April 30, 2010

Pony Pants//The Woodlands

Local Music Party
What's up with Local Music Fridays?

I should start by saying that listening to a recording of Pony Pants can not even come close to actually seeing Pony Pants live (hint: they're in NYC on May 8 at Cake Shop). They have this completely unique set up, sound and energy that turns the room into an instant party. And it's the right kind of party. It's not a stuffy party. It's not the kind of party that reminds you that you're "too old for this." It's that raucous kind of party where forget LIFE and awesome/weird things keep occurring around you. It's the kind of party that says, "life is weird and fun and here we are!"

The band is lead by singer Emily J.K., who is a great front(wo)man. When we played with them in Philly in March, there was a lot of thrashing around and singing on bended knee. She is supported by two metal-tastic brothers, Ryan and Steve Ellis, who played twin Gibson SGs in front of big Marshall amps. One of the things I found most striking about them is that they kind of seem like two different bands playing at once; one a two-guitar experimental metal group, the other a girl singing along to a drum machine. It's weird, but it really works.

This song is about getting caught sneaking into a cemetery by an asshole cop.

The Woodlands.mp3

Were you kids coming in here to do drugs and fuck?
Uh, what?
Were you kids coming in here to do drugs and fuck?
Arrest us for having fun.
We got some pot,
You got a gun.

April 29, 2010

Orange Juice//Blokes on 45

Orange Juice (not to be confused with Orange Drink, on plenty of levels) is a pretty hit or miss band for me, but when they hit they are dead on. Revisiting the band's unique brand of disco+post punk+campy lyrics actually makes me understand that Wild Beasts ripped them off quite directly. They really do have many, many similarities. Oh well, you could do worse.

The band started out as youths in Glasgow as The Nu-Sonics, which is funny, because a friend of mine named his band The Nu-Sonics in their honor.

In my opinion, the best part of Orange Juice are their electric guitar riffs, which are bright and catchy. This song came out on a 2005 comp reissue of songs that were meant to be released on Postcard Records (which also released a Go-Betweens album). It incorporates a few other OJ songs/lyrics.

Now, in honor of the word "bloke," I would like to tell you my
Top 3 "You're Speaking British and I'm Speaking American" Moments:

1. On my first visit to the UK, in roughly 1997, my parents and I went to Kew Gardens (not THAT Kew Gardens). There was a class of 7-8 year olds there as well. In the gift shop, I heard a small voice say, "I got a very fine rubber!" After a triple take, I finally realized that the kid was holding up an eraser.

2. On my second visit, circa 2000, I was hanging out with my friend Matt and some of his friends. We were in a stationary store when one of his friends asked if I would hold his fag for him. Hold your derogative term for a gay man? Hold your small bundle of twigs? Hold your something else? I just stared at him in complete confusion, until Matt zoomed in, grabbed the guy's smoke and said, "he means his cigarette!"

3. Finally, while living in London in 2004, I had gone out to a drag show with a friend. She was dressed in drag and we were running for the last train before the tube shut. An old beggar came up to her and started asking, somewhat incessantly, "ARE. YOU. A. GEEZER?!?!" My friend, in a faux English accent, replied, "What?! You think I'm an old bloke?!" I had to explain later that "geezer" is slang for "dude" or "man." And that, my friends, I learned from listening to The Streets.

Blokes on 45.mp3

You must think me very naive.
Taken as true,
I only see what I want to see.

April 28, 2010

Harlem Shakes//Strictly Game

I had been meaning to check out Harlem Shakes (Todd Goldstein aka ARMS is the guitarist) for ages. Finally did, and I'm not disappointed. On the contrary, I'm kind of addicted to their one and only full-length album Technicolor Health.

The album is filled with hooky songs that recall a more poppy/more accessible Animal Collective (yes, even more acessible than Merriweather). Not to say the album is perfect--it has its flaws. First of all, what's with referencing "game" and "the game" in every song? It works when you're watching The Wire, but not when you're listening to five white boys make indie rock. It just seems so...fratty? Yes? Second, the band publicly stated that they were trying to make something that recalled "90s optimism," which is sometimes nice and sometimes annoying.

That said, when it's not too poppy, it's great. The recordings are interesting, with thoughtful arrangements and the writing is really good (if you like this song, check out "Niagara Falls," which is downright beautifully composed).

Sadly, Shakes broke up last year. I always have this thing for recently broken-up bands. It's stupid.

