The Rich Girls Are Weeping: May 2006

31 May 2006

Jonathan Richman, UC Berkeley Campus, 1981. Lo-fi Super 8 footage, but pretty darn cool nonetheless. YouTube is a magical place, truly.

We're gift-wrapped kitty cats... "It's the 80's all up in my brain all the time these days," I sighed over a gin and tonic at Hole in the Wall last week. "Scritti Politti," she mouthed behind the back of her hand, blushing. "Uh huh," I nodded. "Talk Talk. Kate Bush. New Order. Electronic. Huey Lewis and the News!" We laughed, clinking highball glasses.

One of my oldest and most brilliantly talented friends, poet and all around renaissance woman LKB, is leaving town today. I met her in the fall of 1994, when we immediately discussed the collected works Margaret Atwood and our favorite music. Over the years, LKB introduced me to more bands and artists than I can detail here -- The Magnetic Fields, Elliott Smith (and Heatmiser and Quasi and No. 2...), Neutral Milk Hotel, Nothing Painted Blue (and by extension, Jenny Toomey's work with Franklin Bruno and uh, a little band called The Mountain Goats), John Vanderslice (and MK Ultra), Ms. John Soda, The New Pornographers, The Hidden Cameras, The Russian Futurists ... all before anyone else seemed to be interested in them. Most importantly, she broke me of my weird issues with The Smiths, told me all about Big Star, and made sure I knew about Brian Eno's post-Roxy Music, pre-ambient career.

Over the years, we went to see Ben Folds Five, Garbage, Tricky, Elliott Smith, Liz Phair, and about 50 billion other bands together. She's one of the few people I don't give crap about listening to Bright Eyes as she lived in Nebraska during the nascent years of Saddle Creek and Conor Oberst's career. She, on the other hand, was kind enough to never mock my love for John Wesley Harding, though she did give me a hard time me about liking the Barenaked Ladies and They Might Be Giants back in the day.

We both share an incredible love of horrifically bad (or good, depending on your point of view) pop music of all kinds: classic soul, Scando-pop, prefab UK girl and boy bands, the entire Burt Bacharach catalog, Neil Diamond, the Spice Girls -- you name it. If it's laden with hooks, we love it. She's the kind of person who randomly sends bizarre mp3s over email, like Liza Minnelli and Alan Cumming dueting on "Baby, It's Cold Outside" or a chunk of Tracey Ullman's ouevre; what's more, LKB introduced me to Fluxblog and London Lee's Number One Songs In Heaven, and a few other blogs too.

I'm gonna miss you, Bunny. Take care up there in the wilds of Wisconsin; I suppose it's time for all of us to be moving along. It's weird, but this really is an end of an era for me to see you leaving Austin, and these songs (and so, so many others) will always make me think of you. xo

Elliott Smith -- Waterloo Sunset (live)
Jeremy Enigk -- Return of the Frog Queen
Neutral Milk Hotel -- Holland, 1945
The New Pornographers -- Letter From An Occupant
Catatonia -- Bad Bad Boy
Kelly Hogan -- Sugarbowl
MK Ultra -- Catastrophe Practice
The Handsome Family -- Drunk By Noon
Rufus Wainwright -- Grey Gardens
Built to Spill -- Dystopian Dream Girl
Jimmy Eat World -- Lucky Denver Mint
Brian Eno -- I'll Come Running


Also: We got a shout-out in Jeffrey Barg's "Top Five of the Moment" in the Philadephia Weekly. Glad to know that people are totally buying the hipster tastemaker line! Sweet!

Have you been reading the Obscure Hits of the 80's and Shoegaze Fetish posts at Mars Needs Guitars? You totally should! Oh, and go listen to Antony Hegarty guest on the My Robot Friend track "One More Try" over at Fluxblog. Fantastic!

All hail Shearwater! Kelefa Sanneh gives Palo Santo a glowing review in The Times. I agree, this is one of the best indie rock albums of the year so far. (Other candiates: Matmos, Tilly and the Wall, The Stills, The Walkmen, Neko Case. The Long Winters will shortly be joining this list too.)

I also feel the need to tell you about my summer hair. It's very short and very black with fantastic sideburns; think Liza Minnelli in Cabaret, or, you know, Linda Dano as Felicia Gallant.

30 May 2006

It is quite possible that the following music video, ca. 1982, had in indelible impact on the development of my entire aesthetic. Quite apropos as I'm chugging toward the end of Robertson Davies' The Deptford Trilogy, which I have thoroughly enjoyed...



Thank you, Steve Miller Band! For this, and for teaching me the word 'pompatus.'
These are a few of [our] favorite things... I hope everyone had a nice weekend -- sorry for not posting yesterday, but hey, if most of the western world gets some kind of holiday, then heck, we don't feel so bad about skipping a day too!

To make up for that, here's a list of just a small cross-section of our favorite things. Hastily assembled over email, this started as a smallish list and turned into a semi-massive collection of the kind of songs we just can't live without. Enjoy! (And be sure to pogo about when you listen to any selection blessed with disco octaves bouncing about in the bassline!)

Jazz standards:
Cindy: John Coltrane -- My Favorite Things
Pinkie: Nina Simone -- Lilac Wine

Disco octaves:
Cindy: Interpol -- Slow Hands
Pinkie: ABC -- Poison Arrow

Saxophones:
Cindy: Love Is All -- Make Out Fall Out Make Up
Pinkie: X-Ray Spex -- Identity

Sleigh bells:
Cindy: The Smiths -- Girlfriend in a Coma

Pedal steel:
Pinkie: Billie Ray Martin -- I Don't Believe

Disco octaves and saxophones:
Pinkie and Cindy: Duran Duran -- Rio

Sleigh bells and saxophones:
Cindy: The Earlies -- The Devil's Country

[We're just not equipped at this time to post something with pedal steel and saxophones, which is to say we couldn't think of anything... Can you?]

Handclaps:
Cindy: Sloan -- The Good In Every One
Pinkie: The Arcade Fire -- Rebellion (Lies)

Boys hollerin':
Cindy and Pinkie: The National -- Abel

Practically perfect songs:
Cindy: The Stone Roses -- I Want To Be Adored & XTC -- I'm The Man Who Murdered Love
Pinkie: Cocteau Twins -- Carolyn's Fingers & Echo and the Bunnymen -- Bring On The Dancing Horses

Exemplary remixes:
Cindy: Murray Head -- One Night In Bangkok (Hot Handz remix)
Pinkie: Nina Simone -- See-Line Woman (M@W remix)

Songs I sang with my dad:
Cindy: The Eagles -- Take It Easy
Pinkie: Patsy Cline -- San Antonio Rose

Songs I sang with my mom:
Cindy: Joni Mitchell -- A Case of You
Pinkie: The Beach Boys -- Good Vibrations

Oh, and! Check out our submissions to GoodHodgkins' Exceptional Cover Songs feature. I mean, really -- when was the last time you thought about Bedhead and Macha? If at all? Either way, their cover of Cher's "Believe" is totally worth hearing...!

