Saturday, July 31, 2010

Song of the Day: The Soundtrack of Our Lives - Sister Surround

This was an album that I listened to a lot when I first bought it, but it doesn't make it in the rotation very often any more.  Like The Hives, these guys are a Swedish rock band, though TSOOL are a little more psychedelic than they are garage rock - check out the trippy backing vocals during the chorus, for instance.  If it sounds familiar and you don't know why, it may be because you heard it in a movie or commercial recently - I know I have, but I don't know where exactly.  If you do, let me know in the comments.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Song of the Day: Chris Lee - In Yellow Moonlight

I got this song off of a CMJ compilation many years ago, and I put it on a mix CD. However, I never wrote down the name of the song, and the track listing for my CD has a blank line at #14. Every time I listened to that CD, I'd hear this song and wonder what the hell it was. Luckily, I thought I remembered that it was Chris Lee, so I recently added a bunch of his stuff on Grooveshark, and when this song started playing, it was a revelation.

"In Yellow Moonlight" owes a lot to Jeff Buckley, as does most of Chris Lee's catalog. And while his voice isn't as amazing as Buckley's (whose is?), he pulls off some pretty cool multi-tracked vocals.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Video: The Who - A Quick One While He's Away

I've stated my affinity for The Who before, but this recent AV Club feature calls for an extended comment.  This video represents, to me, everything that is awesome about rock music.  It's loud, beautiful, cheesy, abrasive and over the top.

I bought the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus when it came out in the mid 90s on VHS.  I played the thing to death, as it has amazing performances from Jethro Tull (featuring Tony Iommi on guitar), The Who, a supergroup of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell, and of course the Rolling Stones.  While I love the Stones, there is no question in my mind that The Who's performance here blows them out of the water. Dissecting the video into my highlights:

Keith Moon's lip syncing at the beginning (if you've heard Live at Leeds, you know they sometimes "feature" him)
Roger's outfit, which I got a chance to see in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame
Whatever the hell Keith is doing at the 1:48 mark
The fact that the big stoic guy (John) sings the falsetto
Keith's drum rolls at the 3:00 mark
Pete's mischievous smile around 4:23
Dang! Dang! Dang! Dang! (used to awesome effect in Rushmore)
The look on Keith's face at the 5:11-5:14 mark
Pete's "agaaaaaain" at 5:34
Pete's forgiven forgiven forgiven forgiven at 6:32
Keith's sweat or whatever is going on around 6:41
Pete using his face to adjust the mic at 7:15

The who - a quick one
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Song of the Day: Gene - Fighting Fit

Despite enjoying my share of Britpop, I didn't hear Gene until I the Morrissey-curated NME compilation Songs to Save Your Life, which came with an issue of the mag back in the mid-2000s.  It's no surprise Morrissey digs this group, as the lead singer certainly shares some of his own qualities, and this song is definitely more Your Arsenal-era than it is the Smiths.  The big guitars sound fantastic, and this song probably wouldn't sound too out of place on You Are the Quarry.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Song of the Day: Oberhofer - o0O0o0O0o

Insound has been pimping this single, and I have to admit that it's pretty damn good. However, I have no idea what it's called - the number of zeroes and lower/uppercase o's tend to change depending on the source. I guess the title might refer to the chorus of the song, which consists of a lot of oh-oh-ohing. That would be clever, but it's hard to discuss your favorite new song when the title is unpronounceable and it takes 5 minutes to type correctly.

That said, if they have more songs like this on the horizon, Oberhofer might warrant more discussion.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Song of the Day: The Morning Benders - Excuses

The Morning Benders' Big Echo will likely end up on my top 10 best-of for this year.  The album delivers from the first song to the last, but what really did it for me was seeing video of them cover Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," a favorite of mine for which Whiskeytown performs the penultimate cover version.

The album-opening "Excuses" gives you a taste of the harmonies featured throughout the album.  Looking forward to seeing these guys live.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Song of the Day: At the Drive-In - One Armed Scissor

This song was a pretty big "alternative" (quotes b/c it was released by Virgin) hit in the early 2000s - I remember seeing these guys performing it on all the talk shows, and they put on an energetic live show. While I'm not a fan of The Mars Volta or Sparta, two bands that spawned from the remains of ATDI, I still think this is a pretty great song, and a good way to wake up on this Monday morning. 

