I knew very little about Jenny Owen Youngs until I heard this song a few weeks ago. And that was when I woke up. Let’s have a listen. (And yes, the ending is brilliant.)
That piece of goodness is off Youngs’ latest album, An Unwavering Band of Light, which is a must-listen for those of you who enjoy songwriting that’s intelligent and undeniably honest. It’s mostly filled with upbeat songs that you’ll want on your next summer road trip, wherever that may be.
Or, maybe you’re in Saint Louis and you want to hear them tonight at Off Broadway, where Youngs will be performing solo, opening for Tim Barry ($12, 8 PM). We recently asked her to take part in our 10 to Spin series, and true to form, she delivered with one of the best playlists we’ve seen.
These are ten songs that I find to be otherworldly and transportative, in their lyrics, instrumentation, performance, or some combination thereof. — Jenny Owen Youngs
01. Sigur Ros: Svefn-g-englar
I first heard this song in a dark room lit only by white Christmas tree lights and thought, “Holy smokes, I am totally transcending”… or something. Upon later listens I realized that no matter where you are, this song seems to have a dark room with white Christmas tree lights just built INTO it. Meditative and beautiful.
02. Gregory & the Hawk: For the Best
Recently someone said to me that when it comes to music, a groove is good and a rut is bad, and any groove runs the risk of turning into a rut if you stay in it too long. This song is my exception to that rule. Sometimes I listen to it twenty times in a row.
03. Tom Waits: Down, Down, Down
Tom Waits takes you to Hell (as usual)!!!!
04. Kate Bush: Hounds Of Love
For me, Kate Bush and Tom Waits occupy two sides of the same coin. Tom wants you in the gutter and Kate wants you in the clouds. I love the simple phrase “two steps on the water,” and the idea of love hunting you (in dog form) so that it might rip you to shreds. YES.
05. Fanfarlo: I’m A Pilot
Listening to this song always makes me think of the pilot in The Little Prince. (I’m sure that has nothing to do with Fanfarlo’s intent, but that’s fine with me.) I love when the writer of a song leaves enough room to fit the listener inside, along with any free-association ideas they might be trailing.
06. Joanna Newsom: Peach, Plum, Pear
Follow her through the woods, down the valley path, to… Rivendell?
07. Deerhunter: Desire Lines
YES YES YES.
08. Chris Garneau: Fireflies
A spooky, jumpy song with a really perfect combination of disparate timbres. Comes paired with a gorgeous video that will delight no one as much as Legend of Zelda fans.
09. Built To Spill: Cortez the Killer (Neil Young & Crazy Horse)
That rare cover that equals (or perhaps exceeds) the original, which is its own kind of magic. Also its own kind of magic: Doug Martsch’s guitar tone.
10. Young Buffalo: Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl
All the king’s reverb. Another of my favorite covers, of one of my favorite songs, by one of my favorite bands.