the sound of your morning: 5 songs to start the day

It’s been ages since I started a Monday feeling like I wanted to get back in bed for about a week. But last night two of my best friends and I rented a private room at a downtown karaoke spot and sang at the top of our lungs until we felt like we were going to drop. It’s hard to express how therapeutic it is to sing out loud without worrying about how lame you sound. I stopped caring about my puny voice somewhere between a round of Blondie and Clash songs. But I need a little bit of Debbie Harry’s stamina this morning to get off the couch and jump start my week, so I thought I’d share some of the soundtrack to my Monday morning. Last week’s music post got over 100 comments and introduced me to at least five new bands that I’m listening to on heavy rotation right now (thank you!). So today I thought I’d gear the recommendations toward the songs that bring you out of a sleepy stupor. Do you crank the volume and fill your home with something loud, or do you prefer to be lulled back to life by something soft and comforting? After reading everyone’s SXSW tweets this week, I have a feeling I’m not the only one in need of a little Monday morning pick-me-up. (And, in honor of SXSW, my selections this morning are all live music videos.)

So what’s your musical version of espresso? And, if your musical wake-me-up is more like a warm cup of chamomile tea, feel free to lay that on me, too. I eventually want to turn these reader-generated playlists into something we can all download, so please feel free to share MySpace and YouTube links. I’m excited to fill my home with new sounds this morning and hear what it’s like inside your homes. xo, grace

*Image above from Whitney and Jesse Chamberlin’s Sneak Peek

Wye Oak, “Civilian” — It was impossible to follow SXSW this year and not hear a steady stream of “OMG WYE OAK IS AMAZING” online. After repeat listens this weekend, I’m convinced everyone’s right. They’re amazing. Another reason to love Baltimore and the fabulous artists it produces.

#1.2 — The Spinto Band, “Oh Mandy” by lablogotheque

The Spinto Band, “Oh Mandy” — Zach from College Humor is the only reason I know about this band, and I love them to this day. AC introduced me to this amazing Takeaway Shows website years ago, and it’s remained one of the best and most interesting places to watch fantastic bands play live. Click here and get ready to lose a good four to five hours of your day watching live music.

CLICK HERE for more Monday morning music after the jump and to share your own!

The New Pornographers, “All the Old Showstoppers” — I have AC to thank for a large chunk of my favorite music. The New Pornographers are the best example of that. Carl Newman is probably my favorite musician of all time, and this live show in the back of a cab makes me incredibly happy. Geek-out moment? Carl and his lovely wife Christy opened up their home to us last summer, and it will be featured in the D*S Book this fall. I had a hard time sitting there, acting like it was normal to be two feet away from him. I’m pretty sure Amy had to listen to me gush about how amazing he and the band are for the entire ride to and from Woodstock. Sorry, Amy. But they’re that amazing.

The Empties, “Oh My God” by eikonproductions

The Empties, “Oh My God” — I’ve had a crush on this band ever since I saw this performance video shot in Athens, GA. I’m not kidding when I say that I want to time the D*S Book Tour visit to Athens with one of their shows.

The Avett Brothers, “At The Beach” — This is one of my favorite songs of the past few years. These guys are amazing performers and often use their (stomping) feet as percussion for live songs. It’s hard to listen to any of their music and not feel like a) learning to play the banjo and b) smiling and whistling around the house. Click here to read the D*S Sights & Sounds interview with Scott Avett. (There’s a banjo malfunction in this version, but I love their intensity in the performance and wanted to share it anyway.)

  1. April says:

    Matt and Kim get my going in the morning when I start off convinced it’s going to be a crappy day. Here’s three of my favorites (their new album Sidewalks is amazing, too, but I’m particularly attached to these songs):


    Lessons Learned- (I like watching this video before starting a day of painting. It’s, metaphorically, what I do when I make art)

    Lightspeed (actually a fan vid)-

    xo. I hope I can make someone as happy as this music made me when I first heard it!

  2. Jamie says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the Take Away Shows link! I’ve just lost a few hours watching, as you predicted :)

    1. grace says:


      so glad you liked it- it is indeed totally addictive. ;)


  3. Clare says:

    A friend introduced to India Arie’s “Beautiful Day” to me a few months ago! I love it.

