Weekly Download Vol. II No. 11

Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons – (ups to Tdunn again.  That’s two weeks in a row.  Now I feel like you’re taking shots at my ego.  Watch it.   But as you’re one of the very few people who (presumably) read and also take the time to recommend, I laud you, sir and excoriate the rest of you.)  Nothing like bringing out the shit I missed in 2010 as early as possible in 2011.  This song wonders into impossible not to like territory in a harmonizing-dorky-white-guys kind of way.  It’s very much a less beautiful but angrier Fleet Foxes and that’s kind of unreal.  I’m at least somewhat surprised that I hadn’t learned/heard of Mumford & Sons based solely on the fact that this track finished No. 1 in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100.  If you’ve never heard of the Triple J Hottest 100 (and I’m willing to guess that only one of you, constant readers, have (and I hope when she reads this she will aggressively fact-check and correct the mistakes I’m about to make regarding her homeland)), that’s because it’s a music poll conducted annually by the Australian National Radio Station Triple J.  I used to follow it rather closely.  Why would you do that, Matt?  I’ll tell you why. It was born of pure obsession.   Pure obsession with a song titled Throw Your Arms Around Me.  More specifically, Eddie Vedder singing the song Throw Your Arms Around Me which I heard for the very first time my freshman year of college on a bootlegged CD I had some guy in Walker 6  burn for me (this seemed both a technological marvel and dangerously, illegally awesome at the time.  Now it only seems quaint).  The link is to one of the many versions of Vedder sing the song of which he once said “I’ve sung this at every camping trip I’ve ever been on.” I find this to be a remarkable compliment. (N.B. This is not the long fermenting Vedder/Pearl Jam post.  It’s coming, though.)  The song was originally recorded by the Australian band Hunters & Collectors (which still seems like the greatest name for an Australian band, ever).  This band and this song became the object of a good six weeks of may nascent interest research in the spring of 1998.  During that research, I learned several things.  First, Hunters & Collectors are kind of the Austrailan post 70s Lynyrd Skynyrd (not that their music is similar but they were sort of the little-band-that-could when compared to Austrailan rock titans like AC/DC, INXS, Men at Work and Midnight Oil, much like Skynyrd played second fiddle in their time (and I’m talking about the real pre-plane crash Skynard and not the current Zoo Amphitheater Skynyrd) to other American bands like Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles.) Second, as such, I think this song is very much the Australian Free Bird (notes to self about potential doctoral thesis if ever I go back to school).  Everyone knows it.  Everyone sings it, especially at the ends of parties and concerts and stuff.  And many, many Australian bands cover it.  As such, I would say it makes side 1 disc 1 of the Great Rock Music of Australia Time Life Compilation.  This was also reflected in its all time Triple J rankings (they do a best of the year and intermittent best of all time polls.  Both are fascinating to me.  But the best of all time especially because it seems that music began in 1970 in Australia. Nothing prior is even considered. Really, anything released in the 1970s is only granted some cursory emeritus status.  (Like you can’t have this kind of list if Stairway to Heaven isn’t on it.) I love how the Aussies just blatantly put their favorite songs on there with no real consideration given to their history or musical impact.  Like you know why Everlong by the Foo Fighters is no. 9 on the 2009 Hot 100 of all time? Cause it’s my favorite fucking song that’s why. I love the unpretentious candor of that.  I wish all music criticism was like that.)  While I don’t always agree with the Triple J Hot 100 in a given year (e.g. 2007 Muse – Knights of Cydonia and 2003 Jet – Are You Gonna Be My Girl), what it does and has proven to me is that Austrailians have much better taste in music than Americans (and they give Pearl Jam their just deserts).  But more importantly, they have a much more honest taste in music, like this track.  And it’s refreshing.  Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!  Enjoy.

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