Thursday, September 8, 2011

Song of the Day: The Dream Syndicate - Tell Me When It's Over

The Dream Syndicate's The Days of Wine and Roses is often talked about as an influential album, and apparently it was even pretty successful, yet I imagine the average person has never heard of it (or the band). Which is a shame, because it is a pretty damn good album - not as good as the obvious touchstone, The Feelies, but still quite good. Both bands existed around the same time, had Velvet Underground comparisons and are now considered cult acts, and both are well worth your time. This is the opening track off of the aforementioned LP. Steve Wynn's voice took some getting used to for me, but the guitar tone in this song instantly connected.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Song of the Day: The Anniversary - Sweet Marie

I had the CD for Your Majesty, the second album from The Anniversary, but I have no recollection of buying it. I just had to look at to find out more about the band, and nothing sticks out as to what led me to the band. In fact, I know this song because I put it on a mix CD and heard it a lot; as for the rest of the album, I can't name another track. That said, this is a pretty great track, with a killer hook in the chorus. Perhaps this is an album worth revisiting.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Song of the Day: Throwing Muses - Counting Backwards

I just read a review on Pitchfork of a new Throwing Muses anthology, and I was surprised to see that one of my favorite songs has been left off. I suppose "anthology" doesn't mean "greatest hits," and of course no compilation is going to please everyone. So instead I'll make amends - this is the opening track off the 1991 album, The Real Ramona.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Song of the Day: The Who - Heaven and Hell [live]

I've had The Who on the brain recently. First it was an old New Yorker article about Keith Moon; then last week it was the 1975 Tommy movie (which, truth be told, I hated to the point where I ended up fast-forwarding through most of it). Then this morning, my iPod started off my walk to work with this version of "Heaven and Hell" from the Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 LP (one of my favorite live albums, incidentally; I'd say it trumps Live at Leeds).

The song is one of Entwistle's best, but two things I love about this version have nothing to do with the song itself. One is the intro, in which it sounds like the announcer is saying "The You." Then at the end, Pete Townshend tells the crowd, "Smile you buggers...pretend it's Christmas." Kills me every time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Song of the Day: Brian Wilson - Child Is Father of the Man

I'm not a huge Beach Boys fan, though I did enjoy Brian Wilson's Smile LP. So when it was announced earlier this week that the Beach Boys' own Smile was finally going to be released, I was pretty excited - so much, in fact, that I've already pre-ordered it (I went for the vinyl version, which I'm really hoping includes a download). Here's a version of Brian Wilson's album of "Child Is Father of the Man."

Playlist: August 2011 blog songs

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Songs of the Day: Minutemen - "Do You Want New Wave or Do You Want the Truth" and "Little Man with a Gun in His Hand"

Minutemen released so many great songs (and so many songs, period) that it's difficult to pick just one, so as I've done before, I'm breaking my own non-existent rules and posting two songs. It's nearly impossible to talk about Minutemen without mentioning their 45-song (43 on CD) double LP Double Nickels on the Dime. If you watched MTV in the past 10 years, you know at least one song from it, courtesy of Jackass. The album is all over the place musically, ranging from 1-minute punk songs to acoustic instrumentals to songs that actually sound like some sort of jazz.

If you didn't catch it from the name of this post, Minutemen also have some of the greatest song titles of all time, from "There Ain't Shit on TV Tonight" to "Maybe Partying Will Help" - and those are just from Double Nickels. The first song below is also from that album and shows off the band's softer side, while the second song is from Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat (and the DNotD vinyl) and more indicative of their punk side (though it does cross the 3-minute mark). While Double Nickels is a must-own, I'd also recommend Post-Mersh Vol. 2 on CD, which combines Buzz or Howl and the Project: Mersh EP.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Song of the Day: Red Red Meat - Moon Calf Tripe

Don't be too frightened by the band name. Or the song title. Red Red Meat probably wouldn't be confused with any current indie band - their sound is definitely '90s, somewhere between the slacker vibe of Pavement and the Stones' homage of Liz Phair. Yet the band manages to sound unique, which made their Jimmywine Majestic album a difficult listen for me when I first heard it in college. Today's song of the day won't exactly have you humming the tune the rest of the day, but hopefully it will leave you wanting to check out the rest of the album.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Song of the Day: The War on Drugs - I Was There

A couple of weeks ago, when The War on Drugs released their new album, Slave Ambient, I couldn't read a music blog or check updates on Twitter without seeing something about it. Upon first listen I didn't quite get the hype, and I realize it's extremely uncool to not be the first to post about a new album, but it took a few weeks for this one to grow on me. Part of my initial issue was how much the band sounded like Kurt Vile, who I now understand was actually in The War on Drugs at one time. But is sounding like Kurt Vile a bad thing? Not for me - that's why my favorite song on the album is probably the one that sounds most like him.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Song of the Day: The Black Angels - Telephone

Yes, more '60s revivalists! Hard to believe this one is from 2010 - "Telephone" not only sounds like something from the '60s, but it clocks in at 2:02, under the 2 minutes and 30 seconds that was the norm for singles pre-"Like a Rolling Stone." It doesn't have the darkness to it of their first "song of the day" appearance - this one is pure '60s pop.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Song of the Day: Papercuts - Wait Til I'm Dead

Papercuts have opened for two of my favorite bands of the last few years - Grizzly Bear and Beach House. Unfortunately, I completely missed them for the GB show, which took place in 2007 (note that while trying to confirm when this show happened, I also found out that Foreign Born also opened, yet I have no memory of them either). And when they opened for Beach House last year, I only caught about half of the performance.

