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Top Five Fridays: Joseph Cunningham

December 13, 2014

Hey Folks,

Welcome to another installment of Top Five Fridays where a cool cat comes onboard All The Day Sounds and shares five of their favorite musical works!  Today, Writer and Musician Joseph Cunningham tunes in from West Chester PA to share with us some assorted recorded goodness.


Joseph Cunningham

Joseph Cunningham


Besides being the editor of the “Create” channel over at Humane Pursuits, a sweet site dedicated to the demonstration of “how to live lives and build communities in modern America that reflect the pursuits that make life worth living,”  Mr. Cunningham is a top notch songwriter and in 2012 released the “The Scale HousEP,”  a lo-fi indie folk pop record that lives in heavy rotation here at All The Day Sounds.  On songs like “Fathers & Sons” he effortlessly manages the nearly impossible balance of being both intelligent and anthemic.  So folks, circle up and listen good as we welcome Joseph Cunningham to the floor!



It’s so hard to pick twenty of your favorite albums, not to mention five. However, I did some soul-searching. I consulted my CD binder and the LPs on my shelves. I reflected. I prayed. I sweated. Finally, I fled to a granite hermitage in the White Mountains, where I watched over the Alpacas of a part-time agrarian and shepherded my thoughts.


Here’s what I came up with.


100 Lovers-DeVotchKa



There’s a Czech or Polish gypsy in my family’s past somewhere. Or maybe it was a Transylvanian vampire. I don’t remember, but either way, this dark cabaret, gypsy punk album has stuck with me.


DeVotchKa are amazing songwriters. They integrate the folky strains of accordion, brass, and violin with the melancholic, vagrant electric guitar and muted drums. The result is a beautiful, moody world tour: one minute you’re in the Alps, and the next you’re in Monterrey – cold, then hot. Nothing but vivid, passionate colors in this album.


100 Lovers complements wintry, snowy days and long, winding drives through mountains really well. Wear your boots, and drink something strong while listening to this one. I usually do – just not while driving.



Vampire Weekend-Vampire Weekend



Speaking of vampires…not related to these guys, but the fact is, Vampire Weekend’s first album has been the staple holding together the last few pages of my life in some ways.


This is one of those “sound” albums for me, where not only do lyrics and composition resonate, but the production quality owns a room in my soul. Maybe it’s Koenig’s guitar, or Batmanglij’s organ settings. I don’t know. What I do know, is that this album feels like coquina, arches like a painted ceiling, and rocks like a day on the water. It’s one of those rare intellectual albums, too. Sure, Vampire Weekend divulge about love and relationships, but they sing about subcultures, books, and history, too.


Menos El Oso-Minus the Bear



This album sounds like the surf to me, so I’m usually listening to it on the way to Cape May, or while daydreaming about sand in my shoes.


Menos el Oso is tightly written, and sometimes the guitars hum like insects in a bottle, yet for such a grooving (and occasionally lustful) piece of math rock, holy moly is it romantic. It’s eros incarnate, wandering the coasts and longing for eternity.






Guilty pleasures aside, I suppose everyone has their rock album. This is mine. Antidotes is like one of those rare group projects where everything goes right. It’s as though all the team members did their share of the work, turned assignments in on time, and offered to be the presenter.


It’s a unique composition: skeletal, tightly syncopated guitar layers over complex, staggered drum parts. Saxophone flourishes. Sparse lyrics. English accents. Art rock, dance punk, math rock, all rolled up into a Brit grenade. Curious yet? Give it a listen. It’s the most contained fury you’ll ever experience.



Lighght-Kishi Bashi



Lighght is beauty. This album breathes rich, rich melodies and deeply poetic lyrics. Romantic, conflicted, and hopelessly gorgeous, Lighght strikes me as the Fitzgerald of albums. And yet, for all its classical sensibilities, Kishi Bashi knows pop. He blends the caked violin layers and anomalistic imagery with synth opium and drum machines, and it works. The result?




Go listen, and be bewildered.



Thanks Sir!  You can read the writings of Joseph Cunningham over here where he holds court at Humane Pursuits.  You can also follow him on twitter.  Also, because he is cool like that, “The Scale HousEP” is pay what you will on bandcamp.  Don’t pass this opportunity by.


Thanks for listening folks! We have a STACKED line up coming up for Top Five Fridays, so be sure to tune in next week for more goodness.  Also, feel free to mosey around the archives for previous installments.

well peace out good people of the world,


Peter Winter



Peter Winter spent way too much at Burger Records on Cyber Monday, but you can’t really say no to $4.50 Cassette Tapes.  You can follow him on twitter.

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