Desert Island Mini - LP Island - Group 4 Listening Thread

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Blue Crack Addict
Sep 25, 2010
Washington, DC
Please post any commentaries or running diaries in this thread. If you have any general questions or comments about this installment of Desert Island, please refer them to the master list thread.

Estimate that we will kickstart a new thread approximately every 10 days, or earlier if everyone demands it earlier. Or later, if everyone demands an extension.

Keep in mind the new little tidbit for reviewing lists on the google form: Note that this is unofficial, is not mandatory, and your dialogue review is more important than it!

a.k.a. the guy who didn't just copy this format :( :heart:



Ever since being exposed to MTV Unplugged(still the best thing MTV ever did imo) - which premiered in 1989 but didn't get super-popular until 30 years ago in 1991 when Paul McCartney released the first MTV Unplugged album - in my childhood, I have loved acoustic/unplugged music. With that in mind, I have made a list that is entirely(well, 98% anyway, there are the tiniest bit of electric flourishes here and there) acoustic in nature. I feel like this kind of music has an intimacy to it, a purity, and an emotional immediacy to it that is just very fulfilling when done right, and as such I have selected very pretty, very melodic songs that play to those characteristics. I think there's also a timelessness to it. There are songs written in eight different decades on this list, but with every song either minimally produced in its original form, or stripped of its production in subsequent form, it would be more difficult to tell which song is from which decade if you didn't already know better. So timelessness is certainly a theme here.

And I can safely say that, given the mini nature of this DI, this was the most difficult time I've ever had cutting a list down to the appropriate time constraints. So many great tracks that didn't make the cut. One of my main guiding lights when making decisions about what to cut was 'is this too obvious?'. I just didn't want to have a bunch of stuff that you've all heard a million times(or if I did include a song you've heard a lot, I wanted it to at least be somewhat fresh in the acoustic context). Like, there's probably a bunch of early Dylan tracks that would've been right at home, but the biggest contenders are songs you've all heard so many times. I had GnR's "Patience" on the list for a long time, but it's such a standard and I needed the six minutes, so I had to cut it. I only used one track from an actual MTV Unplugged album, dispensing with the others I was considering; Nirvana and Alice In Chains' Unplugged albums are deservedly legendary and I figure most if not all of you are familiar with them, so those tracks didn't make it either.

Anyway, enough about what didn't make it. I'm going to just write a little paragraph about each track I've selected to offer my insights. My hope is that some of these tracks make you see a song, or even an artist, in a way that maybe you hadn't before(I know this won't be the case with all of them, but maybe some of them). I'm sure none of you were expecting to see a DI list with Kiss, Bon Jovi, and Sammy Hagar on it, but here we are, and I stand by my choices.

It is my hope that this list will make you see some songs, or even some artists, in a way you hadn't before(though that is more likely with some than with others).


I resisted putting a Beatles track here until the very end - and went with a cover at that so there's at least a chance it's something you haven't heard a million times - when a separate decision resulted in me needing to find a different, shorter track to open the list. I've always loved McLachlan's beautiful voice and Blackbird is one of the most beautiful songs ever written, so it's a great match. And it flows perfectly into the next track


GAF used "Friend Of The Devil" in its original form on one of his lists years ago; the song was originally played at a pretty fast pace, but Jerry Garcia at some point later in the 70s heard someone do a much slower cover of it, and he loved it so much that he and the Grateful Dead started playing it like that at their live gigs. I grew up listening to their "Dead Set" live album, which has a fantastic slow(but not acoustic) performance of the song on it. In 1991, Garcia and his longtime friend David Grisman recorded an acoustic album, and one of the songs they did was this slower "Friend Of The Devil". I love this recording - it's just so chill and mellow and soulful, and the guitar work is so good. It was recorded only four years before Garcia's early passing. Artists who are gone became a subtheme of this list as it went on.


Dave Matthews Band does not have a big fanbase here, and I know they take a lot of shit despite their massive popularity - whether it's because of his voice or the attitude of their fans or whatever, I don't know. I do like them quite a bit, I think they're phenomenally talented musicians. That said, for me, "Crush" has always been their greatest track, and honestly I think it's one of the great love songs of the last 25 years. I nearly put the studio version on my DI list last year, but I just couldn't find the room for it. This, the first in a series of four live tracks, is an acoustic performance by Matthews and DMB lead guitarist Tim Reynolds, and it's so freaking good. Reynolds in particular turns in some of the best guitar work on this whole list. (Mixing live material with studio material can be tricky, but there's minimal crowd noise at the beginning of this track, so the transition is pretty smooth.)


