Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Mathematical Mind (Day 37)

The National - "Mr. November" (live)
Sufjan Stevens - "Kaskaskia River"
Cannonball Adderly - "One For Daddy-O"
Sufjan Stevens - "Kaskaskia River"
Cannonball Adderly - "One For Daddy-O"
Nope, there's nothing wrong with your monitor. I did just list the same 2 songs twice. Apparently I leaned on my iPod this morning and skipped backwards 2 tracks. As a result I repeated both the Sufjan and Cannonball tunes. And evidently I was a little too wrapped up in reading about the Mets 5-4 win in extra innings (great for the team very gritty victory, bad for my fantasy team which was denied the win from Johan Santana!), that I didn't even notice until I was about 2 minutes into the second playing of "One For Daddy-O." I then thought, Gee, I'm hearing 2 very similar jazz tunes this morning. A quick glance at the iPod revealed they're so similar, they're identical. Oops. Nice song in any case. (The short instrumental Sufjan outtake from The Avalanche barely registered both times.)
Elliott Smith - "Waltz #2 (XO)"
Spoon - "My Mathematical Mind"
Silkworm - "Bourbon Beard"
Well, since today's playlist already has a drunk feel thanks to the repeated songs, why not continue the theme. First off all, Silkworm is great. They are the early 90s Seattle band that somehow managed not to get famous - - which is generally good for fans (I think) and bad for band income. They oscillated from propulsive to reflective and created some great rock records. (See Firewater.) I didn't realize until recently that they disbanded when drummer Michael Dalquist was tragically killed in a car crash. AJS turned me on to the new project of original Silkworm-ers Tim Midgett and Andy Cohen called Bottomless Pit. It's good stuff - - sounds a lot like Silkworm, in fact. But back to "Bourbon Beard." It's a weird and laid back drinking song from the 2002 release Italian Platinum. Love the lyrics, like, “I don’t even like the taste of my bourbon beard / But I’d rather feel sleazy than desperate and crazed." I'm a recent bourbon convert myself. I like whiskey in general, but recently it's all about the bourbon. (The difference? I can probably dedicate an entire blog to it, but the basics are that bourbon is American whiskey that is made mostly from corn.) And all this brings me to the thrust of this aside. It's time for the first ever What I Listened To On My Way To Work Today product recommendation.

It's Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon Whiskey.
It's slightly sweet, a little bit smoky and very smooth. And only about $25 a bottle! If you like the brown liquors give it a shot, you won't be disappointed. (And if you too, Mr. Liquor Distributor, would like to see your firewater featured on this blog, send it over!)

Broken Social Scene - "Backyards"
Kings of Convenience - "Leaning Against The Wall"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 8* (*10 total songs, but seven different ones)
Total minutes of music (approx.): 48
Song with the most previous plays: "My Mathematical Mind" - 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I like me a sandwich, and today's NYT feature on the beloved meal consisting of something delicious slipped between 2 pieces of bread had me salivating at 9:30am.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Red Staggerwing (Day 36)

Alejandro Escovedo - "The Boxing Mirror"
Serge Gainsbourg - "L'Ami Caouette"
Stephen Malkmus - "Black Magic"
Meat Puppets - "Magic Toy Missing"
A side note here, but not so much about the Meat Puppets (although they are unique purveyors of what, I think, is best described as hillbilly punk). Rather, this reminds me of a gross/funny thing that happened recently. My two-and-a-half-year-old is coming off a nasty cold and on Friday she was battling a fever and really not her self. She was extremely tired and grumpy and as I was putting her to bed, she made a request for some milk in "Elmo cup." Although not a toy per say, "Elmo cup" seems to posses some magic and is definitely her go-to cup. Unfortunately, said cup was in the dishwasher, so I offered to get her another cup. Bad idea. A tantrum the likes of which I have never seen ensued.
She was crying so hard she couldn't speak, and, it seemed, could barely breathe. In an effort to calm her down, I picked her up and held her in my arms. The crying quickly became coughing. The coughing then became retching. The retching became, you guessed it, vomit. Next time I will not hesitate to interrupt the dishwasher's drying cycle. (Apologies if you happen to be eating your lunch.)
Fruit Bats - "When You Love Somebody"
This song was a nice surprise on today's playlist. Admittedly I'm not very familiar with the Fruit Bats other than that they are a rare acoustic band that is (was?) signed to SubPop records. This song has a sunny melody, but the lyrics capture a slightly darker side of amore: "When U love somebody and bite your tongue all you get is a mouthful of blood." I headed over to Senor Wiki for some more info and learned something very interesting. The man behind Fruit Bats, Eric Johnson, has gone and joined The Shins. I think that sounds like a pretty good career move for him.