Still, what I heard was enough to motivate me to buy Papercuts' last two albums, including this year's Fading Parade. You can hear shades of Grizzly Bear and Beach House, especially the latter in atmospheric songs like "Wait Til I'm Dead."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Song" of the Day: Steven Wright - 7's and Museums

It's the middle of the week and I need a laugh to keep me going. The first time I saw Steven Wright, it was on Late Night with David Letterman, I was probably about 12 or 13 years old, and I don't think I even laughed so hard. Over the years Wright was a frequent guest on all the talk shows, and the VCR was always set to record them. I imagine Zach Galifianakis was also watching - his humor seems very similar, with absurd one-liners such as "My girlfriend looks a little like Charlize Theron...and a lot like Patrick Ewing."

But Steven Wright will always be the best to me, as he entered my world at the perfect time, when new music, comedy, etc. left the most significant impression. This track is off of his 1985 album I Have a Pony.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Song of the Day: Joni Mitchell - Carey

I didn't really know much about Joni Mitchell a decade ago, but two nearly simultaneous events led me to seek out her Blue LP. One was seeing the band Travis (when they were touring for The Man Who) play "River" in concert. The other was the scene from Almost Famous where William discovers the records that his sister left him - Blue was one of those LPs.

I won't say the record changed my life - in fact, it's probably nowhere near my top 100 albums, or maybe even 500, if such lists existed - but there are quite a few memorable songs. "River" is probably the best known, but my favorite is "Carey," which has the best backing vocals of any song on the LP and is probably the most "rocking" (it's all relative).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Song of the Day: Cymbals Eat Guitars - Wind Phoenix (Proper Name)

We ended the week with '60s revivalists the Brian Jonestown Massacre, so let's start this week with '90s revivalists Cymbals Eat Guitars. They've got a new record coming out soon, and seeing their name in the news recently made me realize I never touched upon their debut LP, Why There Are Mountains, despite it being one of my favorite records of 2009. Admittedly I haven't listened to it in a while, but hearing today's song of the day again, I remember why this made the list - part Pavement, Dinosaur Jr and very '90s.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Playlist: July 2011 blog songs

Song of the Day: The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Telegram

I've posted a song from BJM before, so I won't bother repeating myself. Earlier this week I wrote about how prolific Jason Molina is, and the same can be said about Anton Newcombe - according to, BJM released 10 albums in 15 years, and that doesn't count EPs, compilations and singles, of which there are many.

This song is off of one of my favorite albums, Bravery Repetition and Noise, one of their more cohesive, less sprawling efforts. As a bonus, it's pressed on the most awesome purple vinyl you'll ever see AND the cover features director Jim Jarmusch.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Song of the Day: Sunny Day Real Estate - In Circles

I first heard Sunny Day Real Estate as a freshman in college, and listening to Diary, I figured the lead singer was a woman (think Thalia Zedek of Come). I was pretty obsessed with this album and Shudder to Think's Pony Express Record, thanks to my girlfriend at the time (ironically, I think she may have heard about them from her ex-boyfriend).

They became a pretty big cult band, and while I own all their records and even went to their reunion concert a couple years ago, I've never fully succumbed to the cult. Truth be told, I can't name more than a handful of songs that aren't on Diary - so perhaps needless to say, today's song of the day is in fact on that record. Which SDRE LP is your favorite?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Song of the Day: Lou Barlow - Monkey Begun

I've already written about how great and underrated Sebadoh is, and while I don't share Lou Barlow's affinity for tape loop experiments, the guy has more great songs than I can name. The vast majority are under the Sebadoh moniker, but his solo albums have quite a few gems. This one, off his first proper solo album Emoh, is one of my favorites.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Song of the Day: The Clientele - I Had to Say This

I liked The Clientele from the opening notes of this song, the first track off their debut album (which was technically a compilation of singles and what not). It doesn't take long to realize the band is British, and the Suburban Light LP will always remind me of my first trip to London - I went within weeks of picking up the album (Badly Drawn Boy's The Hour of Bewilderbeast, Coldplay's Parachutes and Doves' Lost Souls also bring back those memories). The Clientele have gone on to make a number of solid albums, but for me, the ethereal sounds of the backwards guitar and the "do do do" backing vocals of "I Had to Say This" will never be topped.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Song of the Day: Songs: Ohia - An Ace Unable to Change

Jason Molina is as prolific as Ryan Adams, but you might not know it. For one, he's never been as popular, but he also has an identity issue - after about 8 albums in 6 years as Songs: Ohia, he put out 2 albums under his own name and another 4 as Magnolia Electric Co in the next 6 years.

