Standard Sounds

30 Tracks, 30 Days

What your jam? You know the one we're talking about - the song you go back to over and over again, the one you never really get tired of hearing. This is the question we’re asking this month. Why? Because the only thing better than listening to music is arguing about it, obviously. Is yours a verified classic? A little known gem? A dance floor banger? Maybe it’s just a 3-minute blast of sugar-y pop goodness that you can’t get out of your head.

This month, it's all about the jams. #StandardSounds is diving in and asking some of our favorite musicians and music people to pick one track they go back to over and over again, and tell us what they love about it. We'll post one track a day from now 'til, you know, whenever...think of it as a month-long listening party.

1. Ed Droste (Grizzly Bear) “Love Me Harder” by Arianna Grande

“Sometimes I get into a weird pop landscape. I’ll play “Love Me Harder” by Arianna Grande one hundred times in a row and clean the house to it and listen to it endlessly in the car, to the point that people will say, “you need to stop.” I’ll just repeat it like crazy. I don’t necessarily go cray on the rest of the album, but I love that song. It’s a good song.”

2. Raindear "Alfonso Muskedunder" - Todd Terje

“I've been addicted to this track for some time now, and I can't seem to get it out of my head. It's a track I hum from the minute I wake up until I go to sleep at night, and I still haven't gotten tired of it! I think it's just genius, with its odd time signature and very intense melody. The melody is structured in a way that if you take it down in tempo and imagine it being played on a violin or a flute, it is VERY much just like a traditional Scandinavian folk song, which I'm totally fascinated by. World music/folk is the best thing I know and, to me, this track is electro-folk. I don't know if Todd Terje would agree, but regardless, it is such a beautiful track.”

3. Oumar, Songhoy Blues “Red House”by Jimi Hendrix

“Jimi Hendrix has always been an inspiration for Songhoy Blues. The power his band created from just bass, drums, and guitar was unique, to say the least. The emotion in his playing was inspirational. “Red House” is one of his greatest expressions—I love the laid back feel and the tightness of the solo.”

4. Stuart Matthewman (SADE, Twin Danger) “Come Live With Me Angel” by Marvin Gaye

“I didn’t have to think about it twice! I’ve heard this song hundreds of times, in every situation, and I always hear something new. There are so many layers going on sonically, but every instrument and backing vocal has its own space, so it still sounds uncluttered—sexy but so funky, too. Those drums, the strings, his voice! The song, the performance, the production, the mix: a masterpiece in every way!”

5. Nico Muhly, Composer Photo by Matthew Murphy

"The City, the Airport" by Loney, Dear

“I am completely obsessed with this song "The City, the Airport" by Loney, Dear. It has a really pleasing upwards-motion to it, and is precisely the music to ease one through a panic about having to get something done in the day — there is a constantly shifting harmonic progression that is always surprising, even though I know it quite well. There is a weird background clutter of bells, synthesizers, that works at any volume, from the background to the loud, house-vacuuming, foreground.”

6. Sam Sparro

“Any Love” - by Rufus and Chaka Khan

“It's no secret that I'm a huge Chaka Khan fan and that I've been influenced by her in a major way, but for some reason I had overlooked this track until recently. DJ Honey Dijon mixed into one of her sets at Silencio, David Lynch's club in Paris, a few years ago and I've been obsessed with it ever since. It's a killer disco moment, strings and all, and one of Chaka's best performances. I have it on vinyl and I play it anytime I need a little pick-me-up or want to show off my lip-synch skills.”

7. Eleanor Friedberger Photo by B. O'Brien

"Santa Cruz Mountains" by Eddie Callahan

“There’s this amazing synth part in the song. I’ve listened to it a lot ever since I got it, but I’ve been listening to it more and more — for the sound, but also, we played in Santa Cruz and it was the first time I’ve ever been there. It’s cool to finally go to a place that’s referenced in a song you’ve heard many times. I just think it’s a really cool sounding song. And there’s this epic synth solo. I’ll never get tired of it.”

8. Alex from Tokyo (Tokyo Black Star, Innervisions) “This Is How We Walk on the Moon” by Jose Gonzalez

“A dream project come true: one of my favorite guitar players/singers/songwriters, Jose Gonzalez, covering one of my favorite songs, originally released in 1994 by the NY cult icon/cellist/composer/electronic music pioneer Arthur Russell. The track appeared on the Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell tribute album, which came out in October 2014. An inspiring, beautiful, and sweet dub-folk acoustic guitar re-interpretation with a nice little beat by the master Jose Gonzalez in top form! I love it so much that I did my own edit mix that I’ve been playing all the time.”

9. Jody Watley, Grammy-winning Pop/R&B artist "Movin'" by Brass Construction

“This disco soul classic always gets me going because of the groove and message: “Times are changin' and I'm movin' on.” For me, life is always about pushing forward and continuing to evolve – not getting stuck where you are in life. Also, it’s always perfect for a good twirl at Giorgio's inside The Standard, Hollywood on a Saturday night."

10. Buscabulla "Alegria" by Elia y Elizabeth

“I first heard this amazing Spanish feel-good track about three or four years before the re-issue came out. A friend was thinking of buying the rare LP with this single golden track. I immediately fell in love with the hook and the funky vibe, as well as the soft vocals of the Colombian teenage duo. "Alegria" means happiness, I think it will make anybody happy even if you don't understand the lyrics.”

11. Kay Kasparhauser (The Prettiots) “Gimme Gimme Gimme” by Abba

“I just really fucking love it - it gets me pumped and it’s romantic and I could listen to it a thousand times and notice something different each time."

