Monday, December 31, 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

M83 - "Teen Angst"

M83 - "Teen Angst": "The beat has the steady clip of someone running, but the keyboards sound like wave crashes with the vocals as the resultant spray on top. Dreamy.
(Related note: I've heard the new M83, out next year, and it's freaking awesome. I cannot wait for it to come out!)"

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Michael Penn - "Now We're Even"

Michael Penn - "Now We're Even": "Once a part of Michael's Free For All album, this track vanished when RCA re-issued Free For All and his debut record, March on one disc. Strangely, the track was not resurrected for the Palms and Runes, Tarot and Tea compilation on SBMG/Legacy - but at least my pals at Legacy were willing to play ball and attach the track to the digital version of the record. It's bad enough when b-sides fall off the face of the earth as formats change and time passes, but an album track suffering that fate is pretty horrible. Thanks to Legacy for not allowing that to happen here!"

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ludacris - "What's Your Fantasy (Remix)"

Ludacris - "What's Your Fantasy (Remix)": I love this song for two reasons:
1. The yelling of "Remix! REMIX! REMIX!!" at the beginning of the song. I just think it's funny to call it out like that.
2. It's awesomely nasty, but catchily so. Serious parental advisory on this one."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lusk - "Backworlds"

Lusk - "Backworlds": "Despite featuring a former member of Tool, this song couldn't be any more dissimilar from that band. Here, lush production swirls hushed vocals, squiggly keyboards, metallic guitars and atmospheric washes into a offbeat pop wonderland.
There are probably only four people who get this joke, but - I wonder, is Paul D'Amour still on honeymoon in Turkey?"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cake - "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up"

Cake - "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up": "Cake does Barry White and it actually works, in a fun way. I seem to recall that this is from the American Werewolf In Paris soundtrack, which I might have had at the time (for some reason? maybe someone gave it to me?), so it's triggering a 1997 flashback for me.
(The track now appears on Cake's new b-sides/rarities comp.)"

Monday, December 17, 2007

Giant Drag - "This Isn't It"

Giant Drag - "This Isn't It": "Normally, I don't blog about the same artist three times, let alone three songs from the same record, but I am here, for Giant Drag's "Hearts and Unicorns". (I know, I checked.) The vocals are sweet and sad, the music is fuzzy, the chord progression really works for me and...damn, I just love this record. It almost scares me to hear whatever they do next, because it might never be this good."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Snoop Dogg - "Sensual Seduction"

Snoop Dogg - "Sensual Seduction": "This song is a pretty cheesy love jam and one that would be unbearable if it wasn't coming from Snoop Dogg. Somehow, in his hands - despite the fact that he's singing now - this song becomes a real pimp anthem. And I don't mean 'pimp' as in booty-kickin' street pimp - I mean 'pimp' as in smooth seducer...which is basically what the song's about. I should be lamenting this soft turn for him, but it actually makes me respect him more."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Serge Gainsbourg - "Panpan Cucul"

Serge Gainsbourg - "Panpan Cucul": "A belated souvenir from my trip to Paris. I picked up a bunch of Gainsbourg comps (unreleased in America, although most of the material is still available here in one form or another) and, while catching up on my foreign purchases last night, I turned up this track. I hadn't heard it before, but hearing Serge hiss about spankings (if I translated correctly) over a slow 70s-style piano-and-guitar groove is just...well, awesome."

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Teenagers - "Starlett Johansson"

The Teenagers - "Starlett Johansson": "I admit this track caught my eye because of the title, but it proves interesting beyond that - a weird mix of Euro spoken word and breathy indie pop, all somewhat about Ms. Scarlett Johansson."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Superchunk - "Tie A Rope To The Back Of The Bus"

Superchunk - "Tie A Rope To The Back Of The Bus": "...mainly because I am sitting at the back of the bus on the way to and from work every day, on the MUNI. But also because I love this song!"

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Barbara Lewis - "Hello Stranger"

Barbara Lewis - "Hello Stranger": "One of my favorite 'oldies radio' songs, along with Eddie Floyd's "Knock On Wood". It's just a really smooth song with suave backing vocals, enough rhythm to be interesting and a perfect touch of both longing and 'come hither' from Barbara herself."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Krokus - "Screaming In The Night"

Krokus - "Screaming In The Night": "This post comes with thanks to Nick and the Interweb. While watching Metal Mania on VH1 Classic with Nick the other night, I described to him this video I remembered from the early days of MTV, where a metal band were some kind of slaves in a future world, but somehow wound up in a 80s-style diner, watching their 'former world' on the diner TV. The problem was, I couldn't remember who the band was or what the song was - or, likely, never knew in the first place.
Turns out, I didn't quite remember it all correctly, but - after 24 years (!) of not knowing who/what the video was, it turns out the correct answer was Krokus and 'Screaming In The Night.' Now the long-running mystery has been solved!
It's not the best transfer, but if you want to see the video, you can watch it here and read this great written summation of the video here. Seriously awesome 80s metal video."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Heart - "Barracuda"

Heart - "Barracuda": "I finally started playing Guitar Hero III this weekend and I was very excited to try my hand at this little number. Of course, I sucked my way through the first take, since I once again* underestimated the wicked guitar work of Heart - but never again!

* - See "Crazy On You", along with my initial Guitar Hero post on the Rhapsody Staff Blog.

P.S. - Since last month, it's hard for me to think of this song without thinking of Glenn F's impression of Celine Dion doing this song. Priceless!"

Friday, November 30, 2007

Barcelona - "Studio Hair Gel"

Barcelona - "Studio Hair Gel": "The keyboards are excellent and the sassy female vocals, taunting about bad `80s taste and hipsterism, add up to sharp new wave."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

William Shatner - "Theme From Cyrano / Mr. Tambourine Man"

William Shatner - "Theme From Cyrano / Mr. Tambourine Man": "Actually, this might be even more amazing than the other Shatner tune I just posted. How the hell did he come up with this?"

William Shatner - "How Insensitive"

William Shatner - "How Insensitive": "Pure Shatner magic, `60s vintage."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Benny Benassi - "Satisfaction"

Benny Benassi - "Satisfaction": "Normally, this song would make me think of sexy robots (kind of like in the Bjork video for "All Is Full Of Love", but much faster) - but, for anyone who's seen the video, it's hard not to think of jiggling."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Gossip - "Standing In The Way of Control (Soulwax Nite Version)"

The Gossip - "Standing In The Way of Control (Soulwax Nite Version)": "In the original version, The Gossip started an indie dance party. Now Soulwax transforms the song into what I can only describe as riot disco, somehow keeping the original's thrashy vibe while pumping up the bass and the Beth Ditto."

Monday, November 26, 2007

A. A. Bondy - "No Man Shall"

A. A. Bondy - "No Man Shall": "Verbena's Scott Bondy - now performing as A.A. Bondy - fully reveals his mellow, melancholy side on this first solo record. We've seen elements of this before in Verbena ("Me and Yr Sister")", but here he allows that side of him to take full reign and, even without the distorted rock that was the cornerstone of Verbena anywhere to be found, it's a suprisingly fulfilling affair. (Thanks to Dick Huey for flagging this one for me. Without him, I don't know if I would have made the Scott/A.A. connection.)"

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Locust - "The Half-Eaten Sausage Would Like To See You In His Office"

The Locust - "The Half-Eaten Sausage Would Like To See You In His Office": "I know I essentially said 'Happy Thanksgiving' yesterday - but this song really says Happy Thanksgiving. So, uh, once again - gobble gobble."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Belly - "Feed The Tree"

Belly - "Feed The Tree": "Most of us will be feeding our bellies tomorrow - and here, Belly feeds the tree - so, basically, this is my strange way of saying Happy Thanksgiving.
(And I'll never pass up a chance to show my love for Belly.)"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Res - "They-Say Vision"

Res - "They-Say Vision": "Another cross-genre casualty! Much like other artists who don't fit neatly into one category, like Nikka Costa, Res never quite nailed an audience. Her album crossed R&B, reggae and other genres - while this song, one of my favorites, was almost alt-rock in nature. People didn't know what to do with her, so she faded away, but this track is a gem."

