Friday, November 30, 2007
Sticking with the theme of songs you can’t vanquish from you head, here’s a little ditty from (apparently) Joe Mantegna’s favorite band Chicago. You know it, I know it, they know it, Beginnings rules and if you can’t bring yourself to admit that I feel sorry for you. I love this song, (and a lot of their other songs) because it really represents a type of music that’ll unfortunately probably not be making another trip to the mainstream any time soon. I’m talking about pure, sappy, straightforward songs with lots and lots of horns. Hey I love Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective as much as the next blogger, but what would their experiments with song structure mean without the solid foundation laid by hard working bands like Chicago. Chicago is to music what Ringo was to The Beatles: a dude keeping the beat with a big smile plastered on his face while the geniuses shined in the spotlight. If you say you don’t like Chicago, you’re basically saying you don’t like Ringo and I know that’s not true. Now turn up the volume and start singing “woah woah woah woah woah woah woah woooooooooaaaaaaaaaahhhhhohohohohohoh”.
Get Chicago's Greatest Hits here!
The Ruling Class is probably one of the catchiest songs Jeff Tweedy has ever penned and that’s saying a lot because the guy’s got great songs coming out of his ears. This tune appeared on Loose Fur’s last album Born Again In The USA, which on the whole is a little uneven but still very much worth a listen. As an added bonus I’m posting a solo performance by Tweedy (with about 5 extra minutes of crowd work) from a charity show he did in April and a really sweet performance of Passenger Side from the same show. Now enjoy whistling for the rest of the day…
Thursday, November 29, 2007
If anyone out there dug those Eleventh Dream Day tracks I posted a while back, make sure you check this album out. Sugar’s File Under Easy Listening is a little bit misleading as a title, but given who it’s coming from, it kind of makes sense. This collection of songs is not nearly as hard rocking as most of Bob Mould’s discography, but it is by no means easy listening in the traditional sense. The thread of Mould’s seasoned songwriting is what holds together an album that sometimes bleeds distortion and feedback and sometimes relaxes into easy going jangle tunes. Enjoy two of it’s finer songs…
*By the way, for those of you in the LA area, I saw a stack of these for a buck each at Amoeba just last week.
Clearly I’m on a “founders of indie rock” kick today, which is why I’m posting a couple tracks from Built To Spill’s last release You In Reverse. I really didn’t see this album coming at all. I picked it up cheap at a clearance sale and popped it in and was blown away by how great it was. Doug Martsch and company sound as energized as ever and there are several truly inspired tracks here. The two I’m posting, Liar and Goin' Against Your Mind are on par with the best the band ever released. Can’t wait to see what they do next.
For those of you who can’t wait for the re-release of Terror Twilight, which should be here in four years or so (because we still have Brighten The Corners to look forward to first) here’s a couple of excellent covers from the Major Leagues EP which will probably appear on that release: Echo & The Bunnymen’s Killing Moon & The Fall’s Classical. As they always do, Pavement makes them completely their own and goes well beyond doing justice to the originals. Unfortunately, I don’t have the originals on this computer, but I’ll put them up tomorrow!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
While I rarely reach for a Creedence Clearwater Revival album, I always turn up the volume when they come on the radio and think of Vietnam movies. But one album I do go to plenty is John Fogerty’s first solo effort, The Blue Ridge Rangers. On this album Fogerty masks his presence by never putting his name or photo anywhere on the cover (that's it pictured above) and liner notes, opting to create an anonymous five-member band instead. The reality is that this album is nothing but Fogerty. He produced every track in addition to singing and playing all the instruments. The resulting twelve covers are a beautiful ode to the country tradition of which Creedence owed an incredible debt.
I grabbed Beat Konducta Vol. 3-4: India at the record store the day after I saw Darjeeling because I was fiending bad for some Indian music. Not really knowing anything about Indian music, I figured who better to get me started than the ultimate music guide himself, Madlib. I really liked The Beat Konducta Vol. 1-2, but I never got hooked on it the way I’ve been hooked on this one. It’s really addictive and unique. Most of the tracks groove really well, but these are two I always look forward to.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
What makes Scott Walker the most interesting crooner to me is that unlike Sinatra or Dean Martin (or any other crooner for that matter) he doesn’t ooze self-confidence in every note he sings. Many of his songs have his characters exposing their most vulnerable neurotic thoughts. Any Day Now has Walker awaiting the end of a relationship he dearly wants to hang on to. Don’t fall for it’s cheery flute and it’s boom-snick-booms, this is not a happy song. The only place I was able to find this song on CD was on The Collection, but if you’re going to start investigating Scott Walker start with Scott 3 & Scott 4, there’s a lot of gems there.
Mull Historical Society is one of those bands that is really one guy, but you can’t have a sweet name like that and not have a sweet photo of a bunch of 70’s historians to go with it, so I went ahead and posted one, (for the record that’s the San Joaquin County Historical Society pictured above). But had I not posted that picture, you’d be looking at a Scottish guy named Colin MacIntyre who writes some of the most beautifully arranged songs you can find in the echoed hallways of indie rock. You can hear traces of ABBA and Brian Wilson in his songs, and I’m sure I don’t need remind you that that’s a GOOD thing. He has a great habit of starting his songs small and then letting them flourish as they progress until they seem like they’re about to burst. The only album of his I own is 2001’s Loss, and I highly suggest you own it as well. Here’s a couple of tracks to persuade you…
After seeing Darjeeling Limited a few weeks ago I was launched full force back into my Kinks obsession. So I’m posting a couple tracks from my favorite album of theirs, Arthur. Ray Davies took many a stab at the concept album in his day, but never was he more successful than with Arthur. All the Davies themes are present here: boredom, growing old and a longing to go back to simpler times. Most importantly though, throughout the story of a man named Arthur moving from England to Australia, Davies never forgets to rock. So many concept albums get so caught up in telling their story that the music suffers at the hands of clunky exposition, but Davies knew better.
To illustrate my point I’m posting Victoria one of the hardest rocking late-Kinks songs ever and Nothing To Say which is just one of those perfectly cynical Ray Davies gems that would have been at home on whatever album it decided to hang it’s hat.