Coming Attractions yet again. These guys will be playing at Schuba’s tomorrow night, which is essentially a flip wedge (golf term) from my apartment.
This is basically a synthesis of every California surf pop/rock act of the last forty years, but dang if it’s not catchy. Formerly called Oregon Bike Trails, this band is the brainchiled of Zach Yudin. His twin brother plays bass. The album is out on Secretly Canadian, which also used to put out Foreign Born albums when they existed, and man, am I bummed that they’re not really a band anymore, but I digress.
If you like this song, or find it sufficiently non-threatening, you’ll probably like the rest of the album. Biggest interesting data point tomorrow will be the set length. The album is about 30 minutes long, and I don’t know what else they have aside from the 10 or so album tracks, so it may be an early night.
Somehow I missed the bus on Pavement. Cut Your Hair was a big hit, which is to say it got played on Alternative Nation all the time when I was in college, but for some reason I never really got into Pavement even though I loved that song. I can only assume it was a combination of irregular airplay on KROQ, limited financial resources, and the lack of the technology to download or listen to stuff for free (aside from the radio), so I had to pick and choose what I actually wanted to listen to, and they never made the cut. Now they strike as one of those bands that I’ll have to work my way into slowly. This always happens when a band has a big back catalog. It’s too much to do at once. I’m working through that process with Superchunk right now.
Somehow about a year ago Range Life got stuck in my head, so I started listening to some Pavement, which made me want to check out Malkmus’ solo material (or whatever you call his stuff with the Jicks), and as it turns out, I really like the last album, Mirror Traffic. It’s got four or five really good songs, including the first two singles, Tigers and Senator. This one is my favorite, and while I think the studio version has a better mix for the lead guitar, I like that the KCRW version is sped up a little bit. The guy has a definite knack for hooks, and it’s always that third, sometimes fourth hook in the combination that really gets me, and this songs kicks them off right from the get go.
First, a quick congratulations to PP on post #400 last week.
So last week’s “Week of Shows” culminated in a festival set from Divine Fits at the Taste of Randolph Festival on Friday night, which actually sounded really good. Briefly ran into Britt Daniel roaming the festival area about a half hour before the show. But now that the “Week of Shows” has come to end, with only little in the way of coming attractions to preview, I’ll open this week with a discussion question: Can we all just agree that this is Spoon’s best song? Feel free to discuss in the comments.
Yesterday was one of my most anticipated days of the year, as it marked the release of the new Eleanor Friedberger album, Personal Record. Her first album, Last Summer, was one of my favorite albums of 2011, and in her live shows supporting that album, she previewed some of the material that would make up the new one, including the two songs posted today. This is, yet again, a coming attractions post. Eleanor will be at the Empty Bottle this Friday, June 7th.
Eleanor’s solo work is irresistibly catchy. It’s basically the poppy songs that the Fiery Furnaces used to produce without all of the weird Matthew Friedberger stuff. She co-wrote most of this album with John Wesley Harding. These are probably the two catchiest songs on the album.
I’ve liked the Fiery Furnaces for a long time, but I went totally into the tank for Eleanor when I saw them in June of 2010 at the Empty Bottle. My brother had flown in that morning from Anchorage for the Angels series at Wrigley Field, and he came to the show with me that night. The Fiery Furnaces hit the stage and played for an hour straight. And I mean straight, as in no breaks, not to say thank you, not to retune, not for applause. It was an hour long medley of about 25 different FF songs, with all of the crazy key and time signature changes that entails, and they didn’t miss a note. It was incredibly impressive. After playing a three song encore, the crowd began clearing out. By the time we made it to the door (which couldn’t have been more than 30 or 45 seconds) Eleanor was already sitting at the merch table. She was really sweet to talk to, and she complimented me on my Super Furry Animals t-shirt. It’s nice to listen to someone make really good music and also know that she’s a really cool person.
Below is the song that was my favorite “new” song from her live shows last year, When I Knew.
Slacker.fm has been loading these guys up on one of my stations, and every time they come on pop out of my office cave and check the spacelab computer that is blaring music for who the artist is, and it has been War On Drugs for three different tracks. This is just a driving driving driving song. A little bit of a Bruce feel without sounding like the Boss, and it is funny there is a slight Kurt Vile here, and this is his band, except he’s not on this album because he’s been doing his solo stuff for awhile. These guys are hard to explain- Tom Petty sound collage with reverb or psychedelic freeway rock pop. This is from their last album, 2011’s Slave Ambient. Live versions brings out the Dylan-isms (also the harmonica). Focus on the sound of the band and if he’s too much live, the vocals are better balanced
These two songs flow into one another so well, that I really didn’t feel like I could post only one. Like Foxygen, this is a band I’d heard a lot of about, but didn’t bother to listen to until they were listed on what appeared to be a lackluster Pitchfork Festival lineup. I’ve been listening to this album about three times a day for the last couple weeks.