12. Jack and Eliza "Candy Says" by The Velvet Underground

“Candy Says" is a song we’ve returned to time and time again. It’s delicate, it’s raw— it’s upbeat yet downbeat, all at once. The guitar sounds give us goosebumps. The transition from the verse to chorus is so seamless yet the vibe of the song does a total three-sixty. We admire the subtlety of the production and the spectrum of emotions that this song evokes. We’ll be listening to this one forever.”

13. Milk and Bone "My Funny Valentine" by Chet Baker

“We are huge fans of Chet Baker. Every time we want to feel calm or don't know what music to put on, we go back to Chet Baker. We both studied jazz music, and at school we had to sing a 4-part jazz arrangement of this song and it was so beautiful. “My Funny Valentine” feels very special to us - it's so unique, the lyrics are weird, the melody is soothing.”

14. Sophie Auster "Take It with Me" by Tom Waits

“It's basically talking about all the little things he’s going to take with him when he dies. I find that having a good cry is very therapeutic. I cry when I listen to that song. It’s such a simple, beautiful song.”

15. Hannah Cohen "At Last I Am Free" By Robert Wyatt

“When I first listened to this song it stopped me in my tracks. I love how minimal the instrumentation is — so beautiful and hard-hitting with just a piano and a beat. This song has super vibes! Wyatt is one of my favorite artists. Also, "Sea Song" is a favorite.”

16. Alex Frankel (Holy Ghost!) “Sphinx” by Harry Thuman

“I found this record this year. It pre-dates the Knight Rider theme, but you can hear where that comes from when you hear this. Supremely funky, brilliant sounds — try not to dance to it.”

17. Mija “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths

“I can’t think of a moment in my life in which I have felt indifferent to this song. From a very early (teen-angsty) age, I was able to resonate with this moody yet uplifting record on an intimate level. I have had it stuck in my head ever since. In fact, I’m just realizing that I may resonate with it now more than ever.”

18. Sonny Smith (Sonny & the Sunsets) “Appalachian Spring – Moderato” by Aaron Copland

“I listen to it every couple days. I’m not sure why I love it so much, it’s calming I guess, but also it has an intense part. It makes ordinary life feel majestic for a couple minutes.”

19. Samo Sound Boy Photo by Nick Walker
“You Rented a Space” by Cristina

“Everything about this track is so good, it’s almost hard to believe it actually exists. It’s like, chopped and screwed new wave with vocals that sound like a downtown Loretta Lynn. The whole thing just slinks along at this perfect pace. I wish I could live inside this song, honestly.”

20. Yasmine Hamdan “Ya Habibi taala elhaani” (My Love, Come Quick) by Asmahan

“I heard Asmahan's song for the first time in a Beirut Bar in 2001. I fell in love with her voice. She became an obsession. Then I started collecting old Arabic music. Later on, I recorded a grunge version of this song on my 4-track, and that was when I started to sing in Arabic.”

21. Mikal Cronin

Photo by Myles Pettengill

“Hocus Pocus” by Focus

“This song comes up a lot, especially on tour, and always very loud. It’s just insane—the drumming is amazing and the main guitar riff rules. And of course, the madman yodeling/whistling/playing flute. Every time the band kicks back in, it warrants Wayne’s World style headbanging. Every time.”

22. Joan As Police Woman “Fleurette D’Africaine” by Duke Ellington

"Whenever I want to be reminded of the kind of magic music can create I return to “Fleurette D’Africaine”, the second track from Ellington’s "Money Jungle". It’s just Mingus, Max Roach, and Ellington playing together. But both the bass and drums are being played in very unique ways. It sounds like Roach is using his hands on the drums and Mingus is bouncing the bow frenetically but softly on the bass string adding percussion. This tune is simple and spare but there’s never been a time I haven’t lost myself completely in it. It is plaintive while remaining graceful and incredibly relaxed."

23. Michael Farsky (No Joy) “Living Without You” by Randy Newman

“This is my pick for saddest song of all time. I’ve listened to this song for years. It gives me great comfort to know that someone has, at one time, been as sad as me.”

24. Salva “Spring Love” by Stevie B

“I grew up on Latin freestyle music and this one is the springtime classic. Drop the top. Also this dude's hair has been a life inspiration. I need to holler at him. The vocal melodies are infectious. Stevie B be lookin' like my homie Ruckazoid. This inspired our song ‘Freaky Dancing.’”

25. Dan Haggis (The Wombats)

Photo by Matilda Finn

"True Affection" by Father John Misty

"I found this song a couple of months and it has since soundtracked a great walk around Berlin, many a warm up routine before a show, and a few distant stares out of the tour bus window. I love his voice, the melodies, the soaring harmonies, the folk-meets-electro production, and I think most people, especially if you're often away from loved ones, can relate to the lyrics of needing real contact with someone rather than just through a technological device."

26. Chris Slorach (METZ) “Great Dane” by Kittens

“This may be the heaviest band to ever come out of Canada. This song has been a favorite of mine since I first heard Bazooka and The Hustler in about 1998. It's completely raw and powerful. Start with “Great Dane” and move through the entire catalogue. Not easy on the ears or nerves.”

27. Lenka Photo credit: Kristin Burns

"Stolen Dance" by Milky Chance

"I love the mood of this song. It's a fun dance track with a great, unique groove, but the lyrics are quite melancholy and sweet (and rather stoner). I do a cover of it and I imagine it's about a couple who were separated in a war/refugee situation and then dance bittersweet when they are finally reunited."

28. Jackmaster “What A Fool Believes” by Aretha Franklin

"I've been beginning or ending all of my sets with this one recently. Aretha covering the Doobie Brothers classic to stunning effect. One of the rare instances wherein the remake is probably better than the original."

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