As opposed to our favorite songs, or songs we'd like to think define our listening habits, taking a look at what a person actually listens to can be far more revealing. With that in mind, every Wednesday we ask an artist to take a look at the most-played songs in their iTunes libraries and share with us the results. We do this on the honor system, and we ask our subjects to share a few words about each song.
On the neo-folk stage these days, Langhorne Slim, aka Sean Scolnick, exudes a sultry style that appears to be all his own. Ladies love his playfulness, dudes love his swagger, his band loves his energy, and the artist seems to just own it outright. But as our iTunes Questionnaire often reveals, sometimes personality traits--and tastes--are inherited, and Slim can thank his "Grandpop" for passing down a love of vintage sounds he went on to synthesize into his trademark fusion of folk, jazz, blues, and pop (including a fondness for Lionel Hampton, the band leader whose namesake jazz fest frequently hosts scores of Seattle's top high school jazz ensembles).
The New York folkie is touring in support of his first Ramseur Records release, The Way We Move, and with his band The Law, plays the Tractor Tavern this Friday (8/3) with Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground and Tiny Messengers. With a tip to his granddad and a top pick from each of his band mates, here are Slim's most-played iTunes tracks.
"Sunny Side Of The Street," Lionel Hampton: A classic. Hampton was my Grandpop Jack's favorite and will always be one of mine. "Get your hat/Get your coat babe/Leave your worries on the doorstep/Life can be so sweet/On the sunny side of the street." I reference that line in one of my of my songs. It's so good. It's just so good.
"Road To Nowhere," Talking Heads: Going nowhere never seemed like such a joyful accomplishment. Great driving song. Everywhere is nowhere and someplace at the same time so turn it up!
"Attitude," Misfits: Anybody ever done ya wrong? Don't punch the wall or kick that cat. Put this song on. Listen to it over and over and smile that crazy ass smile of yours cause it's gonna be alright.
"Ghost Of A Smile," The Pogues: This song makes me happy and a little heavy in the heart at the sometime. I dig things that are sweet but can also kick your ass. Like anything you truly love, The Pogues have that ability to make me laugh and cry and I always come back for more.
"Wild Honey," Beach Boys: One of my favorite Beach Boys songs. A great summer jam or winter's jelly!
Read on for iTunes selections from Slim's band, The Law:
"Woncha Come On Home," Joan Armatrading (submitted by David, "keys/banjo/polka dot enforcer"): Everything about this is perfect.
"Warwick Town," Bill Fay: (submitted by Malachi, "drums/assistant janitor"): Over the past year I've been listening to this song over and over again. I love English singers that actually sound English.
"Santa Rosa," The Eastern Sea (submitted by Jeff, "bass/legislative/Official Brooklyn Zoo"): I love the purity in melody and rhythm. Anthemic indie textures with choral influenced counterpoint. Big tune!
"Feed Back in the Field," Plants and Animals (submitted by Billy, "tour manager/total babe"): Imagine a dog with its head stuck out of a car window, ears flappin', slobber slobberin', feelin' free. That's how this song makes me feel.