12.20.2005

The Last Month of the Year

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December has been unusually busy, as you can see from how quiet it has been around the Pimps site this month. Between holiday shopping, travelling, drama at work, getting hired out to make mixes as presents for a friend of mine, DJing and all other sorts of distractions, I haven't had much time to check in here.

Because of this lack of attention, I'm going all out in this post with a big bandwidth buster. This will likely be my last post before the 1st of January, so enjoy it while it lasts. I have a bunch of new tracks I want to share but no time to write about them, so tonight I'm going to succumb to topicality: this post contains the Christmas mix I've assembled for friends and family this year.

I highly recommend putting these tracks on a CD in the order in which they're presented here. Then you can pretend I made you a CD, and you can start thinking about what gift you're going to get me. What's that? Nothing? That's okay, too.

Some of these tracks were culled from my favorite blogs, so I can't claim to be the one to have unearthed some of these gems.

PIMPS OF YULE: Christmas 2005
1. "Five Wishes for Christmas" by STEVE MARTIN
2. "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by DARLENE LOVE
3. "Father Christmas" by THE KINKS
4. "Merry X-Mas Everybody" by SLADE
5. "Christmas at the Zoo" by the FLAMING LIPS
6. "Christmas Party" THE WALKMEN/NICOLE SHEAHAN
7. "Christmas in Hollis" by RUN D.M.C.
8. "Christmas Rappin" by KURTIS BLOW
9. "The Christmas Massacre of Charlie Brown" by DJ JOHN
10. "Santar Klaws" by POJ MASTA
11. "White Christmas" by CORPORAL BLOSSOM
12. "The Christmas Song" by THE RAVEONETTES
13. "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight" by the RAMONES
14. "Santa Claus" by THE SONICS
15. "Merry Christmas, Baby" by OTIS REDDING
16. "Christmas Comes but Once a Year" by AMOS MILBURN and CHARLES BROWN
17. "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus" by BRENDA LEE
18. "Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!" by SUFJAN STEVENS
19. "Christmas Eve" by GORKY'S ZYGOTIC MYNCI
20. "Old Toy Trains" by ROGER MILLER
21. "I'll be Home for Christmas" by ELVIS PRESLEY
22. "Blue Christmas Lights" by BUCK OWENS
23. "Christmas Time Will Soon be Over" by JACK WHITE
24. "Blue Christmas (To Whom it May Concern" by MILES DAVIS and BOB DOROUGH
25. "Merry Christmas Mary" by JOHNNY CASH
26. "The Last Month of the Year" by VERA WARD HALL


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12.12.2005

A Gesture of KARL HENDRICKS

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I think you'll find that a lot of bloggers (at least the music bloggers) out there are what I like to call Attention Whores. They're out there trying to rack up big numbers, attracting readers with the latest big thing or remix of the latest big thing. They're posting Neutral Milk Hotel demos or deep tracks off of Sufjan Stevens' "THE ILLINOIS YELLOW PAGES AS SUNG ALPHABETICALLY BY A LARGE COLLECTION OF TWEE SWEATER WEARING MINIONS." They run the music sites that scoop even Pitchfork before they can run a snide, rarely funny dis review.

And then you have guys like me. Guys who post about albums that are 12 years old, trying to get one last copy sold before the record and its memory fade like a million No Hit Wonders that came before. Guys who are so unhip that when they finally do post a song that winds up being a bandwidth buster, it's not a WOLF PARADE exclusive track. . . it's a dusty old nugget from the Traveling Wilburys (their biggest hit, no less!).

With that in mind, get ready to hop into the Way Back machine for another dusty one. This time I'm taking you back to Pittsburgh, PA in the mid-1990s. Back to a time when the term Alternative Rock was just about to lose all meaning entirely. This is the era of THE KARL HENDRICKS TRIO, 3 skinny post-SUPERCHUNK rockers who made beautiful dischord out of every indie geek's worst nightmare: dealing with women.

While two albums and an EP preceeded it, "A GESTURE OF KINDNESS" is -- in my opinion -- the complete realization of the band's sound (and therefore its masterpiece). The guitars are jangly and explosive, the lyrics full of regret, embarassment, bitterness and quite frankly, a little bit of misogyny. From what I've heard, Karl Hendricks looked a bit like Steve Albini if he'd turned out more like Mark Borchardt and dressed more like Garth from "Wayne's World." I like to think that this album is what Robert Crumb would sound like if he'd made a punk band.

The album opens with the tone-setting "Foolish Words of a Woman in Love," which sounds like an exact combination of the aforementioned Superchunk and the ARCHERS OF LOAF. The band is on a roll that continues through the rest of the album, starting with "The Official Shape of Beauty" (a great DINOSAUR JR song, if J Mascis took out 3 minutes of guitar solos and just made a pop song). Following that is the jazzy "The Scoffer's Reply", where Hendricks takes on his biggest critic, his ex-girlfriend ("The scoffer's reply: 'It's not jazz when you play like that'").

My favorite track on the album comes 7 songs in, "King Beds Morning Coffee." Even if you hate the rest of the record, you've got to love this one. It has a really cool opening bassline that leads into a great descending guitar part, and some great sad lyrics that -- even if they were in some made up language -- sound exactly like what the guy is feeling. If you only spoke Spanish and heard this track, you'd still know it's about a bitter geek and his lost love. (Unrelated trivia: Does anyone know if there was actually a coffee brand called King Beds' Morning Coffee? For some reason, I've always thought there was.)


FOR MORE ON TONIGHT'S POST:
- The Karl Hendricks Trio at Merge Records. Stream a few more recent tracks here.
- "A GESTURE OF KINDNESS" was out of print for years, but was just rereleased on Spirit of Orr Records. If anyone out there has the reissue, I'd love to hear the bonus tracks.

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12.06.2005

The Fast Rise of THE KINGSBURY MANX

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I'm literally and figuratively running on a low battery right now, so tonight's post is going to be brief. The three songs (plus one tengential cut) posted here were going to be my last three songs of my November quest to get 60 songs up in 30 days. I made it to 57. I guess there's always next year.

I did have a few readers who ponied up with offers of bandwidth space, but I wound up being too busy this weekend to take them up on their generous offers. I think these guys deserve a shout out at the very least, so go check out Rob's blog and Sean's Liturgy site.

Now, on with the music...

I spend most of my days working in one of Omaha's finer indie record stores, and it's pretty rare that we get good promo CDs from record labels trying to pimp their wares. Usually, you can only hope at most to get a CD you can put in and ignore for 45 minutes. Typically, you're not that lucky and you wind up buried under a pile of half-baked, half-assed records.

Such is not the case with the new album from THE KINGSBURY MANX. I'd largely ignored the band's catalogue until a music blogger out there posted a few months ago a song of theirs called "Pelz Komet". I immediately started tossing the song on every mix I made. What I really like about the song is that it has this homemade charm while still sounding like a lost radio anthem. The vocals and music also reminded me of another fine indie band, VERSUS. That band's "Lose That Dress" was one song that came to mind.

A few weeks ago, we got the new Manx album in the mail and I've been popping it into the store's player every few days. That's more than you can say for a lot of the discs we have behind the counter. I've been doing similar championing of THE STANDARD's new album, along with SUN KIL MOON.

Aside from the Versus comparison, I'm also hearing a good deal of that old KINKS sound on The Kingsbury Manx's "The Fast Rise and Fall of the South" (the name of both this song and the album itself). My current favorit track on the album has to be "I0008". The only things I can't figure out is how these guys sound so goddamned British when they're actually from North Carolina, and how I've managed to sleep on them until this, their 5th proper album.

FOR MORE ON TONIGHT'S POST:
- Get more downloads from their official site.
- Buy super cheap downloads of all their records at Emusic.com.

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11.28.2005

NOVEMBER - Stereogum Killed My Bandwidth!

While I'm extremely flattered to have reached the pinnacle of bloggerdom -- to have my site linked on Stereogum -- their link to my site and the subsequent downloads from a few thousand people journeying over to check out the tracks from my last post have killed my bandwidth for the month. No more songs, no more pictures, until December 1st.

Anyone out there have a little extra bandwidth to spare? I was really hoping to reach my goal of 60 songs for the month, and I'm only a few tracks away. I can't imagine it would take more than a couple of GBs of space. I'd be more than happy to compensate you with cash, CDs, "oral favors"... you name it. I'm begging one helpful soul out there... don't let the dream die! I really don't like the idea of using sites like yousendit or those other semi-laborious hosting sites. I've always wanted my blog to be as easy as possible for people to use.

Anyway, I'm really happy that I got a bunch of exposure to a bunch of new readers this week. Hopefully some of you will stick around for a few days and will continue reading my site when I'm able to start posting again.

Sincerely,
Dylan Gaughan

11.27.2005

NOVEMBER - 16 Songs in 4 Days

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I mentioned earlier that bandwidth limitations would mean that I'd only be able to host one batch of songs at a time for the month of November. Tonight, just as I was getting ready to put up a new post, I noticed that a blog with a much higher readership than mine (Stereogum) just posted a link to last week's Roy Orbison/Traveling Wilbury's song.

If you're visiting here for the first time through Stereogum, here is my reposted link to the Traveling Wilbury's "Handle With Care". At the time I posted that track I had no idea that another great blog out there (the outstanding GorillaVsBear) was posting Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis's cover of the same song, due out on her first solo album. Follow the link to read more, or download her version from me now.

