Friday, July 28, 2006

Top Five Friday - Break-Up Songs

Poor George Michael...caught messing around with some other bloke in the bushes. No wedding bells for you. Today's top five list is for you George.

It's never easy. As least if it was ever any good that is. And if it wasn't ever any good, were you ever really "together" in the first place? Breaking up. Whether it's after a whirlwind romance or 20 years of trudgery, the pain often seems insurmountable. Life is over, or at least that's how it feels. Here are my top five songs expressing painful endings. I'm not talking about the "she's throwing steak knives at me to kill me" kind...or even the "the bastard left me for his secretary" kind. These are all about those endings which you'd do anything to avoid, yet seem unavoidable, regardless of what you do, what you say, or what promises you make.

5. Liz Phair - Divorce Song : Exile in Guyville

And then accused me of trying to fuck it up
But you've never been a waste of my time
It's never been a drag

OK, so maybe this song does hold some break-up bitterness...but just a hint I would have to say. You never know what is going to push a relationship to its breaking point: the most trivial comment, a casual gesture, a hair cut, an act performed without much though. Like they say, the straw that broke the camel's back.

4. The Cure - A Letter to Elise : Wish

oh elise it doesn't matter what you do
i know I'll never really get inside of you
to make your eyes catch fire
the way they should

The break-up much more classic can you make it? Even with best intentions, sometimes relationships seemed doomed to failure. Destiny holds another path for you, perhaps...who knows. We try to grasp at love and like Robert says, "every time I try... to pick it up like falling sand... as fast as I pick it up... it suns away through my clutching hands."

3. Bright Eyes - Falling Out of Love at this Volume : A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997

just say what you wanted to say
i cannot stand these talks dear
they only get us nowhere
it's never resolved
we only run around

Sometimes it's hard to know what to say. So you say nothing, or the wrong thing, or the right thing...but too late. Talks going in circles. The same lines over and over again. Eventually you repeat them by when you're watching your favorite episode of Seinfeld.

2. Simon & Garfunkel - Overs (Live) : Old Friends

sitting in the windowsill
near the flowers
we might as well be apart
it hardly matters, we sleep separately

This live version opens with a lovely intro by Paul. Sometimes relationships turn into this, eh? Instead of lovers, or soul-mates, it's simply friends. Sharing space. Familiarity breeding disconnect.

1. Arab Strap - We Don't Make Each Other Laugh Anymore : Quiet Violence

Sometimes just the slightest word
and one of us will just let go,
Then almost at last we patch it all up, even so...
It's never like before, we don't make each other laugh anymore.

Everything about this song reeks of loneliness and despair: the lyrics, Aiden's tone, the accompanying plodding and muted background music. Get a box of tissues before giving this one a listen.

Previous Top Five Fridays = Duets, 1st tracks

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Wild Thing

Driving home last night, in a rare moment when I was listening to the radio (for my personal views on the radio, read this previous post), I heard a song that I haven't heard in ages, and in fact had pretty much forgotten about: Sam Kinison's version of Wild Thing. I have to be honest and say that I never fully appreciated Sam's comic style, but I always did enjoy this song. And even better than listening to the song was watching the video, which included Jessica Hahn, Aerosmith, Ratt, Billy Idol, Slash, Bon Jovi, and did I mention Jessica Hahn (and her big hair)?

Sam Kinison - Wild Thing
: Have You Seen Me Lately?

The Troggs - Wild Thing : The Troggs
The original, released in '66 by the British band The Troggs, was a hit right off the bat, and is famous enough to have its own Wikipedia entry.
The Kingsmen - Wild Thing : The Kingsmen
This version, also amazingly from '66, sounds like the toned down version your parents would want you to listen to.
Jimi Hendrix - Wild Thing (live) : The Ultimate Experience
Oh Jimi, what magic you could work with that guitar of yours. You certainly did have magic fingers.
Tone-Loc - Wild Thing : Loc-ed After Dark
This version has absolutely nothing to do with the other versions other than sharing the title and not much else. Where as "wild thing" in the previous versions referred to the woman you wished you were with, "wild thing" in this song refers to what you wish you were doing with the before-mentioned "wild thing."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Six Degrees of Musical Shakin'

