Friday, June 1, 2007

Radio Heart

In terms of culture, the 80s didn't suck. I can attest to that because I was actually old enough to remember things from that era. It was a curious time when the collective conscious of the U.S. was beguiled by Ronald Reagan (and mystified by Reaganomics), drawn to Molly Ringwald's homely come hither looks, obsessively buying little pink M.U.S.C.L.E. Men, etc. But life was hard. In 1981, fresh from the refugee camps in Malaysia, my family and I lived in the East Side San Jose projects on Poco Way and we were on welfare - shopping in grocery stores with food stamps and purchasing non-perishable items that only had the yellow generic label on them. We never ate well and we certainly never ate breakfast. Is there life without breakfast?

Curiously enough, also in 1981, Posh Boy released San Francisco's Los Microwaves sole LP. This album would presume the continuity of life without breakfast but would query what came after it. Life After Breakfast, was a synth record that deviated from Posh Boy's typical Orange County punk scene fare (but see also PB's release of the Gleaming Spires' Songs of the Spires). It's out-of-print now, and original copies show up on eBay if you're not patient enough to stumble upon it in your local record store. eBay sellers have inflated the price and value of this album and are preying on people who want to buy something that makes them look cool during the current and next rehash of 80s chic. It's not like it's an original Black Randy & the Metrosquad's Pass the Dust, I Think I'm Bowie on vinyl. That I will pay a considerable sum for if it ever shows up on eBay (note: apparently my CD version of Black Randy's album costs a pretty penny too - I feel so hip).

In retrospect, Life After Breakfast is a standard keyboard-driven new wave album - nothing too exciting nor surprising. Bassist Meg Brazil and keyboardist David "Microwave" Javelosa's vocals are catchy but don't deviate from the era's new wave trappings of self-conscious brattiness/spunkiness. Thus, the vocals are tiresome at times. Especially Meg's. If you've ever seen the movie Smithereens and remember its annoying lead character ("Wren"), then you've got a pretty good idea at who Meg reminds me of.

Although the record is made buoyant by lofty arty goals, some moments in the album show that the music is stuck in the morass of its own artsy pretentiousness. The tracks "Time To Get Up", "TV In My Eye" and "Reckless Dialogue" are mostly turds of songs that suffer from this problem. This sort of stuff in these tunes were latter done much better by Ann Magnuson et al's Pulsallama (or Bongwater for that matter). However, though somewhat repetitive, "Radio Heart" is an instant hit and I imagine it was played to death by Rodney On the ROQ back in the day (along with Red Kross' "Annette's Got the Hits"). And "Forever" is nice tune to end side one with cool swirling keyboards and sung partially in Spanish by David.

Life After Breakfast is an album that I assume has been repeatedly mined and absorbed into the amorphous hipster credentials beast. But it's still worth a listen to even if people with angular haircuts and day-glow clothing are annoying. And if those people weren't even around during the era they're emulating - well, like I read on a sticker somewhere: "You can't be old school if you weren't even in high school back in the day." I wasn't in high school back in the day when Life After Breakfast came out and no I was not old enough to be hip to it (I was in the first or second grade) - but at least I was born before the 80s.

Fast forward a bit on your top loading VCR and take a gander at what I looked like in 1985/1986. Off welfare, and living and working with extended family has done my family good. I was now able to bully my parents into supporting a skateboarder's lifestyle. First thing I did was to force my parents to dump my old Ninja skateboard and get a real setup. Note how I am wearing a Bones Brigade t-shirt. Sure, at this time I was probably more poseur than real skate rat. I was probably trying to listen to JFA, the Faction and/or McRad but not getting it. To this day I can remember the board I was riding at the time: Powell Peralta Per Welinder street deck with OJII wheels probably 97s (with German bearings), Schmitt Stix rails, a Bird lapper and a Powell Peralta Tail Bone. All purchased from Go Skate in Almaden. Gawd damn look at the attitude I'm displaying. I'm wearing cargoes before they became Aberzombified & Bitched. And I'm pretty sure they were pegged! And I was still into D&D at the time! But I stopped collecting stickers when I started skateboarding (I swear). Except for the scented ones. Those will always have a special place in my heart. Punk as fuck.

In case you're interested David Microwave played recently at the DNA Lounge in S.F., and will be back in the L.A. area performing this month in June 2007 (06/02 at Head Salon in Venice and 06/13 at Good Hurt in West L.A.). He plays electronica - I guess what would probably be labeled IDM. Apparently he's really into skydiving. Find out more about him and the rest of Los Microwaves here.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Meaning of Lists

Books and articles which (and authors whom) list the 'best of' or 'greatest' of anything are always going to be accused of exclusion, overinclusion, esotericism, elitism, cultural prejudice/imbalance, etc. British author Garry Mulholland has received a fair share of criticism from music geeks on both sides of the pond for his newest book, Fear of Music: The Greatest 261 Albums Since Punk and Disco. Released in late 2006, Fear is a companion piece to his earlier musicological rank and file book, This Is Uncool: The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk and Disco.

Despite what one thinks of the genre of music 'list' books, their authors should be commended for their naive bravery and brazen pretentiousness. Because these authors are always going to receive flack no matter how good that list actually is. For instance, if one were to say that the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the best album of all time, there will always be numerous detractors ready and waiting to decry that no it isn't (and the author is too mainstream - what about the B-side of Abbey Road or this album by this obscure artist?) Or worst of all, the cognesceti will be quick to state that the choice made is too obvious and/or that the assertion is easy to make because it's the least likely to be refuted.

At a certain point - to effectively complete the task of a best of list - the person making the list has just got to say screw it and run with what they got through the minefield of negative criticism. And for this even the most casual of readers should be grateful. Because the pleasure in perusing these books (and let's face it - most of us won't buy them because they're basically flip throughs at the bookstore and how many coffee table books does one need) is the opportunity we are afforded in this activity to offer up a sanctimonious "oh yeah that would definitely be in my top 10 because it's so blahblahblah" or utter an insulted "what the hell - what about blahblahblah". But better yet, we may be presented with something that makes the list that we've never thought of before or have neglected to pay any critical attention to. And even better still is being able to take that overlooked/neglected item and claim it as your own in your own list - as if it was always a top 10er.

All this being said, I have one thing that I must get off my chest regarding what constitutes an album in Mulholland's Fear (and this is without ever really reading it and of course - y'know - buying it). Mulholland seems to define 'album' broadly; this allows him to list several 'greatest hits' albums of some artists and compilations of various artists to the exclusion of some of those artists' other albums that can rightfully stand on their own (with Madonna's Immaculate Collection being one exception). I disagree with this formulation. Moreover - since it appears that Mulholland defines an album as almost everything under the sun - why does he exclude notable compilations that were released in the periods covered in Fear such as the Nuggets box sets?

