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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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For all you skinny jeans wearing folks out there — you know who you are, but you’re probably over at Catbirdseat right now — Threadless has reprinted your shirt. I know, true coolness doesn’t advertise, but if you don’t apprise the hoi polloi, no one will be able to figure it out. Xref the Simpsons:

Marge: Am I cool, kids?
Bart & Lisa: No.
Marge: Good. I’m glad. And that’s what makes me cool, not caring, right?
Bart & Lisa: No.
Marge: Well, how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we’ve tried everything here.
Homer: Wait, Marge. Maybe if you’re truly cool, you don’t need to be told you’re cool.
Bart: Well, sure you do.
Lisa: How else would you know?


Being pretty hoi in the polloi myself, I’m gonna just talk about some things I like.

01. According to La Onda Tropical, my faithful reference for what’s cool on the Latin front, the new hot beat is called New Cumbia (aka Kumbia), and it’s based on Colombian folk dance. Me, I was still grooving to reggaeton, but I like the cumbia too; faithful readers will know I’m a sucker for anything with a good beat. You can preview the nueva cumbia at La Onda or check out some stuff I snagged off the Hype Machine:

MIA — Paper Planes (Sonido Martines Guacharaca remix)
El Trip Selector — Cumbiancherita
Oro 11 — Que Calor (Pibes Chorros vs DJ Unh)

02. Gvs.B had a link to this Swedish dude who emanates a serious folk sound á la Donovan or similar — The Tallest Man On Earth. I can’t vouch for the veracity of his tallness, but the music is a major throwback to a certain time when American music was in thrall to a certain kinky-haired folk poet whose name shall go unmentioned. With a nice Swedish twist. Me likey.

The Tallest Man On Earth — I Won’t Be Found

03. Did I mention there was this disc out called “Heretic Pride”? I must have mentioned it. Ahaha. Well, so, yes. I like it very much, although what’s coming out later this year is stiff competition for best album. I am truly amazed by the jewelboxes of stories that Darnielle weaves — you open them up and look inside and it’s this itty bitty story with these amazing facets. One of the best and most detailed is the song “So Desperate,” which contains the best couplet on the whole album: We were parked near some trees; and the moonlight soaked the branches in ever-deepening degrees.

Not to mention (as many have already, so let me be brief) the song “Autoclave,” which presents love in a whole new scientifically toxic way. An autoclave is a sterilizing pressurizing unit, and Darnielle manages to put an entirely new twist on an age-old genre by simply saying, “My heart is an autoclave.” Talk about defeating anxiety of influence, folks. The song is kind of a love song (Darnielle said so at the gig I attended) but it’s also about being so toxic that no one can get near you: direct your attention, if you please, to the final stanza of the song.

I dreamt that I was perched atop a throne of human skulls
on a cliff above the ocean; howling wind and shrieking seagulls.
And the dream went on forever, one single static frame —
sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

Gorgeous use of a pop culture phrase to mean its exact opposite. In “Cheers,” they meant that you go to where your friends are. This guy in this song, though, he goes to notoriety a whole different way. If you’re sitting on a throne made of human skulls, you can be sure that everyone knows your name.

I shan’t go on. Suffice to say, I’m in love all over again.

The Mountain Goats — Autoclave

04. New Old 97s album coming out in May! I have such a girly crush on these guys and their sound — proof that alt-country is still kicking its heels up somewhere in Texas, so ha ha, Aquarium Drunkard, take that. And the new song sounds great; I’m really excited to hear the rest.

The Old 97s — Dance With Me

05. Another great record that will be out in 8 short days is DeVotchKa’s “A Mad & Faithful Telling.” It continues DeVotchKa’s gypsy rock folk tradition; and though I can’t say that I’m their biggest fan, in small doses I really love the brass-and-dance sound. DeVotchKa is also going on tour in Europe and the US.

DeVotchKa — Comrade Z

06. And something I’ve forgotten to mention for a month, but it’s still awesome: The Rich Girls Are Weeping has returned to us. Frabjuous day! Calloo callay! (I’m chortling in my joy, all right? Geez.)

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By turns, J. Darnielle is a showman, a mad scientist, a lover, a toxic vessel, and a heavy metal rock star. By the time his opening act (Jeffrey Lewis & the Jitters, earnestly political but a snooze) had finished, the club was packed with the faithful, crammed up against the stage in hopes of getting a high-five (some did). I didn’t see anyone famous (not that I would know) but the crowd was much more mixed than the usual indie girls in their striped stockings. I even saw one older lady with a gorgeous purse get escorted into the crowd by a security guy who stood next to her as she jammed out to “Lovecraft In Brooklyn.”