OK, so I'm sure you have all heard of the game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The idea is pretty simple, choose any actor and connect them to Kevin Bacon with the least number of links. Today's post roughly follows the same concept. I had iTunes choose a song at random for me, and using various methods, I connected it to 5 other songs. See if you can follow the trail that connects Sleater-Kinney and Feist as if they were kissin' cousins:

Sleater-Kinney - Everything : Live At the Commodore Ballroom 2-26-05
By now I'm sure you have all heard the unfortunate news that Sleater Kinney is calling it quits, much like the following group...
(head over to rbally for this entire's well worth the download time)
Weezer - My Names Is Jonas (Live) : Dusty Gems And Raw Nuggets [Bonus Disc]
Jonas, as we all know from those Sunday School classes our parents forced us to go to, got swallowed by a whale...
Lou Reed - Last Great American Whale : New York
Lou Reed started out his musical career in the major leagues as the lead singer for The Velvet Underground, as the following singer started out with the Verve...
Richard Ashcroft - You On My Mind (In My Sleep) : Radio1 Session 5 June 2000
That song was broadcast on Radio 1 for the BBC, just like...
The Raconteurs - Intimate Secretary : Live Session at BBC's Radio1
And the word raconteur means a person known for telling amusing stories and anecdotes. And the last song is...
Feist - The Simply Story [With Jane Birkin] : Open Season
So there you have it, a musical journey From Sleater Kinney to Feist.
Buy Some:
Lou Reed
Richard Ashcroft
The Raconteurs

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Although I wouldn't currently classify myself as a geek or nerd (I did deserve both of those titles in high school though), I have to admit that lately I've been hooked on Sudoku puzzles. For those of you not familiar with them, check out the Sudoku website. Basicallly, they're number puzzles that don't require addition, subtraction, or even calculus to solve. Instead you must use logic and reasoning to fill in a grid with the numbers 1 through 9. The puzzle is a square that is divided into 9 larger boxes, with nine smaller boxes in each larger box. Each larger box must contain the numbers 1 through 9, and each horizontal and vertical row in the entire puzzle must also contain the numbers 1 through 9. Although it sounds terribly confusing, it really isn't too difficult to get the hang of. Even the Christian Science Monitor says "Logic has not been this fashionable since the Rubik's Cube. " And if anyone knows what is fashionable, it's the Christian Science Monitor.

The Pipettes - One Night Stand : BBC Radio Wales, Rhyl Town Hall, 7-16-05
Their debut album We Are the Pipettes just came out Monday, although the excitement has been building for what seems like ages with all of their tracks floating around the blog-o-sphere. What else is there to say about these lovely ladies that hasn't been posted on every other blog? Polka dots, 50's do-wop sound, suggestively sexy lyrics, these women are simply irresistable.
Danielson - Two Sitting Ducks : Ships
This is another semi-recent release. I must make an embarrasing confession though. Having bought the album through eMusic and not having the album is my pysical possession, it was only last week that I realized that the stars on the album artwork connected together to spell out their name. Pardon the bright red hue to my face.
Blind Melon - Three Is A Magic Number : School House Rock! Rocks
This is my favorite track from one of my favorite albums. I chanced across it in a used music store, and thank my lucky stars for it. Jack Johnson worked a version of his own (The 3 R's) on his last album, Sing-A-Longs & Lullabies For The Film Curious George, which isn't bad, but I still prefer this version.
Cake - Friend Is A Four Letter Word : Fashion Nugget
"I just want to be friends." Who hasn't cringed when hearing these words spoken by someone of the opposite sex? Please just stick the wooden stake through my heart now.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take Five : Time Out
Possibly one of the most recognizable jazz songs on perhaps one of the best selling and best known known jazz albums of all time. As the album title suggests, it is composed of songs written in different time signatures. It's cool but swings at the same time. A definite classic, even if you aren't a jazz fan.
Hanalei - Derailment at Six Flags : We're All Natural Disasters
I first heard This Is Going to Be the Best Summer Ever over on I Guess I'm Floating's summer mix a while back, and I've been loving it, and a lot of other Hanalei tunes ever since. I actually live in the same town as Six Flags New England, and although I never go there, if I'm ever trying to explain to someone where I live, all I have to do is mention it and they know. I guess it's the same idea as a band being defined by a song they hate.
Arctic Monkeys - 7 : When the Sun Goes Down - EP
The Monkeys are having a huge year. Three years after forming in 2003, and having just released they're debut album in January, they've been nominated for the Mercury Prize, which is Britain's most prestigious music award. Unfortunately, they're going up against Thom Yorke, but I'm still rooting for them.
Ben Lee - Eight Years Old : Something To Remember Me By
It's been too long since I've posted any Ben, so I had to squeeze this one in: a heart-wrenching song of love lost and re-found.
Man Or Astro-Man? - Clean up on Aisle #9 (Turn up the Monitors) : Is It...Man or Astro-Man?
This reminds me a lot of Dick Dale and his Californian surf rock. Take a listen and see if you can catch the wave.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Miami Vice Flashback

