(I don't believe in) CHRISTMAS 2006


Merry Christmas, Internets. Peace and love to you and yours.

PIMPS OF YULE: Christmas 2006

1. "Specialized Nutcracker Suite" by FLIP
2. "Another Christmas At Home" by EUX AUTRES
3. "Santa Claus Got Stuck (In My Chimney)" by ELLA FITZGERALD
4. "Merry Christmas Baby" by IKE AND TINA TURNER
5. "Don't Believe in Christmas" by THE SONICS
6. "Holiday Hymn" by ORANGE JUICE
7. "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" by THE VENTURES
8. "Frosty DMC" by SAM FLANAGAN
9. "Donde Esta Santa Claus" by LENLOW
10. "Little Drum Machine Boy" by FAKE ID
11. "A Change at Christmas" by THE FLAMING LIPS
12. "Spotlight On Christmas" by RUFUS WAINWRIGHT
13. "Sleigh Ride" by RICK HOLSTROM
14. "Christmas Day" by SQUEEZE
15. "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" by KING CURTIS
16. "Joy to the World" by CLEM SNIDE
17. "Christmas Time is Here (alternate vocal)" by VINCE GUARALDI
18. "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" by SUFJAN STEVENS



JoyEUX Noel


This month is just flying by, isn't it? It seems like just yesterday that I had all my money in my bank account and my sanity intact. The holiday season seems to deplete those resources faster than my 6 year old nephew changes hobbies (making gift buying that much more of a nightmare. . . "Do you still like superheroes? Dinosaurs? Baseball?").

There's no question that Christmas is my favorite holiday, but there are still so many things that bother me. I'm not going to go into them here, because when it comes to Christmas, there's nothing new under the sun to complain about. What I do love is seeing my family, stuffing myself on my mother's exquisite food and cookies, and watching my brothers' kids buried neck deep in toys and candy.

Oh yeah, and I love a good Christmas song. I'm not talking about the typical holiday fare, like all that Burl Ives/Johnny Mathis stuff (which I have absolutely no problem with, surprisingly enough). I just love when someone writes a holiday song so well that it transcends the holiday itself and becomes something that you don't mind hearing regardless of the time and place.

My buddies in the Portland-via-Omaha duo EUX AUTRES have written one of those songs, and I'm happy to share it with you tonight. Maybe it's because we're all from Omaha that this one hits close to home with me, with its mentions of sneaking away from family to drink "where the champagne's on tap" (if you're ever in Omaha, do not miss a chance to visit The Homy Inn, where you'll find the aforementioned tap champagne and peanuts or popcorn served in dog bowls). It doesn't hurt that I think this may be one of their best songs yet, with a country-esque beat and great lyrics, clever internal rhymes and beautiful harmonies by the ladies in the SHEE BEE GEES.

While I'm hosting the track on my site tonight, you should really head over to Eux Autres' website, where they are selling this special holiday CD single with a fantastic cover of SLADE's "Merry X-Mas Everybody" (those Eux Autres kids have great taste) as the B-Side. The limited edition CD is a dirt cheap $4, postage included(!) and comes packaged with a cool, hand silk screened jacket.

For now, enjoy:

"Another Christmas At Home" by EUX AUTRES

While I'm on the topic of Christmas, I'd like to mention that I am hard at work on my PIMPS OF YULE 2006 holiday mix. I'm assembling and editing the track listing as I type this, and I hope this year's mix will be comparable to the one I made in 2005. Keep your eyes peeled in the coming few days for that mix.

As a special little bonus tonight, I am reposting highlights from that mix right here, to whet the appetite of my newer readers and to remind my loyal readers of old that not all Christmas music sucks ass.

Highlights from 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
7. "Christmas in Hollis" by RUN D.M.C.
8. "The Christmas Massacre of Charlie Brown" by DJ JOHN
9. "Santar Klaws" by POJ MASTA
10. "The Christmas Song" by THE RAVEONETTES
11. "Santa Claus" by THE SONICS
12. "Merry Christmas, Baby" by OTIS REDDING
13. "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus" by BRENDA LEE
14. "Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!" by SUFJAN STEVENS
15. "Christmas Eve" by GORKY'S ZYGOTIC MYNCI
16. "Old Toy Trains" by ROGER MILLER
17. "Blue Christmas Lights" by BUCK OWENS
18. "Christmas Time Will Soon be Over" by JACK WHITE
19. "Blue Christmas (To Whom it May Concern" by MILES DAVIS and BOB DOROUGH
20. "The Last Month of the Year" by VERA WARD HALL





"Shocking You" by SHOCKING BLUE

I was informed via a reader comment this evening that Mariska Veres, lead singer of the Dutch group Shocking Blue, died December 2nd from cancer in Holland. She was 59 years old.

Tonight, I'm reposting a previously written tribute to Veres and her band which appeared on this site a few months ago. If you missed these tracks the first time around, here's your chance to discover a great, underrated band:

A couple of years ago, I worked as a writer and assistant editor for a short-lived magazine published by MacWorld called Playlist. One part of my job was to fact check the celebrity iPod playlists we ran in the magazine. . . you know, making sure the artist's name is spelled right, making sure the song even exists, etc. It was kind of fun, especially when I'd be looking over playlists from Jack White or Rufus Wainwright and discovering all kinds of new music in the process.

One artist whose list surprised me was one of the drunken louts in the group Jet. Included in his list was a shout out to a Dutch group called SHOCKING BLUE. While researching his pick, I discovered that this was the band who had a hit in the '60s with "Venus." His choice was a song called "Send Me a Postcard." After a little scouring of the web, I found the song and was immediately blown away. Psychedelic bubblegum pop in the vein of QUESTION MARK AND THE MYSTERIANS or THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN, but with deep, powerful female vocals from sexy frontwoman Mariska Veres. "Not bad taste for a guy from Jet," I thought.

Regardless of the fact that they were one hit wonders in the U.S., the pathetic entry on the group at AllMusic.com is still less than the Shocking Blue deserve. "They generated enough hits in enough parts of the world to warrant a compilation on Rhino Records" is hardly a ringing endorsement.

The group was around for quite a while, but the absolute best place to start is by getting At Home, the same album that "Venus" appears on. Tonight I'm posting my own homemade EP, which includes 3 songs from that album. For regular readers, I already posted "Love Buzz" once before. For new readers, that is the original version of the song that NIRVANA would eventually make semi-famous on thier Bleach album.

If you like what you hear, happy hunting for the rest:

1. "Send Me a Postcard"
2. "The Butterfly and I"
3. "Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind"
4. "Love Buzz"
5. "Hot Sand"

- Learn more about Shocking Blue than you will at AllMusic right here.
- Another Blue page
- Some info on lead vocalist Mariska
- Buy Shocking Blue music at Amazon.com



NOVEMBER - The Final 14. Finally.


Pretty much just an exercise in lazy writing, the November 60 Songs in 30 Days finds its closure this evening, just minutes under the deadline. Soon, it will be December, and I'll have to go back to writing semi-cohesive posts again. Soak up the brevity while it lasts, kids.

"Strawberry Fields Forever (LOVE Version)"
"Lady Madonna (LOVE Version)" by THE BEATLES: I'm pretty sure I've made it a point to mention on Pimps that I love a good remix or a creative mash-up. Famed Beatles producer George Martin worked with his son Giles to create a soundtrack to LOVE, a new Cirque du Soleil show built around the Fab Four's music. The Martins combined hundreds of snippets from their catalogue, from album tracks to alternate versions and mixes never heard before this compilation. It might sound like a cash in, but it's worth checking out, especially if you have a great sound system and you can score the DVD audio bonus disc. These are two of my favorites from the album. I especially love the cacophony of sound at the end of "Strawberry Fields Forever," which features bits from "In My Life," "Piggies" and more. While "Lady Madonna" isn't altered too much, the addition of "Hey Bulldog" into the mix is pretty cool.

"She's My Girl"
"I'm Chief Kamanawanalea" by THE TURTLES: It would be a damn shame if The Turtles went down in history as one hit wonders (for the somewhat creepy yet confusingly sugary "Happy Together"). Aside from writing a few other great singles (like "She's My Girl"), they came up with The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands, a sort of concept album/satire about popular music at the time. Each track on the album has them dressing up in a different genre, like psychedelic R&B ("Buzzsaw") and tribal/surf rock ("I'm Chief Kamanawanalea"). The whole record is really interesting, and if you weren't paying attention you might think you were actually listening to a mix tape.

"Alexander Bends" by BUTTERGLORY: I found "Rivers" as I was browsing around on eMusic the other day, and it reminded me of a night when I was DJing at a bar in Omaha. A guy approached the booth as I was playing this very song, from a somewhat obscure Kansas-by-way-of California band called Butterglory. It turned out that he was friends with the guys in the band and happened to show up at my bar to hear his friends' Wedding Present-esque wallop welcoming him over the speakers as he arrived. I have to thank my friend Matt for introducing me to the band via the lo-fi as it gets "Alexander Bends."