He's never strayed far from a core sound, no matter the name behind the music. His songs are often melancholy, but he knows how to rock - I'm not talking Led Zeppelin here, but it's all relative. This song, for instance, the opening track off his second Songs: Ohia album, Impala, showcases the more low-key side.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Song of the Day: Roxy Music - Love Is the Drug

I have no idea how certain songs get stuck in my head - the subconscious is a weird and wonderful place. Obviously you sometimes hear a song in the grocery store or some other place where your mind is elsewhere, and you don't realize it, but later you're whistling the song and wondering where it came from.

This morning I woke up with two songs in my head - "Where the Saints Go Marching" (is that what it's called?) and "Love Is the Drug." The former was actually the version sung by none other than Homer Simpson, and I haven't heard it in years (you can listen here). The latter I also haven't heard in years, but I can guess how I arrived at it.

A few weeks ago, Chuck Klosterman wrote a "second-by-second analysis of Edgar Winter's finest nine minutes" on The clip was a favorite of mine, as it was from The Old Grey Whistle Test, one of the finest music DVDs in my collection. And though I've never been a huge fan of the band, Roxy Music is also featured in the DVD, and it's a weird and inspired performance (watch it here).

So that's how I somehow arrived at "Love Is the Drug," probably one of their better known songs. In looking for it, I noticed a song called "2HB," which I featured on the blog before. However, the version I played is from the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack, with an all-star band featuring Thom Yorke on vocals, and I had no idea it was a Roxy Music song. I have Siren on vinyl, but I've listened to it maybe once - perhaps it's time to go back and see what I've been missing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Song of the Day: Verbena - Junk for Fashion

This is another record that I don't remember hearing or reading about, yet it somehow ended up in my collection. That said, I'm pretty glad it did - though not as good as either groups' output (what is?), Souls for Sale reminds me a little bit of Rolling Stones crossed with Nirvana. This song, for instance, starts bluesy but also has some feedback-tinged soft/loud elements.

P.S. Note that despite the label on the Grooveshark player, and the listing in, this song is really called "Junk for Fashion."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Song of the Day: Phish - Stash

I think I've seen Phish live more than any other band - about 6 or 7 times. I got into them in college, and it was in my early 20s when I saw them three nights in a row - two in Atlanta, then back home in Raleigh. That was a weekend I'll never forget (except for the parts that I do), though my affinity for Phish has waned over the years. I still listen to them occasionally, but the only album on my iPod is A Picture of Nectar, which contains my favorite Phish song, "Stash."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Song of the Day: Liam Finn - Cold Feet

I haven't enjoyed FOMO as much as Liam Finn's first album, but it's growing on me. Here is one if its best songs:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Song of the Day: The Monkees - Porpoise Song

I know two things about The Monkees - that they were basically manufactured for a TV show, and that David Bowie changed his name from David Jones to Bowie because he didn't want to share a name with Davey Jones of The Monkees.

In other words, I don't know anything. So when I heard this song off on the Vanilla Sky soundtrack 10 years ago, it didn't fit with what I thought The Monkees sounded like (probably based solely on "I'm a Believer"). It's a pretty interesting song, and I've finally remembered that I owe The Monkees another listen. Can anyone recommend a good starting point?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Song of the Day: Stevie Wonder - Master Blaster (Jammin')

I can't believe I'm 400+ songs into this and haven't played any Stevie Wonder. But where to begin? I'm going with something off of one of his lesser (but still good) albums, Hotter Than July. This is a bit of a reggae ditty, and I really love his vocal performance here. Hell, he probably played all the instruments too so I'm probably slighting him by just pointing out the vocals, but so it goes.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Song of the Day: PJ Harvey - England

One of my favorite records this year is undoubtedly PJ Harvey's Let England Shake. It took me a few listens to get into it, and I was probably somewhat dubious given that I didn't love her last couple albums as much as her 1992-2000 output. But she still has one of the best voices in pop music, and I'm again a believer. Here's why:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Song of the Day: UFO - Rock Bottom [live]

This interview with Joe Elliott of Def Leppard on the AV Club was an interesting read, but reading the comments proved to be even more fruitful. One user began a thread about a band I had never heard of, UFO, and how awesome their guitarist is. A number of other users agreed, and the album that most mentioned was a live LP called Strangers in the Night - in particular, a few mentioned the song "Rock Bottom." I immediately went on Spotify to seek out the album and started with that song...

And wow - I was blown away. The riffs are great, but the solo, especially around the 7-minute mark, is completely insane. Before the song was over, I was on eBay looking for a copy of the LP on vinyl, which I won a few days later.

I had never even heard of Michael Schenker, the guitarist, and then a few days after hearing UFO, I heard his name again - this time it was in the Anvil documentary (highly recommended btw). This is why I'll never stop buying music - just when I run out of new things to buy, something older rears its head and suddenly I have a new obsession.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Song of the Day: Cass McCombs - County Line

The third "Song of the Day" post back in February of 2010 was Cass McCombs; now, over 400 songs later, he makes another appearance with a song off his new album, Wit's End. I haven't had a chance to listen to the album more than a few times, but the opening track immediately resonated, with the falsetto and "whoa whoa whoa" backing vocals. McCombs is on my short list of artists I really want to see live - if you've seen him, hit me up in the comments and let me know how it was.

