From the literal second that this video performance by Tank and the Bangas starts, you’ll feel a smile creep onto your face and an emotion I can most definitely name as pure delight. Aside from the fact that the song itself is a certifiable banger, watching this band do something that they so visibly enjoy down to their very cores with each other should feel like it’s exclusionary to the viewer, but somehow the entire 3 minutes and 56 seconds feels like the complete opposite of that.
Just watching their faces as they rhyme and sing and play bass and saxophone feels like a connection, because it’s like we all share the feeling that music is happy potion. And also, the main singer looks like the type of girl you’d like to befriend because you know there’d be a lot of laughter and hilarious in-jokes (who doesn’t love in-jokes right?!).
The band are winners of NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest, which is a competition where amateurs send in their videos for a chance to perform at the Tiny Desk Concert. And if you have no idea what that is, I suggest you look it up, but be prepared to get lost in an internet wormhole of awesome performances (some of my favorites include Aanderson .Paak (HOW CAN YOU RAP AND PLAY DRUMS AT THE SAME TIME?!), Sylvan Esso, T-Pain (because it’s so surprising) and tUnE-yArDs). [And if you have favorites of your own, tell me what they are!]
Before you do that though, put aside some time right now to watch Tank and the Bangas and repeat as necessary.
I know, I know, I’m consistently inconsistent, but I’m trying to do better mainly because I feel like sharing music is all I have to keep me relatively sane. And if I consider all the pleasure I get from my daily listening and the possibility that I could spread that joy even just a little bit, then I’m basically punking myself when I don’t share posts because it’s something that I know is important to me.
So even though after all this time I feel like you are owed some sort of coherent wrap-up of all the music that has been filling my soul, I have to start here with this ultra-chill playlist that I made a while ago, which perfectly suited the Friday-after-work-vibes-with-a-strong-cocktail I was feeling when I put it on today. It’s got some songs from 2016, which for everything that it was in terms of borderline apocalyptic, has to go down as one of my favorite musical years along with 2013, 2009 and 1998 – and yes, there is a playlist dedicated to 2016: A Shit Year for the World but a Dope One for Music that will come.
The song on this playlist with the coolest background story has to be Ariel Pink’s “Baby”, which is a cover of an original by Donnie and Joe Emerson – two brothers from a tiny town in Washington state who cut a record in their home studio in the ‘70s after their father took out a loan on his farm to support his sons’ talents.
Dreamin’ Wild was pretty much unheard of until a crate-digger found it in a record shop in 2012, and eventually Ariel Pink’s cover of opening track“Baby” blew the lid on the long-forgotten passion project. The albumwas re-released shortly after the cover was, and the Emerson brothers got acclaim for the amazing album they made when they were just teenagers on a farm. So with that bit of optimism and reminder of good in the world, here’s a sit-back-and-chill playlist with a little old and a little new, which I mainly hope can briefly remove you from the craziness of the world right now, even if it’s just for the amount of time it takes to listen to twelve songs.
Tracklist: Ariel Pink – Baby
Night Moves – Colored Emotions
The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows
Japanese Breakfast – The Woman That Loves You
Bon Iver – For Emma
Dumbo Gets Mad – Indian Food
The Flaming Lips – The Castle
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – So Good At Being in Trouble
Pond – Sweep Me Off My Feet
Soft Hair – Lying Has To Stop
Good Morning – Warned You
Khruangbin – Dern Kala