Here's my argument for what defines an album's greatness...An album is great if you can listen to every (or nearly every) track on it - in sequence, but jumping around is okay - as it was originally made. It doesn't have to be a concept album - and usually concept albums falter because the onus of keeping a consistent theme throughout appears to be too much for some artists - but it has to be good "as is". It's easy for a frat boy/sorority girl to say that Bob Marley's Legend album is their favorite Marley album: "Like, oh my gawd, every song is soooooo awesome on that album!" And I know why - because it's a greatest hits collection! The compiler knows that So Jah Seh (from Natty Dread) isn't gonna make someone - be it a guy or a girl - take their shirt off at a kegger and hug someone. No. That's gonna require the live version of No Woman, No Cry.

"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery bro."

Here's the list from Mulholland's Fear already. I'm going to try to reserve my criticisms of what's there and what's not there for the years in which I was actually paying attention to music. And I'm not going to sprinkle in any of my own 'esoteric' albums. But I had to interject in some places...

• The Ramones: Ramones
• The Modern Lovers: The Modern Lovers
• Stevie Wonder: Songs In the Key of Life

• The Congos: Heart of the Congos
• David Bowie: Low
• Television: Marquee Moon
• Iggy Pop: The Idiot
• The Ramones: Leave Home
• Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express
• The Clash: The Clash
• Ian Dury: New Boots and Panties
• Fela Anikulapo Kuti & the Africa 70: Sorrow Tears and Blood
• Iggy Pop: Lust For Life
• Randy Newman: Little Criminals
• Talking Heads: Talking Heads77
• David Bowie: Heroes
• Roxy Music: Greatest Hits
• Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks, Heres the Sex Pistols!
• Suicide: Suicide
• Wire: Pink Flag
• Brian Eno: Before and After Science
• The Ramones: Rocket to Russia

• XTC: White Music
• The Buzzcocks: Another Music In a Different Kitchen
• Elvis Costello: This Year’s Model
• Various Artists: Saturday Night Fever Original Soundtrack
• Pere Ubu: The Modern Dance
• Kraftwerk: The Man Machine
• The Rolling Stones: Some Girls
• The Rezillos: Can’t Stand the Rezillos
• Blondie: Parallel Lines
• Devo: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
• Dr. Alimantado: Best Dressed Chicken In Town
• Wire: Chairs Missing
• Can: Cannibalism
• X-Ray Spex: Germfree Adolescents
• Siouxsie & the Banshees: The Scream
• The Jam: All Mod Cons
• Earth, Wind & Fire: The Best of…. Vol. One

• The Fall: Live At the Witch Trials
• Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Armed Forces
• Magazine: Secondhand Daylight
• The Undertones: The Undertones
• Earth, Wind & Fire: I Am
• The B-52s: The B-52s
• XTC: Drums and Wires
• Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures
• Michael Jackson: Off the Wall
• Talking Heads: Fear of Music
• Gang of Four: Entertainment!
• Misty In Roots: Live At the Counter-Eurovision
• The Slits: Cut
• The Police: Regatta De Blanc [The Police suck.]
• The Specials: The Specials
• Chic: Les Plus Grands Succes de Chic - Chic’s Greatest Hits
• Public Image Ltd.: Metal Box/Second Edition
• The Clash: London Calling

[With the exception of one 'album' by Chic, Mulholland almost ignores the disco genre altogether. There were many great disco artists that existed who were overshadowed by campy co-opted groups such as the Village People - artists that made disco suck. Where are the good/real disco artists? This is a shame especially since disco is the genre which gave rise to the dance music that Mulholland appears to like.]

• The Pretenders: The Pretenders [I've said before, and I'll say it again, the Pretenders suck.]
• Young Marble Giants: Colossal Youth [Good choice! No disagreement here...]
• Various Artists (Rough Trade): Wanna Buy a Bridge?
• Magazine: The Correct Use of Soap
• The Beat: I Just Can’t Stop It
• The Human League: Travelogue
• Diana Ross: Diana
• Cristina: Cristina
• Dexys Midnight Runners: Searching For the Young Soul Rebels [I tried to like this one but it didn't really do much for me.]
• Echo & the Bunnymen: Crocodiles
• Joy Division: Closer
• The Associates: The Affectionate Punch
• David Bowie: Scary Monsters
• The Specials: More Specials
• The Teardrop Explodes: Kilimanjaro
• Talking Heads: Remain In Light
• Killing Joke: Killing Joke
• Adam & the Ants: Kings of the Wild Frontier
• The Jam: Sound Affects

• Brian Eno & David Byrne: My Life In the Bush of Ghosts
• Gang of Four: Solid Gold
• Au Pairs: Playing With A Different Sex
• Echo & the Bunnymen: Heaven Up Here
• Grace Jones: Nighclubbing
• Duran Duran: Duran Duran
• Siouxsie & the Banshees: Juju
• Was (Not Was): Was (Not Was)
• Various Artists (ZE Records): Mutant Disco
• Blondie: The Best of Blondie
• BowWowWow: See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy
• The Human League: Dare
• The Buzzcocks: Singles Going Steady
• Japan: Tin Drum
• Soft Cell: Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

• Orange Juice: You Cant Hide Your Love Forever
• The Wipers: Youth of America
• The Clash: Combat Rock
• Gang of Four: Songs of the Free
• Scritti Politti: Songs to Remember
• The Associates: Sulk
• ABC: The Lexicon of Love
• Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Imperial Bedroom
• Yazoo: Upstairs At Erics
• Simple Minds: New Gold Dream
• Kate Bush: The Dreaming
• Bruce Springsteen: Nebraska
• Donald Fagen: The Nightfly
• Marvin Gaye: Midnight Love
• Squeeze: Singles 45s & Under
• Siouxsie & the Banshees: A Kiss In the Dreamhouse
• Michael Jackson: Thriller

[You see how Mulholland is avoiding Dexys Midnight Runners' Too-Rye-Ay album - the commercial hit but not critical success album? Guess he didn't like this Celtic Soul Brothers incarnation...C'mon Eileen anyone?]

• Tom Waits & Crystal Gale: One From the Heart Original Soundtrack
• The Cramps: Off the Bone
• New Order: Power, Corruption and Lies
• The Cure: Boys Don’t Cry
• Tom Waits: Swordfishtrumbones
• The The: Soul Mining

• The Smiths: The Smiths
• Prefab Sprout: Swoon
• Bruce Springsteen: Born In the U.S.A.
• Run D.M.C.: Run D.M.C.
• Prince & the Revolution: Purple Rain
• Violent Femmes: Hallowed Ground
• Lloyd Cole & the Commotions: Rattlesnakes
• The Smiths: Hatful of Hollow

[This was the momentous year that Bob Marley's 'album' Legend was first released.]

