Thursday, December 17, 2009

Failure - "Saturday Saviour"

Failure - "Saturday Saviour": "The lead-off track from Failure's amazing Fantastic Planet. They did 90s alt rock better than the bands who got famous for just that, with their major riffs and pounding drums, but it just didn't happen for them, in that commercial sense. Make up for this wrong by listening to this right now."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Belly - "Full Moon, Empty Heart"

Belly - "Full Moon, Empty Heart": "I remember how deeply I fell in love with Belly's Star when it came out, a love that continues to this day. There are still records coming out that I listen to a lot, maybe even obsess over, but it's been a while since I fell head-over-heels for a complete album, the way I did for this one (and others from the same time period). Perhaps it's just nostalgia? Or perhaps it's just hard to duplicate the blend of pop, quirk, melancholy and melody the way this album did."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Peter Bjorn and John - "Nothing To Worry About (Rhapsody Originals Version)"

Peter Bjorn and John - "Nothing To Worry About (Rhapsody Originals Version)": "The original is catchy, if a little too clean, so this looser and rougher live version is a welcome reworking. (Plus the song has grown on me from all the It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia promos it got used in.)"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mick Jagger - "Memo From Turner"

Mick Jagger - "Memo From Turner": "Mr. Jagger at his swaggery best, from the movie Performance, even if it still sounds like a Stones tune. Probably my favorite part of that movie as well."

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Place to Bury Strangers - "Keep Slipping Away (Richard Fearless Remix)"

A Place to Bury Strangers - "Keep Slipping Away (Richard Fearless Remix)": "Not a radical reworking of the original, instead with Richard Fearless (Death In Vegas) taking the various song elements and tweaking them in subtle ways. I particularly like the new drums, which are retuned from the original crispness into something even more abrasive and drum machine-y."

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Strokes - "Soma"

The Strokes - "Soma": "I remember when this album came out - I was living in the world's smallest apartment in Manhattan and there were a lot of arguments with friends about if this band was worth the buzz or not. The press might not have been able to contain their excitement, justified or not, but there is a certain charm to this album, even with the distance of time. It's fun in a pompous-yet-casual way and the light fuzz gives everything a warm feeling."

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Raveonettes - "Last Dance"

The Raveonettes - "Last Dance": "It took me a while to warm up to it, but this is the happiest-sounding 80s movie/new wave tribute that's really about death. I suppose it's the sound of a double-decker bus crashing into us...
(You can also download it for free here.)"

Friday, December 04, 2009

Alan Parsons Project - "Eye In The Sky"

Alan Parsons Project - "Eye In The Sky": "R.I.P. APP vocalist Alan Woolfson. This song is your smooth rock radio gold."

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Spoon - "Chicago At Night"

Spoon - "Chicago At Night": "I'm not in Chicago tonight, but this late night feels like this song anyway."

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Jealous Sound - "Broad Shoulders"

The Jealous Sound - "Broad Shoulders": "There was new Jealous Sound last year? And I just found out about it now? Damn.
It sounds like a slightly more upbeat take on their Kill Them With Kindness sound, their 2003 full-length, but that's a good thing!"

Friday, November 27, 2009

The English Beat - "Sole Salvation"

The English Beat - "Sole Salvation": "Smooth 60s-style pop with an 80s sophistication, a sound two members of The Beat would later revisit and refine on the first Fine Young Cannibals album as members of that band."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sluts Of Trust - "Meanwhile in Rocksville"

Sluts Of Trust - "Meanwhile in Rocksville": "Who would have thought that a band that sounds so garage-y would also be so charming? Tongue firmly planted in cheek from the 'meanwhile, in Rocksville...' intro on, the Sluts also taunt you with the meaning of the F-word and the heavy Scottishness of the whole thing adds to the aforementioned charmingness.
Totally unrelated: Happy Thanksgiving!"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Superchunk - "Foolish"

Superchunk - "Foolish": "I find this song completely hypnotic, with its overlapping guitar melodies and waves of feedback distortion. The drum part is also strangely calming to me, even if it almost feels like a loop. One of my favorite songs ever. (Posted today for @mgrooves)"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shakira - "Give It Up To Me (Featuring Lil Wayne)"

Shakira - "Give It Up To Me (Featuring Lil Wayne)": "I don't think I'm going to get as obsessed with this as I did with "She Wolf", but there's something super-catchy about the 'is this what you wanted? / is this what you wanted?' and 'world music' breakdowns."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mew - "Introducing Palace Players"

Mew - "Introducing Palace Players": "Mew is both wonderful and frustrating to me. They come up with such wonderful musical elements, but they always arrange them in a way that seems kind, so you have to work to like it. Here, you can easily fall in with the jagged, post-punk guitar melody, but the drums behind it seem a breath off, like when a record is being played back at not quite the right speed. Then again, maybe that's the charm of it."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Melba Moore - "You Stepped Into My Life"

Melba Moore - "You Stepped Into My Life": "I had no idea that Melba Moore took on my favorite song re-discovery of the year, the Bee Gees' "You Stepped Into My Life" - and made it even more disco-fied than the original, which should have been impossible. It doesn't touch the glory of the Gibb original, but it's still fun to listen to."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Adina Howard - "Freak Like Me"

Adina Howard - "Freak Like Me": "I have no idea what made this just pop into my head. Maybe it was all the 'baby' songs this week, but I just got the bridge and chorus in my head, both being amazing.
'I need a freak in the morning, freak in the evening, just like me!'"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wham! - "Everything She Wants"

Wham! - "Everything She Wants": "All of yesterday's talk of 'giving [someone] a baby' made me think of Mr. Michael's emphatic "having my baby" cry in this 80s pop classic. I think I remember doing yard work to this album when it came out..."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

50 Cent - "Baby By Me (featuring Ne-Yo)"

50 Cent - "Baby By Me (featuring Ne-Yo)": "In case it's unclear, I think 50 wants to give you a baby. This is not the only recent song to involve, um, giving people babies in that way, so I'm wondering if this is a new trend.
That second link, by the way, is to a new Hurricane Chris song and it makes the 50 song seem positively classy by comparison. NSFW."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Built To Spill - "Carry The Zero"

Built To Spill - "Carry The Zero": "Led by guitarwork both meticulous and spacious, this song sounds like the template of so much indie rock to follow, but that BTS never got credit for. Frontman Doug Martsch really shines here, starting off mellow and unassuming, but becoming more passionate as the song continues. A real classic of 90s 'indie rock'."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Morrissey - "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice"

Morrissey - "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice": "Um...this is just ripe for interpretation, but I should probably leave it alone."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bad Lieutenant - "Twist of Fate"

Bad Lieutenant - "Twist of Fate": "It's hard not to hear New Order in this, what with NO frontman Bernard Sumner leading the band, but it's not a bad thing. It sounds like New Order's poppier work, but performed in the guitar-focused style of Get Ready. It's still a lot more fresh-sounding than that description might suggest and it's always a pleasure to hear Bernard rock out."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Damnwells - "What You Get"

The Damnwells - "What You Get": "Enjoy this little slice of Replacements-style (but more taut) rockin'. Short and sweet, you'll wish it lasted twice as long."