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Rolling Stones - "Sway"

The Rolling Stones - "Sway": "It's dark, it's down, it's dirty and it's one of my favorite Rolling Stones songs."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Office - "Company Calls"

Office - "Company Calls": "When the song starts off with lyrics like 'you're a big city woman / with big city responsibilities', it feels like it might veer off into Rick Springfield grand-standing pop-rock territory. Instead, the chorus kicks in, trading off lead vocals with group vocals, like cascading rockets filled with 80s new wave goodness, glistening with a light Arcade Fire sheen."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

David Bowie - "Fashion"

David Bowie - "Fashion": "Just because I'm happy that Project Runway is back on the air. It's total fluff, but I still haven't tired of the Tim Gunn-isms and the friendly orange glow of Michael Kors."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Prince - "If I Was Your Girlfriend"

Prince - "If I Was Your Girlfriend": "This song is from Prince, as a girl, who was maybe kind of a guy, singing to his/her not-quite-girlfriend? This song just operates on a level outside of logic and still brings the funk, even while the song is almost skeletal in arrangement. It's hard to imagine anyone else other than Prince being able to pull it off and have it be a great song."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Human League - "The Sound Of The Crowd (12'' Version)"

The Human League - "The Sound Of The Crowd (12'' Version)": "What's better than 'The Sound of the Crowd'? More 'The Sound of The Crowd'! Sure, it's unecessary, but this 12" version make the fun of the song last a little longer, without really tinkering with it and breaking its' vibe, like so many other 80s remixes do."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Kylie Minogue - "2 Hearts"

Kylie Minogue - "2 Hearts": "Ladies and gentlemen, it's Kyliefrapp! Even though it's not as dancy as Supernature's glam disco stomp, there's something Goldfrapp-y about the new Kylie single - but in the best way. Since the new Goldfrapp (out in `08) will be a return to their more mellow roots, this might have come along at the right time. (This was also a musical souvenir from my recent time in Europe, BTW.)"

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Suede - "Metal Mickey"

Suede - "Metal Mickey": "My goodness - has it really been fifteen years since Rodney on the ROQ turned me onto this tune, back when I still lived in L.A.? I loved it when I heard it and it wound up not even being my favorite song on the record. This whole album's a keeper and I'm glad we finally have it live in Rhapsody!"

Monday, November 05, 2007

Eurythmics - "Sing-Sing"

Eurythmics - "Sing-Sing": "The reason there was such a large gap in my Rhapblog was because I was going around and about Europe for two weeks. I'm going to start filling in those missing days with songs that came up on my trip in some way or another. This one is mainly just a French tune I thought of while I was in Paris."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fergie - "London Bridge"

Fergie - "London Bridge": "How scary is it that I thought of this song when I went over the actual London Bridge?"

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Morrissey - "Hairdresser On Fire"

Morrissey - "Hairdresser On Fire": "I kept thinking of this song on my first full day in London, especially when I wound up in Sloane Square! It was as if all of these places I hadn't given much thought to in Morrissey songs were all coming to life for me."

Friday, October 19, 2007

David Gray - "Say Hello Wave Goodbye"

David Gray - "Say Hello Wave Goodbye": "Perhaps not quite as 'pure' as the Soft Cell original, but I thought this version was worth flagging as well. Gray translates the original's icy synths to acoustic guitar and his delivery is very different than Almond's, but it captures much of the same sadness, except blended more with melancholy than bitterness."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Soft Cell - "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye"

Soft Cell - "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye": "Deceptively simple synth-pop, but Marc Almond's lyrics and delivery are so straight-forward and confessional that they provide a depth far beyond the simple keys that back them. It's so tough and bitter on the surface, but clearly very sad at its' core."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine - "The Only Living Boy In New Cross"

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine - "The Only Living Boy In New Cross": "Wow - until today, I probably hadn't heard this song in fifteen years, but I still remembered the whole thing. From the low-key piano and organ intro through the electro-Brit-thrash core of the song, they somehow blended punk and Pet Shop Boys elements into something really exciting. It seems like this should have been a bigger alternative radio hit than it was..."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Lene Lovich - "Lucky Number"

Lene Lovich - "Lucky Number": "A little wacky fun to brighten up a rainy, dreary San Francisco day. 'Ah-ooo-eeeoo-ooo!' indeed. This one's for you, Joe."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

David Bowie - "Untitled No. 1"

David Bowie - "Untitled No. 1": "People often associate David Bowie with theatricality - but here, Bowie winds up presenting an understated electropop number flavored with subtle undulating instrumentation. There's a certain romantic quality about the song that, despite having a certain intangible quality, imbues it with emotional qualities generally missing from his late-'80s work that proceeded it."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mick Jagger - "Just Another Night"

Mick Jagger - "Just Another Night": "It may play like a weak Stones demo, but Mick's attitude still comes through so strong that you can practically see him strutting around, in his jerky little way, while singing this song."

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Trunk Federation - "Truck Lover"

Trunk Federation - "Truck Lover": "Off-kilter, whimsical and a little dumb at times - but still definitely catchy noise-pop. (From Alias - same label to bring you Archers of Loaf - which is why the review of this track sounds a little simiar to my recent AoL post...)"

Monday, October 08, 2007

Betty Davis - "Anti Love Song"

Betty Davis - "Anti Love Song": "I have a hard time articulating it, but sometimes I think performers wind up sounding dangerous in their songs - and this is one of them. Growling over a funk-rock beat, Betty sounds like a boiling pot of water - busting with heat and perpetually threatening to boil over the edge. She never busts out the way you might expect she would and perhaps it's because she confounds those expectations that Betty (in this song) is so 'dangerous' to me."

Monday, October 01, 2007

Archers of Loaf - "Web In Front"

Archers of Loaf - "Web In Front": "Amazingly delicious Amerindie punk rock (as it was sometimes called) from its Golden Heyday period. Infectiously catchy noise pop."

Friday, September 28, 2007

Metalocalypse: Dethklok - "Birthday Dethday"

Metalocalypse: Dethklok - "Birthday Dethday": "Dethklok has an album out - how awesome is that? If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here. Sadly, it looks like they left off the Dr. Rockso track, but otherwise, I am so stoked."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Britney Spears - "Gimme More"

Britney Spears - "Gimme More": "Down the pop well twice in the week? Yes, it's true.
It's really too bad that Britney debuted this song at the VMAs because it took the teeth out of what would have otherwise been a fairly huevos-y return: 'It's Britney, bitch!'
It's not the kind of thing I would have expected her to get away with - but she would have, if it wasn't for that sleepwalking nightmare of a performance...which is even sadder because you know she wasn't focusing her effort on the singing, so the writhing shouldn't have been that half-assed."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Suede - "Electricity"

Suede - "Electricity": "I couldn't be happier to announce that Rhapsody will be getting the digital debut of the first, self-titled Suede record on 10/16. Yippee!! To celebrate, here's another great Suede song - killer riffs, more sly sexuality from Brett Anderson and killer falsetto. Aw yeah!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jennifer Lopez - "Do It Well"

Jennifer Lopez - "Do It Well": "Occasionally, I trip up from my alt/rock playing field and wind up in a pop rabbit hole. And this time, J.Lo did it to me...because, really, it's a jam, so I have to own up to it!"

Monday, September 24, 2007

Von Südenfed - "The Rhinohead"

Von Südenfed - "The Rhinohead": "The Fall's Mark E Smith + Mouse On Mars = Von Südenfed = Swingin', Bleepy and even Danceable Beats. Who would have thought?"

Friday, September 21, 2007

Spoon - "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb"

Spoon - "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb": "Normally, I'd be a little weirded out by Spoon trying their hand at 60s pop, but they seemed to have pulled it off. The echoing tambourine, the horns and the punchy-yet-simple bassline are the parts that reach into the past for me, but it's still a Spoon song through and through."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stars - "The Night Starts Here"

Stars - "The Night Starts Here": "When I saw Stars live years ago, back in NYC, they would often transform their bedroom synth-pop into live rockers that approximated a dual-gender-fronted New Order, complete with surging bass. Here, Stars finally starts to approximate that full rock energy on a studio track. They still have the lush underpinings they've become known for, but with more of a driving sound put up front."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Michael Penn - "Invisible"

Michael Penn - "Invisible": "Simple and understated, yet beautiful pop. I've blogged it before and I'll blog it again, but I remain steadfast in my belief that Michael Penn is so completely underrated. This particular gem is from his debut album."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ned's Atomic Dustbin - "Grey Cell Green"

Ned's Atomic Dustbin - "Grey Cell Green": "Deliciously fuzzy Brit-rock, a la Catherine Wheel and Swervedriver. I remember this is what 'modern rock/alternative' radio used to sound like and I miss those days. Maybe it's nostalgia, but it seems like there was great new music coming on the radio all the time, like something new being discovered every 3-4 minutes. I think the fact that it isn't like this today says more about radio than about today's music."

