himself above all else, a quality that churns out memorable performances night after night. Most impressively, Father John Misty has created a performance space that consistently questions our collective reality, hoisting his freak flag high and daring you to come along for the adventure. What’s ultimately so captivating is how he doesn’t let you in on the joke, if there even is one to begin with. -MF


1. Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon)
Kozelek has had a career-defining year that has spanned beyond the brilliant Benji. His stage banter included telling one festival audience “all you rednecks, shut the fuck up”, and in the musical feud of the year, Koz fought a one-sided battle against The War on Drugs, going on a relentless campaign against the band when their overlapping festival sets sent the WOD speaker sound across the field to invade Sun Kil Moon’s set.

To commemorate the beef, Kozelek wrote a song, “War on Drugs: Suck My Cock”, which describes how the whole thing began — with stage banter, bringing the whole thing full circle by creating a song that he promised on the stage that day. Talk about manifesting reality. By the way, Mark, I was at The War on Drugs show at The Fillmore that night, and I didn’t take no bridge or tunnel.

It’s improvised stage banter on a genius level while also often abrasive, cruel and surly. But holy shit does it suck you in like a controlling bully on the schoolyard, forcing you to stand still so you aren’t the next target. And if you’re doubting Kozelek’s banter at all, just listen to these wise words. -MF

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11 songs with finger snaps from the past three years that won’t make you want to jab things in your ears

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By Mike Frash //

You can’t find a texture bed more minimalist than the repeating finger snap. When you think about it, cavemen and cave women probably made music by pressing their hand digits together.

And lately, finger snapping has bubbled up from the underground as dance producers have come to dominate modern pop production. And it’s everywhere. So, here are some songs from the past 30 months or so that have finger snaps and likely won’t make you want to project sharpened pencils in your ear hole. Unless you’re a rock purist — then you’ll probably hate this shit.

11. Glass Animals – “Gooey”



Glass Animals might have goofier lyrics than alt-J and Phish combined, but their sexy-smooth lounge rock is catching on. This finger snap in “Gooey” is more like a jangly clap-snap, but it counts.


10. Run The Jewels – “Sea Legs”



I try to infuse Killer Mike & El-P’s partnership Run the Jewels into most conversations, so why not find a way to get them on this snap list. Snaps only bookend “Sea Legs”, but look, I’m just trying to promote Meow the Jewels. Let’s make this happen.


9. Autre Ne Veut – “Counting”



Arthur Ashin’s falsetto-led future pop channels pain and chaos into a tight, emotive package with “Counting”, using brass and guitar as accent elements while the percussion, including (yes) snaps, dominate the mix.


8. Tinashe, Schoolboy Q – “2 On”

Tinashe released her likable first record in October 2014, and with “2 On”, she takes traditional male language and seemingly repackages it into “break-the-glass-ceiling” R&B-rap rhyming, that is until Schoolboy Q sets everything (unfortunately) back to normal with his opening line, “Uh, pull your panties down from under you, beat that pussy up, make you wanna holler Q.” Still, it’s a pretty addictive track.


7. How To Dress Well – “& It Was U”


Tom Krell is adept at letting his voice carry the emotional weight of his music, and none of his songs show this better than the snap-dominated “& It Was U”.


6. Classixx – “Dominoes”



Electronic music this silky and easy to digest puts it in the cross hairs of where pop is going, and the duo’s live show is a euphoric good time. Classixx will be at Treasure Island Music Festival 2014 in SF.


5. Perfume Genius – “Fool”

The new record from Perfume Genius is a gem, and Mike Hadreas gives a heaven’s call of a bellow in the middle of “Fool”, all while using snaps to keep the tune grounded.


4. DJ Koze – “Amydala (feat. Milosh)



If you never got around to listening to DJ Koze’s 2013 masterpiece Amydgala, get on that. The song “Amydala” features Milosh (the singer from Rhye), whose voice blends with all the musical elements on this driving track. Look for the snaps to add another layer on the back third.


3. Darkside – “Paper Trails”



The magical collaboration between Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington may be on hiatus (read our review here from their only SF show), but we can still revisit one of the best songs from 2013, which keeps its methodical pace with a snap (or at least a modulated clap that sounds like a snap).