Darnielle bounced on stage with his crew and had everyone from the get-go, dapper in a suit, soft and loud by turns and with more body tics than I’ve seen since I used to watch Michael Stipe on VH1. Every so often he would just throw back his head and grin this enormous grin like he was Dr Frankenstein and the lightning was about to hit the ceiling. He brought to life most of the songs from “Heretic Pride,” even the ones I didn’t like so much on record (ie., “San Bernardino”).

I had to admire him; even though this was the second night in a row at the Troubadour, and even though he seemed, in 19th century parlance, to be pretty much on the go, he gave a very good performance. He was charming; his patter was excellent and made everyone laugh; and he broke out two singalongs, “No Children” and “This Year,” seeming as happy to hear the crowd holler at him as though he hadn’t heard it all a thousand times before.

They gave two encores, finishing out with a hilarious uber-goth cover of Kommunity FK’s “Something Inside Me Has Died”. As for old stuff, there was still enough in there to satisfy everyone — except the drunk guy who hung onto the rail as everyone was filing out, yelling “One More Song! One More Song!” What a jerk, I wanted to say. Seriously, I paid $18 for that show, and I feel like I got more than my money’s worth. I should send Darnielle a check with a note: A+ for effort. Will attend your show again.

The Mountain Goats, 03.05.08
The Troubadour, Los Angeles

01. Michael Myers Resplendent
02. Heretic Pride
03. Wild Sage
04. Autoclave
05. Sinaloan Milk Snake Song
06. Marduk T-Shirt Men’s Room Incident
07. So Desperate
08. I’ve Got the Sex
09. Love Cuts the Strings
10. Love Love Love
11. In the Craters On the Moon
12. Sept 15, 1983
13. San Bernardino
14. You Or Your Memory
15. Lovecraft In Brooklyn

01 No Children (singalong)
02 Going to Port Washington

01 This Year (singalong)
02 Something Inside Me Has Died (Kommunity FK cover)
03 The Window Song


In honor of my slogging up La Cienega tonight to see the Mountain Goats, I present some songs that I wish he would play. I am still digesting Heretic Pride, although I like it very much (even more than Get Lonely, which I did not expect).

01. Going to Marrakesh (live) — Darnielle is the master of simile; he can’t even seem to help himself. This is my favorite Mountain Goats song and the similes are simply perfect. Chance of being played: 0.0000000000001%

02. Palmcorder Yajna — Love the image of the camera inside the television, with its aperture “yawning and blinking.”

03. Has Thou Considered the Tetrapod — the turn in this song is in the last two lines, and those lines are chock full of menace. I wouldn’t want to mess with that tetrapod either.

04. Collapsing Stars — “You can look but you won’t find / another love like ours” — sweet loving homicidal maniacs.

05. Tollund Man — Poor guy… singing his lament, making his sacrifice, only to be dug up and leered at hundreds of years later.



The Kid
by Ai

My sister rubs the doll’s face in mud,
then climbs through the truck window.
She ignores me as I walk around it,
hitting the flat tires with an iron rod.
The old man yells for me to help hitch the team,
but I keep walking around the truck, hitting harder,
until my mother calls.
I pick up a rock and throw it at the kitchen window,
but it falls short.
The old man’s voice bounces off the air like a ball
I can’t lift my leg over.

I stand beside him, waiting, but he doesn’t look up
and I squeeze the rod, raise it, his skull splits open.
Mother runs toward us. I stand still,
get her across the spine as she bends over him.
I drop the rod and take the rifle from the house.
Roses are red, violets are blue,
one bullet for the black horse, two for the brown.
They’re down quick. I spit, my tongue’s bloody;
I’ve bitten it. I laugh, remember the one out back.
I catch her climbing from the truck, shoot.
The doll lands on the ground with her.
I pick it up, rock it in my arms.
Yeah. I’m Jack, Hogarth’s son.
I’m nimble, I’m quick.
In the house, I put on the old man’s best suit
and his patent leather shoes.
I pack my mother’s satin nightgown
and my sister’s doll in the suitcase.
Then I go outside and cross the fields to the highway.
I’m fourteen. I’m a wind from nowhere.
I can break your heart.

The Mountain Goats — Young Caesar 2000

Dean Gray — Novocaine Rhapsody (Green Day vs. Queen)

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Video hookup

A crazy mishmash of video deliciousness.