Chris Cornell was - it still hurts to say was - one of the greatest rock vocalists of his generation, maybe of any generation. Later in his career, he became a fairly prolific acoustic artist, even doing a whole acoustic tour on his own, and recently a posthumous album of acoustic covers was released. He has a bunch of great acoustic tracks, and I had a really hard time picking one - it came down to the wire - but ultimately, the others that were in consideration just didn't fit for one reason(too long) or another(segue trouble), so I ended up selecting his performance of "I Am The Highway", live from the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto, off his Songbook live album. "I Am The Highway" was the fourth single from the first Audioslave album, and it holds up in this powerful, completely stripped down solo acoustic performance.


For me, there are two stand-out tracks on Bowie's 2003 "Reality" album: "Bring Me The Disco King", and this semi-acoustic gem "Days". It's a fairly simple song, both musically and lyrically, but I think it conveys so much emotionally despite this. This is a fully-acoustic live performance - a "digital bonus track" from 2010's "A Reality Tour", his last live album released in his lifetime, documenting his final tour in 2003-04. There is something poignant about hearing him sing about "all the days of my life" in such a musically naked setting on his last tour.


There are only a small handful of Kiss songs I would listen to on purpose. Their cover of "God Gave Rock'N'Roll To You" from the "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey" soundtrack is among them, because there's a lot of nostalgia attached to it for me because of the movie. But their best song by far imo is "Beth", the 1976 ballad penned and sung by drummer Peter Criss(which maybe explains why it's so atypical of the band). This is the only track on this list I've taken from an actual MTV Unplugged album, and the significance requires some context.

Kiss's OG makeup era was from 1973-83. In 1983, with founding members Criss and lead guitarist Ace Frehley gone, they ditched the makeup and commenced their "unmasked era", which went until 1995. They had some success early on in this era with singles like "Lick It Up", but by the early/mid 90s, they had, like many other bands of their ilk, fallen on hard times with the rise of grunge and alternative rock. The band were invited to do an Unplugged in the fall of 1995, and Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons secretly invited Criss and Frehley to join them for a few songs at the end of the gig, one of which was "Beth". So in this performance of "Beth" you're hearing the first time the four original members had played together publicly in 16 years. The mini-set with the OG lineup was so well-received, that less than seven months later, that OG lineup was on stage at the Grammys, in full make-up, announcing a reunion tour to start that summer, which was the start of the band just milking their brand for all it was worth for the last 20+ years. So this "Unplugged" gig was pretty much the last thing they did unmasked and the last thing they did before going into "milk it" mode.

I love this performance of "Beth". The song has a classic, beautiful melody, and I love the way Frehley's lead guitar, Stanley's rhythm guitar, and Simmons' bass interact with each other in this rendition. Frehley has a great solo too. Also, you can't see it unless you watch the video, but it's kind of endearing how enthusiastic Criss is to be singing his song with the band again. It's just this rare moment for Kiss where there's no makeup, no pyrotechnics, no over-the-top theatrics, but just four guys sitting with their instruments playing a classic song. It's a window into Kiss being an actual band instead of a cartoon.


"Song For The Asking" is a Simon & Garfunkel track that I feel doesn't get enough recognition. It's one of the most beautiful songs Paul Simon wrote for the duo, and that's saying something. Garfunkel has even cited it as his favorite. Also, the crowd noise at the beginning made it ideal for transitioning out of the four-song run of live material and back into studio material.


"Kyoto" was a standout on Phoebe Bridgers' "Punisher" album, but now I almost can't listen to the album version anymore in light of this Spotify-exclusive mostly-acoustic rendition of the song. Jackson Brown is featured, contributing gorgeous vocal harmonies. I feel Bridgers' vocals and melodies more acutely when contrasted against this sparse instrumentation. This is such a great version.


"No Code" never got as much love as other Pearl Jam albums around it, but I've been on record for years that it's one of my favorites. This is the second straight DI where I'm including a track from it("In My Tree" made the last one). As far as I'm concerned, "Off He Goes" is one of the best songs Eddie Vedder and the band ever wrote. He's processing his newfound fame and difficulty relating to his old friends, and he's doing so in an unguarded, musically compelling way. I believe there are some flourishes here and there of electric guitar in this song, but it sounds like 95% acoustic, so I'm counting it.