2. Lorde – “Royals”

To not include Lorde’s wubby, snap-paced “Royals” in this list would be playing hipster-devil’s advocate. Lorde’s music is much better than most radio fodder (ahem Foster The People and Robin Thicke). And how is she only 17 still? She’s tracking ahead of Madonna in her influence on the pop landscape.


1. Dillon Francis feat. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – “Without You”



DF + TEED combined forces for this 2013 insta-classic that uses finger snaps as the critical, minimalist linchpin for the inverted drop.

BONUS: We can’t forget the Super Mario Theme finger snap guy:

10 tips to avoid getting scammed by ticket scalpers

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By Mike Frash //

Getting burned by a third-party ticket purchase hurts. Not only did you lose money to a greedy pig scalper-thief, but you likely missed a show or festival you really wanted to experience.

Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) canceled his first scheduled show in 35 years over insane ticket scalping last week, taking a stand against the state of New York for not allowing paperless ticket shows — that’s when everyone has to pick up their tickets at the box office before the event. So it got us thinking — what is the best methodology for acquiring tickets to sold-out shows?

So we asked for your third-party ticket-buying tips on Facebook and Instagram and incorporated them into this here list. Follow these tips and ya might get into that completely sold-out event coming up, possibly even for face value.

BEFORE THE EVENT

1. Ask Friends First
If you have any buddies that frequently go to concerts or sporting events, check in with them and see if they have a spare. Most casual second-source-of-income scalpers will hook up a friend.

Use your social networks! And once a friend agrees to sell to you for face, “you can use the TM transfer option (if venue allows it) to transfer tickets, voiding the current bar code, & supplying a new one to the buyer.” [Brando Rich]

2. Use the Secondary Ticket Market (and Be Prepared to Get Taxed)
StubHub has taken over the secondary ticket market in the US, and Ticketmaster’s T+ is also an option. (Does anyone else see a problem with Ticketmaster linking directly to their secondary market after you buy a ticket?)

You pay a premium for security and customer service should anything go wrong. Or as Ryan Cohn put it, “using verified sources like StubHub will help weed out the dickbags trying to scam.” It’s the kind of business model that gives economics professors wet dreams — take 15% from the seller and charge the buyer about 10%.

3. Use a Peer-to-Peer Social Ticketing
One under-the-radar resource for buying tickets to sold-out events is CashorTrade.org, a website for ethically selling or trading tickets — you can’t sell tickets for over face value. The website uses a community-based model, directly connecting fans without any markup or fees.

As Steven Wandrey mentioned, “CoT isn’t verified but if someone has good rep ratings on there the chances are much higher than not that the tickets are legit.” That said, Stubhub doesn’t verify ticket sales either (but the buyer does have a credit card on file), and CashorTrade.org will assist you if any problems arise. Using CashorTrade.org can save you money compared to using the mighty corporate behemoth StubHub.

4. Randoms on Facebook
After all above resources have come up dry, try to find someone within a trusted Facebook group or message board. For example, if you’re looking for a Coachella ticket, you could look for help in a Coachella group on Facebook or hit up the Coachella community forum.

A word of advise from John Kim: “If buying on FB, make sure the person you’re buying from has a legit profile. Few friends and a private page are some things to watch out for. Also, check their recent postings and comments. If someone hasn’t posted on FB in 2 years or has zero comments on their status updates, you might want to be careful.”

5. Craigslist (If You Must)
Craigslist should be the last resort if you are buying. It’s equally as risky as buying at the venue. If you’re really worried, ask a ticket seller if it’s cool to meet them in front or near their house. Usually scammers won’t send unsuspecting buyers to their house. Also, if paying via PayPal, choose the “Items/Goods” option for extra protection.

And repeat after me: Hard tickets are safer than digital tickets, unless you’re doing a Ticketmaster transfer. Digital PDFs can be sold over and over again — first buyer to the venue wins.

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AT THE EVENT

6. Don’t Buy From a Scalper
Try to buy from an event-goer instead of a scalper. Paco Martini wrote, “Don’t buy from dudes buying & selling tickets. They are usually scalper suspects. Look for someone heading in to the same show, and ask people near by if they need a ticket if you have extras.”