26 May 2006

Hold on -- wear your headphones, and I'll whisper you the code. It goes a little like this: CPL593H // 365-750 // 19-20-20 //16-16-6. Oh, sometimes I'm too odd and clever for my own good.

Roxy Music -- Remake/Remodel [info]
Giant Drag -- Kevin Is Gay [myspace page]
The Grates -- 19-20-20 (radio edit, sorry -- it's all I had on this machine) [myspace page]
The Drips -- 16, 16, Six [myspace page]


I spent a good long while looking at myself in the mirror last night after I got home from Emo's, safely delivered by a much-less polluted Pinkie (thanks, dollface!). Please don't think I was lost in drunken ruminations. I looked at myself for a good long while and thought, "Yes, you have arrived." And I welcomed myself to the rest of my life. I'm officially thirty, and I'm (still kinda) hungover. (Oh yes, and! Giant Drag was fantastic, even if their set was too short. Additionally, thanks to everyone who came out and made my birthday a fantastic day!)

In other news: I would like to become an Art Brut franchise, please. Also, this is exactly the kind of music journalism I universally cannot stand -- the "painfully obscure top 10 list of which you, the reader, might recognize 20% of the obscure and forgotten artists or songs discussed" -- in case you were wondering. It was like when one of my co-workers was complaining in a meeting about all his "issues" with the _________ that we have here at _________. He rambled for about five minutes until I finally was like, "Dude, WHO CARES?" (Yes, I actually said that, quel professional, huh? I was just so sick of his whining.) Features like the one linked above evoke the same kind of reaction from me. Then again, I'm sure that I've been guilty of wallowing in equally dull esoterica from time to time.

You know, like my pursuit of fantastically good and amusingly bad remixes. Or something like that.

Interpol -- Evil (Josh Patrick Evil Dub)

25 May 2006

Happy birthday to emphatic hollering, deadly irony, 3-ish chords, melodic basslines, and ... ME! The legacy of the Sex Pistols and I, we're almost the same age, apparently. Punk begat "Me Bleak Industrial Town" music (ah, more Mancuians!) approx. 30 years ago, starting with The Buzzcocks. In addition, future members of Joy Division, The Fall, and a young man named Steven Patrick Morrissey were all there too, according to one of my favorite music writers/tastemakers/persons of interest, Paul Morley -- who just also happened to be there as well.

Sex Pistols -- Pretty Vacant
The Buzzcocks -- I Don't Mind
Joy Division -- She's Lost Control
The Fall -- Victoria
The Smiths -- There Is A Light That Never Goes Out


Meanwhile, in case you think we're being too UK-centric, Jeffrey Lewis fills you in on how this all actually all began on the Lower East Side of our beloved NYC, starting with Harry Smith and all his records and ending with Malcolm McLaren's pre-Sex Pistols proteges, The New York Dolls, in "The History of Punk on the Lower East Side," a seven-minute didactic anti-folk song (download the mp3 here). It's pure genius.

The last thing the sweet, sweet bartender said last night was "Enjoy your hangover." Oh, how right he was! There was no better way to usher in my 30th birthday than seeing one of my favorite bands at a bear-and-leatherman-friendly gay dive bar and then subjecting various friends and members of the band in question to my favorite shot, the Cowboy Cocksucker (oh yes, really!). It was fantastic, all of it.

24 May 2006

We've sold out an eensy-weensy bit. Yes, it's true, we're contributing to the weekly blog charts at thetripwire.com. We sure are flattered they asked us to contribute; here's hoping we can skew the results a little with our contrary opinions.

That being said, how about a Franz Ferdinand remix? Oh, come on -- a Lindstrom remix? It's interesting, I burned out on You Could Have It So Much Better With ... Franz Ferdinand so early after its release, but the continuous stream of remixes keep pumping life into those stale songs, so that it's kind of a pleasure to rediscover them a few months later (see also Feb 21, 2006 and Jan 27, 2006) and hold impromptu living room dance parties with yourself at 7am with a cup of coffee and your yogurt. Which is what may or may not have happened in my little loft apartment this morning.

Franz Ferdinand -- I'm Your Villain (Lindstrom Extended Mix)

Speaking of Franz Ferdinand, I'm going to do the utterly unprescedented and recommend another baby band I stumbled across the other day -- Toronto's Tin Bangs. They're wonderfully derivative in the most sharply perfect way, sounding like a cross between Franz Ferdinand and Interpol -- you know, big, big hooks and melodic basslines? Oh yes! (They're vaguely reminiscent of Dallas pals The Hourly Radio, actually...)

Anyway, we can't speak for The Tin Bangs' live shows, obvs., but based on message board comments and the pictures -- sounds like a darn good time. Their debut EP, Heavy-Handed Darling came out a few weeks ago, and well, yes, it's true. I kind of can't stop listening to it.

Tin Bangs -- He's So Pretty
Tin Bangs -- The Skinny


(There's more goodness at the Tin Bangs MySpace page, natch!)

And, here's three from the ladies, on the themes of love, loss, trust, and crappy boyfriends -- just because...

This cover is approx. as old as I am. Mock me if you must for loving Olivia Newton-John -- I can't hear you at all, I'm over here watching Xanadu for the hundreth time.

Olivia Newton-John -- Jolene

We're glad to hear via our secret sources who are in direct communication with the band that the new F-O Machete album is coming along wonderfully and the proposed album art sure is pretty! They're touring various UK areas this summer. Also, the band's "log" (NOT blog) is about the best thing ever, especially Nashii's entries.

Fuck-Off Machete -- Fall In Trust

The Long Blondes' songs are the best paeans to bad relationships that you can't quite extricate yourself from -- seriously. They have a few dates this week on the NME New Music Tour and will be touring the UK and The Continent all summer.

The Long Blondes -- Weekend Without Makeup

In other news, I will be seeing Cue and Benko and Oh, Beast! at the Chain Drive tonight. Let the birthday festivities begin, early -- with leathermen and indie rock! [ETA! NO BENKO, Graham is in Cannes with the Scanner Darkly crew. D00d!!]

23 May 2006

Some days are easier than others. This is not one of the easy ones. Chalk it up to a pre-birthday funk, I guess.

Barbara Manning -- Isn't Lonely Lovely?

Strangely appropriate given my mood: PopMatters profiles Harry Nilsson. The first half is a little clunky, but the microscopic analysis in the second half is right on -- even if the piece kind of trundles awkwardly to a strange conclusion. But, you know, worth reading if you're confused about my (or anyone else's -- get ready for that Walkmen tribute to Pussycats) Nilsson fixation. I was also surprised that the piece kinda just glossed over Nilsson's Randy Newman thing; sometimes I think that Nilsson Sings Newman is my favorite of his albums, maybe even more of a favorite than The Point, which is saying a lot, actually.

