Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Teena Marie - "Lovergirl"

Teena Marie - "Lovergirl": "A slightly belated R.I.P. for Teena Marie. Such sad news!"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Soul Coughing - "Screenwriter's Blues"

Soul Coughing - "Screenwriter's Blues": ""It's funny how much I disliked this song when it came out - I think my thought was "who are these self-indulgent NYC snobs who think they're King Missle?" - and how much I love it now. It apparently just took some time for me to come around to it, probably sometime after "Down To This" made me give them a second look. While it kind of fails as a poison love letter to Los Angeles, it does paint a pretty good picture of tongue-in-cheek sweetness as cynicism. It also contains one of what became one of my favorite song lyrics: "We are all in some way or another going to die." That's a comment on life and/or The Valley - and I'm not sure which, but it works either way."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bear In Heaven - "Ultimate Satisfaction"

Bear In Heaven - "Ultimate Satisfaction": "There's a certain intensity from the busy drumming and the the looping keyboards during the verses that is almost overwhelming, but that just leads to the jazzy (if not almost prog) openness of the chorus and a sudden feeling of drifting in water. The contrast helps to heighten each section of the song. Spacey and powerful."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ryan Bingham - "Depression"

Ryan Bingham - "Depression": "Not the downer song you might expect it to be, even if it's certainly rough in ways, generally earthy in others - that's what makes it just feel natural, more than anything else. Also, I'm not posting it for an particular reason, so don't fret - even if the holidays do seem to have a hectic, overwhelming quality to them this year."

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Smiths - "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before"

The Smiths - "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before": "One of my favorite songs of all time. Restrained in delivery, but bubbling with dark emotions just under the surface; I'm not sure if it's bitterness or pain or what exactly, but when Morrissey sings "I still love you / but only slightly less, slightly less than I used to" in a way that only he can, it speaks volumes. It shares a similar vibe with another of my favorites - Michael Penn's "Out of Its Misery" - also a dark/rocker number - but this song also has the classic bike-riding video that makes it almost iconic."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Electronic - "Disappointed"

Electronic - "Disappointed": "The Smiths' Johnny Marr, New Orders' Bernard Sumner and Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tenannt? It was magic 80s nostalgia before enough time had even passed for it to have set in. Still, this is one of my favorite Pet Shop Boys songs that technically isn't."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Better Than Ezra - "Alison Foley"

Better Than Ezra - "Alison Foley": "I think that my liking of this song comes from it's less-mature-but-more-rocking Michael Penn vibe. I normally wouldn't call a song like this under-appreciated, but I feel like BTE is pretty maligned for their accidental role in the late 90s co-opting of 'alternative' radio by crunchy radio pop as it all rode it into the mainstream, so it's worth pulling out something so truly catchy for a bit of re-appreciation. (I'll even go a step further: Semisonic and Fastball had some really good songs too.)"

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Daft Punk - "Derezzed"

Daft Punk - "Derezzed": "Okay, I admit...I am excited for the new Tron movie. Shocker, right? (This is a track from the soundtrack.)"

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

INXS - "Suicide Blonde"

INXS - "Suicide Blonde": "Just woke up with this song in my head but I have no idea why...I haven't heard this song in a while, at least not that I was consciously aware of..."

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Missy Elliott - "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)"

Missy Elliott - "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)": "Seriously, does it have to rain everywhere I go? Enough, already!"

Monday, December 06, 2010

Helium - "Pat's Trick"

Helium - "Pat's Trick": "This is a belated 'thank you' to Doug H for playing an awesome Matador Records DJ set at the SF Eagle the other weekend, including this excellent Helium tune, in celebration of the Matador Records Vegas weekend. Not to be dopey, but it's so nice to have good friends at a good place listening to good music!"

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Apples in Stereo - "High Tide"

The Apples in Stereo - "High Tide": "Jangly and pleasantly mellow, but the high point (no pun intended) is when frontman Robert gets into his higher register to sing 'will the years roll out on tide?', particularly as he's joined with harmony vocals as the chorus repeats. Good stuff."

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Julio Iglesias - "Drive"

Julio Iglesias - "Drive": "I don't know what I like better - Julio tackling The Cars - or that he does it on his album Romantic Classics. Decir lo que???."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Arcade Fire - "Ready to Start"

Arcade Fire - "Ready to Start": "This definitely shook out as my favorite song on the new Arcade Fire record. I've read around that this is supposed to be an uplifting song (I suppose the 'now I'm ready to start!' ending), but the song - and the chorus in particular - read really dark to me, outside of that one line. There's something really sad about the 'if I was pure / you know I would / and if I was yours / but I'm not' lyric, but it still comes together as a really powerful song and that's why I like it."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Best Coast - "When I'm With You"

Best Coast - "When I'm With You": "Take a bunch of Aislers Set girl group lo-fi and mix in a touch of Giant Drag sharpness and you get this Best Coast song. It pulls off a great blend of sass and melancholy, the way the best 60s girl group rock songs do."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jane Krakowski - "Muffin Top"

Jane Krakowski - "Muffin Top": "It's from 30 Rock, so of course I love it."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sonic Youth - "Sweet Shine"

Sonic Youth - "Sweet Shine": "I remember the first time I heard this song -
I was shopping at Tower Records (R.I.P.!) in Orange County and the store had an advance copy of this album they were using for in-store play. Someone must have scratched the CD because the track would make it through to a certain point before skipping back near the beginning...only to make it back to the scratch and skip backwards yet again. It didn't sound so bad, given the sleepy nature of the track, like hopping around in a dream. This must have gone on for twenty minutes before someone stopped the CD but, by that point, the song was burned into my head, especially the part where Kim Gordon hoots 'wooo-hooo!'. Kind of funny that I remember that so specifically, but I do."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Jealous Sound - "Hope For Us"

The Jealous Sound - "Hope For Us": "Yeah, I guess it's kind of emo, in the more classic sense, but damn it's good."

Friday, November 05, 2010

SOTD 5 Year Lookback: Culture Club - "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me"

SOTD 5 Year Lookback: Culture Club - "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" (Original Post Date: 07.08.09): "I think it says volumes about me that some of my more vivid and excited posts draw from videos I saw as a kid in the early days of MTV, either in inspiring me to the post - or, like this one, where I try and recap the my own way."

Thursday, November 04, 2010

SOTD 5 Year Lookback: Yo La Tengo - "Blue Line Swinger"

SOTD 5 Year Lookback: Two Versions of Yo La Tengo's "Blue Line Swinger" - Your Choice! (Original Post Date: 06.03.08): "This is deeper music analysis than I usually employ in the blog, but the two versions compelled me to take the dive."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

SOTD 5 Year Lookback: Olivia Newton-John - "Physical"

SOTD 5 Year Lookback: Olivia Newton-John - "Physical" (Original Post Date: 10.25.06): "The only thing better than this post is when I played "Physical" at top volume from my phone while walking around in SOMA earlier this year after a bit of, um, partying. Check it out."

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

SOTD 5 Year Lookback: James Brown - "Get Up"

SOTD 5 Year Lookback: James Brown - "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine, Pt. 1" (Original Post Date: 2.28.06):
"Kicking off this look back at five years of this blog, it's Mr. James Brown. This post is kind of a cheat, since it references two JB songs, but it makes me want to listen to them both. Check it out."

Monday, November 01, 2010

Song of the Day 5 Year Anniversary!

