Themed posts

Anything thematic, i.e. Fourth of July posts or retro music

Off topic, does anyone have an “entry song” into “Hazards of Love”? You know, a song you can listen to and it gets you excited to hear the rest? Excluding the Rake’s Song, that is. I listened to the first three tracks and it was like, snoozeville, so either I am way off base or I just haven’t found the way into it. Any suggestions? (Confession: I kind of hate albums where the whole thing is one story. Excluding “The Wall.” But even that gets on my nerves sometimes.)

Aaaand, back to topic in five, four three ….

The ladies are rocking my socks off these last few months, with some really great stuff. It’s so much fun to look at my playlist and realize that it’s all women singing/writing/playing (yes, guys are great too, that’s not the point). Let’s recap, for those people who have been hiding under a rock for awhile.

01. Lisa Hannigan — Sea Sew. Have I said enough about this album? I THINK I HAVE.

Lisa Hannigan — Venn Diagram

02. Camera Obscura — My Maudlin Career. This one is classic C.O. and very fun to listen to. It starts off with such a great track, “French Navy,” where Traceyanne Campbell laments the fleeting nature of love and its unholdability.

Camera Obscura — French Navy

03. Vienna Teng — Inland Territory. Her voice is so beautiful that she sneaks all kinds of social issues into her songs and you don’t even notice until you’re singing along.

Vienna Teng — No Gringo

04. Bat For Lashes — Two Suns. Spacy, nutty, gorgeous: it’s all still there in the fabulous mix that is Natasha Khan.

Bat For Lashes — Travelling Woman

05. Neko Case — Middle Cyclone. The usual mix of the unusual: startling violent images, mysterious lyric play, being stalked by a cyclone. You know; same old same old.

Neko Case — Polar Nettles

06. Jenn Grant — Echoes. Understated and beautiful folk with jazzy undertones; the lyrics almost remind me of Bjork sometimes :D but the music does not sound anything like Her Icelandiness.

Go forth and listen!

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Crushy VDay

Since I have a big crush on AC Newman, I will wish you a happy Valentine’s Day by posting his cover of “Take On Me.” It’s on the Starbucks compilation entitled “Sweetheart,” if you wish to enrich them by purchasing it. There’s a good Jem song and a half-decent cover of “I Put A Spell On You” by She & Him (i.e., the backing blues guitar is awesome, but I can’t listen to it because of her singing. Sigh). Oh yes, and a great DeVotchKa cover! And some not-so-great covers.

So rather than buying it at Coffee Conglomerate, go pick and choose on iTunes like a box of chocolates where you throw out the weird cherry ones and the ones full of strawberry creme (or maybe you keep those, because I’m the weirdo who likes chocolate fondant. Whichever).

And I’ll put up the DeVotchKa. But that’s because I love you, faithful reader.

[ed note: tracks removed! Email me for a copy.]

AC Newman — Take On Me (A-Ha)

DeVotchKa — Hot Burrito #1 (I’m Your Toy) (Flying Burrito Brothers)

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Harmony

When I was listening to last week’s podcast of “This American Life,” I was privileged to hear to a beautiful talk by Anne Lamott; she spoke of her love for Jesus Christ, and the people around her, and music. She told a story of a man in her church who was dying of AIDS. He came to the meeting but he was so weak he could not stand to sing when everyone else was standing. A woman in the same congregation who had always been sort of standoffish to him was watching him sing and she got up and went over to him and lifted him so he could sing as well. Here is what Lamott said:

… and they sang, and it pierced me. I can’t imagine anything else but music that could have brought about this alchemy. How is it that you have a chord here, and then another chord there, and then your heart breaks open? I don’t know the answer. Maybe it’s that music is about as physical as it gets. Your essential rhythm is your heartbeat; your essential sound a breath. We’re walking temples of noise. And when you add the human heart to this mix, it somehow lets us meet on a bridge we couldn’t get to any other way.

In these times of chaos and this year of dissonance, I am comforted by simple musical harmony. The following are not religious songs, just songs in harmony. And if you choose to listen — friend, I’ll meet you on the bridge.