In similar fashion, Ben Baity advised, “I mostly go around and say ‘I need a ticket, NOT A SCALPER, just wanna go to the show’ and POOF, someone comes along and deals me in. For big shows, like Springsteen etc, it is easy as pie. Nobody goes to shows without tickets anymore. Boom, tix.”

Also Cassie Blaza L wrote, “When I do buy tickets off someone at the venue I gauge the persons’ validity by whether they look like they belong in that scene fashion and conversation wise. You can tell pretty quickly, at least in NYC, who the guys are that showed up outside exclusively to make money and leave. They aren’t dressed for a show, can’t name a song by the artist, don’t have friends with them, and generally don’t look like they belong.”

7. Check the Tickets
If buying from a scalper or show-goer, look at the tickets before you hand over your hard-earned cash. “Knowing what the ticket policy for an event is helps. Know how the tickets should look and what the event would consider an invalid ticket. Making sure all necessary barcodes are there and that none of them are repeating over multiple tickets.” [Christi Payeur]

Conor Boyland explains this concept in further detail: “What I usually do if I’m forced to buy a ticket on the street, is ask to see all of the tickets. check the numbercode (numbers above the barcode), if all of the numbers, or even a few pairs, match; they are fakes.” Also, know the the original cost of the ticket and be sure to check the one you’re buying to make sure it’s correct.

8. The First Key to Negotiation
Be willing to walk away. You have the leverage for non-sell outs and after an event starts, so don’t be afraid to negotiate. Is the event really sold out? Trust the person at the box office over a scalper.

9. Ask the Seller to Walk You to the Venue
Pete Mauch and Joel Hoffman both commented that you should ask the seller to walk with you to the venue entrance before buying. If they hesitate, keep that money in your pocket. Although, this is a slippery slope as it’s generally illegal to sell secondary tickets on venue property.

10. Let It Burn
This is pretty extreme but true. Ticketmaster tickets aren’t printed on normal paper, and if you light a small corner of a genuine ticket with a lighter or cigarette, it should turn black on the face but be completely unaffected on the back side. Also, Kevin Quandt pointed out that “most Ticketmaster tickets have a blueish layer of paper that is slightly visible, and that they are heat sensitive (also, best to not leave in hot car).”

Leave your sold-out ticket purchasing techniques below in the comments.

NEXT WEEK’S TOPIC: The Best Ever Songs with Finger Snaps
Make your voice heard at our social channels: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
Your comment could be used for the Bam of the Week article next week.

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9 Sports Anthems for the 21st Century

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Whether it’s Brian Wilson running out to the pitchers mound to House of Pain’s “Jump Around” or a proud little league coach blaring “We are the Champions” after a big win, music has always played an important role in sports. Arguably the biggest weekend in all of sports is upon us, the Super Bowl, and here at Showbams we decided to compile a list of our favorite modern day jock jams.

Sports anthems have fueled athletes for decades and unfortunately a lot of those songs have gone stale. Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” is a classic example of a great anthem, particularly in “Rocky III”, but it’s been extremely played out in high school gyms, college arenas, and pro stadiums since 1982. Here is a list of modern day sports anthems that have either already made it to arenas or should be there soon.


9. “We Are The People”Empire Of The Sun
In the vein of Queen’s “We Are The Champions”, the anthemic line “We are the people who rule the world” sums up that “just won the game” braggart euphoria after a big win.


8. “Paddling Out”Miike Snow
Besides the fact that this could be any pro surfer’s theme song, this track could be used for any teams entrance as they come roaring out of the locker room.
 


7. “One Big Holiday”My Morning Jacket
” A bad man from California” needs to make this his pitching entrance.


6. “Empire State of Mind”Jay Z
When the biggest sports team in the world claims this as their anthem after they win the world series then it deserves to be on this list.


5. “Wilson” Phish 
An unusual-yet-awesome connection between Russell Wilson, Seahawks fans, and this classic Phish track is why it makes our list. If Seattle wins the big one then Phish was the 13th man. WIIILLLSOOOOON!!!!!


4. “Genesis” Justice
I can imagine a hockey team pouring onto the ice just as this beat drops. The crowd would go bonkers.