"Stranger Things Have Happened" is an acoustic deep cut from the Foos' 2007 album "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace". I think it's one of the most beautiful tracks Dave Grohl ever wrote, but relatively few outside of their hardcore fanbase know about it, and the band has never played it live. Great melody and vocal take, and the guitar soloing at the end is a special highlight, with Grohl and Chris Shiflett going at it. Happy to share this one.


Obviously Bon Jovi is not very popular around here, but I would remind everyone of JBJ and Richie Sambora going on the MTV VMAs in 1989 and doing Livin' On A Prayer and Wanted Dead Or Alive acoustically. It's one of the most famous VMA performances ever and it is known to have at least partially inspired the creation of MTV Unplugged. I have always felt that Sambora was the bigger talent of those two guys, and I feel this track, an acoustic version of "Born To Be My Baby", bares that out. Upon doing some research for this, I found out that this is actually the original, first-recorded version of the song, but that the producer of the album persuaded the band to re-record it full-band. To me, the full-band album version has nothing on this acoustic version, which was recorded a year before the VMA performance and originally released as a single b-side and later on the deluxe version of "New Jersey", the album the song was on. Sambora is the star of the track, with his vocals(his harmonies in the choruses and throughout outshine Jon by a lot) and guitar work(I love the solo towards the end). There's a moment at the end of the second repetition of the chorus where Sambora just holds a long note - "...made to be your maaaaaaaaaaaan" - and then launches into the solo, that just does it for me. Give it a chance.


When we were all talking about Eddie Van Halen after his passing six months ago, Ashley said the following:

"One of these days I'll go full bore guilty pleasure and put 'Dreams' on a list."

Well, I've done it, albeit not with the original track, and I don't feel the least bit guilty. Hagar did this album with his guitarist Vic Johnson in 2014 where they re-recorded tracks from throughout his career acoustically, and this was on it(the only Van Halen track they did). Hagar-era Van Halen was my first favorite band when I was a little kid and there are a number of tracks, including this one, that have stayed with me over the years. It's a good version - Sammy can still sing pretty well. I also like it as a tribute to EVH, as even though he's not playing on the track, it's still his musical composition, and it's still one of the bigger hits his band ever had.


While on a long plane flight some years ago - probably 2015 - I watched a movie called "If I Stay" on the little 3-5 inch screen on the back of the seat in front of me. The movie stars Chloe Grace Moritz as a teen Cello prodigy who falls into a coma, and her life beforehand is flashed back to while she's in the coma. Long story short, it's a melodramatic teen romance thing, and I wouldn't really recommend it - I don't even remember all of it - but what always did stay with me was that Moritz's character was in a band in the movie, and that band did an acoustic cover of "Today" towards the end of it. It's acoustic guitar, cello, and vocals, and it's always stayed in my mind. It strikes me as sort of half chamber pop and half what it would've sounded like if the cast of Glee had ever done the song.

"Willamette Stone" isn't a real band, but rather the fictitious band in the film. It's more difficult than you would think to figure out who was really playing on the track(I know Moritz didn't actually play the cello, and I know that the guy playing her love interest DID do the lead vocals). Anyway, I just think it's an interesting take on a song we've all heard so many times. It's prettier and far less angsty than the original(including the whole second verse only being done instrumentally), and in the end what it really does is shine a light on what a great songwriter Billy Corgan was/is at his best.


Pink Floyd's 1969 album "More" came at a unique moment in time for the band. Syd Barrett was already gone, and David Gilmour was in, but the band were kind of searching for their identity. The songs on this album aren't of the psychedelic flavor of Barrett's stuff, but the band hadn't yet forged the progressive rock sound that would make them legends starting with "Atom Heart Mother" either. It's not the most cohesive album, as the songs are all over the map. There are songs like "The Nile Song" and "Ibiza Bar" that sound like proto-Grunge, decades ahead of their time; the jazz-tinged "Up The Khyber"; the international flavor of "Main Theme", "A Spanish Piece", and "Dramatic Theme"; and then there are tracks that are more straight-ahead and more "pop" in nature, like "Cymbaline" and this track, "Green Is The Colour", a gorgeous Waters-penned acoustic ballad sung by Gilmour. It's a beautiful melody and one of Gilmour's most tender vocals. There is a tremendous warmth about this track, from the guitar tone to the vocal to that tin whistle in the background(played by Nick Mason's wife at the time, according to Wiki). Apparently they only ever played it electrically live, but I think this original acoustic version is tops. A real gem from Floyd's early days.