01. Mady Mesplé & Danielle Millet — The Flower Duet (from the opera “Lakmé,” written by Léo Delibes in 1881)
02. October Project — Bury My Lovely (acoustic)
03. The Cox Family — I Am Weary (Let Me Rest)
04. Peter & the Wolf — Silent Movies
05. The Mountain Goats & Kaki King — Thank You Mario But Our Princess Is In Another Castle
06. Ben Kweller — Wait (Beatles Cover)
07. Vienna Teng — Between
08. Paul Simon — Under African Skies
09. Tom McRae — Ghost Of A Shark
10. Alice In Chains — Heaven Beside You

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Omkara

I love nothing better than delicious cultural fusion, so I was highly entertained by “Omkara,” the Bollywood retelling of Othello. It’s been out since 2006, but I’m slow about these things. Omkara, played by Ajay Devgan, is a gangster who enforces mob rule for his boss Bhaisaab. He’s a devilishly suave dude who wins the heart of sweet innocent Dolly, though her father warns him that she will never be faithful to him.

When Bhaisaab gains more power, Omkara has the opportunity to promote one of his own gang to the position of “general” (i.e., enforcer). Omkara picks his loyal friend Kesu, but his brother-in-law Langda thinks that he should have had the position. Langda starts scheming, hijinks ensue, there is singing and gunfire and tragedy … I bet you can guess how it ends.

The film was very well received over the ocean in the US and Europe, so it probably disappointed Bollywood purists, as most things with cross-cultural appeal will do. But the music is absolutely great. I watched the movie with these awful subtitles, so I even got to know a little bit about what the songs were saying. They’re way fun. Omkara gets his own theme song (about what a hard-bitten gangsta he is) and the pieces alternate from the bump-and-grind of “Beedi” to the heartfelt duet “O Saathi Re,” sung in the last peaceful sunlit moments Dolly and Omkara have together before they’re ripped apart by circumstance.

It’s a great movie for anyone — there’s love and gunfire and tragedy and family and loyalty and dancing girls and good-looking fellas in sunglasses singing their hearts out. Put it on your Netflix queue and get ready for a good time. Here’s a trailer if you want to give it a preview (a short one or a long one with more English).

Omkara — Omkara

<>Omkara — O Saathi Re

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Well, personal concerns have kept me away from the internet for awhile (gasp) but ye olde show must go on. Ryan from Burly Time sent me some bright, beautiful instrumental pieces by a Detroit guitarist named Nick Schillace. Very laid back, exceptional listening for the stressful time I have had the last couple weeks. Of course today I was listening again and my brain said, “‘1976’ … wait, isn’t there a song called ‘1974’?” Which of course caused a mad scramble through my CDs, and this post.

[ed note — tracks removed. contact me for a copy.]

01. Nick Schillace — 1976
02. Ryan Adams — 1974
03. Cake On Cake — 1981
04. Travis — 1922
05. Ox — 1913

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Two for the price of one. First the bad, then the good. Because that’s how my mother taught me to eat dinner.

I Don’t Like These Things:

1. Beirut’s new album. Holy boring cow. What is it with that Condon guy? Why does everyone like him so much? Let me suggest some alternatives. 1) Calexico. 2) Karsh Kale. 3) Cleaning your ears out with a toothpick — maybe you’re slowly going deaf and you don’t know it.

2. Music festivals. Because I can’t go to any of them. *shakes fist*

3. People that say that Indie Is Dead, and moan about how everyone listens to it. Boo freaking hoo, so what if indie is now mainstream? It’s a good thing! Instead of being forced to hear Rascal Flatts in a can, I have a huge resource base for bands who are still thinking out of the box and producing a quality listening experience. Lots of other people feel the same way. If you’re a big baby who can’t stand other people listening to your precious bands, don’t worry. You still have Xiu Xiu and Destroyer and CYHSY. No one else wants ’em, believe me.

4. “Liveblogging.” It’s like having to read people’s AIM conversations that they thought were soooo funny when they were writing them, but man, you had to be there, trust me. And it clogs up my RSS something fierce.

5. Album covers or videos that feature serious T&A (you know, not just a girl dancing, I can deal with that. You know what I’m talking about — Bangers & Cash, I’m looking at you). Guess what? It’s degrading. If you like that stuff, you’re just one of these people. Don’t fool yourself.

Awesome videos of Awesomeness:

01. Wyclef Jean featuring Akon and Lil Wayne (and Niia)- “Sweetest Girl.” I love the line, “High school, she the girl that make me do a hula-hoop around the gym.” Awww! (Via Culture Bully)

02. Via The Music Slut, we get “Kingdom,” Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode!)’s new song. Me likey.