P.S. Interesting (to me) fact about the new album - the first 3 songs are each listed as being 5 minutes and 37 seconds long. Weird.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Song of the Day: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - If It Wasn't You...

I've been seeing the new album by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., It's a Corporate World, mentioned all over the place, but I've resisted listening to it solely based on the fact that the band is called Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. I mean c'mon.

But never judge a book by its cover, right? Despite the band name (and now that I think about it, a pretty bad album cover), the album is more beach volleyball than NASCAR; that is, it's a little more relaxed and poppy than I expected - acoustic guitars and computer blips abound.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Song of the Day: Sonic Youth - Schizophrenia

I'm having a shitty day so far and can't decide whether to rock out and potentially exacerbate my insanity or try to calm down with a soothing track. Thus, I choose both, in song title and sound. Seeing Thurston Moore last night really just made me want to hear Sonic Youth, and this track couldn't be more appropriate today. From Sister - one of their best albums - here's "Schizophrenia."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Song of the Day: Kurt Vile - Jesus Fever

The Bob Mould show last night was a success, so tonight we're off to see Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) and Kurt Vile (Kurt Vile).

While Mould surprised me by rocking out with the electric guitar (it was not the laid-back evening I anticipated), Vile surprised me with a mellower album. When I saw his band tour for Childish Prodigy, they were LOUD, and I suppose I expected his next one to continue in that vein. And while there are some rocking moments, my favorite song on Smoke Ring for My Halo is probably its quietest: "Jesus Fever."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Song of the Day: Husker Du - Hardly Getting Over It

I'm unbelievably excited about seeing Bob Mould tonight at Largo, where he'll be reading from his new book and playing songs. I've been a fan of his since Sugar, and he has such a huge body of work that I have no idea what to expect.

I've posted two of his solo songs before, so I thought today I'd share some Husker Du. This is latter day Husker Du, more illustrative of his solo work than the band's punk beginnings. But it's a great song, and I had trouble deciding between the softer original or the live, rocking version from The Living End. Since I'm imagining a laid-back evening, I went with the former.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Song of the Day: Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.

This song just felt appropriate today. Though I'm not a huge fan of Gorillaz, they sure do have some great singles.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Song of the Day: Amy Winehouse - You Know I'm No Good

I'm not going to win any originality points for posting an Amy Winehouse song today, but I was saddened yet unsurprised to see that she passed away over the weekend. I'm unfamiliar with her debut, but Back to Black is a fantastic album, and it's always depressing when someone with that much talent fucks it all up. Here's my favorite song from the LP:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Song of the Day: Def Leppard - Foolin'

When I was posting songs last week from recent Amoeba purchases, I conveniently neglected to mention that one of these purchases was Def Leppard's Hysteria. This wasn't because I was embarrassed about it; rather, it's because Hysteria kind of sucks.

So why did I buy it? Well I purchased Pyromania not long ago, and had a revelation - Def Leppard is kind of awesome (and not even in an ironic way). Plus, when I was a youngster, everybody was listening to Hysteria, and it was the greatest. But I put off revisiting the album, as "Pour Some Sugar on Me" is pretty unbearable to me. Sure enough, I was disappointed in the album, and another childhood memory is tarnished.

Instead of focusing on the bad, let's hear some Pyromania. As much as I want to post "Photograph," I'm giving a slight edge to "Foolin'" - yes, the intro is a little cheesy and makes me think we're going to power-ballad territory, but once the "Is anybody out there?" part starts, the vocal overdubs and guitar riff really slay me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Song of the Day: The Rosebuds - Limitless Arms

I've declared my love for The Rosebuds before, but in looking back at this post, I realize I mistakenly quantified my adoration by writing that they are one of my favorite Raleigh bands. In fact, they're one of my favorite bands, period.

This fact made itself apparent to me last night, as I listened to their new album, Loud Planes Fly Low (truth be told, I only listened to the first side - twice). What I heard was quite different from previous albums; while I would consider them basically a pop/rock band, they experimented with dance on Night of the Furies, and this new album (at least the first half) seems much more soft rock (and by that I mean no disrespect). Ivan Howard's voice, always one of the band's biggest strengths, sounds even better in these slower songs - check out "Limitless Arms" for proof.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Song of the Day: Bjork - Bachelorette

While I'm not a Bjork acolyte, she has a number of songs that completely blow me away. Today's song of the day, "Bachelorette," is one of them, but what truly takes the song to another level is the video - and how often can you say that?

It helps, of course, that the video is directed by Michel Gondry, director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (one of my favorite movies). He brings the already surreal imagery in the lyrics to life, and though I'm not smart enough to understand what is going on in the video, it's a feast for the senses.