In a little under two weeks, the big screen version of Miami Vice is set to hit the theaters. I might be dating myself when I admit that I can remember watching the original TV show (the first season) with my parents in the early 80's. Back then, it was on the cutting edge of police dramas. Although there had been plenty of bad-ass cops before them, Sonny and Rico set the bar high for the fashion savy undercover cop want-to-be's: all of a sudden it was cool to wear white suits and pastel shirts. For the male demographic: exotic cars, fast boats, lots of women in skimpy bikinis, gun fights galore, living life in the fast lane...for the ladies: Don Johnson. The show was also one of the first to include then current hits and popular bands in its episodes. Miami Vice had it all.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Josh Ritter Live

When it comes to Josh Ritter, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I just can't say enough good things about him. One of the many things I appreciate about Josh is his stage presence and crowd connection when he plays live. For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to experience this first hand, check out this link where you'll be able to see a complete show recorded at the Paradiso in Melkweg, Amsterdam on May 31st of this year. Although it obviously isn't as good as being there, it's a wonderful recording with perfect sound quality. You can also download the video for just the song Wolves from this show seperately.

Wolves - Live on the World Cafe

If you would like to hear some shows that you can actually download, check out the Internet Live Music Archive, where there are six different shows you can check out.

Here are some live odds and ends from Josh:

Here At the Right Time : Live at Neumo's, Seattle WA 10-20-04
Lillian, Egypt : Live at Neumo's, Seattle WA 10-20-04

These two tracks are interesting considering the fact they weren't actually released on an album until a year and a half later or so, on The Animal Years.

Hotel Song : Live at the Double Door 04-21-06

This song is from Josh's self titled first album, released back in 1999. This one can't be found on iTunes or but you can get it here at Josh's website. (Thanks to Kevin for the correction)

And just because I'm on a Josh kick today, I'll add the following song, which I've been really diggin' lately. The first is the original by Modest Mouse, and the second is Josh's cover, which was the B-side on the Thin Blue Flame single.

Monday, July 10, 2006

eye see

So this morning I was lucky enough to enjoy a visit to the hospital. Luckily, because I went in at 7:00 AM, there was no wait in the emergency room, so I was in and out in only an hour. The reason, you ask: I woke up this morning with pain in my left eye very similar to what I felt when my daughter scratched my cornea about a year ago. For those of you who have never experienced this wonderful feeling...take your fingernail to your eye. Trust haven't truly lived life without this burning uncomfortable feeling. It's times like this when I really respect blind people and what they overcome in their lives each and every day. I can't even imgaine what form my life would take if I lost my sight at this point in my life.

