Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Song of the Day: Velvet Crush - Time Wraps Around You

Velvet Crush is another power-pop band that I found during a heavy Big Star phase (others include previous entries Sloan, Teenage Fanclub and The Bigger Lovers).  I really like that this song is from an album titled Teenage Symphonies to God, which is allegedly a phrase Brian Wilson used to describe the music he was writing for the Beach Boys.  They're not quite at that level, but this song has great harmonies and sounds like one you've heard before.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Song of the Day: Temple of the Dog - Hunger Strike

Like most otherwise rational Americans, I ate way too much this past weekend, so when I was deciding what song to post for the song of the day, "Hunger Strike" seemed to be an appropriately titled ditty.  I recently posted about my love of Pearl Jam, and I've even posted this song before, albeit in a different form.  I came of age in the '90s - what can I say?  I could probably turn this into a grunge blog, but that wouldn't be nearly as much fun as having a playlist with Black Sabbath, Kanye and Morrissey, would it?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Song of the Day: The Lucksmiths - The Art of Cooking for Two

Today would have been an ideal day for "4-Day Weekend" (and it still is), but I've already played that card.  So instead I'll get cute and play another appropriately titled song, given that it's just me and the wife for Thanksgiving tomorrow - "The Art of Cooking for Two" by The Lucksmiths.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Song of the Day: The Auteurs - Unsolved Child Murder

I don't remember how this song ended up in my Grooveshark player - I like to give credit to the source when I can, but this one is a mystery.  In fact, I can't tell you anything about this band because this is the only song I've ever heard of theirs.  Is this what life was like pre-Internet?

Looking at allmusic.com I'm surprised to see the album (After Murder Park) that includes this song was produced by Steve Albini.  This particular song sounds like an amalgam of Badly Drawn Boy and The Clientele, though neither of these artists had even put out a record when this album was released.  At any rate, now I'm even more curious to hear more - thanks Internet!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Song of the Day: Kanye West - Gorgeous

I'm not the world's biggest Kanye fan (that would be himself), but I definitely like some of the singles off his albums.  With his new album dropping today and getting perfect scores from everyone from Pitchfork to Rolling Stone, I thought I'd weigh in with my favorite song off of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.  I'm not quite as in love with the album as everyone else seems to be, but I really like "Gorgeous," which features a guest spot from Kid Cudi and has a similarly catchy chorus to his "Pursuit of Happiness."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Song of the Day: Black Sabbath - Fairies Wear Boots

It's Friday, which can only mean one thing - it's time to rock! Who's with me?!?!?!?!?!?!

No one?  OK.  Well, today I felt like playing some Sabbath.  Not sure why, but they've been on the brain lately, and when I was in Amoeba this past weekend, I somehow walked out having purchased copies of Master of Reality and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath on vinyl.  This was not a planned purchase, but it was a necessary one.

However, I'm not going to play a song from either of those; instead, I'm going with the album I already had - their best known (and probably best), Paranoid.  While the title song and "Iron Man" are classic rock radio staples, I'm going with a "deep cut" for today - "Fairies Wear Boots."  I believe this warrants a \m/

(I had to google how to do that. Don't judge)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Song of the Day: Harvey Danger - Flagpole Sitta

This song made these guys one-hit wonders, but I think they deserve a little more credit than that - their albums are filled with quality songs, even though they weren't hits.  But still, this one is undoubtedly the best.

Every time it starts, I think I'm about to hear "Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)" by XTC due to the drums (click the link and tell me if I'm wrong).  I really like the snark of the singer, and the line that "only stupid are breeding" couldn't be more true today.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Song of the Day: Morrissey - Seasick, Yet Still Docked

I've already proclaimed an affinity for The Smiths and their many acolytes, so it's probably no surprise that I'm a Morrissey fan as well.  I recently bought the newly reissued Bona Drag compilation, which includes some of the singles off Viva Hate (my favorite LP of his).  But my absolute favorite song is "Seasick, Yet Still Docked" (from Your Arsenal) in which he tones down the whine and self-deprecation and delivers one of his most beautiful, sad songs.

