CSS playlist - July 2023
We are excited to announce our first CSS playlist on Spotify and Tidal to let us share the music we like with everyone else. Some of these are tracks we use to test our designs and some are just things we love personally. Scroll down to see the tracks and comments, or if you just want the music, use one of the links below.
1. Lincoln Durham – Living This Hard
Lincoln Durham is a one man band on a lot of his tracks, playing all the instruments simultaneously. This track has a great, grungy blues sound with some nice punchy percussion and lots of harmonica.
2. Marcus King – One Day She’s Here
This album is a great mix of blues, R&B, and gospel influence that I’ve found I really like. There is a nice, tight bass line and some cool backup singer vocals throughout.
3. Tool – Prison Sex
Possibly the most well recorded hard rock album ever made. The dynamics are really high on this and you should turn it up at the beginning to really get some great impact from the bass line.
4. Keb’ Mo’ – Shave Yo’ Legs
All of Keb’ Mo’s albums are really well recorded. This one is no different. The intro on this track is great for checking how low the distortion of a driver is based on the tonality of the instruments. Keb’ Mo’s vocals are deep and can be used to check for boominess or thinness in the lower midrange and upper bass.
5. Ramin Djawadi – Heart Shaped Box
This cover of Heart Shaped box is done by an orchestra and gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. The music is really powerful but also really complex with some good dynamics, so it is a great test of how clean your speakers can be with very complex passages at loud levels. Many speakers will start to collapse the soundstage and muddle the instruments together at higher output volumes.
6. These Walls – Tedeschi Trucks Band
This is one of my favorite bands and this track is probably my favorite off this album. Susan Tedeschi’s voice is something I use a lot in testing. Many speakers make her voice sound flat, lifeless, or shouty.
7. Ben Sollee – How to See the Sun Rise
a. Ben Sollee does some unique cello work in his album. This track has a very percussive feeling, even on the strings.
8. Who Needs Friends – Royal Blood
This has a driving guitar with some cool background effects (guitar, wood block, chime) that can showcase soundstage. However, if your speaker has tilted up frequency response to get that soundstage, it will be apparent on the aggressive guitar and vocals.
9. The Stapleton Singers – I'll Take You There
A great natural recording and a song that just makes me feel good. Wherever the Staple Singers want to take me, I'm down. Very solid musician placement in the soundstage makes for a fun 3D experience.
10. Barenaked Ladies – The Flag
The strings in this song steal the show for me with crisp guitar and ominous cello. Vocals come right through the middle and deliver the bummer of a message. Very well recorded and a great listen.
11. Steely Dan – Sign In Stranger
Killer piano "mini-solos" tucked into the body of another great Steely Dan recording.
12. The Ting Tings – That's Not My Name
Awesome impact in this song with chest-thumping upper bass and an in-your-face presentation. Not often, but occasionally, this song fits the mood perfectly for me.
13. Annie Lennox – Little Bird
Annie Lennox' voice cuts like a knife through the techno-bass backing on this track. A bit of a softball track for speaker demos as most equipment will sound great, but still fun to listen to Annie doing her thing.
14. Lauren Pritchard – Stuck
Not sure where this kid got her smoky voice, but from the first roll into kick drum and her first word, I was hooked on this track. It's a little midbass heavy, which also makes it a great test track - cabinet resonances and tuning misalignments will be pronounced if present.
15. Lizzo – Boys
Gratuitous bass track, but well recorded and truth be told, Lizzo is a bad ass. A trained flautist turned pop star, I started paying attention after seeing her Tiny Desk Concert and her persistent positivity is welcome in my playlist any time.
16. War – Sun Oh Son
My all time favorite band - War. I'll probably recommend more from them in the future, but this song is interesting when evaluating speakers. The intro has a lot of insruments competing for the same timbral space - organ, vocals, horns and flute. This can sound congested on some speakers, but the edge of each instrument will be clearly defined on great systems. The intro climaxes and terminates in a much cleaner space bounded by drums and bass with organ accents and the slightly agitated vocal delivering the message. It's a great track to test your system during the intro, and simply enjoy it thereafter.