Friday, September 07, 2007

"Doctor Who (theme)"

"Doctor Who (theme)": "My other half got me to watch some classic (i.e. 1975) Doctor Who the other day and I've had the theme in my head ever since. It's a little creepy and mysterious and fairly perfect for this kind of sci-fi show."

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Suzanne Vega - "Blood Makes Noise (Rhapsody Originals Version)"

Suzanne Vega - "Blood Makes Noise (Rhapsody Originals Version)": "I love the original version, with its pots-and-pans clanging noises and Mitchell Froom's excellent keyboards, but this version is strangely compelling as well. In this live take, Suzanne strips the song down to just vocals and bass, but keeps a lot of the song's urgency and sharpness."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Kings Of Leon - "McFearless"

Kings Of Leon - "McFearless": "Despite proclaiming that they were under the weather, Kings of Leon still came through to rock the Warfield last night and this was one of the standout tunes."

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Queen Of Japan - "I Was Made For Loving You"

Queen Of Japan - "I Was Made For Loving You": "Normally, I think dance-y versions of rock songs are bad and should be avoided - but this song flips that concept on its head and makes it work. Queen of Japan recognize KISS' "I Was Made For Loving You" as the stomping club track it really is (and not the faux-rock glam KISS dressed it up as). No longer an awkward Gene/Paul stab at disco-rock, the track becomes dark and sexy and all-around excellent."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rilo Kiley - "Dreamworld"

Rilo Kiley - "Dreamworld": "It sounds like Fleetwood Mac in general, but I think it sounds more specifically like "Trouble" by Lindsey Buckingham. It's a good song, but it does sound like a tribute to the Mac."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Superchunk - "Martinis On the Roof"

Superchunk - "Martinis On the Roof": "I know this isn't actually the most appropriate song to pick for today, but it's the closest I can find that has the right sentiment."

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Cardigans - "I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer"

The Cardigans - "I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer": "Another great track from the greatly overlooked last Cardigans' record. It seems like everyone still wants them to be bubbly and upbeat, but since this record is not that, it hasn't gotten the notice that it should. It's really quite a shame because Nina's voice and lyrics are as sharp as ever and the songs are solid. It's not too late to give a listen!"

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cyndi Lauper - "Money Changes Everything"

Cyndi Lauper - "Money Changes Everything": "At first, it sounds like an upbeat, mid-tempo rock song - but it's clearly much sadder and Cyndi, in that odd chirpy-yet-powerful way, imbues the song with the appropriate emotional undercurrent. The album it comes from (She's So Unusual) is a gem overall, but this is still its best cut.
Also of interest is the original version of the song, by The Brains. A much rougher take than the semi-gloss Lauper version, but with a more of a crass punk/new wave vitality."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

M - "Pop Muzik"

M - "Pop Muzik": "It may be a bit of a guilty pleasure, but I love this song so much. From the bubbling synth noises to the Euro-girl backup chorus to the totally square way M yells "get down!", this is disposable pop at its best. The video is also pretty classic - my favorite part being when M gives the mannequin-looking girl vinyl record after record, with her throwing each one away like an automaton...while the 'pop pop pop muzik' goes on."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Talking Heads - "Road To Nowhere"

Talking Heads - "Road To Nowhere": "In high school, I was the hugest Talking Heads fan ever, scribbling their song titles on the fronts of all my folders. Recently, I haven't been listening to them as much, probably because I'm always trying to listen to new music for work. Then - yesterday, for no reason at all, while I was doing laundry - this song popped back into my head and I'm so glad it did. It could be this hugely cynical song, but it winds up sounding so joyous that's its almost more of a church revival than their cover of Al Green's "Take Me To The River.""

Friday, August 17, 2007

David Bowie - "Drive In Saturday"

David Bowie - "Drive In Saturday": "Jazzy, retro sci-fi doo-wop wrapped in shiny tinsel. Is this what they'll play in heaven?"

Thursday, August 16, 2007

U.N.K.L.E. - "Hold My Hand"

U.N.K.L.E. - "Hold My Hand": "I love this buzzy, piercing, straight-on rock, with the bass leading the way and the drums crisply pounding along. And is it just me or is that piano lick near the end of the song a sample of the piano from Bowie's "Be My Wife"? Right before I'm sure of the sample, the song kicks back into its guitar noise - which I love, but is frustrating to me at the same time - because it keeps me from knowing if I'm right or not."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Fine Frenzy - "Come On, Come Out (Rhapsody Originals version)"

A Fine Frenzy - "Come On, Come Out (Rhapsody Originals version)": "My favorite version of my favorite A Fine Frenzy song. Here, all the instrumentation in the song (which is fairly prevalent on the album version) take a backseat to Alison's vocals and piano, making the song sparkle as it rolls out in this more seductive and intimate form. In fact, in this arrangement, it reminds me of some of my favorite Rachael Yamagata songs."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mando Diao - "Song For Aberdeen (Rhapsody Originals Version)"

Mando Diao - "Song For Aberdeen (Rhapsody Originals Version)": "Mando Diao are a first-rate garage rock band - so imagine my surprise when they go acoustic and still sound equally amazing! Here, the guitars may be more subtle, but the harmonies are front and center and the keyboard leads them on a bouncing run down the lane."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Morrissey - "Alsatian Cousin"

Morrissey - "Alsatian Cousin": "Morrissey's first song on his first solo album - and he sounds like he's out for as much as he can. It's not that he's on new territory - the muscular bass is on par with 'Barbarism Begins At Home' and Morrissey's bold delivery resurfaces all the way through 'Irish Blood, English Heart' - but there's something powerful in his bitterly saucy accusations of adultery. I also love the way he delivers the line: "but on the desk is where I want you!" Poisonous but tasty!"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Syd Barrett - "Gigolo Aunt"

Syd Barrett - "Gigolo Aunt": "A strange, whimsical - but fun - pop tune, aided along by forceful bass and frolicking 60s keyboards."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Feist - "My Moon My Man"

Feist - "My Moon My Man": "I'm torn about this song. On one hand, it's very catchy, although its placement in the over-run Verizon Wireless TV ads may have helped with that somewhat. On the other hand, it gets sidetracked from true pop perfection by breathy asides and burbling noises. (Not to mention that it musically cribs from Spoon's more piano-based tunes!) I still like the song, but it feels like it's stuck on the cusp of being so much better."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Pete Krebs - "Do Your Father Proud"

Pete Krebs - "Do Your Father Proud": "Ex-Hazel frontman Pete Krebs goes solo acoustic, without sounding sparse in the slightest. Sweet-sounding, but biting at the core, this is acoustic without being folky."

Monday, August 06, 2007

Buffseeds - "Sunlight"

Buffseeds - "Sunlight": "Kind of like Placebo's Brian Molko fronting Travis, this song blends emotive, high-octave vocals with symphonic-styled Brit-rock. Pretty and touching."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Verbena - "Hot Blood"

Verbena - "Hot Blood": "Most people know Verbena from their debut Capitol Records album, where Dave Grohl (as producer) made them sound like Nirvana, so that's what people thought they were. Their real gem was the album before that, Souls for Sale, which melded dirty male-female vocals to a Stones/Stooges stomp, keeping the melodies strong while being equally as electric as those bands. Unfortunately, this record was similarly overlooked because it came out on Merge Records at a time people looked to them for indie pop and Neutral Milk Hotel, essentially making them the shard of glass in a pillow. This record is great rock'n'roll and it's begging to be rediscovered; this track is the first song on the album and is as good a starting point as any."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Prince - "Batdance"

Prince - "Batdance": "It's nice seeing Prince getting back to some sexy antics on his new album (Planet Earth), but it still doesn't compare to his days of yore. Still, as a reminder of how you can never really peg what Prince is going to do, I thought I'd bring back his lead track from his Batman soundtrack - which, though often bloated and confused, is still a great example of something it still seems like he'd never do. Too bad that the "Kiss"-like guitar riff that kicks in around the 2:46 mark is hotter than anything on the new record - and singing "I wanna bust that body!" in front of Bruce Wayne's "I'd like to!" shows a greater sense of humor too."

