New Music For Old People: Beck, The Fray, The Autumn Defense

Al Kooper

Al Kooper

This column is like the title says — its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the ’60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there.

I also include older items that I felt were obscure originally and might not have been heard back then. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don’t miss this wonderful music. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD’VE been!

1. Beck – “Don’t Let It Go”

Mr. Mystery is back as mysterious as ever on his latest release, Morning Phase. This moody cha-cha throwback is orchestrated nicely and entices you in little by little. I don’t claim to have figured Beck out quite yet, but I do find this quite listenable after the intro, which could have been excised easily, musically speaking.

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2. The Fray – “Love Don’t Die”

They opened like a lion with a double platinum debut album. From Denver and built around Joe King and Isaac Slade, they set the whole world on fire between their first two studio albums (2005 and 2009) and then it started to slow down a bit. The critics took one step back and controlled themselves a wee bit on the third release. The numbers dropped sales-wise, but attendance live was still good. And now comes the fourth release, Helios. My pick is this track, which features more guitar than piano, which is new for them. I just like the way it bounces around. I think they’re getting better and just re-assessing themselves. I’m curious to see what happens.

3. The Autumn Defense – “Under the Wheel”

I ventured onto the spin-off efforts of Wilco members John Stirratt and Pat Sansone’s band Autumn Defense and their spanking new, imaginatively titled fifth album, Fifth. Just jokin’ around. I’m a fan of Wilco AND Autumn Defense and this is AD’s best one yet. This is my favorite track and if you haven’t heard them at all, there is plenty for you to explore, especially if you’re a Wilco-head. This is a lot calmer and simpler than Tweedy’s band but similar in its musicality. I vote YES.

This column originally appeared on The Morton Report. Click for more great selections from Al Kooper! As always, show some love to the Morton Report!

Photo Credit: Joe Mabel [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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