September 30, 2009

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians//What I Am

Thinking about Paul Simon made me think about Edie Brickell (whom he married in 1992 and has three kids with). I got so so into this album (Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars) sometime in high school. I think I can actually remember rocking out to it on my discman. The whole thing is oozing with late-80s/early-90s cheese and sincerity, but of course you couldn’t help but fall in a dated kind of love that’s still nice to return to periodically (like all your favorite episodes of My So-Called Life, especially that one featuring Juliana Hatfield as a homeless angel-OMG).

The New Bohos formed in the 1980s in Dallas, Texas (as a ska band?) and briefly included incredible session/multi-act drummer Matt Chamberlain.

This was the single. It got a lot of Top 40 play because it’s really a perfect one hit—a little off the beaten track from what was popular at the time; interesting vocals; annoyingly catchy. It’s the kind of song that gets stuck in your head all week and you’re not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing and for that, hey, I’m sorry.

Something cool about Edie Brickell: she’s actually in a band called The Heavy Circles with Paul Simon’s “travelling companion” in yesterday's song, his son Harper. Also, the New Bohemians had a reunion in 2006 and put out a third album. Has anyone heard it?



What I Am.mp3

Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box.
Religion is the smile on a dog.
I'm not aware of too many things.
I know what I know, if you know what I mean.

September 29, 2009

Paul Simon//Graceland

I’m back now from an awesome weekend of Midwest tourstravaganza. It was sweet! We played three really fun shows, saw a ton of old friends, made many new ones, and spent over 30 hours in cars, driving over 1,800 miles in the course of four days. HARDcore.

I brought along a few CDs to listen to while on the road, but I think a real favorite was Graceland, the classic 1986 (Karl read the notes to get that) Paul Simon album, left in the car by Kenny’s mom. By the time we were just an hour away from Brooklyn yesterday and loopy as all hell from the combo of no sleep and car overload, it was the perfect album to calm our nerves.

Graceland is a landmark album as it is generally thought of as the decisive beginning of world music being injected into the American mainstream. I actually remember Simon coming up often in my Latin America class as being a big music ambassador, along with David Byrne. Thanks, Paul!

Also: quick shoutout—Paul Simon’s from Newark, NJ, which is where I am right now. Brick City, represent!



Graceland.mp3

I am following the river
Down the highway
Through the cradle of the civil war.

September 24, 2009

The Ann Arbor Canasta Fix//Exactly What They Want, Spoon//Chicago at Night, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles//I Care About Detroit

On Jan. 1, 2004, I moved to London. It was a weird and mostly unhappy time for me. London is a fantastic place to feel alone and dour.

I didn't have many friends at the time, and spent most of my days wandering on the Thames walk, south of the river, going to underground queer parties, searching for ANYTHING that was open 24-hours (I was homesick), writing songs on my Martin backpacker guitar and visiting galleries and museums alone. Of course, I was also in school, so I did that too. My friend Ame and I also made a habit of getting quite drunk and taking insanely long walks at ridiculously late hours.

On St. Patrick's day of that year, Ame and Jen and I got very drunk on some kind of Bailey's rip-off we got at Tesco. We sat for a while, drinking, at Trafalgar Sq., where a Jamaican man kept asking us for sips. Eventually we made our way to Jubilee Gardens, near the Eye. There, Ame (who lived in Chicago at the time) exclaimed, drunkenly, somewhat ashamedly, but totally seriously, "THE MIDWEST IS HOME!" As it echoed out over the river and the cold British city, I thought, yes, the midwest is home.

And so, on that note, I'm going "home" this weekend, to play three shows in the Midwest. Each song today is a shout-out to one of the three midwestern cities we're playing in and will make us even-steven for the three days I won't be able to update OSS.

ANN ARBOR (Alias: A2, Ace Deuce, Tree Town)

Ann Arbor is where I lived for about six years, while I went to college and while I bummed around and did nothing after college.

This song is by the Ann Arbor Canasta Fix, which the riot-grrrrl inspired solo project of Shar McLeod, an (ironically) Austin, TX-based artist. Somehow Ali stumbled upon an AACF song and it ended up on a mix, many years ago. Here's a different, but equally awesome jam.



Exactly What They Want.mp3

Float like a butterfly,
Sting like a bee,
Sell your soul to Mohammed Ali!


