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. Balmorhea – “The Summer” Track 3 on Rivers Arms (2008)

Once again, making the list is the always amazing Balmorhea. This song comes from their incredible 2008 album Rivers Arms which is what first opened my eyes to the beauty that is Balmorhea. The song begins, like many of the group’s work, with ambient noise and slight notes being played on the strings. From there a beautifully picked acoustic guitar comes in and the ambient noise and strings match tone to add an almost ethereal quality to the music. This song is a perfect example of what Balmorhea can do. They create instrumental music with the heart and soul of a 120-piece orchestra. Another great quality of this song is that unlike some of the other songs on this album, this track has a real hopefulness that exudes through each measure. If you still haven’t checked them out…what the hell are you doing with your life?

2. Lunatic Calm – “Leave You Far Behind” Track 2 on Metropol (1998)

I first heard this song on the Matrix soundtrack and the music is a perfect example of that type of high energy seen on the screen. I have never really been a big fan of the techno, industrial scene. I enjoy some groups from both genres (Nine Inch Nails, the Prodigy, Stabbing Westward) but this type of music has never really been my forte. I actually genuinely enjoy this song, although I do feel like if I had a pacifier, a glowstick, and some Ecstasy, this may be far more enjoyable. Check this song out if you like those high energy techno/industrial club songs that were so popular in the late 90s and early 2000s.

3. Atreyu – “My Sanity On the Funeral Pyre” Track 11 on The Curse (2004)

Atreyu was a band that I loved in and directly after high school. While my love has faltered somewhat in the last few years, their first three albums will still always be some of my favorite. Just when I was beginning to discover heavier music, their music came along and opened my eyes to what could come of a genre that I was previously indifferent to. This song comes from their critically acclaimed album The Curse and while this isn’t one of the singles, this song is a great representation of older Atreyu. It is heavy and feels like a great mix of post-hardcore and metalcore. It has energy, screaming, singing, shifting rhythms, and some sweet riffs. Give it a listen and flash back to 2004s Ozzfest with me.

4. Sloth – “Even Though It’s Over” Track 7 on Dead Generation (2003)

Oh man, Sloth! I haven’t listened to this album in, no joke, probably eight years. I discovered these guys at a festival called X-Fest in 2004. To put that into perspective, this festival also featured Three Days Grace (when they were still a three-piece and had only released “I Hate Everything About You”), Powerman 5000, and Smile Empty Soul. I had never heard of Sloth before the show and not much would happen after this year but their debut album was a great addition to that resurgence of rock music in the early 2000s. The band is a combination of rock and numetal. They remind me of other groups in the same genre like Egypt Central or Ra. The vocalist has a pretty good voice and his timber was somewhat unique for the time when this was released. This song may not be anything incredible but it is a great piece of rock music that you can jam to.

(track starts at 21:38)

5. Coheed and Cambria – “Everything Evil” Track 4 on The Second Stage Turbine Blade (2002)

So, I could seriously write at least three pages on this song alone. If you remember, I am a huge Coheed fan. I have an entire tattooed sleeve dedicated to them, I just saw them for the 19th time and counting, and I’ve waxed poetic on this very site about them multiple times. This song comes from their debut album and is a fan favorite, gaining quite a bit of rotation in their live sets to this day, over fifteen years after its first release. The song is a jumpy, post-hardcore romp through classic Coheed and Cambria. It has intense yet quite verses, and huge, soaring choruses. Also, the lyrics tell a story (Read David's article on that here) and the song goes through multiple major changes. Verses, choruses, bridges, and an amazing ending filled with so much passion that as a fan, I can’t help but scream it every time I hear it. Now for an album that was originally just demos, it still sounds incredible and really captures what classic Coheed sounds like. Enjoy and for the love of God join the rest of us as a Child of the Fence (nickname of their fans).

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