But as I mentioned, the song is fantastic on its own:

Here's the video. Is it easy to see the parallels between this and Eternal Sunshine?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Song of the Day: The Stooges - Down on the Street

I love how you can barely understand what Iggy Pop is singing in this, and the riff during the "c'mon!" part is too good. I was in the mood for dirty rock and roll today, and early Stooges albums always manage to cure what ails me.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Song of the Day: Neil Young - Tell Me Why

I spent some time this weekend organizing my digital music and realized I had yet to unzip the massive Neil Young Archives file that was part of the Blu-ray set. Young is one of my favorite all-time artists (hence why I dropped $300 on the Blu-ray version of the Archives box set), and while I have lost some interest in his current music, it's amazing to me that he is still relevant 40 years after his career started.

His Decade best-of is what began my fascination, but he has so many great albums that a compilation only scratches the surface. One of the first great albums I purchased, and the one that is still my favorite, is After the Gold Rush. It includes one of his best known songs ("Southern Man"), but there is not a dud in the bunch. In fact, it leads off with one of my favorite Young songs, featuring his trademark whine, acoustically strummed guitar and beautiful harmonies.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Song of the Day: Jorge Ben - Apareceu Aparecida

I'm ending my "Amoeba purchases week" with Jorge Ben's "Apareceu Aparecida." I became interested in Ben through his album with Gilberto Gil, and while I'm no Brazilian music expert, I really like what I've heard so far. I bought Ben's Forca Bruta album as a reissue of the 4 Men With Beards label, who have reissued quite a few classics (including Television's Marquee Moon), so I figured this would be worth it. And it is, as I can't stop listening to it. If anyone has any other Brazilian albums in this vein to recommend, please let me know.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Song of the Day: Talking Heads - Stay Hungry [demo]

Up next from last weekend's Amoeba purchases: Talking Heads. I really have gotten into the Talking Heads over the past few years, but this was probably an unnecessary purchase. It's likely a bootleg of demos they did for CBS records in 1975, before their debut album was released. The sound quality isn't great (this stream actually sounds better), but it's pretty interesting to hear rough versions of these songs.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Song of the Day: Interpol - Obstacle 1

I said I'd be sharing my Amoeba purchases this week, and today is a 7-inch single from Interpol's debut album.

I jumped on the Interpol bandwagon early, seeing them at the Cat's Cradle with a few hundred other people and buying a first pressing of their debut album. I jumped off big time after the second album, scared off by bad reviews and eventually, bad first-person experiences.

Sunday's LA Times included an article (it's actually a snippet of his new book) by Simon Reynolds, author of Rip It Up and Start Again, that made me think of Interpol. In it, he writes about the current obsession with "retro" music, and how many bands seem to be recycling older sounds (the current number of bands with an '80s sound is staggering to me).

With their first album, Interpol was accused of ripping off Joy Division, but it seems that when they started to try something different with the third album, people like me jumped ship (to use a different metaphor). Is it because the songs were bad? Would I be happy listening to another Interpol album that sounded like the debut? I have to think the answer is Yes, as their first album is one of my favorites. But to quote Reynolds: Could it be that the greatest danger to the future of our music culture is ... its past?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Song of the Day: The Rolling Stones - I Am Waiting

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent quite a bit of money at Amoeba this weekend. Two of my purchases were Stones' reissues of Let It Bleed and Aftermath. I own both already, but I bought my copies when I first started collecting vinyl and thought that these would be hard to come by; thus, my copies are warped, dirty, and basically sound like shit.

The latter reissue is the UK version, which has a different tracklisting than the US version I own (both versions, however, have today's song of the day). I can't listen to "I Am Waiting" without thinking about The Royal Tenenbaums - while not the best track on the album (that would be "Paint It Black" or "Under My Thumb," but you know those songs), it does have one of the most memorable choruses (or is it the verses?). Hear for yourself:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Song of the Day: The Police - Synchronicity II

I went on a bit of a shopping spree at Amoeba this weekend, once again spending enough money that the cashier gave me a free Amoeba bag. I'll be sharing some of the other purchases soon, but today I'm going with the 12" single of The Police's "Synchronicity II." Most of the Synchronicity album is more pop than rock (eventually leading to the terrible "Don't Stand So Close to Me '86"), but this track is more reminiscent of their earlier albums (minus the reggae).

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Playlist: May/June 2011 blog songs

FYI - you can adjust the volume by moving your mouse over the 3 bars on the right

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Album of the Week: Cat Power - You Are Free

I'm on vacation until July 8th, so I'll tide you over with one of my favorite all-time albums. I was a fan of Cat Power beginning with Moon Pix, but You Are Free was an amazing step forward, despite being a more "traditional" album musically. Her voice never ceases to amaze me - half the songs on this album sound like they are whispered more than sung, and her background vocals are always inventive (see "Fool"). Despite my love for her voice, perhaps it's surprising that I don't care for her covers records that much - her original stuff is what really gets me, so it's too bad she only releases a new album every 3-4 years. But hopefully that means we're due for a new one soon. Until then, enjoy 2003's You Are Free.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Song of the Day: James Brown - Try Me [live]

