Monthly Archive for September, 2006

Heartbreaker – Grand Funk Railroad (+ Contest!!!!!!)

It’s really easy to forget that before Grand Funk became the lame ass band associated with The Loco-motion and even worse efforts in the 1980s, they were actually grand and funky. And bluesy. Heartbreaker was written in 1969, when music was loud and good and stands up today as a truly kick ass song. The live version below if from 1974, and shows the band at its performing best. Note the epic Marc Knopfler-esque guitar solos, the drummer screaming his ass off, and your heart slowly slowly breaking.

As for the contest. What 2006 hit song is foreshadowed by heartbreaker? 10 points if you get it from the first 23 seconds of the song. 5 points if you get it in the first 1:03 of the song. 1.125 points if you need to hear the “Bringing me down” part of the chorus to get it. Oh and 1 million 3B dollars to the first correct answer.

Presuming as usual that I can’t embed it properly, the video is here:


Exhuming McCarthy-REM

Funny how certain songs aren’t appropriate anymore as critiques of society. They don’t go far enough. This has always been one of my faves, maybe it is the horns. There is a certain quaintness to Michael Stipe’s earnestness from this Document standout. Silly, Michael, we’re not in McCarthy territory anymore. He’s old hat, we have a balder playbook now. Anyway, the Imperial Wizard of the US o’ W is able to sing into his toothbrush tonight “enemy sighted, enemy met, I’m addressing the real politik.” And we are bade to eat.

You’re beautiful more beautiful than me
You’re honorable more honorable than me
Loyal to the Bank of America

It’s a sign of the times
It’s a sign of the times

You’re sharpening stones, walking on coals
To improve your business acumen.
Sharpening stones, walking on coals,
To improve your business acumen.

Vested interest united ties, landed gentry rationalize
Look who bought the myth, by jingo, buy America

It’s a sign of the times
It’s a sign of the times

You’re sharpening stones, walking on coals
To improve your business acumen.
Sharpening stones, walking on coals,
To improve your business acumen.

Enemy sighted, enemy met, I’m addressing the realpolitik
Look who bought the myth, by jingo, buy America

“Let us not assassinate this man further Senator,
You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir?
At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

You’re sharpening stones, walking on coals
To improve your business acumen.
Sharpening stones, walking on coals,
To improve your business acumen.

Enemy sighted, enemy met, I’m addressing the realpolitik
You’ve seen start and you’ve seen quit
(I’m addressing the table of content)
I always thought of you as quick
Exhuming McCarthy
(Meet me at the book burning)
Exhuming McCarthy
(Meet me at the book burning)

Ship of Fools/Way Down Now-World Party

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.”

Ship of Fools-World Party

Way Down Now-World Party

In a Room-Dodgy

We continue our Britpop phase with some lads that I heard occasionally on Rock Over London. First off, don’t appear in your own vid if:

A) Horatio Sans is your drummer.

B) Your song is the harmless, catchy, bright “In A Room” and you have a tatoo that can only conflict with the totally untoughness of the song that really should be played by the English version of overachiving teenaged Hansons.

C) You look like Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Gavmo slipped me this song and I do love it in the way that I love all sorts of Britpop.

Rattlesnakes-Lloyd Cole and the Commotions

The video plays the ol’ tracking shot through dusty neighborhoods, dusty highways, and that might be the easy way out except this song was made for an actual mixtape in your Walkperson, your crappy headphones and soul-calming motion of some sort, not the plane taking off, more the bus getting on the highway, you are about to daydream about something, perhaps some romanticized, idyllic mess of a woman, a woman not anyone that could ever be your contemporary, someone much more sophisticated, older, literary in the actually in a book way, not real, like a still in a museum from an unproduced film. Also, Lloyd’s voice is much, much cooler than he looks in the video. And the strings that perfect 3:23 of romantic, wistful, distant pop. The key is the last line.

Jodie wears a hat although it hasnt rained for six days
She says a girl needs a gun these days
Hey on account of all the rattlesnakes
She looks like eve marie saint in on the waterfront
She reads simone de beauvoir in her american circumstance
Shes less than sure if her heart has come to stay in san jose
And her neverborn child still haunts her
As she speeds down the freeway
As she tries her luck with the traffic police
Out of boredom more than spite
She never finds no trouble, she tries too hard
Shes obvious despite herself
She looks like eve marie saint in on the waterfront
She says all she needs is therapy yeah
All you need is, love is all you need
Jodie never sleeps cause there are always needles in the hay
She says that a girl needs a gun these days
Hey on account of all the rattlesnakes
She looks like eve marie saint in on the waterfront
As she reads simone de beauvoir in her american circumstance
Her heart, hearts like crazy paving
Upside down and back to front
She says ooh, its so hard to love
When love was sure a great disappointment

