Happy Friday. It is warm and rainy in Indiana, feeling more like April than January. I’m sure we’ll pay for this down the road.

“Texas Sun” – Khruangbin and Leon Bridges.
What a lovely, interesting song, combining Khruangbin’s world music influences with Bridges’ old school soul sound. They have a four song EP set for release next month.

“Alien With a Sleep Mask On” – Ratboys.
Oh hell yes, the first real banger of the year! One music critic I follow has been dropping hints about an amazing album he can’t wait to talk about soon. He also Tweeted the moment this single dropped, and there’s been a lot of buzz about the upcoming Ratboys album, so I’m starting to wonder if that’s going to be the first big album of 2020.

“Pantomima” – Greg Dulli.
When Dulli, the lead singer of the Afghan Whigs, announced he had a solo album slated for this year, I was not all the interested. His/their output has always been wildly erratic, ebbing between legendary albums and songs and work I thought was flat out awful. But, surprisingly, this single is pretty solid, so I’m officially intrigued by the album.

“Heartbeats” – The Knife
“Heartbeats” – Jose Gonzalez
I’ve heard both of these songs in the past couple days, each for the first time in ages. The original goes all the way back to 2003, and was one of the early hits of the “Blog Music” era. The Knife’s Swedish compatriot Gonzalez covered the song that same year on his debut album, although he didn’t release it as a single until 2006. It goes down as one of the great covers of the decade, a thoroughly wonderful and unique take on a throughly wonderful and unique original. Both songs came at the point when music was becoming inescapably divided, with hip hop influenced acts dominating the pop charts while all the other sub-genres went off into their own spaces. It’s a shame, because both of these songs deserved much more love.

“She Will Have Her Way” – Neil Finn & Friends.
My absolute bucket list, time machine concert would not be going back to see Pearl Jam in 1992 or The Clash at the Bonds Theater in New York in 1981, but rather the Neil Finn & Friends “7 Worlds Collide” series in Aukland, NZ in April 2001. That was back when Finn was one of my very favorite artists and a few of my other favorites – Eddie Vedder, Johnny Marr, and two members of Radiohead most notably – joined him for a week of shows in Finn’s homeland. I wore out the album and concert video that resulted from the shows in my pre-kid 2000s. It’s been awhile since I’ve listened to/watched them but this popped up yesterday and, moments later, I was listening to the entire album. It remains an utter delight nearly 20 years later. Here Neil and his pals offer an absolutely delightful take on one of his best solo songs.