03. PJ Harvey on French TV. She looks utterly beautiful, and so is the song (via Idolator).

04. The Music Slut also brings us Bat For Lashes performing at the Mercury Awards. Dang, way to hit those notes! I think she’s probably breaking glass in the theater somewhere. *nods approvingly*

05. From The Rawking Refuses To Stop!, a loud, punky British video from a band called Cut Off Your Hands. Which obviously they didn’t, because how are they playing guitar? Riddle me that. The song is called “You & I.”

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Before I start, check out Blender Mag’s list of the best music cameos on the Simpsons. Maybe you agree and maybe not — but heck, it’s a ton of awesome clips (Barry White on Whacking Day, anyone?). YouTube proves its usefulness once again.

And now! Music. I was cleaning out some of my old folders and found some good stuff. Download it all … every single one is worth at least 30 seconds of your listening time.

[ed note – tracks removed. contact me or drop a comment for a copy.]

01. Fujiya & Miyagi – Collarbone
02. Yo La Tengo – Tears Are In Your Eyes
03. Okkervil River – He Passes Number Thirty-Three
04. The Real Tuesday Weld – I Love the Rain
05. Veruca Salt – Forsythia
06. Peter and the Wolf – Silent Movies
07. Pop Levi – Dollar Bill Rock
08. The Bees (aka A Band of Bees) – Love In the Harbour
09. Cafe Tacuba – Ojalá Que Llueva Cafe (Juan Luis Guerra)
10. Gillian Welch – Elvis Presley Blues

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What? You want something patriotic? Cable & Tweed has you covered.

[ed. note — all tracks removed. contact me for a copy.]

01. Michael Stipe — The Last Day Of Our Acquaintance (Sinead O’Connor)

02. The New Amsterdams — Thirty-three (Smashing Pumpkins)

03. Tom Jones — I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor (Arctic Monkeys)

04. Taj Mahal — Honky Tonk Women (the Rolling Stones)

05. Lambchop — Beyond Belief (Elvis Costello)

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In ninth grade, I had such a crush on this guy named Lee. I used to stare longingly at him during drama class — probably drove him crazy. Not that I would have known what to do with him if I’d gotten him — I didn’t want him, exactly. I just wanted someone to stare at.

So my best friend through this whole crush thing was Carrie. She came up to me one day with a tape (that’s a cassette, for you young’uns. We rolled like that, back then) that had this ugly, swirly cover.

“Try this,” she said, “you’ll love it.”

“‘Mixed Up’?” I said, very dubiously. You may remember from a previous post that I was still at this point coming out of my country music phase and just dipping a toe cautiously into REM. I judged tapes by album covers for some reason. “This doesn’t look very good.”

“But Laura,” said she, very slyly, because Carrie was sly like that, “Lee likes it. He told me in art class that the Cure was his favorite band.”

How could I refute that? She and Lee had art together, and I didn’t. Maybe they had regular conversations about music. So I took “Mixed Up” home, determined that I would like it. But I didn’t even have to try very hard — in fact, my love for Robert Smith lasted a lot longer than my love for Lee.

Carrie had longish, dark-brown curls and a beautiful smile. She was very thin, had brown eyes, and had a wonderful sense of humor. She drew cartoons, and when she wrote me letters, they were always at least ten pages of her intricate writing and her cartoons. She introduced me to Nirvana, to Pulp, to PJ Harvey, to Monty Python. She made beautiful mix tapes with handmade covers and funny titles. You kids today, you don’t know what a mix tape is anymore. Carrie was a mix tape artist. It’s been ten years since I last spoke to her, and I don’t even have a tape player anymore, but I still have some of her tapes packed away, because I can’t bear to throw them out.

Without her, my musical education would have stayed stuck in the ninth grade. We had no indie radio play to speak of (AFN did not count, folks). I was fond of “Kokomo,” Weird Al, and even taped an NKOTB album from another friend. I was a mainstream dweeb, and I probably would have hung around in the pop mainstream and today I’d be a big old Kelly Clarkson fan. And I’d probably be just fine. But Carrie developed my music taste into something outside of radio play, outside of MTV, something that appreciates the fine music that can be traded, ear to ear, on a well made mix tape. Maybe this whole blog thing is just my way of paying it forward.