The Beatles - "Drive My Car"
Ida - "Past The Past"
Interpol - "NYC"
Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - "Red Starggerwing"
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - "Warm-up"
Stephen Malkmus - "Mama"
Television - "Carried Away"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 12
Total minutes of music (approx.): 42
Song with the most previous plays: "Red Staggerwing" - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I read the following line in today's New York Times story about the newest reality show/trainwreck/guilty pleasure, The Farmer Takes A Wife. (The statement refers to the women who appear on the show, on which suitors vie for the affections of a handsome young farmer.) "...[M]ost profess to be more interested in finding a soul mate than in being on television - - which why, of course, they signed up for a reality dating program." Rimshot! That, my friends, is humor - - New York Times style.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Nothing Was Delivered (Day 35)

Damien Rice - "9 Lives"
Nirvana - "Help Me I'm Hungry"
Nick Love - "Long Limbed Girl"
M Ward - "Regeneration No. 1"
Red House Painters - "Another Song For A Blue Guitar"
The Good, The Bad And The Queen - "The Good, The Bad And The Queen"
Teenage Fanclub - "Fear Of Flying"
We interrupt this program for a little musical ass kissing. Lately it seems all I want to write about his how much I love this band or that musician. Unfortunately I can't buck that treacly trend this AM because, well, I love Teenage Fanclub. I'm not just talking about the indie masterpiece Bandwagonesque that got their own bandwagon rolling. (I think Spin, when Spin was cool, picked it as the best album of 1991 over Nevermind, and I was both surprised and impressed.) But I enjoy everything - - and I mean everything - - this Scottish group did before and since their breakthrough. When others seemed to lose interest, I thought they only got better. Who else will stand up now with me and say, "Songs From Northern Britain is a gorgeous masterpiece"? What? None of you. Come on! The soaring harmonies. The jangly guitars. Go back. Listen to it. The we'll talk. Meanwhile, this song appeared on the follow-up to Bandwagonesque which was a decidedly grungier and more guitar-driven affair (which I loved, naturally).
Bob Dylan & The Band - "Nothing Was Delivered"
Gut Feeling - "Devo"
Neil Young - "Heart Of Gold" (live)
Modest Mouse - "Sleep Walkin'"
This is one of those songs that I made a mental note to research when I got into the office. I like Modest Mouse, but I'm not an uber-completist. So this track was actually unfamiliar and struck me because it's not your average MM fare. Isaac Brock's voice is still unmistakable. but he was joined by a female vocalist in a country-tinged 50s sounding duet that appears on the singles and B-sides collection, Building Nothing Out of Something. Had to go to the Intrawebs to find out that the female voice belongs to Nicole Johnson - - and no further information about her could be found. BUT, I did learn that the melody of this song was taken from an actual 50s tune called "Sleep Walk" by Santo & Johnny. Who are they you ask? Two brothers from Brooklyn (yeeah, boyyy!), who scored a number one hit in 1959. Best part of their story is that their dad was away in the army when he heard some steel guitar on the radio. He wrote home to his wife, "I'd like the boys to learn to play this instrument." Good thing he wasn't listening to glockenspiel music!
John Doe - "Worried Brow"
Her Space Holiday - "Something To Do With My Hands"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 13
Total minutes of music (approx.): 50
Song with the most previous plays: "Nothing Was Delivered," "Something To Do With My Hands" - 5
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I saw this sign on the subway.

Can you make out what this says? The MTA does not want you to lean on the subway car doors, imploring you to instead "Lean on your best friend for the $50 he owes you." This is New York City, so you have to assume that the MTA is condoning breaking your friend's leg or cutting off his middle finger. Seems like a strange message to send, no?