Monday, November 09, 2009

LCD Soundsystem - "Starry Eyes (Original)"

LCD Soundsystem - "Starry Eyes (Original)": "Just another entry in my ongoing fascination with Nancy Whang, as previously noted in my posts about Soulwax and The Juan MacLean. If this continues, I'm going to have to make a Nancy Whang tag for the blog..."

Friday, November 06, 2009

Tori Amos - "New Age"

Tori Amos - "New Age": "Tori takes on the Velvet Underground, although - interestingly - she picks the live 1969 version of this song as a template, not the album version from Loaded. I really like the keyboard treatment that supports most of the song, keeping things mellow, until the full band kicks in, allowing the song to simmer, subtly, to Tori's ending boil. "

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Those Bastard Souls - "Good Luck Split Town Today"

Those Bastard Souls - "Good Luck Split Town Today": "This song comes across like young hubris and drunken mischief disguised as the effortless cool that comes from being blessed by dumb luck. It may sound straight from the garage, but it's not that simple - ex-Grifter Dave Shouse is single-handedly manning all the instruments, making its sloppy energy all the more amazing."

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

White Lies - "A Place To Hide"

White Lies - "A Place To Hide": "Is it just me or does the intro musical section recall Giant Drag's "This Isn't It"? Granted, the song then goes in a much different direction, but I still can't help but notice the similarity.
(Not trying to knock White Lies, since they also have songs that stand on their own, for example: "E.S.T.".)"

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Lady Gaga - "Paparazzi"

Lady Gaga - "Paparazzi": "With Lady Gaga in the press all the time, I keep getting this song stuck back in my head, even when I try not to! I think there's some kind of subliminal programming in it..."

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Whigs - "In The Dark"

The Whigs - "In The Dark": "Less crunchy but no less energetic than previous efforts, this song is totally awesome. Can't believe we have to wait until next year for it to come out."

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Go-Go's - "Vacation"

The Go-Go's - "Vacation": "That's right folks, even I eventually take a vacation. See y'all in a week!"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Michael Penn - "This Is The Life"

Michael Penn - "This Is The Life": "Michael Penn may talk about having an anti-technology bias, particularly with digital music, so I have to praise him for releasing his three new tunes from the IFC mini-series Bollywood Hero as a digital EP, just to make sure the fans could have it. It would have been a shame not to have songs like this, a classic Penn ballad."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Wombats - "Moving To New York"

The Wombats - "Moving To New York": "I've already started seeing Xmas displays at retailers all over the place - and it isn't even Halloween yet, which I thought was the current calendar line of demarcation for such things (since it was already no longer Thanksgiving). Anyhow, it reminded me of this song's lyric: "Christmas came early for me". Great song."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Big Pink - "At War With The Sun"

The Big Pink - "At War With The Sun": "This works my 90s British alt-rock soft spot, so of course I like it. It's an upbeat rush of warm fuzz and a touch of melancholy melody."

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Psychedelic Furs - "I Don't Mine"

The Psychedelic Furs - "I Don't Mine": "From the bleak and under appreciated Book of Days album. Some of the harsh sound comes from what I suspect is a poor digital transfer, but it still works with the chilly vibe of many of the songs, including this one. I particularly like the overlapping vocals at the end and the intentional contradiction of the song's title."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Idlewild - "Hidden Ways"

Idlewild - "Hidden Ways": "It always mystifies me when bands leave great songs off albums, like this one (a UK b-side and a bonus track on the US version of Make Another World). There's still a touch of the "R.E.M. - but more rocking" sound they conjure from time to time and I'd be interested in hearing R.E.M. cover it, now that they too are rocking again."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cyndi Lauper - "She Bop"

Cyndi Lauper - "She Bop": "The Captain Lou Albano news (RIP) couldn't help but make me think of this song...which makes me feel odd, given what this song is about."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

James Brown - "Get Up Offa That Thing"

James Brown - "Get Up Offa That Thing": "I have so much I need to get done today and this is the sound of me psyching myself into it. Just something about JB yelling "I'm back!" before getting seriously funky gets me all hyped, like I'm going to run a race.
(Also, this gives me an opportunity to link back to this earlier James Brown post, which is one of my favorites from this blog.)"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Electric Six - "We Were Witchy Witchy White Women"

Electric Six - "We Were Witchy Witchy White Women": "Another rocker from Electric Six that brings you tongue-in-cheek silliness with the straightest delivery possible. I like to think this song is about a coven of Stevie Nicks/Rhiannon wannabes. (Probably because it then makes me think of the urban legend about Stevie Nicks needing to be coaxed out from her pre-concert dressing room in the 70s by her handlers telling her, through the closed door, 'You are Rhiannon! You are the witch!')"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ben Lee - "Cigarettes Will Kill You"

Ben Lee - "Cigarettes Will Kill You": "This song is the moment for me where Ben Lee shifted from vaguely-annoying-but-catchy offbeat teen troubadour to adult musician. I particularly like how the song is largely driven by a fairly simple piano line without sounding like a repetitive loop."

Friday, October 09, 2009

Warpaint - "Billie Holiday"

Warpaint - "Billie Holiday": "I stumbled onto this band opening up for School of Seven Bells at Slim's the other night. This song is a weird, dream-like chant - all wrapped around a moody reworking of "My Guy" at its core - which is the highlight....even if it does kind of recall a chorus of Cat Powers singing together, which is not necessarily a bad thing."

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Julian Plenti - "Fun That We Have"

Julian Plenti - "Fun That We Have": "As I'm sure many of you know, Julian Plenti = Paul from Interpol. This song is more playful and less ominous feeling than most Interpol tunes, but it still feels like it would have been a more solid song had it been performed with the full-band oomph of Interpol. (Which is not to say that the chorus didn't drill itself into my head regardless.) I kind of hope it sets the tone for their next album, where they perhaps might take a stab at it."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Gaunt - "Hit The Ground"

Gaunt - "Hit The Ground": "Rawk with a drumbeat like a horse galloping double-time and a band more than willing to keep up, even if the music is closer to melancholic Superchunk otherwise."