This song, which walks the very thin too-poppy-or-just-poppy-enough tightrope with the precision of an indie Philippe Petit, is instantly likable. It's the kind of song you find yourself putting on repeat, and feeling a bit embarrassed about. The world isn't all sunshine and roses--that's for goddamn sure. But I suppose it's ok to pretend once in a while.

Strictly Game.mp3

I'm sick of slow rock.
I'm sick of quick quips.
Sick of holding onto nothing,
When I just want to hold your hips.

April 27, 2010

Pulp//Common People

Jarvis Cocker once said, “I’m not Jesus, though we do have the same initials.” Nice one.

I can’t even remember who played this song for me first. Probably Ali. Isn’t it always?

This song is great. It’s about a cross-class romance and comes off as a lyrically a darker version of “Uptown Girl”. Why darker? In that song, Billy Joel flits about singing the praises and glories of dating an “uptown girl.” This song, on the other hand, tackles the underbelly of a relationship like this. Working class boy meets privileged girl. Working class boy resents privileged girl for “slumming it” just to be cool, constantly reiterating that she’ll never understand how shitty it is to be working class. Privileged girl never intends to stay with working class boy, instead viewing the relationship as a foray into the glamour of the gritty life of “common people.” The difference is stark; fairy tale vs. class tourism. Ouch.

From Wikipedia:
The inspiration for the song came from a Greek fellow student Pulp singer/songwriter Jarvis Cocker knew at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Taking this inspiration, the narrator explains that his female acquaintance can "never be like common people", because even if she gets a flat where "roaches climb the wall" ultimately, "if [she] called [her] dad he could stop it all", in contrast to the true common people who can only "watch [their] lives slide out of view". In his lyric Cocker embellished the situation for dramatic effect [1] - in real life the woman in question said she "wanted to move to Hackney and live like 'the common people'", but in the song her character also declares: "I want to sleep with common people like you." A BBC Three documentary[2] failed to correctly locate the woman, who, Cocker stated, could have been on any fine art course but that "sculpture" sounded better. The lyrics were in part a response by Cocker, who usually focused on the introspective and emotional aspects of pop, to more politically-minded members of the band like Russell Senior. Furthermore, Cocker felt that 'slumming' was becoming a dominant theme in popular culture and this contributed to the singles' rushed release. Cocker said "it seemed to be in the air, that kind of patronising social voyeurism... I felt that of Parklife, for example, or Natural Born Killers - there is that noble savage notion. But if you walk round a council estate, there's plenty of savagery and not much nobility going on.

Common People.mp3

Rent a flat above a shop.
Cut your hair and get a job.
Smoke some fags and play some pool.
Pretend you never went to school.
But still you'll never get it right,
Cuz when you're laid in bed at night,
Watching roaches climb the wall,
If you call your Dad he could stop it all.

You'll never live like common people.
You'll never do what common people do.
You'll never fail like common people.
You'll never watch your life slide out of view,
And dance and drink and screw,
Because there's nothing else to do.

April 26, 2010

Television Keeps Us Apart//Parent's House in '99

In '99 I was 16: Monday Mail.
What is Monday Mail?

Sometimes you have an itch and you just have to scratch it. Sometimes that itch is synthy music that’s kind of emo. Apparently that’s the itch I had to scratch today.

This reminds me of lots of things. The Anniversary, The Postal Service, Pedro the Lion, even The Magnetic Fields at certain parts of the song. The lyrics are nostalgic and sweet, a little naïve. They fit the music nicely.

Television keeps us apart aka Carl and Axel hail from Sweden. I can’t really tell you much more about them, except that you can download their whole EP for free here.

If you’re here you know how gray and rainy it is today. This track should keep you good company.

Parent’s House in ’99.mp3

We were young.

April 23, 2010

Laurel Halo//Embassy

Lush and Local: Local Music Friday
What's up with Local Music Fridays?

Sorry, I missed yesterday. I was putting all my energy into putting my apartment back together after the big shack up. Besides, I figured you'd still be playing that France Gall track on repeat.

It's funny how you can live with people in a very small town and not meet them until you move to a very large town. This was the case with Laurel, who I met by chance at a party at Sharon's house.

Laurel just got a shout-out from this cute little music website. You may have heard of it. It's called Pitchfork. Pretty cool.

This recording is very textured and lush. Those dudes compared her to Dirty Projectors, which I can definitely hear, especially the way the vocal lines weave in and out of the instrumentation. The music itself also reminds me a bit of Bell.


