Winter is well upon us, and it seems like most of us are ready for it to pass. One perk about winter however is all the music that hits just right during the season. To celebrate PropertyOfZack’s least favorite season, we’re launching a new Essential Winter Listening Discussion filled with TeamPOZ’s favorite albums for this season. Check out our guide, listen along, and feel free to reblog with your favorite winter records!
Pianos Become The Teeth - The Long Lack After
Sometimes I like a little desolation in my mix of winter music. You know what I’m talking about. It’s when you look outside in the middle of the afternoon after a snowstorm and technically there should be life outside, but instead, there’s just nothing. That’s how I feel when I listen to The Long Lack After by Pianos Become The Teeth. The album is several years old at this point, but the emotional punch may live forever. Pianos is arguably my favorite “post-hardcore” band from the current crop that we are all lucky enough to be experiencing, with La Dispute and Touché Amoré also in the mix. “I’ll Get By” is everything, if you need it to be. - Zack Zarrillo
Tigers Jaw - Tigers Jaw
The Scrantonites’ (Scrantonians?) self-titled record is as much an anomaly as the whirling emotions that make the album so easy to latch onto. Moments like the frenetic chorus on “The Sun” or most of the relentless “I Saw Water” seem better suited for a spring or summer playlist: energetic, loud, and unyielding. But Tigers Jaw wove its way into my winter playlist more for its central themes than anything else. The band grapples with feelings of isolation and what it means to be lonely with an earnest honesty that most albums severely lack, and it’s when I’m stuck inside during a blizzard or polar vortex (topical joke!) that those kinds of thoughts hit me the hardest. Tigers Jaw always strays away from the brink of being too crushingly sad — see: the triumphant riffing at the end of “Plane Vs. Tank Vs. Submarine” or the distortion that punctuates the end of “Never Saw It Coming” — and I think the notion of loneliness as fleeting is what resonates most with me about the record (and winter). - Erik van Rheenen
Mansions - Dig Up The Dead (Acoustic)
Dig Up The Dead (full band or acoustic) is a top ten album of all time for me. I’m a big fan of Mansions, if that hasn’t been made clear over the years. I play Dig Up The Dead a lot, but it’s always a tough decision regarding whether or not I want to pick the full band or acoustic version of the record to spin. When it’s winter though, the acoustic version usually wins out. What’s impressive about the acoustic version of the record is that it manages to bring over as much depth as the original release, but it’s packaged in an equally powerful, but different form. It’s perfect for a brisk walk in the winter. Listen to it and enjoy it. - Zack Zarrillo
The Mountain Goats- Transcendental Youth
What defines an essential winter album? Is it a record’s aesthetics? Is it a deft lyrical hand (like John Darnielle’s, indie rock’s current poet laureate), bottling concepts we associate with winter in the span of three-or-so minutes worth of words? Is it the album’s instrumentation — thoughtful, memorable, and probably a little sad? Is it having songs like “White Cedar,” with mournful horns and elegiac vocals? Or having songs like “Harlem Roulette” and “Cry For Judas,” which touch on the idea of sadness, but with an incredible sense of jubilant joie de vivre. Does an essential winter album elevate the mundane, amplify emotions, and make the ordinary and everyday transcendent?
It’s that time of year again. PropertyOfZack is very excited to be bringing back our 10Of’13 End Of The Year Lists feature with all of your favorite bands, record labels, and other agencies that make the music and touring world so great. To kick off the feature, we’re bringing you a full 10Of’13 from all of the bands on the 8123 family including The Maine, Nick Santino, Lydia, and This Century. Check out their picks below and make sure to check back every day for more great 10Of’13s!
The Maine and Anberlin's co-headlining fall tour with Lydia and From Indian Lakes kicks off today, and we’re stoked to have all four bands together for a new PropertyOfZack Playlist feature. Check out the tour routing here and the Playlists below while listening to the songs on Spotify and reading everyone’s thoughts!
Paul Westerberg- Let The Bad Times Roll
In honor of The Replacements reuniting, I chose this PW track. When we first started as The Maine we heard from more than a few people that some of our tunes were reminiscent of their sound. I didn’t realize how much of a compliment that was at the time, but Westerberg’s tunes with and without The Replacements have slowly become some of my favorite material to date.