Harry Nilsson -- I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City (repost)
Harry Nilsson -- Love Story

Speaking of epic pop music, The Twilight Singers' Powder Burns is worming its way further into my affections this week. Not to be trite, but it really is one of those albums that totally unfurls like a flower upon repeated listening. This is Greg Dulli's naked male pain drenched in gorgeous and lush (but unfussy) production and it's the best Twilight Singers album yet -- and I loved the previous three ("Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair," below, is from She Loves You). The heavy burden of his loss and sorrow is palpable in every song, but this is no mere collection of elegiac tributes to New Orleans or his decade-long drug habit or the memory of his friend Ted Demme -- underneath all those layers of angry, distorted sound, there's hope. Of a sort.

The Twilight Singers -- Forty Dollars (repost)
The Twilight Singers -- Underneath The Waves
The Twilight Singers -- Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair


Random complaint: I hate pieces like Jon Fine's rant about "editor-rock" -- it just seems cheap and kind of mean to post something so snarky and clearly not well-thought out. It's the kind of off-the-cuff writing that's defended more and more as blogging gains wider influence. I'm of the opinion that just because you can dash something off and post it immediately and edit it later, that doesn't give you license to shoot your mouth off.

Oh, and! There's two new songs at The Dears' MySpace page.

And, I have a mighty crush on Mancunian (I adore being able to use that appellation) up-and-comers The Whip. I thought maybe that my obsession with 80's-flavored synth/angular guitar/spanky bass dance punk was on the wane, but I guess not... Dance, my darlings! Dance!

The Whip -- Trash

22 May 2006

If I could love, I would love you all... Once upon a time, a very long time ago (okay, early 2002), I was seeing this guy in NYC who took me to an installment of Abby Ehmann's Kitsch Inn, which was one of those notorious drag/fetish night parties that seem to be pretty much the bailiwick of the one and only Motherfucker the days. Anyway, it was one of those "Far West Texas girl in the big city" moments -- there were so many pretty, pretty people and the music was so good -- that's it's all kind of a blur in my memory. (And no, it's not because I was wasted or anything, my memory really is that bad!) Anyway, I admit, I was also totally starstruck by the appearance of so many NYC scene fixtures there, including the fabulous Justin Bond -- aka Kiki, of Kiki and Herb.

Kiki and Herb are the crazed cabaret performer alter-egos of the aforementioned drag diva extraordinaire Justin Bond and badass pianist and er, straight (but not, you know, heterosexual) man Kenny Mellman; there's just no way to really describe their shtick well before you hear the mp3s below, this bio might help in addition these YouTube clips. This is punk rock drag cabaret kids, and it's grand.

Bond and Mellman perform solo and in other assorted projects; as a duo, they still perform as Kiki and Herb sporadically -- apparently they played two "secret" shows at Joe's Pub (home of the most annoying two drink minimum EVER) earlier this month.

Bond and Mellman had a nice run Off-Broadway with Kiki and Herb: Coup de Theatre in 2003 that led to a one-night stand at Carnegie Hall that is immortalized in the live album Kiki and Herb Would Die for You. This all has a point, really, I swear -- 'cause over the weekend, I finally got my hands on a copy of this album.

A typical Kiki and Herb show features renditions of everything from traditional cabaret numbers, to rap and indie rock and New Wave, and everything in between. On their Christmas album released in 2000, Do You Hear What We Hear, there's a fantastic version of Belle and Sebastian's "Fox In The Snow" as well as Radiohead's "Exit Music (for a Film)." The live album contains Herb's version of The Decemberists' "I Was Meant For The Stage" during one of Kiki's costume changes that then transitions into a seriously demented version of The Mountain Goats' "No Children." (I love that there's a hysterical scream from one or two audience members that recognized the latter; if I'd been there, I probably would have freaked out as well.)

Kiki and Herb -- I Was Meant For The Stage
Kiki and Herb -- No Children
Kiki and Herb -- Running Up That Hill


(There's even more bizarre goodness at the Kiki and Herb MySpace page, natch.)

In other news, Pinkie and I did a lot of sewing this weekend -- yes, that's right, sewing (you knew we were crafty, right?). This song's for her, because she managed to get the chorus stuck in her head just from my feeble rendition -- I guess that's one of the things to love about Avenue D. Or something. (Please note that this songs is, well, NSFW -- to say the least).

Avenue D -- Stick It In!!! (Punx Soundcheck Remix)

Due to a scheduling snafu (and all that sewing), it was with heavy hearts that we discovered that we not only missed the "secret" Voxtrot gig at the KOOP Prom but also The Arm show last night. But this was the kind of weekend for staying in, given that, yes, ladies and gents, this week is my birthday week! Yours truly is turning 30 Thursday and we're so, so glad Giant Drag will be in town (as will Glass Candy, at Beerland), so there might be some show-hopping to be had that night, not to mention some raucous goodness at Tuesday's Elefant show. (Oh, and! Watch out west coast, our dear Voxtrot is heading your way in the company of Elefant -- it's like the sweetness vs. darkness bill. Keen!)

BTW, if you're on TagWorld, you simply must vote for Captain Ahab's "Snakes on the Brain" in the Snakes on a Plane soundtrack contest! Today's the last day. Ok? Ok!

ETA: The new Kill Rock Stars video podcast with The Gossip is totally, totally rad.

19 May 2006

Blame Kathryn, clearly. So, I went to read Mike Atkinson's articles on the Eurovision Song Contest for Slate on the advice of Kathryn, and ended up at his blog, and discovered Iceland's amazing entrant, Silvia Night. Now, for someone who loves camp-with-a-capital-C Camp as much as I do, well, hell -- "Congratulations" is a carnivalesque dream come true. No mere mp3 would do here, you have to watch the video! This, my friends, is about as close to perfection as trash pop gets. Seriously. (N.B. -- It's so meta, she's exhorting the voters to chose her by celebrating her victory in advance. Brilliant!) [ETA: Apparently, she didn't make it into the final, though and caused quite a stir with the media who didn't realize her histrionics were all part of the joke.]

I keep forgetting to put mascara on. Seriously, this is like, the third day in a row that I've forgotten to apply mascara to my lashes as part of my morning makeup application routine.

I swear, I never thought this space would turn into a place for me to vent my frustrations about what's currently hot and happening in the music blog space, but it has -- so there you go.

