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."