Neil Young - Unknown Legend
This song is essentially two chords. This is why Neil Young is a legend (pun intended). I respect what this man has done and continues to do for music. Nuff said.
Steely Dan- My Old School
Dreams were just realized when I was fortunate enough to catch The Dan live at Red Rocks a few weeks ago with my brothers. Ten thousand people were groovin’ in the rain to the sweet sounds of Walter Becker, Donald Fagen and gang. Needless to say, it was RELIGIOUS. If you don’t like Steely Dan then we really can not be friends.
Ryan Adams - Starting To Hurt
It’s rather easy to be intimidated by a catalogue as extensive as Ryan Adams, but without fail I continue to find gems like this while musically perusing. This tune is off a collection of demos which he appropriately titled Demolition. I love the structure of this tune, that verse melody gets me every time. Can’t help but be reminded of the Pixies when I hear this track.
Jackson Browne - These Days
Originally recorded by Nico, I read that Browne wrote this at age 16. Are you fucking kidding me? I would sell half my left leg and my folks’ home to write this at age 25 let alone 16. That little fact gives me hope as a songwriter. After you give this a listen, check out Nico’s version, if you dig the Velvet Underground you’ll probably jam her take.
John Lennon - Watching The Wheels
I am reminded of a dear friend when I hear this song. One of the many reasons I adore music, it’s ability to arouse nostalgia. I know where I was when I first heard this song, who I was with, what we were doing, etc. Beautiful song, beautiful arrangement, beautiful nostalgia.
Radiohead - (Nice Dream)
I go on Radiohead binges from time to time. Right now I am on a major The Bends kick. The album is stellar to say the least. Thom Yorke has a knack for infectious melody and together they create quite the mood altering sounds.
I’m going to let this Radiohead bender ride for as long as it needs to.
George Harrison - If Not For You *Song is not on Spotify
George would be jealous of John if he knew that didn’t include him on this list. I’ve developed a mild obsession with Mr. George and think he is near the top of my list of favorite songwriters. The simplicity in the chord structure accompanied by the incredibly thought out production makes for pretty extraordinary tunes. Right on George!
Velvet Underground - I’m Set Free
It’s always fun listening to songs you’ve heard one million times and finding something new on listen one million and one. I’m amazed how this song delivers such a powerful message with only a guitar, a few tom drums, and a some distant vocals. As a musician, you could learn a thing or two from performances like Velvet Underground’s. Sometimes less is more.
Laid Back - Bakerman
One of these songs is not like the others. “Bakerman” may fly out of left field, but it’s summertime and this groove is contagious. The guitar lead, the horn stabs, all I have to say is the bakerman bakes one hell of a loaf. These dudes have been going hard since the early 80’s and just recently released a new album. If you keep baking, I’ll keep eating my friends!
I hope you enjoyed these tunes as much as I do.
In the words of Frank Zappa, “don’t eat the yellow snow”!
Nick Curran - Tough Lover
While we were recording Vital, our studio drum tech, Matt, showed us this song by a skinny, tattooed white guy that sounds like Little Richard. One listen was all I needed to be convinced considering the song was stuck in my head after the first “Wooooo!”. The song is so lo-fi (in a good way) and distorted, but it’s also honest and true to its roots. It causes nostalgia even if you never longed for times past. Here I am a year later and I still have this one on steady rotation.
J.D. McPherson - North Side Girl *Song is not on Spotify
Honestly, I nearly mistook this for a Nick Curran song the first time I heard it in 2012. Not necessarily because they sound so similar, but because I thought that maybe it was a new Nick Curran song that was being released. Turns out, they released their respective albums in the same year. They are simply two guys doing old-school rock ‘n roll very well. McPherson originally released his Signs and Signifiers album in 2010, but it was thankfully given a reboot by a major label two years later, which is how I and most of the world came to hear of him. The shuffle beat of this song is infectious. It gets in your head and won’t quit, which is probably why a two year old album still managed to become number one on billboard’s heat seekers. It’s just that good.
Tribes - We Were Children
A song that starts with a total Pixies-esque riff and talks about being children in the mid-nineties is going to find its way into my heart. Add the fact that it’s totally catchy and you will definitely hear this song if I have control of the stereo.