Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ear Candle Radio's Top 20, February 2011

A lot of songs carried over from the previous month's top 20, but pole-vaulting to the top is something new and beautiful:

The number one song on this month's chart is unique in that it features no humans contributing to the music. And by that we don't mean it is a heavily-sequenced piece of electronica. Oh no, the Thai Elephant Orchestra is exactly what it says it is: original music composed and performed by actual elephants (lovingly assisted by their pet humans).

More empathy for the animal kingdom follows with the late Ari Up delivering the title track of the final Slits album, Trapped Animal. Donovan returns with his impression of Sunset Strip life circa 1966, Brighter Shades deliver the sound of young Baltimore, Tom Verlaine and Sonic Youth give us two extremes of exploratory New York guitar music, and Neil Young woos a beautiful dancer.

Some rare gems surface this month: Portland's Neo Boys offer up some reassuring words from their extremely out of print Crumbling Myths EP, Modmach (led by ex-Unit and current Winston Tong collaborator LX Rudis) serve up a tense, circular depiction of stress and escapism featuring some mad guitar from MX-80's Bruce Anderson, Northern California guitar virtuoso (and firm friend of the Ear Candle posse) Matthew Grasso offers up an original composition that pirouettes intricately around a single note, and Linda Smith shows up with another one of her calm, deliberately paced homemade pop masterworks.

We hear from spoken word guru Ken Nordine, lost genius songwriter Elliott Smith, the mighty Dirtbombs of Detroit, a cool instrumental from Chuck Berry, an evergreen psychedelic ballad by the Troggs, a trippy post-punk drone-rant from Public Image Ltd, Patti Smith and her snakecharming post-Coltrane clarinet, a lovelorn patient by the name of Gregory, and Brian Wilson surfin' with Gershwin.

Thank you dear comrades, and keep listening!

1. Thai Elephant Orchestra - Gentle Monsoon - Water Music
2. The Slits - Trapped Animal - Trapped Animal
3. Donovan - The Trip - Sunshine Superman
4. Brighter Shades - There's Nothing, Stranger - You Shine So Bright
5. Tom Verlaine - Days On The Mountain - Words From The Front
6. Sonic Youth - Silver Wax Lips - Silver Session
7. Neil Young - When You Dance I Can Really Love - After The Goldrush
8. Neo Boys - Nothing to Fear - Crumbling Myths
9. Modmach - Security - Modmach
10. Matthew Grasso - Contemplation On The Corpse - Past Present Future
11. Linda Smith - I'll Never See You Again - Nothing Else Matters
12. Ken Nordine - Reaching into In - The Best of Word Jazz, Vol. 1
13. Elliott Smith - Bled White - XO
14. The Dirtbombs - Start The Party - Dangerous Magical Noise
15. Chuck Berry - Deep Feeling (Instrumental) - After School Session
16. The Troggs - Love Is All Around - The Troggs' Greatest Hits
17. Public Image Ltd. - Flowers of Romance - The Flowers Of Romance
18. Patti Smith - Higher Learning - Land (1975-2002)
19. Gregory Isaacs - Love Is Overdue - Reggae Mix
20. Brian Wilson - They Can't Take That Away From Me - Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin

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