3. “Unstoppable”Santigold
If this song doesn’t get you off of your bench seat in the outfield then I don’t know what will. The sheer rhythm of this track and the catchy lyrics make it a “should-be” stadium anthem. Hell — it was the song that soundtracked one man’s proclivity to party-start at Sasquatch.


2. “Howlin’ For You”The Black Keys
This song has definitely made it to the big time as far as air time goes, but just recently the Phoenix Coyotes have started to use it after every goal and win.”Ohh baby I’m Howlin for you.”


1.”Seven Nation Army”The White Stripes
This track has already achieved sports anthem fame, but I bet Jack White would have never guessed his song would be chanted in international soccer stadiums by arguably the most enthusiastic fans in the world.

Quit your job and travel: 11 songs for inspiration

Travel

Let’s be honost, traveling is a pretty awesome experience. If you have the opportunity to abandon life’s routines and take on adventures far from home, you probably should do it.

So many countries actually encourage young people to go traveling abroad before settling down into a job and a family life. The United States has never embraced this, which isn’t surprising for a country that doesn’t value vacation or family proximity like other countries (see everywhere else).

Sometimes you just have to take a leap. Quit your job, say goodbye to your friends, spend most of your money and go have the time of your life. Experience new things and meet new people.

Listen to these 11 tracks from the last year for further inspiration.

Travel


John Talabot – “Journeys” feat. Ekhi

If you are doing it right, travelling is a collection of journeys, or one long journey. “Journeys” is one of the standout tracks from John Talabot’s 2012 record fin, and “running away with me” is the repetitious hook that will ingrain in your brain until you book your one-way flight.


Wild Nothing – “Paradise”

The best part about going on an international journey is discovering an ideal place that is hard to leave. It’s often good policy to keep moving if you don’t like a shitty destination, but settle in if you find your version of paradise.


Hot Chip – “Look at Where We Are”

That moment when you look around, make eye contact with your travelling partner, and acknowledge the overwhelming beauty around you – this moment is irreplaceable. And this usually only can happen if you challenge yourself to get somewhere.


Van She – “Idea of Happiness”

To those stricken with wonderlust, the idea of happiness is not knowing where you will go, where you will stay, or who you will meet.


Delicate Steve – “Positive Force”

Travel has it’s ups and downs, especially if you are going for an extended adventure. Shit happens, like missing your bus and sleeping at the station all night or you might get swindled or robbed. It’s OK. Be the positive force of your travel group.


JJ – “Beautiful Life”

You have no responsibilities except where you are going, what you are doing, and what you are consuming. It’s a dog’s life. It’s a beautiful life.


Vacationer – “Good As New”

Sometimes the best reason to go on a jaunt or extended travel is to get rejuvenated, to reboot your mentality or shake things up. This cut from Vacationer will make you feel as good as new, even if you’re stuck in a cubicle.


Liars – “No.1 Against the Rush”

Methodically moving with no set schedule can be key to freeing yourself. Don’t rush it. Take time to look around and absorb your surroundings.


Conner Youngblood – “Australia”

While this track from Australian singer/songwriter Conner Youngblood may be specific to a certain place, it’s sure to help you break out of your bubble.


Kavinsky – “ProtoVision”

Need a more upbeat kickstart to leave it all behind? Get your kinetic energy flowing in the form of crunchy beats. If life is static, break out of your mold and change something.


Bright Moments – “Tourists”

There are travelers and there are tourists, and the difference is that tourists don’t adapt. So many aspects to travelling absolutely suck, but focus on the good things when you get low and want to head home. You’ll wish you kept moving once you give in to being homesick.

Impending Apocalypse Now: 21 Songs for the End of the World

Impending-Apocalypse-NOW-Subscribe to the “Impending Apocalypse Now” Spotify playlist.

So the world ends on Friday. That’s too bad, I was just getting used to Dubstep.
Here are 21 lucky tracks that somehow relate to the impending apocalypse. And they are pretty great songs too.