James Brown's Live at the Apollo never fails to bring a smile to my face. The screaming audience is fantastic, and the background vocals and horns are perfect throughout. This is one of the best live albums you'll hear, and here's my favorite song.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Song of the Day: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Rifles

B.R.M.C. came up in a conversation I had last week with a co-worker. I've lost track of the band over the years, perhaps unfairly thinking they had nothing to offer. The reason for this attitude is that their first album, which spawned today's "song of the day," is so good, a mix of Spiritualized, Jesus & Mary Chain and shoegazer. Their second album, on the other hand, failed to connect with me, and I wrote them off and haven't looked back. Listening to this first album again, it seems unlikely they could have slipped that much, so maybe it's time to seek out their more recent album and see what happens.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Song of the Day: Cell - Never Too High

This '90s band got off to a promising start, releasing their first single (and today's "song of the day") on Thurston Moore's label and getting signed to a major label, DGC (home of Sonic Youth at the time). This song didn't make their debut album, but it was released on a DGC compilation (one which includes some other quality tracks - see here) years later. If you're interested in checking out more, the debut album has unfairly graced used CD bargain bins for over a decade; it's well worth the two bucks.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Song of the Day: Everclear - Santa Monica

I used to love this album when I was in my teens, but I probably haven't listened to it more than once since. It's interesting to listen to this song now that I live in Santa Monica, which seemed inconceivable as a teenager in North Carolina. Given that we're in the middle of June Gloom, I really do just want to see some sunshine, and I live beside the ocean (sort of). I just don't have the heroin addiction that Art Alexakis had. Though I have been eating a lot of Skittles lately, which I imagine are kind of like heroin.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Song of the Day: Lambchop - Up with People

I bought two Lambchop CDs (Nixon and What Another Man Spills) based on downloading a couple of songs from Napster, but truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of the band. I like the idea of Lambchop ("Nashville's Most Fucked Up Country Band"), but I just can't get into the records. That said, when a Lambchop song occasionally pops up on my iPod, I usually enjoy it - maybe I just haven't given them enough of a chance?

What exactly is my point? I don't know either. But this song intrigues me and is the one title I could remember, so it evidently made some sort of impression on me. The background vocals remind me of Exile on Main St, but I can't quite place any other elements. Let me know if there are other Lambchop songs I should be listening to and enjoying.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Song of the Day: My Morning Jacket - One Big Holiday [live]

I'm going to see MMJ tonight for the fifth time. The venue has gotten bigger each time - it started at the Cat's Cradle in 2003, then I moved to LA and saw them at the Fonda, then the Wiltern, then the Greek. For their new album, Circuital, I guess they're scaling it back a bit, playing at the Pantages (apparently a capacity of about 2,700, compared to 6,000+ at the Greek).

In case you've never seen them in person, let me clue you in to something - they may be the best live band on the planet. Now, it's been a few years since I last saw them, and by all accounts the new album is more laid back (I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail), but I'm still expecting a hell of a show. As such, it seems appropriate to share the song that they always seem to play and that always brings the crowd to another level - from their live album, Okonokos, this is "One Big Holiday."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Song of the Day: Ty Segall - You Make the Sun Fry

I'd never heard of this guy, but Insound has been tweeting about his new album religiously, and eventually hitting me over the head with it made me curious to check it out (the cover art didn't hurt either). Unfortunately, Grooveshark only has one song from Goodbye Bread, but it's fantastic.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Song of the Day: The La's - There She Goes

You probably know this song, but if you knew it's The La's, I'm impressed. I became obsessed with finding the album (their first) many years ago when it was out of print, and I was surprised to find it was just released in 1990 - it seems much older than that (or am I just old?). Even more surprising - it's the band's only album. According to, the band basically disappeared after releasing it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Song of the Day: Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train

It's been a long week, and I think I've stepped aboard Ozzy's train.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Song of the Day: The Smiths - Never Had No One Ever

As I was trying to figure out which song to post today, I saw from Rob Sheffield that today is the 25th anniversary of The Queen Is Dead. Problem solved.

I've posted a song from the LP before, the rocking title track that opens the album. Today is an overcast, crappy day here near the West Coast, so a more melancholy affair feels in order. Thankfully, the album delivers a plethora of those; thus, here's "Never Had No One Ever."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Song of the Day: Dead Confederate - Heavy Petting

I saw these guys on Conan a while ago (pre-TBS) and really enjoyed this song. The singer shreds his vocal cords a la Kurt Cobain, and the music is somewhere between Vitalogy-era Pearl Jam and '90s Neil Young. These guys aren't even close to that level, but on this song they pull off a pretty good reproduction of that era.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Song of the Day: Tool - Forty Six & 2

In my Mastodon post last week, I referenced Tool and was surprised that I hadn't posted one of their songs before. So I'm here to make amends, as I'm a pretty huge fan of the band. Aenima is not only my favorite of their albums, but it's also the record in my collection that I spent the most money on - $75. It regularly goes for triple digits on eBay, so I don't feel too bad about it (though my wife might). It's difficult for me to pick a song from this one (though the interstitial tracks are easy to rule out), but "Forty Six & 2" is definitely one of the best.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Song of the Day: Mark Lanegan - Wildflowers

I've already spent a week on the guy, but last night I had one of the best concert experiences of my life at a Mark Lanegan show.

