Shit was real this week. Let’s go ahead and call it the worst week ever and hope that next week doesn’t immediately grab that title away.

The only bright spot is my new music playlist is absolutely bursting with great tracks right now. So another extra large edition for today. Take a few moments to chill out and listen to some good tunes.

“The Garden” – Briston Maroney
I shared this with a brother-in-music earlier this week and his summation was, “That slaps.” Indeed. This song is full of delightful twists and turns.

“Win on Tin” – Jess Williamson
This song is vast. Some Hope Sandoval in the vocals. Just a tinge of country in the music. And a majestic, cinematic vibe to the entire thing. A gorgeous track.

“Rock & Roll” – Trace Mountains
This sounds like the music I was listening to in 2005–06 mashed up with what I’ve been listening to over the past few years. There’s a Belle & Sebastian, mid–00’s, Twee vibe along with a The War on Drugs adjacent jammy feel to it. I love how it kicks in from the start and keeps building and building until the solo at the end finally releases all that pressure.

“Walk in the Woods” – Snarls
This Columbus, OH band fits into a sound that has been dominating my interests lately: indie-leaning melodic pop with a DIY influence by girl groups. Yes, I am intentionally trying to see how long I can stretch out my description of new bands’ sounds. That’s more fun than just saying, “This is a good track.”

“Pure Shores” – Eliza Shaddad covering All Saints
I don’t know a thing about the original version of this, which was recorded for the Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle The Beach back in 1999. Remember when the turn of the millennium was going to bring about the end of the world? Yeah, those were quaint times!

Anyway, apparently the All Saints OG is held in high esteem in certain circles. I listened to it this week and it’s not for me. But, oh my lord, Eliza Shaddad’s version? When she drops her moody, atmospherics onto it she turns it into something completely different than the original. It is magical and might be the song of the year.

Shaddad recently had to cancel some dates from her European tour because she was ill. Fortunately she Tweeted yesterday that she is recovering and should be back to normal soon. These days those reports about performers you enjoy are a little extra scary. Glad she is improving.

“On The Brink” – Peter Bjorn and John
I listened to PB&J’s new album over the weekend. Nothing really jumped out at me, or at least nothing compared to their classic tracks like “Young Folks,” “Objects of My Affection,” or “Up Against the Wall.” Then I made it to this, the final track on the album. It is unlike the songs they are most famous for, which makes its tenderness and joyful nature hit even harder.

“In a Big Country” – Big Country
This is likely the song that has made the biggest jump in how much I love it from the 1980s to now. Like most guys my age, I loved it in 1983 because of its unique sound and that great video with the band tearing around Scotland on ATVs. But I also didn’t take it terribly seriously as a 12 year old. In time, through some of Big Country’s other music, I realized they were a great band and this was a fantastic song. It’s one of the rare 80s songs I keep loving more and more every time I hear it.

This live vid from The Tube show is just awesome. You see how great of a band they were through a kick-ass performance. Big Country might have been the best 80s band at bouncing in tune together as they played. Plus there are awkward Scottish dudes jumping onto the stage and dancing around.

Keep your eyes open at the 4:33 mark. There is a semi-close up of a few dudes in the crowd. One of them has his arms crossed and it looking around suspiciously. That was me. I’m kidding! I wonder what that dude’s issue was. Was he drugged to the gills and didn’t want anyone near him? Was he trying to take in the majesty of the song and was annoyed by people dancing? Had he sent his girlfriend to grab him a beer and she was long in returning? Or had his girlfriend just dumped him and he was trying to hold it together.

RIP Stuart Adamson and all our lost Scottish musical heroes.