musicthe sound of your morning

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

by Grace Bonney

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 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

, “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.


, “Oh Mandy” — Zach from is the only reason I know about this band, and I love them to this day. AC introduced me to this amazing website years ago, and it’s remained one of the best and most interesting places to watch fantastic bands play live. 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!

, “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.


, “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.

, “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.)

Suggested For You


  • I love my wake-up music to be old school and lately I’ve been waking up to the sound of Garnet Mimms ‘As Long As I Have You’

    Love, Jules

  • I am listening to Wye Oak now! They are absolutely amazing.

    After gathering these songs I think in the mornings I like to listen to things that are fun to sing along with.

    I used to play “Victoria” by The Kinks to wake up in college:

    I like to play Robyn first thing at work:

    Blood Dries Darker by Woods:

    Found Love in a Graveyard by Veronica Falls:

    Golden Haze by Wild Nothing:

  • David Byrne :: Like Humans Do
    Nina Simone :: The Laziest Gal In Town
    Heartless Bastards :: New Resolution
    Sugar :: Your Favorite Thing
    Uncle Tupelo :: Graveyard Shift

  • Wye Oak is amazing and I wasn’t even at SXSW…..I just told all the people I knew who were going to see them if they could.

    If you like New Pornographers you should give Destroyer a try. The name is not any indication of the music.

    • dianne

      i really enjoy destroyer- and most of the NP members other projects. though i have to say i prefer the sound of dan bejar with the NP better. though i could listen to neko or carl solo all day. kathryn’s new album is pretty great, too.


  • Right now I’m loving:

    Laura Jansen’s cover of “Use Someone” by Kings of Leon:

    New Zealand’s Brooke Fraser. Something in the Water is good and catchy!

    Wait until Dan Mangan’s “Robots” gets to the chorus. You’ll be singing a long in no time!

    There you go. America, New Zealand, and Canada: a multicultural morning mix! :)

  • Empire of the Sun–“Walking On A Dream”
    Camera Obscura–“If Looks Could Kill”
    Okkervil River–“Unless It’s Kicks”


  • I usually love to wake up and get moving with John in the Morning’s radio show on KEXP.org

    And an all around feel good song that I’m loving right now is Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”:

  • Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine (she’ll always be included in my morning music line-up.)

    Polaris, Summerbaby (pure fun and nostalgia)

    First Aid Kit, You’re Not Coming Home Tonight (beautiful video… live)

  • “Here Comes the Sun” – The Beatles. Comforting, uplifting, but not too much for a slow Monday morning.

    “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison – another classic, comforting tune.

    “Ambergris” by Snowblink. Daniela of Snowblink has such a sweet sound and this song is an absolute favourite of mine. Not on her myspace (), but absolutely worth the cost of the album. Amazing!

    And, to really get moving on a Monday: “Sound + Vision” by DAvid Bowie.

    Love this series of posts!

  • I’m more of the need to be dragged out of bed type, so these puppies get me fired up and stoked on the day:

    The Naked and Famous – Young Blood
    Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Think I Wanna Die
    The Kooks – Tick of Time
    Angus & Julia Stone – Just a Boy
    Whitest Boy Alive – Burning

  • Spinto BAND! I love them forever. I went to college with Thomas and his little brother went to after I graduated. Fun to dance to, fun to sing, and fun guys.

    I like to start my day first with some BBC World Update, and then something with a subtle beat like Feist or Ingrid Michaelson. If I am super sleepy I pop in some Girl Talk to get the blood flowing.

  • Your song post last week actually inspired me to make a Morning Mix! I like something fast and dancey to wake me up… if I’m inspired to dance, I’m usually jazzed enough to attack the day.

    Kanye West – Touch The Sky (LOTS of Kanye is good for this, this is my fav)

    Lady Sovereign – Hoodie

    Outkast – Bombs Over Baghdad (my #1 running song)

    Eels – Hey Man (Now You’re Really Living)

    Kate Nash – Pumpkin Soup

    Ditty Bops – Sister Kate

    Apologies if the videos aren’t awesome–I wanted to offer links despite YouTube being blocked at my work. So I didn’t get to preview, just copy links from Google. Blocked sites = boo.

  • Guess I’m kind of old school too . . . too too many to choose from–but just about anything by Little Stevie Wonder does the trick:

    and then there’s this gem, Sunny, by Bobby Hepp:

  • These are GREAT! I only planned to glance, but have been sucked in! The takeaway shows are so fun. Personally, I like to be lulled awake, then dance around in my socks once I’ve had some coffee. We’ve really been enjoying Broken Bells:

    James is an old buddy, so am biased, but they are so great!

