So what is a ‘deep cut’? Deep cuts are songs that are less successful commercially or most of the time not radio-friendly.
They are less played songs, usually located deep in an album (hence “deep cuts”). What is more rewarding is sometimes an album can be a gold mine of deep cuts. Please be aware that this is subjective, I may find a song better than what you think but either way, let's hear some hidden gems I believe deserved better recognition. To level your expectations, the artists that I will introduce have a very melancholic body of work and are usually raw in sound.
Starting with one of the most significant figures in lo-fi alternative music, Daniel Johnston. If you are a fan of lo-fi recordings, honest lyrics with genuine naivety, creative catchy arrangements, and unique sounding voice, you should try listening to his works. “1990” is one of his well-received albums, with really strong tracks like ‘Devil Town’, ‘Don’t Play Cards With Satan’ and ‘True Love Will Find You In The End. We bought “1990” in a double album set with “Artistic Vice” which I think was overshadowed by the first. I ended up loving Artistic Vice just the same after the first listen.
Artistic Vice is his first album with a whole band, it came out after a period of his inactivity. The change in sound I think made the album less recognized. One of the tracks that caught my attention is “I Know Casper”, knowing that Johnston had a prior plane crash incident that is somehow connected with his manic episode where he thinks he is Casper the friendly ghost. It gave me goosebumps trying to grasp how he felt, his lyrics are made up of simple words yet can mean so much. “The Startling Facts”, “The Dream is Over”, and “ Love of My Life” is also very catchy, full of imagery, and easy fun to listen to. The second half of the album is a bunch of charming and enjoyable listens, while still being lo-fi and creative.
Jumping to another less recognized album, the middle child “Soft Spots” by Adult Mom. Initially a solo project by Stephie Knipe, an indie-pop band that explores intimacy and a glimpse of gender-weird queer heartache. Their sophomore album “Soft Spots” was clouded by the debut “Momentary Lapse of Happily” and their latest “Driver”. First I want to say, among the three, Soft Spots is hands down my favorite cover. While their debut album is a strong introduction to their sound, in “Soft Spots” Stephie Knipe exposed her vulnerability and openness a level higher. Bits of personal voice recordings are sprinkled throughout the tracks effectively adding to the overall warmth of the record. My deep cut, “First Day Of Spring”. It is a heart-melting finale, as the first hint of pink light at dawn. A more special track than the more recognized single “Full Screen”. Give it a listen and I’m sure you will picture the cinematic feel of melting snow and the shy flowers budding.
Bright Eyes is another band that has so many deep cuts. I’ve been a fan for more than 10 years now, and I still find incredibly beautiful and sad songs from their body of work. ‘Tourist Trap’ is one truly rewarding catch. It first appeared as the last track in their “4 Winds EP”. Unfortunately, the song never made it into the final tracklist of ‘Cassadaga’s CD and Vinyl releases, the culminating album from that EP. If one would check that album on Spotify, the said song is listed as the last track. Maybe they thought at first that it wasn’t strong enough, but dang, it aged like fine wine. Personally, I think Tourist Trap is about that specific desolate feeling of the endless cycle of wanting to be home and yearning to be away. It’s one of the tracks that, when hits you, will stay for a very long time. That is why I love Bright Eyes and Conor’s songwriting, he can write about very specific kinds of sadness.
It is truly fulfilling to discover deep cuts, that's why we want to share with you these finds that we think deserve better listening. We hope to share with you more deep cuts from other genres in the future. Please send us a message on Instagram or Facebook, if you have a deep cut discovery that you want to share with us, more love, and have a Brightly day!