Austin · Music

Hello Again, KUTX

For the last couple of years, I’ve been relying on Apple Music for all my of musical needs. It’s great. It has absolutely every song I ever want to hear, instantly available in my car, while out for a walk, at home, on my laptop. Anything anywhere any time! And I have dozens of my own purpose-built playlists (Springsteen Covers, Dance Party, Garage Rock, more). Plus they provide a ton of their own playlists. (Same for Spotify, I’m sure.)

So online music streaming is perfect, right? Well, yes, but also no. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

My playlists had became too safe and predictable. And it’s weird that I never ever ever listen to the local radio. So today I suddenly had the urge to listen to my favorite local Austin radio station: KUTX. So I streamed it (seriously, I don’t have a radio). And it was great!

KUTX

KUTX will constantly surprise and delight you with music that you don’t control. I have unwittingly discovered some of very favorite bands here (The XX and Tinariwen for example). And btw, KUTX is a public radio station. No ads or BS. It’s basically a community service by music fans.

If you’re not in the mood straight-up KUTX , which is geared towards indie rock, they have other streams like Old School Dance Party, Eklektikos, a soul and R&B station, a jazz station, and even a kid-friendly indie music station.

This doesn’t mean I’m dropping Apple Music, which is still great when I want music to help me concentrate, or to listen to my favorite album. But I’m glad to remember my old friend KUTX as a way to mix things up a bit.

Me · Music

Needs a Word… πŸŽ§

There needs to be a word for that feeling when you’re really enjoying a song but you can’t wait for it to be over so that you can listen to the next song because you’re really going to enjoy listening to the next song too.

It’s like you want to be able to fast forward though a song and still enjoy it. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Me · Music

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is one of those songs that I heard and vaguely liked when when it came out in 1987 when I was 15 years old. At the time, I didn’t really “get” the song. The words were mysterious, but I couldn’t relate to them. The song sounded alright, but kind of standard and mid-tempo to me at the time.

But now it is one of those songs that I not only “get” but feel like I’ve lived.

Musically, I find it stunning — almost impossibly subtle and unique. It’s such a weird combination: an oom-pah Polka baseline, weirdly undefined drums, gospel vocals from an Irish singer, and a couple of echo-heavy guitars. It should be a disaster. But it works! The end result is beautiful and organic. It’s catchy and singable, but not in an annoying pop sort of way. More in a timeless way that makes me think, “this song must have always just existed” like a mountain or a river.

As an aspiring musician myself, this song blows my mind. I can’t even imagine trying to come up with anything like this song.

Here’s the song’s mesmerizing video, shot in Las Vegas. It apparently had a lasting affect on legitimizing Las Vegas for musicians. 😎

Lyrically, I suppose the song is about spiritual doubt or yearning or something… blah blah blah πŸ™„. That’s not the part I relate to. The “honey lips” stands out for me now. Another sign I’ve grown up from my clueless 15-year old self. πŸ€“

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in the fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire


I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone


But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for

Interesting side note according to wikipedia… this song was not the band’s original pick for a second single off of The Joshua Tree. But when “Red Hill Mining Town” stumbled, the band swapped in “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” as a late second choice. Music works in mysterious ways. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Music

Zep’s Immigrant Song and D-Day

It’s been bugging me for a while, so I’ll just say it… I think Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song is about Operation Overload, the 1944 allied invasion of Normandy — the beginning of the end of World War 2.

At first glance, this song seems like it’s just about Vikings discovering Canada, or about Iceland, or maybe Thor. But that’s just an obvious conclusion from the opening line, “We come from the land of the ice and snow.”

This song is about a mighty sea-bound army bringing “peace and trust” to a green land of fields, calming the war, and rebuilding. And the clincher is that they say “We are your overlords.” Come on! This is 1944 France, people!

How soft your fields so green
Can whisper tales of gore
Of how we calmed the tides of war
We are your overlords


On we sweep with threshing oar
Our only goal will be the western shore


So now you’d better stop and rebuild all your ruins
For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing

Well done on a historical rock epic that covers a lot of territory in just over two minutes, Zep. πŸ‘

Music

The Boys of Summer

The Boys of Summer is one of those songs I thought was “weird” or at best “okay” when it came out when I was 12 years old in 1984. I didn’t really understand what the heck he was singing about, and the sound of the song had a weird tension to it that made me uncomfortable. Plus it had one of those overly artsy black and white music videos!

These days I love the song. Now I know exactly what he’s talking about. I feel like I’ve lived this song myself. I love the black and white video because it’s overlay artsy. And the the weird little drummer boy is perfect. Now I really appreciate the weird tension in the song. It makes the song unique and edgy. And even with the musical tension, Don Henley sings in such a cool, nonchalant way.

The other tension is lyrical, between sadness and hope. The words paint a picture of a lonely beach town at the end of summer, a beautiful woman, and a broken heart. The lyrics stand pretty well on their own.

Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer’s out of reach.

Empty lake, empty streets
The sun goes down alone
I’m driving by your house
Though I know you’re not home.

But I can see you
Your brown skin shining in the sun
You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby.
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone.

The Boys of Summer by Don Henley

This song features one of the most beautiful outtros I’ve ever heard. The melodic, almost twangy guitar layered over a warm rhythm guitar counters the fierce electronic drums as the song fades out. Love it (these days).