"Bad Reputation"
"Bad Reputation (Live)" by JOAN JETT: Using Google as a research tool, I'm seeing that I've never once posted a song by Joan Jett. That can't be right. She was my first crush as a child, which lead to my premature drooling over a woman playing guitar. While I loved the TV show Freaks and Geeks, they had my vote the second they chose Jett's "Bad Reputation" as their theme song. Tonight's live version comes from the soundtrack to the cult classic punk/indie doc, Urgh! A Music War.

"Oh Sweetheart"
"The Comeback (Ratatat remix)" by SHOUT OUT LOUDS: Is there a name for this disease I have, where I neglect Swedish bands and then realize a year later what I've been missing? It took me over a year after the American release of Shout Out Louds' Howl Howl Gaff Gaff to finally realize its greatness. I owe it all to my iPod for dropping "Oh Sweetheart" on me during a walk this summer. Track #2 is a remix of Howl Howl's opening track, done by NY electronic rockers Ratatat.

"Wildcat (E*vax Remix)" by RATATAT: Since we're on the subject of Ratatat, here are a few more tracks. "Kennedy" is from their most recent album, which the duo had the balls to dub Classics. The E*vax remix of "Wildcat" was done by Ratatat's Evan Mast, so. . . I guess dubbing it an E*vax remix is a bit redundant. I dunno. *COINCIDENCE! One of tonight's other bands, Butterglory, released an EP named Rat Tat Tat.*

"A Party Able Model Of" by JOAN OF ARC: I just had to end it all with this song. Maybe it's because of the time period I first heard it, but it always makes me think of snowy winter nights.

"Everyone's quiet when the record ends.
Everyone's quiet when the record ends.
Oh, it's tragically December tonight.
Lets' stay in, I'll cook you dinner,
anything to eat some time.
Let's stay in tonight."

I'm looking forward to December. Anybody got any good Christmas songs this year?



NOVEMBER - 36 Songs in 6 Days


The clusterfuck of music continues. . .

"We Dance"
"We Dance (Alt. Mix)" by PAVEMENT: The deluxe 2CD rerelease of Pavement's third album, Wowee Zowee, hit the streets a few weeks ago. I almost ordered a copy until I scanned over the tracklisting and realized that I, in some format or another, own almost all of the material. Thank god for eMusic.com, where I'd previously bought most of the b-sides from the likes of the Pacific Trim EP. It was just a matter of a handful of downloads to catch the rest for less than a few dollars. One of those previously unreleased tracks is the alternate mix of "We Dance." I'm having trouble picking a favorite version. Definitely a great way to start out Pavement's weirdest, most experimental record. "Check that expiration date, man. It's later than you think."

"Lovin' Her Was Easier"by RICHARD BUCKNER: I posted the first track in July of 2005, but am reposting tonight in honor of the Pavement blurb. Here's what I said about Buckner's live cover of "Here" last year: I love his groaning, desperate vocals and the off-beat way he strums his guitar. The second track is a Kris Kristofferson cover. I had that song on repeat as I walked to work a few weeks ago. So damn good.

"Russian Orthodox"
"The Light Before We Land"
"Mr. Blue Sky" by THE DELGADOS: Back when I lived in Delaware, right after I'd graduated from college, I found a decent job at an ad agency. With income burning a hole in my pocket and a decent indie store just up the street from my office, I often found myself on lunch break with nothing better to do than shop and ask for rec's from the store's employees. One day one of the kids pointed me toward The Delgados second album, Peloton ("Russian Orthodox" comes from that CD). While I enjoyed the album, I kind of just figured "another twee Scottish band for the pile" and forgot about the band. Then, my dumb ass went and slept on them for a few years, while they released a couple of fantastic, majestic, bombastic records, including Hate. I've got a lot of catching up to do. (To close things out, enjoy the now disbanded Delgados covering one of my favorite Electric Light Orchestra tunes.)

"You Just Make it Worse" by RADIO BIRDMAN: When old punk rockers reunite to rekindle past glories, it's not supposed to sound this good. Is it? From their triumphant return, Zeno Beach.

"Right Around the Corner"
"Shout Bama Lama" by THE DETROIT COBRAS: If you took the shittiest party in the world and added a few Detroit Cobras songs into the mix, you would have yourself a cool place to be. At least until the music stopped. I've never written a complete post about the band because the previous sentence is really all I have to say on the matter. If you don't like the Cobras, you don't like fun.

"A La Queue Les Yvelines" by JACQUES DUTRONC: I got some feedback from my previous posting of a Jacques Dutronc song, so here's another favorite from the Frenchman. I've seen Dutronc's music compared to the writing/music of Ray Davies and The Kinks, and this song definitely fits the comparison.

"Never Far Away" by ALUMINIUM: From semi-tribute/reinterpretation album Aluminium, where composer Jody Talbot worked with a symphony orchestra to rework songs by The White Stripes and Jack White. Tonight's track is a gorgeous instrumental take on one of White's originals on the Cold Mountain soundtrack.

"Four Fingered Fisherman"
"Salvador Sanchez" by MARK KOZELEK: Mark Kozelek, of Red House Painters/Sun Kil Moon/Mark Kozelek fame, just released a limited (to 10,000) edition double live CD, entitled Little Drummer Boy. If you buy it from his label, Caldo Verde Records, you'll also be entered to win one of the guitars Kozelek played on the tour commemorated by this album. Tonight's songs (the first a Modest Mouse cover, the second a solo performance of a Sun Kil Moon song) are just a couple of highlights from the 20 track, 100 minute release.

"Care of Cell 44"
"Time of the Season" by THE ZOMBIES: Look, you can't swing a dead cat around the Internet without hitting a few thousand bloggers telling you to go buy The Zombies' Odessy and Oracle. Consider this loud THWAK to be the sound of that cat hitting me. I've posted "This Will be Our Year" multiple times at this point. Please don't make me post it again. Another selling feature: "Time of the Season" is one of the best songs of all time.

"Time of the Season" by SNOWDEN: Snowden know the rule: if you're going to take on one of the best songs of all time, you'd better do something drastic. Here, they up the tension by about 1000% with a fuzzed out bass line and industrial percussion. This one is definitely Love It/Hate It, and I'm strongly in the former category.

"Blast Off"
"Oh, How to Do Now" by THE MONKS: Thank god for the great bloggers, like The Of Mirror Eye or Diddy Wah, because I'm not sure how long I would have waited to hear about The Monks without them. I guess if I'd paid attention to my liner notes, I would have noticed that The Fall recorded a version of "Oh How to Do Now" in the early 90s. I guess, in a way, it's cool that The Monks exist on record at all. The band was started by a bunch of Army GI's stationed in Germany in the mid-60s, who decided to stay together after being discharged. Their sound was loud and corrosive, and their lyrics blunt and sometimes angry. They were easily a decade ahead of their time.

"Recently Distressed"
"1st Things 1st"
"Big Brat" by PHANTOM PLANET: I keep seeing this holiday themed Old Navy ad, with a soundtrack provided by some unknown band that sounds almost exactly like Phantom Planet. The song, with a chorus of "Get your fash-on!," is horrible, and makes me hope that it isn't really Phantom Planet. Not because I'm a huge fan of the band, but because I think their third album, the self-titled Phantom Planet was really a big step in a different, interesting direction for the band. I bought the band's first album (where tonight's "Recently Distressed" comes from) not long after seeing the movie Rushmore. That movie had a pretty profound effect on me, and I was fascinated so much by Jason Schwartzman that I had to hear his band. While both their debut and second albums had a few good songs in the grooves, they were mostly disposable and bland. Oddly enough, it was the band's third album (and first without Schwartzman on drums) that caught my attention. Songs like "1st Things 1st" and "Big Brat" show hints of Spoon, Elvis Costello and the Police, and there's just a lot of rhythm to the thing. I still wouldn't say I'm a fan, but I liked the record enough to make me dread finding out that they are that aforementioned Old Navy band.


NOVEMBER - 60 Songs in 30 Days (v2)


Faithful visitors to this blog may remember a time, nearly 350 days ago, when I attempted to post 60 songs throughout the course of November. All was going well and I was on track to complete my task when suddenly, in a post about Jenny Lewis's cover of the Travelling Wilburys' "Handle With Care," STEREOGUM linked to my site where the original was hosted. Literally thousands of people visited PIMPS OF GORE in a matter of hours, and my bandwidth for the month was kaput.

I found it a little bit amusing that my site was crippled not because I posted some rare Decemberists track or a leaked single from The Shins, but because I was unhip enough to post a decades-old song from an album that pretty much no hipster or person under the age of 30 had talked about since it had gone out of print. While I'm pretty sure I'll be safe this time around (my hosting service allows about 10 times more file transfers than the one I was using last year), I like to imagine what song might bring my site down this year.

My idea for this whole November thing is basically that I need to post 2 songs a day. You same faithful visitors know by this point that I have a crippling inability to post in a timely fashion. Hell, we're over 2 weeks into the month and this is my first posting on the matter. So basically, I'm down to this: stay tuned in the next two weeks for a couple of extremely massive posts. Get your Right Click button ready, kids:

"Not Tonight" by MATT SHARP w/MAYA RUDOLPH: Yeah, the Maya Rudolph from Saturday Night Live. Did you know she was Minnie Riperton's daughter (I use the past tense because Minnie is dead)? I like to imagine her doing her imitation of Christina Aguilera while recording the backing vocals here. And yeah, Matt Sharp, the goofy old bassist for Weezer. Apparently, Rudolph was a member of Sharp's group The Rentals before she made it to SNL. Nutty. Anyway, this is their fantastic cover of a Tegan and Sarah song.

