By Daytrotter.com's Sean Moeller | 1 January 2007
We’re going to preface away here. I didn’t think this podcast that I was so graciously asked to compile, by the dashing Aaron Newell, would really require one, but one thing I found as I put this together was that I needed to say something. As impossible as it might sound, I had a difficult time selecting these songs. I didn’t choose any of the Bonnie Prince Billy songs, which seems odd, I agree. I didn’t choose many of my favorite songs because, in all honesty, that would have been all of them. Really. It’s hard to believe, but when we’re recording all of these sessions to that beautiful brown tape—hearing it rhythmically clip as it makes its tiny revolutions—we get kind of personal with them. I’ve not felt as if we’ve recorded a bad session yet and that goes for the ones that you’re yet to hear that are already mastered and waiting their weeks. Each time we record, I feel like there’s a new portion of life that we’re able to lure out of these songs, but then again, it’s not really us doing it. These bands and artists allow these songs to kind of go bare-chested in front of us and damn if that isn’t an exhilarating thing to behold. We only hope that you’re feeling a third of what we feel in that cozy little room alongside the Mississippi River. These aren’t necessarily my favorite songs from our sessions, they’re just some great songs from our sessions.
- Sean Moeller, Daytrotter
1. Sunset Rubdown: “They Took A Vote And Said No”
- (0:01 – 2:13)
This was the first band that we really got lucky with. I actually had to go and bring them to us. They played a small Iowa college—a Division III school in the middle of nowhere about an hour from here—the night before and then, as good luck would have it, had two off days until a Minneapolis gig. Talked to Spencer Krug at the show and said he was going wherever Carey Mercer, the lead singer of Frog Eyes went. We’d already arranged a session with Frog Eyes so we got double the bang and the two bands set a record for most bodies sleeping in my two-bedroom duplex at one time.
2. Frog Eyes: “Caravan Breakers”
- (2:14 – 8:25)
I think what we have here is one of the next great artistic statements. The Frog Eyes EP that was released this year wasn’t a stinker, but it wasn’t something you’d pluck and give to your mum either. The three brand new songs—including this one—are the greatest example yet that Mercer is one of the finest songwriters in the world. Honest to fucking God. Just listen.
3. Cold War Kids: “We Used To Vacation”
- (8:26 – 12:31)
My band and record of the year for the absolute human spirit that bursts from all of their songs. In particular, this song’s character is unforgettable. There was a time when I thought Nathan said nipples in this song. When they recorded with us, that’s when I started thinking that. I’ve been learned—thanks to lyrics in liner notes—since.
4. Casey Dienel: “Better In Manhattan”
- (12:32 – 17:29)
My brother-in-law has a crush on her. A friend from high school has a crush on her. As a matter of fact, I think everyone who hears this song or sees her play in a basement that smells like fresh cat piss (as I did later on the night of this taping) has some form of platonic crush on this absolutely disarming and splendid woman.
5. Casiotone For The Painfully Alone: “Cold White Christmas”
- (17:30 – 22:12)
Owen Ashworth, I think it’s okay for me to say, has become a friend since this session. We correspond often and he was one of the firstpeople to see a photo of my newborn daughter a month ago andcongratulate me. When he came to our studio with The Donkeys, drank afinger of whiskey and recorded these terrific renderings of his songs,we were smitten immediately. To this day Pat (Stolley, the main Daytrotter session engineer) and I feel that this is the closest tothe essence of what Daytrotter is all about. They’re going to be backfor a part two with new songs in May and we couldn’t be happier.
6. Of Montreal: “Suffer For Fashion”
- (22:13 – 25:25)
When I got the album “Cherry Peel” during my freshman year at the University of Iowa, it was at that moment that my entire musical life changed. It was the coolest record I’d ever heard and I began REALLY listening to songs. When Kevin and the band were running late and rushed for this session, they couldn’t “rock out” as he’d hoped so we did a quick acoustic session that reminds me so much of that “Cherry Peel” album and for me to hear the new songs in that fashion was a real treat. He’s one of my all-time favorite songwriters and I felt honored that he wanted to come in and spend a little time with us. Later that night, he gave a shout out to Daytrotter on stage in Iowa City. I blushed a little pink.
7. Maritime: “Calm”
- (25:26 – 28:44)
Davey von Bohlen is another of those songwriters that I’ve always respected. I own everything that he has and I think his singing lisp is one of the most beautiful sounds. I bought these guys all coffees on this early Sunday morning and then we all went and had Mexican food and Corona’s for lunch. Then they turned around and drove back to Milwaukee.
8. Erin McKeown: “Honeysuckle Rose”
- (28:45 – 30:34)
A song that was an indication of what her new record was going to sound like. This was the first time our jaws dropped and we sort of realized that we needed more things like this. We realized that we didn’t always have to record the same kinds of things and that it wasgoing to be most fun when we surprised people, only because Erin didit to us with this amazing Fats Waller track. I bought a Fats Waller disc that very same night off of iTunes.
9. Drakkar Sauna: “Very Much Alone, Part 4: Oh Fuck, I’m Fucked, Fuck”
- (30:35 – 32:17)
The most underappreciated band that we’ve had on the site. I feel that Jeff and Wallace make one of the best teams since tortilla chips and salsa. I take a lot of love out of the title of this song and its grave sentiments make it one of the best songs I’ve ever heard.
10. Langhorne Slim: “She’s Gone”
- (32:18 – 35:21)
Langhorne and Co. came into town the night before during the busiest weekend of the year, when there’s a road race named after Bix Beiderbecke, the famous jazz cornetist, that draws 20,000 runners from all over the world. There’s also a street fest for those to get shit-faced at before and after the race. The guys came into the middle of it. We met downtown, had a few beers and then they split with some ladies and showed up ragged the next morning for an early session. It was Daytrotter at its most alive and this song is another that will always remind me of why we’re doing this, why I sleep very little and have eyes that feel liked they’ve been peeled from staring at computer screens all day long.
11. Mates of State: “These Days”
- (35:22 – 39:23)
On this song, Kori and Jason’s two-year-old daughter Magnolia makes her recording debut. We gave her a microphone and you can hear her at various times. Once, you hear Kori giggle as she sings and then at the end she tells the room that she wants to go for a walk now. It’s the site’s most obvious human moment and it was something the Mates and we will never forget.
12. Conner8: “Silent Film Score/Cold Feelings”
- (39:24 – 45:01)
The second most underappreciated band on the site. These are two of the best songs I heard all year and they glued them together, sped “Cold Feelings” up to a jog and let it rip. I was headbanging in thecontrol as this all went down.
13. William Elliott Whitmore: “The Train That Carried My Girl Away”
- (45:02 – 48:07)
William Elliott Whitmore is one of the raddest dudes around and he’s salt of the earth. This cover song of an old standard folk tale that’s been added to, subtracted from and mangled more times than is imaginable shows up here with great power and it always brings a smile to me.
14. Shearwater: “Fierce Little Lark”
- (48:08 – 52:07)
This is so far the first and only song that we’ve recorded that feels like a phantom. I still get spooked when I listen to it.
15. The Subjects: “Time”
- (52:08 – 56:03)
The only band that I’ve met the day they recorded with us, but didn’t witness their session. We were coming home from Lollapalooza the night that they were in the studio and so they gambled for a few hours, waiting for us to get home. They slept where Sunset Rubdown, Frog Eyes and a whole host of others have slept—on our floor—and I took them out for coffee and pastries the next morning. This is a new song that has great words and dope energy.
16. Horns of Happiness: “The Return”
- (56:04 – 58:34)
A song that owns me right now. It probably will for a while.