(Note there's about 15+ seconds of silence at the beginning of this track.  Do not adjust your sets) 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Song of the Day: Aloe Blacc - I Need a Dollar

I've known about Aloe Blacc since yesterday. Actually, I've seen his name before, but when I saw this retweet from The Echo that he's playing there in December, I thought I'd check him out.  I loaded his Good Things LP into my Grooveshark player and have now listened to it a grand total of two times.  Still, one song sticks out, and perhaps due to its repeated chorus (verse?), it was stuck in my head all day yesterday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Song of the Day: The Velvet Underground - Oh! Sweet Nuthin'

The Velvet Underground's first album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, was my initial exposure to the band, and I was hooked immediately.  Though depending on the day of the week, I have a slight preference for the slick sweetness of Loaded to the earlier, rawer output.

In particular, my favorite Velvets song, "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'," closes out the latter LP.  Everything about this song is perfect, from the guitar line that plays throughout, the ethereal backing vocals during the chorus, the searing guitar solo and ferocious drumming...while this song doesn't epitomize the Velvets (for example, it's not sung by Lou Reed and drummer Mo Tucker doesn't play on it), it still is seven of the greatest minutes I've ever heard.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Playlist: October 2010 songs

Or listen here on Grooveshark

Song of the Day: Kurt Vile - Overnight Religion

Kurt Vile's Childish Prodigy was on my turntable for a while earlier this year, but I've been putting off posting a song.  I got a chance to see him last night at the Echoplex, which put him back in the queue.  He's a guy who seemed to come from nowhere, though he has a lot of older records and EPs under his belt.  Live and on record, his songs are more like a chugging train than well-constructed, verse-chorus-verse songs - the Velvet Underground's "Waiting for the Man" would be a good example of what I'm failing to elucidate.  Early VU is definitely a reference point, as are The Stooges and Neil Young's Crazy Horse output. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Song of the Day: Blackalicious - Blazing Arrow

Blackalicious is a group that can easily fit in with classic De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and The Pharcyde - groups with a mostly positive message that sample a diverse catalog, rather than just old P-Funk records.

I didn't buy many hip hop records in the 2000s, so take with a grain of salt that I found Blazing Arrow to be one of the best I heard of that decade.  Gift of Gab is a pretty amazing rapper, and you can hear in this song, the title track of the album (despite its incorrect labeling on Grooveshark as being on The Craft), how quick he is.  If you like classic underground rap, I'd highly recommend Blazing Arrow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Song of the Day: New Order - Age of Consent

Joy Division is a great band, but I always found Ian Curtis's voice to be extremely dark and disturbing. With song titles like "Isolation" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart," perhaps that was the point.

Bernard Sumner, on the other hand, has an innocence to his voice that serves this and many other songs well. You can hear New Order's influence in bands as diverse as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Hot Chip, and while I probably listen to their acolytes more than New Order themselves, this is a terrific track.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Song of the Day: Say Hi to Your Mom - These Fangs

Say Hi to Your Mom (which changed its name to Say Hi a few years ago, for some reason) songs sound like they were made in a bedroom - often very intimate, without a lot of tracks or overdubs. This one reminds me a bit of Brendan Benson's "Tiny Spark," mostly due to the keyboard riff.  I wish the vocals were a little higher in the mix, but otherwise this is a pretty perfect slice indie pop.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Song of the Day: The Mooney Suzuki - Oh Sweet Susanna

For a band that allegedly named themselves after two members of Can, I can't say these guys sound all that much like Can. Granted, I am not a Can aficionado, though I own their Ege Bamyasi LP and have heard others. Instead, The Mooney Suzuki sound more like a '60s garage band, wearing leather shades and black sunglasses cranking out three-minute dirty pop songs.  Or maybe I just got that from their Electric Sweat album cover.  Either way, if you like "garage rock," you could do worse than "Oh Sweet Susanna" off said LP.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Song of the Day: Devendra Banhart - Now That I Know

I bought Devendra Banhart's first album based on a Pitchfork review, and while it didn't blow me away, there is something about his music that is alternately frustrating and exhilarating. I keep buying his albums, though they never leave me quite satisfied.

