#10 Particles - Ólafur Arnalds with Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir (circa 2016)

Recorded in an old lighthouse, all the reverb you hear is natural and not added post production. Apparently the lyrics and vocal melody were improvised over the minimalist structure until the final recording. Ólafur’s music is also the foundation of our 2019 production, “Menagerie”. Fellow Icelander Nanna is the vocalist for “Of Monsters and Men” (Little Talks). This song hits squarely in the feels.



#9 Mont Blanc - Quiet Hollers (circa 2015)

I know I planted those seeds down too deep
They'll die and never see the sun
My fault for that one
I was a city boy before
No excuses anymore
I'll try to learn and to keep us fed
Shed a tear for the books I should have read

And I'd seen all the warning signs
On the TV, in the Times
But I had you to hold at night
And so it took me by surprise
We had so many things back then
I had a silver Mont Blanc pen
I'd write for hours about nothing
That makes any difference now

And I used to worry what clothes I had on
The school recitals and the manicured lawns
And I had a laundry-list of people
I could count on if it all went wrong
And then the bomb

Now I take precautions for my peace of mind
I don't know what difference it might make
To hang on any longer
But I cut the tree across the drive
Spend the daylight hours inside
Trying to make the place look empty
So as no-one comes around

I thought I saw them again last night
Those same distant headlights
Sweeping back and forth across
The empty shells of the summer homes
And if the bastards ever come
Promise me you'll take the kids and run
I may be weak and I may be frail
But I can throw them off your trail

And I used to worry what clothes I had on
The school recitals and the manicured lawns
And I had a laundry-list of people
I could count on if it all went wrong...
And then the bomb

Shed a tear for the books I should have read


#8 Apt 33 Again - The Ruff Pack (circa 2013)

The drummer in this clip is Daru Jones. He’s also Jack White’s (The White Stripes) drummer. He has the unique approach and skill to find that in-between-strict-adherence-to-the-math…vs. swing. It’s a funk all to its own. Notice how you’ll hear multiple interpretations of the space between the notes from each section of the trio. It almost hurts your brain. It’s an incredibly untapped universe, I believe. And just when you think no one on stage is paying attention…things are getting “sloppy”…bam: locked in on the ‘a’ of 4 for the groove takedown. Amazing.



#7 Disappear - Army of Anyone (circa 2006)

The guitarist and bassist from Stone Temple Pilots were on a break due to their vocalist, the now deceased Scott Weiland, being dysfunctional.  Vocalist, Richard Patrick (former NIN member), was breaking from his band Filter.  Drummer, Ray Luzier (currently with Korn), was taking a break from the David Lee Roth band.  So guess what happened next?  A super band of sorts.  They made one album.  Great musicianship happening here.


#6 Dusty Trails - Lucius (circa 2016)

I'm not sure this is relevant to our lessons, other than our consistent topic of BELIEVABILITY. There's a soul to this which cannot be ignored.  Music is churned out by the machine at such a rate, artists who create their own material are often overlooked or swallowed whole due to their lack of hip relevancy.  Maybe just consider this a shoutout to the original and authentic content creators.  Enjoy.


#5 Wrapped Around Your Finger - The Police (circa 1983/2007)

Police:  LIVE in 2007 playing their 1983 hit.  Hit?  That sounds weird.  It almost devalues its significance.  Hit:  entertainment fodder.  I digress...It could be said that our approach at VM is derivative of Stewart's style.  For years I pondered why we can't or why we don't play marching percussion like Stewart.  So, behold:  this is where it came from.


#1 State of Independence - Jon Anderson (circa 1981)

Yes.  The band Yes.  The lead singer from the band Yes.

He wrote this beautiful song with Vangelis (film composer:  Blade Runner, Chariots of Fire, etc).  Almost 30 years later, he was a guest of the Cleveland Youth Symphony.  This video is of that performance.  However, the audio is clearly from a controlled recording environment.  It’s been done many times by different artists, including Donna Summer, Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders), etc.  Enjoy!