01. Found randomly on Yahoo, KT Tunstall covers one of the only 80s songs I can stand, “Walk Like An Egyptian.” I like KT, she’s a solid rocker but not all about herself.

02. Idolator found Irene Cara’s video for “Fame.” Oh yes, that Fame. Check out that gold lamé, and remember that those who do not learn from Youtube are doomed to repeat it.

03. Over Christmas, Electroqueer posted up a video from Mattafix, a duo from the UK. The song is (was) hot in Europe at the time of posting: it’s called “Living Darfur,” and it’s veddy nice African fusion.

04. Also a few weeks ago, The Rawking Refuses To Stop dug up the old video to “Only Wanna Be With You,” by the fabulous Hootie and his Blowfish. This song reminds me of NYC, because the one time I visited it, Hootie was on heavy play (yes, it was that long ago).

05. Posited by Fourfour: “Celine Dion is f*ing amazing.” Honestly, that woman’s a performer, and she got it done for years in Vegas, and everyone loved it. I got nothing agin’ her, as long as I never have to hear “My Heart Will Go On.” Ever. Again.

06. Also via Rawking, the adorably cute video for Lupe Fiasco/Kanye/Pharrell’s song “Us Placers.” Cute little mini-Thom-Yorke! *pats him on the head* although I do lose comprehension when they start singing about eyedrops and Glaxo-Smith-Kline.

07. Via Culture Bully, we get some Wyclef on Kimmel, doing “Sweetest Girl.” Dang, I love that song.

08. Whaa? New Mountain Goats video? “Sax Rohmer #1”? FTW!

09. At Electroqueer (scroll down), an odd T.A.T.U. video for their new song, “Beliy Plaschik” (White Robe). This is one band I can’t even pretend to understand.

10. Gvs.B, showcasing Alela Diane like they tend to do, notes that Le Blogotheque did a takeaway show with her. It’s very cute if you like little kiddos. I spot binky! Hee.

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Excellent stuff

My kid and I have a cold; you know one of those where you feel like you got hit by a truck? Yeah, that’s me, dragging around the house with a box of Kleenex. Here are some things that cheer me up as much as I can be chee — hee — ha CHOO. Yeah, just stay back about ten feet.

01. Culture Bully has a really really excellent post about the best mashups of 2007. I am a huge fan of mashups, and Chris D. shows you where to get some great ones.

02. Dengue Fever! Has a new album! And it’s called “Venus On Earth”! People, without using more exclamation points I cannot stress enough how cool a Cambodian electronica pop dance band is (at least, this one. Not too many out there for comparison). Have a listen to the new single, “Sober Driver.” Top ten material!

Dengue Fever — Myspace

03. I didn’t write too much over the holidays, but I liked the following music:

A) Skittish — I had a fun time listening to these folky, spare tunes from Minneapolis. This guy can seriously fit a scutload of words into one little line (so it’s not for everyone, I think). Reminds me of Bright Eyes in a way, but not employing Oberst’s more annoying characteristics. I’m very fond of “Pass the Punch,” with its whanging noises and Thick-As-A-Brick-ian call to arms: my cutters, my burners, my lovers, my sinners, my strays; let’s march on the gates and set fire to these edict estates. ’cause we are stronger in numbers, no longer ashamed — not quiet, not going away.

Skittish — Myspace | Site

B) Science For Girls — Mmmmm…sweet sweet electronic goodness (which is the best I can come up with today). It’s a debut album, but it slips down smooth as swallowed silk; check out “Fourteen Days,” featuring Bronwyn Exeter, with its jazzy bridge and clear as a bell vocals. Or if you like your distortions a la Cher, you can check out the excellently rhythmic “You’ll Never Know.”

Science For Girls — Myspace | Site

Science For Girls — You’ll Never Know (at the Music Slut, since my FTP client is being bastardous at the moment)

C) Mountain Goats … newwww album sooooon, precious … I will wait and buy it all legal-like because I want John Darnielle to stay locked in my closet and write songs forever live happily ever after and write many more albums. You may enjoy a free track, “Sax Rohmer #1,” at Chromewaves.

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Top 10 2006; 1

[ed. note: if you didn’t see this coming, well … I must not have talked about it enough. No one had the guts to guess except Chad! His #1 was M. Ward’s “Post-War,” which is a great album even though it didn’t make my list.]

