Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40: March 1, 2023…Feist, Beck, Hayden, Murray A. Lightburn, Eamon McGrath, Screaming Females

In today’s post we have six brand new tunes for your reading and listening pleasure! It has been a while since so much good new music has been released all at the same time so I am excited to get started. Without any further delay, let’s jump right in with a gorgeous new song from one of the most beautiful and distinctive voices in all of Canada! Enjoy the show, folks!

In Lightning by Leslie Feist

Leslie Feist

From winning a Battle of the Bands and getting to appear on a bill with The Ramones, to being a member of Canadian indie supergroup Broken Social Scene, to releasing Juno award-winning albums as a solo artist, Leslie Feist has nearly done it all as a singer and songwriter in Canada. The singer, who is known simply as Feist, is releasing a new album this month called Multitudes. From that album, she has released three singles already, including the song I am highlighting today called “In Lightning”. Kate Bush and Bjork are two of my favourite singers. I hold Feist in the same lofty company as them in terms of the timbre of her voice and the artsy nature of her lyrics and singing style. If this is your first time hearing Feist sing, then you are in for a treat. She is one of Canada’s most highly respected singers for a reason. The video for “In Lightning” can be found here. ***There is no lyrics video for this song yet.

Thinking About You by Beck

Beck arriving for a performance on The Jimmy Kimmel Show

Beck has been one of the most innovative and creative singers in the world of music for several decades now. He burst into the public eye back in the 1990s when he helped popularize the art of sampling on his album Odelay. He won several Grammy Awards for that album and has never looked back. Beck has definitely had a career that has been more about the craft of creating interesting songs, rather than being about celebrity and having the noisiest voice. He has been a private person, shunning the spotlight for the most part. Thus, his new song, “Thinking About You”, is startling in many respects because it is deeply personal. For a man who has purposely avoided the limelight, this new song speaks clearly about his thoughts on religion as well as on the demise of his marriage. For a quiet piece of music, Beck has never been more forthcoming and forward. The video for “Thinking About You” can be found here. The lyrics version is here.

Miss Fort Erie by Hayden

Hayden Desser

Hayden Desser is one of Canada’s hidden gems. In the world of indie and alternative music, Hayden has established himself as a songwriter of note. In the larger world of popular music, he has very much spent his entire career somewhat under the radar. The truth is that those who call themselves fans recognize the artistry inherent in his songwriting, causing him to have some of the most devoted supporters of any Canadian artist. “Miss Fort Erie” is only Hayden’s second new song since 2015! In the time since then, he stepped back from his career to focus on helping to raise a family with his wife. This new song is really an old song that Hayden wrote several years ago and is only bringing out now. The video for this song was filmed in a hotel in Newfoundland. In the video, a television set is turned on and plays in the background. On the screen is a montage of every music video Hayden has ever made. For fans of the singer, it is like watching a “greatest hits” retrospective of his career. Like most Hayden songs, “Miss Fort Erie” is a very literate, artful and intelligently written song. There is a definite story being told for those who take the time to listen. The video for the song “Miss Fort Erie” can be found here. The lyrics version is here.

Dumpster Gold by Murray A. Lightburn

Murray A. Lightburn

Many people know Murray A. Lightburn as the lead singer and principal songwriter of the Montreal-based band, The Dears. In that role, Lightburn has earned comparisons to the legendary frontman, Morrissey. The Dears, in turn, have been favourably compared to such innovative bands as Radiohead. Heady praise, indeed, on both accounts. But Murray A. Lightburn has also released several solo albums and is making a name for himself in the international world of music, too. Lightburn’s latest album is entitled Once Upon a Time in Montreal. The first single from that album is called “Dumpster Gold”. The story behind “Dumpster Gold” is a very personal one. Lightburn’s father was a jazz musician, but the two were never close as father and son. However, his father loved his mother. They were married for over fifty years. In his later years, Lightburn’s father developed Alzheimer’s Disease and it became apparent that he could no longer safely live in the home in which Murray Lightburn grew up. So, Lightburn’s mother put the house up for sale. As part of the process of moving, Lightburn was asked to help clear most of the family’s possessions out of the house. It was during this purging process that Lightburn was able to see a side of his father that he was never afforded the luxury of having when his Dad was healthy and present. The letters, photographs and other mementos he found had enormous personal value to him, even though most other people would have considered them to be nothing but junk. Thus, these bits of “Dumpster Gold” became the connective tissue that brought Lightburn closer to his father. The video for “Dumpster Gold” can be found here. ***There is no lyrics video for this song yet.

Teenager by Eamon McGrath

Eamon McGrath

Eamon McGrath is a Canadian singer/songwriter who alternates between performing quiet acoustic sets on his own, and employing an upbeat, alternative-punk vibe when he is playing with a band such as the folks from influential 1980/90s indie band, Eric’s Trip. McGrath has released almost twenty albums of original music between the year 2008 and now. He has also written several books about life on the road as a musician. In addition to his solo career, McGrath has been involved with several collaborations including ones with singer Julie Dorion from Eric’s Trip and currently The Wrong Guys, as well as with drummer Danny Miles of the band July Talk. Eamon McGrath tours extensively across Canada, appearing at festivals and taverns near you in all likelihood. His latest album is entitled Trout River Conspiracy. The first single is “Teenager”. The video for “Teenager” can be found here. ***There is no lyrics video for this song yet.

