Staff Trax: Bear in Heaven; Does It Offend You, Yeah?; The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy; The Swell Season; The Go! Team
Bear in Heaven -- "Lovesick Teenagers"
I've been meaning to write-up Bear In Heaven's track "Lovesick Teenagers" for quite a while now. Sometime around February, I stole the promo CD for the band's Beast Rest Forth Mouth from Pete. (He made me give it back after we caught one of the the band's fantastic performances at this year's South by Southwest.) For me, the disc quickly became one of those best-albums-from-last-year-that-I didn't-hear-until-this-year records. And, though "Lovesick Teenagers" is definitely the album's standout track, it's hardly the only one--the whole album's worth a listen. --Daniel Rodrigue
Back in 2008, I named this song as my favorite single of the year--and, by my account, 2008 was kind of a ballin' year for music. Two years later, I still stand by the decision--especially now as we head into summer, as, in my book, this is about as good as summer songs get. Why? A couple reasons. The catchy-as-hell hook, for one. And the steel drums somewhat buried behind the mix sure help. It all adds up to a pretty undeniable electro-rock jam--and, even a couple hundred plays in, I still haven't tired of it. So, y'know, if you hear this song being blared by a car cruising past you this summer, it's probably me just enjoying the hell out of myself, the weather and a perfect soundtrack to match it. --Pete Freedman
Back in 1992, I wasn't too clued into the world of hip-hop, but I did appreciate jazz and funk folks like Gil Scott-Heron, who is commonly credited with being one of the genre's early movers and shakers. Scott-Heron's political edge is clearly the inspiration for Michael Franti, the one-time leader of San Francisco's Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. The band's debut, Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury, blew me away back in graduate school and I always wondered why the Heroes were never bigger stars. Franti went on to some recent success with Spearhead, but I still think his greatest moment was "Television, the Drug of the Nation," his old band's very first single. It's a song that is as relevant today as it was nearly two decades ago. --Darryl Smyers
Yeah, I know the deal. You're hip, you're hyper-current on indie music, and you've already heard this song from the folks behind Once. It's practically old news to you. Yeah, well, eat a butt, douche. This is amazing, exquisite, delicately crafted perfection--and it's far from being old news. So shut up, listen (again), and fall madly in love all over again. --Alan Ayo
I have no idea as to why I think of summer when I hear this song, but it feels like something that would be a great with the windows down. The Go! Team might now make it onto a playlist for a hipster's version of Where Are They Now?, but I've never forgotten how great this group is. The equation's pretty simple--imagine if someone used Vince Guaraldi music from some of his Charlie Brown specials and combined them with modern dance grooves. But it's great. --Eric Grubbs