"You Send Me"
"I Have Learned to Do Without You" by MAVIS STAPLES: I've mentioned Mavis and the Staples Singers - her family's gospel/R&B band, lead by patriarch "Pops" Staples - here before, but have never posted anything from any of her solo recordings. These two tracks come from her self titled debut and her second solo album, Only for the Lonely, which you can now find paired together on a single disc. I highly rec' seeking that, as both records are fantastic. "You Send Me" is a cover of the Sam Cooke classic. While no one will probably ever top Cooke's rendition, Mavis sings the holy shit out of it here.

"I Want You Back" by DAVID RUFFIN: David Ruffin's may be one of the most heartbreaking stories to come out of Motown. As backing vocalist - and then, eventually - lead vocalist for the mighty Temptations, Ruffin was poised to be a massive star. If you're wondering if you know his voice, think of "My Girl" or "Ain't too Proud to Beg." For various reasons, from his ego to his cocaine use, Ruffin was dismissed from the Temps. As Ruffin eventually left Motown for Warner Brothers and RCA, his cocaine addiction continued. While he had a few minor solo hits (hunt down the incredible "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me"), his career never reached the heights it should have, especially when you consider this slamming take on that old Jackson 5 nugget, "I Want You Back," from the unreleased-until-2001 album David.

"Bewildered" by JAMES BROWN: In my college years, I became a huge fan of James Brown, mainly because a friend of mine rolled through town for a visit with a cassette copy of Spank in his car. After that weekend, I sought out Brown records from all eras of his career (my roommate had a particular, and odd, fondness for that song from Rocky IV, "Livin' in America"). It wasn't until last year that I discovered a great 1960 record of Brown's entitled Think!, which features tonight's amazing "Bewildered." The whole record is 100% R&B (James wouldn't start messing around with funk and dance for a few more years), and as far as I'm concerned, this track is the centerpiece. Listen to those vocals, his phrasing and that piercing decending guitar part.

"Betcha Got a Dude on the Side" by STAR QUALITY AND CLASS: A long while back, I posted a track from Latyrx (Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker) called "Lady Don't Tek No." That track featured production from DJ Shadow that borrowed liberally from this original old school hip-hop track. About a year ago, a blog called Cocaine Blunts posted this, so I'm sad to say I can't claim to have done the footwork myself. I've been following that site for years, so fans of hip-hop/rap should head over and check it out. Here's a link to Noz's original post on both tracks.

"The Quickening" by LATYRX: Since we're on the subject, here's another classic track from the aforementioned Latyrx record, The Album.

"Workinonit" by JAY DEE aka J-DILLA: I never get the chance to post enough about hip-hop. While I'm a huge fan, I just never feel qualified to write about it in the same way as the guys over at blogs like Cocaine Blunts or My iPod Weighs a Ton or dozens of others. I have a friend named Bill who would be an invaluable resource on the matter, but he doesn't write. (Now that I'm thinking about it, perhaps I'll invite him as a guest writer if he's up for the task some time.) Regardless, I always wanted to do a little write up of Jay Dee, especially after his recent passing. He was one of the most prolific and best producers of hip hop in the game, working on records from the likes of Black Star, Common, De La Soul, The Pharcyde (he produced "Runnin'", one of my all time favorites). . .even Four Tet! Not to mention his amazing collaborations with Madlib, put out under the moniker of Jaylib. And if he wasn't dishing out beats, he was cutting and rapping on his own amazing records, like Donuts and the posthumously released The Shining. Dude should have been a millionaire.

"The Worst Band in the World" by 10cc: I'm posting this track in conjunction with the Jay Dee track, "Workinonit." Listen to them back to back and you'll see why. How genius does a guy have to be to sample the shit out of a 10cc track, especially when it's one as hilarious and satirical as "The Worst Band in the World"?

"Human Abstract" by DAVID AXELROD: Dare I reference DJ Shadow one more time tonight? As most music geeks will tell you, if there had never been a David Axelrod, there would have never been Endtroducing. Hell, there may not even have been a DJ Shadow. Axelrod was/is a revolutionary music producer/arranger, and once you've heard a few of his records, you can almost instantly spot his style: sweeping strings, thick bass and rolling drums, along with a ton of psychedelia. Tonight's track is taken from his second solo album, 1969's Songs of Experience. Which brings us to. . .

"Holy Are You" by THE ELECTRIC PRUNES: While the Prunes are probably best known for "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night" and a few other psych-rock favorites, the band itself was nowhere to be found on the record this track comes from, Release of An Oath. The album is basically Axelrod, producer Dave Hassinger and some session musicians (thank Carol Kaye for that bomb-ass bassline here), but it's probably the coolest, most interesting thing the Prunes (n)ever recorded.

"Etienne D'aout" by MALAJUBE: One of tonight's few "new" (while Trope-L'Oeil was released in February of this year, I'm fairly certain it didn't cross the US border for many months) songs comes from schizoid Montreal indie rockers Malajube, who began popping up on blogs a while back. Pinpointing a sound or genre to describe this band is virtually impossible, so all I'm left to do is recommend you check the record out for yourself if you like this track.

"Battle Brigades" by THE FOUNDRY FIELD RECORDINGS: I went to school at the University of Missouri, in Columbia, MO. While the music scene there was great as far as seeing touring bands pass through town, there was never a band like The Foundry Field Recordings when I lived there. As a matter of fact, before I discovered they were from Columbia, MO, I imagined them being from somewhere more exotic, like Vancouver, or Spain or some shit. My hat is definitely off to them, especially after hearing this song on a blog a few months ago. For more info, visit their website.

"The Dark End of the Street" by JAMES CARR: I helped manage a huge record store in downtown Chicago called Crow's Nest a few years ago. After the holiday season, our store lost its lease and we spent the next three months liquidating our massive inventory. While the store's normal policy for playing music on the overhead speakers was pretty strict, I conspired with the employees and two other managers to declare one of the Fridays before the store's close "Black Friday." Nothing but black music for 12 straight hours. It was easily one of the most fun days I had ever worked, and that experience was highlighted (highlit?) by the reaction to a number of customers to this classic by James Carr. This chilling, soulful beauty basically stopped traffic, and a ton of people came up to me asking, "Who is this?!" While I've posted one or two other versions of "Dark End" on Pimps, this one is the definitive.

"I'm Your Puppet" by JAMES & BOBBY PURIFY: I used to hate this song. Now, I have absolutely no reason or explanation why I may have felt that way. I think it should be played at every wedding, and I recently dropped it into my set as I DJ'ed my friend Andy's wedding in Kentucky. (Trivia: James and "Bobby" Purify were not brothers. According to Wikipedia, "Bobby Purify was actually two different singers; the first was James's cousin Robert Lee Dickey. The second Bobby was vocalist Ben Moore, who replaced Dickey when he suffered health problems.)

"You're My Girl (I Don't Want to Discuss It)"
"(I Know) I'm Losing You" by ROD STEWART: I've already discussed this once before, in a post about the Faces a year or two ago, but for those who may have missed it: Rod Stewart used to be a fucking bad ass. I'm not even going to plead my case for the guy this time around, because if these two tracks (taken from, respectively, 1970's Gasoline Alley and 1971's Every Picture Tells a Story) don't sell you on the concept, you clearly don't know what bad ass sounds like. It doesn't hurt that Rod was pretty much backed by the Faces for both of those solo records.

"Le responsable" by JACQUES DUTRONC: When people think of French male vocalists, they always think of Serge Gainsbourg. While I enjoy a lot of Gainsbourg's stuff, Jacques Dutronc was the really real shit. My prediction: this winds up in a Wes Anderson movie in the next couple of years, maybe in some sort of bicycle/moped chase sequence.

"Deluca" by FLAKE: I've been seriously enjoying the next Shins album for the past few weeks. I've been dying to post a song from it, but that thing is being so heavily policed on the web that you'd think the secret to making a nuclear bomb was hidden between the bass notes. Instead, I'm posting the 7" version of "Deluca," which came out back when the band was called Flake (and then, Flake Music). This version is different from the one released on Flake's only CD, When You Land Here, It's Time to Return, so hopefully this will satisfy you few Shins completists out there. I found this version on one of my absolute favorite music blogs, Little Hits. Fans of power pop and early indie rock should not hesitate to follow that link, as there is a massive amount of music to be found there.

"(untitled)" by THE INCREDIBLE MOSES LEROY: His real name is Ron Fountenberry. You'd probably go by the name The Incredible Moses Leroy, too, if you thought you wanted a career in music. These two tracks come from Fountenberry's scattershot debut album, Electric Pocket Radio. While the record can be hit or miss, it features a surprising variety of songs, and was a good indication that this guy might be someone to follow in years to come. My favorite track on the album was "1983," a beautiful piece of synth nostalgia that always makes me think of "Don't Change" by INXS. "untitled" was simply that, the untitled bonus track found at the end of the album. TIML's second album, Becomes the Soft.Lightes seemed to indicate that Fountenberry was changing his name to "Soft Lightes," and Allmusic.com says that a band released an album under that name 2 weeks ago. Anyone heard anything about it?

