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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Song of the Day: Rufus Wainwright - The Dream

Released last year, Wainwright's Songs For Lulu is still growing on me. I tend to like his more sparse songs, and most of the album is just him and a piano, so unless he goes acapella, I don't think it can get much more sparse. This track is a perfect example and probably ranks among his best songs.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Song of the Day: The Langley Sisters - It's Strange to Be in Love

I've been watching a lot of old movies in the past week, and this song seems like the perfect soundtrack to a 1940s drama. Interestingly, the song is only a couple of years old. I don't know much about The Langley Sisters - according to, they are from the UK and haven't even released an album. I believe I heard this song on an LA Weekly music blog, and I'd definitely like to hear more.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Song of the Day: Johann Sebastian Bach - Toccata and Fugue in B Minor

And now for something completely different...

Imagine someone sitting at an organ playing this in front of you and see if it doesn't blow your mind.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Song of the Day: Prince - When You Were Mine

I'm going to see Prince tonight for the second time in the last 2-3 years, and I'm pretty damn excited about. Apparently he played for 3+ hours last week in LA, and I have no idea what to expect tonight. Today's song of the day is from one of his early albums (Dirty Mind), before he was a huge star.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Song of the Day: Wolfmother - Woman

We started this week off with two mellow songs, so let's switch gears just a tad. Wolfmother became hugely popular after their eponymous debut album, then they broke up, then they reformed with a different lineup, released a second album, and seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth. The debut is solid, though a lot of it sounds like Queens of the Stone Age fronted by Jack White - but that's not a bad thing. Easily the best track on the album, "Woman" is the kind of song in which playing air guitar is mandatory.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Song of the Day: Mountain Man - Animal Tracks

The first thought that came to mind when I listened to Mountain Man for the first time was, "Oh, brother." As in O Brother, Where Art Thou? the fantastic Coen brothers movie and hugely successful soundtrack. The songs on Made the Harbor wouldn't be out of place on that soundtrack, and they remind me of the sirens of the movie. The album is mostly acoustic guitar and gorgeous three-part harmonies, and it's equally suited for intense listening via headphones or background dinner music. Either way, it's a beautiful album.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Song of the Day: Big Star - Holocaust

I didn't get everything I wanted at Record Store Day, but at least I got to stand in line for 4 1/2 hours. As I mentioned in my RSD post, the big three for me were Nirvana, Big Star and Television - only the latter is now in my possession. Thankfully, a friend on the East coast was able to pick up the other two, so the day was not a complete loss.

But given my lack of success, the fact that it's a dreary Monday in LA, and just because I feel like it, today's song of the day is from the Big Star Third LP and one of the most depressing songs you'll ever hear - as if the title didn't give it away.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Song of the Day: Nirvana - Aneurysm

As I posted earlier today, I'm excited as hell about Record Store Day, and Nirvana is one of the reasons. Their Hormoaning EP is going to be issued in the US for the first time, and it includes one of my favorite songs, "Aneurysm." It's a song that wouldn't have been out of place on Nevermind, and it makes me wonder whether, were Cobain still alive, he'd still be able to sing - it sounds like he's tearing the hell out of his vocal cords here.

This track is available on Incesticide, but any excuse to own more Nirvana on vinyl is worthwhile.

My Record Store Day 2011 Wishlist

Tomorrow will be my third Record Store Day, and I'm equally excited and nervous. In 2009, there were about 40 people outside of Amoeba Hollywood, and I was able to get everything I wanted. In 2010, the line was at least 150 people long, and as I blogged about at the time, it was extreme chaos within the store.

This year, Amoeba is putting all the exclusives behind the counter, which I'm very happy about. But I'm dismayed to see that there are RSD releases already up for bid on eBay - it makes me wonder how many people will be at Amoeba tomorrow for the records and how many will be there for the money.

I'm definitely there for the records, and this is my list:

The Beach Boys: "Good Vibrations" b/w "Heroes & Villains" [Capitol]
Big Star: Third [Omnivore] [reissue]
Built to Spill: "Ripple" 7" [WBR]
Cults: "Abducted" b/w "Go Outside (Remix)" 7" [ITNO/Columbia]
Daft Punk: Tron 10" [Walt Disney Records]
Deerhunter: "Memory Boy" 7" [4AD]
Fela Kuti and the Africa 70: Monday Morning in Lagos Parts 1 & 2 [Knitting Factory/MRI] [reissue]
Fleet Foxes: "Helplessness Blues" b/w "Grown Ocean" 12" [Sub Pop]
Jenny & Johnny and Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris: Love Hurts 7"
Kings of Leon: Holy Roller Novocaine [RCA] [reissue]
Mastodon: Live at the Aragon [Warner]
Nirvana: Hormoaning EP [Geffen] [reissue]
Pearl Jam: "Immortality" b/w "Rearviewmirror" 7" [Legacy] [reissue]
R.E.M.: R.E.M. Three: First Three Singles from Collapse Into Now [Warner Bros.]
Ryan Adams and the Cardinals: Class Mythology EP [Pax-Am]
Sonic Youth: Whore's Moaning 12" [Geffen] [reissue]
Television: Live at the Old Waldorf [Rhino]
The Velvet Underground: Foggy Notion [Sundazed]
Wild Flag: "Future Crimes" b/w "Glass Tambourine" 7" [Merge]
Various Artists: Sing for Your Meat: Tribute to Guided by Voices [No More Fake Labels]

The three I'm most excited about are Big Star, Nirvana and Television. The latter is of particular interest because I think the CD version is even out of print. And I love Television.

