Friday, June 30, 2006

S.F. Song: Beulah - "Gene Autry"

Beulah - "Gene Autry": "'When I get to California / gonna write my name in the sand'
I thought that it made sense to celebrate my arrival back in California, and now in SF, with a song about coming back to Cali from SF's own Beulah. I've always loved how they delivered wry lyrics in a deadpan tone, camoflauged in bouncy pop adorned with horns and pretty vocal harmonies. What an amazing band."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Road Song #7: The Cars - "Drive"

The Cars - "Drive": "Is this too obvious? It's more of a short-drive-in-the-city song than a cross-country car song, but it's The Cars and I haven't blogged them yet here, so it was time. Plus the soft, falsetto chant of 'who's gonna drive, who's gonna drive?' during the choruses is almost subconsciously alluring."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Road Song #6: Cowboy Junkies - "Lost My Driving Wheel"

Cowboy Junkies - "Lost My Driving Wheel": "In a similar vein to yesterday's post, this is another sleepy, late-night-drive tune. It's always been a late-night song for me, ever since the Cowboy Junkies first covered it on the 1993 compilation Born To Choose. Here's an equally powerful live version for you to road test."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Road Song #5: Sarah McLachlan - "Ol' 55"

Sarah McLachlan - "Ol' 55": "I know this is a cover (of Tom Waits, I believe, although the Eagles did it too), but I can't help but think Sarah makes it prettier. Granted, I didn't take the 55 heading west, but it still seems like an appropriate song when driving through farmland as the sun is setting."

Monday, June 26, 2006

Road Song #4: Modest Mouse - "Interstate 8"

Modest Mouse - "Interstate 8": "There are lots of good Modest Mouse songs about roads and driving - especially 'Trucker's Atlas' - but this one is probably the prettiest. Here's a live version of it."

Friday, June 23, 2006

Road Song #3: Elastica - "Car Song"

Elastica - "Car Song": "This song covers a lot of the cars I saw on the road, while singer Justine Frischman delivers cheeky lines like 'let's go siesta / in my Ford Fiesta' with a cocked eyebrow. Lots of fun to drive to."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Road Song #2: Depeche Mode - "Behind The Wheel"

Depeche Mode - "Behind The Wheel": "Another track for the road, this one from Depeche Mode, even if 'Never Let Me Down Again' also comes to mind ('I'm taking a ride with my best friend')."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Road Song #1: Cake - "Stickshifts And Safetybelts"

Cake - "Stickshifts And Safetybelts": "So, I admit, I am cheating and filling in days in reverse here - but as you may not know, dear readers, I have been in the process of moving to SF. And, now that I'm here, I would like to fill in my missing song days with songs about driving and/or the road, to celebrate the long cross-country drive I just finished. Here's the first song."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Guided By Voices - "Mute Superstar"

Guided By Voices - "Mute Superstar": "Jagged riffs + handclaps + squaling synths = magic. It's not even a minute and a half long, but some of the best Guided By Voices songs aren't!"

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Black Crowes - "Sometimes Salvation"

The Black Crowes - "Sometimes Salvation": "A surprisingly powerful, slow-burning blues-rock number. Even if the song starts out with elements of so much 90s rock posing, by the time the song's half-way in, Chris Robinson is already burning the house down. Probably one of the best things the Crowes ever did."

Friday, June 16, 2006

Spoon - "I Turn My Camera On"

Spoon - "I Turn My Camera On": "For being such a die-hard Spoon fan, I feel weird blogging about what is (arguably) their best-known song, partially because of its recent use in a Jaguar commercial. But yet I am blogging about it because the crisp drum and bass rhythm (not to be confused with drum'n'bass) and the Stones-y swagger make it sound like what 'Emotional Rescue' would have been if it was recorded about ten years earlier in the Stones' career, minus a guitar lead. It's deceptively simple, which makes little things like the tambourine and the odd keyboard hit give the track a deeper character. And, yes, I love Spoon more than anything. I want to have their babies and I can't believe I've blogged about them as little as I have!"

