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5 Great Lost Songs

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Well, maybe not lost, exactly, but out of the way at least. Links, incidentally, will stream the track via Last.fm.

Can I Stay With You?
Nick Garrie
The Nightmare of JB Stanislas, 1969
Although a minor success in Europe, this fellow was, as I understand it, virtually ignored in Britain and America, despite releasing this album, which is really quite excellent, and this happens to be my favorite track off of it. The weather’s too hot for this right now, though; it’s a wonderful early fall track–just a bit wistful but still bright.

Electric to Me Turn
Bruce Haack
The Electric Lucifer, 1970
An early electronic music pioneer, this brief little number is the opening track on a quirky, weird little album about the war between Heaven and Hell… or something, I dunno, that’s not really the point. What’s far more interesting is the sound itself–drenched in early synthesizers and odd noises, yet clearly with a pop sensibility in a way that was pretty unique for its time.

Savoir Faire
Family Fodder
Monkey Banana Kitchen, 1980
When I first heard this, I thought “Wow, this band is totally ripping off Stereolab.” Then I learned this song came out 12 years before Peng! (Stereolab’s first record, for the uninitiated). So there you go. I guess this qualifies as new wave, but the album is kind of out there and trippy, even by the standards of the already kinda oddball genre. What’s remarkable is the variety–not all their songs sound even remotely like this.

I Hate You
The Monks
Black Monk Time, 1966
This pretty much epitomizes the phrase “proto-punk.” A group of American army men in Germany got together to record an album that, while rooted in the garage rock traditions of the mid ’60s (see 13th Floor Elevators, ? and the Mysterians, etc), also introduced a simplicity and aggression that, 8-10 years later, would come to characterize the often diverse work lumped into the amorphous “punk” category.

Fisherman’s Blues
The Waterboys
Fisherman’s Blues, 1988
I would expect to hear this band namedropped more than I do, but… This is one of their best tracks, epitomizing what the band does best–it draws from Irish and English folk music, beefs it up with a rock-and-roll swagger gives it some literate, intelligent lyrics and inserts one of the best choruses I can presently think of (“Light in my hair / You in my arms / Ooh-hoo-hoo!”).

So there you go. There are definitely more I can think of, but I can’t seem to find full tracks of any of them, so the 5 will have to do for now (it was 4 originally, but I had to add that Waterboys song).

Written by Sarah K

July 30, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Miley Cyrus has been offered a chance to prevent more Miley Cyruses

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Ah, funny thing. First Lil Wayne reminds us to go down strapped. Now it looks like Miley Cyrus has been offered a chance to tell the 11 year olds who watch her show that, indeed, condoms are a good thing. If the government isn’t going to do it (and they aren’t, because they’re the government), it seems like asking a 15 year old girl and a bad rapper to hawk condoms is a pretty good idea, if you ask me (Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?).

I think it’s good for a few reasons:

First, we don’t want more little Jonas Brothers, Tokio Hotel, and Miley Cyrus fans. Yes, we’re talking about population control and eugenics here, but who among us can say that they’re not afraid of electing a president 40 years down the road who once loved Tokio Hotel in his or her youth? Forget inhaling; no one gives a damn. We should all be deeply concerned about the future leader of the free world having once been a Tokio Hotel fan.

Another pretty good reason for Miley to do this is that this is sort of a no-win situation for her (I just realized that’s not a good reason). If she doesn’t do it, she’s white trash who is most likely pregnant with Kevin Jonas’s quintuplets. If she does, she’s further corrupting our youth because she happened to take pictures of herself in the shower or something and now she’s selling condoms to our youth. But on the whole of it, I think she looks like less of a hobo (Or Boho; thanks, Urban Dictionary! “True bohos are permanently alienated from society, as opposed to most “hip” people who are really just young and haven’t yet integrated into the social mainstream. Bohos are usually artsy, but the majority of them are not actually artists. They are usually poor throughout their lives, and often live in blue-collar or student neighborhoods. Affluent people often adopt boho affectations, but are unlikely to be real bohos.”) if she becomes a condom pitchwoman.

I also think it’s just a flat out good idea. You know, I don’t really think that anyone should be encouraging their children to look up to a 15 year old girl (I think most people reading this and everyone writing for it were once 15…?), but telling kids not to reproduce until they’re, you know, adults ready to make that commitment isn’t such a bad thing to tell your fans. Then again, your fans are 8 year olds and I’m not sure that that’s a crowd who needs to slap on the rubbers and go for a joy ride. So maybe it’s a really shitty idea that’s just going to corrupt our youth even more and make them listen to that devil negro rap that is so popular, and detrimental to their well being.

