Saturday Jams: on the Trail of Discovery!

A while back, Rob was bitten; not by a radioactive spider but by an idea to post a weekly article about a few songs that he really likes. There are so many possibilities that the series could go on forever, and so Saturday Jams was born.

Of course, nothing lasts forever, and the demands of work and life brought the whole thing to a standstill. But the ideas keep coming, and coming back to the keyboard for Saturday Jams becomes a matter of pushing the sludgy old will into motion once more, and so the wheel turns . . .

Well, hello.

Let me start by saying that music discovery has never been my strong suit. Recently, I’ve had some help in this area; I usually work in absolute silence because it never occurs to me to put some noise on in the background while I’m doing things. What makes this worse is that at my job I am required to wear earplugs for most of that ten-hour stretch, which cuts me off from sound — and consequently, the ability to relate fluidly with my co-workers and my environment.

I have started to turn some of this around, however, by listening to music online via some popular streaming services, because I get bored pretty fast without variety. My musical love was reborn out of the heat death of the alternative wave when I finally discovered The Beatles’ Abbey Road (years after everyone I’ve ever known got over it,) and I carried this album in my heart to North Dakota with me in 2008. Some time later I fell in love with The DecemberistsThe King is Dead, which was a fantastic album about going back to our folk roots — not just with music but in many aspects of life. Then when I started fooling around with Spotify (gasp, oh no I said Spotify! [that’s a touchy subject to some]) I discovered this fantastic album by a band called Imagine Dragons: Night Visions. Every song was different, every one of them as hooky as Velcro and so sing-alongable.

That’s the essential palette I’m working with, and so recently I’ve been striking out on musical adventure by listening to Pandora in the car; it wasn’t long before my Imagine Dragons station turned up some songs that drew me. A lot of music by The Killers, which I thought was quite appropriate but nothing new. Thumbs up. Then there’s that new song by Philip Phillips, I think it’s called Home? But after listening to more of his stuff, I thought he might be less to my taste — as in, that’s the only song I heard that really appealed to me. I’d just as well call him Vanilla Phillips, no offense!

I hate to say it, but I’m picky, and I look for those albums that have several really strong songs on them. After Abbey Road, The King is Dead, and Night Visions, how could I not be spoiled by these incredibly cohesive and dynamite sets? Then I discovered this song:

When I went to listen to more, I found the American Authors album Oh, What a Life to be full of positive energy, with enough variety to satisfy even my finicky palate. Recommended. Since listening to both of their albums, Spotify has been pushing me to branch out, so I figure: why not?

I was sucked in by the strange energy of a band called Fitz and the Tantrums. What is this guy selling? He’s got a voice straight out of the 80’s pop era, playing music that sometimes aligns strongly with the sounds of the sixties, bringing up visions of the Motown bands I heard in my youth on Detroit’s oldies station WOMC 104.3. Then there’s a little dark edge of saxophone a-la The Blues Brothers. I was stuck. Watch this:

Halfway through that day (this past Thursday) I bit the bullet and bought both of their albums on iTunes (since the death of DRM I have no problem doing this,) and would you know that the downloaded deluxe album included a music video? I pop for the deluxe albums when they’re available because I like the extra tracks – I don’t care much for the PDF booklets because I haven’t figured out how to easily get them onto my phone yet, but a music video downloads with the rest of the album so why not?

This video just blew my mind. It’s like Winamp had a baby with the whole band. I can’t not share this one with all my peeps and tweeps! The new album switches up the sound a little bit, brings more of it forward in time while still preserving that strange energy the band has, and yet . . . not completely brings it forward. What I really dig about this video is that it’s a giant standing with one foot in the infancy of the rock music era and the other foot is planted firmly . . . somewhere nearby. 

Maybe I’m blowing it out of proportion, but music gets me so jazzed! Now I have to go out for a run just to blow off all of this energy, and it’s time for you to go live your adventure.

Until next time, keep listening and exploring; comments go down below!


  1. There is something innately thrilling about re-discovering a lost love – one that was selectively weeded out of one’s life, without even being totally aware how important and integral is was/is to one’s spirit and soul. Music is no exception, regardless of genre or tastes, which can very well change, sometimes significantly, over time. I’m so glad that you re-discovered some groovy tunes that are getting you into the swing of things again. 🙂

    I too have had this particular epiphany within the last month or two – so, yeah, I’m totally diggin’ ya on this 😉

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