Also, if you're new here. . . wanna BUY A T-SHIRT?

Off to the races. Only a few more days, a few more songs, and a squeak of bandwidth to go:

"The Book of Love" by THE MAGNETIC FIELDS: Since I had no idea the other night that the Now It's Overhead version of this song wasn't the original, here's your chance to check out the Magnetic Fields' original version (if you weren't already lucky enough to own it on Vol. 1 of "69 LOVE SONGS"). I first got into the music of Fields frontman Stephin Merritt on the combo-CD "THE WAYWARD BUS/DISTANT PLASTIC TREES," which housed a couple of timeless classics like "100,000 Fireflies" and the CRYSTALS/PHIL SPECTOR sound-alike, "The Saddest Story Ever Told". It took me a few more years to really get into Merritt's baritone voice, so I used to prefer his music when sung by other people.

(Listen to the opening of "Saddest Story," and then check out this Crystals tune, "Then He Kissed Me".)

"100,000 Fireflies" by SUPERCHUNK: I'm almost positive I've hosted this track once before, so if you read this site regularly, I'd check your files before grabbing this one again. Here's Mac and Company covering the aforementioned Magnetic Fields song, from the B-Sides collection "INCIDENTAL MUSIC 1991-1995." That collection was the second of three B-Sides collections the band has released since its inception. You could easily assemble one or two Superchunk rarities collections that outshine almost all of their discography. The last one, "CUPS OF SAND," housed one of my favorite 'chunk tracks, "Everyone Gets Crushed".

"Mushaboom" by FEIST: Since we're kind of on the subject of cover songs, I want to address the issue of Conor Oberst's recent championing of BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE's Leslie Feist and her quirky, bouncy single "Mushaboom." Oberst has been messing with the tune for a while, and includes a cover of it on his recently released live album. I think one blog out there put it best when they said that his cover proves that "68% of the song's charm" (I would claim an even higher percentage) comes in Feist's vocal delivery -- a perfect raspy mixture of Billie Holiday and Jeff Buckley. Oberst has never been the most expressive vocalist, unless you're considering the expression of bed-ridden angst. While I appreciate his obvious good taste, I also know that not even Feist can do this song justice in a live setting. She recently performed it on Conan O'Brien and failed to live up to the recorded version's warmth. Hopefully, his fans will seek out the original and put a couple of their tear-soaked dollar bills in her pockets.

"Love Will Tear Us Apart" by SWANS: Continuing the endless love(willtearusapart)fest for the JOY DIVISION classic I've been posting about (I've recently posted the original, Calexico's cover and Juan Gonzalez's acoustic rendition), here is the Swans' fairly faithful take. This one comes courtesy of my friend Sean. Check out the esotericism over at Rocket2Nowhere. (The Samuel Beckett quote under his blog title -- "You must choose between the things not worth mentioning and those even less so." -- pretty much sums up the entire blogworld in a nutshell.)

"What Goes On" by SUFJAN STEVENS: Keeping the covers going, this one is Sufjan's take on The Beatles and not on the Velvet Underground tune of the same name. I'd post the orignal "RUBBER SOUL" version here, but if you need help seeking out "RUBBER SOUL," you need more help than anyone with a stupid blog can provide. While his version contains a couple of recognizeable elements from the original version, this song is still a pretty radical reworking. Play it for your mom and you'll probably hear, "God, who is ruining this Beatles song?"

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I've been listening to Sufjan a lot lately, because I just picked up the newly released double LP version of "COME ON FEEL THE ILLINOISE." Anyone else out there snag a copy yet? I hadn't really planned on getting one for myself until it arrived at the record store and I noticed that beneath a carefully placed sticker of balloons on the cover was the image of Superman that got the CD version of "Illinois" recalled and redesigned. What's the story on it remaining on the LP cover? Was it too expensive to reprint? Are they tempting legal danger again? Get one now before they're snatched up by the Superman Police.

While you're at it, why not pick up the fantastic (and by comparison, ignored) "GREETINGS FROM MICHIGAN," the first labum in Steven's quest to make a recording for each state in the U.S.? The best song on this record has to be "All Good Naysayers, Speak Up! Or Forever Hold Your Peace!".

"Au Grand Jour" and "Au Grand Jour" by STEREOLAB: We're closing things out tonight with a couple of selections from STEREOLAB's "SWITCHED ON" collection of early singles. I love when bands record more than one version of a song, because that lack of a definitive version speaks more to the fluid, constantly evolving nature of music than having a singular artistic expression of a song. The former version here has a MY BLOODY VALENTINE vibe, while the latter is more of an electronic, Kraut-rock style take.

Only a couple songs to go this month. Be sure to drop by before December 1st to get the last of my 60 Songs in 30 Days.

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11.20.2005

NOVEMBER - 27 Songs in 10 Days

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If you've been following my posts this month, you've seen me reference the EBAY STORE I've been setting up for the record store where I work. While business has been going fairly well, I can't say running the store hasn't had its fair share of hassles. The real fun is in dealing with the poor translation in communication with foreign customers. Last week I had a frustrating exchange with a potential Italian customer, who kept sending me gibberish messages like, "Pear tree, chip axes cash? CHIP AXES EURO?" I finally threw in the towel and sent him something he probably stared in as much confusion at: "Sorry Mauro, I only accept Paypal. Seventeen maids a runnin."

If you're out there Mauro, I'm sorry. It wasn't meant to be.

You don't love me. You jus' love my bloggy style:

"Muzzle of Bees (live)" by WILCO: This performance was ripped from the recently released DVD "Burn to Shine 2 - Chicago." This DVD is #2 in a series of films put together buy FUGAZI's Brendan Canty which document a collection of bands playing over the course of one day in a house that is about to be demolished. The DVD features a number of great performances from the likes of Shellac and Tortoise, but Wilco's is really the standout track. Buy the DVD at one of many places.

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"Go! Go! Go!" by ROY ORBISON: This one goes out to my friend James Myers, who calls me about once a year to have me debunk some myth about Roy Orbison. A few years back, he wouldn't believe me when I told him that Roy wasn't blind. It took me emailing him a photo of Orbison enjoying one of his favorite pasttimes -- driving a go-cart -- to win the argument. About two years later, it was whether or not Roy was an albino. He wasn't, but he was a hell of a singer. Even when the guy got old, he could still do his thing. I was always a big fan of one of his final songs, the Bono/Edge penned "She's a Mystery to Me", and I will always have a soft spot for that first TRAVELLING WILBURYS album, where Orbison joined up with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne. My mom had it on cassette, and hearing "Handle With Care" always makes me think of family road trips. I think Orbison died before the making of the video for this one. I seem to remember his parts in the video being played by an empty rocking chair and a well-lit photo of the nonblind, non-albino.

"Before I Lose My Style" by SPACE NEEDLE: This one kind of reminds me of that aforementioned Orbison ballad. My friend Matt threw this on a tape for me when we both were becoming mesmerized with indie rock. This fuzzy, rusty, droning thing of beauty always seemed like the great Indie Prom Song.

"The Book of Love" by NOW IT'S OVERHEAD: I'm surprised I haven't already posted this one. In the same vein as the above track, this is a pretty little slow dance number, perfect for that hipster wedding. Probably my hipster wedding, if I ever find a girl who doesn't care that no one else in the room will know the song we're dancing to. "The book of love has music in it, in fact it's where music comes from."

"Do You Wanna Touch Me" by JOAN JETT: I won't go again into my explanation of how I first fell in love with Joan Jett when I was a kid. I will say that this song, a GARY GLITTER cover, was a whole lot of in-your-face sexuality for me to be taking in at such an early age. To this day, Jett's vocals make my spine tingle. I recently uncovered the Gary Glitter original (much in the same way police recently discovered the dirty bastard himself, trying to escape Vietnam), and was pleased to find that Jett's version still lays his to waste.

"I Turn My Camera On (John McEntire Remix)" by SPOON: A bouncy, disco funk version of one of the coolest songs on SPOON's "Gimme Fiction." I'm probably the 4,000,000th blogger to say that it's a great album, so forget I even brought it up. Throw this on in a room full of hipsters and see if you can guess the first one to come up to you and say, "What the hell is THIS?"

"The Spider and the Fly" by the ROLLING STONES: Since Britt Daniel of Spoon has an obvious love of the Stones, I figured I'd finish with one of their older, lesser known songs. I hadn't heard this song much until a few years ago, when I was sort of dating a girl who found it incredibly sexy. The song, not me. One should always take notice when the person they like finds a song about infidelity incredibly sexy.

"She Thinks I Still Care" by GEORGE JONES: Okay, if I'm going to finish with a song after talking about relationships, it should really be this one by George Jones. I remember hearing this one when I was a kid, and Jones's soaring voice immediately made me overcome any reservations I might have had about country music. This raggedy motherfucker who looks like a ball sack in a Western shirt. . . he sings like an angel.


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11.15.2005

NOVEMBER - 42 Songs in 16 Days

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Damn, 42 songs to go and my bandwidth is already half chewed up for the month. I still intend on making my goal, so this might get a little trickier for you readers out there. Once I post a new batch of songs, I'm probably going to have to remove the tracks for my previous post. In other words, get 'em while they're hot. All the songs for the past two posts are gone now, and tonight's won't be up for very long either.