Coldplay - Green Eyes : A Rush Of Blood To The Head

Keane - Your Eyes Open : Hopes And Fears

Matisyahu - Close My Eyes : Live At Stubbs

Camera Obscura - I Don't Want to See You : Underachievers Please Try Harder

Bjork & Thom Yorke - I've Seen It All : SelmaSongs:Dancer in the Dark Soundtrack

Dressy Bessy - I Saw Cinnamon : Sound Go Round

Friday, July 07, 2006

Now a days, EVERYONE's got a festival!

While browsing the collection at the local library (which amazed me in this previous post), I stumbled across a compilation CD with live recordings from Bonnaroo 2003. Since this year's festival happened only a few short weeks ago, and you can still find posts with this year's performances around the blog-o-sphere, I figured I would post a few of these dusty gems from days of old. Enjoy.

The Flaming Lips - A Spoonful Weighs A Ton

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals - Sexual Healing

Keller Williams - Love Handles

The Dead - Sugar Magnolia

My Morning Jacket - Dancefloors

In other festival news, for any of you who subscribe to eMusic (and if you are downloading any of this music, you should), they are offering a free 2006 Pitchfork Music Festival Sampler which includes 24 tracks. The festival itself will take place July 29 - 30 at Union Park in Chicago, IL. If you aren't a member of eMusic, scoot over there and join now to get these juicy tracks.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day (or, Take Your King and Piss Off Day)

The 4th of July ... a day of fireworks, barbecues, Will Smith kicking some alien butt, and parades. A day we celebrate for giving King George the middle finger. In reality, the 4th of July, 1776 was only the day the Declaration of Independence was finished, not the day it was voted on and signed. It's kind of ironic that England is now one of the few countries who support the U.S. regardless of how insane our elected leader's policies are.

Pavement - No More Kings : School House Rock! Rocks

Ween - The Shot Heard 'Round the World : School House Rock! Rocks

Ween - Freedom Of '76 : Chocolate and Cheese

Allison Crowe - Independence Day : Live at Wood Hall

Tracy Chapman - Talkin' Bout A Revolution : Tracy Chapman

In completely unrelated news, the space shuttle Discovery lifted off today, despite some missing foam on the gas tank. Amazing, isn't it...a zillion billion dollar vehicle, and there are problems with some foam. What's up with those foam scientists? They need to get their act in gear and earn their salary. They just don't make foam scientists like they used to. I always see commercials on the TV for plastic...maybe foam needs to pony up some dollars to do more advertising.

They Might Be Giants - Space Suit : Apollo 18

Say Hi To Your Mom - Let's Talk About Spaceships : Numbers & Mumbles

Louis Prima - Beep! Beep! : Capital Collector's Series

G. Love - Astronaut : The Hustle

Belle & Sebastian - Space Oddity (David Bowie cover)
: Live - Original on Bowie's album Space Oddity

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Le Tour de France

Today, quite possibly the most grueling sports event in the world started: the Tour de France. With no Lance Armstrong in it this year there probably aren't as many people watching, but possibilities abound with who might fill the void left when he retired. Unfortunately, several of those possibilities were implicated in a doping scandal only revealed yesterday, including Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso. This is bad news for a sport which had supposedly been cleaning itself up, but good news for the many American contenders in it this year, including Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, and Levi Leipheimer (all of which I'm hoping to see on the podium on July 23rd). For more information than I could possibly give you, head over to the Velonews website.

Kraftwerk - Tour de France 03 (Version 1) : Tour de France 03 - Single

Queen - Bicycle Race : Jazz

Be Your Own Pet - Bicycle Bicycle You Are My Bicycle : Be Your Own Pet

The Double Six of Pairs - French Rat Race : Ultra Lounge

Les Triplettes De Belleville - Belleville Rendez-Vous (French Version) : The Triplets of Belleville
(This is from a wonderful animated movie about the Tour. If you don't mind subtitles, do yourself a favor and rent this!)
And in honor of Thor Hushovd, winner of today's stage, a wonderful little Norwegian ditty!

Trond Erics - Finn Deg En Engel : Norway Fotoalbum