MAY: 'Mental


I'm going to be a little short on words this month. In two weeks I'll be off on a 10 day jaunt to the east coast to see friends and family. Of course, that means that right now, I'm working extra shifts and scrapping for overtime to pay for this jaunt to the east coast.

In honor of the self-imposed brevity needed to pull all of this off, I'm going to spend the month of May throwing up some of my favorite instrumental tracks. Of course, I couldn't possibly do that without writing a little blurb about each one, but I'm still going to try and make this as painless for you and me as possible.

Okay, lead singers, you can put your microphones down and take a nap on the couch for a while. This one's for the boys in the band:

"Thunderclap" by PEARL JAM
This unreleased instrumental was actually ripped from Pearl Jam's Touring Band 2000 DVD, which featured three behind-the-scenes montages backed by instrumental tracks. "Thunderclap" was always my favorite of the three. It took me forever to find the title of this song, so that is why the file name is simply "Instrumental." Besides, it's still a better title for a song than fucking "Thunderclap."

"Love, Love" by DJ SHADOW: Okay, there's some talking over the beginning of this one, and some tight-assed purists might argue that DJs aren't really musicians. As far as I'm concerned, if you put a sampler and a few turntables into the hands of DJ Shadow, they aren't just equipment -- they are instruments.

"Mark Price P.I." by ARCHERS OF LOAF
Now the Archers of Loaf have got it: if you don't have a name for your surf rock/spy song, just come up with something goofy, possibly including your drummer's name in the process. Not fucking "Thunderclap." Come on.

"Guess I'm Falling in Love"
Both of these come from the 1986 album of rarities and outtakes called Another View. Both are pretty much polar opposites and both are completely awesome.

"Another Routine Day Breaks" by BROKEBACK
Back when I was in college and got my first record player, I bought the 7" single for this song based on the packaging alone, It was a clear vinyl record in an somewhat intricately cut cardboard sleeve, featuring what looked like a hand-screened picture of an orange tree. I didn't know then that Brokeback was a side project of Tortoise bassist Doug McCombs. I was completely mesmerized by the song but could never find it on CD or .mp3 until I stumbled upon the album version of it (from the 1999 record Field Recordings from the Cook County Water Table) on eMusic this year. If I'm not mistaken, the version I had on the 7" didn't feature the dreamy middle section where the beat drops out for about 30 seconds. I actually miss the repetitive crackle (probably a flaw in the pressing) that comes with my 7" copy of this song. It almost seems like it belongs there.

"Sleepwalk" by SANTO & JOHNNY
If you put a gun to my head and forced me to make a definitive decision on the matter, I'd say Santo & Johnny's instrumental version of "Sleepwalk" is my absolute favorite instrumental performance. I remember hearing it in La Bamba and it having a profoundly saddening and yet calming effect on me, even at the age of 11. Right then and there, lap steel guitar became my favorite sound in the world. The song was written by the brothers Farina (with some help from mom) and became a #1 hit in 1959. You want a sad song? Take that, emo kids!

(Bonus Track: Here are the Farina brothers on a 1965 cover of The Beatles' "And I Love Her".)

- There's only one copy of Brokeback's Field Recordings left at Amazon.com! Or, join eMusic and get it for a couple of bucks.
- Pearl Jam are releasing a 7-disc live box set documenting their 2005 and 2006 shows at Washington's Gorge Ampitheater. Check it out.
- Johnny Farina is still makin' music.
- Here's a page full of Velvet Underground rarities, radio ads and more.
- There's always some dope shit to be heard at DJ Shadow's site.


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