Before I post tonight's music, I have to say thanks to any readers out there who have followed THIS LINK to buy shirts from my Ebay sale. There are more shirts available now, and I'll be adding another dozen or more designs in the next week or two. If you do wind up buying a shirt and you are a reader, let me know in the Notes section from your Paypal payment and I'll try to throw in some goodies with your order.

Stick these in your ears:

"Could We" by CAT POWER: I love crazy women. Let's just get that right out there. I don't particularly want to be in an actual relationship with a crazy woman, but I love a gal with a batshit look in her eye. Fiona Apple looks like she's going to claw your eyes out. Something about that is sexy to me. Now Chan Marshall isn't that kind of crazy, but there's something there in her music that points in a certain direction. Between the mostly dark and somber songwriting and her history of strange behavior at her concerts, it's nice to hear this new approach she's taking on her upcoming album "THE GREATEST." I can't speak for the whole record, but from what I've heard it has a more upbeat, even bouncy and soulful (in a classic 60s, Memphis horns kind of way) sound. On "Could We," she sounds like she's spinning with joy as she sings, ""Thank you. It was great. Let's make another date real soon."

Chan, call me. It has been too long.

(While I'm at it, I may as well throw out the first track from "THE GREATEST" to leak its way onto the net, the gorgeous title track. Take note of her backing vocals where she sings "greatest, greatest, greatest" along with what sounds like a lap steel guitar. Gets me every time. I've always loved her voice and thought she'd be great in a more R&B setting, and this song is further proof.)

"Rear Wheel Skid" by the FACES: I was skipping around through my library last week trying to find some fresh material for my DJ gig on Friday, when I double clicked on a Faces song I'd only heard once or twice. This mostly instrumental jam is a little askew from the normal Faces sound. This needs to be on the soundtrack to a nice bloody bar brawl.

"Theme from 'The Warriors'" by BARRY DE VORZON: Suddenly, the whole world is back in love with the 1979 cult classic directed by Walter Hill (he did "48 HOURS" and a bunch of crap). There's even a planned Hollywood remake in the works, with Tony Scott (whose latest movies have gotten a little too stylized and hyperkinetic) in the director's chair. I've always liked the theme song, though it feels like it goes on too long without much happening. I love those late 70s electronic soundtracks by the likes of John Carpenter and Goblin, who did some of the creepy music for George Romero's "DAWN OF THE DEAD."

And that, ladies and gentleman, gives me the opening to include a picture of one of my all-time favorite things: Zombies.

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I've been immersed in zombies for the past couple of weeks since my friend Brian bought DVDs of "LAND OF THE DEAD," "DAY OF THE DEAD," Lucio Fulci's "ZOMBI 2," and the videogame "STUBBS THE ZOMBIE" (where you play a brain-eating zombie out to rescue your lost love and avenge your death). Oh yeah, and he rented the classic crapfest "RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD." So in honor of our obsession with the walking dead, enjoy a little Italian proggy goodness with GOBLIN's "L'alba Dei Mori Viventi."

While we're on the subject of zombie music...

"M1A1" by GORILLAZ: One of my favorite songs from the GORILLAZ' debut album happens to feature a prominent sample from my favorite George Romero gorefest, "DAY OF THE DEAD." The opening of this track is also the opening to that movie. As creepy as it sounds here, it's even creepier on film, with a man shouting into what he thinks is an abandoned Florida city, looking for survivors. Guess what he finds instead.

"Love Buzz" by SHOCKING BLUE: You might know Shocking Blue as the group who performed "Venus," the song that BANANNARAMA made re-famous in the 80s. Shocking Blue did it better. Some of you may even know them as the group who performed "Love Buzz" before NIRVANA rode its greatness on their debut album, "BLEACH." Again, Shocking Blue did it better. (If Mike is reading this, the lead singer of Shocking Blue is a female. Told yer ass.)

"Fire" by THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN: VH1 Classic used to show the "video" (it was actually footage from the movie "THE COMMITTEE," which also featured a score from PINK FLOYD) for this song and from what I remember, it whips ass. Picture this guy in an aluminum pre-MF DOOM mask, with a ring above his head covered in flames, bellowing "I am the god of hell fire!" I don't think this was a huge hit in 1968, but I can only imagine whoever did hear that coming out of their radio back then was probably a little shocked.

"Life and Limb" by FUGAZI: A Top Five band for me, without a doubt. Fugazi changed my life. Why don't people buy their albums anymore? I'm not sure what the word is on whether they're kaput, but I really hope they're not done. I never got the chance to see them live. They came to Omaha when I was younger, but I was too young to go. "Life and Limb" is from their wildly overlooked last album, "THE ARGUMENT."

Need some more Fugazi in your diet? Check out "Number 5" from the "FURNITURE" E.P., which was released concurrently with "THE ARGUMENT."

"Lush and Green" by GRANDPABOY: If the voice behind Grandpaboy sounds familiar, that's because it belongs to ex-REPLACEMENTS frontman PAUL WESTERBERG. His records under the Grandpaboy moniker have been a sort of return to form, at least if you're one of those fans who have been a little wary of his solo material. I know I'm one.

Sometimes I wonder how many people out there aren't aware of The Replacements. I'm going to take a sort of a poll by posting a couple of their songs and seeing how many downloads they get. If you haven't heard these songs, you should really check this band out. If you can, I'd rec' starting with "LET IT BE," which features a ton of great songs, including their cover of the KISS classic, "Black Diamond." Their "HOOTENANNY" album from 1983 is home to the classic "Color Me Impressed," while the oft-maligned "DON'T TELL A SOUL" had a few greats among a lot of filler. "Talent Show" is probably my favorite song from that record. For obscurity's sake, here's the "TIM" version of one of the band's few hits, "Can't Hardly Wait."

Get 'em all. Let God sort 'em out.

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11.08.2005

NOVEMBER - 55 Songs in 23 Days

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After a mild computer disaster that rendered the post I was working on nonexistant, I'm just throwing in the towel and bringing you up to date on my 60 songs in 30 days pledge. Again, all I ask in return for all of this free music is that you maybe peruse the Ebay store I've been putting together for my employers at Drastic Plastic. Click HERE. It's mostly a bunch of rock shirts, and more have been added since the last time I posted the link. Look for a few dozen more by week's end, as well.

On to the free music thang:

"Crosses" by JOSE GONZALEZ: I stumbled on "Crosses" a month or two ago, after luckily stumbling on the song while reading through my weekly dose of music blogs. I was floored by the song, which sounded like a mixture of Jose Feliciano and Elliott Smith. "VENEER" is the name of the album it is from, and it was released back in 2003 to little notice (as far as I can tell). My curiosity was piqued by the desolation of that song, and my curiosity in Gonzalez soon lead me toward that full length and a few of his other releases. Gonzalez is from Sweden by way of Argentina, so that might account for his unique voice, which sounds like a mixture of French and Spanish influences (even though it's mostly not). Posting those Sun Kil Moon songs on here a few days back made me think of him again. You'll hear some of that echoed in "Heartbeats".

Gonzalez has also covered everyone's favorite JOY DIVISION song, "Love Will Tear Us Apart". His version is a little more faithful than the version by CALEXICO that I posted last month. A reader asked for a reposting of that track, so here it is again.

"Fake Tales of San Francisco" by ARCTIC MONKEYS: If I had money to gamble - and if casinos bothered putting odds on indie rock - I'd have to put a huge bet on these guys becoming "the next big thing." Maybe not Bon Jovi huge, but perhaps on the level of Franz Ferdinand or The Libertines. They have a little of both bands' sounds in them, with an added touch of reggae. Like some of those aforementioned bands, they have the kind of sound that makes you first want to hate them for being so obviously hooky. Then, you listen to the intricate little rhythyms and basslines, along with the great lyrics, and realize that there are some great, great songs at work here. Still not sold? Feast on "A Certain Romance" and try to keep your ass - and your walls - from shaking.

"Crazy" by GNARLS BARKLEY: Gnarls Barkley is a collaboration between DJ Danger Mouse (mastermind behind Danger Doom, "The Grey Album," the most recent Gorillaz album, and more) and ex-Goodie Mob crooner Cee-Lo Green. That's the only thing I know right now... and I'm not even sure if this will wind up on an album or not. Anyone know the origin? All I know is that it's one soulful, funky song, and Cee-Lo's soaring voice absolutely slays on the chorus. This has to be a hit, right? "Does that make me crazy? Probably."

"Since U Been Hard to Find" by ???: This is one of the best mash-ups I think I've ever heard, and I don't know who did the work. No other song in recent memory has sparked more debate at our record store than this song. I'm one of those people who thinks that "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson is actually a great pop song, multi-tracking be damned. The fact that someone took the vocals, removed the anthemic chorus, and turned this into a minimalist indie song (the backing track is by AMERICAN ANALOG SET) is great. The fact that they used AmAnSet's chorus and made it work thematically is icing on the cake. Here's their original song, "Hard to Find," for comparison.

"Usually" by WALTER MEEGO: I know less about these guys than I did about Gnarls Barkley or the guy who did the Clarkson mash-up. iTunes has one of their EPs for sale, and files them under Electronica. It sounds more complicated than that, though. The production on "Usually" reminds me of those cooler, weider Fiona Apple/Jon Brion songs that Apple wound up re-recording for her new album. I miss the quirkiness of those demos on her new versions, so it's nice to hear another band walking those same odd steps, with imploding string sections and stalking drum beats.

