Old 97s frontman and solo singer-songwriter Rhett Miller’s popularity rose steadily thanks to his strong songwriting and singing — no gimmicks. His latest album, The Dreamer, is another solid set from Miller. To celebrate the occasion, he’s wrangled his favorite songs into the playlist found below.
Rock, folk, pop — play Rhett Miller’s Faves now, and read his well-written notes on why he picked each song.
The New Pornographers - “Mutiny, I Promise You”
Carl Newman writes great songs. Thorny, dense things, devoid of obvious handles and hooks, but sticky and slippery in the best way. Oh yeah, and Neko Case as a vocal counterpoint? Pretty sweet.
Guster - “Do You Love Me”
Do you love handclaps? Do you love bells? Do you love songs that will keep you awake at night out of sheer catchiness? Then you will love this song.
Guided By Voices - “Teenage FBI”
Once upon a time, The Cars' Ric Ocasek produced a record for the kings of lo-fi indie rock and this song came into being. At less than two minutes, this song challenges you not to play it again.
Redd Kross - “Peach Kelli Pop”
This ultimate rocker, off their historic Neurotica album, will start any day off right. I wanted to include "Stay Away From Downtown" off their upcoming album Researching The Blues, which features the classic Neurotica lineup, but that album doesn't drop until August. In the meantime, you should be researching Redd Kross.
Dukes of Stratosphear - “Little Lighthouse”
This XTC side project has never left my heavy rotation. I wish more people remembered them. Garage rock psychedelia that will melt your square brain. Play it loud.
The Head and The Heart - “Lost in My Mind”
Seems these guys are blowing up these days. And rightly so. THATH are a great combination of the sweet little things I love about music (simple melodies, sparse moments), and the huge, fun things (mallet-wielding monster drummer, massive multi-part harmonies), and are, thus, one of my favorite new bands.
Carolina Chocolate Drops - “Cornbread and Butterbeans”
I just love these guys. I hesitate to describe them too much. You should just find out for yourself. This song contains my new motto: “Eatin' beans and makin’ love as long as I am able".
Crowded House - “Fall At Your Feet”
I toured with Neil Finn years ago and came away from the experience with a newfound respect for his enormous talent and admirable work ethic. Oh, and this new favorite song.
Ben Kweller - “Jealous Girl”
BK has been blowing my mind since he was a kid. And his newest record may be his best yet.
Sarah Jaffe - “Clementine”
This track appears on her new record Suburban Nature. It's a sweetheart of a song and a perfect showcase for the husky beauty of her pipes. To have such a special voice and the ability to write a song like this? An embarrassment of riches for my young friend Sarah.
Dawes - “When My Time Comes”
With songs like this, Dawes time should be coming... Right. About. Now.
The Pixies - “Wave of Mutilation”
The greatest song of all time. That's all.