"Last Night"
"End of the Line" by TRAVELLING WILBURYS: In honor of my bandwidth crushing post from last year, I'm closing things out tonight with a couple more of my favorites from that long out of print debut Wilburys CD. I've heard rumblings that this will soon be reissued with Volume 3, along with a host of bonus material, but those rumblings seem to have been going on for years now.


YO LA TENGO fearlessly beats your ass.


After a few dozen listenings, I'm positive that YO LA TENGO's newest album (the hilariously titled I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass) is not only one of the best albums of 2006, but also one of the best of the band's long and storied career. In much the same way that SONIC YOUTH have done with their recent record, Georgia, Ira and James have made an album that acts as a incredible distillation of everything the band has done to this point, creating the perfect starting point for new fans. If you can't get into both bands' most recent offerings, you probably aren't going to like anything else they've done.

My first exposure to Yo La Tengo came as a double dose in my Junior year of high school. I was working as a deejay at an underground, cable-only radio station dubbed KRCK, which specialized in "college rock" or "alternative" music (the "alternative" tag would eventually take off and gain a life of its own). Working at that station between the age of 14 to 17 had an extraordinary effect on me, as I was constantly being exposed to all kinds of music I'd never heard of, from Big Black to the aforementioned Sonic Youth. One day in the mail we received a compilation called Freedom of Choice, which featured covers of 80s New Wave classics peformed by bands like Superchunk, Big Dipper and Yo La Tengo.

On that compilation -- which, like all compilations, was pretty hit or miss -- YLT did a fun, noisy rendition of "Dreaming", one of my favorite BLONDIE songs. My interest was piqued, but finding a Yo La Tengo record in Omaha, NE, was a pretty daunting task at the time. It wasn't long afterwards that I lucked into a promo for the re-release of the band's second album, combined with a previously released EP, called President Yo La Tengo/New Wave Hot Dogs. While indie rock was still a new concept for me to grasp, several of the songs on that record really jumped out at me, including "Alyda" and "Barnaby, Hardly Working."

So there you have it, my introduction to the band that I have followed faithfully for almost 15 years. What follows is an assortment of my favorite Yo La Tengo tracks, spanning their entire career:

"Alrock's Bells" from Ride the Tiger: While Tiger was their debut album, released in 1986, it would be a dozen years before I heard anything from it. I owe that to my friend Olivia, who was adventurous enough to give it a chance. "Alrock's Bells" was the first song I ever heard, and I still remember Olivia handing over her headphones one day at work so I could hear it for myself. The song kind of wanders around a bit on a groovy little bassline, but it's that glorious burst of guitar and vocals near the end that dropped my jaw and made me realize I'd made a mistake by not seeking this album out sooner.

"You Tore Me Down" from Fakebook: For most bands, resorting to an album of covers is usually a signal that they've run out of ideas and have run their course (I'm looking at you, Rod Stewart, and your new career as cover whore). For Yo La Tengo, it was still the beginning. Their third record mixes a few originals (including an acoustic "Barnaby, Hardly Working") with a ton of great covers, including this take of a Flamin' Groovies song.

"From a Motel 6" from Painful: Pretty much the quintessential Yo La Tengo single.

"Blue Line Swinger" from the Camp Yo La Tengo EP: While I've always enjoyed the sprawling noise-epic that is the album version of "Blue Line Swinger" from Electr-O-Pura, I really prefer this EP version, with Georgia Hubley's soft, mournful vocals. Download them both and choose for yourself.

"Decora (Acoustic)" from A Smattering of Outtakes and Rarities: Here's a sleepy acoustic take on the opener to Electr-O-Pura.

"Sugarcube" from I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One: Of all the Yo La Tengo records I own, none had more of a profound effect on me than this one. It's not even something I can explain without this turning into a therapy session, so we'll just stick to the facts here. This record is virtually flawless, featuring ample chunks of everything from pop, electronica, folk and -- as presented here -- firey psychedelic/punk rock. It doesn't hurt that the hilarious video for "Sugarcube" features some of the cast of the brilliant cult comedy series Mr. Show with Bob and David. The part where Ira takes an eraser to the head gets me every time:

"By the Time it Gets Dark" from the Little Honda EP: Another rocker on I Can Feel the Heart Beating as One finds Yo La Tengo putting a Velvet Underground spin on the old Beach Boys classic, "Little Honda." The accompanying EP features a ton of great cover songs not on the album, including songs by William DeVaughn, The Kinks, and this one by folk singer Sandy Denny.

"Everyday" from And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside out: Initially, I was really disappointed in Nothing as the follow-up to the aforementioned I Can Feel. . .. It's definitely a more downbeat record, with very few rockers ("Cherry Chapstick" being the obvious exception). While not as easily accessible, Nothing has a quiet, almost subliminal power, as evident in the album opener, "Everyday." It drones, it buzzes, it's spooky as hell. Sink in.

"Little Eyes" from Summer Sun: Okay, so I have a thing for Georgia's voice. What of it?

"I Feel Like Going Home" from I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass: Tonight's final song is my current favorite tune from YLT's new record. Unfortunately, it's virtually impossible for me to pick one song to possibly represent an album that covers so many different styles. If you haven't already, just check the record out for yourself. My best rec is to head over to eMusic and get yourself a monthly subscription. You can get the entire thing for about 3 bucks. 3 bucks!

- Get a ton of free downloads at the official Yo La Tengo site, including two songs from the new record.
- This Wikipedia entry has some gerat info on the band, including the roots of their unusual name.
- One of the best Onion articles of all time, 37 Record-Store Clerks Feared Dead In Yo La Tengo Concert Disaster



THIN LIZZY: (Final) Ode to a Black Man


Twenty years ago (or 21 years this coming January), at the age of 36, Phil Lynott overdosed on heroin.

Lynott was born in England to parents who split up three weeks after his birth. While he was raised in Ireland by his grandmother, his mother frequently visited him as he grew up, and it was Philomena Lynott who discovered her sick son (and learned of his addictions to heroin and alcohol) over the Christmas holiday in 1986. He was taken to a hospital, where he died less than two weeks later of kidney, liver and heart failure.

An unattributed quote from a 1987 Metal Gear article on the demise of Lizzy and Lynott has the man writing his own epitaph: "When I die, I think my final report will say: 'Did better than expected, but not quite as well as hoped for."

It kind of breaks my heart to know that a guy with so much talent and promise felt so sad and helpless. He had accomplished a hell of a lot in his lifetime, and left behind a great catalogue of music. Lizzy fans might argue over my picks in these past three posts, and maybe they can steer you in directions I've missed. I'm just giving you a few of my favorites in the hopes that you'll go out and try a few of the band's records (I personally recomend Jailbreak, their self titled debut, Vagabonds of the Western World, Fighting and, if you're into live records, Live and Dangerous.)

With that in mind. . .


"Rosalie": Believe it or not, there was a time many MANY years ago, before he became the Mellencamp prototype, when Bob Seger used to actually kick some ass. I'll give you a moment to let that thought sink in. Ready to move on? "Rosalie" is one of Seger's old rockers, and Lizzy covered it as the opener of Fighting. Their cover almost singlehandedly makes the case for Seger as Detroit asskicker (though if you need further proof, download "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" from his 1968 debut album). The song became a live staple, a version of which you can find right here. Thanks to reader "kelly" for suggesting the Seger cover. Kelly also highly rec's "Fighting My Way Back" from the same record.

"Cowboy Song": Another highlight from the virtually flawless Jailbreak album. I love the slow build up at the beginning into that guitar riff. Now that I mention it, I've never been a huge fan of the word "riff." I always wish there were more words to describe a guitar part. But in the case of Thin Lizzy (and a few other bands, like AC/DC), "riff" is totally the right word. So if you've seen an overabundance of the word "riff" in these past few posts, that is why.

"Southbound": If you're ever looking for that perfect soundtrack for just getting the fuck out of town and blazing a trail off into the sunset, Thin Lizzy is your band. If I had a few million dollars to spare, I'd love to make a modern Western and use only Lizzy tunes as the soundtrack. "Southbound" would probably have to be saved for the end credits. Any film directors out there want to collaborate? Quentin?

"Honesty is No Excuse": The first time I heard this, I was amazed it was from the band's debut album. Lynott's lyrics are so frank, confessional and full of regret that you'd think they were coming from a man twice his age. "Up till now my youthful stage / Was a useless rage, a torn out page, a worn out gauge / A dirty shade, a big charade, a has been made / And honesty was my only excuse."

"For Those Who Love to Live": Another track from Fighting tonight, this one a groovy little mid-tempo/uptempo rocker about living, loving and - again - running away.

"Whiskey in the Jar": The hit that put Thin Lizzy on the map wouldn't come until just before the band's third record, Vagabonds of the Western World. A cover of an old Irish folk song, "Whiskey" tells the story of a Robin Hood-esque character betrayed by his lover. (This Wikipedia entry gives some more detailed information on all of the various versions of the song.) With a hit under their belts and a newly acquired Top Ten status, Thin Lizzy were afforded more time to work on and record their music, giving them their best album to date. While "Whiskey" didn't actually appear on the Vagabonds LP, it has since been added to CD pressings of the album.