"Look Down Darkly" by THE WAXWINGS: This song is an old reliable, and one that never bores me. I can't even remember if I've posted it before in the history of Pimps of Gore, but I don't think this one can be posted enough. It's just so fucking glorious, with those jangly Byrds-like guitars and all those strings. If I never get to write or direct a movie that ends with this song, I at least want it played at my funeral. Speaking of 'WINGS, "Look Down Darkly" is like a whole song based off of that triumphant moment at about the 2:05 part in Paul McCartney's "Band on the Run". That's always been one of my favorite moments in pop music (if you've ever seen "Outside Providence," it practically makes the whole movie), so it's cool to hear something like that in long form.

And finally, to make tonight's post a nice round Baker's Dozen:

"Nothing Achieving" by THE POLICE: Just to prove that at one time - long, long ago - Sting was kind of bad ass.


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11.02.2005

NOVEMBER - 60 Songs in 30 Days

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It's my pledge for the month of November: I will bring you 60 songs in 30 days. That's a guarantee. If I don't, you can have your money back. Since I'm already into Day 2 of the month, I'm dishing out 5 songs today. The same will go for the rest of the month. If I miss 3 days of posting, I'll have to make up for it by posting 6 songs at once. If I nap through the entire month, I'll have to post 55 more songs by the 30th.

I really only have one favor to ask in return. I'm just setting up the Drastic Plastic Ebay store, where my store will be peddling all kinds of punk rock/classic rock t-shirts in the next month or two. I would really love for this thing to be successful, both for the store and so it makes me look good to my boss. If you have any time in the coming weeks, please venture over to our Ebay store and check out our shirts (and a couple of CDs, DVDs, toys, etc.). Right now there's a lot of Ramones, along with some others (Bad Brains, Cro-Mags, Velvet Underground, etc.). By next week, there should be around 100 shirts available, a lot of which you can't even get in our store. If you know anyone who needs a good rock tee for Christmas, please consider us.

Now, on to your free music:

"Dramamine" by SUN KIL MOON: If you haven't seen me post about them here before, SUN KIL MOON is the new band for Red House Painters frontman Mark
Kozelek, who ran into all kinds of record label trouble with the Painters back in the late 1990s, when they had signed to an arm of Island records before the label folded and kept one of his band's albums -- and his contract -- on hold for 4 years.

While his band was in limbo, he continued to record solo projects. At one point, Kozelek came out with an album of AC/DC covers, completely reimagined and almost unrecognizeable in comparison with the original versions. He did a great job with that in Red House Painters as well, doing retooled covers from Simon & Garfunkel, KISSs Ace Frehley, Paul McCartney, The Cars, Yes and more.

As he headed in a slightly different direction, he changed the band name and Sun Kil Moon was born. That band's newest album, "Tiny Cities," is another album of covers. This time around, Kozelek uses the words and music of Issac Brock/Modest Mouse. Some of the melodies are still there, some of them are completely changed, and some just seem familiar when they might not be. "Dramamine" is probably the song on "TINY CITIES" that sounds the most like the original.

"Pancho Villa" by SUN KIL MOON: This track is from the first Sun Kil Moon album, "GHOSTS OF THE GREAT HIGHWAY." This is probably my favorite song on that record. Those lifting strings near the end -- right before that flamenco-style guitar solo -- always put me in a good mood.

"All Mixed Up" by RED HOUSE PAINTERS: Here's another example of Kozelek's cover skillz. This one is a Cars song, and if you've ever heard the original, you'd know what a departure this is from that songs blippy, off kilter weirdness. This song was used in a Gap Christmas ad years ago.

"If You Want Blood" by MARK KOZELEK: If the 2 other covers in today's post haven't proven it already, this track should prove my point that the guy can remold any song and give it a whole new meaning. This song is from Kozelek's album of AC/DC covers, called "WHAT'S NEXT TO THE MOON." Here, take a listen to the old Bon Scott AC/DC original version and compare the two.


FOR MORE ON TONIGHT'S POST:
- Check out more info on the band at their official site. There are a ton of links to articles in the Press section on RHP, SKM and Kozelek.
- Pitchfork gave "Ghosts of the Great Highway" an 8.6. Read about it here.
- Kozelek has appeared in three movies, including the upcoming Steve Martin movie, "Shopgirl." Here's his profile at IMDB.com.


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10.19.2005

DJ Kicks With a Massive Extra Foot

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I've got a long week ahead of me, so I'm not sure how often I'll have a chance to post in the next few days. Plus, I was up all night on Sunday transcribing my interview with Colin Meloy of THE DECEMBERISTS, which I then used to write an article for a local paper as a preview for their show in Omaha on Saturday.

It might sound odd, but I also had a musically exhausting weekend. I didn't think it was possible. After working 9 hours at the record store on Friday (I did the Meloy interview on my lunch break), Mike and I did our usual shift at The Goofy Foot. At the end of the night, the owner asked if I could come back in the next night at 9, making for a 4 and 1/2 hour set. Not wanting to play the same set twice, I spent most of Saturday finding new stuff on the web.

After Saturday night, I don't think I listened to music for two days. There may have been music on in my presence, but I wasn't hearing it. I played 80 songs. I fought off two requests for Bon Jovi. I gave a woman who snidely commented that I wasn't playing enough New Wave for her a facefull of soul and hip-hop, avoiding her genre for at least a half hour. What's up with bar patrons? It's bad enough they can't listen and notice that Bon Jovi would fit nowhere in this set, but they usually toss out a rude comment about what you are playing instead of their song, and never even offer to tip you when they're mistaking you for a jukebox. Seriously, if you've never had the experience, go DJ somewhere and see what it's like. A few weeks back, I had a guy preface his request for AFI with, "So, what're you guys doing here? It seems like you're just jumping around, playing everything, and it doesn't make any sense." That's how you ask for a favor?

But damn those suckas, because there were still plenty of people there who appreciated the chaos. Here's the listing for my 80-song set (big Thanks go out to Mike for letting me use his vinyl), along with at least a CD's worth of tracks for you to mix in with Bon Jovi however you please.

THE GOOFY FOOT
Saturday October 14th, 2005

1. Hello Tomorrow (KAREN O. & SQUEAK E. CLEAN)
2. Maps (ADA)
3. Me and Mrs. Jones by BILLY PAUL: The only people in the bar at this point were the bartender, her friend and Mike. I wasted a perfectly good booty jam on no one.
4. Lay Lady Lay (MAGNET w/GEMMA HAYES)
5. Baby (CAETANO VELOSO & GAL COSTA)
6. Flim (APHEX TWIN)
7. Can We Pretend (BILL WITHERS): Another booty jam wasted!
8. Meeting in the Aisle (RADIOHEAD)
9. Building Steam With a Grain of Salt (DJ SHADOW): Has anyone else out there seen this site, where a high school music instructor hosts video of his class performing 2 DJ Shadow songs at a school performance? It's absolutely incredible. Listen to this track, and then follow that link to watch it performed live, by kids who don't yet know how truly cool they are.
10. Paperbag Writer (RADIOHEAD)
11. Brakes On (AIR): The bar started seeing a crowd at this point, and I'm guessing a few people almost lost their minds at the psychedelicness of this track. I watched a table full of stout women in sweatpants play pool while this played.
12. I Walk on Guilded Splinters (JOHNNY JENKINS)
13. Keep On Doin' (THE ISLEY BROTHERS)
14. Good Lovin' Woman (DOLORES HALL)
15. Let the Music Play (BILLY PRESTON)
16. The Night Time is the Right Time CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL: The only user comment on eMusic for the Creedence box set is someone making fun of these guys for being hicks. I say, "Fuck you, good sir." Also, Creedence were from California. Deep south, that one.
17. Harmonica (GRAHAM BOND ORGANISATION)
18. Whole Lotta Love (KING CURTIS)
19. For What it's Worth (LOU RAWLS prod. by DAVID AXELROD)
20. Everything I Do Gohn be Funky (LEE DORSEY)
21. A Natural Man (LOU RAWLS)
22. Never Let 'Em Say (BALLIN' JACK)
23. Got to be a Love (GREYBOY feat. SHARON JONES, PAUL NICE remix)
24. Yeah Yeah (BLACKROCK)
25. The Corner (COMMON)
26. Chicken Payback (THE BEES, MADLIB remix)
27. Tender (BLUR, CORNELIUS remix)
28. Dare (GORILLAZ, SOULWAX remix)
29. KooKooKa Fuk-U (!!!)
30. Guns Blazing (U.N.K.L.E. w/KOOL G. RAP)
31. Rock and Roll (EDAN feat. DAGHA)
32. Letsgetabitarockin' (THE 101'ers): This was the first band of The Clash's Joe Strummer.
33. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (DEVO)
34. Rave n' Rock (DADDY MAXFIELD)
35. Little Red Book (LOVE)
36. Kick! (ADAM & THE ANTS)
37. A Certain Romance (ARCTIC MONKEYS)
38. Psychotic Reaction (COUNT FIVE)
39. Motoring (THE WHO)
40. Mannequin (WIRE)
41. It's a Curse (WOLF PARADE)
42. Contort Yourself (JAMES CHANCE)
43. I Got the Feeling (SHARON JONES)
44. Mirror in the Bathroom (THE BEAT)
45. Get Your Snack On (AMON TOBIN)
46. Dimension (WOLFMOTHER)
47. Emerald (THIN LIZZY)
48. Yo Gonna Get Yours (PUBLIC ENEMY)
49. Microphone Fiend (ERIC B. & RAKIM)
50. Right Place, Wrong Time (DR. JOHN)
51. Moods for Moderns (ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIIONS)
52. Brand New Caddilac (THE CLASH)
53. Bigmouth Strikes Again (THE SMITHS)
54. Do You Remember Walter? (THE KINKS)
55. This Dirt is Made for Shoulders (JAY Z. vs. NANCY SINATRA): Mike says the backing track might be the Lee Hazelwood version of "Boots," not the Nancy Sinatra hit. I'm inclined to agree.
56. The Clapping Song (SHIRLEY ELLIS)
57. Handclapping Song (THE METERS)
58. Cussin' Cryin' and Carryin' On (IKE & TINA TURNER)
59. Mrs. Robinson (BOOKER T. & THE MGs)
60. Wouldn't it be Nice (BEACH BOYS)
61. What's a Matter Baby (TIMI YURO)
62. I'm Looking Thru You (THE BEATLES): This is the way sweeter alternate version that appeared on The Beatles' "Anthology 2." This is also the version of the song that Wes Anderson originally intended to roll over the credits of "The Royal Tenenbaums."
63. We Can Work it Out (STEVIE WONDER)
64. Sweet Wanomi (BILL WITHERS)
65. I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (RICHARD & LINDA THOMPSON)
66. Down Home Girl (THE COASTERS)
67. Stood Up (RICK NELSON)
68. Get Thy Bearings (DONOVAN)
69. Is it Because I'm Black (KEN BOOTHE)
70. Fearless (PINK FLOYD): This was supposed to be the "last call" finale. It was kind of cool to watch the bar slowly empty to this, especially during that football chant at the end of the song.
71. Any Way You Want Me (ELVIS PRESLEY)
72. GhostWriter (RjD2)
73. Nobody Knows (PAUL MCCARTNEY): What's up with no one ever guiding me toward the awesomeness of Paul McCartney's second solo album (aptly titled "2")? Was this record just too weird for his fans back then, and it eventually got buried and forgotten? While "Nobody Knows" is probably the most normal song on it, this record kills and is full of crazy electronic experimentation and kind of cool white-boy funk.
74. You Just Gotta Know My Mind (DANA GILLESPIE)
75. Ces Bottes Sont Faites Pour Marcher (EILEEN): Yeah, that's right, the French version of "These Boots Were Made for Walking."
76. Come On Honey (ALEX CHILTON)
77. Ask (THE SMITHS)
78. Sound of Free (DENNIS WILSON)
79. Miss Amanda Jones (ROLLING STONES)
80. Jeepster (T.REX)