I hear Television, Jonathan Richman, Art Brut, Guided By Voices, and hell, probably a few other things on this album as well. As other reviewers have noted, they bring a stoner aesthetic, but you can tell that these guys actually really do care about about what they’re committing to a recording. I’d suggest checking out what is probably their most buzz-worthy track, Stoned and Starving. It’s five minutes of genius on an album where it seems like half the songs fail to break the two minute mark. Really can’t wait to see these guys live.
Tiger T has all the neighborhood children over for turkish delight or some such treats, nor does he/she/it/bird/notplover mind if they trail breadcrumbs throughout the parlor, he’ll/she’ll/it’ll/bird’ll/notplover’ll just sweep them up with a handy broom!
BUT WILL THE BAKED GOOD STAY JUICY? Perhaps they need to stay hydrated with some gatorade.
[a contribution from Kathleen, who is now currently our favorite]
We can all blame Sony for the delay in this SOTD, which I promised Pinko many weeks ago, due to the lack of You Tube video. Sony is hyper-vigilant about Jeff buckley, and everytime I found a decent video to craft a comment around, it was disappeared. So click on the mp3, and just be glad I didn’t embed the 5-minute single standing shot of the American flag as this song played.
So what can we say about The Last Goodbye? The best song on an album of best songs? a seemingly standard End-Of-Relationship rock ballad, that is given true depth by Buckley’s voice. A subtly sad song, but saved from maudlin by the rock music accompaniment. (and this is true, though you’ll have to take my word for it -DAMN YOU SONY – because I listened to a version JB sang on WHFS posted to you tube briefly, where he didn’t have the band backing him, just his guitar, and the song was lacking.)
There’s a lot out there written about Buckley. Pandora says: ‘Buckley’s voice was grand and sweeping, which fit with the mock-operatic grandeur of his Van Morrison-meets-Led Zepplin music.’ I’m not an IMS (tm Amanda Marcotte), and I have never been a LZ fan, so…. but that isn’t how I feel his music. To me, it’s real, and tragic, and hard, and stays in your soul.
I caught the last two or so minutes of the original Cars song on the radio the other night. I’d never heard the original, and I can say I don’t think the versions are coming from the same place. The Red House Painters’ version made a splash on a Gap ad a bunch of years ago. Video is here. Mark Kozalek of the House Painters has a way of making a cover of any song sound like a Red House Painters original, thus awesomely mope-a-dope.
Here’s the orginal Cars, which is not sucky, but is perhaps a weird mix of Tom Petty, Styx and what the Cars would be. Oh, it’s a Dragonball Z amine fanvid, which is incongruous, to say the least.
LOOK AT THE DJ GODCREATURES PERFECTING THEIR ART. Totally cheesedog. First of all, what the hell are they doing? Second of all, awesome. I bet Pop Renaissance watched for HOURS trying to pick up cool DJ moves. Just kidding he would have karate chopped their asses. I used to just trip out so crazy. Actually I didn’t, but it was always funny to hear someone yelling “UTAH SAINTS UTAH SAINTS UTAH SAINTS!!!!!!!” on the radio.
Cynical Welshman Karl Wallinger describes the descent of the world into hell, again probably not thinking how much on the nose he would be. All to some jovial piano thumpery that is like army ants casually and irresistibly destroying everything in their path via a tuneful column of destruction. From 1987’s Private Revolution. Some of you might also remember the second tune, Goodbye Jumbo‘s “Way Down Now,” a great use of two-headed sheep and Sympathy For The Devilish “woo woos.”
Battle of the English androgynous superstars today. I always marvel at the differences in US and UK music. Of course both countries have their own piles of unadulterated crap, but it seems like there is a greater variety of stuff that sees the light of pop chart attention arcoss the pond. Placebo gives us a goth-pop Gattaca inspired video for a song I quite like, while Suede histrionically soundtracks a Prince-like pimp picking up the local butcher-girl in an utterly creepy way. I hadn’t noticed before, but the song sounds like the La’s on steroids and in drag.
Some certifiable chazmonaut claimed that The The were deservedly obscure musically, not just unfortunately so due to their band name that is essentially unsearchable on our modern internet. Just kidding, Clif said that, but he was wrong. This track, circa 1985 or so is interesting due to its prescient picture of the middle east in f***king flames, but more so the American in the sh*t way. This song perhaps was echoing Beirut, or maybe predicting skirmishes with Iran, but it goes beyond that, it places the US right in the thick of something. What it doesn’t get right, is there remains something of satirized American swagger and macho nihlism to the track. I don’t even think a cynical bastard like Matt Johnson could have imagined the US laid so low. He was right about something on the Infected album, whence this track comes, what he thought was the UK truly has become the 51st state of the US of W. Other standouts include the title track and “Slow Train to Dawn,” a Matt Johnson-empty-sex-with-disinterested-loverweak adulterer-duet special with a yet to be in the where-is-she-now-file Neneh Cherry, “Slow Train to Dawn.” “Kingdom of Rain” from Mind Bomb featuring a stunning Sinead O’Connor is that other kind of duet.
