Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August Mix CD

Here's the track listing for this month's mix CD. Lots of new music this month!

1. The Shangri-Las - Give Him a Great Big Kiss
My foray into girl groups still hasn't gotten old for me. The Shangri-Las are pretty incredible.
These girls could have kicked the Pipettes butts anyday. "...he's been bad, but he's not evil".
2. Spoon - The Underdog
Tried to get into their last well reviewed album, and was never really able to. Heard rave rave reviews on their new one (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga) and had to give a try. It's quite good. This is a great catchy number.
3. McCarthy Trenching - Wedding Song
First heard them last week opening for Mark Olson at Schubas. Dan McCarthy has a lot of Townes Van Zandt and Greg Brown in him (though he claims little TVZ influence and no knowledge of Greg Brown). This song is particularly reminiscent of Van Zandt. And no, it's not the sappy "There Is Love" Wedding Song that used to be sung at too many weddings. This one's about missing your opportunity to start a family bluegrass band.
4. Blanche - Another Lost Summer
Not sure where I heard these guys first, but this is one of 2 songs by them on my IPod, and this one caught me off guard on shuffle. Sad and hinting at some sort of family tragedy, but who doesn't feel this way at the end of most every summer? I'm a sucker for the male/female interplay on the vocals.
5. The New Pornographers - All The Old Showstoppers
First, the band name - Jerry Falwell once called rock music "the new pornography". Second, this will be probably be my favorite album of the year (Challengers). Oh my gosh it's good. And this song...I haven't checked to see who wrote this one, but I regret not pairing it here with Neko Cases' "John Saw The Number" as this features further tales of John the Revelator. This is what pop-rock was meant to be.
6. The Lost Dogs - Bush League
"...so here's our yellow ribbon burning song". This is an old song off the Lost Dogs' first album, but it hit me on shuffle the other day and I was blown away. How did a band on a contemporary Christian music label get away with bashing a Republican President 16 years ago? The whole album is a tough-love letter to America, and just as relevant 16 years later.
7. The Veils - Advice For Young Mothers To Be
Possibly a pro-choice statement? I'm not sure...was trying to listen hard to it in the car yesterday, but couldn't get a clear interpretation. Thanks to B for turning me on to them. Apparently Andy Partridge of XTC's son, but he sounds so much like Nick Cave I always get confused and think of him as Nick Cave's son, which in a sense I think he is. He can write some XTC worthy hooks, but is quite a bit darker overall.
8. Richard Buckner - Count Me In On This One
From Impasse. I was a very late comer to Richard Buckner. Someone even took me to see him years and years ago at Schubas and I thought nothing of him at the time. Then within the last couple of years I got "Bloomed" and fell in love. Nothing else of his has even come close to that album for me, but a couple tracks off Impasse did grab me this month.
9. Of Montreal - A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger
Saw them at Lolla last year and was intrigued. Picked up this disc (Hissing Faunua Are You The Destroyer), and beyond the impossible not to like "Suffer For Fashion", it didn't do much for me, and somehow missed getting onto the IPod before being buried in the mess of CDs that is my home. Pulled it out in advance of seeing them at Pitchfork this summer, and it's grown on me in a big way.
10. Josh Rouse - London Bridges
Josh Rouse seems to be putting out an album a year these days, along with a number of EPs. This one (Country Mouse, City House) is considerably more interesting than his last full length Subtitulo. Nothing out of the ordinary here - just Josh doing that smooth groove laden pop folk thing that he does.
11. Delta Spirit - French Quarter
Don't know much about these guys except they're on the Cold War Kids label and have toured with them. And they're awesome. Only an EP at this point and I can't wait for a full length. Straight ahead rock with a little bit of roots, a little bit of soul, and little bit of the Stones.
12. Eleni Mandell - Girls
Thanks to K for reintroducing me to Eleni Mandell. It's been a few albums since I'd listened to her, and this new one (Miracle of Five) is really nice. Smooth, pretty, simple with something I can't quite put my finger on that elevates this way above the Norah Jones territory it could so easily linger in.
13. Mark Olson - Poor Michael's Boat
Mark has a stellar new album "Salvation Blues" and this is probably the strongest (and most reminiscent of the Jayhawks) among an album full of strong songs. Saw him twice last week with an incredible backing band, looking and sounding like they were all having a great time.
14. Califone - The Orchids
One of my favorite bands from Pitchfork this year. Apparently this is a cover song, but done with their cool unique instrumentation that was very enjoyable to watch/listen to at Pitchfork.
15. The Avett Brothers - Die Die Die
Clever, catchy, and hummably morbid. What more do you need?
16. The Mountain Goats - Some Swedish Trees
I seem to have an unwritten rule that nearly every mix CD must have a Mountain Goats song. This is this month's.
17. The Shangri-Las - Out in the Streets
A classic tale of girl is attracted to bad boy, girl succeeds in changing bad boy, girl finds she isn't as attracted to good boy.
18. Patty Griffin - Sweet Lorraine
I've been on a Patty Griffin kick lately. I love learning her songs on guitar because we have the same vocal range and her songs are easy enough that I can play them, but sophisticated enough that they sound cool. She's always at her best when she writing about, or writing as other characters. This is one of her first great songs in that vein.
19. The New Pornographers - Myriad Harbour
Dan Bejar (Destroyer) steals the album with this one.
20. Richard Buckner - Hoping Wishers Never Lose
21. Of Montreal - Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider

Monday, August 13, 2007


Fairly funny movie that I don't think I'd seen since either its theatrical release or intial VHS release...but it gets my vote for absolute worst 80's soundtrack ever. Harlod Faltermeyer, though extremely hot at the time (he had just done Beverly Hills Cop) sounds incredibly dated now. Though that's probably not fair to say....I'd have to admit he sounds dated because he created and shaped much of what we now think of as a stereotypical 80's sound. His music is more than just another generic example of it. So, kudos to Harry, but it still sounds pretty crappy now. (Yes, I must admit I can still plunk out a few lines of "Axel F" on the piano).

Checking out his wikipedia article, he has apparently been working only in Germany for many years, but just scored the much anticipated RPG game "Two Worlds".

The soundtrack has a few vocal numbers too, but noone I can put a name too...all utter garbage. I'll take the Beverly Hills Cop Soundtrack (Pointer Sisters!) over this any day.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Haiku For The Heck Of It

I burn you CDs
We haven't talked in nine years
You would have liked them

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

July's Mix CD

I've been pretty good this year about making a mix CD every month (which I mostly listen to in the car). I was a few days late for July, but here's the list -

1. Direct Hit - Art Brut
A great song for summer. Art Brut manages to completely avoid the sophmore slump with "It's a Bit Complicated"

2. Come Back (Light Therapy) - Josh Rouse
An older one that has been on my mind recently. Definitely not a summer song. May show up again on a winter compilation.

3. Could've Been Anyone - Aimee Mann
"Whatever" had been the missing piece in my Aimee Mann collection (well...that and the live album, and I don't have any Til Tuesday stuff). Definitely not her best and I had a hard time picking a song to put on the mix, but this one's pretty good.

4. Fairground - Graham Parker
Another song I've had around awhile, but I never really paid much attention to this album. I'm always into it when a GP song comes up on shuffle though, and I particularly liked this one when it came up the other day.

5. Shame - The Avett Brothers
This is a great album and leaves the feeling that the best from this band is yet to come.

6. Love That Boy - The Innocence Mission
I've been listening to this band since high school, and they're still incredibly under appreciated. This album is the best of the last few they put out.

7. Wrecking Force - Voxtrot
A band I discovered through this year's Pitchfork Festival. They've got the hooks. Lots of hooks. Weren't terribly convincing live....but on album...did I mention the hooks?

8. Song For Fay - Caroline Herring
This is on a compilation CD just out on Bloodshot Records - A Tribute to Larry Brown. I have no idea who Larry Brown is, or who Caroline Herring is, or who Fay is, but man I like this song.

9. God's Away on Business - Tom Waits
Another older one I've had around but never noticed till it recently came up on shuffle. This song has everything I love about Tom Waits - gritty growly vocals, odd rhythmns and instruments, and dark humor.

10. You Are My Face - Wilco
One of a number of stand-out tracks from their latest.

11. All Grown Up - Gore Gore Girls
Another new one from Bloodshot Records. A cover of a Crystals song (or at least a song they recorded). It's all irony here, but I think deep down it was all irony when it was originally recorded too. Now if someone would just cover the Crystals gem "He Hit Me (and it Felt Like a Kiss).

12. The Transfiguration - Sufjan Stevens
It's been very hard for me to get into Sufjan's back catalog having had Illinois as my introduction. Nothing can compare. I can't put my finger on why I like this song, but I do.

13. Rag and Bone - The White Stripes
One of the few songs from "Icky Thump" that I really like. Everything else just sounds too Led Zeppelin to me.

14. The Sun Also Sets - Ryan Adams
It's already August and Ryan Adams has only released one album this year, and it's superb. Right up there with Cold Roses and Jacksonville City Nights. Sad too...especially this song.

15. Little Triggers - Elvis Costello
I'd been swearing for a long time to pick up some of Elvis' early albums, and finally started myself down that path with "This Year's Model". I'd never heard this song before, but can't get enough of it.

16. Trouble - Voxtrot

17. If the Brakeman Turns My Way - Bright Eyes
I had a hard time with this song at first, but eventually the chorus completely won me over. I'm a sucker for the background "movin' out" vocals on this one (Jim James I think?).

18. The Mesopotamians - They Might Be Giants
Good old fashioned TMBG fun. Who can resist?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Ron Santo Essential Commentary of the Game

"...our pitchers are throwing too many balls. You've got to throw strikes!"

Really? Strikes? Golly Ron, without you we'd have no clue as to the essential strategies of baseball.