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10.14.2005

SLEATER-(f*cking)-KINNEY

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God, Lesley, was I wrong.

Many years ago, my friend Lesley and I debated over SLEATER-KINNEY. If I'm not mistaken, this would have been around 1998, before the release of their fourth album "THE HOT ROCK." I honestly just wasn't feeling them. Part of it was that I had a hard time with Corin Tucker's vibratto screaming. Another part of it was that I wasn't giving them a real shot.

Sleater-Kinney had been getting all kinds of press for "DIG ME OUT" and were heading toward "Next Big Thing" status, which made me wary. I just want to get to like a band on their own merit, without a bunch of people building them up. Have you ever avoided reading a book or seeing a movie because so many people seem to like it that it makes you suspicious that it might actually suck? Well, I'm dumb like that sometimes. (Nevermind the fact that I write a blog and all I ever do here is get in the way of you learning to love a band on its own merits.)

Fast-forward to a few years ago, when I stumble upon an .MP3 of Sleater-Kinney's "Combat Rock," a scorching protest song about the shameful lack of protest in America these days, from their equally excellent 2002 album, "ONE BEAT." The huge, almost arena rock guitar sound. Tucker's shaky and soaring voice punctuated with Carrie Brownstein's soulful moan. It finally clicked.

I had the honor of seeing them play at Omaha's Sokol Hall Underground the other night, and I'm absolutely sure it was one of the best concerts I've seen in years. They were explosive. I have a newfound respect for Janet Weiss's skills on the drums, too. Despite some problems with Brownstein's amp, they played about 75 minutes, finishing their set with an unwanky and blistering psychedelic jam on the epic "Let's Call it Love," the pentultimate track from their newest album, "THE WOODS." Midway through the song, I turned to a few of my friends and exclaimed, "FUCK!"

The end of "Let's Call it Love" blended right into the beginning of "Entertain," the band's new single (available HERE from Sub Pop). They tore the roof off the motha and said goodnight. If they'd turned the house lights on at that moment, I would have been satisfied. But they didn't. They came back onstage and did exactly what you always want every band you've ever seen in concert to do for their encore. They did a fistful of covers... Bruce Springsteen's "The Promised Land," Richard and Linda Thompson's brilliant "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight," Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" and the Danzig cock-rock masterpiece, "Mother" (the latter two tracks featured the lead singer of openers THE GOSSIP on vocals).

As the lead singer of The Gossip hurled herself into the front row in a suprise stage-dive, as if we were in 1990 Seattle, Sleater-Kinney tore into one final track, their own "Dig Me Out." I was so thrilled to be in that crowd, I got chills.

Tonight, my friend Lesley will bask in the glory of knowing that I will be eating crow for weeks to come. I will stick my tail between my legs and begin amassing the rest of their catalogue. Being wrong never sounded so good.

FOR MORE ON TONIGHT'S POST:
- Buy fugging sweet jewelry and more from Lesley and her husband Mike at Hunt N Peck.
- More on Sleater-Kinney at Sub Pop.
- They have a ton of downloads at their official site.

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10.11.2005

Your orders:

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If you like The Shins or Death Cab for Cutie, the new MATT POND PA album - "SEVERAL ARROWS LATER" - comes out today. I think it's better than Death Cab's "PLANS." You should buy it.

Much like on my Dylan post last week, I don't want to beat a dead horse here. I've written about Pond before... he was even my first post on my previoius, short-lived music blog.

Check out these tracks and see what you think. Rolling Stone magazine called them one of the next bands to watch. That'll probably be the kiss of death for them, but don't let that stop you.


"Halloween"
"From Debris"

Good night.

10.06.2005

The Other DYLAN

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Anybody else catch "No Direction Home," Martin Scorcese's 3.5 hour documentary on the rise of BOB DYLAN? If you didn't, you missed a hell of a document on the man and what events forged his legendary status. Full of all kinds of never-before-seen footage, the flick took us from Bob's childhood in Minnesota to the motorcycle crash that put him in seclusion from touring for years in the late 1960s.

Every few months I go through a Dylan phase. I'm sure this isn't news to anyone who reads this blog. This is probably the second or third time I've written about the guy since January. What can I say... I've been fascinated by the guy since I took a gamble and bought "THE FREEWHEELIN' BOB DYLAN" when I was in high school. I liked Dylan a bit before that, but hearing that record blew me away. Here's a high school kid listening to all kinds of punk, hard rock and hip-hop, and in comes this raw little heartbreaking record featuring a guy and his acoustic guitar singing songs about the world - and his heart - in collapse.

Last week, a few days after watching that Scorcese doc, I got to interview JOAN BAEZ for one of the local entertainment papers in town. I was talking to the person who was personally responsible for putting one of my favorite songwriters on the map. I wouldn't say I'm the world's biggest Joan Baez fan (I own none of her records), but I have a newfound respect for her after speaking with her and watching her interviewed in that movie.

Her interpretations of Dylan's songs have always been stirring and pretty powerful. Tonight I'm putting up a few more interpretations of his work. While none of these songs - in my mind - top the originals, I hope that maybe they'll steer a few people towards his work who may have ignored him in the past.

"Isis" by THE WHITE STRIPES
"Don't Think Twice, it's All Right" by NICK DRAKE
"Mama, You've Been on My Mind" by JOHNNY CASH
"Mama, You've Been on My Mind" by JEFF BUCKLEY
"Lay Lady Lay" by MAGNET (w/GEMMA HAYES)
"I Shall be Released" by MARION WILLIAMS
"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" by NINA SIMONE


For more on some of tonight's artists:

- One of my previous Dylan posts
- A pretty comprehensive Nina Simone site
- Home of Magnet
- The official Jeff Buckley site.
- Nick Drake, A to Z
- A Wikipedia entry on Marion Williams
- The White Stripes performing "Ball and Biscuit" with Bob Dylan. Tons more downloads available at WhiteStripes.net.

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9.28.2005

Pimps of Protest: My 1st Podcast

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When I was deciding how I wanted to use this silly little music blog I maintain here, one of the things I had an internal debate on was whether to speak out on topical issues. I saw a few positives in that idea, but the part of me that wanted this blog to exist outside of current events won out. I saw it as a way of separating church and state, so to speak. No one is coming here to get their news or editorial opinions, nor should they.

