Welcome to the Monday Mix, where each week we highlight three standout songs debuting on the opbmusic broadcast.
Bill Callahan - “Watch Me Get Married”
Bill Callahan’s newly released album, “Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest,” highlights a softer side to the writer of such songs as “Cold Blooded Old Times” and “Dress Sexy at my Funeral.” The crowning jewel of this three-sided album is the song “Watch Me Get Married,” a thought-provoking ballad that ponders of all the wonders of the stars and the universe. Bill’s deep, resonant voice is comforting and calm, like a father telling listeners a bedtime story before they drift off to sleep. Musically speaking, the song is a rollicking carriage with subtle details like a swelling slide guitar line and a subtly bouncing bass. Catch Bill Callahan live with Meg Baird at The Wonder Ballroom Friday, June 21.
(Sandy) Alex G - “Gretel”
Musical alchemist, (Sandy) Alex G, is back in full force with a new single, “Gretel.” On first listen, the song feels overwhelming. But as is typical for much of Alex Giannascoli’s work, repeat listens unlock access to the musical genius behind the song. “Gretel” winds up leaving us wanting more, with such a dense and rich sound, it’s no surprise to learn that (Sandy) Alex G’s guitar work has been featured on the Frank Ocean songs “White Ferrari” and “Self Control”. (Sandy) Alex G’s new album, “House of Sugar,” is out on Sept. 13.
Tinariwen - “Taqkal Tarha”
Although Tinariwen formed back in 1979, my introduction to the band came in 2007 with the release of “Aman Iman: Water is Life,” an album that garnered the group international acclaim. Tinariwen’s jubilant polyrhythms and unorthodox guitar work were the selling points for me back then and instilled in me a fascination with the music of the Tuareg, a semi-nomadic people from the Saharan desert region of North Africa. Twelve years and five albums (including a live album in Paris) later, the group still draws huge crowds around the world. Featuring vocals from Micah Nelson (son of Willie Nelson), “Taqkal Tarha” is the first single from their upcoming album, “Amadjar,” which is set to be released on Sept. 6. The song is sure to be a fan pleaser and is filled with joyful guitar licks, celebratory percussion beats, and backing vocals that make you feel like part of the group yourself. “Amadjar” will feature contributions from Cass McCombs, Warren Ellis of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley. Tinariwen is gearing up for another international tour and will be stopping by Crystal Ballroom on Oct. 9.