I guess we all know about Elliot Smith at this point - how he is posthumously regarded as one of the great songwriters of his generation despite not being known until the last years of his life. I heard "Say Yes" for the first time in a while a few months ago, and when I started this list I knew I had to include it. It's one of his most well-known tracks - maybe only "Miss Misery" is known more - but it's just pretty close to a perfect pop song - the melody, the wordplay, the musical left-turn of the middle 8, the simplicity of the whole thing, it's just so good. It's downright Beatlesque. I honestly think it would fit in nicely on Rubber Soul, and I'm not sure there's much higher praise I can give than that.


Torres is one of my favorite new-ish artists of the last few years, and this track - "Gracious Day" - off her latest record "Silver Tongue", is one of her best. It was released as the second single, but I didn't even know that when I put the song on the list(it's not like a Torres single is going to be promoted much). It's a great choice for a single though - a beautiful, sentimental melody that is somehow bittersweet, delivered via a great vocal that sees her going into a higher register than she normally does in some places. I played this track for my dad, and he said he liked it, and that it reminded him of Joni Mitchell. I hadn't thought of it before, but he's right, the way she's singing here, it does kind of sound like Joni. High praise.


I recently binged "Peaky Blinders" on Netflix, and this song - Laura Marling's "What He Wrote" - was used in an episode; I'd never heard it before, but even as it was playing in the show, I knew I wanted to find a way to include it in my list, and my list was already "finished" at that point. That led to a series of late changes. Anyway, I love this track - there's this sense of foreboding about it while simultaneously being pretty, and her velvet voice captures both things perfectly.


"Dreams" might be Eddie's musical composition, but he's not actually playing on the version of the track I included, and I felt like "Spanish Fly" was a perfect way of paying tribute to him with his actual playing on this list. Essentially a short EVH solo track off Van Halen's sophomore album, clocking in at just over a minute - this is as good an example as any of Eddie's prowess on the guitar. And it segues perfectly into...


As part of my ongoing quest to increase appreciation for RHCP around here, I've included this number, "Road Trippin'", the closing track of their 1999 classic "Californication". Kiedis has never been known as a great lyricist, but this quiet ballad about friendship is one of his best and most direct/genuine. Musically, it's primarily a Frusciante composition, as it was based on a chord sequence he was playing around with, and it also is of a piece with a lot of the solo work he'd do in the years immediately thereafter. The story goes that the two of them and Flea were on a road trip together shortly after Frusciante re-joined the band(the first time) and, after surfing together, John picked up his guitar and started playing these chords, and then Flea joined in, and then Kiedis started improvising a melody, and that was that. I've always loved this song - the reflective, sad-and-happy-at-the-same-time guitar, the sing-along melody, the stirring string arrangement in the middle 8, Frusciante's vocal harmonies, all of it. One of their greatest tracks.


"Dust In The Wind" is probably one of the only really obvious tracks on here. I think it gets made fun of, but I don't care. It's a great lyric, beautiful melody, iconic guitar work, just a great song, and fits perfectly between these two tracks.


And finally, Eva Cassidy. I assume you all know who she is by now, but a brief recap of her story just in case: Born in 1963, she was singing and playing guitar in bands from the time she was 11, but was pretty much unknown outside of her native D.C. by the time of her death in 1996 at the age of 33 of cancer. She didn't have much original material that we know of; she was an interpreter, singing everything from pop to jazz to country. She was reportedly incredibly shy and had anxiety playing in front of large crowds Apparently, she had drawn some interest from record labels in her lifetime, but I guess they wanted to make her "more accessible" and she was unwilling to make those compromises, from what I gather(information is limited).

So she only released a few independent albums, and a live album recorded in early 96, before finding out that cancer from a mole she'd had removed several years earlier had spread. She was diagnosed in July and was gone in November. The folk singer Grace Griffith met Cassidy shortly before her death and convinced her label to sign Cassidy. A compilation album of some of Cassidy's recordings up to that point was made and released two years after her death. Another two years after that, the BBC radio personality Terry Wogan played some of the tracks to his sizable audience. It caught fire after that, and long story short, Cassidy is now regarded as one of the greatest voices of her generation.