Um.

But anyway, this is old news by now (a week in internet time is practically a year), but here’s Pitchfork’s entire review for the latest Black Kids CD:

Pretty damn cheeky if you ask me! But finally something I and the ‘fork can agree on.

But once again, Pitchfork picks a random number out of the hat — 3.3 (it was originally 0.0, but thank God it was 0.0 and not 0.2 or 0.5 or something!) — and smacks it onto a CD like anyone seriously makes a CD buying decision based on tenths of a number. Okay!

I think someone should tackle the issue of Pitchfork in an upcoming entry.

I tried to listen to the first Black Kids’ CD a really long time ago. Lemme tell you what, I couldn’t get past the first couple tracks. I was once patronized that it’s, “Good if you like to dance, like me.” I guess. But I could think of other things better to dance to. Maybe. I don’t know. Anyway, the point is that the album sucked and the band sucks and it just all sucks.

Go buy some condoms.

Hat tip to Idolator for the Miley story and Stereogum for the Black Kids piece.

Written by M

July 29, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Shuffle Post.

with 2 comments

I want to write more for this blog, I really do. Like right now, I have a number of good articles in mind (“What makes a good lyricist?,” a write-up on the new Okkervil River record leak, baroque pop profiles, etc) but I’m just so very tired. But I do want to write something, so for tonight, I’m taking the lazy way out and doing a “Shuffle Post.” Herein shall we enter the weird and wild world of my iTunes library for ten songs, yet unknown to you or I. And for each, I shall mention something about it worth noting. Okay? Okay.

1. “Who Says?” by Richard Hell & The Voidoids ( from Blank Generation, 1977 )
I love Richard Hell. This isn’t my favorite track on this album (that would be the epic “Another World”) but it IS a fine example of the fact that one didn’t have to play loud/simple to make it in the “punk” scene (in quotes because of the vague definition of such). There’s a thoughtful, shaky tension to this song (and album)–as much (or more) in common with Television (which Hell was briefly in) as The Ramones or any of that ilk.

2. “4U” by KoRn ( from Issues, 1999 )
In my defense, I went to high school from 1998-2002. Actually though, this isn’t that bad. It’s not great or anything, but it has a kind of interesting atmospheric thing going on, and it’s short so it’s over before it gets too old. I remember when this album came out… I still want to learn to play the bagpipes.

3. “Creeper” by Islands ( from Arm’s Way, 2008 )
I dunno, this album didn’t quite get to me as much as their first (or The Unicorns album) did. But there is a certain pleasant groove going on here, even if it is a little… conventional, for lack of a better word, in that it hits exactly the notes a dancy “indie-pop” song should hit . Hm. It is catchy, though–well executed if not as daring as one might hope.

4. “I Fell in Love Today” by Ween ( from Shinola, Vol 1, 2005 )
This collection was pretty lackluster compared to the group’s regular studio albums, but this song is great. You never know what you’re going to get with Ween, but this one’s anchored by a low, head-nodding groove an it never builds too far beyond that because it never needs to. It’s the kind of song you listen to and it sort of automatically makes you strut, which fits well with the theme (“You people can’t touch me / I fell in love today”). The guitar tone on the chilled-out solo is great, too.

5. “Triangle” by Tripping Daisy ( from Bill, 1993 )
I just got this today, actually, so I don’t have much to say about it. It IS hard to believe this is the same guy who fronts The Polyphonic Spree–he’s singing about a preacher jacking off on TV over a very consciously “slightly-post-grunge” guitar riff. As I understand it, this album was largely dismissed because of exactly that sort of self-consciousness, which I guess I can see. There’s nothing bad about this so far, but it’s not especially grabbing either. Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb is a pretty fine album, though.

6. “Casimir Pulaski Day” by Sufjan Stevens ( from Come On Feel the Illinoise!, 2005 )
I have a sort of a love/hate thing with Sufjan. On the one hand, he can be a little… much at times–overly precious, I guess would be a way of putting it. And this album did not need to be 22 damn songs long. However, for all his coyness, when he gets it right, he gets it right and this (along with “Romulus”) is one of his two finest moments. One could write a novel from these lyrics–there’s enough pathos and detail to back it up without being overly wordy or coming off as melodramatic as the subject matter (falling in love with a dying girl) could easily have been. It’s beautiful and the banjo/horn thing he tends to work has the perfect air of slight melancholy without being histrionic.

