Sunday, October 20, 2013

Whistling Indie – Still Cool After All These Years


     At each of the last two Austin City Limits Festivals, a song that included whistling caught our attention. In 2012, Bad Books performed “Forest Whitaker” and explained that if they had realized how difficult it is to whistle on demand, they wouldn’t have included the whistle in the song. This year, it was Delta Rae that used a heavy dose of whistling in a song that was announced as being a new release, but we didn’t catch the name.
     In the 1960s, Otis Redding very effectively used whistling in his signature song (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay." Since then, hits such as the anthem ”Don’t Worry, Be Happy” (Bobby McFerrin) have featured the “instrument.” The focus of Indie Obsessive is on relatively current music, but to provide a biased (very biased) naming of a few other older songs with a whistle:
"Away FRM U" - Oberhofer
"Day Dream" – Lovin’ Spoonful
"Fatal Shore" - Andrew Bird
"Golden Years" – David Bowie
"GoodBye Stranger" - Supertramp
"Home" – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
"Jealous Guy" - John Lennon
"Let's Go Surfing" - The Drums
"Patience" - Guns N' Roses
"Pumped Up Kicks" - Foster the People
"Sissyneck" - Beck
"The Fishin' Hole" (theme to The Andy Griffith Show) - Andy Griffith
"The Whistling Song" - The Walkmen
"Tighten Up" – Black Keys
"Two Of Us" - The Beatles
"Walk Like An Egyptian" – The Bangles
"Wind Of Change" - Scorpions
"Young Folks" - Peter Bjorn and John

     With that background, here are the more current whistle-featured songs in Indie, again with a bias. We wrote about Trapdoor Social in February. For those of us who don’t memorize all of the blog entries, we need a refresher. To quote, ”Trapdoor Social is a duo from the Los Angeles area. Merritt Graves and Skylar Funk met because they both were in an Environmental Analysis program at Pomona College. They explain that the concern for the environment is channeled into the music, which they describe as “a driving, emotive alt-pop experience.” 
     "Away" by Trapdoor Social


     Twin Forks is a supergroup we were scheduled to see at Austin City Limits. Then, the rain hit and we instead saw a Dallas Cowboys game as “Plan B.” “Plan A” would have been our preference, but ya gotta adapt.
     "Cross My Mind" by Twin Forks 



     Fitz and the Tandums give us "The Walker"


     Switching gears from Indie Pop to Indie Western, K.S. Rhoads is based in Nashville, Tennessee. The song is "Harvest."


     In tribute to a good friend of ours (Pat B.), we include the song “Crazy Bird” by Wild Child. Pat has enjoyed the music of Wild Child for more than a year and is looking forward to their visit to San Francisco later this year. "Crazy Bird" includes whistling, horns, and a group yell - can it get more Indie? 


     We like a few songs by Parks, Squares and Alleys. But we are only including “Forest,” since it’s the one with the whistling.


     Michael Franti & Spearhead performed the song “I’m Alive” on David Letterman. It certainly looked and sounded like a good time.


     Here's another fun one - "Into the Wild" by LP. This one is currently being offered as a free download by LP's recording studio. The download link is CLICK HERE.


     Here’s something from Canada –  specifically, Calgary. "I Lost Myself" by Lauren Mann & The Fairly Odd Folk


     This is minimalism at its best – “5 Years Time” by Noah and the Whale


     It seems fitting to end this blog entry with a song from a band that ended. The band has disbanded, but the music lives on. The Middle East has the song “Blood.”

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