"Over The Rainbow" - as in the Wizard Of Oz - is one of her most well-known tracks, along with Sting's "Fields Of Gold" and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time". This rendition of "Over The Rainbow" is breathtaking, and makes for a show-stopping closer for this list - it's too powerful to be anything but the closer. It speaks for itself. Appreciate not just the superlative vocal performance, but also her stellar guitar work(pretty sure it's her playing).

She was a massive, massive talent taken way too soon.


A final note - I liked the symmetry of the list starting with "blackbird singing in the dead of night" and ends with "if happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow/why oh why can't I"; I imagine the symbolism of it starting and ending with birds as being akin to the floating feather that bookends Forrest Gump.

That does it. I really thought I wouldn't write that much this time, seems I have. Anyway, I've really enjoyed putting this list together(although, as usual, I'm just a little sick of it after listening to it so many times in the process of making it) and I'm pretty proud of the flow and the segues throughout. I hope you get something out of it.

1. Sarah McLachlan - "Blackbird" - Rarities, B-Sides, and Other Stuff, Volume 2 (2:21)
2. Jerry Garcia & David Grisman - "Friend Of The Devil" - Jerry Garcia & David Grisman (7:05)
3. Dave Matthews w/Tim Reynolds - "Crush" - Live In Las Vegas (7:45)
4. Chris Cornell - "Like A Stone" - Songbook (4:04)
5. David Bowie - "Days" - A Reality Tour (3:25)
6. Kiss - "Beth" - MTV Unplugged (2:55)
7. Simon & Garfunkel - "Song For The Asking" - Bridge Over Troubled Water (1:51)
8. Phoebe Bridgers (featuring Jackson Brown) - "Kyoto" - Spotify Sessions (3:30)
9. Pearl Jam - "Off He Goes" - No Code (5:58)
10. Foo Fighters - "Stranger Things Have Happened" - Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (5:21)
11. Bon Jovi - "Born To Be My Baby(Acoustic Version)" - New Jersey (Deluxe Edition) (4:54)
12. Sammy Hagar w/Vic Johnson - "Dreams" - Lite Roast (3:54)
13. Willamette Stone - "Today" - If I Stay(Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2:42)
14. Pink Floyd - "Green Is The Colour" - More (2:59)
15. Elliot Smith - "Say Yes" - Either/Or (2:19)
16. Torres - "Gracious Day" - Silver Tongue (2:34)
17. Laura Marling - "What He Wrote" - Peaky Blinders(Original Music From The TV Series) (4:04)
18. Van Halen - "Spanish Fly" - Van Halen II (1:02)
19. Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Road Trippin'" - Californication (3:25)
20. Kansas - "Dust In The Wind" - Point Of Know Return (3:26)
21. Eva Cassidy - "Over The Rainbow" - Songbird (4:27)


Total Runtime: 80:00

a.k.a. Lil Joshua Tree, Eljit, R wee LJT



This is just going to be a more optimistic counterpoint to my last entry. Things are looking up at least here in the UK at the moment and the list is a reflection of that. It's basically a soundtrack to what I hope will be my first long night out til the wee hours of the morning, starts out a bit tentatively but gets into its groove by the mid point and gently then relaxes you into a happy sleep at the end of the night or next morning (hopefully!).

01. Polly Scattergood - "Red" - In This Moment (07:16)
02. Loma - "Elliptical Days" - Don't Shy Away (04:30)
03. Ultraísta - "Tin King" - Sister (03:55)
04. Gorillaz - "Momentary Bliss (feat. slowthai and Slaves)" - Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez (03:41)
05. Jenny Hval - "Ashes to Ashes" - The Practice of Love (04:15)
06. A. G. Cook - "The Darkness" - Apple (05:11)
07. Kelly Lee Owens - "Jeanette (Edit)" - Single (03:05)
08. LCD Soundsystem - "Tribulations" - LCD Soundsystem (04:59)
09. The Blessed Madonna - "He Is the Voice I Hear" - Single (10:29)
10. Hot Chip - "I Feel Better" - One Life Stand (04:40)
11. Caroline Rose - "Feel The Way I Want" - Superstar (04:04)
12. The Rapture - "In the Grace of Your Love" - In the Grace of Your Love (05:34)
13. Four Tet - "You Are Loved" - New Energy (06:09)
14. Blanck Mass - "Starstuff (Single Edit)" - Single (03:54)
15. Tom Adams - "Come On, Dreamer" - Silence( 05:34)