"Ode to a Black Man": Tonight's final song is actually from Phil Lynott's 1980 solo album Solo in Soho. Detroit rockers THE DIRTBOMBS do a fantastic cover of this, but unfortunately I'm nowhere near my hard drive tonight to share it with you. Perhaps in a future post. Regardless, theirs was the first I'd heard of the song, and I immediately sought out the original from a blogger at a site called Kittytext, who was doing a regular Thursday posting of Lizzy tracks. The song calls out a number of black heroes, and even calls out Stevie Wonder for turning away from his political songwriting (the lyric "I don't want no songs for plants, I want songs for me" is a reference to Wonder's disappointing Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants). Huey Lewis pops up at some point on Lynott's solo record, and I'm guessing right now that he's the one playing the harmonica here. Anyone know the answer to that one?

R.I.P., Phil.


Riding in the LIZZYmobile. . .

(Photo: Denis O'Regan)

Welcome to Part 2 of what will probably be a trilogy of posts in tribute to the late, great rockers Thin Lizzy. In the next couple of days, I'll be finishing up what should amount to a CD mixer full of great Lizzy tunes.

The difficulty factor for me is that I will be intentionally leaving out the band's two biggest hits, "Jailbreak" and "Boys are Back in Town." If you don't already have those tunes, you should really just pony up the two bucks they would cost you on iTunes. For the price of playing them on a jukebox, you can own them and add them to the mix yourself. Also, I'm throwing in a couple of bonus tracks at the end of the post, so make sure you get 'em all tonight.


"Remembering Pt. 2": Here lead vocalist Phil Lynott gives his best raspy-voiced Rod Stewart performance. This track originally appeared on the "New Day" EP, but has since been repackaged with their debut record as bonus tracks. I highly recommend picking up that album, especially if you like Thin Lizzy but aren't a big fan of the bombastic stadium rockers on their later records.

"Little Darling": A friend of mine listed this horn laced single from 1974 as a b-side in his makeshift liner notes for a mix he gave me about a year ago. Wikipedia indicates that it was an A-side single. Either way, it wasn't released on a full album. . . surprising, since it's a such a blast. I love the (double) guitar solo, and how it basically extends into the last verse of the song as everything builds to a crescendo.

"Borderline": Jesus, could Phil Lynott really convey sadneses with that soulful voice. If you played this song in a dive bar in the middle of the afternoon, I'm pretty sure half the room would sneak off to commit suicide in the bathroom, especially after "Seven beers and still sober / It's time to change to something stronger / I cannot take this scene no longer / She could have told me it's all over."

"Dublin": It's hard sometimes to write about classic rock bands because I just know I'm not really bringing anything new to the game. Most people who know about Thin Lizzy know that they were an Irish band. Is this news to anyone out there? Anyway, if you didn't already know, "Dublin" should pretty much blow the case. It's just a short little acoustic ballad with a little electric guitar and what sounds like either a keyboard or bells, but it's a nice little ode to the band's hometown. This also appeared on the aforementioned "New Day" EP.

"The Rocker": Alright, enough ballads tonight, let's get back to rocking. And what better way to accomplish that than with a completely obvious Phil Lynott song about how much he rocks? "I take no lip, no one's tougher than me!" Bragging, posing, acting like a tough bastard: Phil Lynott is hip hop, bitches.

"Toughest Street in Town": Did you not hear me when I said I was tough, Phil seems to be saying. He lives on the toughest street on planet Earth, people! You know how the movie Halloween came out and it was some seriously scary shit, and now years later it's kind of comical but still really badass as far as horror movies go? "Toughest Street in Town" is like that: unintentionally hilarious and yet completely oozing with RAWK.


"I'm A Cuckoo" by BELLE AND SEBASTIAN: I have a bootleg somewhere in my apartment where B&S cover Lizzy's "The Boys are Back in Town," and they really nail it. "I'm a Cuckoo," from Dear Catastrophe Waitress is an obvious ode to the band. They even lyrically name check the band AND pay tribute to the "Romeo/own-e-oh" lyric I mentioned in my previous post, rhyming "Tokyo" with "Thin Lizzy-oh." It sounds like a cover of something off of Jailbreak.

"Dark Trance (Psychic Lightning)" by HOCKEY NIGHT: While the band's name fails to pop up in the lyrics, I think the influence here is pretty obvious, especially if you've listened to the songs I've posted so far. There's even a double lead guitar solo to cap it all off.


- Check out the Thin Lizzy Guide for tons more information on the band, including singles charts and some fantastic, rare photos and memorabilia.
- The story of Lizzy over at Classic Bands, including the trivia nugget that Lizzy was started by two former members of Van Morrison's THEM.
- More TL info, including an insanely detailed gig list, over at Rock Legend.



THIN LIZZY week starts now!


Tonight, apropos of nothing in particular, I'm beginning a weeklong series of posts about legendary classic rockers THIN LIZZY. Lizzy has always been one of those bands that gets pigeonholed in the category of hard rock. While they covered a whole range of songs, from rockers to ballads and even hints of folk (their version of the Irish folk song "Whiskey in the Jar" was a minor hit for them in America), they seem to have been gradually written off in the years since they broke up and lead singer/bassist Phil Lynott died at the age of 35.

I didn't become a real fan of Thin Lizzy until a few years ago, when I caught their single "Jailbreak" in some movie on cable. I bought a copy of their hit album Jailbreak a few weeks later and fell in love with Lynott's Springsteen-esque songwriting and the band's innovative use of dual lead guitars. Around that same time, I made friends with a neighbor named Shane who was absolutely obsessed with the band. Soon I was taking in listenings of Johnny the Fox and Live and Dangerous. I was converted.

For the doubters out there, I hope this series of posts can help enlighten you a little and maybe steer you toward a band you may have only thought was a punchline a la Spinal Tap. By Saturday or Sunday, I'll have posted enough tracks for a do-it-yourself mix CD. Collect 'em all, put them on plastic and pop them in your car's CD player. Turn this shit up loud and hit the road. That's the only way to listen to Thin Lizzy.

"The Farmer": If I'm not mistaken, this was the band's first single, released on 7" in 1971. At the time, the band was just a trio, so that trademark dual guitar thing hadn't happened yet. Not sure who is playing piano here.

"Emerald": Now there is that double lead guitar thing I was talking about. These aren't just dual guitars; they're dueling guitars! Plus, you've got a song about Irish cities ablaze, dead in the streets and pirates and plunderers running amok. Even better than this is the live version of "Emerald" from the Live and Dangerous album. Cock rock at its finest.

"Black Boys on the Corner": Beyond Jimi Hendrix and maybe LOVE's Arthur Lee, there weren't a lot of black lead singers in the rock world in the late 60s and early 70s. Phil Lynott was one of those exceptions, and he often wrote songs from that kind of an outsider's perspective. "Black Boys" is easily one of my favorite Lizzy songs, from Lynott's howling vocals to that incredible off kilter guitar line that carries the verses. To steal a quote from an old Eddie Murphy movie, "That is a stone groove, my man!"

"Romeo and the Lonely Girl": Back when I discovered Jailbreak, this was the first song to jump out at me as being stylistically different than what I was expecting from Thin Lizzy. It's not exactly a ballad, but it's a sweet little song about a great looking guy who couldn't even trust his friends. I think the stretch of rhyming "Romeo" and "sittin' all on his own-e-oh" is a pretty adoreable stretch for a "hard rock" band.

"Little Girl in Bloom": I'm closing out tonight with one of Thin Lizzy's best ballads, a song told from the perspective of a young pregnant girl's fears about her secret and her world closing in on her. There's just something about the way this song starts, with the drone of feedback and the ominous bassline, that gets under your skin. If you can't get into this song, you're not going to get into Thin Lizzy.


Stay tuned this week for more Lizzy. Many thanks to my friend Mike for sourcing me some of the great material I'll be sharing with you.


Quick post: "The Crane Wife"

I don't have time for finding the right picture or the right title for tonight's post. I'm at work, enjoying a few minutes of down time, so I'm going to make this as quick and painful as possible for everyone.

This isn't breaking news, and you can probably find this song on dozens of music blogs at this point. I myself found it on one of my weekly blog hunts, but unfortunately can't remember who posted it so I can give a proper citation.

All I know is this: "The Crane Wife (1 and 2)" is from the upcoming DECEMBERISTS album of the same name, and this track is a stunner.

The only thing perplexing me is why these two songs are combined into one track. I understand the continuity of it and how both songs are part of a whole story. It's a retelling of an old folk tale about a man who nurses a crane back to health, and who is rewarded when that swan comes back to him in the form of a beautiful bride. His eventual greed makes her return to her form as a crane and fly away forever. It's all summed up in this Wikipedia Entry on the upcoming record.

Like I was saying, they tell the whole story but the two don't exactly segue into each other the way another similarly lengthy but ultimately fantastic Decemberists' song, "California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade" does. I guess I'd just rather see these as two separate tracks, but who am I to say what works?