Joy Division - "These Days": "So it's been five years to the day that I started my 'song of the day' blog. While hardly daily in posting, I've racked up almost 900 rants, raves, stutters and random thoughts in that time...and, somehow, it keeps chugging along. My first post was New Order, so it seems fitting to offer some Joy Division to mark the anniversary. Hardly the band to pop open some fancy champagne to, I suppose, but this isn't a champers kind of blog anyway. Instead, raise your drink of choice and peruse the archives (they're all there, on the right side of the page), perhaps starting with the blog introduction, also from 11/1/05.
I'll be spending the rest of the week highlighting some of my favorite entries from the years, so stick around!"

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Elliott Smith - "Ballad Of Big Nothing"

Elliott Smith - "Ballad Of Big Nothing": "Years ago, when I worked at, we had been trying to get Elliott to do a performance and/or an interview for the site but - after some time - when it finally came through, I was unable to go to the taping. I seem to recall that I could have pushed some commitments around to make it, but didn't - and I wish I had, since this was obviously something I wouldn't have the chance to do later, but there was no way to know that then. At least I had the pleasure of seeing him several times in LA and NYC, both solo acoustic and full band, and there are his wonderful records still around.
I am also making this my Halloween post because of the time I saw Elliott in NYC, just before Halloween that year (internets saying this would be 10.29.00) and he closed the show with a cover of BOC's "Don't Fear The Reaper'. A little creepy in retrospect but, at the time, it was a lot of fun."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Royksopp - "Poor Leno"

Royksopp - "Poor Leno": "At Brandy's suggestion, although this will always remind me of being jetlagged and watching this video in the middle of the night on MTV Netherlands from my hotel room in Amsterdam. It was the first time I had seen the video and my travel-mate Brendan and I both rooted on the 'leno' to escape capture. I've been a fan of the song ever since."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Les Savy Fav - "Sleepless In Silverlake"

Les Savy Fav - "Sleepless In Silverlake": "These guys are such NYC stalwarts, it's hard think that they're doing anything other than taking the piss out of L.A., but it sounds so good, it doesn't matter. Besides, I'm more disturbed that it's been a decade since I first saw LSF wildman/frontman Tim Harrington literally climbing the walls at Bowery Ballroom in NYC. Where did the time go?"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The English Beat - "Best Friend"

The English Beat - "Best Friend": "It's interesting how mixing and mastering can change a song. I'm used to hearing this track on the excellent (and sadly out-of-print) What Is Beat? English Beat retrospective - which is admittedly 80s mastering on CD or cassette - as opposed to this modern-day digital master. It's a great song either way, but this mix sounds 'nicer', if slightly more soft and jangly, bringing out all the different elements into a more distinct mix, as opposed to the general blended noise of the 80s master that feels a bit more agressive."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Breeders - "Mad Lucas"

The Breeders - "Mad Lucas": "On hour after hour of conference calls today, watching the traffic going back and forth on the 80 freeway out the window..."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Portishead - "Strangers"

Portishead - "Strangers": "As I did my Shawn of the Dead zombie march to work today (it being a Monday morning and all), this song was the only thing that helped to amp up my shuffle, even if it still was a zombie shuffle. Granted, there's nothing nice about this song, but it did keep me moving along and the music switch at the 02:11 mark is a nice, 'wake up' slap in the face. Besides, I don't know if I need to be nice today, so much as I need to be productive.
On a different note, I am still in love with this entire record, more years on from its release than I'd like to admit. I don't want to sound like a curmudgeon, but I wish there were more records like this coming out, ones I love from start to finish, the way I used to think there were."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Walkmen - "Juveniles"

The Walkmen - "Juveniles": "The Walkmen still have a certain 60s quality to them, but they feel much more modern this time out. There's a certain lazy afternoon (or early morning?) charm to this tune, between the solitary, sadly playful guitar lead and the dragging drums."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Film School - "p.s."

Film School - "p.s.": "I know it's a bit weird to post this track, from Film School's first EP, right around the same time they're putting out a new album that sounds so different, but I guess that's just my way. This tune suggests a certain shared vibe with American Analog Set, mixed in with a bit of the languid pace of Lilys' Eccsame The Photon Band and some slight indie brattishness to the vocals, but also with a slight, steady build as the song goes along to keep it interesting."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bettie Serveert - "Tom Boy"

Bettie Serveert - "Tom Boy": "I had the pleasure of seeing Amsterdam's finest, Bettie Serveert, last week in SF. Not only did they sound great, but they seriously rocked, with a great energy flowing through their whole set. Everything from their new album sounded great, but it was so much fun getting hear old favorites like this."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Aimee Mann - "Guys Like Me"

Aimee Mann - "Guys Like Me": "I recently had the pleasure of seeing a stripped-down Aimee Mann set, with Aimee on acoustic guitar and backed only by bass and keyboards on most tracks. While she bypassed many of Lost In Space's obvious choice tracks ("Humpty Dumpty", "Pavlov's Bell"), she surprised me with this subtle, yearning tune instead. I didn't expect her to play it, in the midst of her fairly large catalog, but maybe it just fit better with her more minimal arrangement - and, either way, I was sure happy to hear it, as this song has oddly always struck a chord with me. I particularly love the guitar solo in the second half of the song."

Friday, October 15, 2010

F*cked Up - "Son The Father"

F*cked Up - "Son The Father": "If I have to pick a 2nd MVP of the Matador Lost Weekend, behind Ted Leo, I think it's Damian from F*cked Up. Not only did he blaze through a riotous live set on Friday night (complete with crowdsurfing and a live version of this track that's way better than on the record, which is great already) but FU did double duty by coming back out even later on Friday night to face off with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists in a virtual covers-off. While all the hard work was out of the way after that, Damian still stuck around and was seen running around all weekend, going to all the shows - with his young son in tow in a stroller - clearly excited by all the bands and music there was too see. Ever the good father, his kid was wearing industrial-strength headphones, which was a good move, as all of us with hearing damage can attest. Anyhow, good job, Damian!"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Guided By Voices - "My Son Cool"

Guided By Voices - "My Son Cool": "The last time I saw Guided by Voices was in NYC, during their (2004?) goodbye tour (with special opener Chavez, who reformed for one night then too) - but I have to admit I never saw them during the Alien Lanes/Under The Bushes period, or at least with that band lineup - until now. Drunk as ever (except for Tobin Sprout, who could still stand upright) but charmingly so, GbV flashed a neon "The club is open" sign and plowed through dozens of lo-fi hits, including this one. So much fun. They still had so many songs they didn't play, I hope they make it `round one more time before they call it quits again."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chavez - "Unreal Is Here"

Chavez - "Unreal Is Here": "Back to my Matador "Lost Weekend" recaps -
While I've already celebrated the pummeling drums of Mr. James Lo in previous posts - which were also a real highlight of the live show for me - Chavez was so tight in all ways, they also delivered mightily on this arena-ready ballad. You wouldn't know that this was basically their first show in a half-decade and one of their only in the last decade overall. Guys, remind me why you're not together full-time anymore? Ask the folks who were in Vegas and almost everyone will agree this was one of the best sets of the weekend."

Friday, October 08, 2010

Debbie Harry - "Feel The Spin"

Debbie Harry - "Feel The Spin": "Don't worry kids, more Matador weekend highlights still coming - it's been a busy week since I've been back - but just a simple TGIF song for today. Pretend it's an 80s dance party!"