Though I've never had the chance to see Laurel live, I bet it's rad. I'm always curious to hear how recordings like this translate into live performance. Catch her at Glasslands on May 4.

April 21, 2010

France Gall//Laisse Tomber Les Filles, April March//Chick Habit

Watching But I’m A Cheerleader last weekend also reminded me of this song, which is amazing.

The original version was composed by Serge Gainsbourg (father of Charlotte Gainsbourg) and performed by France Gall. It roughly translates to “Leave the Girls Alone,” an obvious plea to a boyfriend or ex to stop fucking around. It’s a classic “you’ll get yours” song. There’s a full translation here.

Indie popster April March (who was born a year after the original version of this song came out) did two cover versions, one in French and one in English, which appeared in BIAC and also Tarantino’s Death Proof. Apparently March (aka Elinor Blake) was also an animator on Ren and Stimpy? Who is this awesome person? Je ne sais qui.

Laisse Tomber Les Filles.mp3

Chick Habit.mp3

Hang up the chick habit.
Hang it up, daddy,
Or you’ll never get another fix.

April 20, 2010

Best Coast//When I'm With You

I've been hearing the buzz about Best Coast for a while now, but kept writing them off as the newest indie fuzz it-band. I've said it before and I'll say it again, throwing layers and layers of overdrive on something doesn't actually make it good. On the other hand, if it's already good, well, that's another story.

While we're on the subject of the fuzz, I was contemplating the great fuzz trend of two thousand and ? on the train today. I wonder if all this forced overdrive is some kind of response to the never-ending supply of clean digital sound thanks to advances/mass distribution (thanks, Apple) in recording technology. Anyone can press a button and very easily record something that sounds very crisp and clean. What's the fun in that? Where's the soul? While I don't think that fuzz is an answer to the question, it might be a welcome distraction or a quick fix. What do you think?

Back to the song, Best Coast has written a simple little gem here. Actually the lyrics are downright retarded sometimes--"The world is lazy, but you and me, we're just crazy." After you finish wondering whether Bethany Cosentino is a 7-year-old who just finished a lesson in basic rhyme schemes, take a moment to appreciate when that simplicity turns brilliant (ie. "When I'm with you I have fun"). Listen, there's no better way to say this. It's perfect. There are also requisite lyrical nods to 60s girl group/soul songs ("Ever since I was a little girl, my mama always told me there'd be boys like you"). Can anyone say, "my mama told me you better shop around"? Touches like these are seemingly lifted verbatim and inserted into the modern context of fuzzy, sun-kissed indie pop.

I also wanted to get this song up ASAP because it's one of those songs that sticks so hard in your head, that you wake up singing, that you love so much...but only for a week. And after that week, you want to die every time you hear it because it will never give you the feeling of that first high, the initial obsession. Hearing it reminds you of that, so it becomes annoying. Let's savor it while we can. We can look back on this post and skip over it after if makes it into The Gap's muzak system, which it inevitably will. But right now, it's beautiful and hazy and lovely, just like the beginning of a summer filled with the promise of twin cherry popsicles, empty beaches, polaroid pictures and mixtapes. Oh, and Ronald McDonald.

When I'm With You.mp3

I hate sleeping alone.

April 19, 2010

Tender Trap//Oh Katrina

BAD POP DAY! Monday Mail!
What is Monday Mail?

On a sunny spring day roughly eight years ago, a few friends of mine declared it "Bad Pop Day!" This entailed playing lots of 60s-sounding happy pop music (including Dressy Bessy and Apples in Stereo) and smiling.

A few weeks ago, I received this message about the upcoming NYC Popfest:

Announcing its annual event, NYC POPFEST presents NYC POPFEST 2010 May 20th – May 23rd.
NYC POPFEST in the past has brought indie-pop to the forefront of New York’s indie rock scene. Having championed locals such as The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, My Teenage Stride, The Secret History, Human Television, The Drums, Knight School and countless others they’ve also brought international indie-pop to New York. From Sweden’s Love Is Al and The Radio Dept. to the UK’s The Orchids, NYC POPFEST has brought indie-pop to New York on a global scale.
In its fourth year, NYC POPFEST continues the tradition of presenting fine forms of pop from all over the world. This year features a mix of old and new. With the United Kingdom’s The Wake, Veronica Falls and Tender Trap, Sweden’s The Embassy and Massachusetts’ Pants Yell! all doing headlining duties, this year’s line-up is not to be missed!