Case in point, the new Nouvelle Vague album, Bande A Part (cute title, nice reference...) is beyond disappointing, but a look at the number of tracks posted in mp3 blogs lately from the Hype Machine indicates that I'm possibly alone in thinking this. I think I read about the first Nouvelle Vague release in an issue of Fader sometime in late 2004/early 2005 (I think) and went through great lengths to track down a copy stateside (I ended up finiding it on a bittorrent site and later encountered a copy on a friend's coffee table in London). About half the album is listenable; "Guns of Brixton," "Friday Night, Saturday Morning," and "Making Plans For Nigel" are exemplary, mostly because the bossa nova-ification of the tracks wasn't too far off from the tone of the originals. A few too many of the selections just sort of crumble under the belabored arrangements, though -- which is unfortunate -- who wouldn't want to hear blasé chanteuses interpret more obscure New Wave classics from the likes of Tuxedomoon, Visage, Blancmange, and Heaven 17? Despite the appearance of songs by the latter three on the group's latest effort, there's even more missteps. I think the main problem is that too many songs are directed in the cabaret style, and when combined with the now-flat gimick of the bossa nova-tinged arrangements of the rest of the tracks, the album is just rendered into an incoherent mess that leads me to suggest that you just download the versions of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" and "The Killing Moon" (which again, are successful because the arrangements are pretty faithful to the originals) and skip the rest (especially the overblown "Heart of Glass" and "Blue Monday" and "Fade to Grey" and the particularly horrific "Dancing With Myself").

In other news, I wish I had a satellite or something so I could watch the Eurovision Song Contest, which despite its complete cheezeball factor is still going strong after 51 (yes, that's right) years. (Past winning performers you may have heard of include France Gall, Sandie Shaw, Katrina and the Waves, Michael Ball, and uh, ABBA. Oh, and Celine Dion performed the winning song for um, Switzerland in 1988 -- just another facet of the wonderful and weird politics of the event...)

And hey, look! Tacks the Boy Disaster, one of the many members of the happy Tonewheel Collective crowd, is on Fluxblog today. And apparently, I missed quite a time at the Tonewheel happy hour last night...

You know what I saw at Target the other day? The Wolfmother CD! I'm amazed sometimes at how out-of-the-loop I can be when a blogger band crosses over into more mainstream markets.

Wolfmother -- Mother (MSTRKRFT remix)

All that tambourine and cowbell in that remix reminds me that I totally need to remind you that No Wave legends E.S.G. have a new album out on Soul Jazz later this summer. Here's two tracks that immediately snagged my attention:

E.S.G. -- Insane (tambourine mix)
E.S.G. -- Everything Goes


And one random one for good measure: I read about Fox'N'Wolf on Fluxblog (natch!), and I'm smitten; here's a nice Todd Terje remix of Snuten's "Wild and Free," now known as "Claws Against Knives" and features Fox'n'Wolf (or Fox, mostly, and her amazing 80's bitchy Latin Freestyle-esque voice), to cap the thumpy dance party we have going on here today.

Snuten (feat. Fox'n'Wolf) -- "Claws Against Knives" (Todd Terje Remix) [20 Jazz Funk Greats hosts the original version.]

18 May 2006

Adorableness fucking squared. TRGAW pal & sassy sharkskin suit owner Miguel Hinojosa interviews uh, TRGAW pal & Voxtrot frontman Ramesh Srivastava for Austinist. (Thx to La Karen Meow Meow for the heads-up!)

Excerpt:

Do you think music should affect the head, the heart or the body?

(whispers) All three.

Why does love die?

Well, Miguel, I wish I knew why love dies. There [must] be examples of actual, lasting love. I'm not sure at what point it transforms from love into ... necessity. Just like, "Oh, maybe if we stick it out long enough? It would be stupid to just give it up." I don't know. Maybe if it's based on superficial elements, then that's why it dies. Maybe not even obviously superficial [things], but [those] that end up [being] superficial.
Oh darlings, no. Just no. We don't go to the Austin City Limits Festival. We've avoided it these three (or is it four?) years past, as one of us (that would have been me, actually) lived on the edge of the Zilker Park area. Seriously, living 1/2 a mile from a giant music festival will really sour you on the whole experience, especially when you're not thrilled about it to begin with. On the other hand, I did see Broken Social Scene, Neko Case, and The Shins at off-festival shows over the years, and I listened to Wilco and Elvis Costello and The Pixies in the parking lot of my apartments, so that was kind of neat (and based on the feedback of friends, I had just as good a view of the stage as they did, apparently...).

Heck, we're so anti-ACL we even fled the entire city last year because two of our favorite bands were incongruously playing a Tulsa dancehall (wood floors, chandeliers, classy!), and that seemed much more appealing -- and it was, save that awful, awful hotel room in Ft Worth. (And the fact that we missed M83 for the fifteenth time.)

Honestly, outside of the Raconteurs and Goldfrapp and The Stills, we've seen everyone we'd want to see at SXSW or other shows this year. Why stand around in sketchy weather (Ultra-hot? Rain? There's been both in past years...) with a bunch of people who think music festivals are a fun time? Seriously, like, NO WAY.

But that's not to say we won't try and pull a million strings and call in favors to book an off-festival show: Okkervil River, The Long Winters, Ted Leo/RX, Milwaukee, Sparta, I<3YBICD, and The Black Angels seem like they could be conned into something. Maybe? We probably don't have enough pull to score Editors, Goldfrapp, Feist, Stars, The 'Nups, The Shins, Calexico, The Stills, The Secret Machines, or Phoenix though. Which is unfortunate. We are only human, you know. We'll keep you posted, naturally -- even if it's just John Roderick playing a borrowed acoustic guitar in our driveway or something.

Moving on... For some reason, this morning in the shower, I thought: Today is totally Joan Baez day. Totally. Maybe because I'm sick of people complaining about how the new Walkmen album is too Bob Dylan-y. Here's tonic to that, if not beneficial to you -- it at least makes me feel better. (Oh, and the new Walkmen record is not too Bob Dylan-y.)

Joan Baez -- De Colores
Joan Baez -- La Llorona
Joan Baez -- The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
Joan Baez -- Wildwood Flower
Joan Baez -- Long Black Veil
Joan Baez -- Go 'Way From My Window


Oh, and speaking of Goldfrapp, I haven't posted a remix in a week or two...

Goldfrapp -- Fly Me Away (Ladytron Remix)


I also wanted to post "Satin Chic (Bombay Mix by The Shortwave Set)," which is a really interesting way down-tempo Kurt Weill-ian cabaret stomp, but Fluxblog beat me to it (probably while I was speeding down I-10).

17 May 2006

Oh, this is really embarassing. Or not. I sure do like that Editors cover of Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere," which is one of my super-secret favorite songs. It especially makes me miss my friend Rachel's renditions of Talking Heads tunes on her uke. She's moved to France, though. Maybe I can get her to record some for me...
I'm back! I'm back! So sing to raise the blind up... Yes, 1200-ish miles, two dance recitals, a graduation, a Mother's Day luncheon, and one new phone later, I have returned from the wilds of Far West Texas. I had a really wonderful time in El Paso -- here's a big shout-out to my mom for finishing her bachelor's degree and a huge congrats on being accepted to the writing and rhetoric Ph.D program! My sister's dance recitals were grand -- the theme was, ironically enough, "New York, New York," which made me a little sentimental, naturally. It was really nice to see my family and friends and hold new babies and generally enjoy the lovely non-humid sunny weather. (And oh yeah, I've lost everyone's phone number, so I'm gonna have gobs of fun updating my phone book...)