7. “Ice” by The Microphones ( from It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water, 2000 )
Phil writes such weird pop songs. Because this is a pop song, despite the fuzzed-out atonality, the rapidly shifting structure (no verse/chorus/verse here), the odd tinkly bells or static sounds or whatever else. It’s catchy despite itself. That’s why this was such a great band. I think his new band (Mount Eerie) is finally going to put out another one this year. I hope.

8. “Straight Freak Show” by Love Battery ( from Straight Freak Ticket, 1995 )
Sigh. My ex bought me this album so it reminds me of some weird things. But it’s still good–definitely an unrecognized grunge/alternative/whatever band with a little bit of a psychedelic edge to them. It’s definitely of its era, but there’s a charm here–summer, soda, skateboards, that sort of thing.

9. “Snagglepuss” by John Zorn ( from Naked City, 1989 )
Somewhere in the ether, jazz had a hot, steamy threesome with metal and new wave. This album (all 26 demented tracks of it) was born from that perverse union. This song bounces around between “normal” lite-jazz passages and the sound of Zorn herniating himself on his sax over other freakishly tortured instruments–like a really freaky musical game of “Red Light, Green Light.” It’s awesome.

10. “Simple Song” by Lyle Lovett ( from Pontiac, 1987 )
It’s easy for me to focus on Lyle songs like “If I Had a Boat” or “Penguins,” which are so… charmingly odd, I forget he can be this damn pretty. Incidentally, Pontiac is a milestone of alt-country music and something everybody needs to hear at least once.

Actually, on that note:

Written by Sarah K

July 29, 2008 at 3:20 am

Steve Albini tells a your mom joke, is awesome

with 2 comments

I was looking for June of ’44 videos to put up here so that I could write an entry about them, but, alas, there was nothing that really leaped out at me of theirs on Youtube.

In the related videos section, though, came a Shellac video. I haven’t listened to Shellac in a long time, but just the other day, I had Squirrel Song stuck in my head (“This isn’t some kind of metaphor! God damn! This is real!”).

Anyway, here’s a video of Shellac doing My Black Ass. At the very beginning, there is a heckler who provokes a your mom joke out of Mr. Albini. How cool, right?

I love Youtube comments, this is a fact! One of my favorite categories of Youtube commenter is (aside from the guy who goes to every video he can find and says, “What the fuck? That’s so gay! FAGS!!!”) the kind that comment on noise rock videos. Take this one, for example, “This is not music. It’s talentless noise. It’s people like U who buy rap CDs HAHA.” The “this is not music” crowd seems to find its way to these videos, I don’t know how, and completely miss the entire point of the music. Inevitably, it’s some jock rock Metallica fan, though, so I guess the joke’s sort of on them, in its own subtle way. I think a pretty good rule of thumb for life is, in addition to “Don’t talk to strangers,” is “Never trust anyone who says rap isn’t music.”

And between these two is about 17 minutes of really high quality concert recordings (especially for a noise rock-y sort of sound!):

Part 2:

Anyway, for those who don’t know who he is, Steve Albini is definitely up there as one of the great DIY music producers. He was/is in Shellac, Big Black, and Rapeman. You can see a fairly complete list (I say “fairly complete” because Wikipedia says it is incomplete and Wikipedia is always right) of his efforts here. For those of you Pixies fans, he worked on Surfer Rosa. He’s also done stuff for Jesus Lizard, the Breeders, Helmet, PJ Harvey (ick!), Nirvana, Melt-Banana, Screaching Weasel (there’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time), Veruca Salt, Braniac (whoa, didn’t know he did that), Pansy Division, Bedhead (!!!), Low, Jawbreaker, mclusky (<3), and… wait, why am I typing out this list if it’s basically what’s in that link? Anyway! Shellac is a band worth listening to and Steve Albini is a really awesome dude. He’s also living proof that you can come from Missoula, Montana and still do something with your life. I’ve, uh, been to Missoula, and there’s not of “doing things with your life” going on around there.

Written by M

July 19, 2008 at 10:11 am

Mommy, where does music taste come from?

with 4 comments

This is mostly a boring life story and analysis here. If that sort of thing bores you, skip this entry!

