David Ames' Monday Motivation Shuffle

Every Monday, David Ames will let a machine decide what we listen to, as he hits shuffle on his iPod and writes about the first five tracks he hears. No matter what they are...

Total Songs on iPod: 10, 375

1. The Sounds of Animals Fighting – “De-Ceit (Portugal. The Man)”

Track 15 on Tiger and the Duke: Re-Issue (2005)

The Sound of Animals Fighting was a group of musicians from other bands who all came together to record three albums over the course of four years. I can’t really list all of the members but I will say that it consists of people from RX Bandits, Chiodos, Circa Survive, and many others. The music is strange and whimsical and somewhat heavy. Honestly, it reminds me a lot of some of the Beatles later work in terms of the range of styles employed, especially this song. I can’t really say a lot about the song other than that it is at once a perfect representation of the band as well as nothing like any of their other work. This song has minimal music and a constant beat with a harmonica but is interesting and weird in its own right. They only played four shows and their live setup usually consisted of twelve members. I’m sure you can track down some footage of them playing live and I recommend it.

2. Karnivool – “Set Fire to the Hive”

Track 4 on Sound Awake (2010)

Karnivool hails from Australia and is an amazing band, mixing together the sounds of late 90s-early 2000s rock with a solid mix of progressive bands like Tesseract or Periphery. I love this band, and especially this album. This song in particular reminds me a lot of older Soundgarden. The vocals are interesting and different and the music is driving and technical. Check them out if you want to hear something that sounds both old school and extremely current. Karnivool is perfect for that particular style of music. Their rhythm section is remarkable and they have found a way to layer over guitar parts that blend perfectly to bridge the low end with the vocal lines. For a band that is not very well-known, at least not in my area, they deserve far more credit for their incredible music.

3. Pearl Jam – “Leash”

Track 11 on Vs. (1993)

If you don’t know who Pearl Jam is, just give up. Give up right now. PJ is probably my second favorite band behind Coheed and Cambria. They have been releasing consistently good music since 1990. Eddie Vedder, for my money, is the greatest lyricist of all time. I love his voice and their sound and although they have changed some since their inception, their music still retains that ultimate PJ quality. In my opinion, they are turning into another Grateful Dead in terms of fandom. People follow them everywhere and rightfully so. They are amazing live and they never disappoint. Vedder and crew are always out there promoting causes they feel are important and never shining away from anything they feel passionate about. This song comes from VS., their sophomore album, which sold 950,000+ records in its first five days on the market. This album is a little rawer in sound compared to Ten. This song has that driving bluesy sound that made Pearl Jam famous and with great guitar work from McCready and Gossard, stellar Bass work from Ament, and some wonderful drumming from Dave Abbruzzese. Of course over top of that are Vedder’s instantly recognizable vocals. Listen to this song if for nothing else than a sweet taste of nostalgia.

4. The Dear Hunter – “The Thief”

Track 6 on Act III: Life and Death (2009)

I have talked about The Dear Hunter on this article before but they keep coming up on my shuffle and I couldn’t be happier about that. This song comes from their third album and is full of that unique sound that makes TDH something special. Casey Crescenzo’s vocals bleed through the music as per his usual dramatic flair and the music is so wonderfully imaginative. There is a great mix of guitar work, drums, bass, piano, and what I can only guess is a xylophone. There is something about TDH that is so warm and comforting that I always turn them up. Check this song out and if you enjoy it, start at the beginning with Act I: The Lake South, the River North. You will not be disappointed. They are a great mix of progressive rock, gospel, and strangely vaudevillian music. It is so much fun to listen to.

5. Four Year Strong – “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)”

Track 2 on Explains It All (2009)

This is a great song to end on this week. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to hear of Four Year Strong until their fourth album, Enemy of the World. I realized I had been missing out greatly and remedied that immediately. They are a pop punk band but they mix in other genres so we are given a great mix of pop punk and melalcore. It’s a strangely successful merging of genres that I haven’t heard anywhere else and I wouldn’t want to. I have seen them live three times and they have always been amazing. This song comes from a full length album of covers the band released to show some of their influences. Other songs on this album include Nine Inch Nails, Everclear, Alanis Morissette , and Third Eye Blind. This is a great intro to a band that deserves as much credit as can be thrown in their beautifully bearded faces. Check this out and them pick up Enemy of the World to ensure that you love them forever.

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