First off, the setting was spectacular, as it took place in the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which looks like this:

Secondly, the show was just Lanegan and a guitar player, and given the intimate setting (and that my wife and I were only a few rows back), it sounded and looked amazing. He also played some of my favorite songs, including this track off of his first solo LP, The Winding Sheet:

And finally, despite the fact that Lanegan never talks or smiles on stage (I believe he had three in-between-song statements: Thanks, Let's hear it for the opening band, This is Jeff on guitar), we found out before the show that he would be singing autographs afterwards.

I ended up fourth in line, and since he entered the room with Greg Dulli, when I got up there I asked him if he and Greg were working on another album. He said they weren't working on anything right now...and that was it. I shook his hand and thanked him for a great show. Here's my prize, on a live 10" that I've never seen before:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Song of the Day: Mastodon - The Last Baron

Whitney Matheson of Pop Candy started a discussion today about Metal that was prompted by Klosterman and Guns 'N Roses. Personally I don't think of G 'N R as a Metal band - they basically play Rock that's not that much different than the Stones, except it's "harder"; thus, I think of them as a Hard Rock band (I should maybe also point out that I don't think of Tool as Metal either, though many would probably disagree).

At any rate, I didn't start this post to get into what comprises Metal (to each his own). Instead, I wanted to post a song from Mastodon's Crack the Skye, an album I was pretty obsessed with a couple years ago. One thing I don't like in my Metal is a lot of screaming, and while Mastodon occasionally lets one rip, I find the vocals to be melodic throughout. If you're into labels, the album could probably be called Metal or Prog, given the concept and musicianship. Here's the 13-minute closer from the album, which seems to encompass Rock, Metal, Prog, and even Polka (just kidding). Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Song of the Day: Tokyo Police Club - Nature of the Experiment

I don't know what happened to this band, but maybe I just haven't been paying attention. "Nature of the Experiment" was the first song of theirs that I heard, and it sounded much better than anything else on their album. In fact, it sounded like it could have been on the Arctic Monkeys' debut. Let me know in the comments if I should check out more of Tokyo Police Club's work.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Song of the Day: Jane's Addiction - Jane Says [live]

As I mentioned yesterday, I hit up a flea market this past weekend and bought a few records. Jane's Addiction's debut album wasn't exactly a must-have on vinyl - I have the mp3s and don't listen to them all that much - but it caught my eye, and, apparently, my wallet. This version of "Jane Says" from the album is a little rougher than that on Nothing's Shocking; Perry Farrel's voice sounds more strained, and most notably is that a steel drum later replaced the bongos heard on this live version.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Song of the Day: Frank Zappa - Peaches en Regalia

You could probably spend years listening to the Frank Zappa catalog, and that's only if you literally listened without pause. The guy released a ton of albums while alive and possibly even more posthumously, and throwing in live albums and bootlegs, his catalog is daunting.

I started with Strictly Commercial, a greatest-hits compilation for a guy who had no hits. But it's a pretty good overview of his songs and probably a good starting point for deciding on whether to dig deeper. I then gave We're Only in It for the Money (technically credited to the Mothers of Invention) a spin, and while I enjoyed it, it didn't kickstart a desire to hear more.

This weekend, however, I was at the Pasadena City College flea market and saw a couple of his records. For some reason (probably the cash burning a hole in my pocket), I plunked down 40 bucks for Hot Rats and Apostrophe, each of which contained songs from Strictly Commercial that I liked. One of those songs, "Peaches en Regalia," is an instrumental with a lot of interesting instrumentation. Check it out:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Song of the Day: Spoon - Lines in the Suit

It's hard to say whether Spoon are underrated or overrated. To make the former argument, I could note that their albums are consistently good, yet they don't get the kind of hype that many other less-deserving bands receive. To say they're overrated, I'd point out that they don't have many songs that Wow me. Furthermore, I've seen them live a few times, from small clubs to the Hollywood Bowl, and I find their live show to be snoozers.

One day, I'm sure I'll look back and say that even though I really like Spoon, I probably never gave them enough credit. But for my money, at this time, I would say (to quote Bill Simmons) they are properly rated. That said, they have a few songs that do Wow me, and I still think Girls Can Tell (which spawned today's SOTD) is an amazing LP.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Song of the Day: Fatboy Slim - The Rockafeller Skank

I remember going to a party the summer after college ended where this album was playing, and though I had never heard it before, this song was stuck in my head for days. Just maybe the repetitive lyrics are to blame (there are fewer than 10 words in the almost 7-minute song), but the changing tempos and beats keep it from getting stale.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Song of the Day: The Shins - Girl Inform Me

I recently read that The Shins are working on a new album, which I think I'm excited about. There was a time around when their second album came out that they were one of my favorite bands, and I still think the first two albums are the shit. But I didn't find the third LP all that fascinating, and I didn't care much for lead singer James Mercer's Broken Bells, so I'm hesitant to get my hopes up too much.