I’m having a ton of fun here with my family in Washington. On my first day here, my uncle (Bret, one of the guys on the blog here!) offered me a chance to rip the collection of CDs he has. So I sort of went through yesterday and checked some stuff out. I grabbed a few CDs. I don’t remember how many, but I think it was like 14 bands total. Today he picked out some stuff that I hadn’t heard of, but should check out. So I now have 1.5 days of music from him!

Yesterday, I listened to:

Afghan Whigs – 1965
Bad Brains – All Ages
Burning Airlines – Mission: Control!

I’m currently listening to another Afghan Whigs’ CD of his. Good band, methinks. But this makes me wonder: why the hell do I enjoy his music taste so much? I grew up listening to none of it. Mom didn’t put on Fugazi records, dad certainly didn’t like Jawbox. But why do I just feel so naturally at home with this music? It relaxes me, calms me down, gives me something to put energy into. It’s great learning about the history of, the relationships between the bands, the stories. The bands may have dissolved a long time ago, but to me, it’s still worth reliving. Why is the entire experience so affirming?

If I analyze what I grew up listening to, my mom (my uncle’s sister, so if that matters…) played a lot of REM, Nirvana, Simon and Garfunkel, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, and reggae. Now, I hated the reggae so much that I semi-deliberately once got gum all over a Peter Tosh cassette. I still dislike it, but then there are Fugazi’s dub influences to think about, right? Anyway, I still love REM and Nirvana. They’ve definitely encouraged me down a lot of roads, musically. I know some people reading this hate Nirvana, but they’re one of the first bands I really “got into,” regardless of their talent or anything like that. It only hit me recently what impact Simon and Garfunkel had on the music I listen to today. The harmonies and dual vocals are a major part of shoegaze. I think i found it very familiar to listen to a band like Chapterhouse, even though they might sound very different from Simon and Garfunkel to most people, because of the vocal similarities. I think Nirvana also pushed down the shoegaze route a little too, really, you know? Nirvana wasn’t a grunge band per se, but then neither is Swervedriver — yet both have pretty thin links to the genre. Swervedriver is much more on the shoegaze side, whereas Nirvana is more on the grunge side (tho still, so the genre puritans out there don’t get me, not grunge). REM leads me to bands like Apples in Stereo, Cake, Harvey Danger — and that more “indie pop/rock” side of music. I have no idea what the hell Peter Gabriel made me do. I really hated Bob Dylan as a kid, but I’m not sure what kid could really appreciate Dylan. I’m still not as serious about him as some people get, but I can definitely understand him better now.

As for my dad, he listened to the Grateful Dead and Phish. All the time. Jam bands galore. There was always a lot of oldies and classic rock (I’ll save everyone from my thoughts on classic rock here) on the radio. Sweet Jesus, do I hate jam bands. So hard. I hate hippies, jam bands, drugs, all of it. I can’t see how any of what I listen to was influenced by his music. Except maybe that I feel extra-close understanding of simple songs like Dead Head.

But when I first started listening to a lot of music, I was listening to stuff like Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. I was only vaguely familiar with Fugazi. At the time, I had no idea of the history of emotive hardcore or the ’80s indie scene or math rock. And then my uncle’s like, “Here, listen to Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes, Pitchfork, Rocket from the Crypt, and this Fugazi CD.” So I was like, “K, thanks for sendin’ them to me!” And I just got really into it. It like fit naturally. Part of it was the lyrics, but I really instantly loved the bass, the cutting guitars, and the drum styles.

So when he gave me all this stuff:

Afghan Whigs, Bad Religion, Bluetip, Boys Life, Burning Airlines, Forget Cassettes, Gorilla Biscuits, Hutch, Jawbox, Jesus Lizard, Jets to Brazil, June of ’44, Kerosene 454, Kite-Eating Tree, Mars Accelerator, Milemarker, A Minor Forest, Modest Mouse (The Lonesome, Crowded West era), Pee, Promise Ring, Rentals, Replacements, Rocket from the Crypt, Scribble, Sunny Day Real Estate, Team Dresch, Thirty Ought Six, Tsunami, Unwound

Plus: 20 Years of Dischord, Allied Records/Music for the Proletariat, The Making of Allied One Two Three.