I’ve made it to a few Popfest shows over the last few years and they’re always great, so I definitely wanted to spread the word. These shows are worth it.
Here’s the full lineup:

THURSDAY May 20TH, 2010 @ The Cake Shop in New York
Veronica Falls, Horowitzh, Leaving Mornington Crescent, Dream Diary, Elephant Parade and Sweater Girls
FRIDAY May 21st, 2010 @ Don Hill’s in New York
Tender Trap, Pants Yell!, Allo Darlin’, The Smittens and Cotton Candy
SATURDAY May 22nd, 2010 @ Spike Hill in Brooklyn (FREE DAYTIME SHOW)
One Happy Island, Moustache of Insanity, Gold-Bears, Corita, and Hearts! Attack
SATURDAY May 22nd, 2010 @ The Bell House in Brooklyn
The Wake, BOAT, My Teenage Stride, Bears, World Atlas and Very Truly Yours
SUNDAY May 23rd, 2010 @ Littlefield in Brooklyn
The Embassy, The Secret History, A Smile and A Ribbon, Neverever, Sea Lions, Bunnygrunt, Brown Recluse, Apple Orchard, The Young Friends, For Ex-Lovers Only and Santa Monica Swim & Dive Club
More about NYC Popfest.

This band, Tender Trap of K Records (hear more here) plays Don Hill’s with bandfriends The Smittens from Vermont. Also, don’t miss the very recently aforementioned Word Atlas at The Bell House (even though I won’t be there, since another K artist, Jason Anderson, will be playing a show at my house that night).

Somewhat related: I recently re-watched the delightful and hilarious But I’m a Cheerleader with my girlfriend. That film is full of songs (many by Dressy Bessy) that sound a lot like this one. Sugary, catchy, sweet, retro-inspired pop with sugar on top. It’s almost summer. It’s sunny. It’s Monday. We all need a little hope. Right?

Oh Katrina.mp3

Surprise me.
Make my day.

April 16, 2010


Delay and Drums: Local Music Friday
What's up with Local Music Fridays?

There was a hot minute where I was going to play some songs with Ribbons, but then the general whirlwind of life got in the way, as it sometimes does. It kind of bummed me out, because I really enjoyed spending some time learning the band's songs, as singer/guitarist Jenny Logan (who also plays bass in World Atlas) did a great job writing them.

The guitar sound is delightfully reminiscent of the golden age of that dark weird post-punk (read: The Smiths, Joy Division, The Organ, the other bands that always seem to come up when critics talk about Ribbons, like Orange Juice, which I actually don't hear at all, etc). I'll go out on a thin limb and say I hear a touch of something that sounds like a much less sincere Chrissie Hynde in there too. Am I going to get in trouble? Are The Pretenders cool again? I can't keep track anymore. I should also add that Sam Roudman knows how to go really crazy on the drums, which kicks the energy of the songs up a notch.

On top of all of this, in case you were even considering not taking them seriously, they've got a Daytrotter Sesh, an L Mag 8 Bands Honorable Mention and a Village Voice Music Blog shout out.


Catch Ribbons live at Bruar Falls on April 22.

April 15, 2010

Jimmy Smith//Burning Spear

Jimmy Smith aka The Incredible Jimmy Smith was an expert Hammond B-3 organist from Philly. He played a very unique brand of Jazz that I instantly liked the first time I heard it, which was when I was young, because Smith is yet another Dad pick. He also played with a number of late great musicans. Frank Sinatra? Check. You know that Organ solo in Michael Jackson's "Bad?" Yep, that's Jimmy Smith.

When I was about 15 or 16, Dad took Sean and I to see Smith at The Blue Note. It was probably 1999 or 2000. Smith was already in his 70s. He looked like he was about to keel over and die, and yet, gave an incredibly spry and upbeat performance, even using some of his energy to berate audience members. He died a few years later at age 76.

Also, this is one of my favorite album covers ever.

Burning Spear.mp3

Check out a video of Smith playing live here.

April 14, 2010


Oh! This just missed Good Week!

I will admit that I'm not a huge Morphine fan. Not because I don't like them, but just because I haven't had enough exposure. Much to my dismay, I was too young to catch the wave of college radio that swept them into popularity.