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Me'Shell Ndegeocello - "The National Anthem"

Me'Shell Ndegeocello - "The National Anthem": "Me'Shell Ndegeocello taking on Radiohead? Awesome! Me'Shell takes the abrasive squonk of the original track and makes it simmer with a funk-rock blend, while her gentler vocals add a sexy element that one would be hard-pressed to find in the original track. Of course, her trademark excellent bass is front-and-center in the track as well. How did I miss this when it came out?"

Monday, July 30, 2007

Soulwax - "Too Many DJs"

Soulwax - "Too Many DJs": "More people know them in their DJ incarnation (billed as 2 Many DJs, ironically) or perhaps from later period work, but here's a taste of Soulwax's energetic alt-rock from the late 90s. Tasty."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Maximo Park - "Going Missing"

Maximo Park - "Going Missing": "Fabulous, jaunty Brit Rock. Also appropriate as I'm going out on vacation for a while, so I'll be...going missing. (Wocka wocka!) See you back in a bit, blog fans..."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Peter Bjorn and John - "Young Folks (Live from Rhapsody Rocks Austin party)"

Peter Bjorn and John - "Young Folks (Live from Rhapsody Rocks Austin party)": "This live take of their hipster hit bubbles with a certain exuberance, especially in contrast with the almost coolly-detached album version, in spite of this version almost being stripped down entirely to just drums, bass and vocals. Definitely worth checking out."

Monday, July 09, 2007

Maps - "Elouise"

Maps - "Elouise": "From the label that brought you's British M83 - Maps! OK, that's a bit of a crude simplification, but they are label-mates with M83 (Mute Records) and they do share similar synth-yet-shoegaze/drone qualities, just with more obviously British vocals and a touch more rock instrumentation. (In some of the vocal parts of this song, they are not unlike early Lilys.)"

Friday, July 06, 2007

Janet Jackson - "The Pleasure Principle"

Janet Jackson - "The Pleasure Principle": "It's really simple R&B pop and maybe that's why it succeeds. As opposed to later Janet songs, you can understand a lot of what she's singing and the track isn't glutted in production. If anything, quite the contrary - the percussion pops in tune to the synth bass and that's almost it, aside from some spare guitar riffs. Most importantly, she sounds like she's having fun without trying too hard and that's what makes the song fun for the listener too."

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Crowded House - "Don't Stop Now"

Crowded House - "Don't Stop Now": "Just a simple guitar/bass/drums/vocals song, but in Neil Finn's hands, it all adds up to being one contemplative and beautiful pop song, in the best way possible. (From the brand new Crowded House album, Time On Earth.)"

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Aimee Mann - "Lost In Space"

Aimee Mann - "Lost In Space": "The gorgeous title track of Lost In Space, the song is full of understated keyboards and guitar, ultimately climaxing when Aimee sings that she's 'not even there / gone, but I don't know where'. I guess it should be a downer of a song, but it sounds too good to hurt.
Oh, and on a completely unrelated note, happy 4th of July, all."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Idlewild - "No Emotion"

Idlewild - "No Emotion": "Despite being a fan of Idlewild, I had a hard time getting into their latest album, Make Another World. It just seemed like frontman Roddy Woomble kept trying to fit more words into each song than there was actually space for and it gave an awkward feel to many songs. But, after further listens, I am learning to love the album (as I do their others) and this song is the clear winner. Admittedly, it's because it's closest in feel to The Remote Part album (my favorite), but adds in some highlights from Warnings/Promises, like the ghostly chorus elements from 'Love Steals Us From Loneliness', to make a new great song."

Monday, July 02, 2007

Missy Elliott - "Hit 'Em Wit Da Hee"

Missy Elliott - "Hit 'Em Wit Da Hee": "''I subpoena you to my funk room, see?' Awesome. Missy came out guns blazing on this first track on her first record - and rightfully so - the record is still just as hot, 10 years (!) later."

Friday, June 29, 2007

Cake - "Daria"

Cake - "Daria": "Sometimes, it's the simplest things that make me love a song. Here, the sometimes-braying John McCrea turns to lead a sweet chorus of "Daaaaariaaa!" over and over - and, that, plus the simple but energetic bass line underneath it, cast a strange spell over me."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Guided By Voices - "Huffman Prairie Flying Field"

Guided By Voices - "Huffman Prairie Flying Field": "This is the last Guided by Voices song on their last record and, in my book, it helped put them out a high note. Robert Pollard is at his wistful, melancholy best and the band is aces on their respective parts (including the awesome Kevin March on drums). As Pollard sings "for far too long..." over and over, the song seems to stretch into infinity - but when the second guitar lead kicks back in for the last minute of the song, it propels the song into an even more celestial infinity, if that makes any sense. It's as if the GbV magic was radiating out into the heavens, like a satellite signal heading out from Earth. GbV forever!"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Faint - "Cars Pass In Cold Blood"

The Faint - "Cars Pass In Cold Blood": "For all their pretentiousness, I have to hand it to the Faint - they did glean some of the best of New Wave and cover it with a nice modern polish - and this song is an example of that (notwithstanding the noiserock finale). Maybe if they were less dark and just a few years later, they could have had had the success The Killers wound up getting - but anyone who sings about dark sex this much probably still wouldn't."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Aislers Set - "Army Street"

The Aislers Set - "Army Street": "I'm so happy that The Aislers Set is now in Rhapsody that I have to blog about them again! This time, it's one of my other favorite TAS songs, "Army Street". Here, the first-person narrator is so intimidated at a party she's attending that she drinks to (over-)compensate and then ultimately flees. It may sound emo, but it's painted so straight-forward that it's easy to identify with the social awkwardness that we've all felt at one point or another.
The part that really gets me every time isn't the lyrics but the guitar lead that starts at the 2:14 mark - it's a simple melody that sounds like chimes, but it just about breaks my heart every time I hear it. By the time Amy Linton's multi-track vocals kick back in, with the subtle tambourine backing, I'm completely shredded.
Now that I live in San Francisco, I know where Army Street is, so it means even more to me now than it did before."

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Aislers Set - "Friends Of The Heroes"

The Aislers Set - "Friends Of The Heroes": "I've been listening to the Aislers Set for years now, but I never cease to amaze at their musical alchemy - or, rather Amy Linton's, since most of the first record is played entirely by Amy alone. She was able to somehow capture 60s girl group harmonies and Phil Spector walls of sound that sound native to that time period, while still imbuing the songs with melodies and melancholy that surpass most of the music of that genre. How Amy was able to do this alone is still a mystery to me, but the whole album (Terrible Things Happen) is evidence of her magic, from start to finish."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Unwound - "Kantina/Were, Are And Was Or Is."

Unwound - "Kantina/Were, Are And Was Or Is.": "Oh, Unwound, how complicated you are. When my best friend put "Kantina" on a mixtape for me (during the Mixtape Era- look it up, kids), I discovered the raw power of Unwound and I wanted to play it over and over again. Unfortunately, on CD, Unwound put three freaking songs all in one track - "Valentine Card", "Kantina" and "Were, And And Was Or Is." - even though the first and second tracks are not connected at all. In other words, you don't get the usual CD (or digital) pleasure of just skipping to the song you want to hear. So, if you want to hear some amazing, pummeling rock sludge that shifts into echo-y dream rock at points and then slowly transitions into beautifully distorted but shimmering guitar interplay, press play on this track and skip to the 3:26 mark for "Kantina/Were, Are And Was Or Is."."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra - "Xanadu"

Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra - "Xanadu": "My friend Stephanie just alerted me to the fact that, somehow, Xanadu is somehow coming to Broadway as a musical. Clearly, even they know this is a debatable achievement, as their website adds the tag "Seriously." underneath the show's name.
Still, it compelled me to celebrate this magical moment in time, when two behemoths of the 70s (E.L.O. and O.N.J.) came together - on rollerskates no less - to bring us this neon-trimmed poptastic masterpiece.
"A place that nobody dared to go" indeed..."

(See my further thoughts on ONJ/Xanadu here.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Frank Black - "Headache"

Frank Black - "Headache": "The guitar-driven shuffle builds me up, but when the backing vocals on the chorus (towards the end of the song) kick into higher range, I get giddy. Frank seems to be getting more excited through the course of the song as well."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

David Bowie - "Day-In Day-Out (Spanish Version)"

David Bowie - "Day-In Day-Out (Spanish Version)": "This is a lesser Bowie song from what is pretty much his worst album ever (Never Let Me Down), but hearing him do "Day-In Day-Out" in Spanish is somehow pretty entertaining."

