earthings! 2016: My ten favorites of the year

Here we are again – the end of the year, or at least the end of our year here on earthings!, as we take that long holiday break to recharge, or whatever passes for that these days. And it’s been a busy year, or perhaps because we found ourselves juggling a lot of things on many fronts – lots of changes off screen, and a bunch of new features on screen. But I digress. Here we are again – the end of our year on the blog, which means I trot out my ten favorite songs of the year – not a definitive list by all means; just a reflection of what I’ve liked, considering that I seem to have listened to less new music and more K-pop these past few months. So, here’s the list, arranged alphabetically as always. [NB]

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Review: Side Pony by Lake Street Dive

Side Pony by Lake Street DiveThe nice thing about Lake Street Dive is how great they are musically. You can tell that, obviously, from reading their background: the band’s members met while studying at the New England Conservatory of Music, and later evolved from their jazz origins to take on that potent mix of indie pop and Motown soul. Side Pony is not a show-off-y record; it’s not one full of tricks (as a band with such a background might be assumed to want to do) but rather they just kick in when the situation calls for it. The result is a consistent yet relaxed record with some nice gems. The title track is such a swinger, while album opener “Godawful Things” nicely wears its Motown influences up its sleeve. But maybe it’s an album best listened to on shuffle with a lot of other tracks, rather than as an album itself. It gets a bit monotonous after a while. [NB]4/5

“If we’re strong, we can win it.”

“Call Off Your Dogs” by Lake Street Dive | Of course I have not heard of Lake Street Dive before, despite the fact that they’ve been around since 2004, and wowing crowds on television, on YouTube and on stage for the past five years or so. Granted, the reason I’m noticing them now is because of a chance listen to a different radio station, and the fact that they’re now signed with Nonesuch; their next album will be released in January. Anyway, “Call Off Your Dogs” is the first I’ve heard of them and, considering my weak spot for a good groove, this fits. Touches of Motown and Philly filter through a not-quite-bombastic sound, and on earphones you can easily wrap your head around it. Too bad I first heard this in a cramped vehicle, and I next listened to this at the office, where a security camera is pointed right at me. I don’t want to go viral like that. [NB]