CHICAGO (Alias: CHI, ChiTown, Chicagy)

Chicago has a high concentration of best friends and people who I think are awesome. It also serves up some mean street elotes, brunch and record shopping options.

Spoon (also from Austin) tells us about Chicago at night. I definitely have been to Chicago at night. Late, late at night. Often looking for some kind of 24-hour taco option.



Chicago at Night.mp3

But then she'd never been to Chicago at night before the fall
And it don't stop, not at all.
It falls all around
In the city, hits the ground.

DETROIT (Alias: The D, Motor City, Detroit Rock City, MoTown)

Detroit is the largest city in Michigan, although it's now a burnt-out shell of its former self thanks to 1. riots and 2. the collapse of the US auto industry. I saw many good shows and had many good times there during my time in Michigan. Highlights include: many Coney Islands, techno, Eminem, incredible street art, buildings you can actually see through and garage rock. You may remember that you should put your hands up for The D.

Here, my favorite MoTown artist Smokey Robinson tells us all the reasons to love Detroit.



I Care About Detroit.mp3

There are many reasons why one cares about a city,
Why you care about it's problems, its people and indeed, its very future
Is it friendly, warm, hospitable and are there good job opportunities, educational facilities and a cultural center?
Are you proud to call it your hometown?
When you come right down to it, I venture to say you'll all agree to a resounding yes when you're talking about Detroit.

Oh, and, our full tour schedule is here or here. Maybe we'll see you in the glorious midwest? Hope so.

September 23, 2009

Black Star//Definition

Is it just me, or is the week DRAGGING!? I am having one of those weeks where you feel totally overwhelmed with all the shit that has to get done. Feel me? Let's take a break from that for a sec.

My high school boyfriend, a totally sweet dude, was way way into conscious hip hop and so it's not surprising that he was my first introduction to Black Star. We used to roll around listening to them in his tan Camry (which I named Trip after a main character in The Virgin Suicides--yes). Much later in Ann Arbor, my friend Katy was super super into them and got me to actually pay attention (thanks, Katy). Kweli+Def=perfect.

Speaking of Ann Arbor, Palmyra's going out there this weekend (part of the reason for the feelings of insanity) to play some shows. This track is fucking incredible. The beat. The flow. I almost forget all the stuff I have to get done before we leave in two days.



Definition.mp3

Manhattan keep on makin' it.
Brooklyn keep on takin' it.

September 22, 2009

Varnaline//Song

Varnaline is one of those bands that nobody likes when I introduce them. Really. Seems like nobody likes them. Although the fact that Pitchfork didn't like them when this came out in 2002 kind of makes me really happy--that said, the part about the "brief banjo solo played by a retard" is fucking hilarious and kinda dead-on. I know they have a rabid fan base out there somewhere, I just haven't ever met a single member of that fan base. Still, I really enjoy them (him?) and think somebody else might too. Maybe? Whatever. Do me a favor, if you like this, can you please let me know?

Seems like Varnaline is mostly Anders Parker, an NYC singer/songwriter type. Although Varnaline seems to be over, turns out Anders is still active and even playing a show at The Living Room on Sept. 27. Damn, I'm on tour.

I like Varnaline because the songs are gritty and down to earth, while also being eloquent. There's something tough and cold northern country and sad about them, but they also embrace modern soundscapes and distortion. Of course, Parker's songwriting is totally solid and heart-wrenching.

I was trying to think of what was distorted and raw enough to put up after yesterday's tune, and Songs in a Northern Key came to mind. I happened upon this album somehow in college and still enjoy it today.



Song.mp3

Don't you know it never comes when you want?

September 21, 2009

Little Girls//Heinz

Take cover. It’s Monday. It’s Monday Mail
What is Monday Mail?

Brooke from Big Hassle writes:

Toronto-based group Little Girls (Josh McIntyre and co.) are preparing for an extensive North American tour performing with Japandroids, Monotonix, You Say Party! We Say Die!, Wavves and Nurses among others. This fall tour will be in support of their forthcoming debut album, Concepts, an eleven-track album that spans from the very first Little Girls track ever written to brand new material…

It all started when McIntyre recorded a few songs in his home studio as a side project in early 2009. Seeking the unbiased opinions from friends and musical peers he anonymously posted the music on the internet under the name "Little Girls," a name he believed least likely to reveal his identity. His influences come from the 80's no-wave post-punk scene, and the early 80's golden era of hip-hop. Equally influential are the late hip-hop artist J. Dilla, as well as Can, Joy Division, Wire, and The Clean.


