Friday, June 30, 2006
First week of summer vacation and I expected to be kicking back, relaxing, and enjoying drinks with umbrellas in them. No such luck. If anything, this week has been busier than any week in the last few months. Hence, no post since Monday. Anyway, on Wednesday of this week, I was amazed not once, but twice.
Amazement #1 - I headed down to my town's public library looking for Nick Hornby's book High Fidelity. Yes, the same book that the screenplay is based on which I mentioned a little while back. I had vowed to read the book over summer break and I was looking for it at the before-mentioned library. They didn't have it, but they did have another of his books, About A Boy, which I picked up. That wasn't the amazing part though. While browsing through the library, I decided to look through the music section just for ha-ha's. You won't believe what I came across: Sufjan Stevens' Come On Feel The Illinoise! I wouldn't have been more surprised if I had found some Snoop Dogg. (Oh, wait a second, I found that, TOO.) I wouldn't say I live in the middle of nowhere, and my nearest neighbor is only 50 feet away, but you wouldn't consider my area indie central either. That was amazement #1.
Sufjan Stevens - Chicago (Acoustic) : Live @ KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic (7/14/05)
Sufjan Stevens - A Good Man is Hard to Find : Live @ KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic (7/14/05)
Sufjan Stevens - Adlai Stevenson : The Avalanche: Outtakes and Extras from the Illinois Album
Snoop Dog & Pharrell Williams - Drop It Like It's Hot : Drop It Like It's Hot - Single
Snoop Dogg & Dr. Dre - Nuthin But A G Thang : The Chronic
Ok, Amazement #2 - I know this one might not be breaking news to all of you, but it was to me. While dawdling around the monstrosity known as the "World Wide Web," I came across this captivating blog by the Ditty Bops. Being concerned citizens of Earth, Amanda and Abby (otherwise known as the Ditty Bops) have decided to ride their bikes while touring the west. That's right, they have a van that carries their gear, but they ride their bikes from gig to gig. They share their traveling tales (with pictures of course) through posts on their blog. Being a cyclist myself, I have to give a hand to these two ladies...you go girls!
The Ditty Bops - Bye Bye Love : Moon Over The Freeway
The Ditty Bops - Sister Kate : The Ditty Bops
Monday, June 26, 2006
- Turn shuffle on
- Press play
- The first 5 songs are:
1.) David Bowie - Golden Years : Trainspotting Soundtrack #2
Simply put, what a great movie. Good enough to give birth to not one, but two excellent soundtracks. There's not much better than watching a movie about a bunch of Brits running around performing all sorts of illegal deeds in order to pay for their drug habit. And to be honest, I would have fallen for Diane, too.
2.) The Raveonettes - Red Tan : Pretty In Black
The Raveonettes started out with a little schtick of their own: making an album entirely in Bb minor, surrounded by only three chords, and each song had to be less than three minutes long. Since then they've abandoned these rules, but they still have an enjoyable low-fi sound to them.
3.) Cab Calloway - Tarzan of Harlem : Are You Hep To The Jive?
Of course if you ask anyone about real swing music, they will think of Louis Prima and his tune Jump, Jive and Wail (thanks to that Gap commercial). Cab kicked out some good tunes of his own, too, though. Some are a little kitchy, but fun never the less. Cab also was hep (hip that is) enough to star in The Blues Brothers, for which he earns a bunch of cool cat points from me.
4.) Tricky - Pumpkin : Maxinquaye
If someone asks for dark electronic music, you would be hard pressed to choose a better singer than Tricky. With that gold tooth and his extremely distinctive gutteral voice, Tricky's lyrics just draw you into his dark ethereal dreamworld.
5.) Zap Mama - Bandy Bandy : Ancestry In Progress
If you've never heard of Zap Mama and you enjoy world music what-so-ever, please download this track and give it a spin. They put together a nice mix of African influences, occasional French lyrics, and dancehall beats. Even the songs you can't understand (unless of course you speak French!) will get you singing along.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
I was watching TV the other night and came across the Rock-Paper-Scissors National Championship. I'm not kiddding. The Rock-Paper-Scissors National Championship. At first I thought it was a mockumentary somewhere along the lines of Best In Show, but it wasn't. It was a real contest that was giving $50,000 in prize money away. During the show they offered short vignettes showcasing the stories of some of the contestants, some of which were truly moving. There was one girl who claimed she had been homeless and penniless and had won a rock-paper-scissors contest with some other homeless folks to win a small pot of change they had scraped together that allowed her to buy a meal at McDonald's. After that, she was convinced rock-paper-scissors was her game and that she was going to be the champion. I didn't watch the whole show so I can't tell you whether in fact her skills were good enough to pay the bills.