Just a quick one, we’ll have more on these guys later. A short lived band, some of which went on to be Trembling Blue Stars. Last Poop Shoot done by the Uncanny featured a Field Mice song and in comments Z-Bag from empire of the senseless recommended a little mix tape of Field Mice tunes. Interestingly, shingles professed a desire for more jangle. Well here it is. This band is all over the map in terms of influences. They are contemporary with the rise of the Stone Roses and the La’s and certainly can be placed with that generation of bands influenced by the Smiths but also experimenting with some even deeper retro stylings, but at the same time some electronics as well. This is more of a place holder Song of the Day, to pay tribute to Z-bag for his kind edumatory comment, and to give Shingles 15 seconds of ringing, jangley goodness. We snagged this one with our free trial at eMusic.
Coach Station Reunion-FIELD MICE (just click the play icon)
Would it be rude if we said that John A. jumps on his toilet just out of the shower and lip syncs this into his hairbrush? We must admit we would do the same. If we had a hairbrush. I know it might be too 80s and fey for some, but the “eatin’ a sandwich beat” and the “da diddly qua qua” get us every emu-loving time. AIF recommends the insanity of “Prince Charming”, but its not so easy a confection as “S and D”.
“I’m the dandy highwayman/so sick of easy fashion”
Wanting to have more freedom after stints in Throwing Muses and co-founding the Breeders with Kim Deal, Tanya Donelly founded Belly and became an MTV fave with “Feed the Tree”. That kind of pigeonholed their successful first album, which really is underrated. I remember a particularly good Homicide:Life on the Street featuring “Full Moon, Empty Heart” from their debut Star. Their followup King did not fare well even though it got the full push, covers of Rolling Stone, probably Spin too. This is the second single, which I thought should be the first, and the video director has the same problem selling the band that everyone else had. They were a really good indie pop band, but they wanted to package Tanya as Cutesy McAdorablepants, and she is that, but it doesn’t really work for this song, where they effectively creep you out with some crazy bod-mod surgery and spooky hospital stuff only to have band shots where Cuddlebuggle Snugglypants is doing a super cute little dance. Anyway, more videos for Seitz. If the Nutter Butter weren’t running Windows 95, he would be all over this video.
Today we are about the Beach Boys. The Beach boys have been cool in indie dork circles for awhile, well very select Beach Boy songs. There is nothing we can say really on top of the millions of words said about the following Sunkist commercial. That’s what this song was when Three Bulls! was growing up, but it was also the number 1 reason why we liked Sunkist. This is the place we wanted to go- somewhere inside this song- for those that hate the Beach Boys, please just listen to the inside of this song. There is so much there. Watch the boys sell the impossible lip sync in this clip, watch poor Carl rock his bass and then sound like an altar boy. Mike Love- (is that Mike Love?) dutifully plays the theremin, who wouldn’t want one of those? Good Vibrations.
This clip is a cover of a traditional Jamaican tune, and everybody knows it, but sometimes people don’t think it is the Beach Boys. I want to point out the irony of this reverse Beatles “Beach Boys visit” England clip, and how forced it is, how soulless and dead-eyed Mike Love looks (that’s how you look when you are soulless and dead eyed). He the cobag in the cap. He’s about as evil as you get, and that being said, I still think his douchey vocals are right for this track. Here we go, Sloop John B.
Surf’s Up- in one of the original recorded versions, from the legendary Smile sessions:
But here is the killer, it needs to grow on you, and this live version doesn’t have the initial hook that the recorded one does, but stick with it because by the end you realize that it is actually amazing, white-bread beach boys and all. This is just crazy, crazy Brian Wilson on piano at his house with an early version of Surf’s Up.
I don’t care that this song references a band or playing an instrument. This song is awesome. Just slick enough production to make it perfect for a Bruckheimer movie or maybe the orgy scene in some CSI episode right before the sexually exploitative snuff film that is the heart of that show, because there is something scuzzy underneath this song, but it is just a mood, the band marches on above it all. Here’s a taste:
another alone on an everyday night
I think in the morning I think I’ll be alright
watching the blood flow
no wonder I dont know why
theres a woman in the mirror in a firey state
she motions to me I start pulling away
she’s lifting her dress up
all the way up
oh don’t look surprised
We’ll add that this video kind of fits. A little bit slick like the production on this 2004 song, but tasteful.
Steven Patrick Morrissey’s power as master of your soul stems from his ability to simultaneously inhabit and eviscerate the characters he portrays. And of course they are characters. Possibly a sociopath, he simply must be mimicking a deeply empathetic ability because the pathetic and sadsack corpses he leaves in his pompadored wake. I love the guy, but at a safe distance. The genius of this particular track is the directness, the forcefulness, the veritable mind-meld between the entire band, almost the entire band including guitar behaving as rythym section, the true lead being Marr’s intro and outro harmonica and Morrissey’s “hand in glove/the sun shines out of our behinds/no it’s not like any other love/this one is different because it’s us.” So true.