Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Perry Como - Seattle

I post this for three reasons:

1. Matt asked a few days ago about what he can expect in Seattle. Here is the answer in song -- sweet, velvety song.

2. I was at Bop Street Records this weekend, and these three boys, all between the ages of about 10-12, came in and rushed straight down to the basement, where there are literally tens of thousands of surplus records on shelves running wall-to-wall (imagine the last shot from Raiders of the Lost Ark, but for records -- it's amazing). Maybe 20 minutes later they were asking for prices on a stack of Perry Como records, and I mean, only Perry Como records. Maybe five or six of them. One of them was this record:

which I've always wanted to acquire for the purposes of wall art alone. (I did not come away with any Como, but I did pick up a copy of Bob Dylan's debut album, a Mississippi John Hurt double-album, Rust Never Sleeps, Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak), and "Heroes".)

Anyway, I just wanted to prepare you guys for a resurgence of Italian-American crooners, because when those kids of today become the hipsters of tomorrow, all that Como and Dean Martin and Tony Bennett lying around in discount bins is going to explode. Buy low.

3. Perry Como for the win, motherfuckers.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cheap Trick - Surrender

Not very new, but sometimes the standards are just the thing.

Smashing Pumpkins - Mayonaise

More of nothing new under the sun... I've been in a perpetual time warp when it comes to music, discovering what I haven't yet known because I was one of those "mooch all your desired emotions off the most popular tracks" people regarding entire albums, missing what I should have caught the first time.

Then I made the mistake of finding out where Creed was born.

And to think I was debating being Billy Corgan for Halloween. (I probably still will.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Os Mutantes- A Minha Menina

(continuing in the tradition of "not exactly reinventing the wheel")

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kid Cudi-Make Her Say (feat. Kanye West, Common, and Lady Gaga)

I've been listening to this for the past two weeks. A few things about why I love it:
  1. Best oral sex double entendres since (arguably) Madonna's "Like a Prayer."
  2. Kanye's verse is probably my favorite Kanye rap since basically Late Registration
  3. It is kind of a Year in Review of 2009's hip hop tropes
  4. It's hilarious and great, you guys. And Kanye West and Lady Gaga are touring together, and I love that.
  5. Sorry if it's not your thing

Friday, September 25, 2009

Parliament - Flashlight

I don't know, it just feels like a funky-ass Friday I guess.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Jeffrey Lewis - Will Oldham Williamsburg Horror

"...and Camus probably wished he was Milton too/ or whatever, you know what I'm saying?"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Dutchess and the Duke - "Hands" and "Let It Die"

My No. 1 Seattle-area music crush is back with a new album, due out Oct. 6 on Hardly Art, a subsidiary of the Seattle indie goliath Sub Pop label. Their debut, "She's the Dutchess, He's the Duke" -- alongside The Tallest Man on Earth -- was my favorite release of last year. And this new one, Sunset / Sunrise, makes good on the promise they showed last year. Honestly, I don't think anything here quite reaches the pure joy of "Armageddon Song" (yes, joy), but it's a very worthy follow-up. They're still playing lo-fi folk ("campfire punk," as they've described it); they're still singing those almost-off-key harmonies; the songs primarily cover love, mostly lost.

The first song, "Hands," is the album opener and first single:

And the second here (third on the album) is a nice change of tempo:

Kimberly Morrison (the Dutchess) takes solo vocals on one track, "When You Leave My Arms," and I'm a little sad to say it's the one song that falls flat for me. Her voice is a great complement to Jesse Lortz's (the Duke), but doesn't quite work here ... and the whole thing explodes into this Specter-ish wash of orchestration about a minute in. It's a rare misstep on an otherwise very solid album. But that's the second-to-last track, and they make up for it, closing on another gem.

It's been on steady rotation since I managed to get my hands on a promo copy over the weekend. I will be buying the vinyl pressing when it comes out in another two weeks.

(Sorry for all of the words.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Canned Heat - Going Up the Country & Henry Thomas - Bull Doze Blues

I've always been one of those "songs behind the song" kind of people. Dunno why... but research has always involved allowing me to be aware of why things are the way they are, or why they even exist at all.

Hence my stance on existence period... But that's another day, another cup of joe.

A few weeks ago, I posted a pair of songs on the link side of my happy little Facebook profile. One was an (albeit rare) bright and hopeful blues song that became one of the quintessential Woodstock anthems that I never knew the name of until I decided to look it up.

The second was a blues song of heartbreak that few people know the first song came from, notably the flute melody that almost anyone familiar with what happened in America in the 60s has heard one time or another. (I for one remember the Woodstock 25th Anniversary Pepsi commercial back in '94 that featured it.)

[There was a lot of self-loathing emo trash/bullshit I'm not accustomed to posting in the original post.]

The first song was Canned Heat's "Goin' Up the Country."

The second was performed by Henry Thomas, right before the Great Depression in 1928...

A.A. Bondy - When the Devils Loose

In celebration of the autumn season, a lovely track from A.A. Bondys new album. I love the sense of space in this track, how the sound is allowed to expand and fill up all the room. It ambles and it consoles, and it dawns a sense of peace with extra listenings. It just evokes the season, doesn't it? Truly, the fall is my favorite time of year...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

OutKast - Hey Ya!

Yes, this hits the spot this morning.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Eels - Grace Kelly Blues

I got into this song at the exact right time. I thought it was a song about Grace Kelly, and I was thinking "man, 1950's glamor!" Eels tricked me. It's just a terrific, terrific low-key song. I don't know what it means yet.