Liz Phair - Rock Me : Liz Phair
Modest Mouse - Paper Thin Walls : Live & Acoustic in Atlanta (9/26/01) Original on Baron Von Bulls**t Rides Again
The Bens - Running With Scissors : The Bens Live at the Wireless (Triple J) Original on Ben Lee's album Hey You. Yes You.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Abbot & Costello
Adam & Eve
Autobot & Decepticon
Calvin & Hobbes
Dungeons & Dragons
Ebony & Ivory
Green Eggs & Ham
Gumby & Pokey
Hillary & Norgay
M & M's
Macaroni & Cheese
Mulder & Scully
Top five duets
5. Devo and Neil Young - Hey Hey My My : Originally on Rust Never Sleeps
Neil Young rocked in the 70's in CSNY, and has rocked ever since (including his latest highly charged political album). Add Devo's New Wave sensibilities and you have a quirky rock gem. Although you can't hear Neil's voice in this version, his guitar lets you know he's there.
This one was just made for singing along with at a karaoke bar. I know it's super pop-songish, but you just can't resist.3. Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright - Careless Whisper (Wham! cover) : Original on Make It Big
Like the following song, this one is a cover that is close to the original version, but these performers add something of their own to it. With Ben and Rufus singing it, Careless Whisper loses its 80's cheesability and gains some sincerity.2. Jack Johnson and G. Love - Holiday (Madonna Cover) : Original on Madonna
I have to admit that ever since I found this song earlier this year, I can't get enough of it. Yes, you can still make out hints of the original version, but Jack, and especially G. Love, bring their own bit of flavor to it making it not only a super duet, but a fabulous cover as well. G. also mixes in some Doors (Who do You Love?) if you listen carefully.1. Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Let's Call the Whole Thing Off : The Complete Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong on Verve (Disc 2)
If there were ever two singers who were destined to perform together, these two are them. Mixing Ella's beautifully sweet voice with Louis' distinctive grating voice produces this lovely duet. This was a hard one to choose only because every song they performed together was wonderful. All 5 of my top choices could easily have been performances by this duo.
Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker - Groovin' High : Diz 'n Bird At Carniegie Hall
I wanted to include this in the Top Five list, but without any lyrics, I felt I had to relegate it to an honorable mention spot. Be-bop lost a genius when Bird left this world. Thank goodness Dizzy stuck around.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Picture Mel Gibson yelling freedom in Braveheart...that was me at 11:00 AM this morning when I said goodbye to my students one last time and summer vacation officially began. (Hopefully you're picturing the scene where he leads his troops into battle and not the one where he is being castrated by a rusty garden tool.)
Which isn't to say I won't still have to wake up early (I will for my daughter), or that I don't have to work (I have several part time jobs), but just the idea of being on "summer vacation" harkens back to younger days when it meant no responsibilities or obligations, and many weeks when you could wake up, eat, watch TV, or hang out with your friends whenever you wanted. Even though that isn't the case anymore, those sentiments still brighten the day. For those of you who are not teachers or students and summer vacation holds no such feelings, you have my sympathy (although I can't promise I won't chuckle at you under my breath).
The Soup Dragons - I'm Free (Freedom Remix) : I'm Free (single)
Alice Cooper - School's Out : School's Out
The Fiery Furnaces - Here Comes The Summer : Live on KEXP, NYC 4-6-05 (Originally on EP)
David Grey - Freedom : Live in DC at the 9:30 club (Originally on A New Day at Midnight)
Dressy Bessy - Big Vacation : Pink Hearts Yellow Moons
Hanalei - This Is Going to Be the Best Summer Ever : We Are All Natural Disasters
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Live - Lightning Crashes : Throwing Copper
Muddy Waters - My Love Strikes Like Lightning : His Best, 1956 To 1964
Tegan and Sara - Terrible Storm : If It Was You
David Gray - Buckets of Rain (Bob Dylan cover) : Live on 1-28-03 at the Tweeter Center ...Buy some David
Sunday, June 18, 2006
I put up a post for mom, so it only seems fair that I do the same for my dad (and myself while I'm at it). Again, like my mom, I don't really think my dad will ever know of the existance of this dedication, but it's the principle of the matter that counts (building up karma you know). And since today is all about me (since I'm a dad myself now), I'm just gonna post some songs and leave it at that.