Friday, April 25, 2008

What Sarah Said (Day 34)

James - "Tomorrow"
The Jayhawks - "Eyes Of SarahJane"
Ahh - - warm summer-like breezes and the sweet harmonies of Gary Louris and Mark Olson. You can't beat it. Yes, I know Mark Olson was long gone when The Jayhawks released their final LP, Rainy Day Music, but original members Marc Perlman and Tim O'Reagan were still around to sing with him. In any case, I've been a huge fan of this band since 1992's Hollywood Town Hall, which - - I'm just going to say it - - is an all-time great album. From the opening riff of "Waiting For The Sun" and all the way through to the closing solo on "Martin's Song" it's pretty much perfection. Roots rock, alt-country, Americana, whatever you want to call it, The Jayhawks channel The Byrds, Gram Parsons, Neil Young (and, later, Big Star) into a wholly cohesive sound. Lovely. Nothing can touch Hollywood Town Hall, but all of their albums have highlights and I do like this uptempo tune from the mostly panned Rainy Day Music. Unfortunately Louris' recent solo album, Vagabonds, doesn't have any of the old magic. But it may be a "grower," I'm not ready to write it off yet.
Elliott Smith - "Memory Lane"
My Morning Jacket - "The Way That He Sings" (live)
Tokyo Police Club - "The Nature Of The Experiment"
Whiskeytown - "Reasons To Lie"
The New Pornographers - "The Fake Headlines"
Thelonious Monk - "Off Minor (Take 4)"
The Thorns - "Now I Know"
I've mentioned this before on this blog, but it's worth repeating so as not to completely embarrass myself. There exists a phenomenon I like to call "iPod inertia." It works like this: songs can easily make it onto my iPod, but they rarely make it off - - even if they deserve to be royally kicked off the proverbial island. I can't think of a better example than The Thorns. Described in some circles as a "super-group," the only thing super about this record is how super-cheesy it sounds. The Thorns are Matthew Sweet, Pete Droge and Shawn Mullins; and to be honest, I'm only really familiar with Sweet's music. I like his power pop (especially the 1991 album that put him on the map, Girlfriend; although I don't think I've listened to it in about 10 years). And based on what I'd heard/read (CSN/Beach Boys-like harmonies, rootsy, etc) this found its way onto the iPod. Oops. It's completely over-produced and soul-less - - like the worst kind of 70s folk pop. Why don't I just delete it already? Apparently I need therapy.
Aimee Mann - "Longshot"
The Elected - "The Miles 'Til Home"
Death Cab For Cutie - "What Sarah Said"
UPDATE: I didn't even notice the weird double "Sarah" allusion when I first posted. How about them apples?
Cansei De Ser Sexy - "Off The Hook"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 13
Total minutes of music (approx.): 45
Song with the most previous plays: "What Sarah Said" - 9

Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: It was tough to get out of the house this morning. My daughter had a 102.5 degree fever last night and she woke up so grumpy even unlimited viewings of this insipid cartoon she loves called Caillou couldn't cheer her up. Any other parents out there ever see this show? Torture.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pangea (Day 33)

Son Volt - "Medicine Hat" (live)
Eleventh Dream Day - "Bearish On High"
Rhett Miller - "Question"
Les Savy Fav - "Reformat"
Bright Eyes - "Smoke Without Fire"
First of all, I think today's set of randomly shuffled music was pretty great. Eclectic, yet had nice flow; and although there were no "hits," there were a lot of very solid songs. Among them this quiet, folksy song from Bright Eyes (which incidentally includes guest vocals from M Ward, who is also on today's playlist). It so happens my friend Paul, sent me this blog post the other day: The Ten Most Annoying Singers. On the list is (wait for it)... Conor Oberst, aka Bright Eyes. Ridiculous. Celine Dion, Scott Stapp, Michael Bolton - - fine, but Oberst? He does own a sort of sensitive guy whine, but it doesn't sound like "he's swimming back to the womb for protection from this hard, harsh world" as the blogger writes. I have other issues with Conor, just not his singing. Namely how inconsistent his music is. I thought (still think) his breakthrough album I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning was pretty great. Whereas the simultaneously released Digital Ash In A Digital Urn was a travesty. The latter was his electronic album, and it showed why Conor should really stick to the roots rock sound. (Incidentally, my wife got into I'm Wide Awake and actually went to see him in concert - - without me. The result? A set almost exclusively of songs of Digital Ash, with not a single song she recognized, that was also extremely loud and, she thought, damaged the hearing of our then unborn child.) But even when he's doing what I think he does best, it is still not always a success. The follow-up to I'm Wide Awake, Cassadaga, was also rootsy, but not nearly as good. And if you go back and listen to some of his older records they are extremely uneven. So I think he has talent (and, yes, a decent voice), but he's clearly not a young prodigy who will be the savior of music, as many headlines suggested just a few years ago.
Thelonious Monk - "Misterioso"
Johnny Cash - "Breaking Bread"
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - "Pangea"
Is there a better name for a band? And SSLYBY is no novelty act, they are a solid indie pop group. So where did the name come from? When he was 17 years old, drummer Philip Dickey coined the name because, as he says, "there were 2 girls who would watch us practice and I wanted to make them laugh." Nice.