I am not surprised that Little Girls is playing some shows with Wavves. If Wavves is THE definitive saturated fuzzed-out surf band, Little Girls sounds poised to become THE saturated fuzzed-out garage+goth/post-punk revival thing(?). I hear a little Ian Curtis in the vocals over that wall of overdrive.

As for this particular track, it’s a cover of a song by a little-known 70s British post-punk band called Artery.



Heinz (Artery Cover).mp3

Catch them at the Cake Shop on 10/20 (although that’s the same day as this show, which is where I’ll be for sure).

September 19, 2009

Solex//That's What You Get with People Like That on Cruises Like These...

Sorry, guys, time got away from me yesterday--busy having the most fun day EVER! For you, I will work on the weekend.

A. and I have HIGHLY conflicting schedules these days, so when the rare opportunity for us to actually spend a full day together presents itself, we try to go for it. Yesterday was just such a day, and just happened to be one of the most beautiful of the year, sunny and 73. We slept in, grabbed brunch and then checked out a few of the Park(ing) Day events on Myrtle Ave., which included a wine-tasting and bike-fixing even at 2pm. We stopped by Outpost (where I am now, surprise) for a second to say hi to Amy and then went out to the Hudson to see an interesting, if odd play, adapted from Melville's Confidence Man, on a boat.

We mostly went because A. had a lot of friends in the cast and crew, but it ended being a pretty cool idea and strong performance that really did transport the audience, even if the execution had some pretty large content flaws. Anyway, the way it started out with audience members being "tracked" in the story by following one of six different different cruise director types. This, of course, reminded me (me being me) of Solex.

Like so many of my favorite music, Ali introduced me to this dutch electronic artist (real name: Elisabeth Esselink). Esselink, who takes her stage name from a french moped brand, is a sampling wiz and record-store owner! who started making her own records with many of the albums in her store. Dutch. Experimental. Poppy. Smart. Witty. Electronic. Record store owner. Obviously, this is any serious indie music-lover's wet dream. I'm with you, Solex. Are you guys with me?



That's What You Get with People Like That on Cruises Like These....mp3

I won a cruise.
I'm on the loose, loose, loose.
Jump in a pool
with lots of booze.

In my bright blue suits
From Taiwan, China
And bright yellow shirts
With my collar spread open.

September 17, 2009

Wild Beasts//The Devil's Crayon

Today, I write another chapter in the enormously popular and apparently never-ending book called Bands with Animal Names.

Speaking of books, I'm working on one. Not sure if I ever mentioned it here before, but it's the kind that requires a lot of research and interviews and that's basically what I spent my day doing today. This meant a lot of jumping on trains and long walks around Manhattan. Also, the subject matter has been, at times, a bit dark. Each moment I had, I got out my headphones and listened to this long, obsessively, like a weird freak-o, on repeat. It was perfect. It's deep and dramatic, but felt right for today, after having such intense conversations and with the weather changing roughly every three minutes from overcast to sunny.

Anyway, personal history: I heard a few Wild Beasts songs back when they broke out with Domino sometime in 2007 or 2008. Although there wasn't anything offensive about their sound, they didn't really grab me, and I didn't bother listening to a full record.

Then, a few weeks ago, an acquaintance posted this video on facebook and I was struck my how awesome it was. The guitar tone is fantastic and the vocals are really well-done, lyrically and in arrangement. Something I really enjoy about it is how the melody is simple, almost folksy, but set in tension with very modern background music. I really dare you not to get hooked on this one. The video itself is also quite pretty and worth watching for creative tarot animation.

Since becoming reacquainted, I've listened to both their Domino releases. While the band can definitely be hit or miss (at his best, the usual lead singer sounds like a younger, more energetic contemporary Jeff Buckley, with an extra pinch of drama; at his worst, he delivers almost laughably bad lyrics with the lilt of a special kind of green teenage-style overdramatic flair), the hits are movingly good, with some heavy Smiths influence, especially the Marr-inspired guitar lines. Par example:



Devil's Crayon.mp3

This truly is the Devil's crayon
That all his children use to draw
And we are so many tiny pieces,
We are so many tiny pieces.