Blind Melon - Dear Ol' Dad : Blind Melon
Eartha Kitt - My Heart Belongs to Daddy : Buy some Eartha
Johnny Cash - Daddy Sang Bass : At Madison Square Garden, 12/5/69
Jake Brennan & The Confidence Men - In My Stepdad's Truck : Love & Bombs
Nina Simone - My Father / Dialog : The Very Best Of Nina Simone: Sugar In My Bowl (Disc 2)
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Nelson Riddle & His Orchestra - Theme from Route 66 : Ultra Lounge
People just don't take the time to drive anyplace now. It's always take the quickest, most direct route. I admit that I am guilty of this: I drove cross country once in 3 days. If you want to see a beautiful stretch of pavement though, try Route 1 in California.Brian Kennedy - Fast Car (Tracy Chapman cover) / Dreams : Buy some Brian
This is a nice medley put together by an artist I know nothing about. The other song mixed in, Dreams, sounds very familiar, but I still can't quite place it. Anyone recognize it?Tenacious D - The Road : Tenacious D
Jack Black deserves some sort of award not yet created. Maybe a lifetime achievement award from someone. As much as I don't want to enjoy his brand of humor, I just can't resist.Cake - Race Car Ya-Yas : Fasion Nugget
These guys remind me a lot of They Might Be Giants, just not as goofy sounding.The Kinks - The Road : The Road (live)
Long before Oasis, there were the Davies brothers. And unlike the Gallagher brothers, the Kinks didn't put on a drama show, they put on a music show.Jewel - Race Car Driver (Non-LP /Demo Version) : Save The Linoleum Promo Buy some Jewel
This song is from when Jewel really was Jewel and not the glammed up, sell my sexy body, I want to be like Christina Aguilara (I hope I spelled that right, but I don't care enough to check) Jewel. Not to say I don't like looking at the new Jewel, I just prefer to listen to the old Jewel.Radiohead - Killer Cars (live) : Buy some Radiohead
Two firsts today...two posts in one day and one of them has a Radiohead song...I truly have made it to the blogger major leagues!Dick Dale & The Del-Tones - Hot Rod Racer : Greatest Hits 1961-1976
Ah, these were the days. All songs had to do was tell the simple story of a car, a girl, surfing, or any combination of the three. Dick Dale was exceptional at crafting California surf rock that was harder than those wussies the Beach Boys. Kokomo anyone? Just kidding, I grew up listening to my dad's Beach Boy records.Violent Femmes - Gimme the Car (Live in Europe 1984) : Buy some Femmes
Who didn't beg their dad for the car to take out your boy/girlfriend? Who didn't hope to get some in the before-mentioned car?Keane - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road : Help: A Day In the Life
A nice little cover of an Elton John song. I haven't checked out Keane's new album, but I've heard it's not too hard on the ears.
The Doors - Wake Up : In Concert
Tegan and Sara - Wake Up Exhausted : So Jealous
The Arcade Fire - Wake Up : Funeral
Muddy Waters - Good Morning, Little School Girl : His Best, 1956 To 1964
Ben Lee - In The Morning : Hey You. Yes You.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Since getting an iPod, it's been a long time since I've listened to the radio (other than tuning to 87.9 to use my iTrip). While driving home from work tonight, I didn't feel that any CD I had in my car matched my mood, so I decided to roll the dice and turn on my FM tuner. I soon remembered why exactly I hadn't listened to the radio in a long, long time. Granted, I don't live near a thriving metropolis such as Boston, NYC, or L.A., but that doesn't mean I shouldn't be able to find SOMETHING to listen to. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I ended up settling for Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, the last 30 seconds of a Smashing Pumpkins song (Rocket), and Pink Floyd between several different stations. Very disheartening to say the least. Not to say that all these artists / songs aren't of some value, but I've been hearing them for over 10 years now (on the same stations for the most part). What's new? Don't these stations ever get any new CD's? I know, I know, this is the point where I put in a link to some article about how there are three corporations who control the airwaves. But you know what? I don't care. I'm going to listen to my iPod.