The Walkmen - "All My Life"
M Ward - "From A Pirate Radio Sermon, 1989"
Just a good excuse to post this (with Yo La Tengo, awesome):

The Beatles - "What Goes On"
Death Cab For Cutie - "Tiny Vessels"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 12
Total minutes of music (approx.): 47
Song with the most previous plays: "Pangea" - 6

Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Sun shining = good. People warmed by sun and packed into subway cars = bad.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Flint (For The Unemployed and Underpaid) (Day 32)

Sufjan Stevens - "The Devil's Territory"
Coleman Hawkins - "In A Mellow Tone"
The Mountain Goats - "Moon Over Goldsboro"
Kinds of Convenience - "The Girl From Back Then"
Los Lobos - "Little Things"
Pavement - "So Stark (You're A Skyscraper)"
I (heart) Pavement. It's not an unusual or original statement. But I suddenly feel like I've jilted my longtime loves. Hearing this song - - a somber thing of beauty - - and not being able to recite release date, album, lyrics etc, made me sad. Circa Slanted and Enchanted's release in 1992, I would have renounced all worldly possessions to be able to listen to that record 24/7. (Quick aside, I think I bought it after being clued into the buzz that in those days was generated by record stores clerks and a few 'zines - - but I can't remember the details. I will say this, I hadn't actually heard their music when I bought the CD. And here's a full disclosure that I've never told another living soul: The album cover almost scared me off. Not the DIY scrawl or blood-red color - - the floating piano keys. I worried that somehow the piano was going to be central to their sound. Phew.) Anyway, fast-forward through the years and Pavement, in my opinion, continued to make good on their promise (unbeknownst to them) to be one of my all-time favorite bands. But by the time the recent reissues had come out, I'd lost the time/verve/ability to be able to cite every song and every album. 'Tis a pity. Hearing "So Stark (You're A Skyscraper)" today, (a B-side to the "Trigger Cut" single, btw, re-released on the Slanted and Enchanted [Luxe and Reduxe edition]), has made me realize there are now Pavement songs that are new (to me). That's a pretty exciting notion. I don't have six stoned hours in my dorm room to spend pouring over every one, but I do have my commute home...
The Wrens - "Strengthless/Decided Girl"
Sufjan Stevens - "Flint (For The Unemployed And Underpaid)"
Wilco - "I Must Be High"
The Rolling Stones - "Rocks Off"
Right before this classic rocker started playing, I spied a guy on the subway wearing a Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah concert t-shirt. It's been a while since I picked up a concert tee, after years of basically wearing nothing else. (The last one, I think, was a Yo La Tengo shirt bought in 1997.) But seeing the CYHASY shirt reminded me that I basically used to buy one at almost every concert I went to, som
etimes with utter disregard for style. For example, after seeing The Stones at Shea Stadium on the 1989 Steel Wheels Tour, I bought this:

But it was actually even lamer, because it was the same boring pattern (the Steel Wheels album cover I think), only on a white T-shirt. Ugly. But then again, who am I to judge, I also owned this:

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 10
Total minutes of music (approx.): 43
Song with the most previous plays: "Flint (For The Unemployed And Underpaid)" - 8

Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I wanted to take a picture of the Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah t-shirt guy, but he was totally on to me and I wound up with nothing more than a shot of his sneakers, which were also kinda cool.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tin Tin Deo (Day 31)

Art Pepper - "Tin Tin Deo"
Apologies to my rock 'n roll loving friends: The iPod has apparently fallen hard for lady jazz, and the two are off to Jamaica for a quickie wedding and some baby-making. How else to explain all the selections of said genre coming up on the shuffle? Two more long-ish jazz tunes today (see also Dexter Gordon, below). Unfortunately, while both Art and Dexter are superb saxophone players, they are not as gifted when it comes to facial hair. They were both, however, imprisoned at one point in their lives for heroin possession. And you thought rappers lived the thug life. On that note, Miles Davis' autobiography is a crazy good read.
Johnny Cash - "Rusty Cage"
You gotta love the many covers Johnny recorded towards the end of his life for the American Recordings sessions with Rick Rubin. In many cases they're better than the originals. Along with this Soundgarden cover, he put his unmistakable mark on songs by Tom Petty, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles, Neil Young, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, and, of course, U2. His version of "One" is classic - - and definitely better than the original. Take that Bono!
Devendra Banhart - "Todo Los Dolores"
Of Montreal - "October Is Eternal"
The White Stripes - "Shelter Of Your Arms"
Coldplay - "Shiver"
Remember when Coldplay was cool? Come on, there was a moment right after the release of Parachutes that they weren't thought of as more than just Radiohead-light. I know it's lame, but I still kinda like them. And Lite-FM. And long walks on the beach. Have you clicked away yet?
Dexter Gordon - "Coppin' The Haven"
Margot & The Nuclear So And So's - "A Light On A Hill"
Yo La Tengo - "Autumn Sweater"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 9
Total minutes of music (approx.): 46
Number of artists played today that BM has heard of: 7
Song with the most previous plays: "Tin Tin Deo" - 4

Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I got in late because I had to take my cat to the vet. His name is Henry and he is obese - - 22 pounds and counting. If I had a picture I'd post it here and it would probably go viral.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Try (Day 30)

Bob Dylan - "Man Of Constant Sorrow"
The Magic Numbers - "Try"
Thelonious Monk - "Blue Monk"
I'm not gonna lie to you: It's Monday and I'm dragging ass. Combined with the usual family shenanigans was not one, not two, but three visits with relatives. Plus, already exhausted, I stayed up to watch the Mets lose last night in a late-ish game. Idiot. (Oh, and my daughter woke up at 4am and would not go back to sleep unless I lay in her bed...a toddler bed.) Hoping for something to soothe me into the work week I was treated to this standard from Monk. It did the trick. This seven minute song has a little bit of everything that makes him great: the syncopated piano, loose improvisation, unforgettable melodies, amazing back-up players. As I've mentioned on this blog before, I'm not a super aficionado when it comes to jazz, but I am a pretty big fan of classic bebop like this. So if you're interested I totally recommend the album this track is off of, 1964's Live at Jazz Workshop. What! You're not interested? Does this help?

Awesome beard, right?
DJ Danger Mouse - "Justify My Thug"
Shelby Lynne - "Sleep"
Sonny Rollins - "At McKie's"
This beard is not too shabby either. There is some great facial hair in jazz.

Beck - "Que' Onda Guero"
The Replacements - "Within Your Reach"
Along with appearing on Hootenanny, this song is on another soundtrack I forgot to put on my recent list of Soundtracks That Don't Suck: Say Anything. Sure, "In Your Eyes" became a cliche, but having Fishbone, the Chili Peppers, and, of course, The Replacements on a mainstream soundtrack from 1989 counts for something. Meanwhile, I was recently singing the praises of the movie to a co-worker and was met with a blank stare. Is it possible that 20-somethings don't know this movie? Lloyd freaking Dobbler! He's the owner of the best monologue by a suitor to a parent in movie history:
"I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that."
Os Mutantes - "Le Premier Bonheur Du Jour"
The Frames - "Finally"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 10
Total minutes of music (approx.): 47
Number of artists played today that BM has heard of: 7
Song with the most previous plays: "Try,
" "Que' Onda Guero" (tie) - 10
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I ran into someone I know while walking to the subway. I was definitely not feeling like a chat (see above), but I had no choice. After doing the is she gonna stop, should I stop dance, the headphones had to come out. Bummer.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Oh! Sweet Nuthin' (Day 29)

Nirvana - "Stay Away"
The National - "Daughters Of The Soho Riots"
This band certainly gets their share of attention from the blogosphere, and it's all well-deserved, but I'll tack on some more. I think 2005's Alligator is pretty near perfect, and this is among the many songs that showcase Matt Berniger's conversational baritone and poetic lyrics. The lines "How can anybody know //
How they got to be this way // You must have known I'd do this someday" are more evocative than your average indie rock. But what of these Soho Riots mentioned in the song and title? Well, I lived in NYC's Soho in the late 90s and I can assure you the only riots breaking out there these days are if the Prada store happens to put something on sale. Maybe back in the day? Let's consult Senor Pedia....Nada. Doesn't seem to be a reference to any actual historical event. Sounds good though.
Cansei de Ser Sexy - "Acho Um Pouco Born"
Miles Davis & John Coltrane - "Sid's Ahead"
Cat Power - "I Believe In You"
The Shins - "Those To Come"
The Velvet Underground - "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'"
I'm really digging today's playlist. Here's what I was thinking about when this song came up: If I were a band, what band would I be? The Rolling Stones, perhaps? Considered by many to be the best rock band ever... and still going strong? The Grateful Dead - - a non-stop touring party with a faithful following? Pink Floyd - - art rockers who got to experiment and make busloads of cash? You know what? I think I'd want to be The Velvet Underground. The kings of an underground art rock scene that influenced generations of bands to follow (and hopefully made enough dough along the way). Why not? Just look at them:

Does this not epitomize cool?