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Weezer - "Hang On"

Weezer - "Hang On": "No offense meant by this, but is it weird that I can totally hear Taylor Swift doing this song? And that this thought occured to me during only my second listen to this tune? Weird. Don't know what it means."

Monday, October 04, 2010

Ted Leo - "The Mighty Sparrow"

Ted Leo - "The Mighty Sparrow": "There will be lots of Matador "Lost Weekend" Recap posts to come, but I have to start off with Ted Leo. Ted was definitely the MVP of the weekend, rocking all the way from Night One to Night Three. Starting off with a late night, pseudo-Battle-of-the-Bands with Fucked Up, both bands threw down some great (mostly punk) covers, but Ted had a choice entry with a solo, electric version of Liz Phair's "Fuck and Run"...which he then dueted with her on during Night Three. Night Two saw Ted showing up at the Karaoke Underground party, where he did Beat Happening's "Cast A Shadow". Night Three also saw Ted perform a blistering set of mostly Ted Leo originals during the main night's showcase, but still popped back up to take some good-natured abuse from MCs Sharpling & Wurster during one of their introductions. In other words, he was in it to win it.
I ran into Ted's drummer this morning and told him how great they were, but now I'm taking the news public. Good job Ted and keep up the good work. (You too, Pharmacists!)
Almost forgot to mention - even though it's one of the songs he didn't do this weekend, "The Mighty Sparrow" is the great lead-off track from the equally great new album The Brutalist Bricks. Check it out."

Friday, October 01, 2010

Soundgarden - "Birth Ritual"

Soundgarden - "Birth Ritual": "I love love love Chris Cornell's high-pitched wail in 'ritu-aaaaaaaal!!!' I think more hard rock/metal needs higher register singing like that, especially when paired with the deeper, heavier riffs."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Rolling Stones - "Miss You"

The Rolling Stones - "Miss You": "Who doesn't know this song already? And if you already know it, you know the Stones get away with their disco strut largely based on Mick's swagger, which falls just on the amazing side of ridiculous, not to mention his eyebrow-raising (and equally awesome) falsetto. For a frame of reference on what's on the other side of ridiculous, check out the 'video' version where Mick shows what happens when less restraint is applied to his delivery.
Double bonus: the extended version with extra choice lyrics like 'girls will come and go / they're just like streetcars!'. Nice one, Mick."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Broken Social Scene - "World Sick"

Broken Social Scene - "World Sick": "The long instrumental fade-in and fade-out make the song feel kind of epic, but the key parts are really the quick, reverbed guitar leads during the laid-back verses and the drama of the chorus, led by almost marching-band strength drums and a small chorus of singers. As always, BSS shows that its group of rotating members isn't a gluttony of excess, but a tasteful arrangement of all its various member parts."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Miles Kurosky - "An Apple For An Apple"

Miles Kurosky - "An Apple For An Apple": "This song kind of goes all over the place, with all sorts of different musical segments, but at it's core, it still has that old Beulah magic, as one would hope from Miles Kurosky, it's former frontman. It's a little sharp, a little sad, a little simple, a little adorned - all in different parts, so it's kind of a roller coaster, but a fun one."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

David Bowie - "Beauty And The Beast"

David Bowie - "Beauty And The Beast": "A key track in Bowie's Berlin trilogy, in my book. From the processed punch of Dennis Davis' drumming to the heavy and often distorted synthesizers, there's definitely a strange (Eastern?) European detachment amidst the dramatic delivery. Each musician in the band plays their hand strong without being overwhelming, which is why this Bowie lineup feels so cohesive to me (this lineup is in place, largely, from Station to Station through Scary Monsters). There's a touch of the paranoia found on "Blackout" and the melodrama of "The Secret Life of Arabia" (both also from "Heroes"), but, here, Antonia Maas' backing vocals blend in a unique female counterpoint."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Torche - "Face The Wall"

Torche - "Face The Wall": "A great slice of heavy from the new Torche EP. A moody, weighty wall of sound punctured by powerful drums, with slightly brooding vocals floating in the middle, all building in intensity as the song progresses. Totally awesome."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Superchunk - "Everything at Once"

Superchunk - "Everything at Once": "Wow, I love this. It reminds me of Superchunk's earlier Here's Where The Strings Come In and Indoor Living vibe, but with a more mature quality - perhaps because of the atmospheric intro or the cool "ooohs" that pepper the song - although it still makes me want to pogo, as the best Superchunk always does. It scares me to think how long they've been around (and, thus, how long I've been a fan), but it's super-satisfying that they can still develop their sound without leaving any of their mojo behind."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Stars - "Elevator Love Letter"

Stars - "Elevator Love Letter": "Stars have a lot of gorgeous songs and this is one of their best. The interplay between lead vocalists Amy and Torquil is lush and a little melancholy, with a really strong keyboard part creating a great textured melody behind them."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pixies - "Bone Machine"

Pixies - "Bone Machine": "Yes, Doolittle is an amazing album. I love it dearly. But Surfer Rosa is the religious experience for me. It's the sound of a band going completely in its own direction and it sounds revolutionary every time I hear it. It's hard not to be blown away by an album that starts of like this - from the pounding drum/bass intro, leading into Black Francis' screams (have you listened to the lyrics? crazy and amazing!), later off-set by Kim Deal's sweet counterpart vocals. I'd think they sound like they have a cocky swagger in what they do here, but I think it's closer to dorks who don't know that they're dorks, so they have no self-awareness in what they're doing and there's nothing being held back, which makes them all the more awesome. Does that make sense???"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Human League - "Love Action"

The Human League - "Love Action": "Is there a day that can't be made better with a little of Human League frontman Phil Oakey? I think not! Here, you get 100% of your daily Phil, as he even references himself in the song! 'This is Phil talking, I wanna tell you what I found to be true'. Yes, do!!!"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Barcelona - "Bugs"

Barcelona - "Bugs": "Is this a song about computer problems or a love song? Either way, it's definitely optimistic - and, even if it wasn't, the song is so damn bouncy that it would still feel positive. I'll always be thankful to Nick for introducing me to Barcelona (and thankful for Nick as well)."

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Adam Franklin - "Yesterday Has Gone Forever"

Adam Franklin - "Yesterday Has Gone Forever": "For a key frame of reference, Adam Franklin is the frontman of Swervedriver and, although this track is way more mellow than anything from that band, it still has some of that band's key qualities, particularly the guitar effects that reverb and shimmer. Luckily, it doesn't sound like a carbon copy, but an updating of their core sound. In other words, if you like Swervedriver, you are probably going to like this too."

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Interpol - "Lights"

Interpol - "Lights": "From the new, self-titled Interpol album out today. Many of you have already heard this song when the band pushed it out on the internet early with a strange, Matthew Barney-esque video involving fluids and costumes, but it's also really standing out on my first listen of the album. It starts out spare and brooding - some drama without theatrical tics - slowly gathering steam instrument by instrument, until it becomes a full-on rock song."

Friday, September 03, 2010

Tears for Fears - "Pale Shelter"

Tears for Fears - "Pale Shelter": "Yes, I know Roland pretty much writes everything, but my favorite TFF songs tend to be the ones that Curt sings, like this one and 'Change'. I love how the acoustic guitar plays against the chilly synths, even better when the synth handclaps come in at the end. (Yup, real or fake, I'm always a sucker for them handclaps.)
I'll also always remember the first time I saw the video as a wee lad, with the alligator climbing into a swimming pool that a lady's swimming in and thinking...'whoa, lady, watch out!' It doesn't hold up as well as I'd like, but I still love watching it today."