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pixies - "I've Been Waiting For You"

Pixies - "I've Been Waiting For You": "For reasons that are hard to articulate, this song has always struck me as a transcendent Kim Deal song. And by which I mean that I picture her kind of levitating down a supermarket aisle while singing this song - or, really, any other kind of chaotic environment that she seems to move through obliviously - because she is so focused on the message of the song's chorus: 'I've been waiting for you / and you've been coming for me / for such a long time now.' It's as if she has precognition of a meeting and that, in her certainty, nothing else matters or even registers. Or maybe I just love Kim Deal so much that I fancy her to be almost supernatural in her awesomeness, which at times seems very possible, that I'm giving her waaay to much credit in how I envision this song."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rocket from the Crypt - "Over the Rail"

Rocket from the Crypt - "Over the Rail": "A track from the Circa: Now! sessions, but not released until the album was re-issued with bonus tracks, this is another fat slab of rock from the RFTC boys and is as solid as anything from their albums."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ted Leo - "La Costa Brava"

Ted Leo - "La Costa Brava": "An interesting little number - Ted Leo provides his usual high-quality rock, but he mainly bases this song around a subtle, repeating guitar section. It's the kind of pleasant melody that you want to keep going, but he keeps things interesting by occasionally punctuating the song with some ace indie-rock chord riffings. And then, just when you think the song's going on for too long (around the five minute mark), Leo starts layering in different vocal parts, giving the song a completely new tonal dimension, even as the music stays constant."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Twilight Sad - "Walking For Two Hours"

The Twilight Sad - "Walking For Two Hours": "This works my shoegaze jones. A wall of sound washes over this melancholy song, while the very Scottish vocals somewhat recall Idlewild. This song sounds best when turned up loud, as the drums pound especially hard, but you can also hear the subtle accordion parts wafting in and out of the background."

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Hong Kong - "Galaxies"

The Hong Kong - "Galaxies": "Bouncing fuzz pop, much in the vein of early Blondie-as-punk-girl-group and just as much fun."

Monday, June 04, 2007

Dengue Fever - "We Were Gonna"

Dengue Fever - "We Were Gonna": "This is swinging 60s rock, except made in the present day and featuring a female Cambodian singer who sings in Khmer. It may sound gimicky, but the music is tight and the unexpected vocals keep things sounding like more than well-done psychedelic pop retreads."

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Whigs - "Like A Vibration" (live)

The Whigs - "Like A Vibration" (live): "Check out this previously unreleased track from The Whigs' Rhapsody Originals session. The songs from their album (Give Em All A Big Fat Lip) are great, but this song - slated for their upcoming record - is amazing. It's pounding, rough and rocking with jolts of energy every time they sing "like a vibraaaatioooon". Like the tag says, it's Friday, rock it out."

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Elvis Costello - "You Belong To Me"

Elvis Costello - "You Belong To Me": "I'm blogging this one as a stand-out track on a stand-out record, This Year's Model. And for that, I defer to Rhapsody editor Nick Dedina and part of his album synopsis: "This Year's Model still brims over with intelligence, melody, dark humor, quotable lyrics and jittery new wave vibes." Exactly."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Cribs - "Men's Needs"

The Cribs - "Men's Needs": "This song comes on like The Strokes, but way more British. The verses share The Strokes' too-cool-for-school posturing, but the chorus vocals strike a more impassioned chord. I'm sure that The Strokes comparison may be a tedious starting point for many of you readers, but the similaries are there for their good elements, not their bad ones. Besides - be warned that the hooks are on and they're super freaking catchy. It's worth your 3 minutes to check it out."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

R Kelly - "Sex Planet"

R Kelly - "Sex Planet": "Speechless. Just listen to it. [parental advisory, probably]"

Monday, May 28, 2007

John Cale - "All My Friends"

John Cale - "All My Friends": "John Cale takes on one of the epic tracks from the new LCD Soundsystem record. Cale's vocal delivery is not dissimilar from James Murphy's original, but the drone-style keys and electronics of the original are swapped for live guitar/bass/drums, giving the song a wonderful post-rock quality. A great listen."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Unrest - "Winona Ryder (xx version)"

Unrest - "Winona Ryder (xx version)": "Alternating between a herky-jerky lo-fi guitar version of a Devo stomp and a swinging, handclapping dance party, this is probably the best tribute to the star of Beetlejuice and Heathers possible, even if it really has nothing to do with her."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lil Mama - "Lip Gloss"

Lil Mama - "Lip Gloss": "This song is awesome. It's essentially just Lil Mama rapping over handclaps and a bass drum beat (think marching band bass drum), but it pops. I don't know much about her - it's her first single - but, on this track, she's a mix of girl gang tough and barely-legal sexy. There's still a sassy humor about everything and her chorus of 'what you know `bout me?' will definitely get stuck in your head."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Comas - "Come My Sunshine"

The Comas - "Come My Sunshine": "Not worlds away from "Invisible Drugs", the track that snagged me on their previous record, but equally as tasty. This time around, they blend a little Silversun Pickups into their fuzz-blend, but rock it out just as hard."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Suzanne Vega - "Frank and Ava"

Suzanne Vega - "Frank and Ava": "We were fortunate enough to do a taping with Suzanne in NYC last week (look for it in July!) and she performed this song from her forthcoming new album. The vocals are her usual understated cool, but the pop hooks are back and with the energy of much of the Nine Objects of Desire record. It may be a long break between her albums, but when Suzanne comes around, she brings the goods."

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Glands - "Livin' Was Easy"

The Glands - "Livin' Was Easy": "This song has a real ramshackle quality about it, almost as if it fell together by accident - the vocals should seem off, the guitar almost has a drawl - but somehow things add up and that's the magic to this little Southern-styled charmer."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tori Amos - "God"

Tori Amos - "God": "I had been a fan of Tori's when Little Earthquakes came out, but I had no idea where she would go next. When she returned with this song, it was clear Tori was back and she was bringing her "A" game. Her debut had been bold and confrontational, but now she was taking on religion - and she had brought the musical chops to back it up. Her whooshing "woo-hoos" after the chorus, the crisp drum program and the guitar squelches give the song layers of texture while also providing an edgy and ominous sound. And in case you thought she was fronting, Tori wound up writhing with real live snakes in a mock religious ceremony for the song's video, re-enforcing the confrontational angle of the song."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Air Miami - "You Sweet Little Heartbreaker"

Air Miami - "You Sweet Little Heartbreaker": "I'm so glad we finally have this post-Unrest Mark Robinson effort in the system. Kind of lo-fi, kind of synthy, kind of poppy, kind of lush - this album is all over the place, but is still a consistently good listen. This particular song makes me want to pogo in this strange Buzzcocks-meets-Devo kind of way."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Michael Penn - "Walter Reed"

Michael Penn - "Walter Reed": Sometimes I can be so fickle-
I love the first four Michael Penn records, but when the 5th record (Mr. Hollywood Jr.) didn’t grab me on first listen, I pushed it off to the side to revisit at some much later date. But the new Michael Penn compilation (Palms & Runes, Tarot & Tea) pulled this track out of the bin for me and made me realize I had dismissed this record too hastily. It’s still not my favorite MP album, but his gift for non-saccharine pop melodies, wrapped in subtle textural layers and riddled with references to Los Angeles geography, still makes it a winner in my book."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fountains of Wayne - "Denise"

Fountains of Wayne - "Denise": "HANDCLAPS! HANDCLAPS! HANDCLAPS!
Their Cars keys + handclaps + softly coo'd "aah, do ya, do ya" chorus = power pop gold (and also the highlight of their Coachella set for me, but mainly because I love this song so much to begin with). Nick also loves this song for the same reasons, but mainly for the handclaps too."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - "Cold Wind"

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - "Cold Wind": "OK, yes, there is a Jesus and Mary Chain element, but they take some basic JAMC-isms and fuse in a more bluesy Americana element and add in better drums too. This is my favorite song from their new album, Baby 81."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Talking Heads - "Electric Guitar"

Talking Heads - "Electric Guitar": "It's such a low-key moment, but it always seemed so cooly dangerous to me when David Byrne intones that he will 'purjure myself / right in front of the jury.' It's the understated way he acknowledges it that makes it seem even more lawless.
I also love so many of the musical elements of this song - the quick upward guitar part during the chorus, the shuffling drums and the way the bass line is distorted to sound like an electronic tuba. Nothing radical on their own, but the way they all sound together gives a whole palate of sounds to a seemingly flat-sounding song.
By the way, this song is brought to you by my Word of The Day -
sedition: incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority."

