Playlist of the Week: December 5, 2014

Teddy Eisenberg, Staff Reporter

“Archie, Marry Me”—Alvvays
In a just world, “Archie, Marry Me” would have been the chart-topping hit of the summer. On this track, Alvvays have composed a pop melody so gorgeous and ethereal that its power will leave you spellbound and humming for weeks. This is songcraft at its finest. Alvvays will grace the stage of the Beachland Tavern on Dec. 13. Tickets are $12 and the show starts at 8:30 p.m.

“From a Motel 6”—Yo La Tengo
It has been 21 years since these Hoboken-rooted indie rock gods first released the wildly wonderful “Painful” in 1993; this week Matador records has fittingly decided to reissue an expanded version of the album. The dense rocker “From a Motel 6” showcases the band’s ability to craft soundscapes without becoming trapped within them, blending guitar squalls and recessed vocals into a dreamy and subtly addictive listening experience. This Matador re-issue, dubbed “Painful (Extra Painful)” was released Dec. 2.

“Blood in the Streets”—Ghostface Killah feat. AZ
Despite clocking in at barely over two minutes, “Blood in the Streets” is a devastating new single from Ghostface Killah, and its rhymes circle around 99 percent of the rapping population. With fresh sounding production that recalls Jay-Z’s “American Gangster,” AZ lends his considerable lyrical chops to give this song an incredible flow. Ghostface Killah’s latest, “36 Hours” will be available on Dec. 9 from Tommy Boy Entertainment.

“Here Comes Your Man (Demo)”—The Pixies
In addition to a re-release of “Painful,” this week also saw the revamping of the Pixies “Doolittle,” an album that helped write the Holy Scriptures of college radio rock. Among the extras added to this album are several demos of the original cuts, allowing even longtime Pixies fans to revisit the group’s classic sound as if for the first time. The demo of “Here Comes Your Man” is a standout cut that blends the Pixies wave of mutilating crunch and hummable pop into an all-too-short three minutes.

“Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart”—Owen
“Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart” is perhaps the most spectacular reinterpretation that can be heard on Owen’s new cover album, “Other People’s Songs.” Originally a duet between Against Me!’s Laura Grace and Tegan and Sara’s Tegan Quin, duo Mike Kinsella and Sarah Mitchell recast this tune with a troubadour croon, painting a relaxed picture of cozy guitars and strings. Like any great collection of covers, Owen’s release, available on Dec. 2, offers new perspectives while also encouraging us to revisit the original versions.

Retro Pick of the Week:
“Girlfriend”—Matthew Sweet
Matthew Sweet is one of power pop’s true savants, and fueled an always-welcome revival of the genre in the 1990s with exceptional songwriting and killer guitar playing. “Girlfriend” serves as an example of both: a fine piece of guitar pop that, despite having recognizable roots, never sounds derivative. If you like rock, pop, indie or music of any kind, this album is an essential edition to your collection.

Teddy Eisenberg is a third year programmer at WRUW-FM 91.1 Cleveland. He hosts The ’59 Sound, an exploration of rock music, every Thursday morning from 8-10 a.m. and co-hosts the variety talk show Max and Teddy in the Morning at Night (Sometimes) on Mondays from 5-6 p.m. The crackle of vinyl warms him on cold Cleveland nights.