Thursday, June 15, 2006

a-ha - "The Living Daylights"

a-ha - "The Living Daylights": "Okay, I know I'm going to get teased for this, for several reasons:
1) It's from the guys who are only known for 'Take On Me'.
2) The James Bond franchise had a huge hit with the Duran Duran theme for "View To A Kill." They then picked a-ha to do the theme for the next movie, to try and replicate the huge Duran Duran chart success - and clearly failed.
3) It's kind of cheesy (but as my readers know, this doesn't always stop me).
That said, I've always been drawn to the fact that it is clearly modeled on 'View To A Kill' - yet it takes more of a queue from Euro-synth, where Duran Duran looked more to American rock and funk elements. And, really, there's something cute about how a-ha tries to sound so cool and bad-ass here."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Shea Seger - "Last Time"

Shea Seger - "Last Time": "From a record that (major label) time forgot, this is a chestnut that really deserves to be re-discovered. From the stuttering snare beats through the 'Nashville' strings juxtaposed with the bouncing bass line, this song involves a kaliedoscope of elements, blended together into a smooth, cool groove. This song should have been wiping the floor of pop fluff like Natalie Imbruglia, but it sadly never happened. Bonus point: I've always been curious about the part at the end when she murmurs '...I'm just real sorry...but I don't think I can tell you that.' out of the blue. Strangely intriguing."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Steely Dan - "King Of The World"

Steely Dan - "King Of The World": "Simply because I'm 'the king of the world, as far as I know.' That's about all I can say about that today."

Monday, June 12, 2006

DNTEL - "(This Is) The Dream Of Evan And Chan"

DNTEL - "(This Is) The Dream Of Evan And Chan": "Before The Postal Service, there was this DNTEL record, in which DNTEL (Jimmy T.) invited his friend from Death Cab For Cutie (Ben G.) to sing on a track...and created something far more amazing - and yet vastly more unheard - than anything on the Postal Service record. Not that the PS record is bad at all - it's pretty great - but that's just how amazing this track is and that's why it needs to be heard."

Friday, June 09, 2006

Idlewild - "A Modern Way Of Letting Go"

Idlewild - "A Modern Way Of Letting Go": "On this track from The Remote Part, Idlewild takes their more mature and developed sound and matches it back up with their earlier, thrashier sound to make this rawkus, sharp rocker. The throat-shredding way Roddy Woomble shreiks 'go!' at the end of the song still gives me chills."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Swervedriver - "Harry & Maggie"

Swervedriver - "Harry & Maggie": "There was more oddness going on in Times Square today (as usual) and all I could think was 'I don't wanna know...' - which made me think of this song, which contains that line in the lyrics ('And I don't wanna know / I'm glad I don't know'). There's also so much going on that I need to deal with, that I need to keep myself focused solely on all the various tasks at hand, so it's kind of my theme for the day."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Chemical Brothers - "Out Of Control"

The Chemical Brothers - "Out Of Control": "This track is probably my favorite Chemical Brothers song, as well as the best non-New-Order New Order song (as the song features vocals from NO's Bernard Sumner). This song pulsates with a mean energy for nearly seven relentless minutes - a club classic, or at least it should be."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Rock Kills Kid - "Back To Life (Rolling Stone Original Version)"

Rock Kills Kid - "Back To Life (Rolling Stone Original Version)": "Being flagged as new wave revivalists, I actually prefer Rock Kills Kid's acoustic turn on this song from their new album. The quiet strum with the still-prominent bass line creates a more delicate and intriguing take on the plugged-in version."

Monday, June 05, 2006

Chef - "Chocolate Salty Balls (P.S. I Love You)"

Chef - "Chocolate Salty Balls (P.S. I Love You)": "Listening to an Isaac Hayes collection this weekend, I was reminded of this South Park tune. It's completely ludicrous and crude - I mean, it's half recipe and half blatant double-entendre - but it's strangely potent funk-rock all the same. I just wish there were was more of the backing vocals - wicked 70s falsetto in effect!"

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sonic Youth - "100%"

Sonic Youth - "100%": "Sonic Youth is this Friday's Rock Song. This song freakin' shreds me. It's a blur of Thurston's swagger, Kim's muscular bass, Lee's cutting guitar noise, Jason Lee skateboarding and everything that was 'alternative nation' in the 90s. I miss that."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Snow Patrol - "You're All I Have"

Snow Patrol - "You're All I Have": "I loved the previous Snow Patrol why is this the only song on the new album that really sticks in my head? (*disclaimer: At least on my initial two listens.) Either way, it's a great song."