So thanks, Ms. McNear, wherever you are now. I hope you’re happy. I hope you remember the times that we sat in your basement watching “The Cure In Orange” and writing dark poetry. This one’s for you.

Videos (for songs I don’t own).

1. Enigma — Sadeness
2. Information Society – Think
3. Bettie Serveert — Something So Wild

Music

[All tracks removed. Please contact me for a copy.]

01. Tori Amos — Raspberry Swirl (Lip Gloss version)
02. PJ Harvey — Sheela Na Gig (live at the Forum, London, 5/23/93)
03. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin — Kill Your Television

04. The Cure — Subway Song
05. Victoria Williams — Crazy Mary
06. Sinead O’Connor — Ode To Billy Joe

07. 50 Foot Wave — Your Ghost
08. Pet Shop Boys — Go West
09. The Violent Femmes — Gone Daddy Gone

10. Cream — White Room
11. Shakespears Sister — Stay
12. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds — Straight To You

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Decide For Yourself

So we come to the portion of the evening in which, in spite of my talking smack about Andy for his hateration in the last post, I mention some stuff that I can’t get into. Some of you may have gotten into this! Some of you may even like it a lot. Some of you may want to give it a try. As usual, you may make up your own mind; I present it to you in the hopes that you will. Discuss below if you’d like.

1. Icky Thump — No. Just no. I hate the White Stripes now, I hated the White Stripes then; in a few years, my hatred of the White Stripes will not have diminished. Yea verily.

2. Sky Blue Sky. I respect Jeff Tweedy so highly as a person, but Wilco makes my yawn reflex pop every 10 seconds. I just cannot like it, no matter how hard I try. (Indie license — REVOKED!!)

3. Bands from Sweden. Doesn’t that sound so snobby and dismissive? But compared to the fantastic stuff coming out of France lately, I’m just totally blah on Sweden. Here’s some recent Swedish music you might like: Pelle CarlbergMainlinersThirdimensionRonderlinLoney, Dear.

4. Creepy self-indulgent videos featuring Natalie Portman in gogo boots. SRSLY.

5. Bishop Allen’s prospective new album, The Broken String. It’s kind of like, you ate a whole bunch of candy and you liked it at first and then it kind of made you go, “oog,” and you just want the candy to go away for awhile, but people keep offering you more. Oog.

Five things I do like!

1. Bonde Do Rolê (at Mars Needs Guitars!)

2. “Here’s a truck stop instead of St. Peters” (at Muzzle of Bees).

3. DJ Jazzy Jeff’s new album, “The Magnificent.” (at Kwaya Na Kisser)

4. Did I mention music from France? (at Culture Bully).

5. Interview with Raymond Raposa, aka Castanets. (at Stereogum).

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Thanks to Matthew, who pointed out another running song, (which came out in 2001 to Shannon Worrell’s 2000 – see below for ‘Long Distance Runner,’) so enjoy Belle & Sebastian — The Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner. Look ma! My first B&S song. I’m sure Matthew knew it was only a matter of time.

Well, lately all that’s been on my musical frontiers are “Scarlet’s Walk” (in the car) and Sea Wolf’s “Get To the River Before It Runs Too Low” (on the itunes). But I was sent the link to the Flies three times, and each time I listened to them and thought, “I really need to write about these guys.” So I’m buckling down! Since I haven’t had time to read my RSS, I hope you haven’t been reading millions of articles about the Flies already. If so … move along, nothing to see here, not the mp3s you’re looking for.

The most apt descriptor of this band, which has a name so impossible to google that you end up with page after page of William Golding1 (or Alice In Chains2), is: smooth with a capital Smoo. There’s sort of a retro-glam 70s feel of slicketyness wrapped around Sean Cook’s vox, all in some kind of upscale package like a box of Godivas. You can hardly imagine these guys grinding it out in some club with sweat running down their faces — Cook is almost torch-singing sometimes, and “Walking On the Sand” sounds like he ought to be slithering across a piano. Songs like “All Too Human” amp it up a bit, in a langorous sort of way, but I could listen to Cook sing all day, cause he actually sounds really hot. Not a lot of guy torch-singers these days — most of them try to cover up their crummy voices with faux-intelligent indie lyrics.

