Maybe you knew that The Monkees celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2016, and maybe you knew they released their twelfth record Good Times! earlier this year, but did you know that TWO of the four Monkees were born on this day?
Today on the MP3 Shuffle, we celebrate the birthday of both David Thomas "Davy" Jones (30 December 1945 – 29 February 2012) and Robert Michael Nesmith (born December 30, 1942). To mark this day and celebrate the birthdays of 50% of the pre-fab four, let’s play the shuffle. Grab your MP3 player or electronic device of your choice, press the shuffle button, and share the first 10 songs that play (in the comments below):
1. Smith Westerns – Dye The World (Dye It Blonde): Hard to believe these locals were only teenagers when they recorded their debut. Fuzzed out guitars and soaring, anthemic hooks permeated their finest moment, but Cullen Omori’s recent solo record is solid, as is the band Whitney, so there’s some good stuff to be found in those ashes.
2. George Thorogood & The Destroyers – Rock and Roll Christmas (VH1: The Big 80’s Christmas): Yes, I know, but they call it twelve days of Christmas for a reason, right? I give the gravelly-voiced faux blues man some bonus points for annoying my ex-wife, but minus several million for the snakeskin jacket.
3. Kris Davis – Craig Taborn (Duopoly): One of Downbeat Magazine’s “25 for the Future,” pianist, composer and bandleader Davis for Duopoly recorded two duo compositions each with guitarists Bill Frisell and Julian Lage, pianists Craig Taborn and Angelica Sanchez, drummers Billy Drummond and Marcus Gilmore, and reed players Tim Berne and Don Byron. Duopoly sounds like the coolest cat ever running up and down the keys, propelled by various strengths of catnip concoctions, and this track is a complete improvisation with Taborn; The Village Voice reported that their collaboration “worked so well that they're taking it on the road...with the intention of recording a full album together in the future."
4. Talkie – Lavos (Talkie EP): A roaring stomper that packs a punch and says a lot in two minutes flat.
5. Black Kids - Hurricane Jane (The Wizard of Ahhhs EP): Black Kids captured a smooth 80’s dance pop sheen but also gave expression to lead singer Reggie Youngblood’s closeted angst on their debut. Expect and/or hope for their second full-length in 2017-- there’s a new single up on their website!
6. Joe Gallant’S Illuminati – Unbroken Chain (Stolen Roses: Songs Of The Grateful Dead): Just a complete mess, but the nice string orchestrations almost save it. This might be my third least favorite Grateful Dead tribute album, although I can’t claim to be an authority on either the originals or the cover versions.
7. Bad Religion – Against The Grain (Against The Grain): There’s no better time in recent memory than now to swim upstream and go against the grain, and there’s no better soundtrack than Bad Religion’s high-IQ punk rock.
8. Pookie & The Poodlez – Young Adult (Young Adult): The band may be late and not necessarily lamented, and headache inducing (minus rhetoric) in mass quantities, but this track featured a nice hook and was mercifully short.
9. Ultimate Painting– Silhoutted Shimmering (Dusk): Brits James Hoare of Veronica Falls and Jack Cooper of Mazes provided the #4 record on my 2016 Top 10 list (which you can read in full here), but this track is a lovely microcosm of what they’re doing on their guitar-driven meditation, and they even channel a tinge of The Clientele on this brief album track that’s lovely all on its own.
10. Daniel Bachman – Won’t You Cross Over To That Other Shore [Reprise] (River): Had I made a list of my favorite instrumental records of 2016, this would have been on it (as would the Kris Davis, for that matter). While I’d rather hear the full 14 minute version, the reprise is perhaps more digestible, and that’s the magic of shuffle, right? Your turn!