Friday, February 03, 2006

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

We Love You-The Rolling Stones

Under cover of thanking their fans for supporting them after a 1967 drug bust, Mick and Keith basically give the world a kiss off dressed with psychedelic sounding vocals, backed by John and Paul, dressed in mellotron. At it's dark, stinky heart, however, there are some of the best oooooohs-oooooohs, stompy piano and what the druggy stench only superficially cloaks, that is the most punk song possible from a bunch of flower power slumming sleazoid millionaires. Possibly their most unheard and least listened to genius moment this side of "Monkey Man".

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I Will Dare-The Replacements

I will dare you to come up with a better song that evokes that feeling that you feel- the feeling of love/lust/possibilities that you only feel when you have a glimmer of hope. And it has to clock in under 3:20. I submit it is not possible. The flip side of this song, for the feeling when it all goes bad down the road would be The Buzzcocks "Ever Fallen in Love". These two together cover both sides of the line.

Monday, January 16, 2006

What A Shame-Kingsbury Manx

Continuing my occasional and inconsistent series of SoftD based on the top CDs of 2005, I offer this week a single from the Kingsbury Manx, a perennial 3 Bulls favourite. What A Shame is just one particularly memorable and mellow track from The Fast Rise And Fall Of The South, a stellar and massively massively massively underrated album. I don't know if it really qualifies generally as the best of 2005, but it is right up there.

The Kingsbury Manx are kind of hard to pigeonhole. They are soft-spoken, yet occasionally rock out. They play folky music, yet sophisticated and modern sounding. Generally, the songs are downtempo, the guitar work is nuanced and picked, the keyboards are frequently set on organ mode, the drumming is delicate, and the singing is lush and sweet. I can't think of any bands that really sound enough like them to give a useful framework, but some of their songs evoke feelings like those stimulated by artists like The Clientele, Iron and Wine, Radar Brothers, Yo La Tengo, Skygreen Leopards, and Mojave 3.

What A Shame begins in a gentle 6/8 tempo with piano and drums. It's slow dance music people. The kind of song that you generally gaze into your lover's eyes and think about when and how long you are going to kiss them once the song is over. I think what draws me to the song more than the sweet lyrical and lulling melody are the lyrics. It sounds like it is a love song but, in typical Kingsbury Manx fashion, is filled with irony and surprise. Between versus is just a lovely trumpet solo. I love trumpet solos in pop songs; it's always drawn me to groups like Beulah. As each verse continues, the intensity of the voice is just a little louder and slightly more hostile. The slow simmering of a break-up, I suppose. The other distinct feature of the lyrics is that it is read like a novel - an effect I like and one that should be copycatted immediately. Lyrics are below:

A bliss so underrated to me
'oh what a shame' said she
'cause this is what lives
are supposed to be'

A kiss so underrated to me
'come closer' said she
'cause this is what close
is supposed to be'

'I feel so sedated' said she
'some illusion' said me
'cause this is what lives
are supposed to be'

'I feel so sedated' said me
'like I told you' said she
'it's not what lives
are supposed to be'

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Remeber Me Well - House of Freaks

This one's a little long, but bear with me. Not too many people have heard of this band, but they formed in Richmond, VA in the mid '80s, and released four full lengths and an EP before they were through. The band consisted of just two guys, Bryan Harvey on guitar and vocals, and Johnny Hott on drums. They were signed by Rhino records after an A&R guy saw them live and couldn't believe the sound created by just two guys. They later formed the blues/rock band Gutterball with Steve Wynn of the Dream Syndicate and Stephen McCarthy of the Long Ryders. Gutterball released two albums. They were friends with fellow Richmond natives Dancing Hoods, which included a young Mark Linkous, who would later create Sparklehorse.

On New Year's Day, Bryan Harvey and his wife and two daughters, aged 9 and 4, were brutally murdered and left in the basement of their home near Richmond. They were discovered by Johnny Hott, who had gone to their home for a New Year's cook-out. The supsects have been taken into custody, and it would appear that this was a random robbery/murder.

[I saw this story and had no idea about the back story, thank goodness they caught the guys- Pinko]

House of Freaks was a band that I first got into because when I was young and impressionable, my brother used to play their debut album, Monkey on a Chain Gang. This was probably 1986 or 1987 when I was in about sixth or seventh grade. As a result, they've always sort of held a special place for me. This was right when I was starting to discover music that wasn't played on mainstream radio for the first time, and to this day, they're still one of my favorite bands.

I was going to write about the song "White Folks Blood" which appears on their second album, Tantilla. It's probably my favorite HOF song. It's a song, like many of their songs, about the south and its connection to pre-Civil War Southern traditions, including slavery:

~Dusting off their fathers' guns
Words like worms crawl through their brains
Sermons fly from a preacher's mouth
But the auction block still remains
Gagged and tied to a tree trunk
After a fox hunt chase with dogs and chains
In a field of white in the broad daylight
The earth was black, black with blood~

But ultimately I chose "Remember Me Well". It's the last track off of their third full length Cakewalk, which is probably their most professional sounding album, and least commercial of their first three. It's more or less a spiritual that begins with Harvey strumming his acoustic and singing the first two verses more or less alone. After a brief interlude, the drums and some backing wind instruments kick in quietly. A clarinet solo separates the fourth verse from the fifth, which kicks up the volume as the full backing complement joins in. It's the type of song you'd expect to hear somwhere in old New Orleans. But mostly, it encourages us to do what Harvey asked, and remember him well.
~In a hundred years hence
With the worms I will dwell

When I'm gone from this world
Please remember me well

You can dance on my grave
You can ring out the bells
After all's said and done
Just remember me well~
House of Freaks are more than just a band that I listened to. They're a link to my youth and to my family and friends of that period. The senseless murder of Harvey and his family has taken a small part of that away. We'll always have his music, though I suppose that's small comfort to his family and friends. May Harvey, his wife, and their daughters rest in peace.

A little more over at my place.

Interruptions-Rogue Wave

Reservations regarding the fact that the name impresario behind Rogue Wave is named Zach Rogue or something like that notwithstanding- hello Slaughter, hello Winger, hello Accept? This little gemmo is a B-side to the first single, 10:1 from these San Fran? lush indie popsters. His voice can have at times a distant, soft edge, hard to explain, but Steven Mason (Beta Band) can do the same thing. The song comes off like a pillowy stomp, and is 90% excellent, hits some run-of-the-mill moments into and through the chorus. Of course the outro is just stunning. Has some perfectly shimmery bits. The A-side is pretty good too, and completely different. I heard Interruptions first, so I was forced to get the single instead of the album. I believe Fulsome bought this album at porkfest. Hopefully he'll clue us in in comments.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Losing Haringey-The Clientele

The Clientele's latest opus, Strange Geometry, is possibly the best CD of 2005, or at least amongst the top 5. PP and I have already gushed endlessly over its crowning jewel, Since K Got Over Me, but there are plenty of other gems in this album.

Losing Haringey grabs you instantly as you realize that this is hardly a song, but a story. The narrative is told in speaking voice over a beautiful Clientele soundscape, punctuated periodically with a wordless la-la chorus. The background music alone is phenomenal, but the star of this song is the story. I can't think of many other bands that have done the combination of speaking and music quite so well, and when I do think of them, they're usually terrific tracks. The Clientele might be onto a great trend - I would love to listen to more songs arranged like this. The freedom from a lyrical chorus and the greater volume of words makes this a very appealing forum for new prose.