But the Flies seem to have smart lyrics, from what I’ve heard, so no complaints there. The one complaint I have is with their website, which I’m not going to link to — it’s weird and picturesque, but it doesn’t actually seem to lead to any information. I don’t like purely gimmicky websites — I need some info with my ‘tainment. But honestly, if any music from these folks comes across the pond that can be bought in easy format (i.e., I don’t have to register for another service), I’ll be all over it.

The Flies — Myspace | Label (No Carbon)

[note: files have been removed. contact me for a copy.]

The Flies – I Have No Shame

The Flies – Walking On the Sand

1 Lord of the Flies — poor Ralphie. Poor, poor Ralphie.
2 “Jar of Flies” — which contains my favorite AIC song, “Don’t Follow.” 1994, you were a good year.

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Running

My sister completed a triathlon last week — maybe I have running on the brain. I just found this amusing while doing some downloading from Daytrotter — people. Seriously.

HOW CAN
DAYTROTTER NOT
EXPLODE FROM
A POLAR
INSTABILITY CAUSED
BY ITS
OWN COOLNESS?

The world will never know. But back to my own amusement. [These files have been removed. Contact me for a copy.]

Sea Wolf – Middle Distance Runner(from Daytrotter)

vs.

September 67 – Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

with crazy coincidental-band/song-title bonus:

Wolf Parade – You Are A Runner & I Am My Father’s Son

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So last week I thought to myself, “This is the worst week ever,” especially after I spilled my awesome crepe mix all over the stove and broke my good glass mixing bowl. But no! This week is the worst week ever. *nods*

01. Air – Mer du Japon
02. Albinoni – Adagio in G Minor
03. Duke Ellington – Satin Doll
04. Firecracker Jazz Band – Blue Leaf Clover
05. Yo Yo Ma – Prelude (Master & Commander soundtrack)

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World Music! Is the win.

It’s the end of the month and once again I’m blowing my Emusic quota on international music. Enjoy! I had put these up on Sendspace … we’ll see how long that lasts. Oh the plight of my file space. Oh for all the lost mixes I have no room for. Alas, alack, welladay.

01. Arjun Sen (write); Jitender Bhardwaj (perf.) – Theme Khamosh Pani (from the movie “Khamosh Pani” or “Silent Waters”).
02. Mulatu Astatqe – Asmarina (“My Asmara”)
03. Kekele – Dido
04. Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Halleluyah

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Studio Ghibli

Some days I look up at the sky and think, “I’m living in TV.” The sky is a deep deep blue and the green palm trees stand out against it, waving their fronds gently — it’s surreal. I doubt I’ll ever get used to it. So today have some music that makes you feel as if you’re living in a fantasy; the music of Studio Ghibli.

Hayao Miyazaki’s work is so atmospheric that you just want to jump into it and live there. When I first saw “Spirited Away,” the image that stayed most with me was the one of the train, gently rolling water out of its way as it went along its submerged track. In “Castle In the Sky,” the most beautiful image is as the broken sky-city floats up out of human reach, its lone robot tending the garden that is still growing in between the stones. And in “My Neighbor Totoro,” the citybound viewer is stunned by Miyazaki’s Japanese countryside, all glittering lakes and long, wooded stretches. Miyazaki’s fantasy is completely different from Tolkein’s, but they share a love of the pastoral, and wonderful things can come out of the woods to play.

Miyazaki site | Studio Ghibli (Japanese) |
Castle In the Sky | Spirited Away | My Neighbor Totoro

01. “Suraggu Keikoku No Asa” (from “Laputa: the Castle In the Sky”)
02. “Tenkû No Shiro Laputa” (from “Laputa : the Castle In the Sky”)

03. “Yuugure No Kaze” (from “My Neighbor Totoro”)
04. “Tsukamori No Taiju” (from “My Neighbor Totoro”)

05. “The Sixth Station” (from “Spirited Away”)
06. “Always With Me” (from “Spirited Away”)

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Christmas Day

It’s Christmas day for me, so happy holidays to those celebrating a holiday-ish time of year! Here are two presents for you good little boys and girls: a couple of fine songs that came to me through circuitous channels, but were originally off of vinyl. I don’t do vinyl, so I’m glad I could hear these anyway.

01. Casiotone For the Painfully Alone – Graceland. Released by Rococo Records in a 500-edition print.
02. Of Montreal – She’s A Rejecter. Released on the Polyvinyl Records 7″ of the same name.