September 16, 2009

Josh Clayton-Felt//What Do I Know?

I believe I have mentioned before on this blog my stepbrother's habit of giving me CDs as birthday presents in the early years of my teenage existence (thanks, Joel). This record actually may have been the first he ever gave me, probably around when I was 14 or 15 years old. I played it obsessively (alone, in my room, probably writing poetry; or, through headphones on long cartrips with my parents when I didn't want to have any kind of interaction or conversation, a typical teen move) and, maybe because of this, I continue to return to and find solace in it over 10 years later.

Josh Clayton-Felt, who died tragically young after a struggle with cancer, was one of those truly underrated and under-the-radar singer-songwriter types (he was also in School of Fish) and probably should have been enormously popular. He supported this album (Inarticulate Nature Boy) by touring with Tori Amos, and may have ended up a giant mainstream success, but sadly never really got the chance.

His songs are all catchy, well-written and very well produced, with innovative arrangement and instrumentation choices, especially for an album released in 1996. For newbies, I highly recommend it. For kind, fully-employed and devoted readers of this blog, you may consider purchasing this for me. Worth a shot, right?



What Do I Know.mp3

With all your answers and all your plans
You hope will last forever.
But the sun moves
And the light shifts.
It's tomorrow now, isn't it?

September 15, 2009

Caribou//Sandy

Daniel Victor Snaith, better known as Caribou or Manitoba, is a Canadian electronic musician. He was actually sued a few years ago and forced to change his name, which is how Caribou (which he (not surprisingly) chose while on an LSD trip with friends in the Canadian wilderness) came about.

Chris, a friend at the office, urged me to listen to Caribou a few years ago. I had heard a few Manitoba songs on various comps, but nothing really grabbed me like the material on 2007’s Andorra.

All light and dreamy and hazy, the music transports me to an alternate reality where the honey harmonies of the 60s meet the electronic sounds of 00s in blissful drugged-out unity. This is music to play first thing in the morning, when light is streaming gently through your bedroom window or to allow to drift calmly through your headphones as you lay out in the park grass on a sunny afternoon. Lucky for you, it’s a beautiful day. If you’re not at the office, find a spot outside and just be.



Sandy.mp3

Now I'm divided
Like a flock of birds when excited
And picture circles in the sky.
You can't believe me
Like all of the others who leave me
And feel their shapes across the aisle.

September 14, 2009

Nancy Sinatra//Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)

Pony Express Monday Mail
What is Monday Mail?

A few weeks ago, Tonia from The Orchard, wrote in about a brand new Nancy Sinatra rare singles collection called Cherry Smiles. Here’s what she said:

The undisputed mother of female rock, Nancy Sinatra, recently dug into her expansive archives to compile Cherry Smiles – The Rare Singles, the brilliant new digital-only collection of rarities that she recorded between 1970 and 1980. Coinciding with this year’s 60th anniversary of the 45 RPM format, Cherry Smiles includes twelve tracks which were previously only available as 45s, originally issued via Reprise, RCA, and the Private Stock label. Two of the cuts, "There Ain't No Way" and "Southern Lady," have never before been released in any format.

This of course made me think of “Bang Bang,” the Sinatra song used to perfectly in Tarantino’s Kill Bill. A quote from the famed director was included in the email:

“‘Bang, Bang’ is “the music the movie will work to the beat of… That was in my head six years ago when I first came up with ‘Kill Bill’. Nancy’s version is so soulful. She sings it like poetry. It gives you new respect for what a wonderful vocalist she is.” – Quentin Tarantino, in reference to his use of Nancy’s version of Sonny Bono’s “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” as the theme song to Kill Bill Volume I

Sinatra, daughter of Ol’ Blue Eyes, is a singer and actress, but remains most famous for her hit, “These Boots Were Made for Walkin.” She is also the subject of the song, “Nancy with the Laughing Face,” which is really an awesome jam itself.

This song was (WEIRDLY) written by Sonny Bono and originally recorded by Cher, at a much faster tempo. Sinatra’s creepy somber version, all wistful vocals undercut by that single tremolo-heavy guitar, turns this song into a haunting masterpiece.



Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).mp3

I was five and he was six
We rode on horses made of sticks
He wore black and I wore white
He would always win the fight

Bang bang, he shot me down
Bang bang, I hit the ground
Bang bang, that awful sound
Bang bang, my baby shot me down.

September 11, 2009

The Fall//Fit and Working Again, American Analog Set//We're Computerizing And We Just Don't Need You Anymore

Two sweet songs to whistle while you work (or get downsized): get a job, kid.

So, a stomach flu put me in my girlfriend's (bless her heart) bed all day yesterday, alternately watching episodes of The L Word on her computer, vomiting into a pot (this is a horribly sad scene, isn't it?) and very much NOT working, which is why you get two songs about working today.

The Fall are punk/post-punk legends, having been around in some capacity since 1976, and now having released 27 studio albums. That is seriously putting in some work. This song comes from 1982's Slates.

The AmAnSet song is from one of my favorite albums, Known by Heart. I think the name of the song says it all. And sadly, in the current economy, might be the most relevant of all the songs this week.

Sorry this is short and sweet. I'm still not exactly fit and working again myself. Working on it. Work it, I need a glass of water. No, really.



Fit and Working Again.mp3




We're Computerizing And We Just Don't Need You Anymore.mp3

I saw the recession around Victoria Station.
I'm fit and working again.
Gimme the sun.
I'm fit and working again
And I feel like Alan Minter.
I just ate eight sheets of blotting paper
And I tripped out on the Alka Seltzer,
Cause I'm fit and working again.


Hope you've had a great work week. Enjoy the weekend and please, take it easy. Monday's just a few days away.

September 9, 2009

The Band//King Harvest (Has Surely Come)

You’re in a class of your own: the working class.

My dad always used to say that to me, once I got my first job. Actually, come to think of it, he still says it to me. My dad also used to sing along in a spirited manner with this song, pumping it loud through the living room.

Now that I’m really looking back, seems like The Band has been a family favorite for quite some time. I was down at my Uncle Mark’s house last year and we all sat around on the couch and watched The Last Waltz. My family’s alright.

This one’s about the union and it totally rocks harder than a cheap beer and a shot in a good-ol’-boy bar. That guitar tone on the long winding solo is kicking serious ass, just like the dry summer kicked the ass of the crops of the poor farmer who narrates this song. An expertly crafted narrative on work, fortune and class in America (even though The Band was from Canada?), noted rock critic Greil Marcus called it "The Band's song of blasted country hopes" and suggested that "King Harvest" might be Robertson's finest song, and the best example of the group's approach to songwriting and performing, says Wikipedia.

A little trivia: The Band started out as Bob Dylan’s backup band during his tumultuous switch to electric tour from ’65 to ’66.



King Harvest (Has Surely Come).mp3

I work for the union,
‘Cause she’s so good to me;
And I’m bound to come out on top,
That’s where she said I should be.
I will hear every word the boss may say,
For he’s the one who hands me down my pay.
Looks like this time I’m gonna get to stay,
I’m a union man, now, all the way.


Labor Fact: The origins of unions' existence can be traced from the eighteenth century, where the rapid expansion of industrial society drew women, children, rural workers, and immigrants to the work force in larger numbers and in new roles. Unions have sometimes been seen as successors to the guilds of medieval Europe. Medieval guilds existed to protect and enhance their members' livelihoods through controlling the instructional capital of artisanship and the progression of members from apprentice to craftsman, journeyman, and eventually to master and grandmaster of their craft. A labor union might include workers from only one trade or craft, or might combine several or all the workers in one company or industry.

September 8, 2009

The Replacements//Bad Worker

Recession or not, work is lame. We’re celebrating/commiserating/job-hunting with you during this full Work Week on OSS.

I’m not sure if we were hanging out together back then, but if we were, you probably remember the moment when I got totally out-of-control obsessed with The Replacements. Yeah, that definitely happened.

Well, the buzz didn’t fade that quick, because I’m still real into them kinda bad. Also bad? Paul Westerberg’s work ethic, apparently.