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Tokyo Police Club - "Big Difference"

Tokyo Police Club - "Big Difference": "Spirited (and slightly snotty) Brit-styled post-punk - from Canada, no less - but it's the guitar lead that makes the song: ringing, echoey, jagged, great."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Admiral Radley - "Ghosts of Syllables"

Admiral Radley - "Ghosts of Syllables": "There are some AM Gold moments in this tune - and I mean that in a good way - but it still feels fresh. The "aaahs" are particularly pretty and I love when Aaron declares 'I'm out of sync, yeah it's nothing new / and loneliness I am nothing to'. Folks, if you still don't know, this band is Grandaddy + Earlimart together and you need to love it now, particularly if you liked either band before!"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Autolux - "Transit Transit"

Autolux - "Transit Transit": "The title track of the new Autolux album is kind of the opposite of what you'd expect after their first album. Sigur Ros-style high-range vocals backed by simple piano and skittish drum programming (the effect of which recalls later-period Radiohead without actually sounding like them) create an almost calm counter-balance to the excellent unease of their debut. As horns burst out at the end of the song, the tune ends with a muted majesty. Welcome back, Autolux. My only complaint is that there's not enough of Carla Azar's amazing drumming on this record, but I'm getting used to it.'

Monday, August 23, 2010

Land Of Talk - "Summer Special"

Land Of Talk - "Summer Special": "This song just popped into my head today for some reason and since SF is finally experiencing actual summer, it seemed appropriate to post today."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Queens of the Stone Age - "Born To Hula"

Queens of the Stone Age - "Born To Hula": "Pummeling. From the pounding drum intro, through the heavy riffs to the extended jam at the end, the whole song is just pummeling, in the best way possible. It's one of my favorite QOTSA songs, despite being a b-side (and a re-record of an earlier Kyuss song, at that)."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

School Of Seven Bells - "Windstorm"

School Of Seven Bells - "Windstorm": "Definitely clearer-sounding than their debut record, tracks like this still have the pleasantly woozy quality that made their first record such a shoegaze-y win."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rebecca Gates - "The Seldom Scene"

Rebecca Gates - "The Seldom Scene": "Ex-Spinanes frontwoman moves beyond the raw indie rock of her previous band and channels her inner chanteuse on this solo debut, particularly on this jazzy, sultry - yet grounded - lead track. I don't know if it sounds more like a calm Sunday morning or the middle of the night, but it's warm and sweet either way. Rebecca, where have you been in the nine years since you put this out??"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Superchunk - "Forged It"

Superchunk - "Forged It": "Classic Superchunk on what's really a b-side from the On The Mouth sessions. It's rough, it's rockin' and it's damn catchy. More forging, please!"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Florence & The Machine - "You've Got The Love"

Florence & The Machine - "You've Got The Love": "I first heard this in Australia earlier this year, where the track was a single. All the recent Florence hullabaloo made me remember it and check it out again. It's a really nice slice of lush, but not staid, AC pop with forceful vocals."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lindstrom and Christabelle - "Lovesick"

Lindstrom and Christabelle - "Lovesick": "This tune is minimal Euro-disco and it's bad-ass. I first heard it when Bear In Heaven covered it live (apparently as a counterpart to their own tune "Lovesick Teenagers") when I saw them live the other week, but it took my west coast pals Andy & Cas to point me at the original."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse - "Everytime I'm With You (Feat. Jason Lytle)"

Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse - "Everytime I'm With You (Feat. Jason Lytle)": "The creepy carnival organ sets the mood and the drawling lyrics about getting dysfunctionally trashed sound almost equally ominous, but it's a totally captivating song, taking the best of Jason (Grandaddy) Lytle's hushed vocals and Danger Mouse's foggy atmosphere soaking in Mark (Sparklehorse) Linkous' tune."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Roxette - "Joyride"

Roxette - "Joyride": "I have no idea why this came into my head today, although I do chuckle at that part near the end where they yell out "Roxette!". I always think it's so funny when bands call themselves out in their songs..."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Starflyer 59 - "Cry Me A River"

Starflyer 59 - "Cry Me A River": "Starflyer 59 is back! They're still very much in the mellow-yet-rocking vein of their last album (no radical sound shifts this time around), but that brings more gems like this one. It takes the harder riffs of I Am The Portuguese Blues, mixes in some of the T.Rex-isms from Old and blends it with the laid back sheen of Dial M. If you dig the SF59, you'll get all that."

Monday, August 09, 2010

Guided By Voices - "Dodging Invisible Rays"

Guided By Voices - "Dodging Invisible Rays": "An amazing melancholy pop song, this time from Tobin Sprout. Was this release really relegated to a vinyl EP?"

Friday, July 30, 2010

Star Ghost Dog - "Plus de Vaches"

Star Ghost Dog - "Plus de Vaches": "I stumbled onto this band opening up for another band in NYC over a decade ago and was immediately taken by this song. Who is this girl doing this tough-yet-cool-yet-vulnerable delivery (a la Mary Stuart Masterson) of a faux-disco/rock song about getting coked up, dancing and hot tubs? It's completely tongue-in-cheek, but it was catchy enough to make me check out the album later, which was as good as I remembered. In fact, the rest of the record might actually be better, but this song definitely has the hooks."

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Cardigans - "Good Morning Joan"

The Cardigans - "Good Morning Joan": "You could find this song sunny and Nina's vocals sweet, but if you listen to the lyrics, you'll realize neither is the case and it's a beautiful poison pill instead. The clincher is when Nina sings, soaringly: 'If you were less like me, I'd save you from this, if I could / if I was less like you, God knows I would...but you are just like me, so I quit.' The whole record (Super Extra Gravity) is very much like this and you have to wonder what darkness is influencing the lyric writing..."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Liz Phair - "Polyester Bride"

Liz Phair - "Polyester Bride": "I don't like the overly produced nature of this track (particularly the programmed percussion) and the verses are a little awkward but the chorus is pure gold - it makes the whole song."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Admiral Radley - "Chingas in the West"

Admiral Radley - "Chingas in the West": "Grandaddy is awesome. Earlimart is also awesome. Luckily, the combination of the two is still awesome - melding some of the best of both bands into one - as Admiral Radley. You can hear both bands in this song, which sounds like a Grandaddy slow burner, but is fronted by Aaron from Earlimart instead - a nice blending."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Built To Spill - "Three Years Ago Today"

Built To Spill - "Three Years Ago Today": "Got to see Built to Spill last night for the first time in years and I'm happy to report that they're as tight as ever. Even better, they really played songs from their entire catalog, including this one, from their oft-overlooked first album, Ultimate Alternative Wavers. A really surprise - and pleasure - to hear."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Charlatans U.K. - "Can't Get Out Of Bed"

Charlatans U.K. - "Can't Get Out Of Bed": "How have I not blogged this song before when it's kind of my theme song? Well, the song title is, anyway. That aside, it's a nice little brit-pop number with bluesy touches from the underappreciated Charlatans U.K."

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Order - "5 8 6"

New Order - "5 8 6": "First off, please skip straight to the 1:53 mark. There's an instrumental introduction to the track that you really can do without. Once there, you may think that this is a bit of a "Blue Monday" redux - and perhaps even feel like the track is a bit dated, 80s club sounding - but I think it's a great dance track with Peter Hook's bass (as usual) providing the muscle in the middle of a new wave synth party."

