30 Day Song Challenge, Day 01

So, Murray mentioned this, and given my love of picking songs to fit categories (see my five songs series), I figured I’d give it a shot.

Just a reference here to the fact that I did not catch this sweeping through Facebook, because I’m not on Facebook. Thusly, I tend to avoid these trends. This time though, it kind of meshed up with what I like to do anyway, so I thought what the helicopter pilot…

Basically, I have to pick a song a day for 30 days, and each one has to fit that day’s theme. Simple. And fun! Well, fun is probably not the right word. But interesting maybe? A nice way to revisit certain songs. Maybe a nice way for you to discover songs I like. I’d love to be able to post all this stuff, I’d really only do it through legal means (because I actively disdain music piracy), so apologies in advance for songs where you have to take my word for it.

So let’s get to it shall we?

Day 01: Your Favourite Song

Wow, what a category to start with huh?

This is a really hard one for me to pin down, there are so many candidates. But then again, this list will cover many of those candidates, and I guess it doesn’t matter too much in the end. With that in mind, I quickly ran through some of the candidates without much luck – until I stumbled across a favourite of the last five years.

The Stares are a band seemingly nobody has really heard of. I discovered them on Trey Spruance’s label Web of Mimicry, which has quite a fawning blurb about them. 1 2 3 is led by the bittersweet piano and sultry breathy voice of Angie Benintendi, one of the band’s two songwriters. There’s a tendency in certain “indie” female singer/songwriters to affect a very child-like voice (see Joanna Newsom) that I really can’t get behind. Benintendi’s voice is exquisitely feminine, but it seems more natural, more real, more earthbound. The Stares’ songs in general seem to carry a hefty weight, but also drift and meander like a cloud. It’s perfect summer evening music.

In addition to the core band, Eyvind Kang provides wondrous string and woodwind arrangements that support and enhance without detracting from the intoxicating homespun breathy intimacy of what is a fairly simple song on paper. It’s exceptionally well produced to boot, by my absolute favourite producer of all time, Randall Dunn, along with his partner Mell Dettmer. This might be my favourite record that they’ve been involved with.

I cannot say enough good words about this song, and you should totally listen to it – It’s not weird and scary like you might have expected. It seems like a song even normal people could love despite its above-average length. It’s real damn pretty, and it might well be my favourite song. After all, it’s the only song I dug up that I instantly felt could fit this category.

P.S. You can and should go listen to (and buy) the Stares’ two exceptionally sublime records at their Bandcamp page right now.

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