But still...the first album's just so good (here I find it necessary to validate my fandom by repeating that I was listening to them pre-Garden State and was lucky to see them play to about 100 people back then). While "New Slang" is probably the best song, it was so overplayed that I feel the need to share something else, and there are so many great songs to choose from, this isn't exactly a chore. So here's "Girl Inform Me," one of many perfect pop songs from Oh, Inverted World.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Song of the Day: The Stooges - I Wanna Be Your Dog

I felt the need for something raw this morning, and it doesn't get much rawer than The Stooges. I played this song when I was a guest DJ on Indie 103.1, which I detailed in the first song of the day. Play it loud.

You can listen to my complete Indie 103.1 playlist here

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Song of the Day: Sam Roberts - Bridge to Nowhere

Sam Roberts is a lot like Sloan, and I don't just mean because they're both Canadian. Both play catchy, rock songs that sound ready for the arena, and for whatever reason, neither band has anything more than a cult following in the U.S. I'm going to see Sam Roberts Band tonight at the Troubadour, and I'm hoping they put on as good a live show as their counterparts.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Song of the Day: A Place to Bury Strangers - Ocean

A Place to Bury Strangers sounds like the love child of The Cure and My Bloody Valentine. And like the latter, I want to like them more than I actually do - when everything comes together, the songs sound great; when they don't, it just sounds like noise to me. "Ocean" works for me, and if you like it, I'd recommend also checking out the Daytrotter version.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Song of the Day: Aimee Mann - Driving Sideways

I first came to know Aimee Mann's music via the movie Magnolia, and I distinctly remember downloading some of the songs from Napster (gasp!). Her album Bachelor No. 2 was released shortly thereafter, and this song has long been a favorite of mine. Bonus points are awarded for the album being produced by Jon Brion and featuring Largo regulars Grant Lee Phillips and Benmont Tench.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Song of the Day: Michael Jackson - Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

I'm really enjoying the AV Club's "My Favorite Music Year" series, and the most recent one, which focuses on 1979, inspired me to share a song from that year. I've already shared some of my favorites - Gang of Four, Buzzcocks, Fleetwood Mac, The Heartbreakers, and just yesterday, Elvis Costello, and just listing those out makes me realize this was indeed a pretty extraordinary year.

And perhaps no career became more extraordinary than Michael Jackson's, which began in 1979 with his first solo album, Off the Wall. It spawned a few hits, but for my money, none is better than the disco-funk of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Song of the Day: Elvis Costello - Accidents Will Happen

I've blogged about Elvis before - no, not that one, this one - but after seeing Costello in concert last week, I realized I had never posted a song of his on the blog. It's extremely difficult to pick one song from such a prolific artist, but if asked at gunpoint, I'd have to go with "Accidents Will Happen." Not only is the album version extraordinary, but the live version, originally released on a 7-inch along with the Armed Forces LP, illustrates how fantastic a songwriter Elvis Costello is, as it's just him and a piano. Check out both versions below.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Song of the Day: Raphael Saadiq - Movin' Down the Line

I'd never heard of Saadiq a month ago, but after reading some interesting reviews of his new album, Stone Rollin', I thought I'd check it out. I also know nothing about his first group, Tony! Toni! Tone! (except a vague memory of them being on SNL back in the day), but this new album makes me want to check out more of what he's done. It's got a very loose vibe, a little bit of R&B and Soul, and a little bit of Rock.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Song of the Day: Zach Galifianakis - Up in Them Guts

The mag Chunklet released this song as a 7-inch picture disc, and while it's definitely a novelty (I've probably listened to it once before today), I feel compelled to post today, as I'm going to see Zach at a charity event at Largo tonight. I'm really hoping Fiona Apple is there, and I'm secretly hoping they don't play this song.

Here's a shot of both sides of the vinyl:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Song of the Day: Team America - America Fuck Yeah

To cap off a week in which Obama produced his birth certificate, Trump congratulated himself, and the Royal wedding made most of us glad we don't have royalty, it seems like an appropriate time to celebrate America. Fuck yeah

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Song of the Day: Lykke Li - Sadness Is a Blessing

I'm currently slightly obsessed with Lykke Li, and while I patiently wait for her new album, Wounded Rhymes, to be delivered via Insound, I've been placated by her recent appearance on Unplugged. Today, a video for my favorite song off the album is making the rounds, and while the video is perhaps overlong, the song remains a gem.

The video:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Song of the Day: The Head and the Heart - Lost In My Mind

I kept hearing good things about The Head and the Heart, but because I couldn't find any songs on Grooveshark and I'm too lazy to look elsewhere, it wasn't until an appearance on Conan that I got my first taste of the band. We're definitely in Fleet Foxes/Grizzly Bear territory here, and that's a very good thing - I'm looking forward to checking out more from their debut album.

Here's the song, plus video of their appearance on Conan.