LL Cool J - I Can't Live Without My Radio : Radio
Elvis Costello - Radio, Radio (live): Buy some Elvis ... or some Elvis
The Ramones - Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio? : Ramones Mania
Josh Ritter - Golden Age of Radio : 4 Songs Live
Spoon - Car Radio : A Series of Sneaks
The Vines - Don't Listen to the Radio (demo) : Vision Valley
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
After what seemed like a month of rainy days, yesterday was not only cloud free, but warm as well. This fact necessitated some sort of outdoor activity to celebrate and honor the sun, so I took my wife and 2 year old daughter out for a hike in a nearby state forest. Since you don't know me at all, I'll be a straight shooter and tell you that I am a very outdoorsy type of guy and am praying that my daughter turns out the same (otherwise I might need to trade her in). While on the hike, we passed by a pond full of frogs and tadpoles, and my daughter was entranced by them. I was able to catch a frog and let her touch it, and from that point on all she wanted to do was catch more frogs. Unfortunately, I didn't have my hip-waders on to catch another frog so she had to settle for holding some tadpoles in her hand (that she willingly then let go, for which I was very proud of her). I think there is some hope for the little stinker yet.
Kermit the Frog - Bein' Green : Muppet Show: Music Mayhem & More - 25th Anniversary Collection
Belle & Sebastian - Funny Little Frog : BBC Radio Session 1/30/06 (originally on The Life Pursuit)
Big Bill Broonzy - Horny Frog : The Beauty Of The Blues : Roots 'N' Blues Sampler
Les Brown and His Band of Renown - Leap Frog : Les Brown & His Band of Renown - Best of The Capitol Years
The Lemonheads - The Outdoor Type : Car Button Cloth
Saturday, June 10, 2006
I downloaded a couple of KT Tunstall's songs from The Late Greats the other day and although I had heard her / seen her on VH-1 (please forgive me), I hadn't really heard her, if you know what I mean. Upon taking a closer listen, I was instantly struck with the realization that she reminded me of Joan Osborne, most well known for her song One Of Us. I think KT rocks a little more than Joan's more religious/soulfull bent, but their voices sound remarkably similar. Take a gander and see what you think.
Joan Osborne - One Of Us : Live Acoustic (originally on Relish)
Joan Osborne - Right Hand Man : Relish
Joan Osborne - Spider Web : Relish
Friday, June 09, 2006
After posting The Beta Band the other day and making reference to High Fidelity, I decided to rent it and watch it again. For those of you who might not have seen it, I would highly recommend it. The movie is based on the book by Nick Hornby (which I must admit I haven't read yet but am planning on when summer vacation / a.k.a. FREEDOM arrives) and focuses on the story of Rob Gordon (played by a very young looking John Cusack), the owner of a music store who has recently been dumped by his girlfriend and is stuggling to accept the fact that he's an adult. Much of the witty banter takes place between Cusack and the two employees who work for him (one who looks a lot like Moby, and the second who is none other than Jack Black) and centers on coming up with top five lists of albums, songs, girls, etc... . Hence, the inspiration for this post.
Top five track 1's (/side 1's for the two of you reading this who still buy casettes) that ROCK!
Weezer had a strong kick out of the gates with the release of Undone-The Sweater Song but quickly dropped out of the public's eye. They're managed to work their way back into popular music with some of their more recent hits. I can remember seeing them back near the end of 1994 opening for Live on their Throwing Copper tour at a small club in CT (although I can't remember the name of the club). Although I enjoyed them then, I wouldn't have guessed that Weezer would still be around and Live would fade into obscurity.4. The Raconteurs - Steady As She Goes : Broken Boy Soldiers
OK, So I added this one because I felt like I should have SOMETHING from this decade. I've had this album in heavy rotation for a while now and although this track isn't my favorite, it's a good start.3. Nirvana - Dive : Incesticide
John Cusack chose Smells Like Teen Spirit from Nevermind, but I prefer the much rawer, and punkish Incesticide. Some people are critical of the B-side / demo medley of this album, but the wide range of songs appeals to me more than the polished composition of Nevermind. Also of interest are the phrophetic liner notes penned by Kurt concerning the evils of fame and fortune.2. Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues : At Folsom Prison
1. Beastie Boys - Sure Shot : Ill Communication
I have to tell you, he had me with "Hi, I'm Johnny Cash." Who else but the Man In Black would willingly entertain a crowd of criminals? I honestly can't believe that you can get this album for $7.97 on Amazon (brand new, not used!). Is it getting that hard to sell good music?
This whole album is a sure shot, and this song just gets it rolling. Who else but the Beasties could get away with putting a flute line in a rap song?
Have some top five tracks of your own to share, please do!
Have an idea for next week's top five? Let me know.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Hopefully if you are reading this post, armageddon hasn't happened and Beelzebub hasn't shown up to claim your soul or mine. Sounds like a reason to celebrate to me! It's amazing to think that people still attach significance to numbers like this. I mean, I can remember all the hoop-la attached to the Y2K bug, but at least that had some technological reason (or at least that's what all the tech weenies said). Hopefuly you all didn't go out and buy generators, bottled water, and gas masks for today. If so, I hope you saved your receipts.