Monday, May 07, 2007

Smashing Pumpkins - "Drown"

Smashing Pumpkins - "Drown": "Remember when the Smashing Pumpkins wrote pretty songs that were touching without being wimpy? Remember when Billy Corgan wasn't totally scary, just a bit egotistical? Don't get me wrong, I love Billy all the way through "Walking Shade" on his recent solo album, but damn, has he gone off the deep end - by a mile - since this song. I can only hope that the 'new' Pumpkins are this good... and I know that the early albums were, allegedly, only Corgan/Chamberlin anyway, but, uh, so was Zwan."

Friday, May 04, 2007

Kings Of Leon - "Charmer"

Kings Of Leon - "Charmer": "My friend Bob says this is KOL's Pixies song - and he's right, it is. Live, the bassline is even more prominent and even more Kim Deal-y, so it's even more apparent. The Frank Black screams are obvious either way!"

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Kate Bush - "Rubberband Girl"

Kate Bush - "Rubberband Girl": "Following up on yesterday's Tori post, her vocals at the end of that song kind of remind me of Kate's vocals at the end of this song, in their similar jerky, range-skipping way. I believe a reviewer at the time referred that vocal part from Kate as a 'drone-chant roundelay', which I think sums it up pretty well."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tori Amos - "She's Your Cocaine"

Tori Amos - "She's Your Cocaine": "This is Tori's most rock'n'roll piece, at least in my book. It's not that the song has a super-fast tempo or lots of guitars, but her energetic vocals at the end of the song are both impassioned and rather erotic (as a good rock song should be) and when she yells out "Okay, cut it again" after the last guitar hit, it just sounds so bad-ass."

Friday, April 27, 2007

Q and Not U - "Line In The Sand"

Q and Not U - "Line In The Sand": "More Dischord happiness! This herky-jerky song starts out almost emo-y (but more jagged), but unexpectedly shifts into a swinging guitar groove - with handclaps! As you should all know by now, I'm cuckoo for handclaps, so of course I love this. The two parts of the song should be at total odds with each other, but they wind up more like two different flavors that taste great together."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Siouxsie and the Banshees - "Love Out Me"

Siouxsie and the Banshees - "Love Out Me": "I know that The Rapture isn't the best Siouxsie record, but this song (from that album) is still a winner. It has a great intensity and her vocals sound amazing...and it's soooo goth ("I place the dagger twixt my breasts..."), but that's the way it should be."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Jawbox - "Static"

Jawbox - "Static": "Yes! The Dischord Records catalog is now live in Rhapsody! Now I can listen to some classic Amerindie Punk Rock, as some call it. Here's a classic Jawbox cut to celebrate with...something my best friend introduced me to in high school!"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Marilyn Manson - "Heart-Shaped Glasses (When The Heart Guides The Hand)"

Marilyn Manson - "Heart-Shaped Glasses (When The Heart Guides The Hand)": "A weird little song and not what I would have expected as a first single from the resurrected (wocka wocka) Marilyn Manson. A little post-punky, a little's all crisp drums and prominent bass. It almost sounds like a dark Killers tune, if it weren't for the spooky/achey trademark Manson vocals. The line 'we won't cover up what we do with a dress' does give him some bonus weird points."

Monday, April 23, 2007

Land of Talk - "Speak To Me Bones"

Land of Talk - "Speak To Me Bones": "Agressive indie rock that's sparse but never empty, led by unstyled female vocals, like a fuller band version of Giant Drag or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They're also Canadian, so they're part of the New New York Hotness.* Thanks to Tim for pointing this band out to me.

* - from two years ago when Canada was the new New York hotness. Sweden is now the new Canada. Just in case you're keeping track."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Karl Hendricks Trio - "Like John Travolta"

Karl Hendricks Trio - "Like John Travolta": "More delicious-sounding rock with bile-splattered lyrics from Mr. Hendricks. He does not sound like a nice guy to hang out with, but he is clever and his Dinosaur Jr-esque guitar brings the noise, in a good way."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bjork - "Earth Intruders"

Bjork - "Earth Intruders": "Well, it's closer to a traditional song than she's done in a while and with more energy too, but it still doesn't capture the magic she had as recently as 2002's 'It's In Our Hands'. I don't mean to be so critical of her - I still love what she does - but there was a magic that her songs used to conjure up in me that hasn't been stirred by any of her recent works."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) - "If You Leave"

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) - "If You Leave": "Pretty In Pink has been on cable a lot lately. Every time I see it, I always think about how, during the prom sequence, this song goes on for about twelve minutes. It's like the ultra-looped club version. I can't be the only one who's noticed this.
It's also probably one of the best commercials a song can have and pretty much secures OMD's continued visibility into the future."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Schoolly D - "ATHF Theme (remix)"

Schoolly D - "ATHF Theme (remix)": "This is a cool little remix of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force theme, from the soundtrack for their new movie. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I am planning on it. I'm sure it'll have massive amounts of just plain stupid in it, but I'm sure I'll still laugh at it."

Friday, April 13, 2007

Missing Persons - "Color In Your Life"

Missing Persons - "Color In Your Life": "I think I like this song for some of the same reasons I like tracks off Psychedelic Furs' Midnight To Midnight. Both bands, at that point in their careers, have already worn down the edge of their earlier works, replacing it with an over-produced gloss and a smattering of cheese, but the songs still wind up stuck in your head. They're fun, in a guilty pleasure kind of way. (But at least the Furs rebounded from this phase!)"

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Cranberries - "Linger"

The Cranberries - "Linger": "Last night, I was watching a VHS tape I had of old MTV, actually trying to find an episode of Liquid Television*, and stumbled onto the video for this song. It was insanely over-played at the time, but now I appreciate its lilting tones and late-night vibe, after all this time. It's also nice to think about how a shy-sounding shuffle of a song became a radio hit.

* - For Winter Steele. I miss that show. 'CROOOOOOW!!!!'"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pavement - "Perfume-V"

Pavement - "Perfume-V": "'She's got the radio active and it makes me feel ok' - I love this lyric and when, later in the song, it's overlapped with a different vocal track, it becomes almost a subliminal come-on. This song is so short (130 seconds!), I wish there was a longer version of it. Classic Pavement."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Spinanes - "Manos"

The Spinanes - "Manos": "Scott Plouf provides the drum muscle and Rebecca Gates provides the driving riff, but it's her smokey-sounding vocals that bring all the magic together for this simple two-piece number. Commanding yet sultry, this is classic Gates...and I just wish she was making music again! (She's been quiet on the music front, sadly, since 2001.) Smoldering!"

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ken Andrews - "Up or Down"

Ken Andrews - "Up or Down": "Last night, Ken Andrews of Failure/On/Year of The Rabbit fame) rocked Cafe du Nord in SF with a 'Ken Andrews - Hits Live!' approach. It was nice getting to hear 'Stuck On You' live after so long. As a thank you, here's a good song from Ken's new solo record.

Also, here's links to my previous Ken-related posts:
Failure - "Undone"
Year Of The Rabbit - "Rabbit Hole"

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Wesley Willis - "Girls On Film"

Wesley Willis - "Girls On Film": "I know it's dumb to have a song blog and then make posts that say 'words cannot suffice' about the tracks, but I swear, you just need to hear this. If you really need to know more, yes, it's a Duran Duran cover, but as performed by a metal band with a mentally impaired frontman... and they TOTALLY take it to the next level."

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Psychedelic Furs - "Mr. Jones"

The Psychedelic Furs - "Mr. Jones": "The sandpaper vocals, the pummeling drums, the careening guitars, the squonky sax - it sounds like it could be some kind of KMFDM song, but it's not at all - it's post-punk gold in the hands of the Furs. All hail the Furs!"