The full lyric is included below. It tells of a poor young man wandering the streets until he find himself sitting on a bench where he realizes that he is sitting in a family photograph from 1982. The details recalled and the feelings that are evoked are quite powerful. The way the narrative is told and the background music synergize to create a very thick feeling of sadness and nostalgia - typical of stories of innocence lost. It's impossible not to remember that same feeling of 1982-ness along with the song and the same sadness of those days being gone. [ED- lyrics more accurate now]
Those days there was a kind of feeling of pushing out of the front door, into the pale exhaust fume park by broad water pond where the grubby road eventually leads to ENfield. Turkish supermarkets after chicken restaurants after spare part shop, everything in my life felt like it was coming to a mysterious close.
I could hardly walk to the end of the street without feeling there was no way to go except back. The dates I had that summer HAD COME to nothing, my job was a dead end and the rENT check was killing me a little more each month. It seemed unlikely that anything could hold much longer. The only question left to ask was what would happen after everything familiar collapsed, but for now the sun was stretched between me and that moment. It was ferociously hot and the equality air quality became so bad that by the evening the noise of nearby trains stuttered in and fix and storksin fits and starts, distorted through the shifting end. As I lay in my room I can hear my neighbors discussing the World kempCup and opening beers in their gardens on the other side someone was singing an Arabic prayer through the thin wall I had no money for the pub so I decided to go for a walk. I found myself wandering aimlessly to the west past the terrace of chicken and bombkebab shops and long dreadslaundrettes near the tube station. I crossed the street and headed into virgin territory, I had never been this way before grabble Dutch houses alternative with square 60s offices and the white pavements UNDulated with cracks and litter. I walked in wall because there was nothing else for me to do and by the breeze the light began to fade. The mouth of an avenue led me to the verge of a long greasy A road that rose up in the far distance with symmetrical terraces falling steeply down and up again from a distant railway station. There were 4 benches to my right intersperced with those strange bushes that grow in the area. These blossoms are so pale yellow they seem translucent almost spectral and suddenly tired, I sat down. I held my head in my hands, feeling like shit but a sudden breeze escaped from the terraces and for a moment I lost my thoughts and its unexpected glooms. I looked up and I realized I was sitting in a photograph. I remember clearly this photograph was taken by my mother in 1982 outside our front garden in Hampshire, it was slightly underexposed I was still sitting in the bench but the colors and the plains of the road and the horizon had become the photo but I looked hard and I could see the lines of the window ledge in the original photograph were now composed by a tree branch and the silhouetted edge of a grass birge??, the sheens the flash on the window was replicated by gunfire smoke drifting infinitessimally slowly from behind the fence my sisters face had been dimly visible behind the window and yes there were pale stars far off to the west that traced out the lines of a toddlers eyes and mouth. When I look back at this there's nothing to grasp, no starting point, I was inside an underexposed photo from 1982 but I was also sitting on a bench in Haringey, strangest of all was the feeling of 1982, dizzy illogical as if none of the intervening disasters and wrong turns had happened yet. I felt guilty and inconsolably sad. I felt the instinctive tug back, to school; the memory of shopping malls, cooking, driving in my mothers car, all gone, gone forever. I just sat there for awhile, I was so tired that I didn't bother trying to work out what was going on. I was happy just to sit in the photo while it was lasted which wasn't long anyway. The light faded, the wind caught the smoke, the stars dimmed under the glare of the streetlamps. I got up and walked away from the squat little benches and an oncoming gang of kids. A bus was rumbling to my rescue down that hill with a great big fire Alexandra palace on its front and I realized I did want a drink after all

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Heard Somebody Say-Devendra Banhart

I don't know if we are still doing dedication 'week', but I suppose that if this song were to be appropriately dedicated to anybody, it would be to John Lennon, whose anniversary of his death was widely thought of last month. Devendra Banhart has the kind of voice that tends to annoy people that concern themselves with the qualities and affectations of singing. He has a very prominent and high-frequency vibrato that creates both distinctiveness and a kind of aged quality to his folky poppy music.

Cripple Crow is really a Beatles tribute album at its heart. This is obvious from the Sergeant Pepper-esque cover art and the assorted psychedelia associated with the art and music. It is fitting then that many of the songs have a certain Beatles quality associated with them, somewhat of a departure from the more minimalist and quiet but very excellent Rejoicing In The Hands.

Heard Somebody Say is probably not the centrepiece of this broad and vast CD, but it is my favourite track, simply because of its exceptional mimicry of John Lennon's best song, Across The Universe. The track begins with a simple series of piano chords before being joined by the standard Beatles set of instruments. The lyrics kind of line up like the following:

Across the Universe
Words are flying out like
endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass
They slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow waves of joy
are drifting thorough my open mind
Possessing and caressing me

Heard Somebody Say
I heard somebody say
that the war ended today
but everybody knows its goin' still
om mother lands and mother seas
here's what we believe
its simple
we don't wanna kill

The chorus isn't too different either. Instead of Jai Guru Deva Om there is simply a beautiful hymnal
series of ooohhhs and ummms and Nothing's Gonna Change My World is simply replaced by We don't
wanna kill. Kind of an appropriate sentiment.

There is one more additonal Beatle-y surprise near the end of the song, which is an approximately one
minute instrumental that sounds like it was lifted out of parts of Magical Mystery Tour. I'm always going
to be a sucker for music that sounds like the Beatles, and this is one of the finest I've heard in a very long
time. Not all the songs on Cripple Crow are quite this good, but it easily places among my top 20 CDs for
last year.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Making Flippy Floppy-Talking Heads

I'm not one to throw around racial terms with music, because how could Talking Heads fit in any of those boxes? Almost irredeemably nerdburger, (look at them) yet absolutely effortlessly funky, never more so than on Speaking in Tongues, whence this gem comes. With this one sandwiched between "Burning Down the House" and "Girlfriend is Better", side whatever of Speaking in Tongues played on vinyl sounds just warm enough to be live, and who knows maybe the tracks were recorded that way. Amidst that actual live sound, a sound that on the surface simplifies the music, an almost mathematical complexity bubbles underneath. It's as if the genius kids at the ol' School Of Rock were given a funk-by-numbers take home test and they warped it into this slab of genius. I picture three dudes in comically large yellow hazmat suits complete with 2001 helmets strutting in formation down that street in NYC where the Warriors met up with the Orphans (ed.- The chicks are packed! The chicks are packed! other ed.- no that was the Lizzies, the Orphans were the sad sacks). Of course these guys inevitably bust their helmets off revealing lollipop looking little heads and proceed to combine body rocking replete with alternating booty shaking and robot dancing, not the NSYNC style by the "we're on Star Search cobags!" dance beat down. All the while, David, Tina, Chris and Jerry just shit out little funk squiggles, and Byrne's only sweating for show- he could do it in his sleep. Oh, and those three lollipop funky hazmat kids? Fulsome, Chuckles and don'tEATnachos, from Well Rounded Nerds. This goes out to you.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Since K Got Over Me-The Clientele

Picture two giants of the internet world, mirror images, yet distinct, both reflecting upon the same woman, a woman having broken each of their hearts in turn. How are the two men different? One, I imagine uncomfortably reclining in a mohair so-called easy chair, dressed in an unflappable blue with orange-trim dessing gown, something mistakenly called Pajamas in certain circles, absent-mindely stroking his probably evil yet similarly inscrutable pussy. His surroundings include a large, hardwood bookshelf filled with Lovecraft volumes and several purported real yet most certainly fabricated Necromomicons, and one possibly real yet poor translation. A half-filled brandy snifter reflects the embers of an untended fire, and a portrait. A velvety, feline portrait of K...

The other nurses a different poison, self-doubt. Doubt whether he did enough to nurture the caged tiger, K. Did he? Sadly, no. The doubt suffuses the unpredictable ways of a struggling heroic Saab parked in the driveway and the smoking, blank computer screen, a screen that only recently reflected K. The very same velvety, feline K. as above, only in a different guise, a red, white and blue one.

Various Germs records litter the cigarette-stained shag, a half-finished 1:64 scale model of some obscure never-successfully-flown test-pilot-bane Messerschmidt idly sits on a lonely, cluttered desk. Reverb-soaked, urbane images of K...K...indelibly etched in the brains of two men. Are they different? Perhaps not as they are both completed by her....spoken of only in hushed, whispered, broken tones as...K.

This song is dedicated to G. M. and t. Es, you know who you are, and of course, who K. is.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

That One Techno Song-You Know the One

This one goes out to Brad R. This is the song that they had on those ads for Gillette nee CMGI Field where his Pats play before it actually opened. The one with the crappy CGI showing all the amenities and crap. This song IS the Pats to me, and I know Brad must love it. You know how it goes. Ba-da-da-da-doo-doo Up shift Ba-da-da-da-doo-doo. I'm sure Brad's pulse starts to race when he hears this song, even though he knows deep in his heart Tom Brady is a WINGNUT COBAG [Yosef made me write that]. I picture him at Our House East back o' Northeastern, Bronson Arroyo's sister on his lap, watching the Pats win another superbowl and then going out to flip some cars out in front of Taste of Asia on Huntington. Nice win today, B!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Mandinka-Sinead O'Connor

Why this song was never a huge hit in the US, I'll never know. Oh maybe it's because a bunch of sillies hearing this tune thought it was the B-52s. I guess when people start from zero, there is no such thing as ability to discriminate between some things that are completely different from one another. Of course I am an egotistical bastard, so when people think things are similar that I don't, I assume that they are being less sophisticated in their hearing, as opposed to me missing out on some subtle similarity that they are picking up. Mostly its because they have demonstrably crappy taste in music. Well, this tune goes out to Blue Girl. The song is forceful, put together, has a killer riff and has spunk and backbone, and whatever you think of Sinead, she tells it how she thinks it. It's just a great song. And I was thinking it reminded me of BG.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Canadian Boyfriend-All Girl Summer Fun Band

I think we know that this goes out to Adorable Girlfriend and her warm feelings for the Uncanny Canadian, whose writing at one time graced these very pages.