Total Runtime: 77:00

So, this one tested my biases, as three of my probably five least favorite acts are on this list. That said, I appreciate that you consistently put forward lists that reflect your true tastes regardless of whether they are in line with general forum interests. And as I mentioned before, I am trying hard to look at these from the perspective of theme execution above all else.

I am taking this list as an exploration of the possibilities of the acoustic guitar. Across that theme there certainly were some interesting choices, especially through the covers that reinterpreted the originals through the acoustic lens. That said, I think there was room for more diversity of style from blues, flamenco, etc - genres that make expansive and inventive use of the guitar. That would have helped with tempo diversity across the list as well, in my opinion.

In terms of individual songs, I love the inclusion of the Green Is the Colour. More is haphazard but full of gems in Floyd's early catalogue. I also appreciated Torres and Laura Marling back-to-back in terms of the more sombre mood, which helped cut through some of the bright tones in the other tracks. Overall an interesting interpretation of the theme.

This was one of the more singular entries I've heard this time around. Nothing else quite like it. Conceptually, it's very interesting: let's go back to the heyday of 1990s Unplugged rock and mix in some of its predecessors for good measure.

It's not surprising that a lot of these tracks are live performances because MTV Unplugged was the face of this particular sound for many years. I thought the live inclusions would butcher the flow of this thing because of the crowd noise, and was noticeable, but nowhere near as big of an issue as I assumed it would be. In fact, outside of a handful of moments (Simon & Garfunkel, Phoebe Bridgers, Kansas, Pink Floyd), I feel like I stepped into a time machine because all of these songs belong together in that particular era of mainstream rock. So yeah, there's not much point in going over the flow. The vibe is baked into the song choices and I felt like I was at a concert for most the list, which is welcome these days. If I were to pick one sequence I thought was especially successful from a flow perspective, I would say Spanish Fly to the end. That was a great run.

Now, do I like that era-specific Unplugged sound? Sometimes. That version of Days was awesome. Kyoto sounds good acoustically. Unfortunately, a lot of the time I was thinking to myself "who asked for this?" I don't want to hear Beth ever, but I definitely don't want to hear acoustic Beth. Same with Born to Be My Baby. Dreams is a good song and not too bad here, just not my preferred take. I adore Friend of the Devil with my whole heart but that version went on for too long. I would have really welcomed something from Alice in Chains' amazing Unplugged release (or Jar of Flies!). They're such an underrated band with regards to their quieter work.

A lot of the songs that I listed above as outliers are amazing. Green Is the Colour and Song for the Asking are marvelous songs. Say Yes as well. I really enjoyed that version of Today, much more so than I expected. The fiddle mimicking Billy's guitar bends was fucking sick.

So I guess song for song this was a mixed bag for me but it was a cool idea executed quite well.
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Namkcur's list:

Blackbird is a classic of course and this is not a bad version at all, the guitar sounds crisp and clean. I would have probably rather heard the original version but that's ok. Friend of the Devil is my favorite Dead song (I think) and I'd never heard this version. It's faithful to the melody but obviously slower and dragged out with some guitar noodling. Again, the original is better. Sorry, I just don't think this song needs to be 7 minutes long.

Ha, Crush is pretty easily my favorite DMB song. Don't love them but I think this is a good song. Always thought the chorus was pretty genuinely joyous. Ballsy to put it on an Interference playlist as I don't think anybody on this website has ever said a positive thing about DMB (except you I guess).

A pattern is developing here as I have always loved Like A Stone but the original is just better. This version doesn't have that guitar solo. Good song selections, though.

I like this Bowie track. New to me. Beth is pretty damn cheesy. And so are Simon and Garfunkel but I have a soft spot for the Bridge Over Troubled Water album. Good tune. And clever use of the crowd noise there!

Kyoto. Love it. Again the original is better but I liked hearing this version this time. Off He Goes is one of the best things Eddie has ever written. Lots of strong picks on this list, man. We definitely have similar tastes occasionally.