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Kaiser Chiefs - "Ruby"

Kaiser Chiefs - "Ruby": "I hate being sucked in by advertising, but over the last two days, I've caught the TV ad for the new Kaiser Chiefs album several times, featuring this track. (Not to be confused with traditional TV ads that feature band songs, this is really an ad for the band.) As a result, I keep hearing 'Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby, a Do Ya Do Ya Do Ya Do Ya' in my head...but it can't be a bad song, otherwise I would already hate it by now."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Peaches - "Boys Wanna Be Her"

Peaches - "Boys Wanna Be Her": "Possibly the stand-out track on her most recent CD, the song took full advantage of the expanded Peaches concert setup, featuring live drums, keytars and more. Of course, it helped that the crowd was freaking out and licking everything up...almost literally, for some people. Yipes! But at least I can say a good time was had by all. (3/16 @ Exodus)"

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Turbonegro - "Wasted Again"

Turbonegro - "Wasted Again": "Rock somehow doesn't work as well in the afternoon hot sun as it does at 1am in a dark club, but Turbonegro sure tried anyway. This song stuck out in their set mainly on the strength of this lyric: 'My body is a temple / and tonight I'll tear it down!' (Friday 3/16 @ Vice Day Party)"

Monday, March 26, 2007

LCD Soundsystem - "Someone Great"

LCD Soundsystem - "Someone Great": "It's not the danciest track on the new LCD Soundsystem record - in fact, it's one of the more subtle ones - but it's been stuck in my head for days. Reminiscent of Pulsars and other retro-keyboard-pop bands, there's a low-key charm to this song."

Friday, March 23, 2007

Keane - "Is It Any Wonder?"

Keane - "Is It Any Wonder?": "After all the VH-1-type hoopla on the first Keane record, I started to ignore them and it was actually my partner who pointed this track out to me. He hit the nail on the head that the track has serious `90s/`00s U2 elements, but at least the vocals don't recall U2's Bono-aching-for-the-world-like-he-was-Jesus ickiness that he's recently devolved the band into. Honestly, I applaud what he's doing for Africa, but I have an easier time believing John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson representing the farmers with Farm Aid and other efforts more than I buy Bono's saving-the-world theatrics. Anyway...uh, enjoy this Keane track. (And, for the record, I still love U2 all the way through Zooropa.)"

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Modest Mouse - "We've Got Everything"

Modest Mouse - "We've Got Everything": "Was fortunate enough to see a secret-ish Modest Mouse show and they confirmed for me that this song from the new record is indeed awesome. And, yes, it's very weird watching Johnny Marr play with Modest Mouse (but not in a bad way)."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Olivia Tremor Control - "No Growing (Exegesis)"

Olivia Tremor Control - "No Growing (Exegesis)": "Speaking of The Bill Doss, here's a song from his band, the Olivia Tremor Control, with pop perfectly fuzzed and harmonies on full display, guitars jangling and tambourines shaking the whole way down."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Apples in Stereo - "What's The #?"

The Apples in Stereo - "What's The #?": "When I saw the Apples In Stereo in Austin last week, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had heard Olivia Tremor Control-er Bill Doss was with the band (he was) and that drummer Hilary Sidney was gone (she was), but in the end, it was still Robert Schneider's songs that made the night magic. At the end of their set, they busted out this song - one of my favorites from their catalog - and I couldn't help bouncing up and down screaming along with 'I'm different from you / it's alright, it's already / you're different from me / it's alright, it's alright.' Needless to say, a good time was had by all. (Friday 3/16 @ Dirty Dog)"

Monday, March 19, 2007

Mew - "Apocalypso"

Mew - "Apocalypso": "Even outdoors, in the heat, and faced with a St. Patrick's Day party blaring U2 nearby, Mew still blew the paint off the walls with this rocker. I still can't believe his voice is really that strong AND airy at the same time, but now that I've seen him pull it off live after mutiple days of playing shows, I'm a believer. (Saturday 3/17 @ Filter Party)"

Friday, March 16, 2007

Peter, Bjorn & John - "The Chills"

Peter, Bjorn & John - "The Chills": "I hate to be another blogger posting about PB&J, but they played our Rhapsody party in Austin last week and they were actually a very good, very rocking power trio! In other words, it wasn't the record, but it was still very enjoyable. Thanks to them and to all the bands who played the Rhapsody Rocks Austin party: The Broken West, Oxford Collapse, Loney Dear, Oakley Hall, Robyn Hitchcock & Peter Buck, and Peter, Bjorn & John. (Thursday 3/15 @ The Mohawk)"

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spoon - "Stay Don't Go"

Spoon - "Stay Don't Go": "Isn't it a given that I blog about Spoon every time I see them? That's because they're always great. Last night, they did some new songs (the first of which blew me away) and even earned bonus points for making their stage entrance to Prince's 'Let's Pretend We're Married'. They also did a new rock version of this tune with a more agressive edge but without losing any of the song's vibe. (Wednesday 3/14 @ Antone's)"

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New Order - "Age of Consent"

New Order - "Age of Consent": "One of my favorite songs of all time. I love it so much that I don't think I could possibly find the words to do it justice. It's perfect in every way, in my book."

Monday, March 12, 2007

Friday, March 09, 2007

Albert Hammond Jr. - "Postal Blowfish"

Albert Hammond Jr. - "Postal Blowfish": "At first, I was surprised to hear the Strokes' Albert Hammond Jr. covering Guided by Voices, thinking that he might be revealing hidden indie passions. Of course, then I remembered the odd Strokes/GbV lovefest that went on for a few years, which even included GbV appearing in a Strokes video. In any case, it's still interesting to hear which GbV song he chose to cover."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Michael Jackson - "Working Day And Night"

Michael Jackson - "Working Day And Night": "This song pretty much sums up what's been going on lately and why I've been so bad at blogging...but I'll also add that this Off The Wall is probably my fave MJ record, even though I know that Thriller is technically better...this is still more fun.

And while I'm thinking about it, what is this "if I can't get sweet love to you" business? Is he trying to FedEx it?"

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Loney, Dear - "Hard Days"

Loney, Dear - "Hard Days": "Canada used to be the new New York hotness, but Sweden is the new Canada. Follow me?"

Monday, March 05, 2007

Autolux - "Angry Candy"

Autolux - "Angry Candy": "Autolux rocked Noise Pop in SF last week, so they deserve a blog post in honor of their wall of sound, not to mention the vibrating bass-quake that they wrought on my internal a good way."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Arcade Fire - "Une Annee Sans Lumiere"

Arcade Fire - "Une Annee Sans Lumiere": "Quietly beguiling, then giddily upbeat, this song takes a full 180 and still makes the most of its two parts."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Boz Scaggs - "Lowdown"

Boz Scaggs - "Lowdown": "This week's new re-issue of Silk Degrees made me realize that I have somehow never blogged about this song before. It's got flutes, a disco shuffle and the 70s painted all over all indications, it should suck. Instead, Boz's championship vocals - swinging high and low ranges throughout the song - and the ace musician team turn the song into soft pop groove gold. So smooth, so swinging, so crisp, so good."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Nena - "99 Luftballons"

Nena - "99 Luftballons": "I feel like this might be newly added into Rhapsody? Seems so, anyway. I prefer the German version of the song because it seems like she might be singing something slightly more profound in her native tongue. Either that or I just like when she name-checks Kaptain Kirk in the middle of all the German."

Friday, February 23, 2007

(Belated) Top 10 of 2006

(Belated) Top 10 of 2006: "I don’t know how I forgot to do this earlier in the year, but I meant to post my Top 10 Albums of 2006 and include a link to one song from each record. So, in the Better Late Than Never category, here is the Top 10 list, click the link above to hear the sampler:
1> The Cardigans > Super Extra Gravity (nettwerk)
2> Snowden > Anti-Anti (jade tree)
3> I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness > Fear Is On Our Side (secretly canadian)
4> Giant Drag > Hearts & Unicorns (kickball)
5> Silversun Pickups > Carnavas (dangerbird)
6> Goldfrapp > Supernature (mute)
7> Starflyer 59 > My Island (tooth & nail)
8> Ex-Boyfriends > Dear John (absolutely kosher)
9> Editors > The Back Room (fader)
10> Mahogany > Connectivity (darla)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Portastatic - "Why Pinch Yourself"

Portastatic - "Why Pinch Yourself": "Some of Mac's finest lead guitar work is on display here. Starting off almost sparse in arrangement, the song is mainly propelled by the drums and ends with quiet guitar noodling. However, when the song hits the 3:28 minute mark, it explodes with searing, emotive guitar, before sliding into an eerie-yet-beautiful organ melody. I wish I could take those thirty seconds and make them last forever."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Modest Mouse - "Dashboard"

Modest Mouse - "Dashboard": "Who would have thought 10 years ago (yes...The Lonesome Crowded West is already a DECADE OLD!) that the Mouse would be rolling out modern rock power-singles, adorned with horns and freaking Johnny Marr of The Smiths? Also, having been fortunate to hear some more of their forthcoming record, I‘m putting money on “We ‘ve Got Everything” as being the hot track on the album. Although, who knows, there could be even better songs on the record that I haven't heard yet - I cannot wait to hear the whole album!"