The Mountain Goats
Get Lonely
In Corolla (removed. contact me for a copy.)

When the villagers come to my door,
I’ll be all tucked away with my face to the floor and my eyes closed.
And no one knows how to keep secrets ’round here;
they tell everyone everything, soon as they know.
And then where is there for poor sinners to go?

If John Darnielle’s Alpha saga were actually a Campbellian monomyth, “Get Lonely” would be the moment that the hero emerges from the underworld, rubbing his eyes against the light. He has spent a long time in the underworld and fought many evils, but has emerged triumphant, with a new vision of himself. He’s a hero … isn’t he?

He asks passersby what year it is, and they name a date at least a hundred years in the future. Everything has changed; people don’t greet him the same way; the language is faster and the weather is colder. When he walks down the street, he can feel the looks like bugs on his skin. Eventually he goes outside only when he needs to; then he starts staying inside all the time. He’s waiting for something — he just doesn’t know what. It will probably be bad, though.

Saw you on the crosstown bus today.
You were reading a magazine.
I turned my face away and I shut my eyes tight
and dreamed about the flowers that hide from the light
on dark hillsides
in the hidden places.

I feel sorry for those people that dismissed “Get Lonely” because it didn’t drip with vitriol like “the Sunset Tree” — they missed the point so hard. This isn’t an album that lashes out, smacking at enemies in that self-centered teenage way. Instead it’s grown up, sadder but wiser, and its protagonist alternates between noticing the smallest details of his new world and crawling inside himself to cry in a metaphorical corner. Darnielle’s creation is as flawed as the rest of us — maybe more so — and so his loneliness alternates between the hope of “Woke Up New,” which [gets] ready for the future to arrive, and the bleak resignation of waiting for exposure in “New Monster Avenue”:

Greenhouse full of butcher’s broom, breezes at my back.
Some time before the sun comes up, the earth is gonna crack.
I look down at my hands, like they were mirrors.

Fresh coffee at sunrise, warm my lips against the cup.
Been waiting such a long time now, my number’s finally coming up.
All the neighbors come on out to their front porches, waving torches.

The lyrics go around and around in circles, a man saying his prayers every morning with a whip. Memories become overwhelming: spend all night in the company of ghosts, always wake up alone. The listener reaches the conclusion that maybe the solution was just as bad as the problem. Now the hero is alone, having shed his worst enemy, but he has gotten lonely. And lonely is like the island in Narnia where all your dreams come true — you thought you knew what you were asking for, but it turns out that what you asked for wants to eat you, whole.

On the last track, “In Corolla,” the hero sinks into a swamp — literal or metaphoric, it doesn’t really matter — unable to leave behind the past, unable to enter the future.

And no one was gonna come and get me.
There wasn’t anybody gonna know.
Even though I leave a trail of burnt things in my wake
every single place I go.

Because he is an extraordinary writer, Darnielle must have known that he couldn’t top bitterness with bitterness. If poetry doesn’t evolve and move on, it dies. “Get Lonely” is evolution, beautifully chronicled in all its stark pain. Best album of 2006, I salute you.

[see Best of 2006 for more]


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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Weekly Roundup

First of all, let me take a second to plug Akismet. If you’re running your own blog — on WordPress or not — then you’re probably getting comment spam out the wazoo. I know I get more spam than comments (sadly) and Akismet stops them before they’re posted. I never have to do anything but delete them out of the queue. Akismet is the roxor! Seriously, just go get it.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Celebrity quote of the week: “He should feel grateful that’s he’s [been] given the gift to write pop songs – which he needs to write again!” — Brandon Flowers, speaking of Thom Yorke.

Seriously, can this guy just shut up? He’s giving people with a mustache a bad name. Mr. Flowers, are you actually trying to put Thom Yorke in a class with your pappy, banal, status-quo, MTV-video-loving music? I remember the first time I heard “The Bends” — it felt like the top of my head was coming off. I don’t recall feeling the same about “somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend,” etc., etc. Thom Yorke’s crazy, and some of his stuff sounds like 12,000 keys jingling at the same time, but you, sir, are deluded. Like we used to say in sixth grade: “Silence, fool!” (source: The Observer)


Along with Idolator, let us bow our heads and mourn the death of PoPoZao.

You can still stream the Decemberists’ “Yankee Bayonet” here. It’s freaking AWESOME. !!!!!! If you’re lucky enough to live in the Portland area, don’t forget to do what you have to do (no jury would convict you) to get into Colin Meloy’s living room concert.