Rattlesnakes-Lloyd Cole and the Commotions

Quiver (Arrows in My)/Do You Wanna Hold Me-Bow Wow Wow

Leaving aside for one small moment the cartoonish offensiveness of the subject matter (Malcolm McLaren casting teenaged Annabella Lwin yet again as the sex kitten, this time in a kitschy, sad coloring book of Native American imagery; the usual “knock” on BWW for “borrowing” African drumming), this song is somehow spellbinding. Outside of the lyrics, which could have easily cast Annabella in a castle, igloo, Mongolian steppe tent, Russian monestary, you name it, the retro, otherworldly guitar creeps up slowly followed by the frolicing beat and uber-surfy bass. Then the brassy yelps about finding a way to keep warm at night and to make some whoopee. Its more about the music than the words, it is a romp through the flowers.

Here is my second fave BWW song below, which is similar to Q(AiM) (all the parts are the same).

Do You Wanna Hold Me?-Bow Wow Wow


Obscure Shoegaze-esque English band’s second radio track in America, following “Sunshine Smile.” Kept on the tip of my tongue for 13 or so years until Last FM pooped it out earlier this year. A pleasant song, perhaps it is nostalgia more than anything else. They kind of bring Catherine Wheel to mind.

Groovy Train-The Farm

OK. This song has its time and its place. For many that time and place are maybe one time in some bar with 1991 Club Hits on the juke box and 99 cent Long Islands. What do you want, The Real McCoy? Sheesh. If you even know what I am talking about you are old and need to pick up the kids from day care. And you just got fired for reading a blog at work. I feel down. Maybe “Groovy Train” can pick me up?

UPDATE: someone nailed the realy GT vid at You Tube- here’s a replacement

Sale of the Century/Inbetweener-Sleeper

From what I remember, “Sale…” was from Sleeper’s second album The It Girl, and they never got any cred. Jsutine from Elastica was the genius, Louise from Sleeper was either too mean or somehow derivative (not true, she was great, the sexist press could only imagine one wry, talented popstar). These criticisms all seemed to miss the point. It was Britpop, and Sleeper played smart, cutting, witty Britpop. “Sale…” is a great, great pop song- compare its almost sly earnestness with what I remember as Sleeper’s first single “Inbetweener,” possibly the meanest non-Morrissey song sang with a smiling face ever.

Sale of the Century-Sleeper


Primitive Painters-FELT

So what’shername (Liz Fraser, it just came to me) from Cocteau Twins sings on this classic from Felt, who are kind of sitting smack dab in a nexus of Chameleons, Television, The Smiths and other like-minded alt-chimery guitar studwagons. And this song is awesome. BUT what AOR staple does it recall in the deep down recesses of your brains? I won’t give you any hints. Save the year: 1987. Trust me, Felt oughta sue.

Primitive Painters-Felt


The epitome of Britpop. If you have any affinity for Britpop whatsoever, you are now pogoing around your cubicle contemplating smoking a fag and eating some marmite. The annoying talky talky is somehow completely erased by the strum-dibbety-dum PARKLIFE. Too bad the DJ hosed fulsome on his karaoke. The Smiths “Panic” was not unreasonably requested during the course of the evening.

Slave to the Wage-Placebo/Metal Mickey-Suede

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.

Slave to the Wage-Placebo

Metal Mickey-Suede


Clearly I grew up inside an unbaked loaf of Wonder bread. I had never heard this JAM until this weekend when it popped onto the Old School Countdown at around 83. Disco+Jazz=Dazz, even though the Jazz part of their Jazz sounds more like Supertramp, that’s not really important. What’s important is the hook on this beast. Here’s some advertising weirdness below with the hook, it might annoying just start playing, but then you are hosed because it is in your head.

Also, I bet Pop Ren has a 500 minute long extended mix that he destroys the dance floor with. Cobag.

No Radio-Dirty on Purpose

From their very enjoyable Hallelujah, we have the New York darlings Dirty on Purpose. I’m not going to play the game of what this song reminds me of, OK, I will- Yo La Tengo plus Canadian popsters Sloan (their first shoegazey album), but that’s OK because these kids aren’t just aping the sound, they’re playing their songs and making a great album. Also check out their EP from last year Sleep Late for a Better Tomorrow, and my fave “All New Friends.” On other songs they seem to be similary influenced as The Secret Machines.

It’s All Too Much-Steve Hillage

Extended jammy wammy Beatles cover by Monty Python looking Mofo prog frog English guitar hero. Possibly the target of Spinal Tappian free-form jazz odyssey riperoo. I predict Uncanny will dig it. This is for our more mature audience members. The live album version I caught the last two minutes of on the radio one night and it was a guitar-effects freakatronic space race. I was digging it. This is a poorer, infinitely more boring take on that.