Friday, July 09, 2010

Helium - "Baby Vampire Made Me"

Helium - "Baby Vampire Made Me": "Mary Timony brings balanced sweet-but-tough vocals over a slow-but-pummeling rock track. Even when the song detours into something soft and lulling near the end, it works because it's a complete counter-point to everything before it (and a great transition into what follows it on the EP). You really couldn't ask for a better kick-off to a completely solid debut EP than this.
Mary, wherefore art thou now? You are missed!"

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Nada Surf - "The Agony of Laffitte"

Nada Surf - "The Agony of Laffitte": "Nada Surf take on Spoon's song about being dropped by Elektra Records (essentially)...which is quite appropriate, since Nada Surf were also on Elektra and had huge problems with the label around the same time that Spoon did."

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

764-HERO - "Stained Glass"

764-HERO - "Stained Glass": "This album still blows me away - especially since it's 764-HERO's first with a bassist (all prior recordings were only guitar/drums). It's still only three instruments, but each one is so active and full, playing well of each other instead of just being overwhelming. You can easily hear that on this song, a tight little rocker with a great riff."

Friday, July 02, 2010

Guided By Voices - "Don't Stop Now"

Guided By Voices - "Don't Stop Now": "Subtle, but one of the more adorned GbV tunes - is that a cello I hear? That's not a bad thing - the different elements provide a textured melancholy that leads to a triumphant bursting when the full instrumentation kicks in."

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Land of the Loops - "Growing Concern"

Land of the Loops - "Growing Concern": "Indie pop meets low-key electronica in the subtly charming Land of the Loops. Strange samples - like the intro here, from a books-on-tape version of Brave New World - compliment the package."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

TLC - "The Vic-E Interpretation" / "Silly Ho"

TLC - "The Vic-E Interpretation" / "Silly Ho": "Sometimes you need a computer to do your talking and rapping for you...and, in this case, yes, it is awesome."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dot Allison - "You Can Be Replaced"

Dot Allison - "You Can Be Replaced": "I had the pleasure of meeting Dot several times around the Afterglow album and found her charming every time, partially because of her wonderful Scottish accent. Here, on this low-key electronic track from 2002's We Are Science, she is equally beguilling, especially when purring "danger, danger, danger" towards the end of the song."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quasi - "All The Same"

Quasi - "All The Same": "I got to see Quasi play live on Friday (opening for Pavement) for the first time in five plus years. They did a lot of songs I didn't know - I kind of missed their last few albums - but they did me proud by playing this tune, my absolute favorite of theirs. After hearing this, I was golden for their whole set. It's a majestic song about giving up..."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Robyn - "Dancing On My Own"

Robyn - "Dancing On My Own": "This is such straight-forward pop, it could be a song for anyone from Kelly Clarkson to Christina Aguilera, but Robyn's earnest delivery and new-wave pulsing synths make it a crisp cut above the obvious that it could have been."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pavement - "Easily Fooled"

Pavement - "Easily Fooled": "I don't why I've had this semi-random Pavement song stuck in my head the last few days (it's a non-album track from the Rattled By The Rush EP), but it's probably because I'm getting amped up for seeing them live tomorrow night! (It's also a great song, despite being a non-album track - Malkmus' swagger and wordplay are in full effect and the song has a nice, mellow groove to it.)"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Psychedelic Furs - "India"

The Psychedelic Furs - "India": "I just saw the Psychedelic Furs last night and it's nice to see a band still retaining its fire, some 33 years on. Singer Richard Butler is still a giddy showman and tunes like this one retain their punch, easily as aggressive sounding - if not more - than the original when they used it to close their set. When bassist Tim Butler aimed his bass like a machine gun during the closing drumbeat fire, it was the right visual to end the show with.
(On record, this track often causes speaker destruction - if you turn up the volume enough to hear the intro section, you'll get your speakers blown out when the song really kicks in. Kind of a messed up thing to do on the first track of your first album, but it speaks volumes for the Furs.)"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bettie Serveert - "Semaphore"

Bettie Serveert - "Semaphore": "Classic Betty S, but just as sharp as ever. Rhapsody just posted a feature on Bettie Serveert giving a tour of Amsterdam, which shows a different side of the town, check it out:"

Monday, June 21, 2010

Crowded House - "Saturday Sun"

Crowded House - "Saturday Sun": "A new tune, but classic wistful pop from Crowded House, with light psychedelic touches."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fischerspooner - "Cloud"

Fischerspooner - "Cloud": "Because I'm so sick of hearing about The Cloud in the tech world...Maybe we will soon have synergy with the cloud..."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jennifer Trynin - "If I Had Anything To Say"

Jennifer Trynin - "If I Had Anything To Say": "A little sweet, a little salty, this is an economic mid-90s rocker from a great album that never quite connected with an audience, largely due to misguided promotion."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chavez - "Nailed To The Blank Spot"

Chavez - "Nailed To The Blank Spot": "I have not been able to get this song out of my head lately! So much of this song is probably challenging to most - from the abrasive verse vocals to the thundering bass - but then it surges into this anthemic (if brief) chorus moment and that's the part I can't get out of my head. Another classic, aggressive rock moment from Chavez."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Spoon - "Small Stakes"

Spoon - "Small Stakes": "Once one of my least favorite Spoon songs, hearing it live (where they kick out the ending into a full-band rockfest) has really brought me around to it. Today I'm using it as a kickstart to get me amped up for all I need to do."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Grandaddy - "Hewlett's Daughter"

Grandaddy - "Hewlett's Daughter": "A song that's essentially about how you should be someone's son-in-law (not to mention stolen guns) should be creepy, but somehow Grandaddy make it sweet and sad instead. In Grandaddy's off-kilter world, it all makes sense. I remember seeing them live a ton on this record and it was magic every time - magic that I miss."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Yo La Tengo - "A Sudden Organ"

Yo La Tengo - "A Sudden Organ": "One of my favorite songs of all time. The beat is almost tribal in its pounding, punctured at dramatic moments by cymbal hits that feel like crashing waves. Like an ocean storm building, the organ part starts out minimal, but becomes increasingly frantic, the hard wind pushing the waves. Frontman Ira Kaplan's vocals are the calm in the middle of that storm, restrained but yearning. Pure YLT magic."

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Damnwells - "H.C.E."

The Damnwells - "H.C.E.": "Nashville, for lots of different reasons, this one's going out to you."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mike Patton - "Deep Down"

Mike Patton - "Deep Down": "'Deep Down' is the lead song from Ennio Morricone's kitchy, classy soundtrack to the decadently Eurocool 60s action flick Danger: Diabolik (highly recommended, even if it's more style than substance). Almost impossible to find except as an import - with the rest of the D:D soundtrack allegedly lost to the ages - the last person I thought would ever revive the tune would be Faith No More's Mike Patton...which is exactly who did it. It's largely faithful to the original, which is not only somewhat impressive, given Morricone's arrangements, but it's also perfectly fine since most folks will never hear it any other way."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ken Andrews - "Secret Things (Live)"

Ken Andrews - "Secret Things (Live)": "Ken Andrews' live record is more of a best-of from his various bands (Failure, On, Year of the Rabbit - all worth checking out!) than anthing else, but it's nice to hear his (sometimes) overly-pristine studio work dirtied up live like this, particularly this track."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dio - "Holy Diver"

Dio - "Holy Diver": "Sadness at the thought of a world without Dio in it! Dio, the horns are at half-mast for you."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Torche - "Sundown"

Torche - "Sundown": "Heavy with a touch of sludge, but melodic with a surging chorus, it's hard rock that indie kids can love. (Somewhere in Rhapsody, I think I saw the term "stoner pop" get used and that might work too.) Either way, I wish this song was twice as long as it is, it's that awesome."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Talking Heads - "Found A Job"

Talking Heads - "Found A Job": "I'm sure David Byrne was just being silly, but it's pretty easy to imagine that this song's absurdist tilt presaged reality TV, in a way. Possible intent aside, it's a sprightly little jam that already shows growth from the first Talking Heads record to this, their second (More Songs About Buildings and Food)."