• Prince & the Revolution: Around the World In A Day
• New Order: Low-Life
• Prefab Sprout: Steve McQueen
• The Pogues: Rum Sodomy & the Lash
• Dexys Midnight Runners: Dont Stand Me Down [Again, I tried to like this one too but it also didn't really do much for me. This is a so-called re-evaluated critic's fave.]
• Kate Bush: Hounds of Love
• Tom Waits: Rain Dogs

• The Cramps: A Date With Elvis
• Hüsker Dü: Candy Apple Grey [Really - this album?]
• Prince & the Revolution: Parade
• The Smiths: The Queen Is Dead
• Beastie Boys: Licensed to Ill
• Mantronix: Music Madness

[Where's Run D.M.C.'s Raising Hell?]

• Bad Brains: I Against I
• Prince: SignOthe Times
• Public Enemy: Yo! Bum Rush the Show
• Big Black: Songs About Fucking
• Pet Shop Boys: Actually
• Boogie Down Productions: Criminal Minded
• Eric B. & Rakim: Paid In Full

[I won't hide it or deny it - U2's The Joshua Tree is a great album that should be on here. Yeah, they were the first band I ever saw live in 1988 at the Oakland Coliseum - what of it? And I've seen them 3 more times since...]

• Boogie Down Productions: By All Means Necessary
• Biz Markie: GoinOff
• The Pixies: Surfer Rosa
• The Jesus & Mary Chain: Barbed Wire Kisses
• Various Artists: Acid Trax Vol. Two
• Various Artists: House Hallucinates - Pump Up London Vol. One
• The Jungle Brothers: Straight Out the Jungle [There are quite a bit of Native Tongues albums that make Mulholland's list.]
• Public Enemy: It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
• Pet Shop Boys: Introspective
• Eric B. & Rakim: Follow the Leader
EPMD: Strictly Business
• Happy Mondays: Bummed
• My Bloody Valentine: Isn’t Anything
• Fugazi: Fugazi

• New Order: Technique
• De La Soul: 3 Feet High and Rising
• The Pixies: Doolittle
• N.W.A.: Straight Outta Compton [After selling chocolate candy bars like you wouldn't believe, my 8th grade class raised enough money for a graduation field trip to Manteca Waterslides. Since the teachers were sitting up front, me and this girl that sat on my lap throughout the whole bus trip listened to this tape on a small boombox with the volume on kind of low. Man, I remember her spectacular jheri curl as if it were yesterday. At one point, she asked me if I had a - y'know - marker of arousement. I told her no - and that was the truth - but thanked her for her unintended compliment. Good times.]

• The Fall: Extricate
• The Fall: 458489 A-Sides
• Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet
• Sonic Youth: Goo [Mulholland goes for this often criticized 'commercial' album as opposed to taking the easy route and picking 1988's Daydream Nation. Kudos!]
• Pet Shop Boys: Behaviour
• Morrissey: Bona Drag
• The La’s: The Las
• Happy Mondays: Pills NThrills and Bellyaches
• Madonna: The Immaculate Collection

[No Stone Roses debut but the La’s?]

• Various Artists: Retro Techno/Emotions Electric
• Slint: Spiderland
• R.E.M.: Out of Time
• Massive Attack: Blue Lines
• Son of Bazerk featuring No Self Control the Band: Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk
• A Tribe Called Quest: The Low End Theory

[Thankfully omitted is Nirvana's Nevermind - an album which did NOTHING for me. Curiously missing - especially since Mulholland is a Brit - is My Bloody Valentine's Loveless.]

• Cypress Hill: Cypress Hill
• Madness: Divine Madness
• Body Count: Body Count [Really? This album and band were always more controversy than substance. I even saw them live at One Step Beyond in Santa Clara!]
• Sugar: Copper Blue
• The Jayhawks: Hollywood Town Hall
• R.E.M.: Automatic For the People

[Does anybody else feel that Mulholland is being too generous with R.E.M.? Where's the Pharcyde's Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde?]

• Dr. Dre: The Chronic
• Blur: Modern Life Is Rubbish
• Björk: Debut
• A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders

• Blur: Parklife
• Morrissey: Vauxhall & I
• Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Let Love In
• Nas: Illmatic
• Prodigy: Music For the Jilted Generation
• Oasis: Definitely Maybe
• Jeff Buckley: Grace
• Portishead: Dummy
• Massive Attack: Protection
• TLC: Crazysexycool

• PJ Harvey: To Bring Me Your Love
• Tricky: Maxinquaye
• Radiohead: The Bends
• 2 Pac: Me Against the World
• Björk: Post
• Black Grape: It’s Great When You’re StraightYeah
• Rocket From the Crypt: Scream Dracula, Scream!

• Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Murder Ballads
• The Divine Comedy: Casanova
• Beck: Odelay
• Belle and Sebastian: If You’re Feeling Sinister
• Johnny Cash: Unchained

• Blur: Blur
• Erykah Badu: Baduizm
• Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: The Boatmans Call
• Spiritualized: Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating In Space
• Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott: Supa Dupa Fly
• Cornershop: When I Was Born For the 7th Time
• Bob Dylan: Time Out of Mind
• Portishead: Portishead

• Air: Moon Safari
• Madonna: Ray of Light
• Massive Attack: Mezzanine
• Tricky: Angels With Dirty Faces
• Depeche Mode: The Singles 81-85 & 86-98
• Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill [I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Lauryn Hill is an idiot.]
• The Afghan Whigs: 1965

• Eminem: The Slim Shady LP
• Basement Jaxx: Remedy
• Gang Starr: Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr
• Johnny Dowd: Pictures From Lifes Other Side
• Iggy Pop: Avenue B
• Le Tigre: Le Tigre
• The Make-Up: Save Yourself
• Mos Def: Black On Both Sides
• Q-Tip: Amplified [C'mon - this album sucked!]
• Beastie Boys: The Sounds of Science Box Set

• Kathryn Williams: Little Black Numbers
• Primal Scream: Exterminator
• D’Angelo: Voodoo
• Kelis: Kaleidoscope
• Lambchop: Nixon
• Black Box Recorder: The Facts of Life
• Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP
• ESG: A South Bronx Story
• PJ Harvey: Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea
• Johnny Cash: American III - Solitary Man
• Outkast: Stankonia
• Wu-Tang Clan: The W [Apparently, WTC's 1993 album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) doesn't measure up.]

