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."