Friday, May 07, 2010

Jeff The Brotherhood - "Heavy Damage"

Jeff The Brotherhood - "Heavy Damage": "It seems like it's been a long time since I did a "it's Friday, rock it out!" post - so, here you go. Do it."

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Local Natives - "Warning Sign"

Local Natives - "Warning Sign": "Normally, I have no interest in Talking Heads covers. They're one of my favorite bands and I don't feel the need to hear re-interpretations, particularly since part of the Heads' appeal is in their performance, along with the song itself. But here, Local Natives capture some of my favorite musical elements of the original song, while introducing some very different elements that make the song distinctively theirs, like the vocal harmonies. Thanks to Andy B. for pointing me at this."

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

764-HERO - "Sunburnt"

764-HERO - "Sunburnt": "I first discovered 764-HERO opening up for the Spinanes in L.A. in the mid-90s. They were the reverse versions of each other - both only guitar/drums, but female/male in the Spinanes and male/female in 764-HERO - but both equally dynamic for their limited instrumentation. While my favorite 764-HERO songs come later in their catalog, when they shifted to include a bassist, this is a great early song for them - jaded and emotional, quiet and loud, rocking all the while.
Also, a bit of trivia - "764-HERO" is the number to call in carpool lane violations in Washington, where the band was from.
Bonus - the rest of the 764-HERO catalog is finally hitting Rhapsody shortly, so there will be more choice songs from them in the near future."

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Portastatic - "The Great Escape"

Portastatic - "The Great Escape": "I can't believe it's been so long since I've listened to this album. Once one of my faves, it somehow fell off my playlist, but it popped back into my head tonight and it's like an old friend I've missed. Simple and pure, it's the Mac I fell in love with."

Monday, May 03, 2010

Veruca Salt - "Volcano Girls"

Veruca Salt - "Volcano Girls": "I admit that even I am guilty, like most, of thinking only about "Seether" when I think about Veruca Salt...which is so wrong because this song ROCKS. Please expand your Veruca Salt world by listening to this song now."

Friday, April 30, 2010

Placebo - "Infra-Red"

Placebo - "Infra-Red": "One of my favorite songs from the more recent Placebo period. It's got a radio-ready chorus without compromising Placebo's quirks, so it's unfortunate that alt-rock radio still didn't pick up on this tune when it came out."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bear Hands - "What A Drag"

Bear Hands - "What A Drag": "For fans of Modest Mouse, as this track pulls from both their jangly and groovy parts melded together, but there's nothing wrong with that. Totally enjoyable."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Duran Duran - "Sound Of Thunder"

Duran Duran - "Sound Of Thunder": "No wonder they gave these guys a James Bond theme to tackle - even on their first album, they ooze equal parts danger and bravado, with a touch of edgy cool. As always, John Taylor's propulsive bass trades off with Nick "Lipstick" Rhodes' synths, mixing heavy and light sounds. Also nice to hear the new remaster, a needed improvement over the previous "first generation CD master" mix that's been in circulation for so many years."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Drawn Together (soundtrack) - "Black Chick's Tongue"

Drawn Together (soundtrack) - "Black Chick's Tongue": "Wow. I'm not sure if this makes sense without the visuals (hard to say, because I saw it on the TV show first), but it's still pretty jaw-dropping in its melding of Disney and debauchery. Pretty much NSFW."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Muse - "Undisclosed Desires"

Muse - "Undisclosed Desires": "Muse reminds me of U2, in the sense that they started out cool and underground and suddenly wound up playing stadiums...or, in the case of Muse, at least huge stages...but all very quickly, in an almost 'how did that happen?' moment. Then again, it's hard to say that dramatic (but not bombastic) songs like this don't deserve a big stage - and, when coupled with lots o' lazers - which Muse did bust out at both SXSW and Coachella...well, it's pretty impressive."

Friday, April 23, 2010

The XX - "VCR"

The XX - "VCR": "I want to clarify my recent (verbal) comments that The XX are the indie-rock Sade. I do not think they sound anything like Sade. What I do mean is that, like Sade, they provide a fairly consistent (and often sultry) vibe for a whole album, create a good mellow mood and I think it's safe to assume you can do it to this album. Sade's recent record has made me realize more hipsters like her than you would expect, but a lot of those folks still (perhaps subliminally) want an album of the same nature, except "cooler"...and The XX fill that void. Not that they tried to, I'm sure, and not that any of this is a dig - it's not - but I still think the comparison is valid.
(This came up a couple of times at both SXSW and Coachella, where they brought the album's groove with them, despite the daytime sun.)"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pavement - "Frontwards"

Pavement - "Frontwards": "Pavement at Coachella was really as good as I could have hoped for. Perhaps a little sloppy still, maybe a little awkward, but isn't that part of their charm? When you have a set list that includes songs like this, it still would have been magical, even if they played half as well as they actually did. Even better, 'defining' Pavement songs like this one feel as true as when they came out, no snark or attitude to taint it."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Grace Jones - "Pull Up To The Bumper"

Grace Jones - "Pull Up To The Bumper": "La Grace might have broken my heart by dropping out of the Coachella 2010 lineup early on, but Beth Ditto and the Gossip clearly missed her too. They showed it in the best way possible by bringing out LCD Soundsystem to jam out a hot cover of this Grace Jones classic, capping off what was already an electric (if hot and sweaty show). Yet another reason why Beth Ditto is awesome."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

LCD Soundsystem - "Us V Them"

LCD Soundsystem - "Us V Them": "This song set the crowd on fire at Coachella (Friday night). Their set was unfortunately a little stop-and-start with frontman James Murphy semi-rambling between songs, but with out-of-control barn-burners like this one, all is forgiven. Can't wait to hear the new album..."

Monday, April 19, 2010

David Bowie - "New Killer Star"

David Bowie - "New Killer Star": "A really solid tune from the later Bowie catalog. There's some interesting sonic layers to give it texture, but it's a straight-forward melodic rock song with bite at its core and the bold exuberance of the chorus is a pleasure to hear. (Pretty sure Bowie mainstay Gail Ann Dorsey deserves some thanks for the latter.) Bowie, it's been years, so where the hell are you hiding?"

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jonsi - "Boy Lilikoi"

Jonsi - "Boy Lilikoi": "A majestic and uplifting song, sprinkled with pixie dust. Though, unlikely as it seems, there are two quick moments that recall Kings of Leon's "The Bucket" (at least in the vocal melody)...which I'm sure is totally unintentional, but I can't be the only one who hears it, right? (I love "The Bucket" so no one should be taking this as a dig.)"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spoon - "Me And The Bean"

"I have already made this a song of the day and I've done a ton of Spoon lately, but I couldn't help but post this anyway. Last night, Spoon played the Fox in Oakland and frontman Britt did a solo acoustic version of this song - something I've never heard him do before - and it made a big theater feel intimate. It was amazing."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ABC - "Poison Arrow"

ABC - "Poison Arrow": "Yes, it's really polished, but sounds good. Yes, it's a lot of style for the corresponding amount of substance, but Martin Fry's vocals make you believe it. At the end of the day, ABC still makes it all sound suave and easy, even though I'm sure it was anything but. The spoken word interlude is a little gimmicky, but it's all part of a solid pop package."