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Police - "Truth Hits Everybody"

The Police - "Truth Hits Everybody": "It's odd - I was looking at the traction The Police have had after their Grammy appearance and subsequent tour announcement - and, despite that this has not historically been one of my top Police tracks, this is the one that's popped into my head. Listening to it now, I'm not surprised my subconscious rescued it for me - this is a supremely rocking tune, sacrificing no melody at the expense of its energy. It even makes me want to tolerate Sting again!"

Monday, February 19, 2007

Peter, Bjorn, and John - "Young Folks"

Peter, Bjorn, and John - "Young Folks": "I had no idea that whistling could be so infectious, but coupled with the bouncing bass line, the maraca swing and the twisted lounge cool, this song will monopolize your mind. I can't even believe how powerful it is."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Pat Benatar - "Heart Breaker"

Pat Benatar - "Heart Breaker": "This song rocks - as do many of Pat's 80s classics - and my pals The Benetards shredded it live last night, so this is for them."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Broken West - "On the Bubble"

The Broken West - "On the Bubble": "I can't get enough of this record! So, in honor of them playing Rhapsody's SXSW party (oops, did I just spill the beans?), here's another handclap-and-harmony explosion of goodness from The Broken West."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Klaxons - "Forgotten Works"

Klaxons - "Forgotten Works": "I keep hearing about how these guys are supposed to be bringing back raves (2.0?), just more alterna-style. Maybe that's how they are live, but on album they're more of a blend of some Madchester, with a dash of post-punk. They DO make me want to groove, but it's not in a way that makes me want to bust out some glow sticks."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Shins - "Sleeping Lessons"

The Shins - "Sleeping Lessons": "OK, let's have it. I never really liked the Shins. I didn't hate them, they just never did anything for me. So I didn't rush to hear this new record, but our Editor-In-Chief urged me to give it a shot. Grudgingly, I did and I have to admit it has it's moments. This is one of them - when the drums kick in around 2:25, it makes me giddy the way the Arcade Fire record did when I heard it. "

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Brothers Martin - "The Plot That Weaves"

Brothers Martin - "The Plot That Weaves": "Jason Martin of Starflyer 59 is certainly keeping up his prolific streak. Less than six months after the last SF59 album, he teams up with his brother Ronnie Martin (of Joy Electric) on this Brothers Martin release. Here, he kicks out one of his best songs, melding first-rate new wave keys with rock-leaning dream-pop overtures, a la 'No New Kinda Story' (a SF59 highlight)."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yo La Tengo - "From A Motel 6" (remix)

Yo La Tengo - "From A Motel 6" (remix): "Holy heck, am I excited about this. This mind-blowing remix was a hidden track on a long-out-of-print EP and now it's finally up for the world in Rhapsody. Here, Steve Fisk takes the already stellar original track and gives it a shot of adrenaline, maximizing the careening guitars while preserving the strangely lulling vocals. An A+ to Matador for making this available again!"

Monday, January 29, 2007

Tiger Trap - "My Broken Heart"

Tiger Trap - "My Broken Heart": "This is from my old only-listening-to-girls-from-the-Pacific-Northwest phase. The song is bare bones indie pop, seemingly recorded in some rudimentary way, but the jangly melodies and sweet, sad vocals shine through anyway. It totally makes me feel like a teenage girl crying and writing in her diary."

Friday, January 26, 2007

Robbers On High Street - "Beneath The Trees"

Robbers On High Street - "Beneath The Trees": "Today's post is in honor of Robbers On High Street making a semi-rare (from my understanding) appearance in my new home of S.F. last night. This track was my highlight from that set, which was my first experience with ROHS as a five-piece (instead of four). The song sounds low-key at first, but there's an intensity under the surface - check the 'yeah!' at the 02:53 mark and you'll get a hint of how it was live.

Bonus comment - we were joking at work about making song playlists for gratuitous holidays, such as an Arbor Day playlist. I voted for this song, along with Guided by Voices' "I Am A Tree", naturally."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Broken West - "Down In The Valley"

The Broken West - "Down In The Valley": "Sweet melodies starred with light fuzz and handclaps, this is a feelgood song without a drop of saccharine. I dare any cynic to try and resist its charms."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Nancy Sinatra - "Sweet Talkin' Candy Man"

Nancy Sinatra - "Sweet Talkin' Candy Man": "Keeping on the Nancy tip for one more day, I have to present this swingin' nugget. The rendition isn't amazing, but is notable because it's a cover from one of my favorite movies, Beyond The Valley of the Dolls. The original is a solid belter in the middle of a psychedelic soup, but Nancy gets points just for taking it on."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - "Some Velvet Morning"

Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - "Some Velvet Morning": "I loved the Primal Scream cover when I heard it on Evil Heat, so I eventually went looking for the Lee & Nancy original. When I found it, I didn't really like it, finding it somewhat jarring after the Scream's drug-slide version, especially with the tempo changes. Over time, I realized how much bolder the original was with the full (yet subtle) orchestration and Lee's ominous vocals. I still like the Scream version - I think there's humor in their selection of Kate Moss on guest vocal - but it's just not in the same league as the original."

Monday, January 22, 2007

Rick Derringer - "Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo"

Rick Derringer - "Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo": "Somewhat Southern-y and somewhat glammy, this song is so 70s rock, it's sick. The name of this song sounds lame on paper, but when they sing it, it sounds unspeakably cool and maybe a little bit dirty too. Then again, it probably is."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Aqualung - "Pressure Suit"

Aqualung - "Pressure Suit": "It's funny - so far, I've been pretty resistant to the Keane strain of British atmospheric piano-pop...but damn if somehow this tune didn't break me. It's stuck in my head and the chorus is so, so good, I don't even care how polished the song is. In fact, that might even be why it works."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Black Lipstick - "Cat Piss Blues"

Black Lipstick - "Cat Piss Blues": "Yesterday's post, referencing The Kiss Offs, reminded me of the Kiss Offs spin-off, Black Lipstick. Not quite as much male/female vocal interplay as in the KO's, Black Lipstick still keeps all the attitude, just with less frenetic - almost laid back - tunes. Here's their ode to the NBA and drugs...or something like that."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Prids - "Shadow and Shadow"

The Prids - "Shadow and Shadow": "I love it when different kinds of male and female vocals are contrasted in a song, a la X, The Kiss Offs, etc. Here's another group that pulls it off, with equally rocking results. (Thanks to Chris O. for pointing me in its direction.)"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

America - "Always Love"

America - "Always Love": "Is it me or is it kind of freaky to hear America (yes, of 'Sister Golden Hair', etc.) doing Nada Surf??"

Friday, January 12, 2007

Guided by Voices - "Portable Men's Society"

Guided by Voices - "Portable Men's Society": "A darker rocker from Guided by Voices. Not as lo-fi as many GbV tunes, this one features thundering drums and even keyboards, but still features the usual Robert Pollard gift of a hook."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Neil Young - "Bandit"

Neil Young - "Bandit": "A sequel to yesterday's post - if you took the quiet shuffle part of the Califone song and stretched it out to a full-length tune, you'd have 'Bandit.' As a result, its quiet, strummed melodic loop becomes very hypnotic."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Califone - "Bottles And Bones (Shade And Sympathy) "

Califone - "Bottles And Bones (Shade And Sympathy) ": "I have to admit that I turned up this song from the Stranger Than Fiction soundtrack - even though I don't even really remember the song in the film - but it stuck with me from the CD. Dominated by acoustic guitar, but layered with percussive and atmospheric touches, this song shifts from quiet shuffle to forceful march in the most graceful of ways."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sluts of Trust - "Piece O' You"

Sluts of Trust - "Piece O' You": "Mad and wonderful - this song starts off with guitar shredding, before shifting into caveman glam, with Mick Ronson-esque riffs colliding only with pounding beats. Plus, there's something charming about a Scotsman screaming out 'Even! Stevens!' It may sound lame, but give it a listen and you'll understand."

Monday, January 08, 2007

Adam Ant - "Beat My Guest"

Adam Ant - "Beat My Guest": "Sorry for the delayed hiatus, I was actually off the computer for a while, if you can believe that. I welcome you all back with this raucous Adam Ant b-side with chainsaw riffs, vocals that get near to yodeling at times, and...oh yeah, bondage-y activity. Pretty and punk."