Charlie Daniels Band - The Devil Went Down to Georgia : Fiddle Fire
How could you post about Lucifer and not post this classic. The name of the album says it all: Fiddle Fire!Jerry Garcia & David Grisman - Friend of the Devil : Live On Letterman: Music From The Late Show
I'm pretty sure Jerry is looking down from on high now and not sweating it out down below.Big Bad Bollocks - Devil's Hand : Where The Beef Meets The Sea Buy Some Bollocks
The Bollocks are a local band, and one of the only that I pay to see. It's a tradition to see them play on St. Patrick's Day in Northampton, MA. Any time you go to a Bollocks show there are two guarantees: You are going to be jumping around like a drunken irishman, and you're going to drink lots of Guinness.Modest Mouse - This Devil's Workday : Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Ben Lee - End of the World : Something to Remember Me By
Although the title is similar to the following R.E.M. song, I promise you it's not the same...and I even daresay that it is better. This was the first Ben Lee song that I ever heard and the one that convinced me to spend some cash on his album. If you've looked through my other posts you'll know that Ben is one of my faves.R.E.M. - It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) : Live Perugia Palasport, Italy 6-17-89 Buy Some R.E.M.
At one point in my life I sat down with the lyrics and played this song over and over and over and over, until I could sing along with every line. I'm a little out of practice now, but I still will boast I could sing along with at least 85% of the lyrics with 85% accuracy.Frank Smith - Apocalypse Circa: Now (live) : Paradise, Boston, MA, 4-10-06 Buy Some Frank
Ben Folds Five - Satan Is My Master : Naked Baby Photos
This song just cracks me up. Even if you are not a Ben Folds fan (in which case, YOU might be the devil), please check this song out.(to download, right click and then "save as")
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Sarah Vaughn - September in the Rain (mp3) - At Mister Kelly's (live)
This is the opening song for a wonderful live album by Sarah. This song is pared down with an accompanying piano and some light drums keeping the beat going...nice and quiet so you can focus on her voice, and God what a beautiful voice it is. As far as I'm concerned, Sarah, Nina Simone, and Ella Fitzgerald were the first three Divas of music.Josh Ritter - Rainslicker (mp3) - Hello Starling
I felt your hand light on my sleeveMoby - The Rain Falls and the Sky Shudders (mp3) - Move EP
as light as a bird that might offer a sinner reprieve
we don’t know too much I know we don’t know too much
but love rains mysteriously
and behind every cloud is a purpose only now we can see
Although I'm diggin' Josh's new album (and who isn't in this blogosphere), Hello Starling is the CD that got me hooked and holds a special place in my heart.
Although Moby hit the big scene with his driving beat heavy song Go, he can sure put together some nice slow instrumentals as well, and this is one of them.Manic Street Preachers - Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (mp3) - Help: A Charity Project For The Children Of Bosnia
Simply a fun song recorded for a great cause.Jane Sibbery - It Can't Rain All the Time (mp3) - The Crow Soundtrack
I can still remember all the controversy surrounding Brandon Lee's death during the filming of the movie. I can also remember the incredibly HORRIBLE sequal that they put out. For those of you who weren't aware, the original film was actually based on a graphic novel (a.k.a. comic book to those who don't consider them literary works) by James O'Barr. Please check it out if you've never read it before. This song wraps up the soundtrack and offers an incredibly poignent glimmer of faint hope to an otherwise depressingly morose story.Frank Sinatra - Come Rain Or Come Shine (mp3) - The Reprise Collection
I just don't think there will ever be a group of musicians/real men who lived life like the Rat Pack did. Sure Frank could swing, but he can croon, too...as this song proves. Although based on his marriage record, I'm not sure he stuck to this song's theme.The Beta Band - Dry the Rain (mp3) - The Three EP's
Someone else in blog-post-land recently posted on these guys. I apologize for not remember exaclty who. This song also appeared on John Cusack's High Fidelity Soundtrack. As John put it, "Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"Emilie Simon - To the Dancers In the Rain (mp3) - Emilie Simon
I really know nothing about Emilie other than how beautifully delicate her voice and this song are. I wouldn't say that my daughter exactly dances in the rain, but she sure loves to stomp in the puddles.Dar Williams - The Beauty of the Rain (mp3) - The Beauty of the Rain
I've written too much at this point, I'll let Dar sing for herself.
(to download, right click and then "save as")