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Roots - "Here I Come"

The Roots - "Here I Come": "I got a lot of work to do today - always hard to run into on a Monday - so I'm trying to get myself hyped up and plow through it."

Friday, April 02, 2010

Pavement - "In The Mouth A Desert"

Pavement - "In The Mouth A Desert": "I think I got so intent on not over-psyching myself for the upcoming Pavement reunion that I kind of killed my buzz for their shows. In other words, in trying to make sure that their shows couldn't let me down, I killed my own excitement. That is, until I wound up talking about it the other night and I realized...even if it's not as good as I want it to's still freaking PAVEMENT doing PAVEMENT songs that I love. Songs like this one, which hurt me with their subtle brilliance. And now I'm all excited again!"

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Memory Tapes - "Stop Talking"

Memory Tapes - "Stop Talking": "This song has all sorts of mini-phases, like going from room to room at a big party - assuming it's a party where Moroder krautrock disco collides with Cut Copy. Live (Saturday night at the Rhapsody SXSW party), things were more rock - picture New Order turned alternately more dreamy and more aggressive. Pitchfork apparently didn't like that - they wanted the more chill album vibe - but I thought it was a good way to make the album songs work live."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bear In Heaven - "Wholehearted Mess"

Bear In Heaven - "Wholehearted Mess": "I tend to avoid 'bear'-titled bands, partially because there are so many of them and partially because I don't want anyone to accuse me of pandering. This was still my intention when I was led to Bear In Heaven's 1am show (Thursday, Mohawk inside)...but they won me over. Strangely calm and frantic at the same time, there's an epic quality to a lot of their tunes and more than a touch of strange. You can hear touches of 70s prog and synths, but it never feels dated."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Class Actress - "Let Me Take You Out"

Class Actress - "Let Me Take You Out": "Sadly, I missed checking this band out at SXSW, but I intended to! I got turned onto this song by KEXP just before SXSW and it totally hits my sweet spot of new wave synthpop with guitars, here female-fronted. It recalls some of the female vocal tracks from Stars and My Favorite, which is a good thing in my book."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Whigs - "I Am For Real"

The Whigs - "I Am For Real": "I'm late, but I'm starting my 2010 SXSW Recap now. I saw these guys rip this track up live (Friday, Sony Day Party) and it's just as good on record (ok, a little better live, but they're GREAT live). They really do get better on every record."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Robbers On High Street - "Cool It Now"

Robbers On High Street - "Cool It Now": "ROHS provide a surprisingly suave version of New Edition's "Cool It Now" which may reinforce the more lush direction they've taken their music, but suits them and this track well here."

Monday, March 08, 2010

Surfer Blood - "Anchorage"

Surfer Blood - "Anchorage": "I don't know if this whole record has the '90s indie rock' vibe that I was told it did, but this song does seem to. That's probably why I've gravitated towards it the most. (And we're talking 'indie rock' from a musical perspective here, not lo-fi audio or anything like that.)"

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Innocence Mission - "Snow"

The Innocence Mission - "Snow": "Hauntingly, heartbreakingly, simply beautiful. It gives me chills."

Thursday, March 04, 2010

INXS - "Listen Like Thieves"

INXS - "Listen Like Thieves": "I realized I haven't acknowledged my continued Aussie sojurn in a bit, so here's another of my fave tracks from my current surroundings. INXS is so much better than they're given credit for, this record (Listen Like Thieves) in particular."

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Aimee Mann - "The Scientist (Live)"

Aimee Mann - "The Scientist (Live)": "Heaven knows I got sick of this song being overplayed when it came out, so it's not like I was clamoring for it to be reborn as a cover. Aimee's take didn't 'fix' this with a radical re-working or anything like that, but the beautiful harmony vocals she adds near the end of the song ("'s such a shame...") easily justify the whole cover on their own. Kudos."

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "A Teenager In Love"

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "A Teenager In Love": "The song is so sweet and twee that it's almost too much to handle - until you realize they're singing about a teenager in love with Christ and heroin. I think I was humming it back to myself before I realized what the lyrics were. Cheeky."

Monday, March 01, 2010

Eurythmics - "Revenge"

Eurythmics - "Revenge": "Not the synthpop of "Sweet Dreams" or the rock'n'soul of "Would I Lie To You", this early Eurythmics cut is a blend of the icy cool of their earlier works but with the organic instrumentation of their middle period. There's also a nice dry humor at work here too."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Yeasayer - "Ambling Alp"

Yeasayer - "Ambling Alp": "This feels very 80s movie soundtrack to me, which is not a bad thing. It's unapologetically exuberant and feels way more pop than so much of its indie peers these days, but too left of center to be truly pop. Probably for fans of MGMT..."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Men at Work - "Who Can It Be Now?"

Men at Work - "Who Can It Be Now?": "Did I mention that I'm Australia right now? I figured I should do something to reflect this...and I suppose that "Down Under" would have made more sense, but I've always liked this Men At Work song far better."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Daryll-Ann - "Surely Justice"

Daryll-Ann - "Surely Justice": "Sunny, 60s California-style pop by a band that I believe is actually Dutch. Plus I love that the chorus is, simply: 'got me thinking about the law...'"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Local H - "Fifth Ave. Crazy"

Local H - "Fifth Ave. Crazy": "The guest 'bad girl' female vocals approach a cheesy edge ('don't slow down / `cause red means go'), but the song is so pummeling that it doesn't really matter."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Spoon - "Trouble Comes Running"

Spoon - "Trouble Comes Running": "The (intentionally) rough production might remove some sweetness from this garage-pop confection, but it just means you have to work a little harder to appreciate what's still a gooey, tasty center. (And it is tasty - I'm getting as obsessed with this as I've been with "Written In Reverse", another track from the same record.)"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sloan - "If It Feels Good Do It"

Sloan - "If It Feels Good Do It": "'This song is dedicated to you `cause this song is for people who know what rock'n'roll is about!'...and also fans of Matthew Sweet and slightly tart power pop. And awesome vocal harmonies. And Canada."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Charlotte Gainsbourg - "Le Chat du Cafe des Artistes"

Charlotte Gainsbourg - "Le Chat du Cafe des Artistes": "Wow. This song blew me away by the end, even on the first listen. I can hear Beck in it (since he is on the track) and I can hear Charlotte's parents in it (both Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, in different ways), but it's still a centerpiece for Charlotte. The song has a powerful 60s quality - in it's sound and instrumentation - but the strings are the real killer, moody and dramatic, spiraling around Charlotte's cool vocal delivery."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Diamanda Galas - "Sono L'Antichristo"

Diamanda Galas - "Sono L'Antichristo": "I don't really listen to death metal, heavy industrial, or other music that's arguably intentionally torturous and anti-social. You know, the kind of music you might listen to as a middle finger to everyone else. It's just not my bag. Yet, for some reason, I completely love Diamanda Galas, even though I know she gives nightmares to everyone I've ever met (save for one person). Listening to this song is probably horrific for most folks, but it seems to actually put me in a good mood. Maybe not the same way Apples In Stereo put me in a good mood, for example, and not because I'm into the lyrics (which I can largely only gather from the song title) but it does tickle me, none the less. I just think she's amazing for using her voice as a multi-faceted instrument for everything from ballads to (more often) screeching. I'm sure she knows it's challenging for listeners, but I don't think she could get her point across any better any other way...and I hope she doesn't actually care anyway.
Enjoy at your own peril."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Metric - "Help I'm Alive"