Bonus points for the cover of the 7" pictured here:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Song of the Day: 13th Floor Elevators - You're Gonna Miss Me

Like Castaways' "Liar Liar" this song is featured not only on the original Nuggets compilation, but also in one of my favorite movies - this time it's High Fidelity.  In addition to being a perfect garage rock song, it also features probably one of the best screams ever recorded in a song.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Song of the Day: The Earlies - Wayward Song

These Were the Earlies got tremendous reviews from a number of mags and blogs, and while I can't name another song on the album, this song is pretty great.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Song of the Day: Alex Lloyd - Lost in the Rain

When I feature a song, I like to credit the source of my discovery when I can. But in this case, I have absolutely no clue how I found out about Alex Lloyd or why I bought his 2002 Watching Angels Mend album.  It's not an album I return to very often, but I was reminded of it recently while listening to an old mix CD that featured this song, my favorite from the album.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Song of the Day: Ween - Baby Bitch

I really want to like Ween.  I mean, I like them, but I feel like I should love them.  They're great musicians, and they've written a lot of catchy songs, but I think sometimes the humor just doesn't do it for me.  They have a huge cult following, and I understand why people are obsessed with them - I'm just not one of them.

The only album I actually own is Chocolate & Cheese, and this song has always been a favorite of mine.  I was reminded about it recently when I went to Largo for a charity event for Ben Stiller's charity.  In addition to Stiller, there were a lot of great guests, including Josh Homme, and it was hosted by Greg Behrendt, who I didn't know but now think is a genius.  The idea was that the guests would tell a story involving music, and then the artist or the "house" band would play a song.  Homme told a story about playing a show in Germany (or Austria?) and a midget being tossed on stage, and Stiller described meeting Mick Jagger about doing a movie (and then he played drums with the house band on "Gimme Shelter").

But the house band made the show memorable, and it included Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt, whose voice blew me away.  Not only did she nail the difficult backing vocals of "Gimme Shelter," but she sang Ween's "Baby Bitch," which amused me to no end.  This could easily be an Elliott Smith song, but Ween definitely make it their own with some very NSFW lyrics.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Song of the Day: Field Music - If Only the Moon Were Up

Field Music has put out some great singles in the past few years. Their sound is a bit of Supergrass, The Futureheads and '60s Pop mixed together, with the distinctly British sound of those two bands (mostly due to the singer's accent).  "If Only the Moon Were Up" starts with a great stuttered beat, and I guarantee you'll be singing the "taking apart the dark..." part the rest of the day.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Song of the Day: The Hives - Walk Idiot Walk

The Hives were part of the early 2000s garage rock movement, which also included The White Stripes, The Strokes, and many other "The" bands. They're actually the most garage-y of those three bands, lacking the bluesy element of the former and the polish of the latter. I'm not as enthralled with their albums as those two bands, but they've released a few great singles, including this one off of Tyrannosaurus Hives. Also, white vinyl!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Song of the Day: !!! - Heart of Hearts

I guess !!! (also known as chk chk chk) weren't too concerned with having a name that is easily Google-able.  In fact, some sites won't even let you search for all exclamation points, making it sometimes difficult to find their music.

But these guys have a few great singles that are worth checking out, and "Heart of Hearts" is probably my favorite.  The band lost their drummer last year in a freak accident, and you can hear in this song how much he'll be missed.

One other reason this single is worth seeking out - it's a fantastic looking 12" picture disc, which earlier this year helped me get in one of Pop Candy's Top 5 lists.  Click this link or check out the pic below.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Song of the Day: Waxwings - Firewood

I don't remember how I came across Waxwings' Low to the Ground, but it's a solid pop album.  Not many clues though that one of these guys would later join Queens of the Stone Age and Dead Weather.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Song of the Day: Nada Surf - Inside of Love

Like The Stills' "Still in Love Song," this is a song that Indie 103.1 often played when I first moved to LA in March of 2004.  These guys have quite the cult following, and I've seen a vinyl copy of Let Go go for triple digits on eBay.  I'll forever link it with those first days in LA, driving down Olympic Blvd to work.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Song of the Day: The Love Language - Brittany's Back

Always nice to see a band from my hometown make a great album. I couldn't wait for the second installment of posts about North Carolina bands - the new Love Language album just came out and I wanted to share a song immediately.

In full disclosure, I don't know for sure that Libraries is a great album, as I've only heard two songs.  "Brittany's Back" is the first one I listened to, and as soon as the vocals started, I knew I loved it.  The early reviews of the album are glowing, and if it's half as good as this song, I think we'll all be in for a treat.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Song of the Day: The Stranglers - Golden Brown

Since I featured a song from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels yesterday, I figured today would be a song from Snatch (note - tomorrow will not include any reference to Swept Away, in case you were wondering).