This ditty features several lines that must be ironic, given the state of the lemony condo, UC's fixer-upper of an embassy on American soil. A not unejoyable toss-off from a band I have not really heard that I should listen to. This came on when I was listening to LA Seitz (from LA Seitz, natch) neighbor radio at Last-FM, my new favorite toy.

My only problem with the song is that is doesn't express what I think we all feel, and that is the Canadian Curling Association is a cabal of blackguards and scoundrels.

The Bomber-The James Gang

The James Gang- these dudes were Freedom Rock before Freedom Rock even existed.

This song goes out to Twisty Faster, spinster aunt extraordinaire of patriarchy blaming fame at I Blame the Patriarchy. Twisty would clearly fathom the meaning of such a dedication, however for the rest of us, a little back story. Twisty has deigned to comment here one time more than this humble blog would ever deserve, that is to say once. She commented on a particular Friday Pooper Shooter where our computer lavished us with a particular Jethro Tull ditty "Minstrel in the Gallery" and Twisty mentioned an anecdote involving herb, dorm rooms and certain hippie-ish behavior.

Twisty now has a sitch that is attempting to abrogate her patriarchy blaming ability, which appears to be fueled by delicious tacos. We would like to deidicate to her this lost oh so jammy gem from Joe Walsh and the James Gang. Now, we realize that there is nothing more patriarchy than someone that has anything to do with the Eagles, but I would like the point out the length of this song (7:00) and the "mind-altering" guitar solo that incorporates Ravel's Bolero (which led to the song being unavailable in the Bolero version for many years). Also, the drummer seems to be thumping on the skins like he's wearing nothing but a marijuana leaf necklace, and Mr. Bass guy comes in like he's smoking a pipe with stars in his eyes and then it gets all trippy. Since the chemo is undelightfully knocking Twisty on her delightfully snow white bottom, we were going to recommend this song and some medicinal Mary Jane. Alas, in our delay of implemeting Dedication Week here at Song of the Day/Three Bulls!, we find that she is happily returned to full vim and obstreperousness by seemingly similar sage advice. Rock on, TF!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Images of Heaven-Peter Godwin

So Pop Ren hooks me up with a song that has probably been in the back of my brain for a super long time, meaning I knew there was a particular song that I couldn't remember, and this was that song. That's twice in the last two weeks (the other was Adorable's "Homeboy"). This song was going to be my secret weapon in the war against Gavin M., but it sprained a calf-muscle out of the gate and I pulled it for something more nefarious. I didn't want to cause Gavin to retreat to his dark place, thinking of the dance floor blossoming of shy-Goth girl Samantha whatshername as he airdrummed his make believe Simmons electronic drum pads in his black jeans. Going home alone, like Morrissey said he would, he would cry into his pillow, thinking of this wistful modern rock masterpiece. Raising his meek voice in prayer to Dear Lord "why have you made me, Pinko Punko er Gavin M., such a cobag?" Only later would he find out that that sweet shy girl really had a crush on him, braces and all, but she was only waiting for him to ask her to dance to this very song, and since I didn't, er Gavin didn't, she married Bruce from Pittsburgh but treasured her TDK 60 minute mix tape of rare 12 inch singles that someone left her anonymously. Or at least that's how this song makes it feel like it happened, and I wouldn't want Gavin to revisit that bad place.

Irregardless*, a great song, legitimizing all possible derivations of the Flock of Seagulls flip [link to awesome Gavin post utilizing Flock of Seagulls here- thanks for tagging it with nothing relating to the band, save phonetically representing the synths on the track. Cobag].

*Lest Seitz think I used that "word"

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Slang Teacher-Wide Boy Awake

So Gavin M. and myself are waging a war of attrition. The skirmishes have consisted of an interchange of 80's obscurities. The goal: guess the band and/or song. The underdog, I rely on quick feints at the edge of Messr. Gavin's fraying, genius mind. He, the overdog, relies on the massive blindspot known as my lack of musical knowledge. So far the battles have included:

Gavin M.: Bluebells' "Cath" (a friendly exhortation to eat it cobag because I didn't know it)

Pinko: Freur "Devil and Darkness" (implied EAT IT COBAG since he should have known it)

Gavin M.: Orange Juice "Rip It Up" (completely awesome, but a definite EAT IT COBAG HOW MUCH DO YOU SUCK from the master, because how could it be possible that I didn't know it)

Pinko: Thrashing Doves "Beautiful Imbalance" (oh, now who is the master of obscure and forgotten?)

Everything has been a skirmish up to including the recent exhchange:

Gavin M.: Wide Boy Awake-Slang Teacher

Holy crap. Of course I didn't guess it as this band never even had an album. As an artifact people might be all, this sucks, it's English White Boy Hip-Hop from 1983!!!!!! What I might point out to you cobags, is the first 10 seconds could easily be Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" or New Order's "Perfect Kiss" and it probably predates them both. And it's got spacey walled up behind the cheese casiotone and of course some slappy bass. These oddities are actually important to remember before Clear Channel completely erases all musical history.

What's next? I'm gonna take a risk and try....

(pop renaissance- you have the raw material to feed my desire to crush G., please help me out)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Rip It Up-Orange Juice

Hand claps. Lazy jangle. Sub-Fantastic Voyage electro-bassy farts. If this song had an eensy bit more low-end, some rap dude could sample it for cash money. Richard X produced Annie's "Chewing Gum" clearly has a squiggly antecedent in this booty boondoggle. Shades of Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love" in some of the minor noodies. Intermittent Prince "banernernernerner" chinga ching (from outer space). Lackadaisical bandmembers bouncing to the tracks that had already been laid. Edwyn Collins soulfully lisping arch arch lyrics Franz Ferdinand probably heard when in their nappies. Sadly, No, I am not joking.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

23 Minutes in Brussels-Luna

Dean Wareham's (formerly of slow-core heroes Galaxie 500) now sadly caput second band, Luna, never got the reverence they deserved. For several reasons, one being the cobag music press loves to inflate the legend of G500. The Wareham sound, slow and deliberate, and fuzzy with his G500 cohorts Damon and Naomi, became cleaner and more tasteful, refined as it were, and refined is never new. Well, the man should be a guitar hero, and middle period album Penthouse, whence this song comes, is full of his meandering sinuous leads, never noodling, always embroidering. I can only descibe this kid of guitar sound as finger tips rippling still water. Does that make sense, because that's what it sounds like. His nasal vocal delivery will grow because the music is so good.

This song may also be an obscure reference to Suicide's "23 Minutes Over Brussels". Of course I drop that ref like I know something, but I don't know shit. I was in the Amoeba over in the Haight the other day, and they were playing this amazing album, full of scary vocals and moody, noisy soundscapes and some weird shimmering Farfisa-type organ, sounding slightly like Clinic, except a million times creepier. I ask the clerk what they are playing as I usually do (and not to suck up, I only ask if I like it, I think record clerks are usually totally awesome and helpful and only sometimes snobby, but when they are snobby I want to yell at them. Somehow, they can make you feel like sh*t, they have some serious power, the record store clerks) and the lady went and checked, and said "Suicide, the first album- the self-titled one."

I go look at the CD and see that it came out in the 70s and I was expecting it to have come out in 93 or something. And then I felt sad for myself. I always wanted an older brother or someone to share all these cool bands with me and expand my world view. My little sister is WAY more plugged in that I was, partly because of me, but now she has left me in the dust. Where were you pop renaissance? Where were you when I wanted to go to the Jesus and Mary Chain/Curve/Spiritualized show at St. Andrews? Where were you, Gavin M., with all your obscure art-scene crazy bands? Scratch that, I would have crapped myself at some of those Gavin shows. COMMENT PREDICTOR:

"I saw Suicide like 4 times at the CBGB, we opened for them one time."

Posted by Gavin M. 3:24 am

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It'll End in Tears (I Won't Cry)-The Lilac Time

Late 80's retro-popsters (still in existence) led by Stephen "Tintin" Duffy, retro in sensibility but of a certain 80's feel on this album, specifically the production on this album (& Love for All) courtesy of Ian Broudie. The sound presages Broudie's band The Lightning Seeds and fits somewhat with Dream Academy as well, but more real instruments. We imagine this particular song in a lost John Hughes/Real Genius hybrid. The good guys are implementing their plan and this soundtracks the intervening "stuff happening" (welding, the illicit obtaining of materiel, shopping, observing the bad guys, working out) montage. In this case it would be awesome because the song is good, and the montage has not yet become a hackneyed CSI Miami total bullsh*it where people spin down a single tube at a time in some neon porn set laboratory. However, getting back to the Scooby gang of our film- the question- why will it end in tears? Does the plan fail? Are the tears the deserved retribution visited upon the vice-principal? The dumpchuck jock ex of the love interest? Or the drill sergeant of the camp for troubled youth? All I know is that the good guys are defiant, and they're not gonna cry, especially not when converting the car into a convertible, blowtorch style.

Coax Me-Sloan

Canadian power pop dorks, essentially like a more esoteric and less menacing (and now) less shitty Weezer. No, scratch that. It's hard to say, their first, Smeared is shoegazey and eclectic, including the Three Bulls! theme song "Underwhelmed", a song which essentially prophesies the geeky college indie music/blogger, and the stunning "I Am the Cancer". The second, Twice Removed was much less fuzzy, moving towards eclectic AM indie pop, and that is whence "Coax Me" comes. Non-sensical and punny, the lyrics seem written especially for Pinko Dorko's benefit, as he tends to notice the snarky turn of phrase. They have three of those type songs off of this one, today's song, "Penpals" and "Bells On" (the latter being the ultimate "I'm so sad I like this one girl but she doesn't notice me, but I'm pathetic in a secretly empathetic way"). Here's "Coax Me" (later in the week I'll write up a recommended list from this band, who really only have one crappy album out of a bunch- their latest).

It all seemed to happen so fast
Will you ever believe the way he passed away
I saw his widow speak on her fortune
She was feelin' pretty apathetic

Coax me, cajole me
Coax me, cajole me

If I drink concentrated OJ
Can I think Consolidated's okay?
It's not the band I hate, it's their fans
Three cans of water perverts me

Coax me, cajole me
Coax me, cajole me
Coax me, cajole me

And after he died
By rights she'd have cried
I gave mine away
I gave mine away

I saw a widow's peak on her forehead
It was full of lines and sinkers

Coax me, cajole me
Coax me, cajole me
Coax me, cajole me
Bonus lyrics: "Bells On"

While I'm at this funeral
You're in New York
I've been dividing my grieving
You're sleeping with a mutual friend

I dreamed that I kissed your mouth
And you thought about me
Over Christmas
Oh, you might know who I am
But I know who you are
Your heart is in your art
And mine's in New York

I'm wearing my heart on my sleeve
You're sleeping with a mutual friend
And I want to be with you again
And again
And again
I've thought about you a lot lately
So flash me your metal smile

I'm thinking about you
You're thinking about
New York
Though to you your friend was hurt
To him I owe him money
Will you pay back the thirty dollars
That he thinks I owe him?
But I don't owe him anything

If you had a funeral
I'd be there with bells on
La la la la la...

If I had a funeral
Would you even care?
Would you wear your silver dress?
Would you actually wear lipstick?
Would you lie upon my grave?
And be there with bells on
So you could ring me from this life?
From this life
From this life
So you could ring me from this life


I Should Be Allowed to Think-They Might Be Giants

I'm not too cool to admit that these guys were the first show I went to. They were on their Flood tour, Flood being an album of 2 minute nasal-dork pop gems (if you're into that kind of thing). That's pretty much how their first three albums were. The show was amazing because it was back when people went to shows to, you know, dance and have fun without beating the shit out of each other or just standing there nodding. It started to get pretty hit and miss after Apollo 18 (their fourth I believe), and this track comes from their next one, John Henry. I was also disillusioned by this band accidently seeing them twice on their John Henry tour. This is when you realize how much stage patter is canned and it is a horrible horrible moment. I'm sorry, but this track quotes Allen Ginsberg then drops the line "I saw the worst bands of my generation/applied in magic marker to drywall" and that is funny. I'm not sorry that you are annoyed. I swear this song also rips a riff from Toto's Dune soundtrack, but I'm not nerd enough to know that for sure. Who's gonna field that one for us?

Even if I don't love TMBG, I can still think of 15 or so songs that entertain, including the geek-love anthem "She's an Angel" which completely blew my mind hearing it for the first time at the Utah State Fairgrounds. Ah, good times.
I saw the best minds of my generation
Destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical
I should be allowed to glue my poster
I should be allowed to think

I should be allowed to glue my poster
I should be allowed to think
I should be allowed to think
I should be allowed to think
And I should be allowed to blurt the merest idea
If by random whim, one occurs to me
If necessary, leave paper stains on the grey utility pole

I saw the worst bands of my generation
applied by magic marker to dry wall
I should be allowed to shoot my mouth off
I should have a call in show

Monday, November 28, 2005

Positively Lost Me-The Rave Ups

You lost a lot when you lost me/
Six paperback books and a dying tree
From WOXY Vintage. Wow, some aggressively jangle pop goodness. I completely forgot about the existence of anything about this song- I knew it from way back and have not heard it for at least 10 years. Anyone remember this one? Oh crap, of course you do, you've seen Pretty in Pink, which I have not. The song is not on the soundtrack, though I'm told the band plays the song on film when "Duckie" tries to get into a club.

I am annoyed by the fact that I cannot buy it anywhere except New Wave hits of the 80's Volume 12. I was hoping to find the vinyl, but I don't want to turn into pitchperfect. It does really bother me that stuff can be out of print and that once it does it can just disappear. Obviously, there is a lot of crap out there, but this was a well-like tune, and it should be available. Here's Trouser on it. I just love that jangly riff. And the "show Miss Piggy the waaaaaaaaaaaaay home."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Gunning for the Buddha-Shriekback

We're on the road to go gunning for the Buddha/we know his name and he mustn't get away

For some reason this song got radio play from these English New Wavers' Big Night Music set (in SLC, UT). You might remember their dance floor stomp "Nemesis" from Oil and Gold. Trouser Press bio here. This song is one of those jaunty tunes that sounds just different enough, and is different enough from what you'd expect from them (the pounding stomp and harsh scraggly chant of "Big black nemesis/parthenogenesis" from "Nemesis"), that you remember it. Comes across as an islandy travelogue of some guys quest to go gunning for the Buddha, whatever that means. I picture Inside Edition era Bill O'Reilly and his cameraman on the hunt down for an elusive story in a Duran Duran video. And then it has a couple of notes in the outro (is it steel drum? I don't remember, my computer ate this song last time my hard drive got fried) that is the outro that you are pissed the DJ talks over. I really hate that. I'm guessing only pop ren, maybe Seitz know this song. I don't know what made me think about it, I think Midnight Oil got me thinking about crazy bald frontmen. Does Shreikback have one of those?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Seitz Video Extra Twofer

Today on the Alternative, the folks at VH-1 Classic provided us with a rare double. That's right, two Australian '80s videos in a row, one a relatively obscure track off a popular album, the other probably one of the more popular tracks off of a very obscure album.

First up was Midnight Oil's "Dreamworld", Peter Garret's polemic against coastal development in, I assume, his native country. This has actually long been one of my favorite Midnight Oil tunes. Nice hooks, solid melody, and as a bleeding heart liberal, the environmental protection theme resonated. As for the video, well, it's essentially a bunch of shots of the band playing in coastal areas, with Garret performing some of his patented gesticulations. There are numerous shots of Australia's lovely untouched Australian coasts, with hotels and industrial developments superimposed upon them, as if we couldn't quite grasp the message from the lyrics. OK, Peter, we get it. The whole "last square mile of terra firma gaveled in the mail" bit was pretty easy to figure out. Then again, this was the MTV generation they were shooting for. Not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier. This song is off of the Diesel and Dust LP, the first one I really remember hitting in the States, thanks to tracks like Beds are Burning and The Dead Heart. This one, in my opinion, was the best. [I totally agree, along with "Bullroarer"-Ed.]

Second up was the first single off of the first album from the obscure Australian power pop band, the Hoodoo Gurus. This was a band that my older brother used to listen to when I was too young and too uncool to listen to good music. Now that I'm older and just as uncool, I have a better handle on what's good and what isn't, but some of that old stuff still passess the test of time. The video in question, "I Want You Back" from the album Stone Age Romeos is the first of a trio of strong tracks that open that album, followed by "Tojo Never Made it to Darwin" and "Leilani". This band, in my opinion, was really underappreciated on these shores. This is what the New Porographers would have sounded like 15-20 years ago, at least up through Magna Cum Louder.

Anyway, the video manages to be one of the few with even worse animation values than the first video mentioned in the post. Highlights include guitarist Brad Shepard playing a guitar solo/duet with a very poorly animated claymation dinosaur. Keep in mind that nothing in the song has anything to do with dinosaurs, nor, really, does anything on the album, except for the album cover, which still pretty inaccurate, as dinosaurs were all long dead by the time the stone age rolled around, unless you're one of those wingnut "young earthers" who think that T-Rex (non-Marc Bolan division) was hanging with Adam and Eve in Eden. But still, there they are. All over this video. Dinosaurs as far as the eye can see, thanks to the magic of blue screen technology. It's safe to say that ILM was not consulted for this video. The other hilight, as in all Hoodoo Gurus videos, is Dave Faulkner's hair, of which I can't find a good picture.

Sorry I haven't done one of these in while, but I'm a lazy bastard. Also, I'm trying to maintain some product scarcity. [haha- not like we're burning beds either- also we love "Bittersweet" by Hoodoo Gurus, from Mars Needs Guitars -Ed.]

Thursday, October 27, 2005

If This Is A Plan-The Delgados

If you think this song is not awesome then I have a plan that involves waterboarding your Big Kat-eating muncher. Let us be serious for uno momento. The Delgados are a late and lamented Scottish pop band fronted by Emma and some guy, and her songs are awesome and people unfairly malign his songs, but his are awesome too, as evidenced by this stunner and show closer from their penultimate album Hate. They are two sides of the same coin and you should seek them out. All of their albums are superb, and I would recommend Hate as a great place to start. Hate being the album where they play with the full deal- strings and other delightful orchestration as it were.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Rainbow in the Dark-Dio

This is a joke. This can't be Dio. The Dio I always assumed to be DIO (from t-shirts and what not) was the ultimate in total deviltry and beastliness, I mean, t-shirt-wise was up there with Slayer. This had to be totally heavy. None could be heavier. The man who replaced Ozzy in Sabbath had to be a TOTAL badass. He would probably have huge horns coming out of his head, artfully concealed under a rad hood, only to be thrown back with exploding pyrotechnics, slaughter of animal offerings and hordes of supplicant, lamenting hot babes.

"Rainbow in the Dark" tells me I was played by some t-shirt marketing geniuses. Oh, Lord, was I mistaken. None of the above is remotely suggested by this song. Instead, Meat Loaf with a unicorn figurine collection is conjured vision. Is that so lame, it is actually bad ass???

UPDATE: I just say "Only a Mystery" by Dio on VH1 Classic. My fears above were not fearful enough. -20 hit points, dude.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Aces High-Iron Maiden

Guitars in harmony, the standard metal preamble, staccato drum flares, ooh, then a time change- oh yeah, this is Maiden. Then it hits, urgent, propulsive description of preparations for a coming attack. This is Maiden in their patriotic non-Dune/Edgar Allen Poe phase. The third movement is where the songs really hits, you actually feel like Messerschmidts and Hurricanes and Spitfires are flying all over the place, tracers every which way, the Battle of Britain of course. The actual chorus part is too cheesy for me, but the movement (one of about ten) that hits at 1:55 is pure awesomeness, and this is one of the Maiden songs where you actually hear Steve Harris' bass, and actually appreciate it a little bit. The solos aren't even that over the top and ridiculous. Actually, what I like about this song, regardless of its cheese factor, is that it feels patriotic without being excessively jingoistic. Maybe its easier to be that way when the song doesn't come across like "Burn My Flag and I'll Burn Your Ass" style cobag sentiment. Also, when your country is not the biggest and most powerful on the block and was fighting for its life against NAZIS for goodness sake, you can have a little patriotic sentiment.

Additionally, if I may unbecomingly become serious pour un momento, when I hear this song I think about the Gregory Peck/Gary Merrill film Twelve O'Clock High. It's not about the Brits, but instead a Yank bomber squadron based in Britain. It details the bloody toll on bomber crews flying dangerous daylight long range bombing missions. They keep getting shot to hell. I won't ruin it for you, but the scene that gets me is the squadron member pedaling out to the deserted airfield after the war, they use the "Baa Baa Black Sheep" song and it just crushes you. Tonight, listening to Aces High, I am wondering if George W. Bush has ever contemplated what war does to our troops (no point in thinking whether he contemplates how Iraqis are affected) or it he's ever seen Twelve O'Clock High, or any other non-John Wayne (or Ronald Reagan) war movie. Perhaps he and his pappy, WWII pilot that he was, watched Gregory Peck unravel time and time again, but in a snarkily mocking way- "that's not how George Herbert Walker Bush was imprinted by the War, just Peck, a liberal movie icon." Maybe they just watched it for the flying footage, and pappy would say "one day you're going to fly planes just like me."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Prophecies of the Great Apocalypse-Dimmu Borgir

OK, I admit that photo's kind of creepy


While recording with a symphony orchestra is the ultimate in Spinal Crapitude, it does not make a "Black Metal" band's music sound heavier, in fact adding orchestration that sounds like incidental music from A Very Harry Potter Christmas diminishes any and all chances of heaviness. For example "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse" from Norway's Dimmu Borgir's Death Cult Armageddon sounds like John Williams and Danny Elfman getting together to cash in one last time to buy the world's largest pile of cocaine. And their route to Mt. Snowplow is to stroke the ego of a psychotic, Bach-loving, dungeons and dragons enthusiast with the idea of enslaving dumbed-down Dream Theatre metal goo, the cheesewad harmonies of System of a Down, minus the politics, and some paint-by-numbers scary sounding lyrics. Robert Plant singing about his nutsack is a million times heavier. We urge you to listen to this tune here. The band kindly provides a streaming sample of this, might as well crank it up work, if you are seeking new employment.

Monday, October 17, 2005


We are taking requests. No Death Metal. Cheese metal, prog metal, cobag metal all OK. Don't abuse your privileges. In comments please. We shall commence tomorrow.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I Hate Scotland-ballboy

ballboy have that seemingly so Scottish kind of earnest smart ass routine. They have the awesome Scotch accent, and they can be humorous, but this spoken word electric guitar whistful contemplation of life, Scotland, how people are, and a white t-shirt, and a pair of shorts and jumping into a pool just hit you right there. A completely surreal yet real meditation on reality. Like Three Bulls!, except funny, sad and oh yeah, accomplished. This is available somewhere on the internets for download and is off their ineptly name (not somuch as lacking ept but lacking apt) Club Anthems.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I Believe in You-Sinead O'Connor


Married somewheres around Oct. 1, we look forward to him getting back on the Three Bulls! train.

Three Bulls! dedicates the most romantic song we can think of to him and his bride. Originally sung by Bob Dylan, presumably about the big JC (from born again era Slow Train Coming), Ms. O'Connor just breaks your heart in two with a completely committed ode to her beloved, perhaps the same as Bob's, perhaps merely her mortal sweetheart. A B-side on the Fire in Babylon CD single. An absolute must. Three Bulls! plays this song when hiring henchmen, if they are moved, they clearly have hearts, and since the job description most certainly says "heartless" they are right out.

Friday, October 07, 2005

For Real-Okkervil River

OK, these kids have an eensy bit of an "emo" feel, whatever that means. It sounds like he's singing incredibly earnestly. What gets you is that the lyrics are odd, off-kilter, "Shins-ian" but with a sinister quality of despair or darkness instead of whimsy. The song is quite clean, so you hang on his words. And you actually want him to start screaming because you are caught up in whatever his deal is, and it actually feels good. Available for your listening here. And of course the electric piano.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Video Extra - "For Love" - Lush

Fairly average collection today. U2 was present for the second straight day, an "Alternative" rarity. Wire made their weekly appearance, as did Bob Mould (with Sugar), Frank Black (solo), and the Cure. Shockingly, today was both Sisters of Mercy and Weller free. Possibly the first time this has ever happened on "The Alternative".

Today's selection features something not often seen in alternative videos of the last 20 year. That, of course, is hot chicks. Yesterday's selection notwithstanding, if an alternative video has a hot chick in it, generally it's because she's in the band. Lush featured the oh-so-hot Miki Berenyi, and the not-quite-as-hot-but-still-attractive Emma Anderson, both on guitar, while the dude's handled the rhythm. Sort of the anti-Stratford Four.

There's really no story to this video. It's pretty much just the band playing their instruments, while Miki occasionally does something with some flowers. This is what I call "brilliant direction". When you've got hot chicks in your video, especially ones for which you don't need to pay extra, you use them.

As for the tune, this was the one of the singles off of Spooky (along with Nothing Natural and Superblast), the band's second LP. It's pretty much your basic shoegazer fare with a female vocalist, though not as crunchy and out there (and ground breaking) as My Bloody Valentine. With it's nice hooks and steady bass, this was one of the more radio friendly tracks on the album. They really wouldn't come out of this sound until releasing Lovelife in 1996, shortly before the suicide of drummer Chris Acland.

That wraps up the weekday episodes of the Alternative. It will air again Sunday at 10:00 am and pm. Videos not selected include the Hindu Love Gods' "Raspberry Beret", B.A.D. II's "the Globe", the Waitresses' "Make the Weather", and James' "Say Something".
[Ed.- which Lush had "Shake Baby Shake"? That was a mean spririted album, especially the duet with Jarvis Cocker.]

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Seitz Video Extra - "When She Begins" - Social Distortion

So Pinko gave me a key, inspired by this post on my own small piece of internet real estate, and since today was the first showing of VH-1's "The Alternative" since that momentous occasion, I thought I'd break the ice. It's a long one today, but as I'm "into the whole brevity thing", I'll try to keep them shorter in the future. I'd explain how this is going to work, but I a) havent' really figured it how I want to do it yet, and b) wasn't given instructions. So I'm on my own, and you all get to live with the results.

Today's episode was a bit on the weak side for my tastes. Rest assured, we had a Style Council video. Can't let a show go by without Paul Weller. There were the weekly appearances by Fishbone, Peter Murphy, and the Jesus and Mary Chain. As much as love JAMC, I'd appreciate something other than videos off Psychocandy once in a while. Don't get me wrong, it's a great album, but throw me some Honey's Dead once in a while. Maybe even a little Automatic. A guy like me really appreciates the occasional showing of Blues From a Gun.

I chose today's video not because of it's cinematic brilliance, but rather because it was a weak show overall, and I've always really liked this song. I'll be honest, I could have sworn this album, Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell, came out a long time after their self titled album, but apparently it was only a couple of years. I guess it just seems like it took them a long time considering both albums are pretty much full of the same song.

The setting is the Hollywood Palladium, where the band is playing a sold out show. The band is rocking, the crowd is rolling, and outside, on a surprisingly empty Sunset Blvd., a lone rockabilly chick (who, admittedly, is quite the spicy little number) stands outside with a rose, presumably to give to Mike Ness if she can talk her way past security. One wonders, if she's such a big fan, why didn't she just buy a freaking ticket? Cut to the crowd surfing fans, the inked up Ness, and back to our poor soul, who keeps on knockin', but can't get in. Just an aside, I saw these guys once at the Sun God Festival at UCSD around 1997 or so, and I don't remember any crowd surfing. Anyway, the big mean security guards keep shuttin' the door on her, and for some reason, they never think to offer her entrance in return for a blow job. More band shots, more mean security guards. Surely, you're thinking, this must end happily. Someway she'll sneak in and hand her flower to Ness, both literally and figuratively. Well, it does end happily...for Ness, who likely would have subjected himself to all sorts of communicable diseases, not to mention sloppy seconds, had the girl been allowed backstage. The girl is denied entrance, and moseys down the walk of fame, dropping her Rose on a star that probably has some significance, but frankly, I couldn't read it. Seriously, I went frame by frame on a 50" wide screen TV and couldn't make out the name.

I should probably rate this video on some sort of scale with a funny measurement device, like "I give it two meatballs" or something, but I'm not funny enough to think of a unit, so feel free to make suggestions. Videos seen but not reviewed from this episode include Pere Ubu's "Waiting for Mary", Ween's "Push th' Little Daisies", the Thompson Twins' "King For a Day", and Tom Verlaine's "Town Called Walker".

[Ed. -did they show this video?]

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Test Transmission-Kasabian

Derivative in the way that only certain derivative English bands can be, like they never put a foot into the wrong influence- these guys have Primal Scream, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Kraftwerk and Neu! on their iPods, that’s for sure. What I like about this song is it is like a Krautrock/Madchester mix-it’s got that feel like is was made for a dance floor that you’d never see in the US, and it is filled with exquisitely produced sounds, and immaculate hand claps. Designed for that orgy scene on CSI before the pervo ritualistically kills the stripper. You might hate your cool self for liking this song, but it’s OK, it’s that good. The one I hate myself for liking is “Reason is Treason” but it has this perfect Krautrock beat in the middle, and I’ve only heard 30 seconds of one Neu! Song ever, and Kasabian steals it in this one from 2:35 to 3:20 in- for a brief time you are transported to some disco called Der Xanadu and the wind machine is blowing your girlfriend’s hair around all crazy sexy and there are like snowdrifts of cocaine everywhere.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fire Woman-The Cult

Crazy animal skin wearing English dude and hatted guitar wielding ghoul doing their version of American metal, most certainly not the wankage of Brit New Wave of Heavy Metal, where did these guys come from? AOR cheese that you KNOW you rock out to, and god damn it are you aren’t pissed when they don’t have this one in your dream where you are “forced” to do karaoke. You just wait to get out of your car on the way to work until after the break down in the middle so you can do your rock dog moves, then after the chorus you grab your soy chai, close the door to your Corolla and head off to the cube. Your identity is safe with me, rock dog.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

***k the People-The Kills

From Keep on Your Mean Side, a spare rough lonely plugged in chord or two, then “there’s a monkey on my back…” and repeat in a cool, collected duet between a man and a woman, you can hear her voice much more easily, then the guitar again. Seemingly made for a powerful scene in a film (in fact it is in one, though I forget- possibly The Beat That My Heart Skipped -Played here for one week, may never play where you are- rent it). Awesome.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Viorar Vel Til Loftarasa-Sigur Ros

Icelandic orchestral swirling drama-prog. The key here is the almost but not quite clichéd building piano that reminds of the cloying Manic Street Preacher’s “If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next” but somehow is infinitely sad, but in that way like you are experiencing a virtual sad reality, but you’ll be able to get up and walk out of the movie theatre but you won’t want to talk about it because it wasn’t quite the sad you can shake off and the image of the sad thing will remain in your mind and you’ll feel a little tear, but you’ll hide it and pretend you’re cool. Then the guy starts singing in the weird language possibly not real and the illusion is busted, and you are secretly thankful, because you felt really, really sad. But when he stops singing he unleashes a bowed guitar with some violin and the sad of the piano is magnified a billion times. The false step is the ol’ nonsense string-y fade out. Beware if you buy this Svefn-G-Englar EP, it has that one song with the alien whale repeating squeal on it, and I totally hate that song.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Station Approach-Elbow

Out domestically maybe soon, maybe not. Pitchfork already crapped on the import. Elbow tend to be tasteful in the Doves/Radiohead/More proggy than Travis Englishy oeuvre. I happen to like a bunch of songs from their first one, namely "Newborn" which is great live. "Station Approach" is just a slowly building type of song that sneaks up on you from the OK to the good to the really good category, but it stays reined in, it doesn't reach the absolute crushing awesome slightly bombastic heights of "Newborn" but I'm happy I just heard it on sweet WOXY. Oh, same goes for the new My Morning Jacket and the new Calla. These are all worth not changing the station when they come on, or to look for a download from the bands' sites.

UPDATE: I just heard it again, and it was even better, key line: "goths and goons fill the streets..."

Friday, September 23, 2005

Ocean House-Parsley Sound

Whispered, ultra-retro English feeling neo-psychedelia. Sounds so old, yet new and tastefully lacking flute. Perfect for sliding into place in your Wes Anderson knockoff film in the Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack slot. Thing is this song is good enough to be in the real deal, but Wes would have to pretend it was some old band to do that. He is the master of affected retro. I have a never ending love affair with Bottle Rocket, a long distance crush on Rushmore, and off and on again restraining-order featuring thing with The Royal Tenenbaums (I’m just not that easy, but maybe I am) and I haven’t brought myself to call Steve Zissou’s number that I saw on the bathroom wall. I know if I had someone press some vinyl with this tune, put it in a distressed sleeve, and sent it to Wes, he’d love it with me, and we’d be able to share something again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Lazy Line Painter Jane-Belle and Sebastian

Considering the number of songs I love by this band (not a huge amount), I seem to have a lot of their CDs. I think the reason is, their great songs are so great, you are compelled to buy the stuff, even if you have that oh so lamented ratio of two great songs on an album of a lot of songs. Great, that’s your license to steal, cuz that’s like oh so douchey! See, when I buy tons of CDs and I know someone that has two legit CDs and 1500 stolen ones I get pissed- they don’t even have the argument of “I hate paying for a CD with all that filler”- uh, they never did in the first place. I digress. This song is awesome. It’s on one of their early singles. Their deal used to be singles were always non-album tracks and this was rereleased with two other singles as a mini-box set (a cardboard sleeve around the original packaging- packaging that somehow managed to raise the ire of Douchefork). Now available on a different comp I think.

The point is, this is a song that is worth buying with 10 other forgettable songs and one other genius song “The State I Am In”. Oh, the song is a duet with a girl and has this swirling, driving whistling outro that is stunning. Scottish indie rock-pop, retro influences, songs about boys and girls and drama in a detached yet emotional Smiths type way.


2:25. Justine, etc. play Dr. Phil with your impotence, yeah they consider the fact that it could be her, but you know it’s you. They give you an out, maybe you’ve met someone else. You know that’s not the reason. And don’t try that “well, she’s hideous, I can’t bring myself…” You know that’s not true either. Here’s what true: your wallowing in patriarchy has led you to the point of abject decrepitude in the face of a liberated sexual dynamo. So when she sings:

Is there something you lack/
When I’m flat on my back?/
Is there something that I can do for you?/
It’s always something you hate/
Or maybe something you ate/
Or tell me is it the way that I touch you?
Have you found a new mate/
And is she really great/
Or is it just that I’m much to much for you?

It’s the latter, OK?

[Ed. With Atlas Shrugged, it’s that she’s totally crazy]

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Open Ended-Sebadoh

“Here’s an open-ended threat/
Subject to interpretation/
But I don’t want to fight just yet/
I wanted to see what would happen/”
And then the song really gets going. Not a happy song, but adult in a way, both accusatory and admissive of guilt, like an irrational fight in a relationship between two people that are smart and know better, but have to fight anyway because they know its over, and they’re human.

As opposed to some insane Randroids. How do they break up? “Honey, you must agree with me, as a rational person, that it’s over”
“Yes, honey you are right, it’s clear that I should move out directly.”
“I’ll keep the shared LGF log-in.”
“**** you, you ***-****** cobag.”
“Oh yeah? Eat lead!” BLAM BLAM BLAM!!!

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Mariner's Revenge Song-Decembrists

Yargh, me be swillin' rums, oh ho, so many bottles to be forgetting the pain oh my dear mum, and her ravishing by a scurvy dog. I shall be filling him up with musket shot and he be tasting the blad o' my cutlass, he be. It shall be the black spot for him!

And here I be weaving my tale for the sodden lot o' ye.
We are two mariners
Our ships' sole survivors
In this belly of a whale

Its ribs our ceiling beams
Its guts our carpeting
I guess we have some time to kill

You may not remember me
I was a child of three
And you, a lad of eighteen

But I remember you
And I will relate to you
How our histories interweave

At the time you were
A rake and a roustabout
Spending all your money
On the whores and hounds
Oh Ohhhhh

You had a charming air
All cheap and debonair
My widowed mother found so sweet

And so she took you in
Her sheets still warm with him
Now filled with filth and foul disease

As time wore on you proved
A debt-ridden drunken mess
Leaving my mother
A poor consumptive wretch
Oh Ohhhhh

And then you disappeared
Your gambling arrears
The only thing you left behind

And then the magistrate
Reclaimed our small estate
And my poor mother lost her mind

Then one day in spring
My dear sweet mother died
But before she did
I took her hand as she, dying, cried:
Oh Ohhhhh

"Find him, bind him
Tie him to a pole and break
His fingers to splinters
Drag him to a hole until he
Wakes up naked
Clawing at the ceiling
Of his grave

It took me fifteen years
To swallow all my tears
Among the urchins in the street

Until a priory
Took pity and hired me
To keep their vestry nice and neat

But never once in the employ
Of these holy men
Did I ever once turn my mind
From the thought of revenge
Oh Ohhhhh

One night I overheard
The Prior exchanging words
With a penitent whaler from the sea

The captain of his ship
Who matched you toe to tip
Was known for wanton cruelty

The following day
I shipped to sea
With a privateer

And in the whistle
Of the wind
I could almost hear...
Oh Ohhhhh

"Find him, bind him
Tie him to a pole and break
His fingers to splinters
Drag him to a hole until he
Wakes up naked
Clawing at the ceiling
Of his grave

"There is one thing I must say to you
As you sail across the sea
Always, your mother will watch over you
As you avenge this wicked deed"

[haunting, sailor-esque musical interlude lead by mandolin, accordion and tuba]

And then that fateful night
We had you in our sight
After twenty months at sea

Your starboard flank abeam
I was getting my muskets clean
When came this rumbling from beneath

The ocean shook
The sky went black
And the captain quailed

And before us grew
The angry jaws
Of a giant whale

[instrumental noise]
Oh Ohhhhhhhhhh

Don't know how I survived
The crew all was chewed alive
I must have slipped between his teeth

But, O! What providence!
What divine intelligence!
That you should survive
As well as me

It gives my heart
Great joy
To see your eyes fill with fear

So lean in close
And I will whisper
The last words you'll hear
Ohh Ohhhhh

Ageless Beauty - Stars

Canadia has produced a lot of very good power pop. There's really nothing cultural about the music scene in Canada to suggest to me why this is predictable, but the number of bands like Sloan and New Pornographers and Stars - well there must be more than just three of them - impresses.

Ageless Beauty is the standout song from the latest CD by Stars, Set Yourself On Fire. The song catches your attention from the very beginning with its driving descending power chords and the prominent girl/boy harmonized chorus proclaiming "Ageless Beauty". That's all I need. Everything else in the song is great and interesting. This includes a subtle chorus of Woohoo that you have to listen for and some funky reverb effects. Lyrically, the song consitutes a most beautiful defiant poem, words available here.

This is a great song, and you don't need to take my word for it, since you can legally download it here. The rest of the CD is somewhat uneven, with about three other excellent tracks, and others good, but not memorable. I like this band. I will probably think about getting their previous CD, Heart, since I am no longer so queasy about the topic.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

No Joy In Mudville-Death Cab For Cutie

Right off the bat I'm not gonna talk about the OC or selling out or any of that crap. I don't love this band because he usually sounds like he's singing his diary to something that's not really a tune in a bad meandering way, worse the band usually seems like it is going in another direction. Many of their songs do not have an imposed sense of structure. Bands I like better also have this tendency, even my beloved Smiths, on their less successful tracks do this. Interpol does it as well (in fact they do it all over their boring newer album). This absolute GEM from DCFC does not do that. The song is a quiet builder that sounds like an amazing band showed up to open mic night at the empty coffee shop after the poetry slam let out. The room feels small, but he has just enough metallic reverb on his voice that you can feel the space perfectly and you hand on his amplfied breath. He does not sing about skin or touching which he always seems to be going on about. The song build with the feel of a plaintive, slow drunken waltz, yet it is the purpose and quiet charm of the band that makes you feel like you want to listen. With some amazing pop songs, you feel like all the notes are the right ones intuitively, this is the opposite, you can't predict where the song goes, but after you have been there, you can't think it could have been better otherwise.

Postscript: their new radio track sings about skin, faces, etc. and sounds like a diary entry, and many will claim it is too slick. It actually sounds incredibly well put together. Much better than the overcooked electronic noodling of The Postal Service which undercuts his voice and makes it sound more maudlin than you thought it could.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Bleeding Heart Show/Jackie Dressed in Cobras-The New Pornographers

When the NPs label released "Twin Cinema" and "Use It" as free MP3 downloads, they were fucking with us, saying these were two "standout tracks" from Twin Cinema, when in all actuality they could have picked anything they wanted. This album is a masterpiece of songcraft. What I mean by that is the songs save one or two seem as well constructed as possible. The sound on this album is much less dense and much more clear than on their previous two, yet it doesn't border on slick, it just sounds clear. Perhaps it is the slightly increased use of reverb, and the focus on guitar and piano. The first song "The Bleeding Heart Show" is almost a ballad for them, meaning mid-tempo, but filled with quiet strumming at the beginning, and you can feel it build toward something, and that something is a glorious coda filled with "Hey la hey la" and you want to cry, not because it is sad, but because it is so good.

"Jackie Dressed in Cobras" is a Dan Bejar contribution (the NPs have two main songwriters) and Dan is the more obscure and acquired taste. He is theatrical and offbeat, and this song is no exception, except he incorporates some incredibly catchy without being too hooky Buffalo Springfield guitar and Neko Case's voice and some totally insane lyrics. And he spits them out in staccato bursts and the band follows him. I can't explain it, this album is very mature, possibly a disappointment for some, but a revelation for me. These guys are at the top of their game, and the new album is an indie pop jewel. Treasure it, and BUY it- gives these guys enough support that they go back into the studio.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Sussudio-Phil Collins

pop renaissance guests. His band page here.

Ahhhh...set the way-back machine to the days of "night flight" on the usa network...

At a glance, merely the kind of lyrics you'd expect from someone who looks like phil collins: totally diggin' this girl's scene, and he's just got to figure out a way to get baby between the sheets. Problem is, baby ain't sendin' no signals and he ain't sure she's even down with a little phil (and let's face it, he IS a little phil). Typical boy-meets-girl, boy-wants-girl.

But then there's that name - sussudio. It's not merely the title. He says it about 94 fucking times in the song. As a matter of fact, we should have seen it coming cos he says in the chorus "i feel so good if i just say the word 'sussudio'". and he proves saying it the remaining 83 times.

So what the fuck is it? We're led to believe it's a girl, but there is no one on this planet who would name a child sussudio (except, i imagine, a phil collins fan). Personally, i think ol' phil was pretty pissed up the night the band was jamming this and one of the horn players, who had been doing shots of scotch with phil since midday, pulled phil in the back to relive a bit of the old genesis days with a joint the size of a drumstick that was being passed around by the horn section. Phil deflected a couple of taunts but the pull of the reefer was too great - next thing you know he's high as a kite, scat singing for all he's worth, of which the term "sussudio" was a result. the rest of it, thankfully, was faded into oblivion.

I will tell you now, you do NOT want to suffer the extended version. my parents were big on phil collins and i can safely say there is nothing less necessary than a phil collins 12" mix.

Ed note: I heard this in the car the other day and actually turned it up. I know, I suck. But I rolled up the window first to hide my shame. You know you would have done the same thing. Don't lie.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Christopher Lydon-The Dresden Dolls

Guest post: mdhatter (a Sadly, No! ALL-STAR)

My favorite song of the moment, a moment being 18
hours +/-, is "Christopher Lydon" from 'A if for
Accident', by the Dresden Dolls. It's a shame their
one radio track is, well, that song you maybe heard.

I like this song today because I am lamenting the loss
of NPR as a leader in the news of my nation. When they
let this master of critical debate get away from their
radio network, chased him out, then Bob Edwards, then
others, then brought in Slate. Well, the pattern is
laid, and my money is going elsewhere. I wish there
were a smaller more independent affiliate with more
PRI, MPR, heck, even pacifica, but there isn't. 'XM'PR
ain't bad. But, the music is the point.

This is a song of the good old days. National radio
personalities that were good enough to play the muse
for massively talented artists.

Lyrics and info here.

Go buy their live album, or see them, their version of
"War Pigs" for Piano and Drum is UN-BE-LIEVABLE.

Editor's Note: Lydon was actually pushed out of WBUR Boston in a salary debate, and was known for difficulty and ego- info here. While derided by some as a pompous ass, others LOVED him.

Editor's other note: is mdhatter trying to make this page look exceedingly liberal? We remember people hating Lydon upon reflection, but we are massively intrigued by any song about him.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Dr. Baker-The Beta Band

A piano starts playing itself in an empty room. The vocals come in from halfway down a well. Some squeaky bits, then some chimes and marimba? Vocals floating in the window on the stiff breeze. The lonely piano again. Haunting, not sad, and that’s what makes you feel sad. Then some squeak, and some chimes. Something about Dr. Baker. All I want you to do is hear this song. I think it is the best Beta Band song, and it is worth a buck.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Three-Hope Chest

Song of the Day regular pop renaissance has a band! A band that is accomplished, and plays the kind of music that we like- called shoegaze by some, this tune available for download here. The band is reminiscent of the ringing sound of Cocteau Twins, slowdive and Ride. The voice is a little slowdive, but in another song I felt a little of the Church. I think it is tough to produce this sound without sounding tinny- let's just say that some shoegaze albums are among the most expensive of all time. I would be that the song sounds better live, but all in all a nice tune in my fave genre. I believe this is a demo track, so all in all a nice effort. Filled out a little ont he low end, and I think it would become more resonant. I like it, and I am glad that pop renaissance stops by, I can tell pr loves music, and his/her input is appreciated. Interestingly, my party shuffle hopped to My Bloody Valentine afterwards, and the drums sounded similar. Great job, pop ren.- we finally know someone in a band that plays music up our alley, and it doesn't suck!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hell Bent For Leather-Judas Priest

Here at Song of the Day we like all kinds of music. Some music we like because it is fun. I don't think this is the same as "it's so bad, it's good" or "ironically" liking something. The thing about almost all ironic music is that it always seems to where it's heart on it's sleeve. Music that makes no apologies for how emotional, grandiose or ridiculous it seems or is. Many songs I would never buy, but I love hearing in the car- you know- radio music- songs that you can sing along to like Karaoke, because what is being said in the song is not something you would ever say- it is almost like role playing.

The role playing part of the above paragraph has nothing to do with this song, I assure you, which I found myself singing along to yesterday in the car- thanks 107.7 the Bone- your DJs all sound like my high school principal or they should be on a Christian station, yet you play this:
Seek him here, seek him on the highway
Never knowing when he’ll appear
All await, engine’s ticking over
Hear the roar as they sense the fear

Wheels! a glint of steel and a flash of light!
Screams! from a streak of fire as he strikes!

Hell bent, hell bent for leather
Hell bent, hell bent for leather

Black as night, faster than a shadowcrimson flare from a raging sun
An exhibition, of sheer precision
Yet no one knows from where he comes

Fools! self destruct cannot take that crown
Dreams! crash one by one to the ground

Hell bent, hell bent for leather
Hell bent, hell bent for leather

There’s many who tried to prove that they’re faster
But they didn’t last and they died as they tried

There’s many who tried to prove that they’re faster
But they didn’t last and they died as they tried

Hell bent, hell bent for leather
Hell bent, hell bent for leather
Hell bent, hell bent for leather
Hell bent, hell bent for leather

Um, Rob Halford was never in the closet, it seems. The closet was in plain sight. PRIEST!! RAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Architecture in Helsinki-It'5!

Architecture in Helsinki are a strange collective. It's probably an Australian thing. I think they make up instruments that they want in a song ahead of time and put the song together around that. Which makes for interesting songs, especially when the tuba is involved. Their previous CD, Fingers Crossed, was all about cutesy and ecelctic music. I like it a lot. It kind of falls into the Elephant 6 subgenre of music, of which I'm a big fan. I like poppy and unabashedly 60's-influenced music.

It'5! is a very different song, from their very different CD In Case We Die. It begins with a chant of the obscure lyric "stranger danger, danger stranger, when you gonna follow through?" And then gets right into a disco beat, which keeps getting interrupted by random things until the song really takes off. Once it does, it resembles a Badly Drawn Boy song more than anything else. Maybe a little Scissors Sister. With the occasional refrain "It's 5!" or "It is 5!". The beat is pretty good. I could almost see someone dancing to the music. Maybe myself .....

I'm curious why people keep comparing In Case We Die to the Fiery Furnaces. I just don't hear it. They happen to be two groups that make diverse sounding music, that sometimes changes abruptly. AiH never sounds proggy while FF is very proggy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mesh-New Order

Ian Curtis’s all too early exit from this world (the lead singer of what was then Joy Division killed himself before their first US Tour was to start. Joy Division became New Order. The New Order that was then was different from the New Order you think about, the New Order of the sorority girls screaming to each other to flock to the dance floor and the first strains of “Bizarre Love Triangle” (don’t get all pissy, Three Bulls! was slinking onto the floor right behind them). The transition between Joy Division and New Order was never as seamless as on a B-side to the 1981-1982 Everthing’s Gone Green/Temptation EP- “Mesh” (also found of singles comp Substance). The difference being that the synthesizer is less a slash across the starkness of the music like on the Joy Sivision set Closer and, while still stark, and that the darkly, searingly personal vocals of Ian Curtis are replaced by the more distant, almost contemplative (at least on this track) vocals of Bernard Sumner. This track along with the rest of the EP are what I consider to be New Order’s best work, and for those that consider them lightweights, this track is a post-punk classic.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Kids on Holiday-Animal Collective

A mystical, hushed koan to some airport in Purgatory. The vocals emanate from some crack in the wall as the music, no, the sound shuffles through ambient samples. These guys have been decribed as spacey cracked campfire music embellished with a load of Brian Wilson studio outtakes. I don't know. I think if you can handle the off-kilter nature of this song, it comes across as a spacey poem. Below is a drawing from someone at Tiny Mix Tapes who drew this song.
The whole article is here (you have to see it). The lyrics merely list the observed details of a trip to the airport in a kind of stream of consciousness that feels like monks chanting, their hushed, lilting voices settling you into sleep. For some reason it does not conjure up the airport of today with security delays and fear of terrorism, but the aiport of our childhoods, the gateway to the unknown via the sky chariots of Eastern, Pan-Am, TWA, Braniff.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Way Out-The La's

The late, great, lamented La's. Part of the English tradition for retro, psychedelic bands with jangly guitars. Many such bands sound derivative, while some sound only like themselves (The Smiths). The La's are in bewtween. Clearly a retro sound, but their sole self titled album is clearly their own work. The song you know is "There She Goes" a perfect slice of jangly strummed guitar pop. In some markets, they even got another song played, "Timeless Melody"- I hold this one closer to my heart, as it has not been covered by a pop band and played in every mall in America. "Way Out" is in a semilar vein, assertive, jangly guitar, paired with gravelly vocals, some hand claps. I always saw our heroes driving into the sunset with the credits rolling listening to the song- "givin' it all you got now..."