Friday, September 18, 2009

David Bowie - Cat People (Putting Out Fire)

This is a few weeks late in light of our discussion on the boards, but oh well. The version that Bowie recorded for the Let's Dance album is complete shit, but the original Moroder-produced version is totally on-point. Anyone ever seen the Schrader movie? I'm fairly certain the poster is the best part (it is, in its defense, a pretty kick-ass poster.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lotte Lenya - September Song

The hell it is cold up here this morning.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Peter, Paul, and Mary - Early In The Morning

The Byrds - The Christian Life

This is one from the vinyl collection -- I picked it up not too long ago from a record store here in Seattle. For those who might not know The Byrds beyond the ubiquity and mediocrity of Turn, Turn, Turn! and maybe their Mr. Tambourine Man cover, "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" sold poorly at the time but today gets billed as an "important" country-rock album. It's a set of mostly covers, their vocal harmonies set to earnest country and western. Basement Tapes-era Dylan bookends the album, with "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" and "Nothing was Delivered" (the former is a great cover and one of the highlights of the album; the latter is so-so). There's also some Merle Haggard and Woody Guthrie, among others. The whole thing is on YouTube if you are so inclined.

But this song: It's striking to hear a band whose music is so ingrained in the culture of the 1960s pledge their unabashed devotion to "the Christian life," and do it with this kind of (apparent) sincerity. To the long-hairs listening to this album when it was released (in 1968), it must have been a pretty provocative moment.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cuz there might not be no...

Alright, so there's no particular reason why I'm going with this, but it sort of works because I left this 'til kind of late (blame Del Potro and Federer).

So, here's three time related songs. You can go forth with this theme, or...not.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside - Why

They were the opening act for the Avetts last week. I was impressed.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Neko Case - This Tornado Loves You

Neko Case is probably best as using her voice to create an almost Brian Eno-like soundscape, equal parts terrifyingly stark and beautiful. It echoes the American Southwest in a lot of ways, actually, or anywhere it's almost too flat to drive at night. In this song, her vocals are paired with a perfect guitar, operating to set the rhythm of a tornado, slowly and hazardously gaining power.
Someone important to me insists that there is a metaphor in this song, but I'd really prefer to think that there isn't, that it is exclusively about a tornado who falls in love, and wants to show her affection by chasing down the object of her affection, and demonstrating her power ("your rails have always outrun mine...") as a promise of protection. This tornado is a bit like the clouds that rain down on Rob McKenna; she has no idea how much damage her love does.
Anyway, this is a pretty decent live performance of a terrific song.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Patti Smith - Elegie

It was an awful, awful day. This is for someone in particular, but you can use it as your generic 9/11 song, which I was going to do something specific for but now really wish I hadn't gotten.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

999 - Homicide

Whoa. Sorry for whiffing on this earlier.

(These guys aren't exactly a bright blip on my musical radar, so I'll have to credit the local alternative radio station for this one.)

Bob Dylan - Romance in Durango

Because "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts" is too long.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

William Shatner - Common People

I need to stress that this is not a joke. Shatner's first album, The Transformed Man, released in like the 60's or something, was absolutely terrible, and is featured on a few "celebrities are terrible singers!" compilation albums. On it, he spoke-sang "Rocket Man;" Family Guy "parodied" this with Stewie.
His second album, released 35-40 years later (I don't have great internet capabilities where I am, so I am not looking up specific information, sorry), "Has Been" is absolutely a revelation, especially as compared to his first. It is produced by Ben Folds (I know, right?) and it feels like Folds came along at exactly the right time. Shatner could actually put together a good album, he just needed someone who knew how to accommodate his specific skill set.
The first track on the album is the cover "Common People," and I have to say I listen to it maybe multiple times a week. It's much faster-paced than anything else on the album, but introduces you to what Shatner and Folds are trying to do. Enjoy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Scott Walker - The Old Man's Back Again

This one's for Dmitry Medvedev who, in the grand tradition of Russian leaders, makes up his own version of history when he doesn't like the actual version.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Reverend Gary Davis - Give Me A Heart To Love & I Am the Light of this World

One particularly unhappy night in New Paltz in the winter I took a walk with my ipod and shuffle served up "Give Me a Heart to Love You" by the Reverend Gary Davis. I lay on a bench for a long time and listened to that one again and again. You can hear it here - I don't want to put it on youtube acus Smithsonian records has their own channel (there's a nice resource).

Anyway Malachi mentioned "Samson and Delilah" the other night over some Evan Williams and I've been listening to these old records this week. This one I do have for you today is the blog's second song covered by Jorma Kaukonen on Quah, after "Blue Prelude".

Although I have no personal faith, I can still have spiritual experiences from vocal performances like these. Thank you, Reverend.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Avett Brothers - I & Love & You

So, like I said, I went and saw The Avett Brothers here in Seattle last weekend, touring in advance of the release of their upcoming full-length. And they've been picked up by Sony, so ... enjoy these last few weeks before you can find their albums at Target.

The single from the new album is the ignominiously titled "I & Love & You"; I really think it stands up as one of their finest ballads ... even if the "Brooklyn, Brooklyn" line is just naked pandering to the New York crowd. You'll have to settle for one of those shaky, live-in-concert recordings; the quality on this one is actually pretty good.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ra Ra Riot - Each Year

Hot Chip - And I Was a Boy From School

I can't really decide between two songs to post, so of course, I'll post both. Let the audience decide the better, you know?

Hot Chip tends to bring the awesome on a semi-regular basis.

Everclear - Strawberry

Hope you're not a fan of Supernatural. If you are, don't click the link. But I'm sure a few of you won't even bother.

So you wanted to explore stuff that's a little less than par? Or a lot, depending on your tastes. Somebody had to get this thing started after Tyles set the stage.

This is a guilty pleasure of mine. Take it for what it's worth.