Even the nerdiest of music nerds are bound to have certain glaring gaps in our knowledge. One of mine, before the news of his passing made the rounds on Sunday, was Los Angeles born/based David Axelrod. Granted, I’d heard his name come up a few times over the years, usually within the context of how often his work had been sampled, including by such KCRW favorites as DJ Shadow, Lauryn Hill, and De La Soul to name a few. If you pull up David Axelrod’s page on whosampled.com, you’ll see that his work was sampled in 197 tracks. One of these tracks, “A Divine Image,” was used in 37 different songs! I believe this Instagram post/tribute from Questlove best sums up why Axelrod’s work was used so often, and why he became so revered within hip-hop and DJ culture.
We’ll start this weekend with a David Axelrod Spotify Primer featuring a few of the tunes that sampled him, and the original pieces for contrast. I encourage you to use this list as a jumping off point to do your own digging!
But wait, there’s more! Plenty of great new tracks were released within the past week and a half or so as well. Here are but a few of them. Crooners Father John Misty, Jens Lekman, and Bob Dylan have been effectively keeping my “mellow” levels steady, while brand new videos from electro mavens Goldfrapp and KCRW’s own Valida have pushed my capacity to experience giddiness to the max.
Father John Misty – “Ballad of the Dying Man”
Father John Misty has always possessed an uncanny ability to give off the vibe of a 70s era troubadour, while simultaneously being one of the most relevant voices of our current generation. “Ballad of the Dying Man,” the latest track he’s shared with us from his forthcoming album Pure Comedy (out on April 7th via Sub Pop/Bella Union) makes it abundantly clear that that fact isn’t changing anytime soon. Thank goodness.
Jens Lekman – “Evening Prayer”
Has anyone ever been as good at stream of consciousness songwriting as Jens Lekman? Courtney Barnett, maybe? If you can think of someone aside from those two, please let me know as I want to hear their stuff immediately! Lest I turn this into too much of a stream of consciousness blog post though, I’ll stop myself now and simply implore you to press play on this track whose narrator wonders aloud if he’s reacting correctly to a friend’s cancer diagnosis. Given the bleak subject matter, Lekman contrasts with a seriously upbeat backing track, complete with handclap emulating synths, and “do-do-do-do-do-do-do-s” from “Swedish Idol’s” Lou Lou LaMotte. Lekman’s latest Life Will See You Now is out on February 17th via Secretly Canadian.
Bob Dylan – “I Could Have Told You”
Despite the bummer subject matter, everything about this Frank Sinatra cover just makes me feel warm and fuzzy and calm. It’s the aural equivalent of a nice fire, an oversized sweater, and the perfect book… or perhaps the perfect record.
Goldfrapp – “Anymore”
Isn’t it just so great to have Goldfrapp back? Their new record Silver Eye will be out on March 31st via Mute, but in the meantime we can enjoy this sultry, desert set, new video for the single “Anymore.”
Valida – “Stars”
Full disclosure, I rotate a late night radio time slot with this woman, and consider her to be a pal. Those facts do not make this song or video any less awesome. This video has everything; awesome wigs, sparkly jackets, and PUPPIES! Bonus points if you read that last sentence either in your head or out loud in your best Stefon voice – you are absolutely living your best life and I commend you! You will have the chorus of this song, and likely images of the adorable puppies stuck in your head for the next week or so, and you will be so happy about both of those things.