Because of that, I've always tried to stay away from using the songs I post on Pimps of Gore as commentary on current events. It's a fun little game to play with your friends, but it's kind of an easy way out when it comes to writing about music. Songs can certainly highlight themes in times of conflict or tragedy, but they should also be able to exist outside of those events. Plus, if you don't really understand the song, you run the danger of assigning it a totally inappropriate meaning. Remember when Ronald Reagan tried to use Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." as a campaign theme song? Hell, I just saw a Jack Daniel's ad on TV that used Jane's Addiction's "Jane Says." Nothing says "I'll have a double" like a song about a junkie.

Some time last week, after watching hours of depressing Katrina coverage and anticipating the worst from Rita (thanks, news media!), I started throwing together a mix of songs that seemed to echo the way I felt (there I go, assigning inappropriate meaning). A blogger out there had posted KANSAS JOE's "When the Levee Breaks," and the dread of that song kind of kickstarted my search.

I didn't want to just slap a few songs up here and make some sort of a storm-themed post, but I did want to share the idea with a few people. The first person I shared it with was my long time friend Matt, who helms This is a Pocket Protest. He started TiaPP a few months back, originally as a music blog and then eventually as a place to house his phenomenal podcasts (and I'm not just saying that because half of the music on his computer is mine). I know he puts a lot of thought into his mixes, so I basically sent him a half dozen songs and the instructions that I wanted this collaboration to have a sort of "after the storm" feel, with just a hint of New Orleans as a tribute to a city that may never fully recover from that storm. I wanted to make a concept album about disaster, recovery and the politics of tragedy.

Later that night, Matt sent me a link to our first collaborative podcast. All credit for the sequencing goes to him. It's about 43 minutes long, in one continuous file, so dial-up users just walk away now.

PIMPS OF PROTEST present:

The Story of the Hurricane

1. Oceans in the Hall (THE LADYBUG TRANSISTOR)
2. When the Levee Breaks (KANSAS JOE)
3. Drowning Spider (BARRY BLACK)
4. Back Water Blues (BESSIE SMITH)
5. Big Chief (PROFESSOR LONGHAIR)
6. High Water (BOB DYLAN)
7. New Orleans (SILVER JEWS)
8. New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 (R.E.M.)
9. Hurricane Warning (Ignored) (PORTASTATIC)
10. I Walk on Guilded Splinters (JOHNNY JENKINS)
11. The Word 'Hurricane' (AIR)
12. Wish Someone Would Care (IRMA THOMAS)
13. Sea Above, Sky Below (DIRTY THREE)


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9.22.2005

DJ Kicks, v. 4

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To make up for my continuing neglect here, tonight's post is going to include 12 songs, over 1/3rd of everything we played, from the continuing DJ exploits of myself and my friend Mike at Omaha's Goofy Foot Lodge.

The crowd has been a little strange as of late, and the bar seems to have a different personality every weekend. While I felt like our set two weeks ago was the best we'd come up with, it fell on a lot of indifferent ears (save for a few of our friends in attendance). I don't really mind, though. I'd rather have a great set that nobody hears over an awful set in front of a few hundred ears.

THE GOOFY FOOT
Friday September 9, 2005

-- This is the entire setlist, including both vinyl and digital tracks. --

1. "I Walk On Guilded Splinters" by DR. JOHN
2. "I Walk On Guilded Splinters" by JOHNNY JENKINS: Throughout the night, Mike and I did a couple of pairings where we would include a few variations on the same song. Usually, like on these two tracks, they'd vary enough in style that someone out in the bar might not know they were hearing a second version of the song they'd just heard. The Dr. John version is the original, and has been covered by everyone from Cher to Paul Weller. I found the Johnny Jenkins track over at a superb blog that I frequent called Diddy Wah.
3. "Watermelon Man" by HERBIE HANCOCK
4. "Watermelon Man" by BABA BROOKS: Mike played the Hancock record a little faster to match up with the tempo of this fantastic ska rendition of the oft-covered jazz classic.
5. "Dirty Harry" by GORILLAZ
6. "Dirty Harry" by RICHARD HALL: While this one has the same title as the Gorillaz track before it, it doesn't really sound much like it. Hall's "Harry" is, however, was produced by Glen Brown, and this instrumental version would later become the basis for...
7. "Rasta On Sunday" by I-ROY: I love the vocals on this track. Why don't people use reverb like this anymore?
8. "The Signs, Pt. 1" (instrumental) by DAVID AXELROD
9. "Be There" by UNKLE w/IAN BROWN
10. "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" by THE ROLLING STONES
11. "Buckaroo" (live) by BUCK OWENS
12. "Little Sister" by ELVIS PRESLEY
13. "Human Instinct" by PINK DAWN
14. "Love Love Love" by PUGH
15. "Panda" by DUNGEN
16. "Dimension" by WOLFMOTHER: WOLFMOTHER are unopologetically Sabbath As Fuck. You can, and should, get their debut EP on the iTunes music store. And if you like this kind of ageless rock that sounds like it was recorded either yesterday or 40 years ago, check out DUNGEN as well.
17. "Don't Bring Me Down" by THE PRETTY THINGS: This probably isn't actually the version of this track that Mike played that night. His sounded like some sort of live radio performance, and was actually just tacked on at the end of this Joy Division bootleg he'd bought. A few parts of the song were bleeped out, making it seem like the singer for The Pretty Things was dropping "F"-bombs on the radio. Anyone out there know the origin of this track?
18. "Rave n' Rock" by DADDY MAXFIELD
19. "Wait for the Blackout" by THE DAMNED
20. "Afk" by PINBACK
21. "Song from Under the Floorboards" by MAGAZINE
22. "Box Elder Mo" by THE WEDDING PRESENT
23. "Bang the Drum" by RAIL ROAD JERK: That last uttered "Bang the drum!" bled perfectly into the maniacal drum intro on:
24. "Skunk (Sonically Speaking)" by MC5: Holy shit. The Mars Volta don't sound as original now that I've heard this track.
25. "The Trumpton Riots" by HALF MAN, HALF BISCUIT
26. "Scissor Man" by XTC
27. "It Makes No Sense at All" by HUSKER DU
28. "Why Can't I Touch It?" by THE BUZZCOCKS
29. "Uncontrollable Urge" by DEVO
30. "Queen Bitch" by DAVID BOWIE
31. "Soap Commercial" by PSYCHEDELIC FURS
32. "The Unguarded Moment" by THE CHURCH
33. "History Lesson, Pt. 2" by THE MINUTEMEN
34. "Epilogue" by J-LIVE
35. "Get Out of My Life, Woman" by LEE DORSEY

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9.14.2005

CALEXICO and WINE

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Before I write another word, I have a declaration to make. Until further notification, I have a definitive song to be played at my funeral. That song, which appears on the newly released collaboration between IRON AND WINE and CALEXICO, is "Dead Man's Will".

Don't even try taking it from me. I've got dibs.

It's a fucking stunner of a song... gorgeous vocals, beautiful instrumentation (like those delicately played vibes) and Sam Beam's heartbreaking lyrics:

"Give this stone to my brother
Because we found it playing in the barnyard
many years ago
Give this bone to my father
He'll remember hunting in the hills
when I was ten years old

May my love reach you all
I locked it in myself and buried it too long
Now that I've come to fall
Please say it's not too late now that I'm dead and gone

Give this string to my mother
It pulled the baby teeth she keeps
inside the drawer
Give this ring to my lover
I was scared and stupid not to ask
For her hand long before"

As my roommate handed the lyric booklet back to me tonight while we listened to this song, he said, "Jesus, that weighs a TON." I told him about the first time I saw Calexico - before I'd even really heard them on record - and how they were so perfect that I was literally teary-eyed as I watched them play. It was pure music. I can't really explain it any better than that.

It is an absolute travesty that the American public has bought over 60,000 copies of that Crazy Frog album (the one where an animated, cellphone ringtone peddling frog "sings" wacky songs) and these two bands, deserving of much more success, will never hope to see the chart position that little bastard got. What the hell is wrong with us?

The EP that "Dead Man's Will" comes from, "IN THE REIGNS," is perfect. The production is uncluttered with most of today's bells and whistles, and pretty much sounds like what instruments are supposed to sound like. Best of all is the fact that you can really see how these two artists feed off of each other on this record. I don't think either one of these bands could have come up with a song like "A History of Lovers" on their own. It's definitely the bounciest thing Beam has ever written, and the unexpected horn section that blasts out in the song's halfway point puts a twist on Calexico's usually Southwestern, desert-bare sound.

"IN THE REIGNS" is what collaboration is all about: putting your best elements together to create something not only new, but also stylistically progressive for everyone involved. If you like the songs posted here tonight, you simply must own this EP. Whether you catch it on iTunes or at your local indie, you'll be doing your part to help fight the Crazy Frogs of this world.

BONUS TRACKS:

Iron & Wine: "Lion's Mane" (live)
Calexico: "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Joy Division cover)


FOR MORE ON TONIGHT'S ARTISTS:
- I have to thank my friend John Holt for introducing me to the music of Calexico. This is their website. They have a bunch of mp3's available here, but I can't figure out how to download them just yet.
- Get a bunch of Calexico shows at archive.org.
- Another buttload of Calexico mp3's over at City Slang.
- The official homepage of Iron and Wine
- Iron and Wine over at Sub Pop. They have 5 downloadable songs there, so check 'em out.

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9.08.2005

CRITERIA: Preventing the World, Tour

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Remember that awful Jell-o wrestling party I dj'ed a few weeks back? The one where the natives (mostly drunken females) werre getting restless and demanding I play Petey Pablo? At a few points in that evening, my friend Brian had to act as my head security officer/attorney and yell at the people surrounding my table. After a barrage of "Fuck you, man"'s from the final group, I decided to just play a 20 minute block of music that would ruin their party... shit like The Clash, old Weezer, AC/DC and Thin Lizzy.

The last song I played -- the real barn-clearer and the definitive end to my DJ stint that night -- was CRITERIA's "Prevent the World", from their new album "WHEN WE BREAK." Why? Because the lyric "You're preventing the world from hearing my songs" never seemed more poignant to me then after the moment the big-boned girl with the halter top demanded my laptop because she knew what everyone wanted to hear.

Brian and I both thought frontman/guitarist Steve Pedersen would be pleased to hear his song ruined that girl's party for 3 minutes. I know Steve through Brian, although I had previously cleaned an entire high school football stadium with him a decade ago, when we both worked for Omaha Public Schools and he was in a band named SLOWDOWN VIRGINIA. That band eventually became CURSIVE, one of the more successful Omaha bands on the Saddle Creek label. Cursive broke up in the late '90s and Steve went to Duke law school. Cursive got back together, added Ted Stevens and eventually went on to sell a bunch of records.

In the meantime, Steve had a few musical projects: his North Carolina band THE WHITE OCTAVE, and his current project Criteria (which he started after returning to Omaha a few years ago). Steve has had the good fortune of having his new album released on Saddle Creek, who will also be re-releasing Criteria's first album, "EN GARDE." He and his band are about to embark on a pretty impressive Fall tour that begins in Chicago on September 12th.

If you're a fan of good old mean n' potatos indie-riff-rock like Quicksand, Weezer, Fig Dish, and Seaweed (and obviously, Cursive), you should check them out while they're on tour with bands like Minus the Bear and the Headphones (David Bazan's side project away from Pedro the Lion). Steve's a hell of a nice guy, and his band is especially fun to see in concert. If you like that first single or the other two tracks I'm posting here, go buy his album or check out a few more songs on iTunes. I recommend "Ride the Snake."

I normally wouldn't post 3 songs from a new album, but all three of these songs are also hosted elsewhere on the Saddle Creek website and a site hosting a contest to make the band's next video (see Criteria's site for more info). I'm putting them up here to save those sites a little bandwidth.

CRITERIA
"Run Together"
"Kiss the Wake"

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9.02.2005

DJ Kicks, in a late late style...

It's been a busy - and somewhat nutty - couple of weeks. I've had two sets at the Goofy Foot since I last posted, and I even had an absolutely horrible set which took place at a Jell-o wrestling party well outside of town. Believe me when I say the Jell-o wrestling was nowhere near as sexy or exciting as it sounds. I couldn't have felt more out of place... one girl even came up and said "Play some Prince" WHILE I WAS PLAYING PRINCE!

In addition to all of this, I wrote three articles for the local city weekly paper and managed to find about 7 spare hours to come visit one of my favorite bars in town and pick out over 300 songs for them to add to their digital jukebox. So, I apologize for the lack of posting, and I'll try to work a little harder this month to keep the music coming.

I have to go to work and, whenever I find a moment of free time, try to plan out tonight's "DJ" set with my friend Mike. Here's a look at most of last week's setlist (minus, of course, the songs Mike played on vinyl).

THE GOOFY FOOT - Digital set for 8.26.05

1. Opened with Mike playing a Ravi Shankar record over an UNKLE remix of CAN's "Vitamin C", which lead to:
2. "Turtles Have Short Legs" by CAN
3. "Ponta de Lanca" by JORGE BEN
4. "Tao Longe de Mim" by OS BRAZOES
5. "Autobahn 66" by PRIMAL SCREAM
6. "Smash it Up (Pts 1 and 2)" by THE DAMNED
7. "She Sells Sanctuary" by THE CULT
8. "It's a Curse" by WOLF PARADE
9. "Death Valley '69" by SONIC YOUTH
10. "Dirty Harry" by GORILLAZ
11. "Let the Music Play" by BILLY PRESTON
12. "Over, Under, Sideways, Down" by THE YARDBIRDS
13. "Apache" THE INCREDIBLE BONGO BAND
14. "Shack Up" by BANBARRA
15. "Shack Up" by A CERTAIN RATIO
16. "The Magnificent Romeo" by SOULWAX
17. "The Thrill of it All" by ROXY MUSIC
18. "The Wizard" by BLACK SABBATH
19. "Brakes On" by AIR
20. "Old Fashioned Way" by KEN BOOTHE
21. "The Corner" by COMMON
22. "Right Place, Wrong Time" by DR. JOHN
23. "Stood Up" by RICK NELSON

8.24.2005

ROGUE WAVE: Coming out of the shadows

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I don't know what it was about ROGUE WAVE's debut album "OUT OF THE SHADOW" that made me such a pushover and an easy lay. It was like that record was genetically engineered to seep right into my skin. I'm not saying it's a masterpiece or a slice of genius (I don't throw that word around like a lot of music fans seem to do), but for some reason, it was right up my alley. I heard in those little fragments of pop bliss elements of Elliott Smith, The Beatles, The Kinks, and all kinds of other hints of my favorite artists.

October will see the release of Rogue Wave's first proper album. That debut was merely a set of demos, a home recording made by Zach Rogue as a sort of Help Wanted poster in his quest to assemble a band of like-minded musicians. He just happened to be lucky enough to have the sort of connections that could get that tape into the hands of folks at Sub Pop records, who re-released it with very little tinkering.

I've heard the new record, "DESCENDED LIKE VULTURES," and it's a stunning little follow-up that basically elaborates on all of the elements that made the first record so likeable. In a way, it's kind of like how the films "BOTTLE ROCKET" or "SLING BLADE" were based on previously made, shorter films. While there's probably a lot to love in those first drafts, the quality of the finished product is undeniable. I got to meet Zach Rogue after one of the band's shows as openers for A.C. NEWMAN, and I said only one thing to him - and to all the kids perusing the merch table - as I pointed to a vinyl copy of his debut: "That record is fucking GREAT. Thank you." His eyes got wide and he gave me as earnest a "Thank you" as I've ever received. If I get the chance to meet him again, I'll probably bury him under a fresh pile of profanity-laced accolades for the new album.

While you'll have to wait until 10/24 to hear the whole record, the band just released an EP for the first single, "10:1," this week. It features 3 tracks that didn't make it to the record, and is a bargain at around $4 or $5 (if you see it for more, you're probably getting ripped off).

"10:1" from DESCENDED LIKE VULTURES: (This track is hosted at the Sub Pop site.) This barnstormer may not have been my choice for the first single (I would have gone with the album opener, "Bird On a Wire"), but it's still one of the hottest songs on the record. Every instrument, including the drums and vocals, sounds explosive and fuzzy like they're running in the red. The opening couplet - if I understand the words correctly - puts a smile on my face: "Curious thoughts at the fotomat / Do you really think you're all that?"

"Love's Lost Guarantee" from DESCENDED LIKE VULTURES: Deciding which song to host from this record was a bitch. There was the aforementioned album opener. There's the gorgeous sadness of "California." There's the radio-ready anthem of "Publish My Love." But I had to go with the track that I thought had the coolest production. There are at least 4 guitars and three vocals before the drums come in, and I'm always a sucker for songs that make subtle variations on that whole quiet-to-loud verse/chorus aesthetic. I love how the song sounds like it's going to end at 3:36, and then it blasts back in with the euphoric "La-da-da-da-da" coda.

"Be Kind & Remind" from OUT OF THE SHADOW: When I referenced that whole Beatles influence earlier, it was this song that I really had in mind. After you listen to this, check out the Paul McCartney-penned "Black Bird". I love how Zach Rogue uses those electronic squiggles to recreate the sounds of the bird on this song. Cue these songs up in your player and have them play back-to-back. It's undeniable.

"Endless Shovel" from EXHUMED & REGROOMED: "E&R" was an iTunes EP (anyone know if it ever popped up in any other format?) that included the band's cover of U2's "Seconds," along with 5 songs from "OUT OF THE SHADOW" reworked and played live in the studio. "Endless Shovel" is one of the most drastically changed songs, its tempo slowed down to half speed and its pounding electric guitars swapped out for delicately picked acoustics. You can also get an MP3 of this over at Sup Pop (click link for song).

"Crush the Camera" from the 10:1 EP: My favorite b-side on the EP, "Crush the Camera" has such a strange beat that it sounds like the drummer is somehow playing backwards. That bassline is pretty crazy, too. Great lyric: "Hiding with the midnight mice / licking up the moonlight vice."


For more on ROGUE WAVE:

- Check 'em out at Sub Pop, one of the finest gat-damn indie labels on Earth.
- The band has a pretty kickass web site where 4 songs from their debut, along with a droning instrumental, are streaming.
- They have an upcoming tour with the FRUIT BATS, another Sub Pop band who kick ass in an indie-wimp-rock kind of way. Band page has MP3s.
- A rogue - or freak - wave is a spontaneous ocean surface wave that can sink even medium-large ships. They weren't proven to exist until 1995, when scientists started to discover that the oceans of the world can create 100 foot waves in the middle of the sea - sometimes not even in a storm - with some regularity. Nutty.