Via Earfarm, you can download a copy of the Mountain Goats in Mount Pleasant, SC on Oct 19, 2004.


Via Indie Don’t Dance, the video for Bjork’s “Bachelorette”. If you’ve ever wondered how to film a Bjork song, well, this is how to do it.

Fun times with Drug PSAs over at Cracked.

And, via Squirrel Food, we learn about the beautiful Sony Bravia ads.


At Blender, you can read their take on the 50 Worst Things Ever To Happen To Music. At #22: “Lists That Reduce Rock History to a Series of Glib Soundbites.” Uh huh.

Rbally is auctioning off an iPod to help pay the medical bills of Rogue Wave’s guitarist. The auction ends in 4 days and you can still get a relatively cheap bid in. Won’t somebody please think of the children??!

Zoilus’s article on the Mountain Goats show is making the rounds. It’s really beautifully written, and it nails why I am now John Darnielle’s slave for life — MG is for words people. Nuff said.

Damien Rice news and mp3s from his forthcoming album “9.” I wonder if he’ll ever get to “1.”

John Mayer is a horrible singer, but “John Mayer Has A TV Show” was one of the funniest half hours ever. Now I’ve found John Mayer’s blog, and, as expected, it’s funny. I can’t believe I just typed “John Mayer” four times in three lines of text.

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This one’s for my two history buff friends, A.S. and R.St.A. They’re songs that mention actual historical events. Let the geekery begin! I did use wikipedia for some of the articles, but just out of general laziness. I feel wrong and dirty, because wiki is so not reliable, but I don’t have time to find a university library, sadly.

Playing Pianos Filled With Flames: A Historical Mix

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

01. Bishop Allen – The Monitor

Besides being about an ironworks fire that the fellows in Bishop Allen actually witnessed, this song also mentions the encounter between the Monitor and the Merrimack, which was the first battle between two ironclad ships. The USS Merrimack was scuttled by the Union, but the Confederates salvaged it and renamed it the CSS Virginia. In March 1862, the Virginia and the Monitor engaged in a four-hour battle that resulted in a draw. Unfortunately, ironclad ships weren’t the easiest to fight with, and the Merrimack/Virginia eventually had to be destroyed by its own captain. The Monitor was sunk by bad weather and its wreck was rediscovered in 1973. (

02. The Decemberists – Shankill Butchers (live at the St. Louis zoo, Aug 10, 05)

The Shankill Butchers were a group of serial murderers who tortured and killed people, mostly Catholics (or people they thought were Catholics), during the 1970s in Dublin [ed. note — I stand corrected; the city is actually Belfast]. When the gang was eventually apprehended, the court handed down 42 life sentences to the men involved in the slayings. The gang was nominally reformed in 1983, when its leader was released from prison, but he was shot and killed subsequently, and the slayings ceased. However, in 1998, all the convicted men were freed under the Good Friday Act, and remain free to this day. (wiki)

03. Tori Amos – Josephine

Josephine Bonaparte was first mistress, then wife, to Napoleon. They married in 1796, but she was not faithful. She was such a political help to Napoleon, however, and he loved her so much that he did not divorce her. This song reads like one of Napoleon’s letters to her — in one letter, he writes, “To live for Josephine, that is the history of my life I long. I try to come near you. Fool! I don’t notice that I am going further away. How many countries separate us! How long before you will read these words, this feeble expression of a captive soul where you are queen?” (Probably nicer still in French.) (

04. Beyonce – Bonnie and Clyde 03

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow met in 1930, while Clyde was in prison and Bonnie was married to a prisoner there. Between 1933 and 1934, the FBI hunted the two of them for committing 13 murders and various other crimes (robbery and burglary). They were killed in a hail of bullets on May 23, 1934. They are seen as very romantic criminals — notes that “With police and government detectives constantly on their trails, sometimes literally by inches, they time and time again risked their own lives to protect the other.”

05. Chicago Motion Picture Soundtrack – Cell Block Tango

“Chicago” is based loosely on two murders that occured in 1924. Belva Gaertner, a cabaret singer, stood trial for shooting her lover and leaving his body in a car; and Beulah Annan, a laundress (washerwoman?), also stood trial for shooting and killing her lover in her house. Maurine Watkins, a former reporter, then combined the two crimes when she wrote the play “Chicago” in 1926. (

06. Me First & The Gimme Gimmes – Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina

The biography of Eva Peron is too much to review here; if you like, you can go to to check it out. This song is from the musical “Evita,” and of course it’s very romanticised, but it’s generally agreed that Eva Peron loved her country. No matter whether you agree with her social policies, I don’t think anyone can argue that she thought she was doing the right thing. She was asked to be the Vice President of Argentina, but had to decline, as she was ill. She died soon thereafter, in 1952.