  • Oh man, Grace, if you keep these posts up, I’ll never get anything done and will go broke from itunes downloads. I already bought several from last week. Erin – awesome picks!

  • “Harlem River Blues” by Justin Townes Earle. Anything by JTE (or his dad) is amazing. This song and the entire album is great for easing into your day.

    And I’m with Meg, too – I listened to “Lovely Day” recently and it instantly put me in a better mood.

  • Whoa, Spinto Band! I went to college with a bunch of those guys. Thanks for making me feel 18 again for a few minutes.

  • Colour Revolt (my husband’s band!!)

    Honey Trees


    First Aid Kit

    Au Revoir Simone (two of them are good friends of mine from Brooklyn)

    Sam Amidon (won’t make you want to dance, but oh so good!)

    Love these bands!!

  • an East Coast Canadian fave:
    Jenn Grant – Dreamer

    this songs gives me the chills: Ry Cuming – Always remember me

  • UK band Deluka did really well at SXSW culminating with unexpectedly winning a vote to open for Snoop Dogg! They are certainly going to get your toes tapping with their infectious tunes. They’re a mix of indie-rock & disco and singer Ellie has a great style. There’s music and vids on their page at:

  • without fail, this song always makes me dance around my apartment on a monday morning. it’s like espresso for the ears:

    Florence + The Machine – The dog days are over

  • OK, I’ve already spent $5 on iTunes. Love the Brooke Fraser pick, Erin — and that NP video is great.

    I’m glad to have put much of the ’80s behind me, but I was feeling a little down Sunday morning and the B52s’ “Love Shack” helped me get moving.

  • Love this post! I love both loud and calm stuff in the morning, but I’d like to suggest a Brooklyn based band called JP & the Gilberts that just played a few off SXSW shows. I loooove their song “Giddyup”. Good rowdy wakeup song! You can find em at jpandthegilberts.com and buy their debut record at jpgilbert.bandcamp.com :)

  • I have wasted way too much time on these posts. Thank you for all the new artists!

    Feelin Good, Nina Simone

    King of the Bongo, Manu Chao

    Down Home Girl, Old Crow Medicine Show

    for a gentle wake-up:
    Balance, Sara Tavares

    Can’t feel to get you moving, thank you Door Sixteen!)
    janelle Monae, Tightrope

    Diablo Rojo (Rodrigo y Gabriela)

  • I went to high school w/Andy from Wye Oak. They’re so good. I think my favorite song is “That I Do”- featuring Mickey Freemix (also went to my high school). Awesome!

  • The Shins “Kissing the Lipless” – when he hits that high note it makes you want to jump out of your seat.

    Also, if you just put on anything from Superchunk’s No Pocky for Kitty you’ll be standing on your bed pogoing in no time!

  • My partner and I are both musicians. he plays double bass, bass guitar, guitar, mandola, mandolin and piano. We have a lot of instruments in the house, most of of them on the walls on guitar hangers.

    I’m a singer, mostly folk and blues. I’m learning to play the tenor banjo, autoharp and piano very slowly. We’re very much into folk revival, blues, psychadelia and our friends bands who are inspired by the same things.

    Right now I’m really into my partners bands. He’s playing with Jen and the Gents

    Forgotten Works

    and Trembling Bells who are currently touring with The Unthanks

    We’re very much into Kevin Coyne

    and The Incredible String Band

    We collect vinyl as a lot of the music we listen to is still not available on CD. If I’m feeling nostalgic I like to listen to Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny

    or Kate Rusby who is from my home town of Barnsley

    Hope it gives you a lovely Spring morning!

  • Might I suggest a new band from my hometown, Anacortes, WA, who last year had been signed to Trans, a new imprint of Atlantic Records headed by Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla. So proud of these boys!

    • sara

      thanks! i really love them! they might become a new favorite this week. doesn’t hurt that the singer is totally adorable.


  • Short but sweet:
    Tea for Tillerman by Cat Stevens

    and this always, always does the trick, morning or not:
    Beat Surrender by The Jam

  • I went to High School with these guys and Freshman tolo with the bassist, Eric. Who is the sweetest! This video always makes me homesick!

  • 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!

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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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:

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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!

    • jc

      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)


  • 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.

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

  • 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.)

  • 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:

  • 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…

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