The normal Muzak at my work is one of the most surprisingly progressive radio stations in town. You’d think that a big box retail store wouldn’t play songs by the likes of Cut Copy, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, Handsome Furs, Billy Bragg and Wilco, XX, Miike Snow or Ra Ra Riot, but everyday I hear that and more. Unfortunately, our Muzak crashed and we had to go with a back up plan. We bought Now That’s What I Call Music 45 (full disclosure, we also bought the 2013 Grammy Winners CD and Now 44. We also had an unfortunate stint with Now 11. Oh and I made a couple of mixes (with some Iowa artists even!), but they were nixed because my co-workers are haters. Well, one co-worker. Well, he thought Black Lips’ “Family Tree” was too loud. He was probably right.)

Here comes a shocking revelation. I am a music blogger who doesn’t listen to Top 40 much anymore. Or like, at all. I know that there is a thing called One Direction that exists, and one of them is named Harry and he got hit in the groin at a concert recently, but I had never listened to a single song. It isn’t personal; I just have precious little free time, so I don’t go out of my way to seek out stuff I probably won’t like. However, being exposed to Now 45 for four to five hours a day for roughly six days exposed me to some stuff I wouldn’t know otherwise. On that note here is one sentence about each song. Scroll down to the next bullet point if you don’t care and just want to read some stuff about Iowa.

One Direction – “Live While We’re Young” – I have a soft spot for boy bands ever since Donnie Wahlberg told me I had cool hair back in the late 80′s, so I kind of liked this song more than I imagine most non-12 year old girls would.

Flo Rida – “Cry” – The hook annoyed me, but this wasn’t terrible.

Ke$ha – “Die Young” – Ke$ha has this trait where I can’t stand her verses, but I always really like the choruses and this was no exception.

Ne-Yo – “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself) – There are so many songs that sound exactly like this song.

Pitbull – “Don’t Stop the Party” – Still wish Daddy Yankee was the breakout Reggaeton superstar, but Pitbull is kind of an endearing dude who got shipped to Alaska and went with a smile and holds concerts where he just pumps his fist with a Bud Light in his hand…


and I couldn’t help but like this one.

Calvin Harris and Florence Welch – “Sweet Nothing” – Love.

The Script feat. Will.I.Am- “Hall of Fame” – Didn’t love.

Maroon 5 – “Daylight” – This wasn’t as good as “Harder to Breathe” or “She Will Be Loved” but better than “Moves Like Jagger”.

Phillip Phillips – “Home” – This is in a bunch of commercials.

Ed Sheeran – “The A Team” – I think it was about a hooker and I could see why someone would like this, but I didn’t really.

Taylor Swift – “We Are Never Getting Back Together” – So catchy I eventually got Stockholm Syndrome and threatened anyone who tried to speak ill of it.

Kelly Clarkson – “Catch My Breath” – I still like Kelly, but this one was a bit forgettable.

P!nk (Does she still spell her name with an exclamation point? Did she ever? Did I dream that? Ke$ha spells her name with a dollar sign, still, right? Can I spell my name D@ve? No? Okay.) – “Try” – Hey, she’s coming to town on Nov. 8 and this song was a pretty okay little pop ballad.

OneRepublic – “Feel Again” – This is in a bunch of commercials, too, I think.

Imagine Dragons – “It’s Time” – I was familiar with this one because they played Gas Lamp just before they blew up, and I was pretty meh about it then and still am.

Florida Georgia Line – “Cruise” – Every time this guy goes “and sing from the heart”, the Earth moved a little closer to the sun and I could feel our imminent demise as a species.

There were a few bonus tracks, but I think this pretty well covered my experience with the Now records. Wasn’t a horrifying experience, but I do hope the regular Muzak works when I go back on Thursday.

2013 Gross Domestic Product was announced and it is a doozy. Spread across four 4th street venues on April 13, this year’s event features 19 acts and is headlined by the highly influential House of Large Sizes. This is a very rare opportunity to see one of Iowa’s legendary acts and so many others. Click the link for full info.

– I wrote a couple of pieces for Des Moines is Not Boring one about Cedar Falls post punk/pop band Twins and one about Iowa City singer/songwriter Brooks Strause

Lazerfest 2013 added Killswitch Engage and Bush to a lineup with Alice in Chains and more on May 10 in Boone. That may get me to go.

-Speaking of summer festivals, a new one called Rocket Suzie will be held in Spencer on June 8. It features a lot of really cool folk, acoustic, rock and alt country acts headlined by another influential and legendary Iowan Greg Brown and Texas band The Trishas. That is neat.

-Earlier this year I had a post mentioning a new album from Gadema and Aeon Grey. Well Aeon Grey’s album Lead Breakfast is out today and is available on Uncommon Records. Oh, and Gadema decided to drop ANOTHER album, this time with Purify called Hard to Hate and you can check that out here.

-I am going to check out Darwin Deez tonight at Vaudeville Mews, I think. But there are a ton of other cool shows in the next day or two. A favorite of mine, Fetal Pig, is playing the late show at Mews with Universe Contest and more. Also, one of my favorite country acts Ryan Bingham is playing a show at Wooly’s.

-Tomorrow Vaudeville Mews has an early show of Fol Chen, a late show with Jaill, Wooly’s has G Love and Special Sauce, and House of Bricks has Red Lamb, Dark Mirror and more. So, there is a lot going on. Try to hit at least one.