I was like, “Whoa!” I’m in the process of listening to it right now (Bad Religion, half of Bluetip, Alfghan Whigs, Burning Airlines, and now part of the first Boys Life CD he gave me, are all down). Really good stuff.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank my uncle for all this great music. I wanted to look into a little of why I like the music I do, but I’m still not sure yet! Someone plz tell me.

Speaking of uncles, mine is like so cool. This room I’m sleeping in here is great. Vinyls from his old bands are hanging from the wall. Three guitars and a bass are resting on the wall. Old cameras are on cool little shelves. There are some Hot Snakes (<3) posters floating around. A custom designed Hot Snakes skateboard with John Reis’s signature on it is right above the bed here. All these awesome old Star Wars action figures are floating around the room. Dude. It’s so cool.

But in conclusion, really, is musical taste maybe kind of genetic? My uncle and I, as far as I know, haven’t had similar life experiences. My mom’s a fair amount older than him, so it could be she played somehow similar music for each of us when we were younger. It could be that perhaps the Grateful Dead secretly have everything in the world in common with Lungfish. So I’m just trying to figure what it is about the music! It’s stuck in my head now and I can’t figure it out. Or maybe it’s random coincidence!!

So to you guys: are there any family or friends who influenced a lot what you listen to? Why do you think you listen to what you do? Blah, blah, blah!

Written by M

July 14, 2008 at 3:47 am

5 Albums Everyone Should Own (or at least check out)

with 3 comments

I don’t think my music collection is holy. In fact, I know there are some major holes in it. But I also know that I have some winners, and whatever you’re into, here are five albums out of my collection that everyone should check out:

The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me-Brand New:

Of their three albums, the latest is definitely Brand New’s masterpiece. I would go as far to say that they’ve hit their peak with this one. The album is full of self-exploration on things like religion and love and sex and all that other stuff you can expect from Jesse Lacey. The sound of the album is almost…ghostly throughout. The best track on the album goes to “Jesus Christ.”

The Ugly Organ-Cursive

A lot of people prefer domestica to this one, but it’s just so dang hard for me to argue with how loud and full of discord The Ugly Organ is. The lyrics are very emotional and personal, as they always are with Tim Kasher, and that adds a completely new dimension to the album, as the listener gets to feel and hear and know what each song’s characters are facing.

Little by Little…-Harvey Danger

This is probably the catchiest album I own. Sean Nelson’s voice is so very smart on Little by Little… and the lyrics are clever and poppy, yet are deep and real at the same time–a balance that’s hard to strike in modern music.

The Moon and Antarctica-Modest Mouse

No one ever really knows what Issac Brock is talking about on Modest Mouse album’s. And it seems that the earlier into their work you go, the more and more twisted and unorganized the music becomes. As the release between The Lonesome Crowded West and Good News for People Who Love Bad News, this album hits every genius that is the mesmerizing, yet confusing Modest Mouse while not missing out on the more commercial side, which, without, makes Modest Mouse sound almost unapproachable.

OK Computer-Radiohead

This one was almost to obvious. No one can have a good pretentious list without having thisalbum on it. But I truly do love this album, and right now it’s my favorite Radiohead album. I think this is the reason: on almost every album I have, the music is set up as such: music /and/ vocals; but on Radiohead albums, especially this one, Thom Yorke’s voice becomes less of a seperate entity from the music and more of just another instrument that blends seemlessly.

Hardcore dancing… really really gay

with 4 comments

I know I’m not the one to brag about Metal/Hardcore/Scenester concerts, but really, Hardcore dancing to me is really really gay! (Not the homosexual kind) Whoever invented this ridiculous shit must die.  Flaling your arms around and those stupid fucking acrobatic shit that day to, just a no for me. No wonder why hardcore/scene kids gets beaten to a pulp at Metal concerts. Moshing is great, headbanging is great, crowd surfing is great, but hardcore dancing is just something that is utter shit. I despise it with a passion. Its reminds me of those animal mating videos, but you know this guys are not getting laid because of how tight there jeans are, or how hyped up on steroids this tough guy jocks.

If you don’t know by now, I went to the concert, and Modern Exchange was crowded by tough guy hardcore mails, and scene kids who gives me and my friend shit because we just bust out laughing on the corner. The music was also filled with stupid breakdowns for kids to start hardcore dancing to.

I shall now leave you with a video I like to call… Why Hardcore Dancing is Gay

These are the only forms of movement I aprove of in concerts.

Written by rippingcorpse

July 13, 2008 at 1:09 am