The Foo-> Jovi -> Hagar section lost a little bit of momentum for me but the Pumpkins cover at least grabbed my attention and I was brought back by the Floyd track. Gorgeous.

Elliott Smith and Phoebe Bridgers maybe should have been right next to each other as Phoebe's career is basically just her doing her own (awesome) version of Elliott Smith.

I'm glad you included Spanish Fly, a cool little EVH guitar workout that I'd never heard before.

I can't hear Dust In The Wind without thinking of OLD SCHOOL. But that's my cross to bear.

Overall, I had a good time listening to this on a rainy afternoon. Some really cool picks and a unique concept. Good shit.
LJT: This is another extremely solid entry. The vibe fits your description - I felt a lot of cautious optimism in these tracks, especially toward the end where there is also a bit of weariness in the mood with Four Tet and Tom Adams. The pacing was a strong point; electro-heavy lists can blend together, but it wasn't the case here. Kelly Lee Owens (a very underappreciated artist) and Caroline Rose are both great examples of energy injections that kept the list feeling fresh. Probably the best discovery for me here was Loma, whom I had heard of but never given a chance. Now I definitely will. This list is going to be in the top tier of my rankings.
LJT's list:

"Red" is a nice slow-burn opening track and the vocal felt familiar in a satisfying way.

In your hypothetical long night out, the Ultraista track feels like you just walked into the club.

Damon Albarn is so prolific (with Gorillaz and with all his other projects) and I feel like I'll never catch up and listen to everything he's released. I don't think I even knew this album came out last year? It's a good track, though.

Love the percussion that comes in on this Jenny Hval track about a minute in.

The AG Cook track feels like it could be a radio hit.

There's a keyboard (?) part in "Tribulations" that sounds like old school video game music and I mean that as a compliment.

The first minute and a half of the Blessed Madonna track kinda stalled the momentum a bit for me but that's ok. The overall flow of the list is cool.

Hot Chip is a popular group that I've never really investigated. There are a bunch of interesting melodies in this track and those synthy strings are dramatic.

Caroline Rose is probably my favorite track so far. This is killer.

The Rapture is a band I completely forgot about. Holy shit. Thanks for the reminder. They were a hot band back in the day.

Wow, the Blanck Mass track needs to be in a movie soundtrack immediately. This is great.

I like this playlist a lot. Definitely outside of my personal music wheelhouse but not too far outside. Good shit.

Now I've heard all the lists! I feel bad for this last group because the commentaries and listening has died and they didn't get as much attention. Seems like this DI kind of petered out in general. Oh well.
Got totally delayed by vacations and now the Olympics, but I have now listened to both playlists here and should be able to post my thoughts tomorrow.
I listened to LJT's today and will have a review up by tomorrow. I'm on a two week staycation but I'm trying to finish cleaning my apartment and writing the first draft of a novel I've been working on for a couple months before my mom comes to visit tomorrow night.
I’m really sorry for taking this long to post my thoughts. Life got in the way…


Having just turned 40 last month (how the fuck did that happen?), I’m simultaneously the target audience for your playlist and a tough crowd. The nostalgia of the MTV Unplugged era in the 1990s makes me feel so freaking old, but also reminds me of how much my tastes have changed since. Apart from the Nirvana unplugged (which I really really expected to see in your list, as predictable as it would have been), my most listened to Unplugged at the time was Alanis. I used to love No Pressure Over Cappuccino. Go figure.

Anyways, this all made me have a bit of a visceral relationship with parts of your list - both due to the unplugged style and the prototypical 1990s artists that feature in it (Sarah McLachlan! Dave Matthews! Bon Jovi!).

As someone else said, to your great credit you managed to make a list made mostly of live songs flow seamlessly to the point that you barely register the applause. It was impressive.

I thought where your list worked best was with songs that were originally recorded as in acoustic form. I could mention a bunch of good picks, but the Pink Floyd -> Elliot Smith -> TORRES -> Laura Marling sequence in particular was gorgeous, one of my favorite ones in any list. That TORRES song has such beautiful simplicity, and it’s been one of the best things she has written in j my mind (I really like the quieter pieces she put out in Three Futures and Silver Tongue). I put Kyoto in this category of originally acoustic songs as this version has existed basically since the release of the single, and it’s beautiful even if the album version is my favorite song of hers.