• Stephen Malkmus: Stephen Malkmus
• The Dirtbombs: Ultraglide In Black
• Air: 10,000hz Legend
• Radiohead: Amnesiac
• System of a Down: Toxicity
• The Strokes: Is This It?

• A Certain Ratio: Early
• Lambchop: Is A Woman
Queens of the Stone Age: Songs For the Deaf
• The Libertines: Up the Bracket
• Pulp: Hits

• The White Stripes: Elephant
• Dizzee Rascal: Boy In Da Corner
• The Fiery Furnaces: Gallowsbird’s Bark
• Outkast: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

Q: Are we not geeks? A: No! We are douches!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I Believe In Me

Yesterday, I got my results for the February 2007 Oregon Bar Exam. I had fortified myself by preparing for inevitable failure. It would have made the prospect of taking this Bar exam again less...hhhmm, surprising? But I passed. I guess now it's really time to begin life in Portland. I didn't really think it would be so anti-climatic. Similarly, like when I became an American citizen last month, this experience - which should be joyous (and I know I'm being a complete asshole in not appreciating what I've got) - is lacking in I don't really know what. But I must take time out to thank everyone who has put up with me for the last several months. I wouldn't have done it without your patience and support.

OK, I am really getting a kick at thinking of triumphant songs to post today. Songs that make you strut. Or pump your fist.

Piero Piccioni: Missione Morte Molo 83 (Alternate Theme)
First up, is the an alternate take of theme from the 60s Italian spy-flick Missione Morte Molo 83 composed by Piero Piccioni. This is a personal strutting fave of mine but I thought it was too short so I extended the tune by repeating one if its sections. Don't worry it's not a monotonous re-edit. Buy the album!

The Avengers: I Believe In Me
Next, we have a song by the Avengers. The Avengers' I Believe In Me can be found on their self-titled album (a.k.a. the "Pink Album"). It's out-of-print but you can buy a CDR of it here - from vocalist Penelope Houston herself (I believe). Well, it's from the site where I got mine...

Gang Starr: Work
This is Work by Gang Starr. This is one of my all time favorite tracks ever in any genre - rap, country, rock, etc. - whatever. I stand by it. I listened to this during the actual Bar exam during every break to "pump" myself up. Every ten minute break, lunch, using the restroom...It was hard not to rap along to this and look like a total loser (or a "nippa" - can I make that word up?). Great battle rhymes: "Yo I scoped it out - I took your weak dream and choked it out. Your bitch don't really got no ass she just poked it out. On the d-low, I'm saying you versus me yo - we can do this shit right here in front of your people." Buy the album!

23 Skidoo: IY
Next up is IY by 23 Skidoo. Since I should be publicly embarassing myself by doing a polyrhythmic dance in celebration of today's events, this tune is the perfect accompaniment. This is from the currently out-of-print album, Seven Songs. If you can find it - buy the album!

Ultramagnetic MCs: Pluckin' Cards
Here's Pluckin' Cards by the Ultramagnetic MCs. Like most people, I think this is one of the best diss tracks ever. It's a great tune off of the otherwise unremarkable Funk Your Head Up album. Kool Keith goes off on everyone from Kool Moe Dee, LL Cool J, Monie Luv, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Called Quest, etc. This is the type of tune that makes you want to engage in a battle of the 8 Mile variety. Then you realize you can't rap let alone freestyle. Buy the album used for $50 (whoa)!

Brian Eno: Stiff
This is the song Stiff from the aborted My Squelchy Life album by Brian Eno. Some of the scrapped songs from this album can be found on the pricey Eno Box II: Vocals. I used to think the chorus went "I want to be deeeaaaaad" but instead it's "I want to be theeeeerre". So it's an uplifting tune rather than a depressing one. Enjoy. Buy the album!

Del the Funky Homosapien: Catch a Bad One
Okay, one more on the hip hop tip. This is one of the very few Del the Funky [now 'tha Funkee'] Homosapien tracks I like (in light of the whole inexplicable early 2000s Gorillaz phenomenon) from the No Need For Alarm album. In 1993, I purchased this album album along with the Souls of Mischief '93 to Infinity. While the latter is now a classic, the former has always been missing something more exciting in terms of subject matter. But it's still much better than the wack Street Knowledge affiliated I Wish My Brother George Was Here. Buy the album!

John Cale: Big White Cloud
Finally, we have John Cale's Big White Cloud. This is from his overlooked Vintage Violence album (the one with the vaguely Georges Franju Eyes Without a Face like cover art). There was an article in MOJO in February 2007 giving readers an overview of "must have" Cale albums. This wasn't one of them. What a crime. If this was a new album, MOJO would likely give it 4 stars even while dissing it - because MOJO can't write a bad review to save their lives. This song makes me feel life is good and worth living. Buy the album!

C'est si bon?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Aesthetic similarities & the musical theatre

Clean lines drawing attention to the necks of chanteuses in profile? Am I the only one who sees the cover to Feist's new album as an homage to the cover of the mutant disco diva Cristina's classic 80s album?

Ms. Feist and her album, The Reminder, appears to be receiving the overhype treatment. Read about it in the New Yorker, Venus Zine (Sassy - they are soooo not), Bust, etc. Usually I'm very wary of music and artists who get this type of makeover treatment (Feist was Peaches' onstage cohort "Bitch Lap Lap"). I'm sure the blogs are clogged with gushing praise for Feist - blogs usually written by curmudgeon men in their 30s whose hipster glory is fading like denim jackets decorated with band buttons or whose leather jackets are getting stiff and cracked with age and responsibilities. Hey wait a minute...

But I couldn't suppress a silly grin and an awkward foot shuffle while watching the presumptively shot in one-take video for the single, 1 2 3 4 dir. Patrick Daughters. I love any music video with Busby Berkeley-esque kaleidoscopic choregraphy (e.g., Björk's It's Oh So Quiet dir. Spike Jonze & Aphex Twin's Windowlicker dir. Chris Cunningham). And, of course, I'm a sucker for Jazzercise.

And here's a Cristina track on the Sleep It Off album, Cristina as Jenny with Ben Brierley as Macheath - Mackie Messer ("Mack the Knife") singing Brecht & Weill's Zuhälterballade (Ballad of Immoral Earnings a.k.a. Tango Ballad) from The Threepenny Opera.

