The 60th annual Grammy Awards nominations came out earlier this week, and while you were discussing how Childish Gambino got so many awards or why Ed Sheeran got snubbed, the various categories that are never in the televised awards show are hiding some absolutely golden tracks that you need in your life.
Ahead, a look at some of the nominated songs outside of the main categories that are especially impressive, lovable, and playlist worthy.
ODESZA feat. WYNNE & Mansionair "Line Of Sight," nominated for Best Dance Recording
This Seattle electronic duo stands out in their category for having one of the softest entries — not in a bad way, but the melody on this track, provided by WYNNE, is what makes it catchy. It's not typical for them to release such a vocal-heavy song, but the combination of all the elements at play here makes for a joyful track that is easily revisited time and again. The group told Billboard they created this track Postal Service-style, by trading files back and forth between Seattle, Los Angeles, and Sydney, Australia.
Billy Childs "Dance of Shiva," nominated for Best Improvised Jazz Solo
This is not the jazz they play while you eat French toast at brunch. This is not that soft, fuzzy jazz that's been neutered for lazy audiences. This is the hot jazz you might have heard in the speakeasy during Prohibition, the kind that kids would really swing to. This is the real deal, and pianist Billy Childs will have you doing the Charleston before you know what hit you. This is music that is waiting for the midnight hour.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit "If We Were Vampires," nominated for Best American Roots Song
If you don't know about him already, Jason Isbell got what The Tennessean called an "unlikely" nomination for Album of the Year at the CMA Awards this year but didn't show up because he was on tour in Germany. Most artists would reroute it, or make a hole so they could attend country's most prestigious night, but not Isbell. The country establishment is trying to claim him, and he keeps resisting. That's probably why this song and his other works were submitted to the Grammys under the American Roots category and not Country proper. He cuts an interesting figure, and this haunting love song is a nice taste of his outsider inside Nashville aesthetic.
Alison Krauss "Losing You," nominated for Best Country Solo Performance
But in the Country category properly, we find a voice that Grammy voters love and country music fans are frequently apathetic about with Alison Krauss. This lovely, longing ballad is another solid piece of work from Krauss, who the Grammys can't get enough of lauding. I know you've seen her win a ton of statues on TV during the show, but how many of those albums have you gone and listened to? This one isn't a bad place to start if the answer is zero.
Nate Smith "Home Free (for Peter Joe)," nominated for Best Instrumental Composition
This gorgeous, lethargic song feels haunted for a reason: Smith wrote it in memory of his grandfather. Composed on piano, Smith, who is best known as a drummer, does a truly remarkable job with this soft composition — I played piano and drums for years so I know how they work hand-in-hand, but percussionists aren't often known for their thoughtful composition. I love how he lets the piano melody be the lead, accompanied by sax, rather than letting a driving rhythm line do the primary work. Grammy voters who nominated this track can hear that it's no simple melody either, though it's easy on the ears. An emotional composition is the cornerstone of all music, and not an easy thing to put together well.
After my first job MTV working as a music programmer, I can't stop trying to matchmake people with music they might like. So, I wrote a book called Record Collecting for Girls and started interviewing musicians. The Music Concierge is a column where I share music I'm listening to that you might enjoy, with a little context. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or leave me a comment below and tell me what you're listening to this week.
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