This song got some mainstream radio play as well, which is how I came to know it. I didn't think much about it until I was in my friend's car in Ann Arbor, circa 2004, and this came up on a mixtape. You know the songs you know but you don't know why.
"What is this?" I asked.
"Morphine! COME ON!" he replied. He was a little older than me.

Something I really like about the Morphine I've heard is that the band figured out how to combine a number of styles to make something completely new. Rock is the base coat that gets covered with blues and jazz. A saxophone does the detailing work in this song. I really respect taking this approach, as you might be able to guess.

Mark Sandman, the singer and bassist, died very young, collapsing of a heart attack onstage.


I hear a voice from the back of the room.
I hear a voice cry out,
You want something good.

April 13, 2010

Billy Bragg & Wilco//California Stars

I can’t exactly say why this feels like a good song for today, but it does. It’s kind of grey outside. Did I tell you I might be moving to California in about a year? Where I might be going, every day is a beautiful one. I can’t imagine what this might do for my mood. Good things, I suspect. Still, I have to wonder if I might miss the seasons, the overcast mornings, the weather giving me permission, as a coworker aptly noted yesterday, “to feel sad.”

This came out in 1998, when I was just a freshman in high school. It’s a collaboration between British musician Billy Bragg and Chicago-based once alt-country, now more experimental Wilco to imagine melodies and chords for old Woody Guthrie songs that only had lyrics. They did a great job. The result is a gorgeous album containing many beautiful songs, including personal faves “Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key” and “Ingrid Bergman.” The project was organized by Guthrie’s daughter Nora and was named after the street in Coney Island where Guthrie once lived.

Also, when I was about 16, I had this inside joke with a friend that consisted of us shouting, “BILLY BRAGG!!!” in a really gruff bad English accented faux-Billy Bragg voice. I’m not exactly sure where that came from, but I think it had something to do with this album. And maybe The Sex Pistols? I know—they seem so unrelated.

California Stars.mp3

I’d like to rest my heavy head tonight
On a bed of California stars.
I’d like to lay my weary bones tonight
On a bed of California Stars.
I love to feel your hand touching mine.
Oh, tell me why I must keep working on?
Yes, I’d give my life to lay my head tonight
On a bed of California stars.

April 12, 2010

Hanne Hukkelberg//Ease

Nordic Tracks, Monday Mail!
What is Monday Mail?

A few weeks ago, Brooke from Big Hassle wrote to invite me to see Hanne Hukkelberg at Scandinavia House's new emerging artist music series.

The first performance of the series features Norwegian artist Hanne Hukkelberg… Out of Scandinavia/Out of Context is a uniquely-selected series of musical performances the first Thursday of the month from April through August 2010, headlining a myriad of fresh Nordic musicians that features one-off and premiere performances.It will continue through August, and has the benefit of being held in a unique cultural space, Scandinavia House, The Nordic Center in America.

Sadly, I was otherwise occupied that evening (when your girlfriend is an actor, you go to a lot of readings). My eyes perked up at the email though, since I had heard a few very good tracks from Hukkelberg’s previous album, Little Things (the song below is featured on that album). She’s got a new one out now called Blood from a Stone, which, if her myspace is any indication, is equally good.

I really like this song because it’s obviously arranged with a number of offbeat found sounds. Woodwinds toot over keyboards and twinkly metallic hits that could be from pots or pans or bicycle spokes. The sound sparkles and flecks like a kaleidoscope. Every turn brings something new, pretty and unexpected.

If you, like me, missed Ms. Hukkelberg’s last show, you’re in luck. She’s got about five New York shows lined up for the next few months, so go make that happen. Meanwhile, the fest also continues. More info on that here.


But when I'm all alone,
My tiny heart of foam
Dries a little.

April 9, 2010

Saturday Looks Good To Me//Money in the Afterlife

Tomorrow Looks GOOD To Me: Local Music Friday
What's up with Local Music Fridays?

Before I get started, I just want to tell everyone that yesterday's post was totally accidental. I had no idea that Malcom Mclaren had died. This article provides a little backstory on the famed punk personality's relationship with Ant.

Moving on, it really has been a Good Week! I spent a hell of a lot of it outside and I hope you did too.

But now, the weekend's coming, which makes this band an extra good choice. Saturday Looks Good To Me was the retro pop sounding project of Fred Thomas (also of City Center).

Thomas is a master of sounds and songs. Please enjoy this song and...have a good weekend. Heh.

Money in the Afterlife.mp3


April 8, 2010

Adam Ant//Goody Two Shoes

You know how bad can mean good? Well, good can also be bad. This usually takes the form of being "too good."