This is a simple song about a simple concept: shit jobs. These are the jobs you get that suck the absolute most – summer jobs, high school jobs, service industry bottom-of-the-barrel that you end up in when you’re ambitionless and drunk all the time, or when the economy is so craptastical that you can’t find anything better. Some examples: the box office at the movie theater, a clerk at Blockbuster (I had both of these), the school janitor, the medical orderly, fast food anything, the grocery checkout or the barista. They often have something to do with cleaning or food or both, and they almost always involve people treating you like a second (or third, or fourth) class citizen. You barely ever get any kind of decent compensation, benefits or any real personal reward for this type of work—but the upside is that these jobs are almost always available and often do not stretch the brain much. If you’re Westerberg, this means you have more time to think about writing brilliant Replacements lyrics…or making it with a customer. Hot.

This breed of job blows way more than your average job, so if you happen to be stuck in one of these, I’d highly suggest downloading this one, memorizing the lyrics and signing them to yourself in particularly ridiculous situations…like when coffee spills on some lady’s dress and she threatens to sue you….or when your boss asks you to work your third double of the week. Up with OSS; damn the man.



Bad Worker.mp3

Get them fingerprints off of my neck.
I’m sure you haven't cleaned in the office yet.
Finish that cigarette on your own damn time.
Worked so hard I ain't got any,
Pocket full of dimes, quarters or a penny

Cause I'm a bad worker.
My father would be ashamed.
I'm a bad, bad worker.
I give you minimum effort for a minimum wage.


Labor Fact: According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 14.9 million people who are unemployed in the US, and the unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage point to 9.7 percent in August.

September 7, 2009

Nina Simone//Work Song

Happy Labor Day! I hope you aren't laboring too much. Since we like to push boundaries here at OSS, let's take this to the next level. Work sucks. Work hurts. Fuck Labor Day--it's Work Week, workers of the world.

Guess who gave us Labor Day? You are never going to get it. CANADA! I know, seriously...do they ALWAYS have to be right up there? Anyway, they had this thing called the "nine-hour movement" in the early 1870s which protected unions and striking and all that good shit. This dude Peter J. McGuire witnessed an event associated with the movement and came back to America with the idea of Labor Day, which he actually made happen in 1882. THANKS, Pete. We are enjoying your hard work even now in 2009 on this extra Monday off.

While the holiday started as a way to recognize and applaud the spirit and badassness of the American worker, at this point it's predictably just become the weekend that ends the summer for us. That said, just because we don't make anything here any more, doesn't mean we don't work. The average American works about 93, 600 hours from the ages 20 to 65. That's a lot of hours, guys. So no surprise that there are tons of songs about working. I'm rounding up the very best for you this week.

I thought we could kickoff the week with a song called "Work Song." This song was written by Nat Adderly ( I think--info on this song is actually kind of hard to come by) and performed here by American legend, Nina Simone. This song is about the worst kind of work--that done on a chain gang as a punishment/prison sentence. This was hard unpaid physical labor and what's worse, in the case of our narrator, the crime was "being hungry and poor." I'm sure you can connect the rest of the dots.



Work Song.mp3

Heard the judge say five years
On the chain gang you gonna go.
Heard the judge say five years labor
and my old man screaed, "lordy no!"


Labor Quiz: What's your job and do you like it? Answer in the comments.

September 4, 2009

Joshua Barton//Head Hang Low

My sneakers look lovely from here on this Local Music Friday.
Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?

Josh Barton's birthday is May 21st. Last May 21st, his band Fields of Industry released an album called Two Dogs, A Television. This year, he released a solo album called I Missed You, Too. Not bad for birthday presents you give yourself.

I first remember meeting Josh as Michael's roommate at Vail House, many years ago, although I have this feeling that we probably crossed paths less formally earlier. I'm pretty sure he lent us equipment a few times. I always remember him being thoughtful and kind, so I was not surprised when I heard his music, which is also thoughtful and very good.

His music, with FoI and on his own, is a quite contemplative shoegazey thing. I like this song, because it reminds me of a number of things that I can't quite put my finger on. I like when music does that, in this modern era of so many potential influences. To acknowledge that you have influences while staying original is a feat unto itself--one that Josh has exceeded at. Perhaps I hear a little early brooding Michael Stipe in the melancholy vocals, a little Jesus and Mary Chain in that fuzzed out guitar Psychocandy, but not so much that it's definitive or offensive.

Love it? You can come see Josh at The 50/50 tomorrow night. Want to hear more? Get the whole album for free here.

Totally unrelated: A and I went to Governor's Island today and it was so so awesome. Highly reccomend, if you're trying to squeeze some last minute awesome out of our summer.