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I’m not a holiday music person. My holiday-music-listening extends to one run-through of Handel’s Messiah, and that’s about it. I mean, if you go to the grocery store (or any store) between October and January first, you get Christmas music shoved up your … ear … whether you like it or not. So I avoid it most of the time.

But I haven’t completely lost my sense of humor (it’s around here somewhere … maybe in my other pants …) so I thought you all might enjoy a bit of Grandma-got-run-over-by-a-reindeer style fun. Ansty McClain and his Trailer Park Troubadors, purveyors of amusing (scarily amusing) rural music, have put out a Christmas album. And oddly enough, one of the songs reminds me of dinner at the in-laws’ … that is, if they’d replaced “Death by Mayonnaise” with “Death by Cool Whip.” My husband’s extended family are all extremely fond of Cool Whip, yea verily.

What’s really nice about the Antsy site is that you can buy MP3s separately, so if you need that last song to fill up your Christmas-themed mix CD, well … inject a little cheap humor into the situation. Although there’s nothing cheap (or tawdry, no sir) about this pink pantsuit. Have mercy.

Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadors – Site

[These tracks have been removed.]
Antsy McClain and the Trailerpark Troubadors – Christmas At the Trailer Park
Antsy McClain and the Trailerpark Troubadors – Underneath the Mistletoe Again

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I have a lot of writing commitments in the next week, and I still have to make it to #1 on my best of list. I’m not a good reviewer (overviewer?) and so we’ll see how I do. Meanwhile, today I have the blues. The blues is like a virus; you get it in your blood and some days it hits hard. If you download these songs, it’s likely you’ll catch the blues yourself, so proceed with caution.

Meanwhile, here’s the tune:
Bad luck, empty pockets,
Trouble walking your way
With his tin ear.
–Cornelius Eady, “Leadbelly.”

01. Eric Clapton – Blues Before Sunrise (Leroy Carr)
02. The Mountain Goats – Hellhound On My Trail (Robert Johnson)
03. Lightnin’ Hopkins – Catfish Blues
04. Bessie Smith – Cemetery Blues
05. Alice Moore – Just A Good Girl Treated Wrong

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Mmmm… turkey.

[note: link from yesterday is fixed. I woke up in a sweat at 6:45 am thinking, “The turkey has to go in the oven! And I didn’t put up the mp3 yesterday!”]

Happy Thanksgiving to my American compadres. Here’s a song that doesn’t mean anything, really, but I love it anyway:

Led Zeppelin – Thank You

I’m sick and my typing arm hurts from a stupid tetanus booster (stupid tetanus! Stupid sexy Flanders!) so here’re some things you could be listening to if you were as cool as me.

[These links don’t work anymore! You can get a copy by contacting me, though.]

01. Regina Spektor – Ne Me Quitte Pas
02. Soltero – Fight Song For True Love
03. Rachmaninov – Prelude in G-Sharp Minor, Op. 32, No. 12
04. Beck – Hell Yes
05. Dan Zanes & Friends – We Shall Not Be Moved

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Bands I Don’t Like

As a nod to Marathonpacks — I only meet half your criteria, so I can do this, right? — it’s time once again to present Bands I Don’t Like, But You Might, If You Just Buckled Down and Sucked Some Bandwidth, Come On Folks, What’s Your Problem.

This is more like a list of folks I don’t plan on listening to, but who are currently wildly popular. With the glut of indie music available, it is only the goal of the most obsessed to listen to everything. I don’t listen to everything, and in fact I have a rather narrow range of what I do listen to in the “indie” genre. I have other musical interests as well, but those things get saved for days when I don’t feel indie.

And, yes, I agree with Marathonpacks’s overall point — blogging is a selfish enterprise. Why should I cater to anyone but myself when I’m doing this for free and for fun? (Peter Griffin: “Touché, Costmart.”) So, after all that, I now present the second installment of Bands I Don’t Like. But you might like them. Don’t take my word for it! And maybe I’ll feature one of them in a year or so with apologies (but probably not).

1. Ben Kweller

Ben’s part of a sad subset in my mind: “People whose last names start with two weird vowels.” You know who else is in that subset? Jason Mraz. Yep, it’s apparently a letterist conspiracy. You want to know who Ben Kweller is? Go find out your own damn self.