There's something about people being or acting perfect that annoys us and turns good into an insult. Kiss Up. Goodie Goodie. Brown Noser. Goody Two Shoes. We find ourselves irked at the fact that these "Goodies" don't have any obviously discernible flaws, like us. Actually, what bothers us is that we can't believe it. We know it's a cover-up. We speculate on what shocking and terrible secret they're holding inside and we often try to expose it. This is what Adam Ant (whose act was called Adam and The Ants for a while) is trying to explain here and he does a great job.

Ant could lay into the Goody Two Shoes in this song because he definitely wasn't one. One incident, from Wikipedia:

Ant was poised to join the '80s-focused Here & Now tour in January 2002, but was unable to do so after he was charged with throwing a car alternator through a pub window and then threatening patrons with an imitation firearm. When Ant showed up, some of the pub patrons had made fun of his appearance and told him that the man he was looking for was not present. Ant angrily told them he would be back before storming off and finding the car alternator in the street.
Ant was brought to court at Old Bailey. The charges against him (which included criminal damage and threatening members of the public) were reduced to a single count of causing affray, to which he pleaded guilty. He was fined £500 and ordered to psychiatric care with a suspended sentence.

There's nothing subtle about throwing an alternator through a bar window.

Changing the subject, have you guys noticed that it's FUCKING GORGEOUSLY PERFECT WEATHER TODAY?!? Stop reading this. Go outside now.

Goody Two Shoes.mp3

Don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do?
Don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do?
Subtle innuendos follow,
There must be something inside.

The definition of a "Goody Two Shoes" is a smugly virtuous person. A little history on the etymology: After the title character in The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes, a children's book believed to have been written by Oliver Goldsmith. In this moralistic nursery tale, Margery is an orphan who has only one shoe. One day, when she gets the full pair, she runs about shouting, "Two shoes!" Eventually she becomes rich and educated through her virtue and hard work. The word goody was a polite term of address for a woman of humble social status. It's a contraction of the word goodwife and was formerly used as a title in a manner similar to the current "Mrs." More here.

April 7, 2010

Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings//Make It Good To Me

I'm sure everyone knows how much I love Sharon Jones at this point. In my mind, she is the ultimate definition of "good."

Just an FYI (bitches), a new album came out yesterday (a good day in a Good Week). Will be purchasing at an independent local music store ASAP. Suggest you do the same. Also, if you're feeling especially poor (cough, cough, like me) you can buy it for a measly 7.99 at Amazon. Go without coffee for three days. No excuses.

This song actually isn't from that album. It appeared instead on the completely awesome Daptone Gold record.

In addition to the signature smooth sound, this song has a great groove. We can also ponder what "making it good" really entails. Sure, it could be innocent...but presumed innuendo abounds. Not that that's not good.

Make It Good To Me.mp3

You see the hour's getting late,
So take some direction.
You see it's half past making up time
And a quarter to affection.
But if you ain't got no new thing to say,
You better go on and fix it the old fashioned way
And make it good to me, baby,
The way it used to be.

Did you know that there's a Good Magazine? According to their site, it's "collaboration of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits pushing the world forward." Of course, there's also Good Housekeeping.

April 6, 2010

Dee Dee Warwick//You're No Good

Ok, so Good (Weather) Week, might be turning into Premature April Heat Wave Week and that’s, well, no good. But, what are you gonna do? A month ago, it was snowing.

For a song called “No Good,” this is pretty delightful—double tracked vocals that peak a little in that awesome fuzzy 60s analog sound, that super hot overdriven guitar that comes in about halfway through and one hell of a rhythm section! Ohh, baby. Bestill my heart.

This is another track from the excellent Girl Group Sounds comp, which I discussed a bit back in February. This might come up at least one more time this week. Turns out Girl Groups were really into the word “good.”

Dee Dee Warwick (or Delia Mae Warrick) (and yes, sister of Dionne Warwick and cousin of Whitney Houston) repped for The Bricks back in the 60s and 70s. She started singing in the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ in the late 50s, forming a gospel group with Dionne and another famous relative, Cissy Houston, called The Gospelaires. By the early 60s, she was cutting a solo record for Jubilee Records. By the early 70s, she was on Atlantic. Sadly, Dee Dee died in 2008 at the age of 63 after a long struggle with narcotics addiction.