The things that I thought didn’t work as well were some of the covers. Blackbird is beautiful, but this was so faithful to the original that I would have just used the Beatles version. Friend of the Devil and Over the Rainbow also made me want the originals.

The more hardcore 1990s artists there were hit or miss with me. As I said earlier, I have a conflicting relationship with them as they were constantly on rotation for me and I have gravitated away from that sound since. I liked the RHCP and Foo Fighters songs in particular. I don’t think I have listened to Californication in 15 years. Damn.

All in all, it was an enjoyable listen, and I am glad you put something so unique together. It’s definitely not a prototypical interference list. the fact that I had a strong emotional relationship to it - positive or negative - speaks to its very unique nature. Good job!


You are so good at producing a very particular mood with your playlists, and this one did it again. I’m not sure it can top your list from last year, which is a tall order, but it’s close. It’s almost pointless to comment on specific songs as it truly feels like a cohesive whole, but I’ll do that anyway.

The intro featured three artists that I wasn’t at all familiar with, and it worked really well in introducing that smooth synthpop/ambient/indietronica sound that you went for.

The Jenny Hval song was such a nice discovery. I will check her stuff out for sure.

The dance/house middle section was probably my favorite part. Kelly Lee Owens/LCD/The Blessed Madonna/Hot Chip. Good stuff.

I have to confess that this Caroline Rose record didn’t do much for me, but this song is undoubtedly cool, and I like how it changed the mood in your playlist, which got a bit somber at times. Straight pop can help with that.

The closer was truly stunning, a new artist that I’ll be also looking for. Even the album
art for that song is perfect.

Great stuff again, I’ll be going back to this list in the future and to some of its artists too.
Getting back to these last two lists, first with namckuR. I hate when work gets in the way.

Interesting concept overall. Utilizing live cuts can make sequencing and flow a bit jarring, and that was the case a few times here, although there were other times where it worked out ok.

I enjoy this version of Blackbird, but I would have liked it if you had started this out with McCartney's unplugged version; you even referenced his unplugged performance in your notes, and the significance of it being the first released unplugged album would have been a logical starting point here.

While the original Friend Of The Devil is a classic, I think this is a great version, and I love the guitar interplay. I didn't think it was too long at all.

I'm not the biggest Bowie fan, but I really liked Days.

I thought the twofer of Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters was great.

On the flip side, I absolutely detest Born To Be My Baby, even in this acoustic arrangement.

I hadn't heard this cover of Today before. I like how it stands apart from the original.

Early Pink Floyd is always going to be a winner with me.

Best stretch of the playlist was the last group. As well known and overplayed as it is, Dust In The Wind delivers such an emotional impact every time I hear it. And Eva Cassidy's voice is absolute heaven.

Nice playlist overall.
I completely spaced on writing a review for LJT's list but I'm here now!

As always with your lists, I feel that there is an abiding respect for atmosphere and flow. This is a moody list but is certainly not as preoccupied with death as your last one, which understandably made it a thematic concern. Here, I think the darkness present is a mix of circumstances calling for it as well as your own tastes, and I see a narrative through line near the end of the list that points to a kind of solace.

There were a number of artists on here that I am very familiar with, perhaps more so than usual for your lists (Gorillaz, Jenny Hval, LCD Soundsystem, Caroline Rose, Four Tet, etc.) and they were sprinkled throughout in a way that retained my interest. Tribulations and Momentary Bliss are straight up classic. That Jenny Hval album was fucking great; I wish more people had heard it.

As for the songs I didn't know, I thought Red was pretty cool, very insistent with a strong build and great piano. Never heard of Polly Scattergood but this track was convincing. Tin King was a gripping track with galloping percussion and, once again, a good dose of piano. I think that's an appropriate instrument to tie these songs together. Blessed Madonna I checked out a while back when she played FYF Fest and this track paired nicely with Hot Chip. Thanks for reminding me to check out the new Blanck Mass; that track reminded me of early M83.

The flow was mostly very good and blended the moodier piano-driven tracks with the electronic ones successfully. I think the one that stands out in a not so great way is Momentary Bliss, which sounds odd between Ultraista and Jenny Hval. Also, the Blanck Mass track feels really intense and slightly out of place between Four Tet and Tom Adams, which would have been a lovely pairing to close things out. Altogether though, really solid sequencing.

Great work!
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