Tunesday: Valentine’s Gray

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Friday is Valentine’s Day (or for Liz Lemon, Anna Howard Shaw Day), and that means a glut of blog posts and BuzzFeed articles about how polarizing the day is. Maybe it dredges up some emotional moments in your life that need an outlet of some kind, so why not have it be music? From abrasive hardcore to pretty dream pop, here’s an eclectic playlist for whatever Feb. 14 is for you.

Erasurehead – “Rainy Day Thoughts” 

Feb. 14 is set to be a gloomy, fogged-over Bay Area day, so why not take the day to yourself and cuddle up by a window with a cup of tea and Erasurehead’s light, poppy ode to the rain? Sure, it won’t actually be raining, but this is a great song to have playing in the background while you listen to calming rain sounds, contemplating whatever and staring out into the gray sky as it burns off into pink and orange.

Radkey – “Cat & Mouse”

Missouri-based punk rockers Radkey surfaced late last year with hard-edged, melodic tracks about boredom in the suburban Midwest, which is a familiar tune for anyone familiar with the genre. Punk rock thrives where there is sadness or dissidence or just raw emotion, and Radkey definitely serves up pop-punk full of discontent and energy that make you want to jump around and dance.

Tera Melos – “Sunburn”

Math rock isn’t exactly the most romantic or emotive subgenre, but it is ever fun to listen to — a lot is happening at once with guitar and bass and drums battling for sound domination yet comes together with amazing results. Tera Melos hates the term “math rock” for their music, but it has become a quintessential band for anyone looking to get into it, with harmonic, and somewhat surreal, “mathy” sounds. Also worth checking out: the group’s rendition of the song “Hey Sandy,” which was the theme song for the 90s Nick show “The Adventures of Pete and Pete.”

Raindance – “Comfort Me”

This is completely out of left field, but there isn’t a feeling quite like letting out all your pent-up energy in the explosiveness of a mosh pit at a show — the cathartic release of whatever you had been brooding over in a room with dozens of other people doing the same. Raindance’s “Comfort Me” starts out slow and sludgy but evolves into frantic double-pedal drums and in-your-face aggression, which is perfect for moshing, before reigning back in with ambient guitars and echo-y vocals.

Saharan Gazelle Boy – “Strange Teen Heart”

Dream pop has seen a resurgence over the past few years, with bands like Tamaryn and Blackbird Blackbird looking to capture the sound of early pioneers like Cocteau Twins and Cranes, or Best Coast and Surfer Blood blending dream pop and surf rock. The genre has mastered the art of evoking a hazy, pastel-tinted and romanticized world of life and love, and this track from Saharan Gazelle Boy has a distinct 80s flare, with synth and sleigh bells leading the chorus and graceful lyrics to fill your head.

St. Vincent & David Byrne – “Who”

We round off this list with a truly wonderful collaboration —Talking Heads virtuoso David Byrne and guitar goddess Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent. This single off their album Love This Giant starts off with the line “Who’ll be my valentine?” and ends with “Who’s gonna be my friend?” The blaring trumpets and unmistakable voices of these two singers create a delightful track that you’ll want to sing along loudly to with a special someone, be it your best friend, your boo or that canvasser you’re trying to avoid as you walk down Sproul.

Image source: Jason Persse under Creative Commons

Contact Youssef Shokry at [email protected]