More free-sides on Tax Day
Ah, April 15th... the most depressing day to be a poor person since, well, every other day on earth. The day when we pathetic masses shed tears as we hand the government back more fistfulls of our hard-earned cash. Thanks, gub'ment!
To be honest, I actually got lucky this year and have wound up on the receiving end of a small refund. I guess I should clarify that "lucky" means that I made jack shit as far as income goes last year, and the government looked at me and said, "You poor bastard. Even we can't rip you off." So tonight, I'll try and pass some of the savings on to you, in the form of some more rare tracks, b-sides, etc. Enjoy, and don't forget to get that pound of flesh stamped and mailed by midnight tomorrow!
"Fume" by BECK: This hilarious track is from one of Beck's early releases, the LOSER CD single. A sloppy, out-of-tune ode to inhalants, it actually sounds like it was recorded under the influence. "There's a fume / in this truck / and I don't know if we're dead / or what the fuck / or what..." That last line always cracks me up, along with the line about beating up kids. If you're not a fan of Beck's white-trashier early recordings (like "Satan Gave Me a Taco" or "MTV Makes Me Wanna Smoke Crack"), avoid this one. Halfway through, it turns into a screaming blast of fuzzy death metal. Be prepared.
"Engine" by NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL: Jeff Mangum and his critically praised Neutral Milk Hotel are long gone now, and any fans looking for more music from them are pretty much forced at this point to just buy all the Decemberists' records. This track appeared on Merge Records' 10th anniversary compilation, OH, MERGE, along with some other great tracks from Portastatic, Magnetic Fields, and more. While I wasn't much of a fan of the band's first album, their second (IN THE AEROPLANE OVER THE SEA) is an absolute classic. I'm guessing this song is from that period.
"Dark End of the Street" by THE AFGHAN WHIGS: Oddly, while this rendition was the first time I'd heard any rendition of Dan Penn and Chip Moman's brilliant "Dark End," it was the Flying Burrito Brother's version that first caught my ear. Really, I could write a whole post about all the different versions of this song out there, from James Carr to The Eels. Such a sad, sad masterpiece. I'll have to post the Burrito Bros. version here some day. Gram Parsons vocals will break your heart. For now, here's the Greg Dulli-lying-in-a-pool-of-his-own-blood version.
"Winter Song (Acoustic Version)" by SCREAMING TREES: The Trees should have been huge. Granted, all the members of the band were - literally - huge, with Mark Lanegan topping off at about 19 feet tall and the Connor brothers about the same distance wide. Here we've got an acoustic take on one of the best songs from their flawless SWEET OBLIVION album, featuring some devilish vocals and a sweet slide guitar solo. This track comes from the CD single for "Shadow of the Season," but also appeared on the superior "Dollar Bill" EP, which also saw the band covering Black Sabbath's "Tomorrow's Dream" and the gospel classic "Peace in the Valley."
"Honey Man" and "Once I Was" by TIM BUCKLEY: I'm closing things out tonight with a couple of rare live tracks from Tim Buckley, father of Jeff Buckley and a folk-rock legend in his own right. This scorching live performance of "Honey Man" comes from a taping of the UK music show the Old Grey Whistle Test. Love the use of slide guitar here as well, and the military-esque drums that come in at the chorus. "Once I Was," one of the saddest songs about being a deadbeat dad/husband ever penned, was recorded for John Peel's radio show. The album version, which is even more sad and heartbreaking, was featured in the Jane Fonda film "Coming Home."