It's mostly due to what appears to be a lack of self-editing, starting with the album length. Most of his albums are over an hour and include a few duds. So why do I keep buying them? Well his good songs are damn good. Take this track, the opening song off of his Cripple Crow album. Just him and a guitar, it's a gentle, whispering track that avoids some of the questionable lyrics of his other songs.

Side note - watching the Parenthood TV show last season, there were two Devendra Banhart songs played during one episode. I never would have guessed his songs would show up in a mainstream TV show, but what do I know?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Song of the Day: Pearl Jam - Oceans

This recent article from the AV Club about Pearl Jam inspired me to share one of my favorite PJ tunes.  They were one of the biggest bands for me (and many others) growing up in the '90s, and I'm so old (school) I actually still have the CD longbox of Ten.

I believe I've seen Pearl Jam live 5 or 6 times, and though I've been losing interest with each album (though solid, they are not spectacular), they still are one of the best live bands you can see.  In that vein, one of my favorite bootlegs is their appearance on MTV Unplugged.  The recent Ten super fantabulous delux redux edition not only featured a DVD of the entire performance (the first time I had seen it), but a 2LP live show called Drop in the Park (I should mention the remastered edition, and especially the "redux" edition, also sound fantastic).

I always enjoyed "Oceans" on the original album, but this version from their Unplugged appearance is far superior.  Vedder's voice sounds amazing - I wonder if he can still hit those high notes - and the bass is really clear and up front.  Just a fantastic performance.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Song of the Day: M83 - Kim & Jessie

My first experience with M83 was their Teen Angst video, but it was 2008's Saturdays = Youth LP that made me a fan.  The whole album is steeped in the '80s - of course, synths are all over the album, but they're always prevalent on M83 LPs.  "Kim and Jessie" features a number of sounds that wouldn't have been out of place on a Tears for Fears album (the drums that kick off the song or the guitar solo, for instance). 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Song of the Day: Warpaint - Undertow

I've featured a Warpaint song before, but I would be remiss not to mention how good the new album is.  The first single is particularly amazing - the singing is clearer, the new drummer is killing it - and I wonder if this will push them over the edge in popularity.  I'm incredibly bummed that I'll be out of town for their December show at the Troubadour, as it will probably be the last time to see this band in a venue that small.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Song of the Day: Metallica - Eye of the Beholder

Metallica was actually a fairly recent "discovery" for me, believe it or not.  It's not that I didn't know they existed - I'd have to be pretty oblivious for that - but I didn't realize that I actually liked their music.

A big part of the problem for me was their vehement anti-Napster stance a decade ago.  As someone who was using Napster to try stuff before buying (yes, I'm a perfect angel), I found it disingenuous that a bunch of rich guys were worried about a few people getting their music for free.  Not to mention, Lars came off as the world's biggest asshole with that entire escapade.  But hey, do I only listen to bands who are nice people?  The Rolling Stones seem to only care about money at this point, but it doesn't make Exile on Main St any less awesome.

At any rate, I always liked Metallica's "One," so when I saw a used copy (take that, Lars!) of ...And Justice for All on vinyl, I decided to give it a try.  And unfortunately, I kind of loved it.  Since then, I've procured Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning and yes, Metallica (the black album), and while I like them all, Justice remains my favorite.  "One" still packs a punch, but the song I kept wanting to hear was "Eye of the Beholder," which shares a side with the former on vinyl.  Luckily, I also found a copy of the seven-inch at the Pasadena City College flea market - check out the picture sleeve below.