Brass Bell by Screaming Females

Screaming Females: Mike Abbate, Marissa Paternoster, Jarrett Dougherty

Screaming Females is a trio out of New Brunswick, New Jersey that employs only one female, but what a performer she is! Marissa Paternoster is lead singer and guitarist for the band that she formed in high school with her friend, bassist Mike Abbate. (Jarrett Dougherty is the drummer and helped complete the band). Paternoster was a shy and introverted person as a teenager and only felt confident in public when she was able to stand behind a microphone and play a guitar. Screaming Females based themselves on the style of Sleater-Kinney. They gained a reputation for giving blistering shows by way of starting their career only playing small venues such as the basements of friends, small bars and so on. As time went on, Paternoster gained much confidence on stage, to the point where, in a recent ranking of the top 100 guitarists in the entire world, she came in at position #77! She is a tiny physical presence who can shred with the giants! I first saw her on video performing with Shirley Manson of the band, Garbage. They performed an excellent cover of Springsteen’s “Because the Night”. Manson is an excellent performer in her own right, but in this video (which you can watch here) she wisely stepped back and yielded the stage to Paternoster, who absolutely killed it in the spotlight. Screaming Females’ latest album is called Desire Pathway. The lead single is “Brass Bell”. Buckle up! The video for “Brass Bell” can be found here. ***There is no lyrics video available yet for this song.

That’s it for today’s new music offerings. What did you think? Did any impress you? Are there other new songs that you think are worthy of the spotlight? If so, let me know in the comments below and I will give them an airing in a subsequent post. Thanks for reading my words. I hope you enjoyed these new songs as much as I did. Have a great rest of your day!

***FYI: the link on the band name takes you to their website. The link to their new song will be within the body of the paragraph devoted to them.

***As always, all original content contained within this post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared without the express written consent of the author. ©2023

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Songs #285: Loser by Beck (KEXP)

This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song and going until I reach Song . When you see the song title listed as something like: Song (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #285: Loser by Beck.

Beck is a very interesting character compared to many of the other artists who populate this list.

For starters, his mother was Bibbe Hansen, a visual artist and one of those folks who comprised Andy Warhol’s Art Collective in NYC during the 1960/70s. At one point, she was the subject of a Warhol movie and became a “Future Star”; earning her the requisite fifteen minutes of fame. Into this atmosphere of artistic experimentation and freedom was born a boy named Bek David Campbell or, as we know him today, Beck.

Being born into a lifestyle as open and fluid as Andy Warhol’s Art Collective helped inspire a willingness in Beck to experiment with the sounds he would end up using to make his music. Initially, much of the music Beck (solo or with his friends) made was almost unlistenable. It was music turned in on itself. It was the antithesis of harmony. Needless to say, holding down jobs as a musician in coffee houses or else, trying to record songs and earn a recording contract, in the mindset that Beck held in his youth, resulted in a spectacular string of failures and rejections. The end result of this was that, until his first hit, “Loser” was discovered “by accident”, Beck lived a life of abject poverty. As Beck struggled to find food and lodging, he, none-the-less, continued to explore the world of music.

One of the things that piqued his curiosity at the time was the rise in a new technology called Sampling. As you may know, sampling is a technique in which an artist uses pre-recorded snippets of singing, of sound effects or of instruments being played by others and incorporates that into an original piece of music. The samples can be manipulated to stretch out their sound, to compress the sound, to have it play continuously on repeat, and so on. So, Beck began experimenting with sampling. One of the many songs he created using sampling was a song he titled, “Loser”.

“Loser” was “accidently” discovered by a record producer named Carl Stephenson, who was connected with Indie label, Bong Load Records who, in turn, were connected to BMG Music. Beck wanted to produce something with a Hip-Hop flair to it and recorded “Loser” almost as a joke. But, Stephenson saw something in the song and convinced Beck to release it as a single. Only 500 singles were issued. But, one of those single copies ended up on a college radio station. The response was positive and soon, one of those 500 single copies found its’ way on to larger commercial radio stations. Beck was asked to play the song live, on air. The rest is, as they say, history. A bidding war erupted between America’s biggest record companies and soon, Beck, who had been living on the couches of his friends, was being offered million-dollar contracts.

The sample-rich, jangly sound of “Loser” captured everyone’s attention. For the first time in his life, Beck was afforded the proper instruments and recording facilities and personnel, to hone his experimental nature and create something that suited his artistic sensibilities, as well as, being commercially-viable. A new album called “Odelay” was released. It contained the hit songs, “Devil’s Haircut”, “The New Pollution” and “Where It’s At”. “Odelay” was the darling of the Grammy Awards the following year, winning two Grammy Awards and bringing Beck to the national spotlight for good.

While “Where It’s At” is Beck’s biggest selling single, it was “Loser” that rescued him from a life of poverty and helped to launch his career. Born into a family of artists and musicians who left Beck to test the limits of song structure and musical composition, Beck’s career journey hasn’t been easy but, it has been completely on his own terms. Consequently, Beck is an artist who produces some of the most original and inventive music being created today.

So, without further delay, here is the song that launched one of the most interesting careers in music…”Loser” by Beck. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “Loser” by Beck, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Beck, can be found here.

Thanks for KEXP for always supporting innovative bands and artists. The link to their wonderful website can be found here.

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