While The Crane Wife doesn't hit stores for another month, the album leaked onto the web a few weeks ago. While I've read several rave reviews of the record, I've avoided pursuing any other material so I can have fresh ears when I buy the album for myself.

For now, enjoy:
"The Crane Wife 1 and 2"

In addition to "CW" and the aforementioned "California," here are a few other fave Decemberists tracks from past releases:
"I Don't Mind"
"Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect"
"Shanty for the Arethusa"


Watching the Sunset with FLUX CAPACITOR


Just a short, somewhat nostalgic post from me tonight. It may only mean something to one other person out there, but I think it's worth it, regardless.

I was goofing off with my MySpace profile about two weeks ago (yes, I'm a grown man with a MySpace profile), and I decided to add an old DJ Shadow song from Endtroducing as the music on my page. My old friend Olivia -- who sat next to me back at my first post-collegiate job, doing peon work for a major magazine which shall remain nameless out of spite -- wrote me a note not long afterward, talking about how the song reminded her of that job and our shared love of music that brought us together in that hellhole of an office.

I made Olivia a shitload of mixes in the year and a half we worked together (a tradition I try to continue to this day). It was years before I had the technology to burn CDs, so for years I inundated her with good old fashioned cassette tapes. Some were good, some were blah, and some (if I may toot my own horn) bordered on the sublime.

I'm not sure how many of those tapes live on at this point. Some were probably lost, while others died the inevitable death of the mix tape. In a cheesy way, all that remains is sometimes the effect that a song or series of songs, paired with the time and place they were heard, have on the listener. Which is probably why that DJ Shadow song made Olivia think about our old job, her old car and the misery/joy we felt almost a decade ago.

In a way, tonight's post is another little reminder for Olivia and myself. Back to a time when I lived in my brother's house in Delaware and she in her father's home in Pennsylvania. Back when we made exodus after exodus into the city of Philadelphia. Back when I made mix tapes, meticulously poring over track lengths and musical compatibility, long before you could just swap tracks around in iTunes until you found the best segues.

Tonight's two songs appeared on sides A and B of one of those tapes. They're from a little known Delaware band called FLUX CAPACITOR. I originally found them as the A/B sides on a 7-inch single in a Delaware record store. I liked the song titles (sometimes that's all it takes) and, as a newbie to the state of DE, wanted to try and support any local music scene I could find.

Luckily, Olivia loved the songs as much as I did. I think she even had a thing for one of the guys in the band, but we won't go into that.

Olivia, happy birthday. I'm sorry I couldn't be there to celebrate with you, but I want you to know I'm always thinking of you. Maybe the rest of you won't like these, but I know they meant something to someone. Enjoy:

"Watching the Sunset for the Last Time on Earth"

"This is What the Girl's Been Through"

- If you ever find yourself in Delaware, wondering what to do after you've just uttered that one line from Wayne's World, check out Bert's Music on Route 202 in Wilmington. It's a small but incredible store that took many a paycheck out of my hands.



The return of the Tweedy 100


About fucking time, right?

It has been nearly five months since I dropped Volume 1 of my 100 favorite Jeff Tweedy songs on all 14 of my readers. I'm sure half a dozen of you were beginning to wonder if I was ever going to continue the task. Well, fear not, fellow readers (Mom, Dad, that guy from high school who still wants to kill me), the list is back. I'm still hoping to get this completed by year's end, so expect a few more of these in the coming months.

For now:

THE JEFF TWEEDY 100 - Volume 2

"I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: You've all probably heard the story by now. If you haven't, it's well documented in a documentary with the same title as this song. When the executives at Wilco's record label, Reprise, heard the somewhat experimental material on YHF, they pretty much lost their shit. Here was this band that they'd hoped to market as the next Wallflowers turning in a record full of hushed vocals (aside from maybe Tweedy's yelling "Disposable Dixie Cub drinker. . . " here), dark, introspective lyrics and elongated bursts of static and dissonance. The label dropped them like a hot potato, and the rest is history. Sometimes when I hear this song, I like to think about the looks on those executives faces. How do you market this, especially when you consider the state of radio and of popular music in general? Luckily for Wilco, their new record label (which wound up being a subsidiary of the label that dropped them in the first place) found a way (HINT: the Internet and great reviews), resulting in the band's highest charting album at the time.

While the aforementioned documentary follows the ejection of multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett from the band, filming began just after Wilco had fired their original drummer, Ken Coomer. The story goes that Tweedy saw the band heading in a new direction and didn't feel like Coomer's more straightforward style of rock drumming fit the band anymore. Decide for yourself by listening to Coomer's drumming on this demo version of the song, and comparing it to new drummer Glenn Kotche's work on the album track or this live version from Wilco's live album, Kicking Television.

"Outta Mind (Outta Sight)" / "Outtasite (Outtasight).mp3" fromBeing There: These two songs appeared singularly on each disc of the double album Being There (the title is a reference to the Peter Sellers movie). Tweedy intended both discs to feel like separate albums, going so far as to sacrifice thousands of dollars in royalties to cover the extra packaging costs. I think it's kind of interesting that these songs are almost meta-songs. Both versions are sort of the template for the kind of sound they're paying homage to, whether it's the former's nod to the Beach Boys and Phil Spector or the latter's country rock spin on the Faces. Plus, I've always liked the idea that there doesn't have to be one definitive version of a song.

"Black Eye" from March 16-20, 1992: God knows I luvs me a good sad song, and this one is as bleak as they come. It's unbelievable how much John Keane, the session guitarist who is picking the guitar in your right ear (if you're wearing headphones), adds to this song.

"We've Been Had" from Anodyne: One of the few Uncle Tupelo songs that still finds its way into Wilco's setlists, "We've Been Had" is rumored to be about an uncomfortable encounter Jeff Tweedy had with one of his rock idols, Paul Westerberg. True or not, it's still a great song about the disappointment that comes with being able to see behind the curtain of something or someone you once saw as infallible. The fact that this song appears on Uncle Tupelo's swan song, a record packed with allusions to the band's inevitable break-up, is telling. "Every star that shines in the back of your mind is just waiting for its cover to be blown."

"I'm Always in Love" from Summerteeth: Has anyone used this title as their blog name yet? It was on the short list of names for what you read here, and I've always thought the title would be great for my headstone. Hands down one of my favorite songs, and not just by Wilco. I know it's bizarre, but that high pitched Moog-y keyboard thing hits me between the eyes like those crazy noises you find in Public Enemy songs. It's songs like this one that remind me of how great Ken Coomer and Jay Bennett were. I guarantee you a lot of the Elvis Costello influence you hear on this record comes from Bennett's general direction. "When I fold the cold in my jet-lagged palm / and I soak so long I forget my mother," is a fantastic couple of images. Here's Jeff performing the song live at Chicago's now defunct Lounge Ax.

"Please Tell My Brother" from Weird Tales: While we're on the subject of headstones, why not play this song at the funeral? The first time I heard this track, I wept like a goddamned baby and probably played it on Repeat another dozen spins. "Please Tell My Brother" is from Golden Smog, a side-project/collaboration Tweedy shares with members of The Jayhawks, Big Star, Soul Asylum and others. The band just released its third record, and I have absolutely no idea why I haven't bought it yet. As a little bonus, check out Tweedy and Gary Louris performing the song live. Sorry about the chatter at the end.

"Muzzle of Bees" from A Ghost is Born: I have a real hard time not declaring this song my favorite in the Wilco/Uncle Tupelo/Tweedy discography. I was going to save this for the last of these lists, but I just couldn't resist putting it out here as soon as possible. It's a magnificent, delicate piece of songwriting, with some incredible lyrics. Some favorites: "When dogs laugh some say they're barking / I don't think they're mean," or "The sun gets passed from sea to sea, silently, and back to me." And, oh, that guitar solo. It only gets better in concert.

"Walken": Currently only making appearances at Wilco concerts, Walken has already made its way into the 100. I can only assume this will pop up on the next Wilco album. For now, you'll have to make do with this recent live performance from Toronto's Massey Hall. Play this as loud as possible.

"Airline to Heaven" from Mermaid Avenue Volume 2" / "Airline to Heaven" from the soundtrack to Jesus' Son: While not solely a Jeff Tweedy song (the lyrics, like all the lyrics on the two Mermaid Avenue albums, are unreleased writings by Woody Guthrie), I think it's fair to treat these songs as collaborations in the same vein of Golden Smog or Loose Fur. In this case, the songwriting partner just happens to be one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century. And dead. Here's a link to an interview with Guthrie's granddaughter, where she discusses the making of the two Mermaid albums, where Wilco collaborated with Billy Bragg.

"Dash 7" from A.M.: Probably the most solemn and mournful song about having a terrible flight in recent memory. Almost singlehandedly made lap steel one of my favorite instruments.

Anyone out there know how I might retrieve the html for my first Tweedy posting back in March? I just made an error in Blogger and wiped out the copy for that with this posting. Any help would be appreciated.

Image by Miya Masaoka


The boys and girls of summer. . .