Head Hang Low.mp3

I am lost,
with no companion.


Addendum: Josh points out:

Thanks for posting Head Hang Low. Just wanted to point out in case it wasn't obvious that that track is a Julian Cope cover, though one I think I injected some of myself into. So I think your analysis is entirely appropriate, even if the "influence" is now much easier to point to.

Not being terribly familiar with Cope, I totally missed this one. Thanks for the correction, Josh.

September 3, 2009

Erin McKeown//Blackbirds

If there are any of you listening at home with playlists, please pay attention here, because this song really works well with yesterday's song. "Hackensack" drifts along, all melancholy and defeated and then finally peters out--then this song stomps in like a boot to your face. A big, tough women's boot.

Yes, this is a really dykey choice, but of course, totally awesome. I was super way into this album about eight years ago. I used to listen to it over and over again (good sounds and good songs), and, when I finally figured this riff out, I was extremely excited. I think I ran up to 420 (two of my best friends lived in a dorm room which was number 420 (four and twenty?) and which was also, coincidentally, a smoking room) and played it for everybody.

Erin McKeown is about to release a new album on (shock) Righteous Babe and is also in an unsigned band called Emma with Allison Miller (hot).



Blackbirds.mp3

Four and twenty blackbirds, too baked themselves to care,
Fly away you dainty dish, two blackbirds flew upstairs.

September 2, 2009

Fountains of Wayne//Hackensack

Will was asking me about a Fountains of Wayne song yesterday, which jogged my memory about this one.

I feel pretty 80 (Nay)/20 (Yay) about FoW, but holy shit, I love this song...and not just because it's about Hackensack aka my birthplace. I was kind of holding it back, thinking maybe someday I'd do a NJ week or something, but hey, I think it works here, so why not?

The real Fountains of Wayne, after which the band is named, is indeed a retail establishment where you can purchase various lawn ornaments off Rte 46 in Wayne, NJ. I spent much of my childhood, sitting in a backseat, driving by it. The store, which also had a featured scene in another NJ classic, The Sopranos, was rumored (in March) to be closing. Haven't been by this stretch of 46 lately, guys. Is this true?

Fountains of Wayne, the band, started in the 90s and have been rocking the purist of power pop since. The went on hiatus in 1999 and reformed in 2001, covering, wait for it, a Kinks song. Wonders never cease.

Also, something hilarious: remember that movie, That Thing You Do. Adam Schlesinger apparently wrote that song? Also, Ethan just pointed out to me that he's in this "super" group. SO weird.



Hackensack.mp3

I used to work in a record store, now I work for my Dad
Scraping the paint off of hardwood floors. The hours are pretty bad.
Sometimes I wonder where you are, probably in L.A.
That seems to be where everybody else ends up these days.
But I will wait for you
As long as I need to
And if you ever get back to Hackensack,
I'll be here for you.

September 1, 2009

The Kinks//Picture Book

Thinking about yesterday’s song on my way home from work, made me realize that there’s something a big Kinks-like about ETM. Sure, they’re a little goofier and are clearly never going to be the classic that The Kinks are, but something about the tone of the sound and the riffs remind me.

The Kinks are another one of those bands that I came to way way late. I still don’t really feel well-versed in their discography, but I know I kinda fall head-over-heals for everything I hear. Not that that’s really so unique—in a way, they’re kind of like the Stephen King of rock-and-roll—almost everybody likes them. The New Wave-rs, Punks, Classic Rockers, Metal Dudes, Mainstream and Brit-Pop kids all love them and cover their songs with glee. Besides, how you gonna hate with guitar tone like that?

Although it didn’t sell well at the time, I really like this album a lot (hint hint)—don’t really think there are any bad songs on here.

Kinks Trivia Question #1: This song was used in a somewhat memorable commercial a few years ago. What was it?
Answer: You got it.

Kinks Trivia Question #2:Which previously featured OSS artist was once the lead singer of The Kinks?
Answer: Seriously!?

Kinks Trivia Question #3: Know why The Kinks are called The Kinks?
Answer: Apparently it’s because they dressed “kinky” onstage, in leather capes and boots. I’d believe it.



Picture Book.mp3

Picture book;
A holiday in august, outside a bed and breakfast in sunny Southend.
Picture book;
When you were just a baby, those days when you were happy, a long time ago.