I had never even heard of The Stranglers when I first heard this song in the movie.  Years later, being an avid fan of Jonesy's Jukebox on Indie 103.1, I heard the song "Peaches" a number of times - he used to love to play that one.  However, I didn't even realize it was the same band.  "Peaches" is a very dirty (both aesthetically and lyrically) post-punk song, while "Golden Brown" sounds like a '60s psychedelic pop song.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Song of the Day: Castaways - Liar Liar

This song plays during the card game in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, one of my favorite movies of the '90s.  And when I bought the Nuggets box set many years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to hear it there as well; in fact, it's on the original Nuggets compilation from the '70s.  I guess this band would qualify as a one-hit wonder, though I'm not sure this was actually a major hit (according to it went to #12 in the US, but I would guess the average person has never heard it).  At any rate, it should have been a hit, and it's a perfect encapsulation of '60s pop.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Song of the Day: Lissie - Oh Mississippi

I first posted this song just a few days before I started the "song of the day" posts, back when I had one reader (me) instead of three.  Between that and the fact that the old link to the song is dead, thanks to the demise of Lala, I thought it was worth making this an "official" recognition of how awesome Lissie is.

Also, at that time, I did not have the Why You Runnin' 10" EP that contains this song, which is pressed on swirled pink vinyl.

This is an excellent EP, and I'm really excited to see she has a full-length coming out in August. Lissie has probably one of the best voices I've heard in the past few years, and I hope she has the songwriting to match. This song from her EP makes me very optimistic.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Song of the Day: Timbaland - I Get It On

I've previously stated my overall ignorance when it comes to hip hop, but I know what I like.  Timbaland seemingly produced every hip hop and R&B song of the late '90s/early '00s, and his Tim's Bio album received a number of positive reviews.  I checked it out based on those reviews - I believe I downloaded some songs from Napster (shhh!) and then went out and bought the album (don't tell the RIAA) - but didn't find the album to be that memorable.  This song, however, has made it onto numerous mix CDs and in my mind is an underrated gem.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Song of the Day: Avi Buffalo - Five Little Sluts

This is a band whose debut album received a lot of indie blog hype, but I just couldn't get into the entire record. This song is pretty good (catchy title!), and perhaps a while from now I should give them another chance.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Song of the Day: Los Lobos - Saint Behind the Glass

My first exposure to Los Lobos, though I didn't know it at the time, was the soundtrack for the movie La Bamba, in which they played all of Richie Valens' music.  I was probably around 11 or 12 at the time, and it wasn't until I was in my early 20s that I bought their Kiko album, for reasons I can't quite remember.  It's a good album, but to me, this track is far and away the best on the album, despite not being an accurate representation of the band's overall sound.

Note:  for an interesting and provocative story involving Los Lobos, google their name and Paul Simon's together.  Fun reading

Friday, July 9, 2010

Song of the Day: And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Heart in the Hand of the Matter

OK, so the 10.0 Pitchfork rating was probably a mistake.  To say that this album is better than Amnesiac or countless other albums is all kinds of ridiculous.  But it does hold up well, and it's consistently good - I had a hell of a time picking a song to post, but this is one of my favorites.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Song of the Day: Liz Phair - Never Said

In "honor" of Liz Phair's new self-released album, Funstyle, I thought I'd highlight my favorite track of hers.  Though I haven't heard the new album, I feel like I can safely say none of its tracks will usurp my favorite song - early reviews are not positive, to be kind.

Like most young men in the early '90s who were into "indie" music, I had a huge crush on Liz Phair.  Upon the first few listens to Exile in Guyville, I didn't even realize how overtly sexual the lyrics were (I've noted I have a tendency not to pay too much attention sometimes).  I just thought it was a really good album, and though I'm not sure it bears much resemblance to Exile on Main St, I liked the idea that it was supposed to.

Although I really like Whip-Smart, the follow-up record, it's undeniable that her career has taken a downturn in the last fifteen (!) years - I don't know that I'll ever listen to the new album, unless I get the insatiable urge to hear her rap. 