2. Joanna Newsom

She wears flowy dresses and she plays the harp, and her first album was called something about milkmaids — that’s a leetle too ren faire for me [ed note — my bad, it’s “The Milk-Eyed Mender.” Almost a milkmaid, but not quite.]. And her songs are like, nine minutes long apiece. I’m sorry, I don’t do nine minute songs. I haven’t even listened to The Tain, because I can’t face the length of it. If it’s not “Thick As A Brick” or “Kashmir,” and honestly I can’t see either of those done on a harp, I’m not gonna listen to it. You can check out one of Ms. Newsom’s freaky videos here.

3. Cat Power

I think Cat Power is a guy thing, because Chan Marshall’s hot and has a sexy voice, and she could have probably drunk you under the table in her drinking days. Ah! I know! She’s Ryan Adams for guys. Well at any rate, not really my thing, since, you know, I’ve got Ryan. There are some Cat Power videos and mp3s at Matador Records

4. French Kicks

Outside of the nifty name, there’s nothing remotely interesting about this band at all. Where did Vagrant Records go wrong? It’s all so sordid. You can hear some music (if I dare call it that) at Vagrant records (click on “click to launch ecard”).

5. TV On the Radio

Yeah … a bunch of obscure images and some weird zippy music behind it … that’s the kind of indie I hate most. If I want lyrics I can’t understand, I’ll listen to Afropop, thank you very kindly. So here is their Myspace. “Wolf Like Me” has some nice driving drums, I’ll give them that, but then the guy starts singing, and ugh.

(As usual, I request that you not email me with nasty comments if these are your favorite bands. We can agree to disagree, n’est pas?)

World Music Saturday

Well, thanks to the fabulous Afropop, I blew all my emusic downloads on world music. So it’s not really relevant to the Indieness Of It All, but it really rocks. Plus, I know I have at least one reader that will spend 3 days downloading a song or two ::waves in the direction of Azerbijan::

[These tracks have been removed. You can contact me if you’d like a copy.]

Miriam Makeba – Pata Pata
Sara Tavares – Novidadi
Africando – Reference
Herbie Hancock feat. Santana & Angelique Kidjo – Safiatou
Dan Zanes & Friends (feat. Angelique Kidjo) – Jamaica Farewell

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On this fifth anniversary of people’s inhumanity to other people, I thought I’d say a little something about charity. I’m not gonna go into politics; suffice to say, I don’t believe in depending on the government to help those less fortunate. I believe that the best way for disadvantaged groups to get help is for you and I to dig into our bank accounts and give our own money away. Or, if we have no money, to volunteer our time or material donations.

If you look at Independent Charities, you’ll see a ton of worthy organizations that could use help. Any little bit helps, and I’m sure that they’d be grateful for any donation of money or time. Specific organizations include:

The Red Cross
Riverkids
Coalition Against the Trafficking of Women
Locks of Love
National center for family literacy
National park trust
Susan G Komen breast cancer foundation
Camp Courageous of Iowa
Children of the Night
Friends of Libraries, USA
Habitat For Humanity International
National center for missing & exploited children
ProLiteracy worldwide

That’s all. So, music. [These tracks have been removed. You can contact me if you’d like a copy.]

(Beethoven’s 9th Symphony & “Ode To Joy”; 23:38; performed by the London Festival Orchestra, conducted by Alfred Scholz)
The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations

This post goes out to my brother-in-law, who is winging his way out to Azerbijan to teach English. Where is Azerbijan, you ask? Eh. I don’t know either.

[These tracks have been removed. You can contact me if you’d like a copy.]

PJ Harvey and Bjork – Leaving On A Jet Plane
Pink Floyd – Learning To Fly (live)
Goldfrapp – Fly Me Away (Naughty Remix)
Bright Eyes – At the Bottom Of Everything
Roman Candle – From An Airplane Window

Well, I have a lot of music to sift through, but truth be told, I’m still hung up on Casiotone. I don’t want to listen to anything but “Toby Take A Bow” on repeat, so I present a little segment I like to call:

5 Bands I Don’t Like that Everyone Else Does And You Might Too, If I Just Featured Them, Which I Won’t.

1. I’m From Barcelona

I think they’re boring as hell, but they’re indie darlings. You could, if you were so inclined, stream their EP “Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams, Buddy!” at EMI Sweden.

2. The Pipettes

I know, I totally ought to be on the Pipettes bandwagon, but that whole dressing-in-the-same-poodle-skirt ouevre just turns me off. Nevertheless, many people scream about them like teenage girls at an Elvis concert. They were blogged about just yesterday and you can see a video and hear music at Turquoise Days.