21. David Bowie“Five Years”

20. St. Vincent“The Apocalypse Song”

19. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds“I’ll Love You (Till The End Of The World”

18. STS9“When the Dust Settles”

17. Andrew Bird“Yawny At The Apocalypse”

16. Bright Eyes“Four Winds”

15. Creedence Clearwater Revival“Bad Moon Rising”

14. R.E.M. – “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

13. The Clash“London Calling”

12. The Rolling Stones“Gimme Shelter”

11. Muse“Apocalypse Please”

10. The Cure“The End of the World”

9. Medeski, Martin & Wood“End Of The World Party”

8. The Postal Service“We Will Become Silhouettes”

7. Radiohead“Ideoteque”

6. The Decemberists“Calamity Song”

5. Tom Waits“The Earth Died Screaming”

4. Morrissey“Everyday Is Like Sunday”

3. Metallica“Blackened”

2. Tame Impala“Apocalypse Dreams”

1. The Doors“The End”

Subscribe to the “Impending Apocalypse Now” Spotify playlist.

The 25 best songs with whistling

Whistle

The art of whistling is rarely used anymore in contemporary music. Whistling sets a whimsical, light-hearted tone, often projecting a happy-go-lucky state of mind. Whistling simply helps to keep things positive.

UPDATED 5/15/14: We’ve updated this list based on your comments. We’re now including TV theme songs and film soundtracks, along with dance tracks. And we’ve added 10 new selections, bumping it up from 15 to 25. Whistle On!

Here are 25 songs that incorporated whistling most successfully. Listen to all these songs in one playlist.

25. The Andy Griffith Show Theme

24. STRFKR – “Miracle Mile”

23. Roger Whittaker – “Finnish Whistler”

22. Hanna Motion Picture Soundtrack (The Chemical Brothers) – “The Devil is in the details”

21. Angus Stone – “Wooden Chair”

20. Django Unchained Soundtrack – “Triniti”

19. Daedelus – “Bright Stars”

18. Claude VonStroke – “The Whistler”

17. Kill Bill Vol 1 Soundtrack – “Twisted Nerve” by Bernard Herrmann

16. The J. Gelis Band – “Centerfold”

15. Phish – “Guyute”

14. Bobby Day – “Rockin Robin”

13. Monty Python – “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life”

12. Frankie Knuckles – “The Whistle Song”

11. Beck – Sissyneck

10. NONONO – “Pumpin Blood”

9. Foster The People – “Pumped Up Kicks”

8. The Black Keys – “Tighten Up”

7. Bobby McFerrin – “Don’t Worry Be Happy”

6. Peter, Bjorn & John – “Young Folks”

5. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes – “Home”

4. Andrew Bird – “Danse Caribe”

3. Paul Simon – “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”

2. Guns N’ Roses – “Patience”

1. Otis Redding – “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay”

10 best tracks about “Home”

HomeSubscribe to our “Home” Spotify Playlist

This is the time of year when a lot of people spend time at home. People go home for the holidays, as most of us did for Thanksgiving and will do this month. People get stuck in their house when it’s raining & snowing. And we recognize how important home is when catastrophic events like hurricanes and earthquakes destroy so many dwellings.

Home can also have an abstract meaning, especially when it comes to music. Home can be a state of mind, and the idea of home shifts for many over the course of their lives.

Enough deep analytics – here are 10 of our favorite songs about home.
What did we miss?

10. Band of Horses – “On My Way Back Home”

On my way back home, by chance I thought of
All my favorite songs, where I’d gone wrong
The only words that I could think of
I’m pissing my life away in the form of a song
On my way back home

9. Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”

I happened on a house
Built of living light
Where everything evil dissapears and dies…
I settled in slowly, to this house that you call home
To blood and breath, fear, flesh and bone…
Its a lifeless life, with no fixed address to give
but your not mine to die for anymore
so i must live

8. Al Green – “Call Me (Come Back Home)”

If you find you’s a long way from home
And if somebody’s doin’ you wrong
Just call me baby
Come back home

7. The Head And The Heart – “Lost in My Mind”

Momma once told me
You’re already home where you feel loved
I am lost in my mind
I get lost in my mind

6. Grateful Dead – “Brokedown Palace”

Goin home, goin home, by the riverside I will rest my bones,
Listen to the river sing sweet songs, to rock my soul.

