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.
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?"
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.