3. Cursive

My brother-in-law used to be a Saddle Creek junkie. “Just listen to Cursive, you’ll love it! I swear!” he used to say. Well, he got me hooked on Azure Ray, but I resisted whatever glamour that Cursive tried to lay on me. They have a new album coming out. Check out the details at Rewriteable Content (of course, one assumes he means “sneak peek,” and not that you’ll climb a mountain in a ninja suit).

4. Xiu Xiu

Way, way too wall of sound for me. But lo-fi is the new hi-fi, didn’t you know? And what a hypocrite I am, turning up the Casiotone while I talk bad about the Xiu Xiu listeners. I’m sorry, I’m very sorry. So Xiu Xiu also has a new album coming out, read about it at I guess I’m floating.

5. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

To me, this is like the emperor’s new clothes — everyone knows this band sucks, but everyone’s afraid to say it, because then their indie image will be ruined. Well, I don’t have an indie image, so I’ll point out that I hate this band, I hate the singer, and I’d barely classify their sound as “music” in the first place. But you might like it, and therefore think I’m full of crap. Or if you don’t, you’ll be too afraid to admit it. You can download some live tracks at The BMRant.

(Please don’t send me nasty emails about how Xiu Xiu rules or I suck or whatever. This is all tongue in cheek, and you like what you like and I like what I like, and like Bright Eyes says, it’s cool, we can still be friends.)

Throwaway Saturday, as I have a million errands to run.

[These tracks have been removed. You can contact me if you’d like a copy.]
1. Bjork – Human Behavior (Underworld Mix)
2. Little Shop of Horrors (soundtrack) – Somewhere That’s Green
3. Mountain Goats – Anti Music Song
4. West End Girls – West End Girls (Pet Shop Boys)
5. Wolf Parade – You Are A Runner and I Am My Father’s Son

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I love when blogs just give you music. No questions asked, no long-winded explanations of why you should listen to it, no extraneous links. It’s your choice! You can download it and give it a try, or you can skip over it while exclaiming to yourself, “Why would I ever listen to a band called Monkey Jell-O?” Or would you?? You never know.
So here are my top 5 of the moment, with a little blurb if I feel like it.

[These tracks have been removed. You can contact me if you’d like a copy.]
1. Sufjan Stevens – Come Thou Font Of Every Blessing. If you like that hymn (it happens to be one of my favorites), you will love this version.

2. Aaliyah – If Your Girl Only Knew (Siik remix, acquired from siik.org). Funny story – I was listening to this song one time while I was hanging around in Salt Lake City. I think I was waiting for a bus. Anyway, a gorgeous bride came walking down the street in her dress and everything (we get a lot of brides in Salt Lake). And then this guy driving a natty sportscar, like a Trans-Am or something, comes driving down the opposite side of the street, but he peels this huge U-turn, drives up past this woman wearing her wedding gown, and starts whistling and hollering at her. Colossal good taste, eh? So every time I hear this song, I think of that woman.

3. Bombay the Hard Way – Ganges A Go-Go. (acquired from “I Am Fuel, You Are Friends”). I loooove Bollywood music, and this song is so great, beginning with the spoken intro. Awesome!

4. The Smiths – Nowhere Fast. Ah, Morissey, the king of cheerfully depressing self-hate music.

5. Nouvelle Vague – A Forest. I’m sorry, did you say someone is covering the Cure and adding bossa nova? I’m ON IT.

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I’m not particularly patriotic. Never have been. Probably comes from being an expatriate for most of my life, but the idea of saluting the flag and all that isn’t my cup of tea. Therefore, instead of the obligatory posting of “July, July” (which you can get at The DIY Rockstar if you need it), here are some songs detailing what we really worship in America. No, it’s not celebrity — I considered that, but I don’t have enough songs. No, I’m going with capitalism. Hail, capitalism! Hail, hail! Yes, I’m a cynic. But you knew that, didn’t you?

[These tracks have been removed. You can contact me if you’d like a copy.]

1. Jonathan Coulton – Ikea.
2. Randy & the Bloody Lovelies – The Money Song.
3. The Mountain Goats – International Small Arms Traffic Blues
4. Peggy Lee – Big Spender (Cy Coleman cover)
5. Wolfsheim – Youth & Greed