  4. okcrochet says:

    The video will make you laugh at first– but by the end you will be dancing right along with him, i promise.

    Mika :: We Are Golden

  5. Jessica says:

    Not the best vids, but what can ya do?

    I majorly lurve Middle Brother, and their song “Blue Eyes” really gets me moving in the morning.

    Dawes’ “When My Time Comes” is definitely a morning time fave.

    And The Chemistry Set’s “Born In Bloom” can start my day in a cheery way.

  6. Rachel says:

    Love that record player! i like putting a modern spin on something old! I’m refinishing an old record player here:

    1. grace says:

      ha- good post title, rachel ;)


  7. Nicole says:

    I like to start off pretty mellow in the morning, but something I can sing along to so I can slowly wake up! My list as of late (most are from the past few years):

    Laura Marling: Ghosts

    The Cinematic Orchestra: To Build a Home

    James Blake: The Wilhelm Scream

    Then I slowly start pepping it up:)

    OhLand: Sun of a Gun

    Bird and the Bee: Polite Dance Song

    Metric: Raw Sugar

  8. Emelie says:

    Band of Skulls – Fires (this’ll getcha up! — the whole album will)

    Lily Allen LDN

    Lissie – The Pursuit of Happiness!

    The Be Good Tanyas – It’s not happening

  9. Lisa Mecham says:

    Recently this band has been heavy in my “gotta get moving” rotation:

    Young The Giant
    “My Body”

    Grace, I love that you kick off Monday’s with music selections and conversations (via the comments). I have recently started blogging for the Gundlach Bundschu winery.
    music + wine = good stuff

    Check it out at:

  10. Lauren says:

    Hi Grace,

    I also love all things Carl Newman (can’t wait to see his home!), and this song from his old band Zumpano is great wake up music!

  11. Kristina says:

    What a surprise! I am from DE, home of the Spinto Band…friends with some of their Dads (The Sin City Band). I love these guys. One of my favorite outings is the Black Friday event at a local bar when both bands play. We love them here in DE!

  12. Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves

    It’s impossible to be in a crabby mood after listening to that song – no matter how little sleep I got the night before (I have a toddler and an infant so sleep is … interesting)

  13. Mike G. says:

    After you’ve worked through the Takeaway Shows on La Blogotheque start working your way through the Black Cab sessions like this one for First Aid Kit.

  14. jc says:

    my cup of tea is bosse nova and all that sexy stuff you hear on james bond flicks. And as my spiked cup of tea the Strokes and the Who.

    Love this post!

    1. grace says:


      ooh, haven’t listened to bossa nova in a while. good call. perfect for this slow rainy day.

      i used to love this band- they do sort of an updated bossa nova thing: (She’s wearing a CRAZY outfit for the gig)


  15. Lara says:

    Have been listening to everyone’s recommendations all afternoon – awesome! Always need new music in my life. I’m still loving Mark Ronson’s Bang Bang Bang – – on my walk into walk.

  16. db says:

    just discovered this
    hauntingly beautiful. perhaps more suited to a monday night rather than a Monday morning…
    great post!

  17. taylor says:

    Josh Ritters “Light In My Lantern”

  18. emily says:

    my boyfriend has been learning to play the ukulele, and when i sleepily refuse to wake up, he starts playing hotel yorba by the white stripes.
    it’s so sweet and gets me up for the day.

    (the video is kind of weird and unromantic. i much prefer our recontextualization.)

  19. Luce says:

    This is such an awesome new feature. I love it!
    Wye Oak is seriously amazing. My SXSW pick was Karmina. They’re this rad poppy girl duo. So lovable! They always get me dancing even when I’m in the dourest of moods. And they played with Hanson this year. The cutest video in the world:

  20. Dimity says:

    Wow I’m a little late, but absolutely loving this post!

    Boy and Bear and Florence and the machine are my main wake up and dance around the house music!

    Boy and Bear are aussie and just played the SXSW fest over there…

  21. Kara says:

    I agree with Amanda…CABINET! CUTE! WHERE?!


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