Metric - "Help I'm Alive": "I have to admit that I wasn't totally sold on the new Metric when it came out, despite being a pretty big fan of the band for many years. Surprisingly, it was having this song dropped into the mix during Bob Mould & Rich Morel's Blowoff party (a dance event, if you are not familiar) that inspired me to give it a second look. I don't know why it didn't grab me at first, but it's as catchy as many of the songs as Live It Out, their previous album."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Diana Ross & The Supremes - "Nothing But Heartaches"

Diana Ross & The Supremes - "Nothing But Heartaches": "Following up on Friday's post - and tempering the V-Day love song post in between with a Supremes heartbreak book-end...
A little more up-tempo than 'Where Did Our Love Go?', but otherwise matches its smooth + simple + heartbreak = catchy formula. Not to say that it's derivative, so much as just part of the signature Motown/Supremes sound, but the backing "I can't break away!" vocals add additional counterpoint and complexity that keep it from being too one-note."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Shout Out Louds - "Fall Hard"

Shout Out Louds - "Fall Hard"*: "Bouncy and (unfortunately) screaming to be the theme to the next (500) Days of Summer / Garden State / etc. etc. etc. romantic indie movie playing near you, but don't let that deter you from this Stars-ish love song - it's still a keeper.
*Special Sunday posting for you hipster folks needing a new tune for Valentine's Day!"

Friday, February 12, 2010

Diana Ross & The Supremes - "Where Did Our Love Go"

Diana Ross & The Supremes - "Where Did Our Love Go": "This song goes out to the 'ladies' and gentlemen who saluted Motown at the Eagle last night. They did so many songs that I can't even remember if they did this one or not, but I love it so much, I had to pick it anyway. So smooth and so simple, it deceptively made heartbreak so catchy.
This also gives me the opportunity to revive the rumor that, when performing on TV in the 60s, Diana Ross would often spread her arms out wide, purportedly to cover the faces of her fellow Supremes from the camera. No idea if that's really true, but it's a great story."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Goldfrapp - "Rocket"

Goldfrapp - "Rocket": "...Apparently they decided to take a dive into early 80s radio rock. It's hard to get past the Journey/Rick Springfield vibe under the synths from Van Halen's 1984 (or Alan Parsons, depending on your point of view), but they still keep things Goldfrapp-y enough to get away with it."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Monkees - "P. O. Box 9847"

The Monkees - "P. O. Box 9847": "I love this late-middle-period Monkees, where they still had to kick out pop tunes, but each member's struggle for identity began to introduce strange quirks into the proceedings, as evidenced by the psychedelic touches here. At least their 'personalities' are better manifested at this point by the studio musicians playing under their guide, as opposed to the band straining to present it themselves, as they did on Headquarters - which I also love, but is clearly a labored product for the band.
(Credit to Rhino Handmade's upcoming special edition of The Birds, The Bees and the Monkees for triggering today's post.)"

Monday, February 08, 2010

Modest Mouse/764-HERO - "Whenever You See Fit (Scientific American remix)"

Modest Mouse/764-HERO - "Whenever You See Fit (Scientific American remix)": "I previously extolled the virtues of a different remix of this Modest Mouse/764-HERO collaboration, but I also like this remix, which is closer to the original's dirge-like qualities without it's epic length. It just goes to show that when you have a great original song with lots of elements to work with, plus some good remixers, the possibilities are endless."

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Queen Of Japan - "Ma Quale Idea"

Queen Of Japan - "Ma Quale Idea": "For those of you who enjoyed yesterday's post, here's an updated, female-fronted version of the same tune. This version is more new wave dance than disco, but still equally cool and kitschy."

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Pino D'Angio - "Ma Quale Idea"

Pino D'Angio - "Ma Quale Idea": "If this song doesn't brighten your day, I don't know what will. This is vintage groovin' Italo-disco, led by what must have been Italy's answer to Serge Gainsbourg - or at least that's what his gruff-meets-come-hither semi-spoken vocals suggest. Dance!"

Monday, February 01, 2010

Grandaddy - "A.M. 180"

Grandaddy - "A.M. 180":
"We’ll sit for days
And talk about things
Important to us like whatever
We'll defuse bombs
And walk marathons
And take on whatever, together

(for D)"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Michael Penn - "You Know How"

Michael Penn - "You Know How":
Michael Penn: A year ago, I was so excited to be part of a Q&A with you that I didn't want to ruin it with potentially awkward personal interaction afterwards by introducing myself to you.
Yet, here I am, listening to your music, yet again, and wishing I had taken that opportunity to offer my services in support of your next release, whatever/whenever that is.
I'm sure you're not surfing around Blogger, killing free time, but just in case - please email me so I can at least offer to help with online marketing, digital sales, whatever, in support of future releases!
(That's what I do for a living, in case anyone missed out on that before.)"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Frank Black - "Ten Percenter"

Frank Black - "Ten Percenter": "It's been a long week and, yes, I would like to wile awhile.
My mind is like an ocean, my mind is like an ocean..."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Watson Twins - "Devil In You"

The Watson Twins - "Devil In You": "I love it when singers multitrack their own harmonies (see: Belly - "Star"), which is why I love The Watson Twins being able to achieve the same effect in real time. Here, they apply their sisterly talents to a slice subtly gritty 70s-style adult pop."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Prince - "When Doves Cry"

Prince - "When Doves Cry": "It seems like Purple Rain keeps being played around me lately, both at bars and on cable. Years later, it's fascinating to watch Prince's obvious mystique sandwiched between his non-acting and over-acting, depending on the moment. It often seems like the best acting in the movie is when Wendy chews Prince out in the dressing room - although it's probably just a pretty genuine moment for her. At least it's better than when the apparently poor Apollonia gives Prince - who has largely been a total dick to her - a fancy guitar...and then gets smacked around, simply for joining Morris' group. (OK, I know it's supposed to be a 'betrayal' to Prince, but come on, he got a guitar from the lady! And Morris does put her in some very fine lingerie...on stage anyway. Prince, in return, only gives Apollonia a questionable hoop earing.)
Purple Rain itself aside, this song is classic, even if it has some very 80s elements into it. The group "ooh-oh-whoa"s are solid and nothing can top Prince's "AAA! AAA! AAA!" cries, done as only Prince can."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rilo Kiley - "Under The Blacklight"

Rilo Kiley - "Under The Blacklight": "Even though the songs are wildly dissimilar as a whole, the vocal melody in the first verse really reminds me of the theme to Dollhouse, even if it's just a split second similarity. (I've just recently gotten into Dollhouse, just in time for it to be cancelled, naturally.)"

Friday, January 08, 2010

Adam Ant - "Desperate But Not Serious"

Adam Ant - "Desperate But Not Serious": "I have a band-aid on my face today (long story), so I'm just going to tell people that I'm starting a new fashion trend, as if I was Adam Ant from back in the day."

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Folk Implosion - "Free To Go"

The Folk Implosion - "Free To Go": "Lou Barlow touches his poppy side with this catchy tune, even if there's still something sad behind the electro-tinged indie rock bounce."