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Starflyer 59 - "Mall Monarchy"

Starflyer 59 - "Mall Monarchy": "SF59 frontman Jason Martin is a product of Riverside and Orange Counties, CA, so it makes sense for him to sing about malls...except it turns out this is a cover. No matter, it still sounds like a authentic SF59 track!
(Bonus fact: the original is performed by Compulsion, featuring Garrett Lee - now known as 'Jacknife Lee', producer of R.E.M., Snow Patrol and others.)"

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Cribs - "We Share The Same Skies"

The Cribs - "We Share The Same Skies": "Clearly this is some kind of nasty breakup record for The Cribs (check out song titles like "Cheat on Me" and "Emasculate Me"), but they've smoothed out their sharp edges instead of sounding angry. Perhaps that's also because they traded the production of Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos, from the last record, for having The Smiths' Johnny Marr actually in the band - and the 'influence' swap plays out exactly as you think it would. Still, this track recalls gems from the previous record like "Girls Like Mystery", without sounding like a tired retread because of the related sonic shift."

Friday, October 02, 2009

Shaan - "Milo Na Milo Main Milane"

Shaan - "Milo Na Milo Main Milane": "Love Story 2050 is a trainwreck of a Bollywood sci-fi movie, especially at its near 3 hours of running time, but this song is definitely the movie's centerpiece and probably it's shining moment. It's got a certain Timbaland-meets-Eurodance vibe to it that's cheesy and cool."

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears - "Bitch, I Love You"

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears - "Bitch, I Love You": "This is a very classic sounding song with some very...uh, modern lyrics. Other than that, I think the song best speaks for itself. Listen."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Noisettes - "Beat Of My Heart"

Noisettes - "Beat Of My Heart": "A new wave-styled rocker from the new Noisettes record. Singer Shingai Shoniwa puts a twist on the proceedings with her retro rock'n'soul vocals, giving the tune a little extra character, not to mention helping the whole thing feel like a 60s pop tune with modern production."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Deftones - "Change (In The House Of Flies)"

Deftones - "Change (In The House Of Flies)": "When I first heard the Deftones, I hated them. I thought they were just abrasive music with screaming and I pretty much immediately wrote them off. Then, with only two albums of said music under their belt, they stepped up their game to deliver an album (White Pony) that was heavy but just as moody and often, oddly, delicate. This song is a great example of their blend of crushing chords, nuanced atmosphere and almost lush vocal parts. This record may have made them bigger than they had been before, but it's still completely underrated."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Duran Duran - "Hold Back The Rain (US Album Remix)"

Duran Duran - "Hold Back The Rain (US Album Remix)": "When Rio first came out, I got it on cassette - and never had it any other way until I traded up for a compact disc, years later. Imagine my surprise when I found out that "Hold Back The Rain" (and several other songs, including "My Own Way") now appeared in abridged or completely alternate versions from what I knew. It turns out that the cassette version of Rio was taking advantage of the 'new' cassette format and used extended versions of tracks, as opposed to the vinyl release. That's all well and good, but overlooks the fact that the versions on the cassette were AWESOME - like this one. Now all the versions I know and love have been collected, along with the 'original' vinyl versions, on Rio (Collector's Edition). Good on ya, EMI."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Bravery - "Slow Poison"

The Bravery - "Slow Poison": "The Bravery take the jagged alt rock of their first record, apply the softer corners of their second record and wind up with this catchy (if upbeatly gloomy) homage to...well, probably Echo and the Bunnymen and other new wave Brit rockers.
(And, an odd footnote to yesterday's post, this song is from the guy who helped write Shakira's 'She Wolf'. How weird is that?)"

Monday, September 21, 2009

Death Cab For Cutie - "Meet Me On The Equinox"

Death Cab For Cutie - "Meet Me On The Equinox": "I was kind of surprised that the lead single from the upcoming Twilight soundtrack uses the word 'equinox' - but since this is the same year where Shakira used 'lycanthropy' in a song, I guess we're raising the intellectual pop stakes now. All that aside, this is an interesting blend of the vibe of "Soul Meets Body" with the more adventurous musical style of Narrow Stairs - and feels like the 'missing' single that record should have had. I hope the Twilight association powers it to some extra airplay."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ringo Deathstarr - "In Love"

Ringo Deathstarr - "In Love": "Forget about the usual "sounds like Band X meets Band Y" band description - if you've ever wondered what it would sound like for the Jesus and Mary Chain to cover "Soon" by My Bloody Valentine, you need not wonder any longer. Not that I mind - I like the sound - but that's almost eerily exactly what it is."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys - "Empire State Of Mind"

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys - "Empire State Of Mind": "I'm glad the VMAs shined a light on this song - I think it was a good choice for the show and a good song. Although am I the only person who thinks Alicia's chorus vocal part is reminiscent of Res' "They-Say Vision"?"

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A Place to Bury Strangers - "In Your Heart"

A Place to Bury Strangers - "In Your Heart": "New music from APTBS. It's not quite as overwhelmingly fuzzed as the debut record, but it's still abrasive and pounding - and I mean that as a complement. That's the way they should sound!"

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Snowden - "No Words No More"

Snowden - "No Words No More": "Snowden takes on Love and Rockets. I like it - but where is the new album??"

Friday, September 04, 2009

Isaac Hayes - "Chocolate Chip"

Isaac Hayes - "Chocolate Chip": "Solid, if somewhat standard 70s funk - but it's the nearly-non-chorus of "What's my name? Chocolate chip! Chocolate chip!" that helps it to stand out, even if in a somewhat odd way."

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions - "On the Low"

Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions - "On the Low": "I want a little more mellow in my day today and this song is going to help me do it. On my favorite track from her first solo album, ex-Mazzy Star frontwoman Hope serves up a lazy groove with her trademark vocals up front, keeping things simple with a few lush touches. It's laid-back but with enough energy to keep your head nodding in time with the beat. I'm pretty sure she's the one rocking the harmonica, too."

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Redd Kross - "How Much More"

Redd Kross - "How Much More":
"How much more can I take before I go crazy again???

But seriously, this is a fun, flipped-gender take on the Go-Go's original, but possibly even more bubble-gummy. Total power pop."

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wang Chung - "Fire in the Twilight"

Wang Chung - "Fire in the Twilight": "This is totally 80s-tastic, but still completely enjoyable new wave. From The Breakfast Club, so this is also my belated John Hughes tribute."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mew - "New Terrain"

Mew - "New Terrain": "It's literally backwards and forwards at the same time - and during most of the song, I can't tell which. In concept, it's amazingly irritating but, in reality, it sounds right despite being like nothing you're used to hearing. That's what makes it brilliant."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Radiohead - "Climbing Up The Walls"

Radiohead - "Climbing Up The Walls": "A little spooky, but it's arguably the sound of Radiohead turning the corner from their early work to the band we know today."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Phil Collins - "Don't Lose My Number"

Phil Collins - "Don't Lose My Number": "I don't know why, but this song popped into my head when I just went to get coffee. I really am at a loss as to why."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Keane - "Spiralling"

Keane - "Spiralling": "It has some overly polished moments - which is what initially kept me off this song - but I've since come around to it. The group "oooo!"s are pretty fun and there's a joyous white funk edge to things, miles away from the soppy 'Somewhere Only We Know'."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Marianne Faithfull - "Ooh Baby Baby"

Marianne Faithfull - "Ooh Baby Baby": "How did I not know about this when it came out? Or, better question: how did Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) and Marianne Faithfull wind up recording this dramatic reworking of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles' "Ooh Baby Baby"? I can't even imagine how those pieces came together and, man, is it surreal! Antony sounds sublime, as usual, and it works better for Marianne than you might expect (only in that Smokey's original is smooth and Marianne, though awesome, is not what generally comes to mind when you think of smooth). It doesn't hurt that the original song is classic."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Samantha Fox - "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)"

Samantha Fox - "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)": "Hearing about Samantha Fox's (apparently lesbian!) wedding today totally put this song back into my head - which is great, because I had gone too long without listening to it. This is the night! (The sex noises are just a bonus.)"

Friday, August 07, 2009

Medicine - "She Knows Everything"

Medicine - "She Knows Everything": "A blast of delicious sweet-and-sour noise to help wash away this week."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Steely Dan - "Any Major Dude Will Tell You"

Steely Dan - "Any Major Dude Will Tell You": "Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend /
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Stars - "The Aspidistra Flies"

Stars - "The Aspidistra Flies": "I can't quite explain why, but I want to give this song to Jeremy, for Meg. I know the song won't make anything better now but perhaps someday it will because he'll know she knows too."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Duran Duran - "New Moon On Monday"

Duran Duran - "New Moon On Monday": "All this press about the recent vampire entertainment craze (largely focused around HBO's True Blood and Twilight: New Moon)...really just makes me think about "New Moon on Monday" by Duran Duran instead. I hope someone figures out how to get it on the New Moon soundtrack so the tweens can discover it's awesomeness. Besides, I hear that the Twilight vampires sparkle...not unlike Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shakira - "She Wolf"

Shakira - "She Wolf": "I can't get over how there is now a pop song whose lyrics include 'this is lycanthropy' - and doesn't automatically kill the flow of the song. I even kind of like the disco-club vibe of the song, even if I still somehow prefer parts of in Spanish. (Perhaps someone will mix the two versions together...) I just wish she didn't actually howl in the song, in either version."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sarah Michelle Gellar - "Teen Horniness is Not a Crime"

Sarah Michelle Gellar - "Teen Horniness is Not a Crime": "I stumbled onto this track completely by accident - I had no idea it was on the soundtrack to Southland Tales, the convoluted-yet-fascinating (if in a train-wreck kind of way) movie by Richard Kelly of Donnie Darko fame. SMG performs this track as her character in the movie, Krista Now, a porn star/recording artist/talk-show host. Even if you haven't seen the movie, just knowing that it's SMG performing this song should make it entertaining enough."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gladys Knight & The Pips - "I've Got To Use My Imagination"

Gladys Knight & The Pips - "I've Got To Use My Imagination": "Miss Knight gives it to you rough and the Pips give it to you smooth. The music is taut, using lush strings and horns in what is largely an economic arrangement, all as a perfect stage for Gladys' raw-but-strong lead vocals."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Servotron - "I Am Not A (Voice Activated Child Identicon)"

Servotron - "I Am Not A (Voice Activated Child Identicon)": "Following up on yesterday's 'robot' track, here's another. This time, evil-Devo-on-speed rockers Servotron become a murderous version of pre-teen humanoid robot Vicki from television's "Small Wonder" - now plotting the death of all humans, chanting "HARRIET TERMINATED! HARRIET SHALL DIE!" while hunting the show's precocious red-headed neighbor. Twisted and brilliant."

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Royksopp - "The Girl And The Robot"

Royksopp - "The Girl And The Robot": "Pulsing Giorgio Moroder synths back Robyn's glorious vocals for a tale of girl-on-metaphorical-robot love and drama. I don't like the way she says the song title, for some reason, but everything else sounds terrific."

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Culture Club - "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me"

Culture Club - "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me": "I will always love the video for this song, where Boy George:
- emerges out of a pool completely dry!
- wears a shirt with Hebrew on it, but only to be different!
- is thrown into jail after harassing stuffy old rich men for some reason or another!
- is then freed from jail by 'magical' Caribbean women who open his cell by simply holding onto his cell bars and dancing. Boy helps by looking at them and pouting.
Then again, he is hurt.

Of course, it helps that this is a great song, equal parts soul and pop, with a touch of island rhythm."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I Was a King - "Norman Bleik"

I Was a King - "Norman Bleik": "This album reminds me of Olivia Tremor Control's retro vibes turned back in a more straight-forward manner, but this song specifically echoes 60s California pop, with its Byrds-y jangling and energetically hushed androgynous vocals."

Monday, July 06, 2009

Messiah - "Temple Of Dreams"

Messiah - "Temple Of Dreams": Remember when rave culture seemed like the biggest trend ever? This song can't help but make me think of that time, but also listening to KROQ in LA, circa `92. I'm pretty sure the "stomp your feet" sample is the 'Spirit Child' from Prince's Lovesexy album, but the real sample gem is - obviously - Richard Dawson from The Running Man movie. Survey says 'awesome'."

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Human League - "The Lebanon (12'' Extended Mix)"

The Human League - "The Lebanon (12" Extended Mix)": "I know that I've already posted about "The Lebanon" before, but this version is even more Lebanon-y than the original - which means a few extra go-arounds of the bass line that I love so well."

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Spoon - "Got Nuffin"

Spoon - "Got Nuffin": "A new, lean, mean rocker from Spoon. I got a little worried on the last record when we started getting horns and stuff, but this is a good blend of their older, angular tunes with their newer sound."

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

No Knife - "Academy Flight Song"

No Knife - "Academy Flight Song": "Even though there is a Jimmy Eat World-meets-Jawbreaker quality to songs like this, No Knife keeps up the rock while working in some less obvious instrumental shifts. (I also can't help but wonder if this is a nod to Mission of Burma's "Academy Fight Song", since No Knife does also recall MoB in some ways.)
The album as a whole (Fire In The City of Automatons) is a under-appreciated slice of straight-forward modern rock mixed with subtly adventuresome song structures and instrumentation."

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fischerspooner - "In A Modern World"

Fischerspooner - "In A Modern World": "I was originally going to post that, despite coming from a somewhat milquetoast record, this track has a subtle charm - but then I noticed, in the spoken word interlude, that the female narrator says "call everyone you know / text everyone you know". Text?? Why not tell folks to get a ringtone? I just hate unecessary cell phone references in songs and I wished they had left it out."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Grand Duchy - "Seeing Stars"

Grand Duchy - "Seeing Stars": "I get a little skeeved out when famous musicians put out records with their significant others, especially when the significant others are not as well known. While I had this trepidation about Grand Duchy, featuring Pixies' Frank Black/Black Francis and Mrs. Black/Francis (Violet Clark), it defies those concerns, even if it's still easier to evaluate this on its own merit when you forget about who the dude is in this band."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson - "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)"

Michael Jackson - "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)": "I'm not sure how I'm supposed to be feeling, after his passing. I love songs like this, but it's hard to reconcile that Off The Wall/Thriller magic with his latter works, if not his personal activities since then as well. No matter what you think, it's hard not to agree that something so right went wrong, somewhere along the way."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Swell - "Song Seven"

Swell - "Song Seven": "The elements of this song are rather simple, allowing something subtle like additional electric guitar in the last section of the song to be powerful, despite its otherwise minimalist addition. The drum part during the (wordless) chorus has always been a favorite of mine, even if it too is a simple part."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - "The Pains of Being Pure at Heart"

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - "The Pains of Being Pure at Heart": "From Slumberland, the label that brought you the Aislers Set and Velocity Girl...
This is the song where The Pains of Being Pure At Heart hit that Jesus & Mary Chain, that Vaselines, that twee-pop-but-rockin' sweet spot that all the reviewers anoint them with generally. This is the song where it really all happens - and it's already named after them. (Imagine if they had actually put this self-titled song on their self-titled album...)

I also meant to include them in my SXSW `09 recap. So, better late than never:
It took a while for them to really amp up (no wonder, since they were playing a million shows down there) but once they hit a groove, it was good, sweet-n-buzzy fun, as one would expect from their record."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wire - "Map Ref 41 Degrees N 93 Degrees W"

Wire - "Map Ref 41 Degrees N 93 Degrees W": ""I'm not sure if they're singing about map-as-metaphor or map as, well, map. It's Wire, so it could be either. Here (on 154), they're only two albums out from their debut, yet they've already morphed their angular rock away from visceral punk and towards a more detached artiness, but without abandoning their stumbled-into melodies."

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Walkmen - "In The New Year"

The Walkmen - "In The New Year": "I'm a little surprised that it took me so long to come around to this song. It's got a off-kilter retro-garage vibe much like that of the Rock*A*Teens (as well as the similar, if more centered, sound of Cut Off Your Hands), but it didn't really take with me until more recently. Then again, it always seems to take me a while to get into Walkmen and Rock*A*Teens songs because I have to get over the rough edges, which often become the parts I love the most."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Adam Franklin - "Surge"

Adam Franklin - "Surge": "Swervedriver frontman Adam Franklin rolls out some tasty solo work on his record Spent Bullets, which kicks off with this track. Despite being relatively mellow with acoustic guitar fairly prominent in the mix, there's still some classic Swerv-y elements, like the energetic-yet-melancholy melodies, without being derivative of that past work."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pitbull - "Hotel Room Service"

Pitbull - "Hotel Room Service": "This song is obnoxiously catchy. I'd quote you some of my favorite lyrics, but I try to keep this a family blog."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Horrors - "Scarlet Fields"

The Horrors - "Scarlet Fields": "Last time around, The Horrors were a goth-punk band that didn't really float my boat. Now they've apparently moved on to a more nuanced sound with elements of shoegaze and British new wave. Needless to say, I like them much better now, but particularly the keyboard lead in this song."

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Order - "Love Vigilantes"

New Order - "Love Vigilantes": "I recently heard this song when I was going through airport security, which was kind of cool, but a little disconcerting too. Hearing songs that are arguably about death when you're going through metal detectors is kind of odd."

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Casiokids - "Fot I hose"

Casiokids - "Fot I hose": "Short and wordless, this song is pretension-free dance rock that somehow simultaneously sounds both exactly like you would expect from that description and yet constantly surprising."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gary Numan - "Bombers"

Gary Numan - "Bombers": "Icy faux-punk-style new wave from Mr. Gary Numan. (That's right, kids- it's more than just "Cars"!)"

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Pornographers - "Don't Destroy This Night"

New Pornographers - "Don't Destroy This Night": "I think I'm just excited to hear a Rock*A*Teens cover - especially since it's probably the only one out there. It takes the retro-garage of the original and makes it over as a mellow 60s pop tune, but still very much with the classic New Pornographer's vibe.
(In case you were wondering, it's a complete coincidence that I'm posting about this after having noted R*A*T in another post the other day.)"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Phoenix - "1901"

Phoenix - "1901": "I'm sure you've read this a hundred times over in blogs and magazine reviews, but this really is as catchy and clever as you've heard."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cut Off Your Hands - "Heartbreak"

Cut Off Your Hands - "Heartbreak": "I like the chorus because it recalls the Rock*A*Teens (think "I Could've Just Died" - still filled with longing in an echo-y early rock style, just a bit more polished and less garage-y."

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Who - "I'm A Boy"

The Who - "I'm A Boy": "Only Pete Townshend could write "I'm A Boy" like an act of defiance...but he does succeed in making it sound rebellious. (Daltry helped too, of course.)"

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hagfish - "Envy"

Hagfish - "Envy": "I only know one other person in the world who both knows and likes these guys, which is both too bad and something I still don't understand. Sure, they're not sophisticated or anything, but they make great, snotty sing-along American punk-style rock. I'm convinced that they never got exposed to the right audience - or perhaps had bad timing - because there's a bunch of kids who based their careers on doing crappy versions of music like this and got pretty famous doing it. Life is so rarely fair..."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jason Lytle - "Ghost Of My Old Dog"

Jason Lytle - "Ghost Of My Old Dog": "Classic Grandaddy. Ladies and gentlemen, Jason Lytle is back!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Soft Shock"

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Soft Shock": "The pulsing synths are from more 80s songs I love than I can count and the lead melody drives me crazy because I can't place where it comes from, but it certainly recalls some other classic new wave tunage that's escaping me. I guess I'm endorsing the new keyboard direction the YYYs have taken after all."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears - "Get Yo Sh*t"

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears - "Get Yo Sh*t": "Now that I've heard this, I really regret not seeing them at SXSW. This is some great rock'n'soul and Joe really shines - both with the impassioned choruses and his storytelling verses, filled with wry humor."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Primal Scream - "Kill All Hippies"

Primal Scream - "Kill All Hippies": "I always thought I understood the introduction dialog in this song - but I just saw the lyrics for the first time and boy was I wrong!
Doesn't matter, really, because the meat of the song is Bobbie Gillespie's falsetto proclamation of "you got the money / I got the soul" over dirty, apocalyptic electrorock. More than one of my friends has proclaimed that this record (XTRMNTR) is so agressive that it makes them want to kill people, but I think it's one of Primal Scream's finest."

Friday, May 08, 2009

Superchunk - "Learned to Surf"

Superchunk - "Learned to Surf": "Man, I just realized how behind I am - I never finished all my SXSW `09 recaps and I haven't even started on Coachella `09. Jeez. Better late than never:
Superchunk's Coachella set made me pogo like I was back at the Whisky in L.A. in `95. While mostly doing crowd-pleasing classics ("Precision Auto" rocks as hard as ever), Superchunk also did this new song, bringing back the sing-along choruses that were always their strong suit. Mac pogo'd just as hard as I did through all of it. I was as happy as a little girl!"

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Peaches - "Trick Or Treat"

Peaches - "Trick Or Treat": "On her new jam (yeah, that's the right word), Peaches tells you to lick her crow's feet and keep a hole in the sheet. Whoa. This girl's gonna take Prince's old "insatiable" pin away from him and pin it to her bustier.
This track feels like a Teaches of Peaches track layered with the production styles of the new record, which is fine by me."

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Juan Maclean - "The Simple Life"

The Juan Maclean - "The Simple Life": "Moroder meets The Human League, but not in the "Together In Electric Dreams" kind of way - more like "The Chase" meets "The Things That Dreams Are Made Of" - but just a touch more modern."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Helium - "Ocean of Wine"

Helium - "Ocean of Wine": "This has been stuck in my head all day, mainly because of Mary Timony's sweet "oooo"s, over the different keyboard parts (retro lead melody, fake strings, etc.) It's a strange blend of modern and 70s retro elements that are hard to describe, but extremely enjoyable."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

NOFX - "Creeping Out Sara"

NOFX - "Creeping Out Sara": "I would love to hear what Tegan & Sara think of this song...but I have a feeling they don't think it's that funny...but hey, I could be wrong."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Portishead - "Strangers"

Portishead - "Strangers": "The nearly a cappella part near the beginning is nice, but I really like it for the counterpart it provides to what it leads into - a echoing beep, followed a nasty fuzz guitar and a deep bass beat. (Actually, this song does kind of make me want a lowrider that bounces.) When you add all that to the powerfully pained Beth Gibbons vocals, not to mention the 'snag' at 02:11 in the song, it's almost too much for me. I am totally feeling this right now."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cave In - "Inspire"

Cave In - "Inspire": "I just stumbled back onto this record yesterday. I know their non-major-label titles (all but this one, I believe) are heavier sounding, therefore more fan faves, but I still really like this record. As with many tracks on the record, this song recalls both Failure (think "Undone", in particular) and No Knife with its blend of thick-sounding rock that comes out swinging and clear melody."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tears for Fears - "Change"

Tears for Fears - "Change": "I guess 'change / you can change' could be a positive message, but it feels more like 'change' in a bad way. Either way, it's a great, dark pop song, especially with the chiming percussion tones. As far as the video's concerned, I'll never forget how something as pedestrian as a metal statue getting up and walking seemed so revolutionary at the time. Of course, videos were pretty fresh and new at the time..."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Electrik Red - "So Good" (edited)

Electrik Red - "So Good" (edited): "Doesn't this sound like a 'women of Prince' (Vanity, Apollonia, etc.) song from the 80s, with the crisp drum machine and funk bass poking out at points? I picked the 'edited' version for this post because I (surprisingly) find the profanity in the original really unnecessary. The women of Prince said some really dirty stuff, but usually without the actual expletives..."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Verbena - "White Girls"

Verbena - "White Girls": "From Verbena's sadly-overlooked final album, La Musica Negra. While I do miss the sweet-but-pained harmony vocals from former bassist/singer Anne-Marie, this album loses the overly-crazy aggression of the previous album (Into The Pink), while regaining some of the pop melody of their debut EP (Pilot Park) without being anywhere near as saccharine. This track is a great example of that."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fine Young Cannibals - "Don't Look Back"

Fine Young Cannibals - "Don't Look Back": "I know everyone is sick-to-death of 'She Drives Me Crazy', understandably, but The Raw and The Cooked is a solidly enjoyable pop record that jumps through different genres (from 60s soul to dance) without sounding schizophrenic. Too bad they didn't do anything else after this!"

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Lightning Seeds - "Change"

The Lightning Seeds - "Change": "Even though it's not fluffy or mindless in the slightest, it's hard for me not to think of this song (as well as many other songs by The Lightening Seeds) as a feel-good song. (Is there something wrong with me that I equate "feel-good" and "mindless"?) I love the vocals and the keys in the 'oh you fool / you got me started' outro in particular."

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Beastie Boys - "Shadrach"

Beastie Boys - "Shadrach": "I think think Paul's Boutique is my favorite Beasties record because it sounds like music from different years and styles being put into a freaked-out blender, then served up with sharp-yet-silly rhymes. The blink-and-you'll-miss-it sampling helps to take some pretty big musical pieces and somehow still turn them into a sum greater than its parts, becoming one of the best arguments for sampling in the modern era."

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bee Gees - "You Stepped Into My Life"

Bee Gees - "You Stepped Into My Life": "Less disco dance than groovy shuffle, it's a subtle number that says 70s sultry, while also making one wonder how a grown man can sing in that key, let alone three."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Harry Nilsson - "Me and My Arrow"

Harry Nilsson - "Me and My Arrow":
"My friend Bob just reminded me of this tune. From possibly the best 'children's' record filled with pristine pop tunes (The Point!), this song can't help but cheer you up. And, yes, 'Arrow' is a great name for a dog."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yelle - "Dans Ta Vraie Vie"

Yelle - "Dans Ta Vraie Vie": "Her set started late, so I could only stay for two songs, and I don't know what she's singing about (it's all French), but her music sure is fun. She played with only a drummer and a DJ, but she made sure to bounce around the stage like she was having a bigger party than you would have expected from 230p on a Wednesday afternoon."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - "Lights"

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - "Lights": "I hadn't seen these guys in a while, so I was glad to find they still sound great. Songs like this still melt my panties and they did them in style. The new songs sounded good too and I can't wait to hear them on record. Don't take too much longer, guys, it's been long enough!
(Their show was also a bit of SXSW nostalgia - I first heard them at SXSW in `04 (or was it even earlier?) with my friend Julie - so this felt a bit like coming full circle.)"

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cut Off Your Hands - "Happy As Can Be"

Cut Off Your Hands - "Happy As Can Be": "I'm wondering if I was just cranky when I saw these guys play at Emo's last week, since I didn't really dig their set - but when I go back to songs like this, I really like them. I wish I had given them a second chance during SXSW, but at least I can still appreciate the album. Points to Michael Bertin for committing the 'Cut Off Your Hands (Say Yeah)' joke to print in the Austin Chronicle."

Friday, March 20, 2009

School Of Seven Bells - "Half Asleep"

School Of Seven Bells - "Half Asleep": "I know I'm biased, but our Rhapsody Rocks Austin party at SXSW (more here) was off the hook. I was particularly psyched with School of Seven Bells, whose set took the dreamy electropop of their album (as heard here) and amped it up with more volume and intensity, blending a powerful shoegaze element with the pretty melodies. I'm sorry I only got to see them once!"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Homosexuals - "You're Not Moving The Way You're Supposed To"

The Homosexuals - "You're Not Moving The Way You're Supposed To": "A band I had heard about for a long time, but had never actually seen or heard - making SXSW a perfect time to check out and I wasn't disappointed. The singer has a on-stage charisma missing from most front-men and the music occupies the same great space in British post-punk between Wire and Gang of Four - sloppy in concept, but executed tightly. Their set climaxed with an extended version of this tune that was far more aggressive than you'd expect from this version, but that worked to their advantage."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

We Were Promised Jetpacks - "Ships With Holes Will Sink"

We Were Promised Jetpacks - "Ships With Holes Will Sink": "Saw these kids at the IODA Day party today - my SXSW/Wednesday tradition. The vocals are so heavily Scottish that they approach the "If It's Not Scottish, It's Crap!" sketch from SNL (not unlike The Twilight Sad, also on the same label). Once you get past that, it's just a rocking tune any indie rock fans will love. Bonus points to the band on their live set today - they looked like intimidated 18 year-olds (which they might well be) in front of the large crowd, but rocked it as hard as they could anyway. Good for them!"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Michael Penn - "I Can Tell"

Michael Penn - "I Can Tell": "Today, I attended a SXSW panel with Michael Penn. It was largely an interview with him about his film soundtrack work (as part of the SXSW Film Festival), but they had a Q&A at the end and I got to ask a question. I inquired about his re-occurring references to Los Angeles in his work - the L.A. of yesteryear, in particular. It turns out his affection for the less stereotypical Los Angeles and its history is not unlike my own, which is what I had always expected.
Here, in "I Can Tell", the narrator crosses Pico (a street in L.A.) as part of a relationship song that feels like it's a part of a larger cinematic story. The dramatic crescendo in Michael's vocals, after the narrated interlude, is one of my favorite moments in his work."

Monday, March 16, 2009

American Analog Set - "Hard To Find"

American Analog Set - "Hard To Find": "SXSW coverage starts now! Technically, SXSW Music hasn't even started yet, but since bands are starting to play in Austin, I might as well start too. I just saw Andrew of American Analog Set's new band, the Wooden Birds, at the Onion A.V. Club party at the Mohawk. Their sound was mellow (not unlike AmAnSet), but more twangy than dreamy, but still very solid. Wooden Birds don't have any music out yet, so I'm instead tipping my hat to one of my favorite AmAnSet songs, which is propelled by a mellow, shaker-driven groove, not unlike the Spinanes' "Azure"."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ex-Boyfriends - "Breathe Without Breaking"

Ex-Boyfriends - "Breathe Without Breaking": "These guys did a great set at the Eagle last night. They're just a three-piece, but their sound is so much bigger and fuller than that. They did a new song last night and I'm looking forward to hearing more from them!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Longwave - "Satellites"

Longwave - "Satellites": "The searing guitar squall that kicks off the song is a great, modern example of the shoegazer-style rock that I can't help myself but love. The chorus comes off a little soft, given the rest of the song, but the choruses are solid and the aforementioned guitar parts are aces."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tiger Trap - "Words and Smiles"

Tiger Trap - "Words and Smiles": "Since I referenced them yesterday, I figured I should give them a post too - especially since this song is, in many ways, in the same vein as "Oh No" from yesterday's post. Maybe a little sweeter sounding here, than AGSFB, but off-set by the lo-fi jangle."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

All-Girl Summer Fun Band - "Oh No"

All-Girl Summer Fun Band - "Oh No": "My new favorite song! It's almost too sweet to take, with its sugary all-girl vocals, but the song rocks, not unlike classic Tiger Trap. They're totally crushed out and so am I!"

Friday, March 06, 2009

Akinyele - "Put It In Your Mouth"

Akinyele - "Put It In Your Mouth": "For the James Lo.
Oh yeah - not for the easily offended."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Swervedriver - "The Hitcher"

Swervedriver - "The Hitcher": "I know I recently blogged about another bonus track from Swervedriver's Mezcal Head re-issue, but that was a track I had already been familiar with prior to the re-issue. This track, however, is new to me and it quickly possessed me with its gauzy rock, simultaneously upbeat and dreamy, so I had to give `em another post."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Avalanches - "Since I Left You"

The Avalanches - "Since I Left You": "To steal a phrase from Deee-lite, this is sampladelic, except squared...or probably even cubed, yet still eminently listenable. I hear that after going M.I.A. for a few years, these guys may even come out with a new record soon, which would be swell."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Spinal Tap - "Sex Farm"

Spinal Tap - "Sex Farm": "Two different things just reminded me of this track, so I figured it was worth a blog post. Besides, how could this song not put a smile on your face?"

Friday, February 27, 2009

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Zero"

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Zero": "While the YYY dance makeover initially got an eyebrow raise from me, it's already started to grow on me, popping in and out of my head all week. Am I the only one who hears a little Chrissy Hynde in the vocals, at least in some parts?"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Peaches - "Search And Destroy"

Peaches - "Search And Destroy": "One more from the new War Child compilation -
The Peaches/Iggy Pop mutual admiration club continues with this Peaches take on the Pop classic. Peaches could have easily screamed her way through this (a la "Rock Show"), but she challenges expectations by delivering a fairly cool and calm rendition instead. She gets points for mixing it up, but I still would have liked to hear how she would have turned the punk into rough electro. I also still want to hear more of her and Iggy together after the "Kick It" face-off."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lily Allen - "Straight To Hell"

Lily Allen - "Straight To Hell":
"Isn't that intro already melded into my brain enough from last year already? And isn't it only a matter of time before someone does a mash-up of this version, throwing M.I.A. into the mix?"

Monday, February 23, 2009

Morrissey - "Bengali In Platforms"

Morrissey - "Bengali In Platforms":
"Am I the only one who thinks Danny Boyle has started to look like present-day Morrissey, just with a frightening smile? Granted, I can see why the man was happy at the Oscars last night, but every time they showed him, I just kept thinking "Scary Morrissey!"
I figured I might as well heighten the irony by using this particular song as I pointed this casual similarity out..."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - "Inspiration Information"

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - "Inspiration Information": "I still prefer the Shuggie Otis original, but it's hard not to give the lovely Ms. Sharon Jones some love for taking it on for herself. It's just a great song. (As an aside, this is from the new Red Hot compilation, Dark Was The Night.)"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Breeders - "Lord of the Thighs"

The Breeders - "Lord of the Thighs": "I know this should make more sense in the hands of Steven Tyler, but it's so much more awesome in the hands of Josephine Wiggs, here taking on lead vocals on this "Cannonball" b-side. Steven makes this song sound like a crass boast, but Josephine is calmer and more commanding, like your thighs already know who's boss. But, really, don't they?"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yo Gabba Gabba! - "Party In My Tummy"

Yo Gabba Gabba! - "Party In My Tummy": "Dear goodness, this show is freaking great. I know it's a kids show, but it's surreal, charming, pro-indie rock and, so help me, the whole thing makes me think of Deee-lite. I'd be hard-pressed to think of any other time I've wanted to DVR a show for six year-olds. (Except for this one creepy episode where Elijah Wood did 'the puppetmaster'. That scared me. Badly.)"

Friday, February 06, 2009

Spent - "Good Luck Line"

Spent - "Good Luck Line": "A totally underappreciated band. I can see why they didn't have legions of fans - having three different vocalists (two male, one female) doesn't breed the most consistency - but catchy songs like this should have made up for it. It's a sugary rush (although not in any kind of fake pop way) that builds up to a rockin' ending, but with zero pretention - which is largely because it's tempered with a bit of bitterness: 'last in your good luck line / first to get fed up'."

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Cramps - "All Women Are Bad"

The Cramps - "All Women Are Bad": "R.I.P. Lux Interior. The world is a much sadder place without The Cramps in it."

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Paul Burch - "Isolda"

Paul Burch - "Isolda": "This is such a great song, I cannot believe I haven't blogged about it yet. A bittersweet song of longing - of wanting, but not needing - polished with sweet pedal steel, but naked in the delivery. It's too sad to be a love song - especially since he isn't in love, anyway - but it feels like a broken heart anyway. Understated, but amazing."

Monday, February 02, 2009

Pavement - "Grounded"

Pavement - "Grounded": "'...please! plea! boys are dying on these streets...'"

Friday, January 30, 2009

Swervedriver - "Planes Over The Skyline"

Swervedriver - "Planes Over The Skyline": "An excellent Swervedriver non-album track finally surfaces on the new re-issue of Mezcal Head. Not sure why this didn't come out when they did their reunited tour last year, but glad to have it now."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Guv'ner - "Wounded Birds And Vampires Own The Edge"

Guv'ner - "Wounded Birds And Vampires Own The Edge": "Creative anarchy! This song is one of the most infuriating and most amazing songs I know. It sounds like someone took four (or more!) catchy indie rock tunes and threw them into a blender - once you start getting into one hook or other element, it completely switches gears, every couple of seconds at that. It frustrated me terribly in the beginning, much like a repeatedly interrupted conversation, but over time it grew on me. I began to love the different elements on their own, fractured though they were, adding up to a greater sum, largely because the love had to be earned. It also helps that most of the chaos is held together with handclaps, always musical magic to me."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Ting Tings - "That's Not My Name (L.A. Riots Remix)"

The Ting Tings - "That's Not My Name (L.A. Riots Remix)": "The Ting Tings' playful tune takes on a tougher edge in this remix. Plus, I know I'm a easy mark, but I do like how things get more electroclashy in some parts."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rocket From The Crypt - "Born in '69"

Rocket From The Crypt - "Born in '69": "The long-overdue RFTC album missing from digital finally comes through - awesome! This song is a particularly rockin' if any of their songs weren't, really."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Q-Tip - "Breathe And Stop"

Q-Tip - "Breathe And Stop": "It's been so long, I kind of forgot how much fun the first Q-Tip solo record is - and how sad it took almost a decade for the follow-up! (Not counting all the records he recorded that somehow never saw the light of day.)"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Blondie - "Youth Nabbed As Sniper"

Blondie - "Youth Nabbed As Sniper": "Between the party tracks like 'Rapture' and 'Heart of Glass', it's tempting to think of Blondie as all fun and games - but that's forgetting this odd dark undercurrent that appears in many songs across all their records. From the second Blondie release (Plastic Letters), we get this paranoid tale of what sounds like teen espionage and romance - but no matter what it really is about, this song is not your standard pop fare."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Breeders - "Do You Love Me Now Jr?"

The Breeders - "Do You Love Me Now Jr?": "Sorry, another Breeders song for you - I couldn't help myself. This is the third version of this track that the Breeders released, but for good reason. Originally appearing on the Safari EP, the band re-recorded an equally solid version for the Last Splash LP - which, in turn, got remixed by Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis and released on the Divine Hammer single. Here, J takes the studio version of the track and adds his own vocals to it, creating a somewhat awkward and touching indie rock duet out of Kim Deal's yearning original."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Beck - "Chemtrails"

Beck - "Chemtrails": "Initially, this song didn't do much for me - it seemed too restrained, too muted. Now, after time, its eerie quality is oddly catchy, plus the quiet sections remind me of some Aislers Set songs, which is usually the last thing I'd associate with Beck."

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Vanessa Daou - "Near the Black Forest"

Vanessa Daou - "Near the Black Forest": "I remember how semi-daring this was intended to be in `95, when it came out. The video was all pan-sexual writhing bodies and the album's lyrics were all based on the 'erotic works' of Erica Jong (or perhaps it was 'erotic poetry', I forget). All that aside, this is still a sultry little down-tempo number that captured the sexy vibe that holds up better than the rest of this project."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tragedy - "Shadow Dancing"

Tragedy - "Shadow Dancing": "I just have to point out that Tragedy is an "all-metal tribute to the Bee Gees" (ignoring, obviously, that this is an Andy Gibb song) and the name of their album is "We Rock Sweet Balls and Can Do No Wrong". Seriously. At least they fulfill expectations by putting cowbell in the chorus."

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Broken West - "House of Lies"

The Broken West - "House of Lies":
"At first, I was a little surprised by The Broken West's turn to new wave stylings, following their Byrds-y debut, but when the surprise wore off, I could see the quality songs - like this one - were still there."

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Breeders - "New Year"

The Breeders - "New Year": "Yes! Just in time for New Years! Thanks to Adam from Beggars from getting tired of my nagging and getting this album into the system :)"