Good luck to all who are braving their local record stores tomorrow!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Song of the Day: The Doors - When the Music's Over

Man alive (she cried) do some people hate The Doors. If you got that parenthetical reference, you probably don't hate them, but in the last few years I've come to read more and more vitriol about The Doors than perhaps any other "classic" band. Granted, hating The Doors is nothing new - I'm pretty sure Lester Bangs was not a fan, to put it mildly - but perhaps I was so blinded by my own infatuation that I ignored the dissenters.

That said, I get why some people don't love the band, but I won't validate those critiques by enumerating what they are (though some are indeed valid). Instead, I'll point out why "When the Music's Over" - one of their longest songs - is mind-blowing:

1. The opening keyboard riff
2. Morrison's opening scream
3. Robby Krieger's guitar lines...and then his nutso solo in the first half of the song (with two guitars tracked, I think)
4. John Densmore's drumming, which is probably the most underrated aspect of The Doors' music. Listen to the way he plays during the long middle section, like after "...tied her down."
5. The hypnotic bassline (played on the keyboard, probably)
6. The way Morrison's voice is double-tracked for "we want the world and we want it now" - very creepy
7. Morrison's other screams
8. The lyrics - Morrison usually gets killed for melodramatic lyrics, but this song elicits some interesting visuals

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Song of the Day: Come - Fast Piss Blues

This Village Voice piece made me remember how good the band Come were (are?), and I'm sad to read that many of their albums aren't even in print. Eleven: Eleven is a fantastic LP that sounds like a dirtier Sunny Day Real Estate, and I'm proud to say I own a copy on vinyl. Hopefully someday the band will get the reissues they deserve.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Song of the Day: Foals - Big Big Love

This song popped up on my iPod this morning. I like most of the songs from Foals' first album, but I honestly haven't listened enough to form a strong opinion about the band. Any fans out there?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Song of the Day: Solange - Stillness Is the Move

This track made my favorite songs of 2009 and is a great reinterpretation of the original by Dirty Projectors. Outside of the fact that she's Beyonce's sister, I'm not that familiar with Solange, though I did listen to her most recent album. It was pretty good, but I can only imagine the possibilities if Dave Longstreth wrote all her songs.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Song of the Day: Bob Dylan - Seven Curses

I didn't get into Dylan until college, when I borrowed my dad's Highway 61 CD. It didn't take long until I owned about 20 Dylan albums, but none was a bigger surprise than the Bootleg Series, Volumes 1-3 box set. There's a reason he's often referred to as the best singer/songwriter of all time - his outtakes are better than most artists' best songs.

There are so many great songs on these "bootlegs." For me, "Seven Curses" is one of Dylan's best songs, outtakes or not, because of two things: how great his voice sounds, and the story he tells. Some of his lyrics can seem like stream of consciousness, which usually works to perfection, but this one stands out to me because of the linear story.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Song of the Day: R.E.M. - Uberlin

I've documented my love of R.E.M. before (and I just made a pun), but I didn't really get into my waning interest of each successive post-Bill Berry album. All of these albums have highlights (well, barely for Around the Sun (I just had to look up the name of the album if that gives you any idea)), but I'm tired of hearing that each subsequent album is their best in 10 years, a return to form, or some cliched variation thereof. I found Accelerate to be passable but not close to approaching their best, and perhaps it's because I went into it with these aforementioned positive reviews in my mind.

When I heard the first song off of Collapse into Now, R.E.M.'s 2011 record, I was not impressed. I read the usual hubbub about how great the record was, but I was disenfranchised to the point where I thought about not buying the album - an idea that even 10 years ago would have been unthinkable.

Well, it turns out it's still pretty unthinkable, and a trip to Amoeba for some other records made it impossible to withstand the pull. So I took the album home, listened to the first side and was pleasantly surprised. Then I listened to it a few more times, and found myself thinking this is, in fact, a very good album. I think the key reason for me was that it wasn't R.E.M. trying to rock out, and Accelerate seemed to want to prove that the band still could. But at this point I'd rather hear R.E.M. try to recreate Automatic than Monster, which is probably why the song on Collapse that really stuck with me is today's song of the day, "Uberlin."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Song of the Day: Kool & The Gang - Jungle Boogie

Pulp Fiction made this song for me. Besides playing during the opening credits, Kool & the Gang also make an appearance in one of the best lines in the film, with Jules telling the Wolf that "it's Kool & the Gang" (rather than just saying "it's cool" - ok it's funnier in the movie). This is a great funk song, with horns, staccato guitar and an awesome bass line.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Song of the Day: Soundgarden - The Day I Tried to Live

Because I was enthralled with "grunge" thanks to Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Screaming Trees, etc, buying Superunknown was a no-brainer. I didn't know Soundgarden's earlier albums, and this one was much heavier than any albums by those aforementioned bands, despite "Black Hole Sun" becoming a huge pop hit. I'm not sure today's song of the day epitomizes the heaviness, but it definitely showcases Chris Cornell's pipes, which unfortunately have not been put to good use in his post-Soundgarden career. Thank god for reunions?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Song of the Day: Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers - Milk Me [live]

This is taken from one of my favorite live albums, Live at Max's Kansas City, and it epitomizes what rock and roll should be - sloppy, enthusiastic, dirty and loud. You can hear contemporaries like New York Dolls, as well as the blueprint for early Guns 'N Roses. The only band of the last 10 years that I can think of that can match Johnny Thunders for sloppy, drunken revelry combined with good songs is The Libertines. If you know of any others, hit me up in the comments.