Nik’s Music Almanac

Totally Irrelevant and Off-Topic

Nicole Atkins

The music is enjoyable and she has an amazing voice. Her lyrics are sometimes quirky, sometimes soulful, and with a hint of irony even in the sadder songs.

Her closest thing to a complete album is Slow Phaser but there are plenty of other good songs to pick from if you’d rather do that. Oh Canada, Cry, Cry, Cry, Girl You Look Amazing and Cool People are good tracks to start with.

Sounds like: Jenny Lewis (kinda), Neko Case (kinda), but mostly herself.

Lyrics:

I’m always naked in my mind
Trying to reconcile, with a towering dark side
Reluctant daughter of night, reluctant daughter of night

Everyone stumbles, in spite of themselves
But you’re holding the cards, and not sharing the wealth

So I Cry, Cry, Cry,
Don’t you know how I feel

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Status: Active!

Links: Home Page, Wikipedia

Video:



Plumtree

So I sort of knew about them back in the day, but I really didn’t start listening to them until Scott Pilgrim came out. Their lyrics are heartfelt, but not very deep. The music is catchy but not all that polished.

But they are just so much fun! They’ve got really nice harmonies, the lyrics are playful, and they are willing to experiment. Give their Best of album a good listen and cherry pick the rest. You won’t be disappointed.

Sounds like: That really cool band you loved () in college then sort of forgot about…

Lyrics:

Well I know you’re having a hard time
Tomorrow will be tough and today will too
And I can see it in you’re eyes that you need my help
But what can I do?

Well I know you’re having a bad day
And I’ll try to make you smile anyway
I can see that my efforts do little to help you
But push you away

No matter what I do
You’ll do it too
No matter where I go
You’ll get there too

Next time I see you,
I’m going the other way
Next time I see you,
I’m going the other way

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Status: Retired.

Links: Band Page, Wikipedia

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The Potential Lunatics

A solid rock duo with a few really standout tracks. I don’t always understand what they’re singing about, but I still get them you know?

Girl Goddess #9, Honey, and Witch Cakes are a good place to start. The rest of their albums are good, but kind of hit and miss with a couple of songs.

Sounds like: A pretty cool garage rock duo.

Lyrics:

If you want it, girl just flaunt it
You own the world
Don’t you know, don’t pussy foot around it

Take the time to realize
How fine you really are
And then you’ll know that it’s all behind ya

Rating: ♥♥♥

Status: Active.

Links: Band Page, Bandcamp,

Video:



Radkey

Loud, energetic, and a tiny bit crazy. That kind of describes both the band and their fans.

Another band that I heard about through I ♥ Local Music. They’re originally from KC, but they conquered the LFK scene early on, and they’ve taken on the rest of the world since then.

Cat & Mouse is a good EP to start with, or their new full album Dark Black Makeup, but the rest are worth a listen as well.

Sounds like: The Ramones, Blood Red Shoes (only American).

Lyrics:

She sent me a red letter
A personal vendetta
If that makes her feel better
Than that’s just how it is!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Status: Active

Links: Band Page, Wikipedia

Video:



The Real McKenzies

This band is alot of fun and has been around in some form for decades. Which just goes to show that the demand for loud punk with bagpipes is as inexhaustible as the demand for stout. And like stout, it’s not for everyone.

10,000 shots is the one I picked up as it’s got a very good take on Farewell to Nova Scotia.

Sounds like: The Pogues, The Dropkick Murphys, only Scottish Canadian.

Lyrics:

When they’re testing the gallows
You’ll hung like a dog
Or they’re marching us out
To a firing squad

Just smile and recall all the good times you’ve had
It’s the best day ’till tomorrow!

Rating: ♣♣♣

Status: Active.

Links: Band Page, Wikipedia

Video:


Regina Spektor

There was a time in the late 2000s when it was hard to get away from her lovely voice, even if you wanted to. But I’m including an entry anyways, mainly because I like her music.

Her music is a mix of light and playful tunes with some serious and personal lyrics. It’s a tough balance to maintain, but when it works, it’s really good.

I would say Begin to Hope is the best album to start with. Soviet Kitsch is also good. Some of her newer stuff (post 2010) is good, but there are some misses.

Sounds like: Herself.

Lyrics:

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the sheets of paper lie my doom
I have to go, I have to go

Your hair was long when we first met

Samson went back to bed,
Not much hair left on his head
He ate a slice of Wonderbread
And went right back to bed

And the Bible didn’t mention us
Not even once

Rating: ♥♥♥

Status: Active

Links: Home Page, Wikipedia

Video:


Sam Phillips

If you’ve watched Gilmore Girls (which I recommend) then you’ve probably heard her music in the background. Her early stuff is more pop, her Gilmore Girls era stuff is breathy folk-pop. Her newest stuff is a mixture of the two.

She has a very pleasant voice, very thoughtful lyrics, and manages to put alot of emotion into relatively simple tunes. I like Boot and Shoe best. Don’t Do Anything is also good. There are some good tracks off of all of her albums and she’s great to listen to when you’re trying to wind down after a long, hard day.

Sounds like: A Stars Hollow Troubadour, A cabaret singer, one of the missing Beatles, Herself.

Lyrics:

Now that I’ve wore out, I’ve wore out the world
I’m on my knees in fascination, looking through the night
And the moon’s never seen me before
But I’m reflecting light

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Status: Active.

Links: Home Page, Wikipedia

Video:



Skating Polly

So they used to be “Oklahoma’s best punk rock step-sister duo” but they recently moved to Washington. Another group I first heard about through I ♥ Local Music, these two are fearless, talented beyond their years, and alot of fun to listen to.

Blue Obvious is the song that hooked me in right away. Their first album released in 2011 was a bit raw, but all of their stuff after, especially their full albums: Lost Wonderfuls and Fuzz Steilacoom are worth a listen.

Their newest album The Big Fit is also very very good.

Sounds like: Bikini Kill, Babes in Toyland, themselves.

Lyrics:

Living in blue obvious
Where breathing might cost our looks
Anyone who’d look for us in here
Is not the type that’s willing to share

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Status: Active!

Links: Band Page, YouTube channel, Wikipedia

Videos:




Sharkmuffin

Their lastest album Chartreuse has been on a quite a few “Best of 2015” lists and for very good reason.

This is garage rock at its finest. Loud, proud, and a little bit crazy!

My favorite song of theirs is The Lake off their 7″ single, but Chartreuse is their best album overall.

Sounds like: A damn good rock band.

Lyrics:

Oh no, the water’s too deep
But when you find your feet
You’ll go on
Run back to your enemy

Don’t choke
Breath it in
The cigarettes you smoke
Will never replace your need for it

And I know you never wanted this
But it’s too late to go back
Too soon to throw your towel in

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Status: Active!

Links: Band Page, YouTube channel, Bandcamp

Video: