July 31, 2009

Aleise Barnett//You Will Descend Me

On Local Music Friday, life is like a ziplock bag of fresh Michigan farm-grown hand-picked cherries, just like the one I currently have on my desk.
Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?

Aleise Barnett might actually be the nicest person I have ever met. She’s so smart, so fun and such a sweetheart—I’m very lucky to have her as a friend.

The first time I met Aleise/saw her play music was at the end of the summer of 2002. Black Elk was having an acoustic show, and Michael and I were on the bill. Aleise also played and while she strummed her slightly out-of-tune acoustic guitar and sang along, in the lush backyard of the Elk, Mike and I talked about how she reminded us of Cat Power. We approached her after: “Hey. We liked that. You remind us of Cat Power.” She told us it was all she had been listening to all summer.

But to just compare her to Cat Power would be doing girl a disservice, because I’ve seen a lot of versatility in Aleise’s music, from the CDR album she recorded in an Ann Arbor parking structure, to this track, which was included in the Fred Thomas/Ypsilanti Records-produced comp, Ypsilanti Folk Singers.

Lots to love about this song: the spindly tremolo-heavy early 60s sounding electric guitar riff, that brings you back to that retro-school dance you never attended, that sad little organ section, Aleise’s vocals, willowy and melancholy and sometimes French. Tres bien.

I think Aleise is currently in Atlanta, taking a little hiatus from music-making, but for my sake and yours, I will hope that this break will be short-lived.

You Will Descend Me.mp3

But you never fall completely in love.

July 30, 2009

Stevie Wonder//I Believe (When I Fall in Love it Will Be Forever)

I spent most of my day trying to remember the name of this song and I am now immensely satisfied that I have been able to.

Stevie Wonder started playing piano when he was seven and mastered the instrument by the time he was nine. Wonder was signed to MoTown at age eleven as "Little Steve Wonder," because after all, eleven IS little and Stevie WAS a Wonder.

Songs have been making me cry a lot lately. I'm not sure what's up. Maybe it's hormonal? Or maybe it's just because I do believe that I fell in love with you and it will be forever.

I Believe (When I Fall in Love it Will Be Forever).mp3

I'm so glad that I found someone to believe in again,
I'm so glad that I found someone to believe in again.

July 29, 2009

Archie Bell and The Drells//Tighten Up

The previous song is undoubtably a tough act to follow, but if some song's gotta do it, this is the one.

I think Ali first played this song for me, putting it on a mix, perhaps after Kate played it for her. Later, I played it for my dad, and he remembered it instantly, singing along.

There's a lot to love about this song. Archie Bell's truly energetic while also strangely laid-back voice seems to me to exhibit the ultimate in cool. And of course, The Drells are thoroughly tightened up. All this is captured remarkably well on analog recording technology, to give us a sound that's rich and well-balanced.

A little more info, from Wikipedia:

Archie Bell (born September 1, 1944, Henderson, Texas), (the older brother of world karate champion (and lead vocalist of Motown's Dazz Band) Jerry Bell, Eugene Bell Sr. and NFL player Ricky Bell (1955-1984)) moved to Houston as a young boy and formed the group in 1966 with his friends James Wise, Willie Parnell and Billy Butler. They signed with the Houston based record label, Ovide, in 1967 and recorded a number of songs including "She's My Woman" and "Tighten Up".

Surprisingly, Bell's promoter, Skipper Lee Frazier, began unsuccessfully pushing the flip side of "Tighten Up", but at the recommendation of a friend gave the other side a try. "Tighten Up", written by Archie Bell and Billy Butler, became a hit in Houston, and was picked up by Atlantic Records for distribution in April 1968. By the summer it topped both the Billboard R&B and pop charts. It also received a R.I.A.A. gold disc by selling 1 million copies. The line in "Tighten Up", "we dance just as good as we walk" was a little ironic, given that Bell had been shot in the leg and was consigned to a military hospital bed at the time. However the Army began allowing him to tour later in the year and discharged him on April 15, 1969.

So, what exactly was The Tighten Up? You can check it out (and memorize it for future dance parties) here.

Tighten Up.mp3

We don't only sing,
But we dance just as good as we walk.
In Houston, we just started a new dance, called "The Tighten Up."
This is the music we "Tighten Up" with.

July 28, 2009

Talib Kweli//Get By

Guys, today I just want to listen to hip hop. It’s fucking hot and everyone knows that hot is the weather of hip hop.

This song is a classic Angie mix tape song, another that I would rewind and press play on in an endless loop in my forever-breaking down silver Hyundai in Ann Arbor days. Oh. My. God. This song, from Kweli’s first Black Star-departure solo record Quality, is just that: QUALITY.
The rhymes are fucking AMAZING.
The Nina Simone sample (Sinnerman--that track here, if you're interested) is PERFECT.
The gospel choir is ON FIRE.
The production, by Mr. West pre-mega fame, is FLAWLESS.

If similarly sample-heavy/inspirational/Kanye-produced Dialated Peoples burner “This Way” is an anthem of change and self-betterment, than “Get By” is a tale of sheer survival in the face of a fucked up day-to-day. And that message isn’t lost on me. The world is totally fucked up, and often, doesn’t make it easy for many people to succeed. Does that mean you should stop trying? Hell fucking no.

Get out in the sun and blare this baby, full volume.

Get By is gone, and has been, for weeks now, despite the fact that someone keeps taking this post off Blogger using Chilling Effects. There's no offending content here. Hasn't been any for a while!

Our parents sing like John Lennon, "Imagine all the people…,”
We rock like Paul McCartney from now until the last Beatle drop.

July 27, 2009

Coeur de Pirate//Commes Des Enfants

Monday Mail Comments
What is Monday Mail?

Back on OSS’s first birthday, a few readers commented in suggesting I check out Coeur de Pirate.

Frederik said:
Oh, and for more upcoming French-Canadian talent-maybe you know her already- check out pirate de coeur. Saw her this weekend and it was pretty awesome.

And Ellen agreed:
And I second pirate de coeur, she is great.

Well, I did…and she’s awesome. Thanks for the tip, guys.

Here’s a bit more from Quit Before it Melts:

Her explanation on why she records under a pseudonym (which loosely translates to, “Heart of Pirate”; merci Monsieur Benchina pur les instructiones de français) is a little more vague: “A pirate is someone who doesn’t care about anything, and I think that’s similar to musicians in general. They write about what they feel and don’t expect anything in return.”

This song is so so beautiful, with Béatrice Martin’s gorgeous vocals coming to a stunning and very moving build at the end. Martin, who hails from Montreal, sings delicately in French.

I think perhaps that the universe was lining up to introduce me to Coeur de Pirate’s music; Palmyra just joined up to contribute to a film soundtrack that she is also contributing to. Interested? Check out Sneakers and Soul here.

Commes Des Enfants.mp3

Want to hear more Coeur de Pirate and maybe catch a date?

July 24, 2009

Benoît Pioulard//Kids Are Getting Younger

Didn't I meet you at that Madison House show in 2004?
Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?

Benoît Pioulard aka Thomas Meluch was a guy I'd always notice wandering around Ann Arbor streets, even before I knew him or who he was. I recognized him in a "I know we were at a show/party/thing together" or "I know he must live, like, across Catherine Street from me" way. He always looked so put together, like he knew where he was off to.

I don't think we really talked until a house show at Patrick's or Totally Awesome or Madison or something. We were both very drunk, with flushed cheeks. We hung out near the bathroom and talked about music, probably a little awkwardly, for a while.

It wasn't until years later that I actually heard any of his music, which is amazing. Everything is weirdly rich and layered, but also rhythmically minimal at once. And pretty. Pretty/sad. Pretty like Boards of Canada, but more musically coherent and accessible. Meluch's vocals are equally haunting, delivering a meandering melancholy. No surprise that post-A2 baby Moongadget and A2 electronic icon Ghostly, Benoît Pioulard was scooped up by Kranky (who, yes, also releases Deerhunter). Although, it should be noted that there was also a recent Hall of Owls, run by total sweet dude Forest Juziuk and an initial purveyor of Simonnewcomb, release.

Kids Are Getting Younger.mp3

Benoît Pioulard has one of the coolest websites I've seen lately.

July 23, 2009


I love Donovan. He's so Scottish. He's so mod. Love him, love him. Picking just one Donovan song to put on OSS is a challenge that has come up for me a few times already in the last year, and so, instead I just tend to defer and write about some other artist.

As Pat reminded me last week, every single song on that Greatest Hits collection actually IS a greatest hit, rare for this type of collection. "Season of the Witch" was a teenage favorite, but oh my god, "Wear Your Love Like Heaven," "Hurdy Gurdy Man," "Epistle to Dippy," "Sunshine Superman," the list goes on...
I will always remember the period of time when some of my friends and I got fixated on the line, "Elevator to the brain hotel/Broken down but just as well" and the hallucinogen-fueled episode from which this line must have originated. Donovan, you crazy.

Luckily, today my Donovan quandary was solved for me (and you) by circumstance. A. and I had this longstanding plan to play hooky from life and have a picnic on Governor's Island, since she's about to be out of town for a while. Also, I really want to see the Creative Time installation. Well, turns out that not only is Gov's Island not open to the public during the week, but it was also pouring (AGAIN!). Backup plan: Natural History Museum! Queue this song being stuck in my head, literally, all day.

Here's what we really liked: The Carbon Cycle, The Dinosaur Room (a childhood favorite) and The Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, where A. got lots of information about her favorite ancient Homo Sapian relative, the Neanderthal. We didn't actually get to The Whale this time around, but I have fond memories from previous NHM jaunts.

In this song, Donovan is asked by some girl to meet her under The Whale. I hope he did that, because that girl had to be awesome with a request like that. Donovan also ties into the previous post, as he was totally ridiculed by Dylan in D.A. Pennebaker's infamous '67 handheld tour documentary, Don't Look Back. You feel so bad for poor little Donovan as Dylan weirdly challenges him to a song-off, and he definitely loses.


I drank sweet wine for breakfast, I slept about an hour or so,
Smiled a little in the silence deciding on where to go.
"Meet me under the whale in the Natural History Museum,"
I think that's what she said, a little bit sad about having to leave them.

July 22, 2009

Charlotte Gainsbourg//The Songs That We Sing

Last night, in a weird haze of post-shitty doctor’s appointment, A. and I decided to watch I’m Not There, which has been collecting dust in its little Netflix pouch on my mantle for at least a month or so now. Even though it was long and weird, I’m really glad we did. It was such a creative take on Dylan.

One of the best performances in the film was by Charlotte Gainsbourg, who played the wife of the asshole actor version of Dylan. I’d never seen Gainsbourg act, only heard her music, so I was really interested when I saw her name run on the opening credits. She was totally amazing (and so fucking hot, too).

A little background: it’s no wonder that Gainsbourg ended up a singer/actor, as that was the exact occupation combo of both of her famous French parents (Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg (<3!)). Besides the Dylan movie, she’s done plenty of stage acting and other indie films. This (decidedly French pop) song, lushly orchestrated and instantly catchy, is from her second album 5:55. She’s currently working on her third, with Beck.

The Songs That We Sing.mp3

I saw somebody who
Reminded me of you before you got afraid.
I wish you that you could have stayed that way.

July 21, 2009

Kings of Convenience//Leaning Against the Wall, I Don't Know... (Remix)

Apologies for my absence yesterday. A string of haphazard occurrences and silly mistakes left me unable to post. Don't worry; I'm back on my feet now.

I know I'm not the only one who had severe trouble getting out of bed this morning. The facebook status updates of my friends told many similar stories. The sky was gray and the rain was falling in that peaceful pitter-pat that speaks loudly and emphatically to our primitive instinctual sides; "stay in bed because you're warm and it sucks out here and there's nothing you can get done when it's like this." A. and I definitely had a super rough time getting up. There was a lot of hitting snooze, resetting the alarm, hitting snooze again.

I decided to put the Kings of Convenience on and get back into bed. Nothing could have been more perfect waking-up music. A. commented that it sounded like Gossamer. Brilliant.

KofC is a Norwegian acoustic duo of Erlend Øye (who, in addition to being part of Royksopp, The Whitest Boy Alive and James Figurine, also released an awesome electronic solo album a few years back) and Eirik Glambek Bøe. Their songs are beautiful, quiet, somber affairs, reminiscent of Nick Drake, Simon and Garfunkel and the softer Belle and Sebastian tunes. I discovered them (through friends) freshman year in college and they served as the perfect soundtrack to dour/hungover Michigan sad times.

Also, the only thing I ever learned from Disney World's Epcot Center is that Norwegian people are the hottest in the world.

Here are two songs (to get you back for yesterday), the first from their initial studio effort, Quiet is the New Loud, the second from their remix album that I used as a soundtrack to walk around and around a cruise-ship for a week in the early summer of 2002 (another story entirely), Versus.

Leaning Against the Wall.mp3

I Don't Know What I Can Save You From.mp3

I asked you to come over,
and within half an hour,
you were at my door.
I had never really known you,
but I realized that the one you were before
had changed into somebody for whom
I wouldn't mind to put the kettle on.

July 17, 2009

Drunken Barn Dance//A Winter's Tale

Since it's finally hot, a local song to keep you cool:
Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?

Yep--this song is definitely about winter, presumably in Michigan, where it's super chilly and you hole up indoors drinking and playing games....the perfect antidote to the 85 degree day we're having here in New York today.

Scott Sellwood, in addition to being a truly sweet dude, is a master of melody. The vocal hooks in this song are so infectious that they got stuck in my head for the better part of the day yesterday. Also, I really appreciate that Sellwood managed to get just the right amount of reverb on said vocals. That is a very fine like to walk and he has walked it righteously. Also, also, on DBD's myspace, you can learn that he does everything in "no more than a couple takes." Well, I think that's cool, especially in an era of auto-tune and unlimited overdubbing. I like when people have real talent.

Anyway, enough slightly technical geekery--let's state some facts:

1. Mr. Sellwood has played with Fred Thomas in Saturday Looks Good to Me and with Joe Scott in White Pines.
2. His new album is available for digital purchase through QuiSci.
3. In this song, he references Cribbage and drinking alcohol out of mason jars. Despite the fact that I never actually learned to play Cribbage, this really brings me back to Michigan times.
4. This is downright charming.
5. Scott plays The 50/50 tomorrow!

A Winter's Tale.mp3

The cold makes me irate.
The dark makes me unstable.
Thought we'd bend, but not break.
We were kidding ourselves.

July 16, 2009

Desmond Dekker//The Israelites

Last night, after rehearsal, we went to Jersey City's own Lucky 7 to see my dear friend Pat spin on his brandy brand new turn tables. Let me say, I love Jersey City. I always have a great time there and am always impressed by the "scene"/community-vibe that it maintains, even so close to NYC.

Pat and I went to high school together and first became friends in Mrs. Sherman's seventh period (I think) art class. We sat at the same table, along with KK and Christie Taylor, and often found ourselves in ideological battles with the table directly across the room, populated mostly by football jocks, including my personal high school arch-nemesis, who shall remain unnamed. Pat was one of the roughly nine awesome people at my school and so I was always grateful for his presence. We also look quite a bit alike, which lead people to call us brother and sister, and lead me to keep a special sibling-inspired place in my heart for him.

Anyway, Pat started off the evening wearing what appeared to be a Lucha Libre mask and playing lots of great tunes, mostly Reggae, African and 60s/70s. He stuck to vinyl exclusively, which is something he should be praised for in this modern DJ era of iPod plugins. He should also be praised for his sweet-ass collection of 45s. When I requested this obvious old standard, he didn't miss a beat.

My dad first introduced me to this song, which really is a testament to my dad. Another one of those dad songs that he would wander around the house belting at the top of his lungs: "OHHHH OHHH THE ISREALITESSSS!" Later, my stepbro Joel gave me a "Best Of" Desmond Dekker collection. Jayums.

The story of Dekker, legend of Reggae/Ska/Rocksteady, is that he was born in 1941 in Kingston, Jamaica as Desmond Adolphus Dacres (he changed it--why?). He preceded Bob Marley as a major international music talent from Jamaica. This song was released in '68 and became the first Reggae track to top/top ten all the major charts by '69. Sadly, after a rise from the late 60s to the mid-80s and a fall that ended in bankruptcy, Dekker died in 2006, of a heart attack.

The Israelites.mp3

I don't want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde.

July 15, 2009

The Grateful Dead//Uncle John's Band

Anika and I went camping in the Catskills last weekend. Even though it totally poured on us (all night) Saturday night, we still had an amazing time. We hiked up Wittenberg Mountain and took a funny day trip to burnt-out hippie-mecca, Woodstock. Some pictures here.

This all really reminded me of summer camp, mostly because we were just a few miles away from Frost Valley . I am one of those nerds who could probably be called a “lifer” of summer camp. I started going for two weeks, when I was just six, in 1989. By the time I was 14, I was volunteering in the barn, tending to horses and teaching beginner horseback lessons.

Camp was, without a doubt, one of the coolest experiences of my young/young adult life. This also might be because, despite the fact that it was officially "YMCA," my camp was a SERIOUS hippie camp, complete with a "World Hunger Day," a mock "Underground Railroad" and our own music festival, where I first played guitar in front of people, Hirdstock (remember, we were just a short drive from Woodstock). Of course, a camp of such a peace/love/wellness caliber attracted a particularly hilarious demographic of counselors, a number of which were serious hippies themselves.

One particular counselor, Zim, was no exception. We frequently played guitar together, including songs by Joni Mitchell, REM, 10,000 Maniacs, Rusted Root (I went back and considered "Send Me On My Way" for this post, and honestly, that song is just not good, guys) and, the ultimate hippie jam band, The Grateful Dead.

I am not ashamed to admit that I own and love two very fine Grateful Dead albums, American Beauty and the ultra-folky Workingman's Dead. Look, no one's going to argue that The Dead's eight-thousand-minute jams sessions aren't hard to handle sometimes. Also, they serve as the butt of many a joke by countless indie snobs. All that said, The Dead kinda rule. You can't beat them for honey'd up harmonies and thick coppery guitar tone. And dudes, I'm sorry, but without these guys, you hipsters don't get your Fleet Foxes or your Blitzen Trappers or your Motel Motels or even your Animal Collectives. Their influence is palpable and essential to the modern-day indie folk/noise/experimental groups--so chill the fuck out, smoke a J (like the crazy guy sitting behind me in the coffee shop garden is doing RIGHT NOW OMG, I love you, Brooklyn) and come hear Uncle John's band.

Uncle John's Band.mp3

When life looks like easy street,
There is danger at your door.

July 14, 2009

The Paris Combo//Living Room

Happy Birthday to OSS! Happy Birthday to OSS! Happy Birthday to One Sweet Song! Happy Birthday to OSS!
…And ElertQuest! And France!

Yes, it was just one year ago, on this glorious day, that OSS had its very first post. Lots has happened since then, including a Metro story, a Bloggie Nom and seven glorious theme weeks! 215 posts, 241 tracks and 14.5 hours of many sweet songs later, here we are, just one and maybe just learning to walk on our own, in more ways than one.

Of course, this makes for a nice segueway back to France. Like France, I am currently celebrating my independence from a dreaded oppressor—the corporation! While my nine-to-five has served me quite nicely up til now, in a lot of ways, it’s also taken up a much of the time that I am now dedicating to creative projects, like writing, music and this blog. That’s right, I’m part-timing for a while, then focusing my efforts on working creatively for at least a year, so expect some bigger, brighter things for OSS in the near future.

What better way to pay homage to OSS’s birthday/freedom and France’s birthday/freedom than with some bonifide French music? No better way, mon ami. Unless you’ve got some pommes frites in your back pocket? Do you? Et toi?

The Paris Combo was brought to my attention during French class in high school, Thanks, Ms. Warshaw. Like the Bastille itself, The Paris Combo is from Paris. And, like France itself, the band is jazzy, sexy and free. And you can bet they all get to the doctor whenever they’re ill. And I’m sure they’re very happy. And I’m sure they eat cheese, drink wine and go on strike a lot. Love those French.

This song, called “Living Room,” is about how there are plenty of rooms in the house to do it, but doing in the living room is always the best. At least that’s what I remember. And we’ll have to trust my memory, because I’ve lost most of my French skills and I don’t think I can translate this anymore. A little raunchy for high school, non?

Living Room.mp3

Alors, Living, Living Room…

July 13, 2009

The Rest//Modern Time Travel (Necessities)

Oh, Canada. Oh, Monday Mail.
What is Monday Mail?

Back in May, Auteur Recordings wrote:

As summer closes in, we here at Auteur Recordings are extremely proud to announce the sophomore release of Everyone All At Once by The Rest. This pride may or may not stem from us being members of The Rest, but understandably it’s hard to differentiate between the two.

Pride well-deserved, The Rest. The music is dramatic, with big builds and truly sincere vocals. Actually the vocals remind me a little of The October Project, in a good way.

This band also has a lot of Canada-pride. I think Canada is cool, so I’m down with this. Speaking of Canada, did you guys hear that Tim Horton’s is taking over a bunch of NYC Dunkin’ Donuts!? Maple Doughnuts, here we come.

Modern Time Travel (Necessities).mp3

It’s a ways away, but The Rest will be in NYC in September. More info on their dates here.

July 10, 2009

Nada Surf//Popular

Fun in the Sun, Catchin’ the Rays, Loose Interpretations: Surf Week.

Nada Surf isn’t SURF music but “Surf” is the second word in their name, so why not?

This song was a total summer jam in 1996. I bet you remember watching the video. I remember watching the video. A lot. I was in middle school.

Nada Surf, despite getting loads of music-industry breaks (a major label, a hot producer, solid tour connections), was relegated to relative obscurity after this really awesome one-hit-wonder faded out. Elektra, convinced that there wasn’t a single-worthy track on their next album, dropped them and they were forced to sue for control of the collection. After this, they went indie. I actually saw them, probably in 2001, in the final glory days of that teenage Jersey bastion of punk/hardcore/metal/ska/emo, The Wayne Firehouse.

And so, with this golden piece of 90s indie (kinda), I declare Surf Week to be officially over. I’m going camping.


I'm head of the class.
I'm popular.
I'm the quarterback.
I'm popular.
My mom says I'm a catch.
I'm popular.
I'm never last picked.
I got a cheerleader chick.

Surf Week Fact #4: Move over, bike gangs. Local surfers can sometimes use intimidation and violence, in an attempt to guard their surf break against use by outsiders in an attempt to avoiding crowding. This is called "localism." Some surfers have been known to form gangs that surf a certain break, and fiercely protect their spot from outsiders. These surfers are typically referred to simply as "locals".

July 9, 2009

Dick Dale//Miserlou

Dudes. It’s Surf Week and I’m listening to you, just like you’re listening to all the OSS tracks in one big playlist on your iTunes on shuffle. I know I do that sometimes. Bonus points if your computer background is set to a “beach scene.”

Two comments from yesterday’s post suggested more! great! Surf! MMrules suggested “Pipeline Sequence” by Honk. Sorry, MMrules, but I can’t dig this up anywhere. The most I could find about this is that it’s from the soundtrack of 1972 Surf film, Five Summer Stories (Surf Films are the pre-cursor to Skateboarding Movies as Surfing was the pre-cursor to Skateboarding?). Thanks for the suggestion though. I’m sure it’s awesome and I will keep looking. Or…if anyone’s reading and wants to share…

Comment number two was from Karl (yeah, you guys know Karl). He suggested Dick Dale and I think that’s an awesome suggestion.

So, you know how Michael Jackson is “The King of Pop?” Well, Dick Dale is “The King of Surf Guitar.” ...Even though he's from Boston? I didn’t even know Surf Guitar had a king.

This song, which has become a Surf anthem, was also featured in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. It was also recorded by The Beach Boys. What’s weird is that the song is actually a popular Greek song. Dale’s version has an awesome story, from Wikipedia:

The song was rearranged as a solo instrumental guitar piece by Dick Dale in 1962. Dale's father and uncles were Lebanese-American musicians who were a part of the aforementioned ethnic nightclub scene. Although they were Arab, they, like other performers, played the music of all the main cultures which made up the nightclub patrons—that included Greek music and Misirlou. During a performance, Dale was bet by a young fan that he could not play a song on only one string of his guitar. Later that night, he remembered seeing his uncle play "Misirlou" on one string (actually a double string) of the oud. He tried to imitate that style on his guitar, but vastly increased the song's tempo to make it into rock'n'roll, and the result was the famous Dick Dale Misirlou. It was Dale's version that introduced "Misirlou" to a wider audience in the United States as "Miserlou."

What a badass.

Also, I stumbled upon this Vinyl District post in my research and wanted to tell you all that there are more great Surf tracks to be found here.


Oh yeah, and, comment three was from Becky. She was just confused about The Beach Boys wearing flannel.

Surf Week Fact #4: The sport of surfing has become so popular that it now represents a multi-billion dollar industry specially in clothing and fashion markets. Some people make a career out of surfing by receiving corporate sponsorships.

July 8, 2009

Brian Wilson//Hang On To Your Ego

Yeah. You got that right. It's Surf Week. What's it to you?

I had a highly frustrating day at work today in which my computer totally crashed and I was stranded in the office for many hours with virtually nothing to do. Fuck you, IT!!!!

And thus, this song about "hanging on to your ego" by the ultimate legends of surfy-pop, The Beach Boys, is doubly apt. Although, apparently the title is a drug reference to that special ability of LSD to shatter one's ego. Of course, as a result, the song was controversial--it was renamed "I Know There's an Answer" for release on the '66 classic, Pet Sounds.

Hang On To Your Ego.mp3

Surf Week Fact #3: Surf music is a genre of popular music associated with surf culture, particularly Orange County and other areas of Southern California. It has two basic subgenres: 1. Surf pop music, including both surf ballads and dance music that includes a vocal line. Sometimes called "beach music" as it was popular amongst non-surfers as well. (Surf pop should not be confused with the "shag tempo" beach music of the Carolinas, however.) 2. Surf rock, generally instrumental in nature with an electric guitar or saxophone playing the main melody.

July 7, 2009

The Ramones//Rockaway Beach

Cowabunga! It’s Surf Week!

Part of the reason I decided that this was the week for surf was having this song stuck in my head since Friday, when Anika, Jill and I actually went to Rockaway Beach. Let me say that we didn’t exactly have our wits about us when we got out there. The neighborhood surrounding the beach seemed a little creepy and we all got slightly freaked out by what looked like the impending doom of a crazy storm. These things aside, the beach was quite pleasant and I had fun swimming in the ocean. I think it’s so awesome that NYC has SO many beaches that are easily accessible by public transit.

I’m sure you know all about The Ramones, New York godfathers of Punk Rock. This song is off of Rocket to Russia, which sounds really Surf-y. From Wikipedia:

"Rockaway Beach", penned by bassist Dee Dee Ramone in the style of the Beach Boys and other early rock 'n' roll bands, was written about Rockaway Beach, Queens, where Dee Dee liked to spend time. Johnny Ramone claimed that Dee Dee was the only real beachgoer in the group.

I like the idea of Dee Dee chillin' on a blanket, drinking a cheap beer. Apparently, this isn’t the only time that Rockaway Beach, Queens has shone in the spotlight. Also from Wikipedia, some other pop culture mentions:

-Woody Allen's 1987 movie Radio Days was filmed on location in Rockaway Beach.
-Lily's Crossing, a book by Patricia Reilly Giff, takes place in Rockaway Beach during World War II.
-George Carlin has said that he was conceived at Curley's Hotel in Rockaway Beach.
-Rockaway Beach, along with its neighboring communities, is the setting for much of the FX show Rescue Me.

Also, I would like to suggest this book, if you want to know more about late-70s/early-80s Punk. It’s a phenomenal read.

Rockaway Beach.mp3

The sun is out and I want some.
Its not hard, not far to reach.
We can hitch a ride
To rockaway beach.

Surf Week Fact #2: Some other kinds of Surfing: Web Surfing (looking at pages on the World Wide Web, aka what you’re doing right now), Wind Surfing (this looks really nerdy), Channel Surfing (50’leven channels and nothing on) and Crowd Surfing (so grunge).

July 6, 2009

Wavves//No Hope Kids

Everybody’s surfin’ now, Monday Mail.
What is Monday Mail?

How was your weekend? Did you spend some time at the beach? I did—at Rockaway Beach. Know what all this means? Hell, yeah…you know. I declare SURF WEEK!

This week, Jill Weiskopf of New York Magazine writes:

In this week’s New York magazine, we asked four hot bands—Vivian Girls, the Fiery Furnaces, Diane Birch, and Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers—to pick their summer playlists based on a photograph.

The inclusion of the Furnaces piqued my curiosity and I clicked through to what was actually a very nice little piece that made me remember that I keep forgetting to check out the much-hyped Wavves (on Vivian Girls list).

My friends have described Wavves as peppy surf-punk, which is pretty apt. It’s not too deep, but still highly enjoyable. And of course, they’re from California. It’s summer, guys—the time is ripe for this stuff.

Sadly, the story behind the band ain’t so sunny and carefree. From Wikipedia:

Singer Nathan Williams suffered a very public breakdown as the band was unable to complete their set at the 2009 Barcelona Primavera Sound Festival.Williams, who admitted he'd taken a cocktail of ecstasy and valium, fought with drummer Ryan Ulsh and insulted the Spanish crowd - who pelted him with bottles and a shoe. Apologising for their performance the next day, Williams admitted he is also suffering from alcohol addiction. As a result, the band have cancelled the remainder of their European tour. On June 30th a confirmed gig at Roskilde Festival was cancelled, reportedly because drummer Ryan Ulsh had left the band.


No Hope Kids.mp3

Got no car,
Got no money,
I got nothing, nothing, nothing,
Not at all.

Surf Week Fact #1: Surfing is the act of a person (or a boat) riding down a breaking wave, gathering speed from the downward and forward movement. Most commonly, the term is used for a surface water sport in which the person surfing moves along the face of a breaking ocean wave (the "surf"). Surfing was a central part of ancient Polynesian culture, and the chief was the most skilled wave rider in the community with the best board made from the best tree.

July 2, 2009

Elliott Smith//Independence Day, Aimee Mann//4th of July

It’s a long summer holiday weekend, guys. You know what that means? Beaches and BBQs. You know what else? No post tomorrow. Instead, please accept this hearty double dose of sonic celebration.

Also, for those of you in NYC looking for another form of sonic celebration, fireworks are on the Hudson this year; not the East River.

There are an awful lot of songs about the Fourth of July. Here are two of my favorites:

Independence Day.mp3, Elliott Smith

4th of July.mp3, Aimee Mann

I’ll meet you hear tomorrow;
Independence Day.


Today’s the 4th of July.
Another June has gone by
And when they light up our town,
I just think,
What a waste of gunpowder and sky.

July 1, 2009

David-Ivar/Herman Düne//Time of Glory/NYC

Well, after our foray into Roots of American Folk, I didn’t want to bombard you with anything too heavy today. This is folky and Frenchy, so seems like a natural transition, right?

I saw this man play a show way back when at The Totally Awesome House with Kimya Dawson. He is very tall, and a bit gangly. Sometimes his voice cracks in awkward places, but his songs are very good!

Also, I really like it when international singer-songwriters sing in English and have translation mishaps. It’s sometimes hard to tell if they’re intentional or not, but most of the time they’re either extremely endearing or just play funny.

This song is totally about playing shows in the city and, as someone who plays shows in NYC, I have to say I think the lyrics are really genuine and really true. Glory…and not making any money.

Mostly Unrelated: In other adorable international singer-songerwiter news, Jens Lekman got The Swine. Feel better, Jens.

Time of Glory/NYC.mp3

At the end of the night,
I got well-rewarded
With a ticket for a free drink.
The choice is Red Stripe or Pabst.
It was my time of glory,
New York City.