You're No Good.mp3

I broke a heart
Who’s gentle and true.
I left a boy for someone like you.
I beg his forgiveness on bended knee
But I wouldn’t blame him if he said to me,
You’re no good, you’re no good
Baby, you’re no good.

“Good” is one of those words that grade school teachers make verboten in long formal essays. It’s so unspecific that it can mean everything from morally excellent to high quality to well-behaved to genuine, it’s understandable why this word gets banned. On the other hand, we have not learned our lesson and we will continue to have a Good Week.

April 5, 2010

Arms Akimbo//Giving Up For Good

What is Monday Mail?

Patrick from Vitriol says:

The band draws its influences from both the British indie scene of the past few decades as well as present-day American indie groups. Their sound oscillates from The Jam and Elvis Costello to The Strokes and The Libertines, with a handful of stops in-between. This sound, mixed with their mutual proclivity for Motown, gives The Arms Akimbo a melodic edginess that harkens back to a long musical tradition while, at the same time, strongly resonates with contemporary audiences.

This song seemed like an obvious choice to kickoff Good Week! Oh, and why is it Good Week? I’m sorry, have you been outside* lately? In case you haven’t, let me spell it out for you:

There’s also the matter of there being so many songs that discuss goodness. You might remember this one from Lykke Li. Or what about this one from ESG? And let’s not forget this one from Nina Simone. Is good the new “I”? The new “you”? The new “love”? The new “the?”

I am really enjoying this Arms Akimbo song. I definitely hear the Elvis Costello influence, but there’s enough other things floating around in the mix to make them sound unique.

Giving Up For Good.mp3

Now I've done all I could.
I'm gonna give up for good
And when I hit the floor,
I won't get up no more.
Oh, tell me what my time's been wasted for.

*Some restrictions may apply. Good Week applies to NYC residents only. Citizens of other regions of the USA or counties may experience different weather qualities. OSS takes no responsibility for weather patterns or freak storms.

April 2, 2010

Michael Ross//Out There On The Ice

Local Music Friday Warmday
What's up with Local Music Fridays?

Michael Ross's forthcoming album, Sidewalks was produced by another LMFer, Erik Hall. Michael recently moved to NYC from Chicago and happens to be playing his first show here tomorrow at The 50/50.

Judging by this track, Ross's album will be populated by some interesting sounds and songs. More info on the show, which will be the first outdoor one of the season, weather provided, here.

Speaking of ice, I'm so glad that's over. I'm going outside!!!

Out There On The Ice.mp3

She's out there on the ice again.

April 1, 2010

The Four Tops//Bernadette

I had a pretty weird night last night. First, I was at an event put on by my girlfriend's theater company. Not to be name-droppy, but it was such a weird mix of people, I kind of have to spell it out. Ad Rock (Beastie Boys), Anna Clumsky (My Girl) and Kathleen Hanna (Duh) were all there. It was kind of like having a weird dream where you're at a party with your boyfriend from grade school, Michael Stipe, your Great Aunt Joan and Mr. T, but you just can't figure out what these people are doing in the same place. Of course, this was all sans the part where you realize that you're naked or that you're driving a car and you don't know how to drive or that your teeth are falling out. Thank god.

Later, A. and I ran into her friend in the Hoyt station. It quickly became clear that no local A/C train was coming, so we decided to share a cab. We dropped off her friend and headed to my house. As we were getting out, the cabbie started asking which of us was single. I'm thinking, "hmm, the fact that we were just making out didn't tip you off?"
"Uhm...neither of us," I said.
He replied with, "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?"
We were like, "uh? No."
He then announced that he was the Match Maker Cabbie and excitedly began to show us pictures of various appearances on talk shows and other soft news network television programs. You know you're living in a great city when your cabbie has been on The Today Show.

Anyway, there was a DJ after the event last night and he played this song, which has always been a jukebox favorite amongst my friends, mainly so everyone can yell that big giant "Burnadette" that happens at roughly 2:38.

In my opinion, most Four Tops songs kind of sound the same, but that doesn't stop them from being awesome. Something I really love about this song specifically are the background vox. They are so intricate and perfect.

Also, I should point out that our brother song-a-day blog, Daily Beatz, has also covered this song and at least one other that I can think of. This must mean they are truly great. In order to help you find these songs, I'm instituting a new tag called OSS DB X-OVER.


Bernadette, people are searchin' for the kind of love that we possess.
Some go on searchin' their whole life through and never find the love I've found in you.