This summer is going by with the quickness. It's hard for me to believe that the event I've been basing the whole summer on -- next weekend's Lollapalooza concert in Chicago -- is just around the corner. Since it's the only real vacation I've planned, it kind of bums me out that, considering how fast the rest of this season has gone by, it will soon be over.

I have mixed emotions about summer. While I have great memories of family road trips to the East Coast and endless days at Elmwood Pool in Omaha, I've really come to dread the heat and excessive humidity. Sitting on the back porch this afternoon in 101 degree heat, I have to say I'm excited at the prospect of Fall rolling through town.

That didn't stop me from coming up with a mix to help get through this sweaty, chlorine-drenched, sand-infested, sunburned, fighting-with-your-brothers-in-the-back-seat final month of summer.


1. "Summer is Coming" by MATT POND PA: How could I start things out any other way?
2. "Fun Fair" by TAHITI 80: I spent many a hot, broke summer afternoon walking around the streets of Chicago listening to this ode to the joys of the theme park. When I was a kid, there was a place right in the middle of Omaha called Peony Park where you went to get your theme park kick. That place is long gone now.
3. "Oslo in the Summertime" by OF MONTREAL
4. "July, July!" by THE DECEMBERISTS
5. "Summer" by MODEST MOUSE: For some reason, the part where Isaac Brock gets a page on his beeper always puts a smile on my face. I think it's the gangsta way he says, "Damn, who's paging me now?." It's nice to hear indie rock getting mindless and fun like this every now and then.
6. "California Sun" by RAMONES
7. "Surf Wax America" by WEEZER: Probably one of a handful of songs from Weezer's debut album that stand up after all these years. It also makes me want to surf, although doing so would require me to overcome my near crippling fear of sharks.
8. "Wouldn't it be Nice" by THE BEACH BOYS: You can't make a summer mix without them. It's an actual law.
9. "California" by THE WEDDING PRESENT
10. "Summer Babe (Live)" by PAVEMENT
11. "Summertime Blues (Live)" by THE WHO
12. "California Waiting" by KINGS OF LEON: This is the far superior version found on the Holy Roller Novocaine EP.
13. "Another Sunny Day" by BELLE AND SEBASTIAN
14. "The Swimming Song" by LOUDON WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, I've posted this one before.
15. "Summer Teeth" by WILCO: In case you're wondering, yes, this one does count toward my TWEEDY 100. For those keeping score, this is #11. I had a friend in Philadelphia who was obsessed with the Grateful Dead and was having trouble finding a new band to love. This song, and the album of the same title, won him over and he has been a devoted fan ever since.
16. "Wishlist" by PEARL JAM: This may not be an obvious summer jam to a lot of people, but it makes me think of driving around on Missouri highways during late summer nights while in college. There's a great Dire Straits-esque guitar solo, an E Bow, and that nice touch of the song fading out just as Vedder sings that final verse, "I wish I was a radio song, the one that you turned up. . ."
17. "Once Upon a Summertime" by ASTRUD GILBERTO: Summer ain't just fun and games, kids.
18. "Cabezon" by RED HOUSE PAINTERS: Probably the happiest song these guys ever wrote. It doesn't hurt that there are no lyrics. It's kind of cool when I consider that I had a group of friends who would actually enjoy when this song came on during a road trip. It became so beloved by our little circle that it could actually be used to break tension or change the mood at the drop of a hat.



The best songs in the world. At this moment. To me alone.


"Down Home Girl" by THE COASTERS: I had no idea when I started putting this post together that Tuwa's Shanty had their own post going about the Alvin Robinson version of this song. His post pretty much nails everything I love about this song, too, so you might as well head over there to download their track. The first time I ever heard any rendition of this Butler/Leiber song was on THE ROLLING STONES' cover-filled Now LP. The Stones' version is sexy, but The Coasters just lay the mack down on this mother. (BONUS TRACK: "Down Home Girl" by OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW)

"Jealous Guy" by DONNY HATHAWAY: God bless you, Soul Sides. I can't imagine living my life without hearing this song, and I owe it all to Oliver Wang's blog, and more specifically, the awesome CD of funk and soul gems he curated. I wish I could put out my own album, if only in the hopes I could introduce a song to someone that could move them as much as Hathaway's cover of John Lennon's classic has moved me.

"Incinerate" by SONIC YOUTH: Bloggers have been all over this song for a while now, but I don't care -- this song is just gorgeous and encapsulates everything great about one of my favorite bands. Listening to this you can hear all of the influence these guys have had, on bands like the Smashing Pumpkins, The Pixies, Yo La Tengo, 18th Dye and more. While I enjoyed Sonic Youth's past couple of albums, I really think their new record, Rather Ripped, is exceptional and up there with some of their best albums (Sister, Daydream Nation, Goo, etc.. (BONUS TRACK: A 1988 Peel session from Sonic Youth, where they cover The Fall's "Rouche Rumble")

"For Your Information" by THE CEDARS: Please, God, tell me someone out there can tell me more about the Cedars. What I've learned, I got from a fantastic blog called Little Hits. Everyone I have played this song for has been stunned to find out that these guys were from Lebanon. This song, from 1967, was a huge hit. . . in Turkey. It's a damn shame they never blew up worldwide, because this is the coolest blend of the Middle East and Western pop music I've ever heard, and that includes "Norwegian Wood."

"Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken" by CAMERA OBSCURA: It's a fact -- I'm a huge sucker for a girl with a quirky accent, and Camera Obscura's Tracyanne Campbell has a great sexy, Scottish one that turns words like "down" into something that sounds like "doyne." This track is a mini-masterpiece, with soaring strings, a church organ and percussion straight out of a Phil Spector tune. (BONUS TRACK: "Teenager" by CAMERA OBSCURA)

"Quiet Town" by JOSH ROUSE: I've confessed previously to my guilty love of Josh Rouse's pitch perfect brand of lite-rock. Yacht Rock be damned, this guy is just plain SMOOOOTH. "Quiet Town" is from Rouse's newest album, Subtitulo, an album dedicated to Rouse's newfound home in Spain. (BONUS TRACK: Here's a repost of one of my favorite Rouse songs, the imitation Smiths-y-ness of "Winter in the Hamptons")

Pimps of Gore is back, bitches.




I just moved to a new apartment and we're still working on getting the Internet up and running. I've been in the midst of moving stress for about a week now, so that's why you haven't heard word one from me since my Eux Autres show.

I'll be back in a big way in the next few days. Expect the second in my JEFF TWEEDY 100 series to follow shortly. . .

Thanks for sticking with me.


Hitting the reuxd with EUX AUTRES


If there were some sort of standard for journalistic ethics in the world of blogging, I guess I'd have to offer this up as some sort of disclosure about tonight's post: I have met Nicholas Larimer, 1/2 of the Portland (via Omaha) duo EUX AUTRES, and gotten along quite well with him. My brother went to high school with the other half of the band, Nick's sister Heather. I'm good friends with the guy who will be selling their merch on the band's tour. He is the reason I ever got to hear their debut album Hell is Eux Autres, which was just re-released with new artwork and lyrics last week.

There, it's out in the open. Now I can pimp them without an ounce of guilt.

I want you to believe me when I say that I wouldn't be pimping Eux Autres if I didn't love their music. I know a lot of people in bands, and you never see me writing about them here. There's a reason for that, and it's the fact that I won't use this site to be a shill for something in which I don't believe.

It took just one listen to the debut album to hook me. I was working at a record store with my friend Mike, the aforementioned merchwhore, when he said the dreaded words that no music fan really wants to hear: "I want to play you a CD of my friend's band." If you've ever been put in a similarly uncomfortable position, you know what normally follows: the CD usually sucks in a myriad of agonizing ways, and you're left to stand there, trying to look interested without trying to look patronizing.

Luckily, Hell is Eux Autres immediately jumped out at me, full of great harmonies, simple songs, and my favorite: lots of hand claps. It's hard to describe without sounding a little silly, but it's basically French pop that has seen one too many Portland rainshowers. It clocks in at a half hour, the perfect length for a debut, and the perfect size for a listener to digest in one sitting and still remember the hooks and choruses that made it so enjoyable. It doesn't overstay its welcome; it leaves you wanting more.

Here are two tracks:

"Ecoutez Bien"
"Salut Les Copins"

The album should be available at fine record stores across the country, and available for download on iTunes.

My main motivation for writing this, though, is to get my readers out there to support the band on their most current tour, which should be rolling near your town soon. For my friends in Chicago, Omaha and Philadelphia (where the band will be playing my favorite bar in the city, The Standard Tap) I implore you to see these cats. They put on a great, fun show and have been known to throw in the occasional awesome cover (drummer/vocalist Heather is also in a Portland-based all female Bee Gees cover band called the Shee Bee Gees). Plus, just look at them. They're adoreable. Buy them a drink or some dinner (reading their tour blog makes my stomach hurt at the thought of so much fast food) and tell them (or at least their merch guy) that I sent you.