5. John Denver – “Take Me Home, Country Roads”

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, Mountain Mama
Take me home, country roads

4. Michael Kiwanuka – “Home Again”

Home again, Home again
One day I know I’ll feel home again
Wrong again, Wrong again
One day I know I’ll feel strong again
And lift my head

3. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – “Home”

Home
Let me come Home
Home is wherever I’m with you

2. LCD Soundsystem – “Home”

Home, home, home
Home, home, home
Take me home…
If you’re afraid of what you need
Look around you, you’re surrounded
It won’t get any better…

1. Talking Heads – “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)”

Home is where i want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
I feel numb – burn with a weak heart
(so i) guess i must be having fun…
Home – is where i want to be
But i guess i’m already there
I come home – -she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place

Subscribe to the “Home” Spotify Playlist

25 of the best cover songs ever

It’s pretty hard to proclaim the best cover songs of all time — there have been so many great covers performed in the studio and in a live environment. So that’s why we’re framing this as “25 of the Best Cover Songs Ever”. This list is not as hyperbolic as we prefer to be, but our top 10 is pretty damn solid.

Some prescribe to the theory that a cover song has to be better than the original to be great, or considered one of the the best. I don’t believe this to be true. There are cases in this list where the cover song does not surpass the original in greatness (see #25 for example). But if a cover song attempts to be different and successfully recreates a track to make it original and timeless in its own way, credit should be granted.

What did we miss? Leave us a comment with a YouTube link.

25. Chromatics – “Into the Black”
Originally by Neil Young

24. Guns N’ Roses – “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”
Originally by Bob Dylan

23. Bob Dylan – “Train of Love”
Originally by Johnny Cash

22. Johnny Cash – “I’m on Fire”
Originally by Bruce Springsteen

21. Bruce Springsteen – “Trapped”
Originally by Jimmy Cliff

20. Birdy – “Skinny Love”
Originally by Bon Iver

19. Sublime (featuring Alex Grenwald) – “Scarlet Begonias”
Originally by the Grateful Dead

18. Grateful Dead – “Morning Dew”
Originally by Bonnie Dobson

17. Alison Krauss & Robert Plant – “Trampled Rose”
Originally by Tom Waits

16. Santana – “Black Magic Woman”
Originally by Fleetwood Mac

15. Sharon Jones – “It’s a Man’s World”
Originally by James Brown

14. Radiohead – “The Headmaster Ritual”
Originally by The Smiths

13. Eric Clapton – “Coccaine”
Originally by JJ Cale

12. Tina & Ike Turner – “Proud Mary”
Originally by Creedence Clearwater Revival

11. Creedence Clearwater Revival – “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”
Originally by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

10. The White Stripes – “Jolene”
Originally by Dolly Parton

9. Joe Cocker – “With a Little Help from My Friends”
Originally by The Beatles

8. The Beatles – “Twist & Shout”
Originally by The Top Notes, made famous by The Isley Brothers

7. Nirvana – “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”
Traditional song; arranged by Lead Belly

6. Janis Joplin – “Me and Bobby McGee”
Originally by Kris Kristofferson

5. Phish – “Remain in Light” LP in it’s entirety
Originally by Talking Heads

4. Talking Heads – “Take Me to the River”
Originally by Al Green

3. Aretha Franklin – “Respect”
Originally by Otis Redding.

2. Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower
Originally by Bob Dylan.

1. Johnny Cash – Hurt
Originally by Nine Inch Nails.

Pass that shit: Top 10 weed songs

Subscribe to our Spotify Playlist “Pass that shit ➜ Top 10 weed songs” and listen to the 50 best weed songs ever!

Our list is based on the criteria that the best weed songs are blatantly about marijuana and very catchy. So as the movement to legalize and tax marijuana like alcohol gains steam, light up a spliff and check out our 10 favorite weed songs of all time.

What did we miss? Leave a comment below.

10. Let’s Go Go Get Stoned – Ray Charles
Originally recorded by The Coasters in a 1965, Ray Charles made “Let’s Go Get Stoned” a #1 hit a year later. This classic blues track was released after Charles was released from rehab, as he was attempting to kick heroin. It’s assumed that Charles smoked copious amounts of marijuana as well…Thanks Billy Preston!

