Pod Picks for Oct. 17, 2013

October 16, 2013 

Put these Surge-tested tracks onto your personal media device’s playlist - trust us, we’re not the government.

"Funny Little Tragedy" by Gov’t Mule with Elvis Costello

Singer/guitarist Warren Haynes took some time off from Gov’t Mule to record a soulful solo record, but now the band is back together and obviously the creative juices are flowing. The new double album, “Shout!” features a set of Mule songs on one disc, and the second disc features the same songs with different guest vocalists on every track. It makes sense to ask Elvis Costello to add vocals to this song because it’s a straight-ahead punkish ditty that could’ve fit on an Attractions’ album. Haynes has always done his best work in collaborations, and Costello will do anything to make a great song, even relive his past.

"I Ain’t Got Nobody" by Patti Smith

From “Boardwalk Empire Volume 2: Music from the HBO Original Series,” an album fully stocked with jazz standards from the 1920s. The smokiness of Smith’s scarred vocals makes the song’s lyrics sound beautifully vulnerable. She captures the same duplicity the characters exhibit in the popular HBO show. There’s no way anyone could harness the magic that Bessie Smith or Louis Armstrong had in their original recordings of the song in the ’20s. But Patti Smith goes for another angle, hitting on weariness and lost hope, and doing it flawlessly.

"Gimme" by Beck

How far Beck has come since he was a “Loser” back in the mid-’90s? He has experimented in every direction and infused his own brand of weirdness in every genre he’s touched. Lately, he’s been dropping singles like bread crumbs, leading to a new album in 2014. It’s about damn time, his last studio album was released in 2008. This track hits on his genre of dissonant weirdness. He harmonizes with strange altered voices and meanders along the trip-hop highway. Beck has always done exactly what he’s wanted to do, and 20 years into his career, why would he do it any other way? So for now, we’ll have to be satisfied with his tasty little crumbs.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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