To be thorough, the graphic artist behind Cristina's Sleep It Off album cover was Jean-Paul Goude. Goude used the same aesthetic for his [now] ex-wife, Grace Jones' album, Slave to the Rhythm.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Can't Hardly Wait...To Die

The Replacements' Can't Hardly Wait was used as the title song for the late 90s movie of the same name. For some reason, I liked this movie a lot when it came out. I even bought the videotape! But now, I can't figure out what drew me to this movie in the first place. Was it the childish humor? Seth Green playing a "wigga"? Jennifer Love Hewitt's breasts and horse face? It's a mystery why and how I could have been such a big fan. At that time, I was in my early 20s, and the idealized memories and experiences of my high school years had long been replaced by the phantasmagoria of excessive binge drinking and meaningless 'adult' relationships - I was no longer a member of the target teenage audience this movie was presumably trying to attract. But yet I watched this movie 3 times in the theaters (40 oz. in hand)! However, I can vividly recall that upon watching a trailer for this movie, I told my girlfriend at the time that any movie with the title Can't Hardly Wait must have that 'Mats (i.e., the Replacements) song in it, and therefore I - as a nerdy 'Mats fan - was required to watch the movie on this basis alone.

It's always struck me as a little disturbing that the writers/producers/decisionmakers/etc. of this movie decided to name it after this particular 'Mats song. The movie is a 'humorous' and 'light-hearted' take on the average teenagers' awkward transition from the high school social scene (with its mandatory unknown/unrequited crushes) to the heady profundity and exuberance of young adult life. But the 'Mats song is about suicide and not being able to follow through. Pretty much the narrator in the song is saying s/he can't hardly wait to die. And specifically - it's about death by hurling oneself off a scummy water tower (the 'Mats are from the Midwest in case you didn't know). This is not just my interpretation of the lyrics, it's what singer/guitarist Paul Westerberg had intended to convey. I get this information from an interview conducted with him from some fansite I can't remember. Trust me. Or Wikipedia it up for all I care. I'll make a Wikipedia entry on it right now to substantiate my own claim. Anyway, either the Can't Hardly Wait movie crew had no knowledge of the song's theme; or knew of it and intended the movie's title to be ironic; or they just didn't care.

The following is a cursory look at the evolution of the 'Mats' song, Can't Hardly Wait.

Can't Hardly Wait (Live: Nov. 11, 1984): bootleg recording of the original 'Mats lineup confiscated from an unknown fan at the Bowery in Oklahmoma City, OK. Shortly afterward, this bootleg was released as The Shit Hits the Fans in cassette form only by the 'Mats label, Twin/Tone (with cover and insert artwork by drummer Chris Mars). During this period, the song - although yet to be recorded in a studio - was a regular song in the 'Mats set list. At some point in 2004, The Shit Hits the Fans bootleg was re-released on vinyl for a limited time by some record company whose name I can't think of. I didn't buy it because I had already bought it as a CD rip at a record swap some years ago. And a bootleg is a bootleg is a bootleg. NOTE: guitarist Bob Stinson's drunken half-assed guitar solo is awesome. Read all the unsubstantiated facts regarding this recording on Wikipedia!

Can't Hardly Wait (The scrapped version from the 1985 Tim album): officially released in the "best of" CD All For Nothing/Nothing For All. This is the only studio recording of Can't Hardly Wait with Bob still on guitar. Great lyrics here that I've always interpreted to have one of two possible meanings - either that Heaven is so incredibly boring you've got to get out of there or that the only way into Heaven is by means of subterfuge - because Paul's Catholic school education won't let him believe a suicide victim gets into Heaven [?] ("I'll be sad in Heaven if I don't find a hole in the gate"). Buy the album!

Can't Hardly Wait (The "airshaft" version from the lost Alex Chilton Pleased to Meet Me produced sessions in 1987): recorded in an elevator shaft at Blackberry Way Studios in Minneapolis - after Paul had already given Bob the boot. As the infamous 'Mats mythology alleges, the original Chilton-produced masters were tossed into the Mississippi River by the band. Chilton's efforts were not lost - the 'Mats recorded the song Alex Chilton in tribute to him (and their love of Big Star) for Pleased to Meet Me. Despite its muddled bootleg quality, this is without question my favorite version - the theme of suicide creeps back in a subtle and menacing way. In this rendition, the aforementioned scrapped Tim version lyrics are changed to: "I'll be there in an hour if there's a hole in the gate - climb to the top of this crummy water tower screaming 'I can't hardly wait'". The suicide water tower motif persists throughout all the versions of Can't Hardly Wait until Pleased to Meet Me.

Can't Hardly Wait (released version from Pleased to Meet Me): the Memphis horns and strings version produced by Jim Dickinson. Once again, this is a post-Bob recording with Paul doing all of the guitar parts. Supposedly, the band couldn't even stand to be in the studio while these frilly parts were recorded and added into the final mix. This reworked version changes the theme from suicide to being away/returning home (sort of like the 'Mats version of Merle Haggard & the Strangers' highway song White Line Fever). The suicide theme is instead applied to another song on the album, The Ledge, and according to 'Mats legend, someone did unfortunately take that song too seriously and jumped off a building to their death. Buy the album!

And if you're so inclined - buy the Can't Hardly Wait DVD.

It's a dog's life...

My dog, Jin, has now been relocated to Portland. He is adjusting to life with MK and our two other dogs. Of the bunch, he'll always be the 'Coward of the County'. Can't you tell? The underdog...

Giorgio Moroder: Underdog

Buy the album!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A Few Random Tunes

Here they are:

Ananda Shankar - Back Home (1975)
This man was way ahead of his time.

Jesus & Mary Chain - Mushroom (Live 1985)
Cover of the tune from Can's Tago Mago album.

William Bell - Everybody Loves a Winner (1967)
Great soul ballad from the underrated Stax singer/songwriter. He wrote the tune "You Don't Miss Your Water," famously covered by Gram/Byrds.

Dion - Baby Let's Stick Together (1975)
Produced by Phil Spector. Sounds like two crazies going at it with unlimited studio time. One of the craziest productions ever on a pop song.

Curved Air - Melinda (More or Less) (1971)
Nice folk ballad from the proggy folky rock band with vocalist Sonja Kristina.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's Fat Tuesday

Let's go...Night Trippin'!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Always a smile for me

The sun shines in Portland for those who look...

The Poppy Family: Beyond the Clouds

The Meat Puppets: Look At the Rain

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Arch of the Aorta (All mp3 links have been removed)

Lack of love hurts. Songs about this subject seem more satisfying because they allow us to be self-indulgent. We can wallow, be obsessive and exaggerate - the amorphous white lie describing the Other as your mortal enemy makes it easier to believe you're right and beyond reproach. It's one of the best parts of breaking up. Or not being with someone.

(1) Silver Apples - A Pox On You: well you've got to have an ominous beginning for this sort of mix don't you?

(2) PiL - Memories: Johnny Lydon sounds like he's losing his mind. And all he can do is accuse you of being at fault. "This person's had enough of useless memories." Here here Johnny. I've also had enough praise for the Sex Pistols. Gawd they were awful weren't they Johnny? I'm not wrong about this.