9. Ganja Smuggling – Eek-A-Mouse
Jamaican reggae singer Eed-A-Mouse is about two things: repetition and weed. His concerts often consist of “a-Wa-Do-Dem” being repeated for 65% of the time, but he placates the stoner rastas and trustafarians with his biggest tracks “Ganja Smuggling” and “Sensee Party.” “Ganja Smuggling” still has the mouse’s patented repetition and sends positive irie vibes.

8. Smoke Two Joints – The Toyes
Sublime made this track famous, but it belongs to The Toyes. According to The Toyes website, “Bradley (Nowell) himself had happened upon the song and recorded it before he knew The Toyes or their music.”

7. The Next Episode – Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg, or Snoop Lion as he wants to be called now, must legally be included in this list, as he is the current cultural ambassador of ganja. Just check his twitter feed. Most list makers would probably use Gin & Juice, or something from The Chronic. We’re going with the track that had every pot smoking teenager saying “Smoke weed every day” with the spot in our top 10.

6. I got 5 On It – The Luniz
“I got five on it” refers to throwing down with your buds on a sack and puffin’ away. Just check the lyrics: “Kinda broke so ya know all I gots five, I got five. Unless you pull out the fat, crispy five dollar bill on the real before its history. I got 5 on it, let’s go half on a sack.”

5. Champagne & Reefer – Muddy Waters
“Yeah bring me champagne when I’m thirsty. Bring me reefer when I want to get high…Well you know there should be no law on people that want to smoke a little dope.” The Rolling Stones still cover it.

4. Mary Jane – Rick James
Rick James may be more well known for his addiction to cocaine thanks to The Chapelle Show, but “Mary Jane” proved that Rick James was multi-faceted in his drug use. History proves that Mary Jane was an actual girl Rick James loved, but she left him. In this case, music fans have spoken, and Chapelle’s movie Half-Baked help solidify this song and the woman Mary Jane into pot popular culture.

3. Rainy Day Women #12 & #35 –Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan was an early cannabis supporter – hell he introduced herb to the Beatles. And no song signified this more than the refrain “Everybody must get stoned!” Dylan reportedly got everyone super high before this recording that appeared on the legendary album Blonde on Blonde.

2. Hits from the Bong – Cypress Hill
No one has owned Weed Music more than Cypress Hill. Just look at the way they’ve described the details of their love for herb in tracks such as “I wanna Get High” & “Dr. Greenthumbs.” But it’s “Hits from the Bong” that has left the biggest impact. Remember, ‘just like chong, I hit the bowl and I reload it.’

1. Legalize It – Peter Tosh
At a time when support for marijuana legalization and taxation is at a all time high in the US, Peter Tosh’s track “Legalize It” is as relevant as ever. Legalize it. Don’t Criticize it.

No Bob Marley??? Leave a comment!

Subscribe to our Spotify Playlist “Pass that shit ➜ Top 10 weed songs” and listen to the 50 best weed songs ever!

10 most important Political Protest Songs of the last 50 years

As President Obama looks ahead to four more years, let’s look at the 10 most important political protest songs of the last 50 years, from oldest to most recent. What did we miss? Leave a comment below.

(1963) Sam CookeA Change is Gonna Come

Upon hearing Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” in 1963, Cooke was greatly moved that such a poignant song about racism in America could come from someone who was not black. (Source: The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time). This was an era of segregation, and Cooke was very popular with white audiences due to his hit “Twistin’ the Night Away,” so it took guts to create this song and perform it before the Civil Rights Movement had really begun.

(1964) Bob DylanThe Times They Are A Changing

In 1985, Dylan told Cameron Crowe for Rolling Stone, “This was definitely a song with a purpose…I wanted to write a big song, with short concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way. The civil rights movement and the folk music movement were pretty close for a while and allied together at that time.” This song, along with “Blowin’ in the Wind,” cemented dylan as a lead counter-culture figure.

(1969) Creedence Clearwater RevivalFortunate Son

Many of the best US political protest songs relate tot he Vietnam War, and one of the best is “Fortunate Son” by CCR. Fogerty is pretty blunt and loud in speaking for the working, middle and low-income earners, the sons drafted to fight. John Fogerty told Rolling Stone, “Julie Nixon was hanging around with David Eisenhower, and you just had the feeling that none of these people were going to be involved with the war.

