Sounds: October 2016


While I’m not a fan of segregating music into seasonal categories, I do notice that my playlists and the albums I put into heavy rotation typically shift a bit around the time the weather starts to change. That said, these albums can and should be listened to year-round. They’re just also perfect for cooler weather and the like.

The Smiths – The Queen is Dead


  1. The Queen Is Dead
  2. Frankly, Mr. Shankly
  3. I Know It’s Over
  4. Never Had No One Ever
  5. Cemetary Gates
  6. Bigmouth Strikes Again
  7. The Boy with the Thorn in His Side
  8. Vicar in a Tutu
  9. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
  10. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Other

Books have been written about The Smiths, so I’ll skip the history lesson and jump right into this. The Smiths were punk rock’s moodier little brothers, smart both musically and lyrically and deliberately creating music that was the opposite everything synthesized and dancey about 80s music. Their third album, The Queen Is Dead, is arguably their best. At times dark and somewhat morbid (see “Never Had No One Ever”) this album showcases writing witty and unflinching. If you’ve never given The Smiths a listen, this a good place to start.

Iron and Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days


  1. On Your Wings
  2. Naked as We Came
  3. Cinder and Smoke
  4. Sunset Soon Forgotten
  5. Teeth in the Grass
  6. Love and Some Verses
  7. Radio War
  8. Each Coming Night
  9. Free Until They Cut Me Down
  10. Fever Dream
  11. Sodom, South Georgia
  12. Passing Afternoon

“Who’s your favorite band?” is one question that I have always found impossible to answer. There are too many variables and the answer always changes based on context. Just too many genres and movements to even begin to narrow it down to one. But I usually can come up with a running list of who I currently listen to heavily, and Sam Beam’s Iron & Wine consistently is featured in the top of that list. An intensely personal singer and songwriter, Beam has a presence and a sense of storytelling that speaks to something timeless deep down.

Our Endless Numbered Days is Beam’s second studio album, although technically the first to actually being recorded in a studio (his first being recorded on a four-track at his home). More polished and focused than his previous work, Beam still maintains his closeness to the listener, invoking something quiet and sacred with his barely whispered lines and thoughtfully plucked acoustic. His music invokes slow mornings spent with loved ones, the rapture of all things simple and clean.

Randy Newman – Sail Away


  1. Sail Away
  2. Lonely at the Top
  3. He Gives Us All His Love
  4. Last Night I Had a Dream
  5. Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear
  6. Old Man
  7. Political Science
  8. Burn On
  9. Memo to My Son
  10. Dayton, Ohio – 1903
  11. You Can Leave Your Hat On
  12. God’s Song (That’s Why I Love Mankind)

Many people reading this will recognize the name Randy Newman, after all, he did that Toy Story  song, right? In fact, since the 1980s he’s scored roughly two dozen films. He’s been nominated for 20 Academy Awards (winning two) and won multiple Emmys, Grammys, and many other recognitions from the entertainment and recording industry. But way before he started writing music for Disney/Pixar, Randy Newman was already an accomplished artist.

Sail Away is probably my go to recommendation for someone who’s never heard any of Newman’s work, beyond “You Got A Friend In Me.” On the surface, you could be forgiven for dismissing Sail Away for a 70’s nostalgia pop album, aching for an earlier time. This is not Sail Away.  Perhaps the opposite, with the track Dayton, Ohio – 1903 portraying a narrator pining for a simpler time. “The air was clean and you could see / and folks were nice to you,” he sings, but this is a false nostalgia, a paradise lost that was never a paradise at all. The entire album, and most of Newman’s work in fact, maintains this grim, satirical styling that plays over some of the best written music of the 70’s.


Thanks for reading, and feel free to let us know what you’re listening to these days.

record store  Taang! Records – Hillcrest, San Diego, CA

record player audio technica


jacket levis  | glasses warby parker | watch daniel wellington | jeans banana republic