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 (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.
"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?
The clusterfuck of music continues. . .
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
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?
"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.