I love the I-10 drive, especially as, being a huge, huge nerd for The Mountain Goats, I get to play the All Hail West Texas game. What's that you ask? Well, when you're heading west, when you see the sign for Toyahvale, start playing All Hail West Texas (alternatively, if you're going east, start playing the album around the time you start seeing signs for Toyah -- not Toyahvale). If you're obeying the speed limit (within about 5 mph or so...), by the time "Jeff Davis County Blues" comes on, you will be in Jeff Davis County, home of the evil I-10/I-20 split, and currently the site of some gnarly construction that made that whole stretch of the drive even more scary than usual. (I've nearly been flattened by semis flying off that interchange more times than I care to admit...) And, oh bother -- I don't have the song with me to post and I took all my CDs out of the car -- typical me after a road trip, I'm a little fried today.

So, you know how it is in the world of music bloggers -- here's my big question: Have I missed the latest next big thing? I'd hate to be behind after a few days of being away. (Please read this with a big dose of sarcasm, which never comes through via text...!)

In other news, I was one of the contributors to the Visceral Song Moments feature over at goodhodgkins.com -- I'm sure my selections won't surprise regular readers in the slightest! Additionally, I Guess I'm Floating listed this blog in their feature on blogs with named for songs or albums. So, here's a big howdy to new visitors following those links!

Some items that have been in heavy rotation lately...

Sambassadeur -- Think Nothing Of It
We've posted about Sambassadeur before; their new EP, Costal Affairs, cements their position as one of the best "shoejangle" bands (a term coined by Ryan at goodhodgkins.com) -- I'd apply this moniker to the latest from Phoenix and Voxtrot as well. Sambassadeur sounds as if they've totally eaten New Order for breakfast and The Bats for lunch (esp. with the appearance of the cover of "Claudine") on the entire EP; I really like that. (More Costal Affairs tracks are at GoodHodgkins, Indie Don't Dance, and Plague of Angels.)

The Pipettes -- ABC

We've also posted about The Pipettes before; and despite my angst over hyping a pre-fab indie band constructed to be a postmodern Ronettes, I just can't stop listening to them -- especially this charming track about trying to get a preoccupied boy's attention. After a string of charming singles and EPs, their debut album, We Are The Pipettes, is due out July 3rd in the UK.

The Long Winters -- Pushover
(right-click & save as)

Let's just say I'm waiting on tenterhooks for my advance copy of putting the days to bed, which looks as it may never arrive and I may have to wait until the July 25 release date to hear the rest of what promises to be the best Long Winters album yet. We've stuck by Mr. Roderick and the various incarnations of his band through thick and thin over the years, and it's been worth it to see him finally gaining wider notice. (Don't make us remind y'all about how we were there the first time he played "The Commander Thinks Aloud" at that in-store at 33 Degrees @ SXSW 2003 2004 after we demanded he play a new song... Those were the days, kids. Oh yes.)

11 May 2006

I hate the hard upsell. I really do. So, I'll be out of town for a few days starting tomorrow; I may update from the road, but if I don't, now, don't freak out or anything.
But music can save your life sometimes. It probably saved me from working in a bank or something. That's a kind of salvation right there. // Richard Thompson
Hot Chip -- Laws of Salvation
Blur -- Tender
Richard & Linda Thompson -- I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
(repost)

I have something to confess: I'm afraid I just don't care for Gnarls Barkley; or rather, it's not that I hate the project, it's that it just doesn't move me. (Does this make me racist? I kid, I kid. Sort of.) Seriously, though -- I've been thinking on this for months, pretty much since the online buzz started. "Crazy" is an interesting song, but ultimately devoid of that which it purports to be full of -- soul. For some reason, the part of my brain that loves classic R'n'B and soul (Irma. Thomas. Forever.) shrivels up and rejects Gnarls Barkley. It's a very strange feeling, and I can't explain it, other than that it's just too perfect. Yes, that's right. Cee-lo Green's voice is the perfect point between Nina Simone and Al Green; and Danger Mouse's beats have always seemed sort of mathematically perfect to me; which is to say they don't feel organic -- if that's the right term. I always thought his Grey Album was an interesting project, and his production with Gorillaz is neat, but both ultimately fell flat over the long run for me because of that lack of spontaneousness and yeah -- I'll say it -- funk. Which yes, is kind of the key to that missing soulfulness. But how can you tell Brian Burton not to be perfect, as well as weirdly anonymous (sometimes I wonder if he's a fan of Jerzy Kosiński's Pinball; I mean, he loves the 13th Floor Elevators and Morricone, so maybe, right?)? You can't, really. And we wouldn't want him that way either. So I'll just appreciate Gnarls Barkley, but I can't love it.

Then again, I have the same problem with a little indie power pop outfit called Irving, who also seem to be missing one key thing that would make them power pop perfection (a la Sloan or Teenage Fanclub or Matthew Sweet), but it's just not there. Mr. Perpetua and I usually agree on things, but I can't share his enthusiasm for Irving. Sure, we could talk influences, and execution, but in the end, it's that near-mechanical songwriting and execution (you know, OK GO and We Are Scientists and Phantom Planet kind of succumbed to this as well: Boring Power Pop Syndrome, as popularized by The Posies. Zzzzz.) that ends up sucking the life out of a genre that's supposed to be a little bit scrappy and messy and adorable. Isn't it?

Then again, you could just argue that that's what good pop music has become in the digital age. Perfectly cranked-out and sterile beats, perfectly filtered vocals. But you know, it's never that simple. I mean, how exactly do you live with yourself after writing these paragraphs and then have a sudden desire to listen to Girls Aloud? Well, you're screwed, I'll tell you that much. Maybe I'll listen to The Carpenters instead. Will it help if I go AM gold and analog? Wait, don't answer that.

Girls Aloud -- The Show
The Carpenters -- Superstar


Anyway, this is not to say that a band that performs like a well-oiled machine isn't a joy and a pleasure to watch; I enjoy the stark precision of Interpol as much as I do the unpredictable shambles of a band like Okkervil River or The Wrens.

Interpol -- NYC (repost)
Okkervil River -- Okkervil River Song (live at Emo's)
The Wrens -- Everyone Chooses Sides (live on WOXY)


So wow, I've totally argued myself back around to the beginning of my thought process, which means this post was apparently a written for the sole purpose of linking to that definitive Slate article that should really shut the door on the utterly ridiculous Stephen Merritt IS A RACIST! debacle. Clearly. Oh, and I forgot to post a Sloan song. Oops.

Sloan -- Losing California

ps -- I finally got that Celebration interview uploaded and Pinkie provided the text.