(3) The Static Party - Don't Let Me Stop You: also sometimes referred to as 'The Static'. All you need to know is that this is a Glenn Branca band. The whisper on this song reminds of the beginning of the disco theme from the movie Van Nuys Blvd: "Gonna meet you on the boulevard, gonna kiss you on the boulevard, gonna hold you on the boulevard, gonna make you on the boulevard...on Van Nuys!"

(4) The Human League - Marianne: oh so electro-retro cool. Makes you forget that you thought Phil Oakey lost it in that collaboration with Giorgio Moroder for the Electric Dreams movie soundtrack doesn't it? Well that song rules too.

(5) Tuxedomoon - Desire: so maybe this song is more about consumerism - but it is Valentine's Day isn't it? And what else is this day about other than buying into the concept of love?

(6) Ministry - Revenge: yeah, it's Ministry. Yeah, Al Jourgensen loathes this. But you gotta love his fake British accent and the synths. See electro-retro cool. I spin this when I'm DJing anytime I can.

(7) Cristina - Quicksand Lovers: when I hear this song I think (for no reason in particular) that everybody at Ze Records in the 80s were doing coke and having unprotected sex.

(8) Armand Schaubroeck Steals - I Love Me More Than You: Armand Schaubroeck showed up on A&E's City Confidential! Anyway, this is almost a Stooges-like romp. Visit him in N.Y. at House of Guitars. Tell him I thought Ratfucker was a great album.

(9) Crime - Baby You're So Repulsive: man, S.F. is being represented today (see Tuxedomoon above and Flipper below). The title says it all.

(10) T.S.O.L. - Darker My Love: yeah, it's in the movie Suburbia but so what?

(11) Huggy Bear - Shaved Pussy Poetry: number 2 out of 3 riot grrl references today.

(12) The Mekons - Where Were You?: their anthemic hit. Makes you want to go to a pub, get drunk like it's your birthday, complain about your ex or crush and beat some ass. I'll be right by your side telling you that it's alright bro. We'll catch a cab home - don't forget your Abercrombie & Fitch hat bro...

(13) The Chameleons - Love Is: my feelings are rebounding off you!

(14) Adorable - Homeboy: in 1991/1992, I was like, man this new band Radiohead sounds like a bunch of wussies compared to Adorable! Radiohead is going nowhere - it's all about Adorable! I was right! I totally put this on a mixtape for a high school ex. But she only liked NOFX.

(15) The Afghan Whigs - Debonair: wow, another tune from high school (I think). Tell you the truth, I don't know much more about the Whigs than any non-fan. All I know is that this song rocks because when Greg Dulli sings this tune you can tell he means it. This song used to creep me out because I thought there were major undertones of sexual violence in this song. And Dulli always looked like the biggest date rapist in the world - that's why this song was so appropriate for him. Doesn't he look like an even more bloated Baldwin brother? Joaquin Phoenix in three years maybe? Look at him! Greg Dulli will fucking kill you.

(16) The Feelies - Loveless Love: sometime after high school I passed up their Crazy Rhythms record at a music swap in Berkeley for a Plastics record. I didn't have enough money. I should've stole it.

(17) Yo La Tengo - You Can Have It All: this song is very bittersweet for me. Someone very near and dear to me was playing this in their car in an attempt to express what they couldn't say. I was too dense to figure it out. I'm sorry. Basically this song makes me feel like a jerk.

(18) The Remains - You Got a Hard Time Comin': tell your ex/non-existent lover that it's on like Donkey Kong with this song!

(19) The Rolling Stones - Star Star: a.k.a. "Star Fucker". No one can do misogyny better than Mick. I saw Paul Westerberg drop this cover on an unsuspecting audience - it blew everyone away. By the way, a drunken Paul threw a tomato at me from the stage. We met later and made up. It was one of the most thrilling moments in my life.

(20) Ike & Tina Turner - The Game of Love: this song has always been one of my favorites. Tina's on fire and flying the flag of feminism. Let's not get into any Ike and Tina jokes.

(21) Bobby Bland - That's the Way Love Is: one of the smoothest men ever tellin' you how it is.

(22) Charlie Rich - Don't Tear Me Down: throw some talculm on the floor and strut to this stomper. A Northern Soul fave from a country artist? You better believe it. And if you've haven't heard his big hit "The Most Beautiful Girl In the World" you're missing out.

(23) Nikki Sudden - Heart of Hearts: the scarves are flying around for this one! For "all those Valentine's kisses that don't run true".

(24) The Comsat Angels - Baby: the CSA are best known for their hit song on the Real Genius soundtrack, but their first album is one you should pick up if you find it in a store (I know I sound dorky).

(25) Simply Saucer - Bullet Proof Nothing: ever asked to be abused? This song is the expression of your kinky fetish.

(26) Roky Erickson - You Don't Love Me Yet: a classic. Also adeptly covered by Bongwater. Ann Magnuson refused to sign my Bongwater 7" of their Erickson cover when I sought her out at a special screening of the Klaus Nomi documentary. So I told her "Kramer was always the talented one - you turd. See you in another crappy sitcom with Richard Lewis". Just kidding. I really liked Anything But Love - it also starred Jamie Lee Curtis. Anyway, the point is: Magnuson wouldn't sign my record. Then I saw Fiona Apple smoking a cigarette. Now I don't really care for her music but when I saw her in person my jaw dropped from how attractive she is...

(27) Soft Cell - Say Hello, Wave Goodbye: so much drama packed into one song! It's like a play but Marc Almond would rather describe it as Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret. One of the greatest break up songs ever. I can't recommend this song enough. Would be a perfect bookend for the ubiquitous Human League hit "Don't You Want Me".

(28) Blonde Redhead (ft. David Sylvain) - Messenger: c'mon Sylvain doing the vocals for an already awesome song? Too much. The baritone is too smooth on this track! "Don't run - just walk and walk and walk..."

(29) Mia Doi Todd - Autumn: I've been really digging on this tune lately. Call me a sap. I don't care. These would be great closing credits. I can see it now: Grey's Anatomy the Movie. Everyone dies - the Asian woman whose face looks like its been paralyzed from a stroke, the ugly female lead, the homophobe, the actor I guess who's gay, Mr. Can't Buy Me Love, fucking everybody. Then this song comes on. I clap loudly.

(30) Red House Painters - New Jersey: what - you think this mix wouldn't include these guys? Man, this song is lethargic.

(31) Lee Hazlewood - I'm Glad I Never...: you ever shoot the one you love? Yeah, me neither - but I almost did. This song is the shortest one here - it's only 59 seconds long!