But I'll always have Exile.  This song stands out to me not only for its lack of uncouth language, but it really sounds like someone who knew what they were doing.  Although she doesn't have the strongest voice, I love the way her three vocal tracks meld together during the "I...never said nothing" lyric, and it's probably the most straight-ahead rock and roll song (and most Stones-like) on the album.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Song of the Day: Aretha Franklin - Day Dreaming

Although she's undoubtedly an icon, I wasn't familiar with Aretha Franklin's music outside of "Respect" and a few other singles.  But I'm always looking to check out new music, even when it's old music, particularly from artists in the rock and roll canon. 

Despite it not being among her undeniable best albums, I started with Young, Gifted & Black, which scanning the tracklist revealed no songs I recognized.  However, it didn't take many listens to figure out why Aretha is so revered - her voice is incredible, and the music is so much better than the manufactured "soul" music of today. If this isn't one of her best albums, then I guess I need more Aretha in my life.

The song that most stuck out in my mind is "Day Dreaming" - kind of a trippy intro, with background singers (or is it multi-tracked Aretha?) repeating the chorus, and a flute that makes its best appearance outside of Astral Weeks.

Playlist: June 2010 songs

All the songs from the blog in June.  Listen below or click the link to listen on the Grooveshark site

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Song of the Day: INXS - Never Tear Us Apart

Growing up in the '80s, I of course owned INXS' Kick on cassette. It's hard to fathom just how popular they were at the time, but I can almost guarantee that anyone over 30 can probably hum at least half that album - they either owned it, or they heard all the singles that became big radio and MTV hits.

I rediscovered this album by purchasing a cheap used copy on vinyl about eight years ago. Like a lot of music you enjoy when you're younger, it's hard to predict how you're going to react to it as you get older.  I was pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed the album, though at least 90% of their awesomeness can be contributed to Michael Hutchence.

Since Beck has wrapped up his Kick Record Club (and moved on to Yanni), now seemed as good a time as any to play my favorite INXS song, "Never Tear Us Apart."  OK, the strings sound a little too synth, and the "we all have wings/ but some of us don't know why" lyric is a bit cheesy, but Hutchence's voice is fantastic throughout this song, and how can you beat a sax solo?  You can't.

(As much as I love this song, I was disappointed to watch the director's cut of Donnie Darko and find that Kelly replaced Echo's "The Killing Moon" with this song.  It just doesn't fit as well - but maybe that's just, like, my opinion, man.) 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Song of the Day: The Crayon Fields - Mirror Ball

I downloaded a free mp3 of this song from one of the music sites I frequent - I would give credit if I could remember which - and immediately liked it. It sounds a bit like The Clientele covering a '60s song, and it got stuck in my head. The album All the Pleasures of the World is solid throughout, and I'm looking forward to hopefully hearing more from this band.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Song of the Day: The Allman Brothers - Les Brers in A Minor

I hated Southern Rock growing up in NC.  Classic Rock radio was overrun with it, and to me it represented rednecks and racists.  That was obviously a narrow-minded point of view, and it kept me from recognizing the genius of The Allman Brothers until I was in college.  Now I consider their first 4-5 albums classics, though Eat a Peach is the one I keep going back to.  Not only does it include some of their biggest hits (though I could do without the two-sided "Mountain Jam"), but includes this gem.  After the initial warm-up, check out the bassline and the dual guitars that come in around the four-minute mark.  These guys probably had some of the best instrumental tracks in Rock, and this is definitely one of them.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Song of the Day: Liars - Plaster Casts of Everything

My first exposure to Liars was the video for this song (which I unfortunately can't embed).  I think it stuck with me in part because I had just seen Death Proof, Tarantino's half of Grindhouse, and the video has some similarities.  I since bought a few Liars albums and have seen them both in a small venue (well, not according to this guy) and at the Hollywood Bowl (opening for Radiohead).  They are not the kind of band whose songs get stuck in your head after one or two listens - they're definitely growers.  But even my wife, who has been subjected to this song numerous times, has admitted she likes it, though I certainly didn't expect her to (I tortured her with it anyways).  Give it a few spins and see what you think. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Song of the Day: Amerie - 1 Thing

I know nothing about Amerie - I think I heard this song because of Pitchfork's top songs of the 2000s.  I love how it starts with more of a rock sound, and it's catchy as hell.  Her voice is perfect for this song (a bit like teenage Michael Jackson) but I tried listening to an album of hers - not the one on which this song appears - but it didn't take. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Song of the Day: The xx - Islands

There's something pretentious about naming your band The xx (that's lowercase x's please), and I think it (plus boatloads of hype) kept me from enjoying them for a while. I finally gave in, and while I don't think the album will make my top 20 of the year, "Islands" is a great song. Really like the interplay between the two singers.