10 May 2006

U-N-C-O-N-D-I-T-I-O-N-A-L L-U-V-E. From around the blogs today and earlier this week:

The best post at Said the Gramophone. Ever. Little kids rapping paired with Okkervil River (featuring Daniel Johnston). Need I say more?

"WICKED GOTHIC shizz" (read: Bauhaus/Love & Rockets/Peter Murphy solo) at Sugartown.

Polloxniner has new goodness from The Rapture.

The new Lansing-Dreiden album, The Dividing Island, is phenominal. Get tracks at Badminton Stamps and Silence is a Rhythm Too.

Cory Brown has the best taste ever, and no he didn't pay me to say that! (Yes, that's totally a reference to the interminable debates re: label influence on bloggers raging on elbo.ws...) Check out the lastest additions to the Absolutely Kosher family, Sunset Rubdown (talented AND cute!!), at Gorilla vs. Bear.

Plus: Recent Austin transplant, (smog)'s Bill Callahan, likes Shearwater and Weird Weeds. We like them too. Speaking of, everyone picked up a copy of Shearwater's Palo Santo yesterday, right? RIGHT? Okay, good.
Nice try, anonymous. After an initial period of peevishness, I'm actually kind of proud that I started a kerfuffle yesterday. I'll admit, that entry wasn't one of my best-thought out posts, but I still stand by what I wrote. And I'll continue to cut through the bullshit when I see it, as I see fit. I'm not the kind to backpedal or apologize for having opinions, especially contrary ones.

Now we've got that out of the way, here's another item of business that I've been meaning to write about for the past few days: My availability as a freelance writer. As some of you may know, I'm in the process of relocating to NYC (Pinkie's coming too, of course -- BFFs have to stick together, you know!) and I need to augment the income from my day job to make that a reality. I could put up a tip jar here, but that feels slightly tacky, especially as I don't host ads and my server space is donated by a very generous pal.

What I'd really like to do is branch out and get some good solid bylines (under my real name or pseudonymously) over the next few months. For the record, I have 7 years of online editorial experience at an award-winning business information website (where I've covered a myriad of industries including real estate, venture capital, healthcare, and video games) and though I have yet to be paid for it, I have two years' experience writing about music, film, and other cultural products on this blog and a few others -- most notably depravedfangirls.org and SXSW preview blog See You In The Pit. I don't know how kosher this is, letting ya'll know that I'm available, but there you are, I am so available. (Of course, I'm also pitching stuff and working connections and generally hustling right now, but it can't hurt to let people know what I can do, right?) Clippings from all of the above can be sent upon request; serious enquiries only please. As always, you can contact me via elegantfaker AT gmail DOT com.

With that business out of the way, I can get on to what we all want to hear: Some fine, fine music. The Walkmen's A Hundred Miles Off made it into my hands earlier this week, and it's really hard not to lapse into severe gushing. What I will say is that the album is really highly rhythmic, which is very much in the mode of what I want to listen to right now -- there's sleigh bells and handclaps and delicious hollerin' all over the place. It's currently permanently installed in my car; I'm particularly enamored of "Emma, Get Me A Lemon," which rather unapologetically references one of the high points of Brian Eno's ouevre. (Which, you know, is quite different from a wholesale gank of someone's artistic M.O., as discussed yesterday. *ahem*) Oh, and -- if you hadn't noticed by now that lead singer Hamilton Leithauser's voice (as Pinkie sagely noted the other day) sounds like Bob Dylan and Rod Stewart in a blender, well ... even though you're way smart, we totally can't help you, baby.

The Walkmen -- Emma, Get Me A Lemon

And really, who doesn't love a good kiss-off song?

The Walkmen -- Brandy Alexander

Changing gears entirely, but hearkening back to my Sesame Street fixation last week -- do you remember the TV show The Tomorrow People? It originally ran in the UK in the 70's and Nickelodeon it in the 80's, which is where I remember watching it and loving every minute of it. (There was also a remake in the mid-90's, but it wasn't nearly as good) Anyway, the show was totally cheezy and involved kids who were the next stage of human evolution and their crazy psychic powers. The best part, though, in my memory, was the soundtrack, which I now know was created by BBC Radiophonic Workshop members (and badass electronic music pioneers) Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson (under the pseudonyms "Li De La Russe" and "Nikki St George," respectively), as well as Dudley Simpson (who also worked on Doctor Who and Blake's 7) and David Vorhaus (who was part of The White Noise with Derbyshire and Hodgson). All the music they created for the show was divine (it was actually just the entirety of an anonymous recording for the Workshop known as ESL 124), but the theme song (penned by Simpson) is particularly wonderful. (More info is available at the Trunk Records website; the album is available from a number of online stockists, including Boomkat.)

The Tomorrow People Theme

Also, I have decided that you need some jazz, or, more specifically some way funky Finnish (yes, really) post-modern jazz that you can dance to, courtesy of The Five Corners Quintet.

The Five Corners Quintet -- Trading Eights

Oh, and after all that blather about influences and Spoon nd what have you yesterday, it occurs to me that clearly Squeeze was involved in there somewhere. Maybe?

Squeeze -- Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)

09 May 2006

We could be underground. Another busy day, another late, late offering. I had a post planned for today about various up-and-coming Austin bands that will have to wait for another day and I'll have to shove my thoughts on the Art Brut/Robot Kraus/Birdmonster show into bitty entry later this afternoon (or possibly just over on DFG later) because right now I really need something off my chest.

I heard The Little Ones for the first time yesterday, and was shocked that they're generating hype by aping moves perfected by The Shins (and, to a certain extent Of Montreal). It then occurred to me that most baby bands, when they're first starting out, generally sound appallingly like their major influences. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and part of pop music's evolutionary process. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), due to MySpace and mp3 blogs and aggressive online marketing, we're being subjected daily to an onslaught of baby bands that we might not have otherwise heard before they faded into oblivion. As it is, The Little Ones aren't necessarily a bad band, they're just not quite ready for a wide audience yet. Or, maybe more specifically, they're missing that one thing that separates the wheat from the chaff -- something unique and distinctive hiding between that blatant adoration.

The Little Ones -- Cha Cha Cha
(via I Guess I'm Floating)
The Little Ones -- High On A Hill (via I Guess I'm Floating)


And so while Pinkie and I went on our evening perambluation last night before parting ways to get pretty for the show later on, I was blustering with a hyperkinetic thought stream surrounding the state of art, in this case music, in the age of digital reproduction (with apologies to Walter Benjamin, natch). And of course, as I do, I used Spoon as an example.

Now, don't get me wrong, I adore Spoon. Absolutely adore them; Girls Can Tell and Kill the Moonlight hold very special places in my heart. Plus, living in Austin as long as I have, I've been lucky to be able to observe the band's development over the past ten years (I'm trying not to feel woozy and old as I mention that). As such, they've become the band-in-a-test tube upon which I can exercise a lot of my ideas about the development of cultural product in the early 21st century (yes, I totally just said that).

