Last week, for our Throwback Thursdays series, we reminisced on a lovely session
we shot with Bad Books
. Bad Books is a terrifically fun act in its own right, but it's also the side project of Kevin Devine as well as members of Manchester Orchestra. And -- as is becoming a pattern with our Mixtape Wednesday series -- it got me thinking about other great side projects and solo efforts in the music world. This list is going to lean a little older than our usual mixtapes, but that's okay. We could all use some classic rock on our Wednesdays.
For those that want to skip the article and get right to the music, you can find the Spotify version of this mixtape here
, and there will be a Youtube playlist embed of the whole thing at the bottom of the article.
Brandon Flowers -- "Can't Deny My Love"
This newest solo track from the Killers' frontman has been my most played track of the year thus far. To say that we've fallen instantly in love with it would be a major understatement.
Paul McCartney feat. Wings -- "Band on the Run"
Hmmm...what was that band Paul McCartney was in before Kanye West made him famous with "Only One?" It's on the tip of my tongue. The Radishes? The Carrots? I think they were kind of popular in the 60s, maybe?
Feist -- "The Bad In Each Other"
Before Feist won our hearts as a solo artist with "1234," she was one of the lead vocalists for indie supergroup Broken Social Scene. Feist hasn't toured with the Scene in nearly a decade now, but on slow days, I like to pop in You Forgot It in People
and remember a noiser, harder-rocking portion of Leslie Feist's career.
The Throne aka Kanye West & Jay-Z -- "Otis"
Kanye and Jay-Z have been collaborating since Yeezy produced "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" back in 2001, and they're featured on guest verses on each other's albums without fail. But The Throne side album was all Ye and Jay all the time, and "Otis" is still my pick for the best track on the record.
Dave Matthews -- "Gravedigger"
I know it's not cool to admit this, but I love early Dave Matthews Band. Dave and crew are extremely talented musicians whose reputation was sullied by being loved by douchey fraternity brothers everywhere. Dave has released some records without the rest of DMB, and "Gravedigger" from Some Devil
is my favorite of his solo material.
Bruce Springsteen -- "Radio Nowhere"
Bruce Springsteen made 90% of his classic records with the E Street Band, but 2007's solo record, Magic
, is a personal favorite of mine from The Boss. And "Radio Nowhere" was the album's standout single.
St. Vincent -- "Cruel"
Here's a fact that I didn't know until I was prepping for an interview with the Polyphonic Spree. Annie Clark got her start playing guitar for that ebullient, eccentric pop act. We have many things to thank the Spree for, but giving the world Annie Clark might be the biggest one.
Gorillaz -- "Clint Eastwood"
If I'd been old enough in the early 90s to understand genre in a meaningful way and you'd told me that Damon Albarn was going to put Blur on halt to make one of the best alternative hip-hop groups of the last 20 years, I'd have laughed.
Eric Clapton -- "My Father's Eyes"
Cream. The Yardbirds. The Traveling Wilburys. Need I go on. Well, even if I needed to, I can't cause I can't hear this song without getting choked up. I love you, Dad.
Eight and a Half -- "Go Ego"
Broken Social Scene was a supergroup with well over a dozen members at various points in its decade long career so you should have suspected that one of its members would show up again. Justin Peroff was BSS's drummer and helped form Eight and a Half with Liam O'Neil of the Stills. You might not know them, but their debut record was great.
Tom Petty -- "Free Fallin'"
It's so weird to me that the Tom Petty song with the most mainstream recognition isn't a Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers song. "Free Fallin'" ranks pretty low on the list of my favorite Petty tracks, but it's still a great song, and you haven't really lived until you've been part of a live sing-along of this song's chorus with Petty himself leading the way.
Destroyer -- "Kaputt"
Everybody loves the New Pornographers, and Destroyer's Kaputt
was one of the most acclaimed albums of 2011, but how many people remember that Destroyer is none other than the New Pornographer's Dan Bejar?
Steve Winwood -- "Higher Love"
Traffic is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame -- rightfully so -- and while I'm not entirely sure if Steve Winwood should make the cut as a solo artist, his vocals on "Higher Love" are still a little unbelievable.
David Bowie -- "Young Americans"
I'm stretching things a little bit here, but I had no idea that a very young Luther Vandross sang back-up vocals on "Young Americans" until I watched the Academy Award-winning documentary, 20 Feet From Stardom
. He's the chubby male back-up singer in the video below.
Tyler the Creator -- "Yonkers"
Tyler spends most of his time fronting the controversial (and often repugnant) rap crew Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All, but back in 2011, he dropped the atomic scorcher, "Yonkers," and its brilliantly nauseating video. We want more of this Tyler in the future.
Tom Tom Club -- "Genius Of Love"
It can't be easy working under the shadow of David Byrne's genius, but the other members of Talking Heads made sure we knew that Byrne wasn't the only musical innovator in the band with their side act, Tom Tom Club.
Bad Books -- "Forest Whitaker"
And now we're back where we started. I love Kevin Devine, but I never even knew he was part of Bad Books until I was prepping for my interview with him -- which is going live this week -- and a friend started talking about how much she loved "Forest Whitaker." The friend has good taste.
And, as promised, here's the YouTube embed of the whole playlist.