Today is Monday and that means getting up early and throwing back (several) cups of coffee and wistfully daydreaming about the past weekend or the weekend ahead. It also means a new mix tape. Today’s DJ is Rob Lowe of Balmorhea, the Texas-grown, instrumental band of six that you have probably already heard of and fallen in love with. If that isn’t the case, listen here. I’ve heard their music sounds great when interspersed throughout Rob’s playlist below.
1. "Love's In Need Of Love Today" - Stevie Wonder
I listen to this record every year on January 1st. It's this simple universal cautionary tale delivered with a lot of love and levity. The whole record is brilliant.
2. "Love O'Love" - Nina Simone
Nobody did more with less. In the first half of the final verse she changes the groove to imply a gospel beat. It makes me feel CRAZY. Every time I hear it I squint my eyes and shake my head as if thinking "No. This is too good." She uses this negative space to make you feel something that's not even there. She is in control of much more than just a voice and a piano in this track, she is directing something universal.
3. "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" - D'Angelo
Hard to know what to say about this. Its all there. The bass line and pianos are insane and it all fits around that super tight hi-hat-and-rim-shot. It pushes and pulls at the beat in this way that makes me feel really crazy. It's a song for me where it would feel wrong to turn it off mid way thru. Once it starts it should be left alone.
4. "Long Distance Love" - Little Feat
I really can't stand a lot of Little Feat's songs, but they have a few that I really love. this is one of them. I have been listening to it a ton the last couple of days. I kinda chuckle to myself when I hear him sing "Hello, give me missing persons," he sings it with this little bit of humor that I really like. There is a YouTube video of them sweating it out rehearsing the song in some room somewhere in the 1970s that shows that little spark of comedy that Lowell George brings to this really groovy song.
5. "Sultans of Swing" - Dire Straits
This song just makes me feel good. I think I am (to my surprise) working on some music that kinda sounds like this.
6) "Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning" - Willie Nelson
I'm pretty sure he has everything figured out. He is what Austin sounds like.
7) "Avalon" - Roxy Music
This record was recorded in the Bahamas two years before I was born. It sounds like what I imagine Nassau felt like in 1982. This is the kind of song I would like to see performed on a huge stage at night in front of an ocean with thousands of people all smiling and just being really chill. I love how crystalized and digital it is and still has so much depth. The music video is killer too.
8) "Jesus, The Missing Years" - John Prine
Most music explores a single idea or a feeling, or a couple at most. This song explores it all at once. The lines are so good and simple that it makes me feel confused and absolutely certain at the same time. It is confoundingly frustratingly perfect.
Portrait of Rob by Michael A. Muller