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8.18.2005

SPOON: Out of Print

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Things were looking a little rocky there for Spoon in the late 1990s. While they've always been a great band, mixing the noisy punk of influences like THE PIXIES and WIRE with an obvious love for barroom ready arena rock like THE ROLLING STONES, they stumbled into a bit of record label trouble that has seen them jump between at least 4 labels over the course of 5 albums (their last 3 released on Merge Records, finally giving the band a bit of stability and support).

Back in 1996, Spoon recorded its debut album, "TELEPHONO," for Matador Records after attracting the label's attention through a self-released 7" single called "NEFARIOUS." Matador tested the new band out with a few of its own 7" records prior to it's debut full-length. "Telephono" was released to a minor bit of fanfare, and the buzz about this Texas trio began to spread. Later that year saw the release of the "SOFT EFFECTS" EP, and soon major labels began their inevitable scouting.

The A&R man who eventually caught the band's attention was a man who worked for Elektra Records named Ron Lafitte. He gave the band a big smiling handshake and a list of promises that a major label could only provide... big tours, great distribution and a ton of money for promoting the band's second record.

If you happen to remember hearing a huge crashing THUD around 1997, that was the sound of Spoon's "A SERIES OF SNEAKS" flopping on arrival. The budget for promotion that was promised? Nowhere to be found. Ron Lafitte was fired after four months and soon the label turned its back on the band. Their major label experience lasted as long as most junior high relationships. Pissed, the band snuck over to Saddle Creek records to release a 2-song single mocking Mr. Lafitte on the hilariously titled "The Agony of Lafitte" and "Lafitte Don't Fail Me Now." Britt Daniel nails the guy with lyrics like, "It's like I knew two of you, man / The one before and after we shook hands," while telling him he's no better than label head Sylvia Rhone.

And the worst part of it all? Almost all of that music is out of print now. You can't order "Telephono" from the web without paying at least 50 to 100 dollars for it. I just sold my copy for $40, and that guy got it at a steal. I've heard rumblings that Merge may re-release the CD in the next year (they recently released a new version of "A Series of Sneaks," featuring the Saddle Creek songs as bonus tracks). As for the "Soft Effects" EP or anything else? Your guess is as good as mine.

If you find yourself in a used CD store in the next couple of months, and you happen to see a copy of "Telephono," pick it up. Burn yourself a copy. And then immediately head to the Internet and sell that son of a bitch off.

For now, here are a few tracks from the aforementioned releases. Happy hunting.

TELEPHONO
"Don't Buy the Realistic"
"Dismember"
"Idiot Driver"

SOFT EFFECTS
"Mountain to Sound"
"I Could See the Dude"

THE AGONY OF LAFITTE
"Agony of Lafitte"
"Laffitte Don't Fail Me Now"


For more on SPOON:

- An old Austin Chronicle article where Britt Daniel discusses the agony of Lafitte.
- Spoon's official site
- Download demos of "I Summon You" and "Sister Jack".
- Listen to the band play on KCRW.

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8.14.2005

DJ Kicks, v. 2

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Christ, I have to post more. A week has already blown by and my second night with Mike at the Goofy Foot has come and gone. (By the way, I don't want anyone to think DJ Kicks is what I've named myself... it's just the name of a series of compilation CDs put out by DJs across the globe. Mike and I have not reached any level of lameness where we think what we're doing needs a name. When that day does come, we will probably have to go with DJ Two Irish Honkeys Sitting Way Too Closely in a Tiny Booth.)

It was nice to see more people out last night, and I have to apologize to any friends in the house who may have only seen me for a few passing seconds. Guests are always welcome in the booth, so feel free to peek in next time.

Anyway, here's my half of last night's setlist, along with a few downloadable tracks for your enjoyment.

THE GOOFY FOOT - 08.12.2005
ANALOG Vs. DIGITAL (digital setlist only)

1. "Say That" by LATYRX: I'm pretty sure the producer on this track is DJ SHADOW, making an already exceptional piece of work from co-rappers Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truthspeaker that much better. This track, along with the Mos Def track played a few minutes later, made one of my cranky acquaintances remark, "Are you going to be staying with the crunk thing all night?" If you think this is crunk, you, sir, are an ignorant asshole.
2. "Cloud Nine" by MARVIN GAYE
3. "Ghetto Rock" by MOS DEF
4. "Crying in the Chapel" by unknown artist
5. "Scissor Man" by XTC
6. "Friction" by TELEVISION
7. "Get Your Snack On" by AMON TOBIN
8. "Juice Crew Law" by MC SHAN
9. "Seventy Two Nations" by DADAWAH: Mike introduced me to this song a few hours before we headed to the bar. Not only is this track - which clocks in at over 10 minutes - a great way to sneak in a bathroom break and a little socializing, but it's soulful and funky as hell. This song rang in the midnight hour. You can segue into any number of things from here. We went with the Can song we'd played last week.
10. "Vitamin C" by CAN
11. "Gotta Give the Peeps What They Need" by PUBLIC ENEMY: Call THIS crunk, bitch. I met Chuck D once, and it will always be a highlight of my meaningless little existence.
12. "Feelin Alright" by THE OHIO PLAYERS
13. "Antmusic" by ADAM AND THE ANTS: I make no apologies for my love of early Adam Ant. This shit would be a hit right now if Franz Ferdinand or The Futureheads released it. I think Mike followed this with some GANG OF FOUR.
14. "Feelin" by THE LA'S
15. "Something to Say" by THE ACTION
16. "You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son" by WOLF PARADE: I'm sure I'm not the first blogger to mention it, but these guys might just blow the fuck up in the next few months when their debut is released. They sound like MODEST MOUSE mixed with THE ARCADE FIRE. Who would've thought that those sounds would become popular?
17. "Yeah Yeah" by BLACKROCK
18. "California Dreaming" by JOSE FELICIANO

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8.10.2005

DJ Kicks with a Goofy Foot, v. 1

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As if it weren't already enough that my friend Mike campaigned heavily for me to get a job at the record store he helps manage in downtown Omaha, he has also allowed me to horn in on his weekly DJ set at a bar in town called The Goofy Foot. We had our first joint set on Friday night, mixing his vinyl picks with tracks off of my iPod and computer.

I think we were both a little worried how it might work at first. We knew the basic plan was for him to play a record and then I would follow with a track from my collection that I thought fit the theme or idea he was going with. Our plan, at least for this night, was to start with some kind of ambient dance music, segue that into some reggae and old soul, and then come in with the classic rock and funk in hour two.

It actually went quite well, and we're planning on doing it again this Friday. I'm posting my half of the setlist, along with a handful of tracks, here this afternoon for your perusal. Regular readers of this site will recognize quite a few songs, since I've posted them here in the past. It sucks that I have no digital record of the stuff Mike was playing, because he was dropping some sick stuff, including a crazy Sonic Youth instrumental, some Charles Mingus, the Four Tops, and a classic Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd track.

THE GOOFY FOOT - 08.05.2005
ANALOG Vs. DIGITAL (digital setlist only)

1. "Crazy Disco Party" by WAGON CHRIST: One of my contributions to the trippy ambient portion of the set. If you dig this song, you should check out the whole album, "Tally Ho!" Wagon Christ is a guy named Luke Vibert, who has also released a number of discs under his own name.
2. "Vitamin C" by CAN
3. "Psychedelic Woman" by HONNY AND THE BEES BAND: One of the cool things about the analog vs. digital format is that I can steal music from Mike's CD bag in between tracks. This one was one of his suggestions. If Mike had thrown this one on from his half of the decks, I probably would have followed it with Mos Def's "Ghetto Rock."
4. "Crying in the Chapel" - mash-up of Elvis Presley and the Wailers by unknown artist
5. "Soul Rebel" by THE GLADIATORS
6. "Inside Straight" by CANNONBALL ADDERLY
7. "Express Yourself" by CHARLES WRIGHT AND THE WATTS 103rd ST. RHYTHM BAND
8. "The First Cut is the Deepest" by THE KOOBAS
9. "How Does it Feel to Feel (US version)" by THE CREATION (see post below for track)
10. "Evil" by HOWLIN' WOLF
11. "Big Brother Beat" by DE LA SOUL: Speaking of Mos Def, this track from De La's "Stakes is High" album is one of his earliest appearances. Straight butter hits. At this point in the set, it was pretty much a funky dance party. Mike and I had to turn down an offer to dance from two pretty but inebriated young ladies, one of whom wound up dancing on a table for two songs.
12. "The Clapping Song" by SHIRLEY ELLIS
13. "Make it Real (Ride On)" by BETTY ADAMS
14. "We're Having a Party" by SAM COOKE (live version from the Harlem Square Club album)
15. "Absolute Beginners" by THE JAM: It was either this or "Start!", and I didn't have "Start!" on my computer. This was actually going to be the closer for the night, but I couldn't resist and threw on one more track...
16. "Yeah Yeah" by BLACKROCK: This should open or close every DJ set on Earth. I think I got this from some amazing blog almost a year ago, and I still find myself throwing it on a few times a week. I love this track because it combines every element from what we were trying to incorporate into our set, including soul, r&b, psychedelic rock and more.

If you're reading this and you happen to live in the Omaha area, you should come down to the Goofy Foot this Friday night. Look for the two geeks sweating it out in the DJ booth in back. Oh, and please: no requests.

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