07. Nirvana – Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle

Frances Farmer was an early screen star; she lived a wild Hollywood lifestyle and eventually became depressed and abused alchohol. In the 1940s she returned to her hometown of Seattle, where she was eventually committed to a mental institution by her mother. In the 1950s she left the hospital and tried to make a screen comeback, but was only marginally successful. Many sensationalized stories (including Cobain’s) allege that Farmer had a lobotomy performed on her during her time in the mental hospital, but that’s been refuted. (wiki)

08. Mississippi John Hurt – Stagolee

In 1895, a man apparently named Lee Sheldon shot another man who had taken his hat and refused to return it. The man died; Sheldon went to prison. Someone wrote a song about it, calling Lee Sheldon “Stagger Lee” on account of his being drunk at the time. It became a traditional blues tune, and Nick Cave wrote a version for “Murder Ballads,” but I don’t like it. I do like Mississippi John Hurt’s version; listen to that fantastic guitar picking. (wiki)

09. Mountain Goats – Raid On Entebbe

On June 27, 1976, terrorists from the PLO and Baader-Meinhof hijacked an Air France plane carrying 250 passengers and diverted it to Entebbe, Uganda. By July 1, many of the hostages had been released but all the Jewish/Israeli passengers — over 100 — and the flight crew were still being held. On July 4, an Israeli strike team went into Uganda as a rescue force and killed all the terrorists in a 35-minute battle. The strike team’s leader and three hostages were killed as a result of the firefight, but the rest of the hostages were freed. (BBC)

10. Jeffrey Foucault – Secretariat

Secretariat was the winningest horse ever. He set a world speed record for the Belmont Stakes; he won 21 races in 2 years. And, according to, he was the father of 653 baby horses. Way to go, man! Way to go. (The song also mentions Rodin (sculptor), Joe Frazier (boxer), and the burning of Atlanta.)

11. REM – Man on the Moon

“Man on the Moon” is about Andy Kaufman, a comedian of many personalities. Kaufman died in 1984 of lung cancer, but since he had told many people that he was going to fake his own death, the legend persists that he is still alive. (wiki)

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Get Lonely

I wrote a really long, really thoughtful post, and WordPress ate it. So you all are never gonna get the chance to read about why John Darnielle proves my theory about where contemporary American poetry went in the last 40 years. Big loss, eh? Go out and buy “Get Lonely.” You won’t regret it.

the Mountain Goats – Site | Label (4AD)

[This track has been removed. You can contact me if you’d like a copy.]

the Mountain Goats – Wild Sage


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 feel like I really ought to say something profound and interesting. But, having gorged on an entire bag of TJ’s chocolate pretzels, my brain can only say, “BZZZZZZZZ.”

So! I was at the gym the other day, and listening to the Mountain Goats while watching an insanely thin girl doing her workout. The super duper thing about gyms in L.A. is that there is a very high percentage of Beautiful People, doing their crunches and whatnot while you sweat through your workout, grind your teeth, and hate them.

Therefore, I present our first mix: songs referencing body parts in their titles. Make no mistake about it, I have more songs than this. However, I thought I’d spare you the live VH-1 version I have of Kelly Clarkson singing “Behind These Hazel Eyes.” Oddly enough, this mix referenced mostly the top half of the body. Why do I have so many songs about teeth? Freaky.

Welcome to Bon Ton! BZZZZZZZZ

Twin High Maintenance Machines: A Bon Ton Mix

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

1. Neutral Milk Hotel – Two Headed Boy
2. Ryan Adams – Expressway To Yr Skull
3. Mountain Goats – Lion’s Teeth
4. Tarkio – Devil’s Elbow
5. the New Amsterdams – All Ears
6. Rocky Votolato – Without Eyes Still Seeing
7. Iron & Wine – Teeth In the Grass
8. The Format – Sore Thumb
9. the Decemberists – Red Right Ankle ( Live at the Quad in London 11/15/2004)
10. The Old 97’s – Big Brown Eyes
11. Flogging Molly – Rebels of the Sacred Heart
12. Blanche – Redhead
13. Air – Dead Bodies
14. Bishop Allen – Corazon
15. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth

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