See, once upon a time, even Spoon was a baby band who wore their influences plainly on their sleeves. Listen to Telephono now, and even though it's still a solid record, it's so clearly heavily influenced by The Pixies, which something that was observed by reviewers at the time. Then there was the Wire phase and the John Lennon phase and ... In short, Spoon tried on a lot of hats before they arrived at the "Spoon sound" that we know and love today. But the thing was, unlike with a lot of baby bands getting overhyped these days, even on Telephono there were strong indicators of that original sound. And now, ten years later, Spoon's gone from being emulators to being the emulated.

Spoon -- All The Negatives Have Been Destroyed
Spoon -- Chips & Dip
Spoon -- Lines In The Suit


(And we have more Spoon here and here, if you're interested.)

When I heard The Robbers on High Street for the first time last year, I thought I might be hearing some sort of long-lost collection of Girls Can Tell-era b-sides. It was weird, and disconcerting, and ultimately I never listened to them again, really. But it was mostly because their songs just didn't grab me -- there's more than a glimmer of originality there, it just falls flat with me.

Robbers on High Street -- Japanese Girls


Which brings me to Hockey Night. Now, I listened to a number of Hockey Night songs today -- from their first album and some new demos -- because I saw a dude wearing a Hockey Night shirt on Saturday and realized that though I'd heard of the band, I'd never heard them. Well, suffice it to say that it was just a horrifically frustrating experience, but neatly dovetailed with my dissection of Spoon's development. See, as I listened to Hockey Night's songs, I felt like I was listening to my neighbor's band cover cast-off Spoon songs with the sharp, interesting edges shaved off and a huge injection of mediocrity used to replace them. And my first thought was: I don't need to hear this band. I didn't ever need to hear this band. The best, or worst, of their offerings, depending on your point of view, are following:

Hockey Night -- Dark Trances (Psychic Lightning) (via You Ain't No Picasso)
Hockey Night -- Save the Clock Tower (via You Ain't No Picasso)

As with The Little Ones' limited ouevre, there's no adventure here, nothing special -- Hockey Night is ripping off Spoon, and badly. And I kind of think that both bands are being done a disservice by the fawning adoration of a handful of music bloggers who aren't calling a spade a spade. Both bands need to find their own sound -- which they could, if they worked on it -- but I can't help but think that won't happen if they're heaped with adulations before they're deserved.

So that's that, really. And please don't make me listen to Hockey Night again, okay? Okay.

08 May 2006

There are no pan-Asian supermarkets down in hell. Wow, today's just completely gotten away from me. And then Firefox crashed and I lost a fantastic post that will have to wait until tomorrow.

I'm seeing Art Brut and blogger favorite Birdmonster tonight. Excited about the former, dreading the latter -- I intentionally avoided them during SXSW, that's how uninterested I am. So, should make for an interesting full report tomorrow, huh?

Art Brut -- Good Weekend (repost)
Art Brut -- Rusted Guns of Milan


Seen out and about this weekend at the John Vanderslice/Laura Veirs/Minus Story show: Mrs. Gerard Cosloy (nee Sally Crewe) escorted by the always dapper Mr. Jim Eno (of Spoon), sound dude extraordinare & man about town Jeff Byrd (who was in the company of long-lost TRGAW housemate Glamourous Glynis...), Shearwater percussion master Thor Harris, and former Silver Scooter Scott Garred -- among others! (BTW, the cupcakes were a hit! I wish I'd thought to take a picture.)

My mom writes about my grandfather getting older and his music collection on her blog -- it was hard to read, as his grandchild and a music collector.

So, the big question of the day is: Who leaked the fabled and unreleased Mountain Goats album Hail and Farewell, Gothenburg! this weekend? And was it really on the Good Hodgkins site, at least for a little while? Would I get in horrible trouble if I just posted "You're So Vain?" (Answers: Dunno. Yes, apparently. MOST DEFINITELY, SO PLEASE DON'T ASK.)

The Mountain Goats -- Alphonse Mambo

05 May 2006

Last night's insane tornado-generating weather really did a number on my neighborhood. There's a giant tree uprooted and strewn in the middle of my street, and out on the high street, business signs were blown clear off buildings. It looks like something much worse happened than a microburst with steady 75 mph winds. Anyway, due to the weather, I missed out on going to the Tonewheel happy hour at Beerland, Mice and Rifles at Flamingo, and the Crystal Skulls at Emo's. The fact that I missed the latter ended up being mostly fine because they were sandwiched between two acts I don't much care for, and I did see them twice on that Mountain Goats tour last year. I'm sure they'll come around again and play with more interesting people, right?

Do you know what I love most about WFMU? That they dilligently collect bizzaro covers, so I don't have to. You know, like this collection of "Stairway to Heaven" covers. I like the one by the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra best, it is TOTALLY CHEEZY IN THE BEST WAY. The glass harmonica one is pretty rad too -- because glass harmonicas, outside of theremins and pump organs and alto recorders and farfisas and melodicas, are the best instruments ever.

I found this archive of old school hip hop yesterday, and really, could you ask for anything better? (YO CHILL!)

Some random selections from the archive as I rushed out the door this morning -- I've been running late every day this week; I hate it when that happens.

The Mountain Goats -- Cut Yr. Hair (Pavement cover, live, unknown date but pretty old -- sorry for the bad quality)
Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood -- Some Velvet Morning
Goldfrapp -- Number One (Mum remix)


I have a very show-ful weekend: Tonight is Just Guns/Benko/The Normans/Darling New Neighbors at Trophy's, which is the best kind of show because it requires so little effort to walk there from Pinkie's apartment; tomorrow is John Vanderslice (with Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday)/Laura Veirs/Minus Story at Emo's. It will be ultra nice to see JV and the boys (insert orgasmic "BROECKER!" shriek here) and we're making them some cupcakes. I've nowt seen Ms. Veirs and am not the biggest fan but I've been coming around to her lately, and I'm ultra-excited to see Minus Story again, they really blew me away the first time I saw them last year.

Anyway, other than that I don't have any big plans -- I kind of need a haircut and I really need to clean my apartment. Thrills!

04 May 2006

One two three four five, six seven eight nine ten, eleven twelve! You ask, you receive. And then some! I'm filling a request from earlier in the week for Oscar the Grouch and Johnny Cash performing "Nasty Dan" on Sesame Street. (Johnny Trash? Johnny Cash!) It's is another one of my favorites from that fabled The Stars Come Out On Sesame Street album. I'm also including some other songs near and dear to my heart here: Bert "Doin' The Pigeon" (this is a big favorite of my dad's, he does a great rendition of it) and Grover and Madeline Kahn's echo song.