- Mon 12 : Omaha, NE - The Goofy Foot
- Tues 13 : St. Paul, MN - Big V's
- Wed 14 : Chicago, IL - Schubas
- Thurs 15 : Hamilton, ON - Casbah Lounge
- Fri 16 : Toronto, ON - Rancho Relaxo
- Sat 17 : Montreal, QC - L'Escogriffe
- Mon 19 : Buffalo, NY - Soundlab
- Wed 21 : Philadelphia - The Standard Tap
- Thurs 22 : New York, NY - Pianos

- Here's an interview from an Omaha weekly paper.
- Keep up on the band's tour through their humorous tour blog
- A fan-made rudimentary animated video for "Ecoutez Bien"



Too late to water Mayflowers?


If my readership were a plant in my apartment, I would have forgotten to water it for a long, long time. It would probably look almost dead at this point. If it could speak, it might say, "Kill me."

For those of you who may have stuck around, my apologies. This has been a busy month, and it all culminated in this DJ gig I had over the weekend, playing music for a 10 year high school reunion. DJing a high school reunion is a strange assignment, at least to me. Especially for the year 1996. Good luck trying to find music that everyone can agree on for that year. I think the only stuff I could have played that would have satisfied almost everyone was Beck. . . and maybe Snoop Doggy Dogg? I know, stuff like DJ Shadow's debut came out that year, but do you remember the people you went to high school with? You were lucky if you had 2 other people who knew about DJ Shadow.

I toiled for weeks on coming up with a set list that wouldn't get me beat up. I scoured for crowd pleasers and hits, all the while trying to still maintain some dignity as someone who never wanted to be anything like a professional DJ, always having to reach sheepishly into that embarassing bag of tricks for "The Electric Slide" or "Brown Eyed Girl."

When the time for the big show finally came, I gave up and actually just decided to play shit that I wanted to play. I figured I'd just ride the guise of looking like a hired pro up until the point when people realized they hadn't heard a hit song in over an hour. Then, I figured I'd get punched in the face, so I could close up shop and leave early while still getting paid. For the most part, it went really well. Whenever you DJ there will always be a few people who you know will become problematic after they get a few drinks in them. First they come up cheering you because you're playing something that Vanilla Ice sampled. Then they ask if you do weddings. Then, the alcohol really kicks in and they're telling you that you suck because you don't actually have any Vanilla Ice. (This actually happened, punctuated by "What kind of DJ doesn't have Vanilla Ice?!" I gave the guy two middle fingers and hoped he wouldn't give me a concussion.)

I walked away unscathed from the whole ordeal, and was able to pay for a mixer with the money I made. I'd better start downloading "The Electric Slide" now!

In the midst of all this past month's business, I had a request from a friend (hi "Sal") to help her put together a mix to be played at her friend's (hi Anne-Marie!) wedding shower. Here I was on a Saturday afternoon, trying to figure out what a bunch of high school nostalgists wanted to hear during their party, and now I was being called in to think about marriage songs. It was going to be played during the party and then given away as a parting gift to everyone there. All age groups were represented, which made things extra odd for me. What kind of indie rock do you think your grandmother would like? Oh, and I've never met the person for whom the mix was made. Tall order.

All my worrying was apparently for naught. The mix was a hit and as it turns out, grandmothers have no problem digesting The Zombies. Tonight I'm posting the mix, in order. Regular readers (they're all gone now, right?) will probably notice that a lot of these songs have appeared on Pimps of Gore in the past year. Consider this a sort of "greatest hits" album, then. Pick up some of the songs you may have missed, and enjoy a couple of new ones in the bunch.

And congrats, Anne Marie. I was happy to help.


1. "Baby" by Caetano Veloso and Gal Costa
2. "Mushaboom" by Feist
3. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by Al Green
4. "So Fine" by Ike and Tina Turner
5. "A Certain Girl" by The Yardbirds
6. "Everyday" by Rogue Wave
7. "A History of Lovers" by Iron and Wine/Calexico
8. "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" by Richard and Linda Thompson
9. "Marriage is for Old Folks" by Nina Simone
10. "The Lengths" by The Black Keys
11. "This Will be Our Year" by The Zombies
12. "In a Funny Way" by Mercury Rev
13. "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" by Sandie Shaw
14. "Sneakin Up On You" by Peggy Lee
15. "A Natural Man" by Lou Rawls
16. "Sunshine of Your Love" by Ella Fitzgerald
17. "Bring it On Home to Me" by Sam Cooke
18. "Suddenly Everything Has Changed" by The Postal Service
19. "The Book Of Love" by Now It's Overhead
20. "When You Love Somebody" by Fruit Bats

And yes, I did realize that I put music from two divorced couples (Ike & Tina/Richard & Linda), and several break-up songs on the mix. You've got to have a sense of humor, right?




In the time it has taken me between writing my last post on Pimps of Gore and this current post, NEIL YOUNG could have recorded at least two records. Of course, that's if he was keeping the pace he kept while creating his new album, Living With War, which he recorded in a matter of days and released to the world only a few weeks after completing it.

It's pretty rare that musicians make such truly artistic statements these days. Even if they wanted to speak out about the war or the government the way Young has on his new record, they're usually held up by the folks in marketing, or their managers or the people at their record labels. But when Neil Young shows up at your office with 10 blistering, angry and triumphant new songs -- in the wake of his recently released acoustic album and a performance film, no less -- you make the smart move and release them.

Young has been releasing albums on an almost annual basis (sometimes even two or three a year!) since he began his solo career after leaving Buffalo Springfield in the late '60s. While he suffered a brain aneurysm during the recording of last year's Prairie Wind, the near-death experience only seemed to make his work that much more urgent and poignant.

I have only listened to the new album twice, so I won't go into my opinions too deeply beyond the fact that it's great to hear a record where the immediacy of the message and the artist's need to speak out are in such plain view. Living With War is a raw record, but that doesn't mean it lacks songcraft or production value. This is a record about a moment in time, and luckily for us, that time is right now.

Tonight I'm giving you a sneak preview of the new album, along with a handful of my favorite Neil tracks, many of which I feel have been overlooked in the midst of his huge catalogue. Also, enjoy a few vastly different Neil covers as a bonus.

Neil, this note's for you:

"After the Garden" from Living With War: This is the opening track on the new album. I love that even though this record was recorded in a few days, Neil still took the time to employ an entire choir of backing vocalists on almost every song.

"Don't Cry" from Freedom: A goddamned barnburner from the album that got me into Neil Young when I was 12 or 13 years old and saw the video for "Keep on Rockin in the Free World" on MTV. It wasn't until that song that I realized how much this seemingly ancient man really rocked, but "Don't Cry" was the album track that made me realize that this guy was the gateway drug that would lead me into the really hard shit like Sonic Youth and Fugazi. Listen to that guitar explode!

"Helpless" from THE BAND's The Last Waltz: Here Neil performs one of his most heartbreaking songs with the help of The Band and Joni Mitchell. While some people dismiss it, I think The Last Waltz is one of the greatest rock concert movies of all time, for both its flaws and its successes. The movie's greatest effect is putting the viewing audience up on stage with the band, and not just out in the crowd. This microscopic perspective did lead to one hilarious story: While performing with the Band, Neil Young had a chunk of cocaine so large in his nostril that director Martin Scorcese had to delay its release while he used a technique called Rotoscoping (costing Band leader Robbie Robertson thousands of dollars) to remove the evidence behind the drug fueled performance. In the commentary track on the DVD, Robertson calls it "the most expensive cocaine I ever bought."

"Everybody Knows This is Nowhere" from the album of the same name: While this track comes from Neil's second solo album, it was his first record with his now legendary backing band, Crazy Horse. The album featured the hits "Cinnamon Girl" and "Down by the River," but for me, as a kid from Omaha Nebraska, this song really hits close to home. I could listen to this song on a loop for an hour and not get tired of those off kilter guitar stops and those "la-la-la, la-la-la-la's" that follow the great chorus, "I've gotta get away from this day to day running around / Everybody knows, this is nowhere."

"Only Love Can Break Your Heart" from After the Gold Rush: Okay, so Gold Rush isn't exactly overlooked (it's almost unanimously praised as one of Young's best records). "Only Love" was released as a single and made it to #33 on the pop charts in 1970, but you don't hear it on classic rock radio at all these days, and that's a damn shame.

"Lookout Joe" from Tonight's the Night: After the overdoses of two of Young's closest friends, roadie Bruce Berry and Crazy Horse Guitarist Danny Whitten, Neil Young made one of his most painfully honest records to deal with his loss. His record label balked over releasing the album for almost two years. I personally didn't discover Tonight's the Night until a couple of years ago, but I was floored when I heard it, especially "Lookout Joe."

"I'm the Ocean" from Mirrorball: I think it's fairly safe to say that Neil Young experienced a bit of a comeback in the early 1990s because of his friends in Pearl Jam, who acted as his backing band on 1995's Mirrorball. While Pearl Jam don't get in the way of Young's songwriting or sound, you might notice that the rhythm section on this record -- especially Jack Irons on drums -- chugs along a little more buoyantly than on most of Young's albums. Young would go on to return the favor by playing with Pearl Jam on their Merkinball EP, recorded at the same time as this album.

"Only Love Can Break Your Heart" by Saint Etienne
"Down by the River" by Ken Boothe
"Harvest" by The Shins' James Mercer

TRIVIA: Neil Young's full name is Neil Percival Kenneth Robert Ragland Young.