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Moon Hooch – St. Louis

I think if you asked most people to pick 3 instruments to form a band with, probably no one would choose 2 saxophones and a drummer. Moon Hooch started in 2010 as buskers in New York and their growth has been fun to watch. I first experienced them through their video “Cattle Dance Party” on Youtube and was hooked. They’re music is a fun blend of jazz, funk, dance, and electronic influence.

Lake Street Drive – Jameson

As I compiled my lists of artists to share in these blogs, I realized I maybe don’t listen to as much music as I thought I did. I’ve been trying to discover more artists to share and developed a system of 3 playlists. One of those playlists is of songs that I think both me and my girlfriend will like and this song made the cut. This is one of those songs that has just the right amount of things going on. Not too much, not too little, the track is done very tastefully.

Paul Gilbert – Radiator

Paul Gilbert has been an extremely active member of the guitar community since the 80’s. I personally find a lot of shredder guitarists not that enjoyable to listen to. While Paul’s extreme technical ability gained him lots of recognition, I think he also plays with a lot of taste and thought. The track “Radiator” is one of my favorites and feels like it has some Rush-like influence.

Horace Silver – Calcutta Cutie

Anyone who is studying Jazz music has undoubtedly seen the name Horace Silver. His most popular album Song For My Father was released in 1965 and is what I believe to be an essential album to anyone’s collection. The track “Calcutta Cutie” has an extremely interesting main melody played by two horns. It feels like your ear is being stretched, pulled, and squished as the melodies’ rhythms and pitches tangle around each other.

Bessie Smith – Nobody Knows When You’re Down and Out

Bessie is one of the most prominent female artists in the world of Blues music. She set the standard for Blues vocalists in the 1920’s and 30’s which ultimately influenced and shaped the genre. Nicknamed the Empress of the Blues for a reason, her work is not only enjoyable but it also shows an important step in the history of music.

Mandolin Orange – The Wolves

Here is another track I discovered recently. It’s a nice laid back, relaxing, folk/country song. Just as you might expect from the band’s name, there is plenty of extremely tasteful mandolin work throughout the track. That’s the element that really caught my ear and made me enjoy this one. This track is from the project Tides of a Teardrop which is full of equally enjoyable tracks.

Wolfgang Gartner – Wolfgang’s 5th Symphony

This track is for when you’re craving that club/trance sound but still want to impress your music teacher by saying you listened to some Beethoven over the week. It takes a while to build and never really has a big climactic moment, but overall this track is kind of fun to listen to if you’re engaged with another task or chore.

God of Shamisen – Last Shamisen Master Attack

The Shamisen is a traditional Japanese guitar-like instrument that dates back to the 16th century. Recently there has been a lot of movement towards playing modern music on traditional instruments. My absolute favorite examples of this are the NHK blends on Youtube where they use many different instruments. This group is a Shamisen metal band which is another huge step in the direction of experimentation and expansion.

Toots & The Maytals – 54 -56 Was My Number

“54 – 56 Was Number” is pretty much a Reggae standard. Similar to a lot of Bob Marley’s songs, this track has been covered time and time again. The title of the track refers to the lead singers time in prison for possession of an illicit substance. It was one of the first songs to gain popularity outside of the genre.

Julian Lage – Crying

Julian is one of the greatest and least known guitarists in music today. Soft spoken, humble, talented, and extremely insightful -these are all things you can tell about him from just hearing him play. At just 15 years old he became a faculty member of the Stanford University Jazz Workshop. His latest album Love Hurts was released in February this year and is another amazing addition to his catalogue.