(32) The Byrds - Set You Free This Time: Gene Clark wants you to bounce. And while Roger McGuinn is busy being a total hippy turd, David Crosby is moving in so he can eat you. This song is a good bookend for the Band's "Unfaithful Servant". Why isn't it on this compilation? Beats me. But do you see how many other songs I put up? It's not a comprehensive mix dude.

(33) Dennis Wilson - Thoughts of You: my gawd this song always gets me. Watch the old Beach Boys biopic - it depicts a drunken Dennis Wilson jumping into the ocean and killing himself while some idiot looks on in Santa Monica.

(34) The Boys - You Can't Hurt a Memory: to hell with the Boys you say? To hell with you. Goes well with Johnny Thunders' "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory". You can look down the list to see if it's here but I'm going tell you right now that it's not. Some other time.

(36) Flipper - (I Saw You) Shine: this is 8:30 minutes of sludge and near suicidal pain. A triumph of a song about desperation. "Face me now - face me now! Show me all your tears..."

(37) Don Covay - I Was Checkin' Out, She Was Checkin' In: when your significant other and you are both using the same motel to cheat on each other - you've got heartbreak in a small town. Dig the background vocalist - he's going off doing a wacked out call and response routine! My favorite barely audible line of his is "She was smilin' - she never smiles..." (at the fadeout). She just finished getting it on with her secret lover. Wow. Burned. This is kind of like R. Kelly's "The Closet" without the convoluted plot and the cornrows.

(38) Thin Lizzy - Still In Love With You: this is one of those tunes you try to save for last or close to last. It's a scorcher. I'm listening to it right now. The guitar on this song has got great tone. Oh my gawd, the guitar is awesome on this...

(39) The Cyrkle - Two Rooms: are you out there Wes Anderson? This is a song that you could put in any one of your movies. Bill Murray needs a new gig. Because a wooden Bill Murray is only good in your movies. Respect is due to J Dilla who creatively sampled the Cyrkle's "The Visitation". R.I.P.

(40) The Kinks - So Long: same goes for this one Wes. Let's hold off giving the Wilsons some roles. Everyone agrees that we need a break from them.

(41) Bikini Kill - Outta Me: this is another great breakup song!

(42) Daniel Johnston - Some Things Last a Long Time: I have a Laurie too Daniel. I'm not as crazy as you though. This is a sad sad but uplifting song. I wonder if I'm somebody's Laurie? Man, that would not be cool. Baby, I ain't worth it - you can find someone better. It's me...

*Bonus track:
Three Times Dope - Funky Dividends: back in the day - when this song was everywhere (in the Bay Area anytime on FM 97.7, 106.1 and 107.7) - I used to say "They call me [insert my name here] the overlord of fresh". And I am. I'm also the Acknickulous one (that's another 3TD reference). This song is from the long overlooked Original Stylin' album - Philly ain't strictly just about Schoolly D and Schoolly D ain't just the guy rapping the Aqua Teen Hunger Force theme song. 3TD's producer was Chuck Nice from Philly. On VH1's Best Week Ever is a comedian also named Chuck Nice who is a former radio DJ who had a show in Philly. Not the same guy - don't be confused. The beat here is a classic pairing of Delegation's "Oh Honey" vibes and the drums from Melvin Bliss' "Synthetic Substitution". Favorite line from "Funky Dividends": "[T]he new wave 80s has everything reversible".

I hope you're all crying over this. Or beating somebody up.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What day is tomorrow? (All mp3 links have been removed)

I feel compelled to contribute a collection of songs that on any other day would not be nauseating. Of course I will add my superfluous commentary. I'll try to upload (by tomorrow) a mix of bitter songs that best celebrate the imaginary holiday that is Valentine's Day.

The following songs are in the order I would want them to be heard...Of course, you can just pick and choose what you want and listen to them in any order. Clicking on a link will let you listen to the song and/or download it if it sounds good to you.

(1) Small Factory - "Valentine": this song was covered by Lois Maffeo a long time ago (if anyone still remembers her). I liked Small Factory. They're very much 90s indie rock.

(2) The Suburbs - "Love Is the Law": covered by the PeeChees (yeah I used to like them). I found this record in the very cluttered upstairs of Record Surplus in Los Angeles. Nothing says love like sax in an 80s song.

(3) Orange Juice - "I Can't Help Myself": get off the "Rip It Up" bandwagon and dig this nugget. Edwyn Collins is getting as soulful as he can here. You can't fault a song with sax and a line that goes "Just like the Four Tops - I can't help myself!" This song makes me feel, like, retarded in love.

(4)The Vibrations - "Love In Them There Hills": from my vinyl of the Mr. Cee curated "Lost Soul". Mr. Cee was Big Daddy Kane's producer (I think - I remember in "Ain't No Half Steppin'" Big Daddy Kane said "Mr. Cee step to me..."). Anyway, this was the Vibrations biggest hit. It's more funky than soulful. Bongos and horns - a winning combination.

(5) ESG - "You Make No Sense": ESG doing what they do best - repetitively playing a tune made for break beat junkies. I go back and forth with ESG. Sometimes I can't get enough of these ladies - other times, I think you hear one of their songs - you've heard them all. Except for "UFO" which just seems like an anomaly in their catalogue.

(6) Queen - "Need Your Loving Tonight": this song just rocks. I remember seeing Carrie Brownstein DJing a couple of years ago and she dropped this tune. I had to give her props. All the hipsters were lost since this was before the whole "cheesey rock is cool" revival.

(7) The Raspberries - "I Wanna Be With You": oh yeah. Eric Carmen at his best. The title says it all. The hair on the back of my neck stands up when this song comes on. Makes me want to crack open a bottle of Boone's Strawberry Hill and get down with you.

(8) Kicking Giant - "Fuck the Rules": and do it nasty. Just kidding. Anyway, this is a very personal tune for me. You know how some songs are always about the particular person you first heard it with? This is one of them. Talked to Tae a couple of years and he said he was moving back to N.Y. to do graphic design work. Hope it all worked out for him but I sure do miss Kicking Giant. Kicking Giant's one true album as 'Kicking Giant' on K Records is still in my list of top ten records of all time. [02/15: Replaced WMA file - now a MP3 file.]

(9) Gun Club - "She's Like Heroin to Me": you know you're really in love when this is the hyperbole you choose to express your undying devotion. This is a must for a wedding song.

(10) My Bloody Valentine - "Love Machine": sorry for the bad audio quality of this one. Couldn't really find any better. If this was rereleased this wouldn't be a problem. This MBV is definitely not the MBV that Sofia Coppola (the idiot who makes stupid derivative insipid movies) loves.