And of course, I had to include some of the songs that were part of the little counting skits -- I still think of the old-timey, banjo-heavy "Ladybugs' Picnic" and The Pointer Sisters' jazzy, funky pinball jam when I hear the number 12 mentioned. Rounding things out, the ear-wormiest of the Sesame Street and Muppet Show songs -- "Mah Na Mah Na," written by Italian film score composer Piero Umiliani (for a soft core porn film, no less!) -- which was recently used in a Dr. Pepper commercial, of all things.

Johnny Cash and Oscar the Grouch -- Nasty Dan
Madeline Kahn and Grover -- Sing After Me
Bert -- Doin' the Pigeon


The Pointer Sisters -- Pinball Number Count
The Ladybugs' Picnic


Mah Na Mah Na (follow this link to a clip of the Muppet Show version.)

(Heck, if you've got lots of time to waste, here's a link to all the YouTube clips of Sesame Street moments.)

03 May 2006

Hang up your chick habit -- hang it up daddy, a girl's not a tonic or pill. Yep, this one's for you. No, no -- not y'all. Y'all are cool. I mean, we're not generally in the habit of calling people out anonymously that often or anything -- if ever, actually -- in hopes that they're reading, so please forgive us. This one goes out as a cautionary tale for the precious Orpheus of Alphabet City. Sorry you were having a bad night, but whatevs, dude. (And hey, sweets, just because we're taking the time to vent doesn't mean we don't still care -- because when you're good, you're an angel. And when you're bad, well...yeah. Hope things are going better for you now, seriously.)

T-Rex -- Dandy In The Underworld

Completely unrelated, yet pertinent: The always amazing and insightful Angels Twenty has April March's cover of "Laisse Tomber Les Filles." He mentions March's English language version "Chick Habit" and France Gall's "Laisse Tomber Les Filles," which I thought y'all might like to hear as well.

April March -- Chick Habit (repost)
France Gall -- Laisse Tomber Les Filles


Oh, and one other thing: I'm madly in love with T.I. and King. Swoonworthy.

From the Vindication! Is! Mine! department: ...Clap Your Hands just isn't that great live, Schreiber says. Now then, RyRy, let's talk about what happened to Franz Ferdinand...
In which it is revealed that I am a sentimental sap. Oh, look what I found on my hard drive! Electronic! I may have mentioned this before, but I was totally into Electronic (that would be the side project of The Smiths' Johnny Marr and New Order's Bernard Sumner) without actually being a fan of The Smiths or New Order at the time. See, growing up in El Paso, it was like, practically normal to like gloomy English pop things (and wear Misfits hoodies) -- and I've never been one to be into what everyone else is into. So when everyone cursed that new supergroup Electronic as not being nearly as good as The Smiths or New Order, I gave them a listen -- you know, because I'm so very contrary like that. And I wasn't disappointed. It's more apparent to me now, but I think what really grabbed me was Mr. Marr's guitar work meshed with the synths brought by Mr. Sumner. And as an added bonus, that over-emotive Morrissey guy wasn't doing the singing! (Yeah, I know -- thought Morrissey was so lame back then! I'll have to write about the night 7 years ago, while browsing for movies at Austin institution I <3 Video, that I decided I actually loved The Smiths, just kind of unprompted and out of the blue. True story!) Anyway, I adored Electronic's self-titled record, and seem to remember completely wearing out at tape that had Electronic on one side and Jesus Jones on the other. Yes, really.

"Getting Away With It" is still a perfect little pop gem -- never has a plaintive meditation on the foibles of love been so danceable. (Of course, it doesn't surprise me now to find out that The Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant co-wrote and sang on the track -- I guess maybe I knew that, but maybe forgot about it.) Also included here is instrumental "Lucky Bag" which is begging to be mashed up with something, but I can't put my finger quite on what.

Electronic -- Getting Away With It (Extended Version)
Electronic -- Lucky Bag


I'm cooking up something special to post later in tribute to my little sister's 18th birthday yesterday. (And don't worry, I'm so posting Johnny Cash and Oscar the Grouch later this week, I promise!)

02 May 2006

Don't think twice, it's all right. An open letter to publicists, managers, bands, etc.: I know we're not all perfect and everyone is prone to error -- but before you send out a press release it would be awesome if you'd proofread the message for grammatical and spelling errors AND maybe remember to put ID tags on the mp3 you've sent or asked me to download and want me to post in my blog along with gushing positive comments.

Because, you know, I downloaded the mp3 you sent me and then, finding the track information missing once it was loaded into iTunes (with the 20+ tracks I downloaded today), I spent about an hour trying to remember from which blog it originated (you know, so as to find out the name of the artist, track, and album in question) before I remembered that it was from you. So yeah, just sayin'. Needless to say, I will not be posting it with mindless gushing positive comments. And, because I'm a nice person, I'll save you some embarassment by not naming names.
It's funny how you can labor under a delusion for years and years before you're set straight. I had a Sesame Street record as a kid -- The Stars Come Out On Sesame Street -- and in my memory, the best song was Oscar the Grouch and Johnny Cash doing "Five Feet High and Rising.' Well, thanks to Ugly Floral Blouse, I now know that it was Biff, not Oscar, and Mr. Cash. After a little digging around, I found that Oscar and Cash did duet, but it was on "Nasty Dan." That song was also on that record; I'm going to try and dig it up now too.

Johnny Cash -- Five Feet High and Rising
Johnny Cash & Biff -- Five Feet High and Rising (via Ugly Floral Blouse)
Johnny Cash -- Wo Ist Zu Hause, Mama? (in German!)

01 May 2006

Baby, don't you even know what's right? So, in commentary to a number of things that happened over the weekend, I wanted to post my signature karaoke tune, Avril Lavigne's "Complicated" -- but all I have with me is a cover by Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, that one that's floated around the internet for years. (In a perfect world, I would go home and record myself doing it, and post that for your listening pleasure torture.) Anyway, I don't mind posting Ben Gibbard's cover because it was recorded at the erstwile Caucus Club (now The Velvet Spade -- or was it Le Privilege then? I can't even remember!) at a solo show thrown for TRGAW/DFG pal and fellow blogger (among other talents...) Jim Minor's birthday -- and I was there. If you listen closely, maybe you can hear me shrieking with glee. (I can't believe it, but this was like, what, FOUR years ago? FIVE?)

Ben Gibbard -- Complicated

This song is still so simple and yeah, affecting. I'm not kidding. Seventeen year old girls have written some of the best pop songs of all time. Which is especially effective because most of the time, in matters of the heart, people act like teenagers. Frustrating.

Bonus:
Billie Ray Martin -- Big Tears and Make Up
Wanda Jackson -- Why I'm Walkin'

In related news, Voxtrot is on the Entertainment Weekly Download This! feature today, and is the NPR Song of the Day (penned by TRGAW secret ally Kathryn Yu). I'm amused at the mention in two wildly different media outlets on the same day...

Additionally, there was a piece on MTV News today about the gas-price-busting Peter and the Wolf tour later this summer. They're going via boat -- no really
 View My Public Stats on MyBlogLog.com