(1970) Gil Scott HeronThe Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Probably the biggest influence in hip hop history, even after his death in 2011, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is Gil Scott Heron’s most important and influential poetic track. Heron wins the listener over with his humor, but it’s one of the best political protest songs of all time due to it’s subversion during the Nixon era.

(1970) Crosby Stills Nash & YoungOhio

“Ohio” was written by Neil Young as a reaction to the US military personel killing of four Vietnam War protestors at Kent State University, the event that effectively ended US support of the disastrous war. CSNY added to the pressure with this classic, catchy song that ensured that the the Kent State shooting stayed on the mind of the American public for months and years to come.

(1973) Bob Marley & Peter ToshGet Up,Stand Up

Like “Ohio,” “Get Up, Stand Up” is an overtly political song. Unlike CSNY, Bob Marley is best known for being the most prominent Raggae musician of all time, smoking copious amounts of marijuana, and for his political protest songs. (Alright, CSNY probably smoked lots of weed) And this track owns the best lines in political protest music history: “You can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. So now we see the light! We gonna stand up for our rights!”

(1984) Bruce Springsteen Born In the U.S.A.

This song was mistaken as a positive American anthem for years, and still is today by many. Ronald Reagan even used this song in his 1984 reelection campaign and tried to claim Bruce as a supporter! Lyrically the song takes a realistic approach the effects of the Vietnam war on those that were forced to go fight in Southeast Asia, but if you manage to only listen to the chorus, it can be seen as a patriotic anthem. Brian Doherty wrote, “The song’s lyrics are about a shell-shocked vet with ‘no place to run, nowhere to go.’ Bruce once said it’s about “a working-class man…It’s like he has nothing left to tie him into society anymore. He’s isolated from the government. Isolated from his family…to the point where nothing makes sense.” It’s not an overt political protest song, but it’s way closer to that then a national anthem.

(1989) Public EnemyFight the Power

“Fight the Power” was brilliantly used as Radio Raheem’s jam of choice and musical motif to the classic Spike Lee film Do The Right Thing. It was Public Enemy’s breakthrough song, and it incorporates references to many parts of African-American culture, including civil rights samples, black church services sounds, and the music of James Brown. And laying the smack down on Elvis Presley & John Wayne for their on-the-record white supremacist views certainly is the cherry on top of this political protest firestorm of a sundae.

(1992) Rage Against the MachineKilling In The Name

Rage was one of the most politically active groups at a time when political protest songs weren’t and aren’t very common. “Killing in the Name” is the quintessential Rage Against the Machine song, with it’s confronting vocals that link police to racism with the line “Some of those that work forces, are the same that burn crosses,” and with the ending refrain “Fuck You, I won’t do what you told me.” Zach de la Rocha & Tom Morello almost inspired a riot at the Democratic National Convention in 2000. Then de la Rocha abruptly left the group, but Tom Morello has continued his political activity, most recently getting involved in the Occupy WallStreet movement.

(2012) Killer MikeReagan

Hip hop artist Killer Mike put out an excellent LP this year called R.A.P. Music, and Mike’s passion and effective deconstruction of Reaganomics & the man himself is stinging. He explores the Iran Contra scandal, privatization of the prison system, how all US presidents are puppets to the elite (including Obama). One of the best tracks of 2012, “Reagan” shows that political protest songs are far from dead.

Movember: Top 5 Musician Mustaches

By Pete Mauch //

Last week we posted this question on our Facebook page:

We got some great responses, and T.J. Rigney receives a Frank Zappa vinyl courtesy of Showbams for his comment:

The results are in, so here they are:


5. PIGPEN

This founding member and original lead singer of the Grateful Dead rocked a proper ‘stache.


4. LEMMY KILMISTER

Badass. ‘Nuff Said.


3. FREDDIE MERCURY

Freddie is not quite the champion of mustaches in rock, but he’s damn close.


2. DAVID CROSBY

Crosby gets in at No. 2. Have you seen his stache lately??? It hasn’t changed.


2. FRANK ZAPPA

This self-taught, eccentric rocker tops the chart for best mustache in rock history. Gotta love the ponytail taboot, too.


Honorable Mention: Prince, John Oates, Rick James, Lional Richie.

Like us on Facebook, comment on our weekly question, and you may win a prize!