(11) Nu Forest (The Pastels & Jarvis Cocker) - "I Picked a Flower": have you ever found a rose in another man's garden? Well, Jarvis has. I remember when I first heard this collaboration I nearly fell out of my chair. Neither the Pastels nor Jarvis could go wrong in my book. It's techno funky and tongue in cheek.

(12) Japan - "Fall In Love With Me": David Sylvain's still using a glam rockish inflection in his baritone in this one. This is a great cruising song for me for some reason.

(13) Spacemen 3 - "I Love You": could I have picked a less obvious one? Sure, but Kember's songs have always been more interesting to me than Mr. Spiritualized's. Kember's stuff on the Recurring album was definitely more satisfying than Pierce's.

(14) Suicide - "Cheree (Remix)": always a great hypnotic love song. I put this one up only because I put "Keep Your Dreams" on every mix tape/CD I make for people.

(15) David Bowie - "What In the World": I've been really getting back into the "Low" album. The other song on this album that may have been appropriate for Valentines was "Be My Wife" - but that song sucks. Yet again, Bowie sings about a girl with grey eyes in this tune. I think her name is Trent Reznor. By the way, I only obsess over girls with green eyes like that crazy guy in Big Trouble In Little China.

(16) Klaus Nomi - "Just One Look": gawd damn, this song just makes me smile. Not as challenging like other Nomi tunes, this song is obviously a cover of the Doris Troy/Hollies hit.

(17) Jellyfish - "Baby's Coming Back": OK this was a big pre-grunge hit in high school. I went out and bought this tape and hid it in my collection from all my punk rawk friends. I listened to this album on the way to the school bus stop. And when I got on the bus, you know I was rocking Econochrist, Avail or something. Because that was the cool thing to do. I was a total douche.

(18) Beulah - "If We Could Land a Man On the Moon, Surely I Can Win Your Heart": this song is more about writing a pop tune rather than love for a significant other. But you gotta admit it's a great title. I slept on Beulah for a long time believing they were too syrupy for me. Y'know too kitschy - wearing their Beatles/Beach Boys influences on their sleeves (see also: Jellyfish). But see douche comment above.

(19) The Beach Boys - "I Can Hear Music": three reasons why this song rules (1) great Ronettes cover, (2) Brian Wilson production is spot on and (3) no lead vocal from Mike "I look like the biggest asshole in the world" Love.

(20) Nu People - "I'd Be Nowhere Without You": thank you DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist for spreading this tune around. Aside from being a break beat gold mine, it's a great tune when listened to in its entirety. [02/15: Replaced WMA file - now a MP3 file.]

(21) Electric Light Orchestra - "The Lights Go Down": this song always reminds of that song from the movie Streets of Fire - 'I can dream about you - I can dream about you if I can't have you tonight...' Jeff Lynne's vocals sound sort of like the guy who sang that song.

(22) Bob Dylan - "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window (Glockenspiel Version)": this is the accidentally released single version (pre-Highway 61 Revisited) NOT the rerecorded alternate final version on the Biograph collection. Whomever this song is about, it ain't about that tool Joan Baez.

(23) The Gaylettes - "Silent River Runs Deep": I am of the firm opinion that people whom haven't had the chance to ever listen to the Gaylettes are depriving themselves of a uniquely soulful event. Seriously.

(24) Arthur Russell - "A Little Lost": soon this song will be 'rediscovered' by whoever the people are who put together the music for The OC or Grey's Anatomy. This is Arthur at his Kermit the Frog-like tenor best. No hip remixes - no unimaginative new disco beat added to it. We get to really hear Arthur's passion and unique cello playing. Stunning. I cried the first time I heard this song. Such longing...

(25) Kaleidoscope (UK) - "Dear Nellie Goodrich": psychedelic and baroque. Insert Zombies/Left Banke/David Axelrod producing the Electric Prunes/etc. reference here. It's such a soothing song.

(26) The Wailers - "It's You Alone": one of the Pacific Northwest's garage rock bands doing a BALLAD! Sure, the Wailers rock - and all of us native San Josers have got to give them props for their song "San Hozay" - but this is a great slow jam. It's got drama and a quivering vocal that seems like it's about to crack from all the white boy soul being belted out. [02/15: Replaced WMA file - now a MP3 file.]

(27) Comet Gain - "Turnpike": another one of my favorites from the 90s. "You've got those French film eyes" is some kind of cheese that I wish I wrote.

(28) Francoise Hardy - "This Little Heart": the English version of "Ce Petit Coeur". One of my mom's favorite songs as a teenager. Anything 'girl' (i.e., girl groups, yeh-yeh girls) I've ever liked in my life is a direct result of my mom's teenage musical obsession with girl vocalists of the 60s. Like I've mentioned many times before to anyone who would listen, I would sing Skeeter Davis' "I Can't Stay Mad At You" with her when I was a little kid. One of the best things I've ever had the opportunity to do in my life was to make her a mixtape/CD of all the girl musicians she used to listen to as a kid. [02/15: Replaced WMA file - now a MP3 file.]

(29) Eddie Floyd - "I'll Take Her": Stax is on fire! Whatever happened to Eddie after The Blues Brothers? [02/15: Replaced WMA file - now a MP3 file.]

(30) Alton Ellis - "Baby I Love You": the king of rocksteady! Enough said.

(31) Daniel Johnston - "Tell Me Now": crazy love - this is it right here. Run for your life Laurie. Daniel's songs are always perfect for a guitar and a campfire.

(32) The Saturns - "Somebody's In Love": I think this Sun Ra produced doo-wop number was covered by Yo La Tengo. It would make sense since they've got a knack for picking great covers.

(33) Lou Reed - "Wait": Lou does a song about the pleasures of abstinence - stop the presses! How unrock and roll is that? One of the very few live recordings I like.

(34) The Ramones - "Baby I Love You": another Ronettes cover in this selection. And it's even got that bushy haired killer Phil Spector producing too! This may be blasphemy but this version is even better than the original. My mom gives this cover a thumbs up!

(35) Cub - "Through My Hoop": yeah it's Cub - so what? Too twee? Cuddlecore? This another song with special significance for me. And the line in the song that sounds like "An uncertain something has begun..." was the inspiration for the name of my radio show long ago.

(36) The Velvet Underground - "I Found a Reason": just a beautiful song. Dedicated to M.K.

*Bonus track
Apache - "Gangsta Bitch": cause I'm from San Jose, I've always had a thing for the hairbears and vatas. But those ladies don't roll like the ones in N.Y. - y'know with "Carhartt and leather (motherfuck the weather)". "I wanna gangsta boogie with my gangsta bitch". True.

I hope you all make love to this.