DJ Shadow - "Organ Donor"
The Flaming Lips - "Slow Nerve Action"
Tom Waits - "Lord I've Been Changed"
Os Mutantes - "Beijo Exagerado / Todo Mundo Pastou"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 11
Total minutes of music (approx.): 47
Song with the most previous plays: "Daughters Of The Soho Riots,
" "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" (tie) - 8
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I was feeling very nostalgic while reading this article in today's Times about Record Store Day. Not only for the dinosaur of retailers, where the writing is definitely and sadly on the wall, but for my youth. There was nothing more fun than taking the train to NYC from suburban NJ (I grew up 50 minutes from the city), hopping on the subway and getting out at W4th Street for the sole purpose of browsing at records stores in the West Village. From Bleecker Bob's (still there!) to Second Coming Records (gone, I think), and everywhere in between, there was no better way to spend a Saturday when you're 15 years old, as far as I'm concerned. So, support your local record store, dammit. (He said while listening to an iPod predominantly stocked with downloaded digital music....)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Older Guys (Day 28)

John Hiatt - "Thunderbird"
Wilco - "Kingpin"
The Wrens - "Hats Off To Marriage, Baby"
I have to be honest, today's music was mostly filtering in one ear and out the other. It may have been that this set of songs didn't exactly set my pants on fire (or any other part of my wardrobe). Or it may be I'm so utterly exhausted it takes all the energy I can muster to walk up the street let alone listen to music. It's all good though. My wife and I recently expanded the brood and we have a 3-and-a-half-week-old boy to go with our attention-loving 2-and-a-half-year-old girl. It means waking up frequently in the middle of the night to tend to the little one, August. (By the way, we're calling him Auggie but I'm still undecided about how to spell it - - 2 Gs or 1? What do you think?) And then waking up at the crack ass of dawn with the older one, Georgia. (By "crack ass" I mean anywhere from 5:45-6:45am.) So it's really hard, but it's also fun - - sometimes. (And everybody does it, so don't be scared if you're expecting or expecting to expect some day.) I don't want this to be a cute recounting of the ups and downs of having kids type blog (although I do enjoy reading those), all this is really just to say once again that today's listening experience was a bit hazy. However, this song by The Wrens shook me out of my walking coma. And not because I thought, Hey, this is a great song by The Wrens! But rather because I couldn't even place the band and I had to sneak a peek at the iPod to see who it was. Why is this shocking? Because The Wrens album Meadowlands is one of my favorite records of the past five years. So how did I not recognize this song off Secaucus (which before a recent re-release was a lost "classic" that I once considered spending upwards of a $100 bucks to buy on eBay)? Well, they really sound different. On Meadowlands, The Wrens channeled their garage rock and shoegazing roots into a modern classic that shifts from roots rock to shimmery atmospheric pop and back to rock. It's a much more mature sound, which makes a lot of sense since it came out seven years after its predecessor, Secaucus. According to band lore it wasn't by choice. The Wrens were critically acclaimed but got lost in a black hole created by a sold record label and their own indecision about where to sign. In any case Meadowlands is worth the wait and Secaucus is best viewed (in my opinion) as a portrait of a band in transition. What will they do next? I hope I don't have to wait seven more years to find out.
The New Pornographers - "Miss Teen Wordpower"
The Flying Burrito Brothers - "Older Guys"
Ray Davies - "Thanksgiving Day"
Ben Folds - "Bruised"
Frank Black - "The Real El Rey"
Magnetic Fields - "Till The Bitter End"
Devendra Banhart - "Tit Smoking In The Temple of Artesan Mimicry"
This is weird, right?

The National - "Racing Like A Pro"
Elvis Costello & The Attractions - "Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down"
Animal Collective - "Winter Wonder Land"
Jeff Tweedy - "Walk Where He Walked" (live)

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 14
Total minutes of music (approx.): 47
Song with the most previous plays: "Older Guys
" - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: The following is an excerpt from an awesome live music review I read in the New York Times: "Half the time you can hardly understand him. [He] doesn't articulate words any better today than he did in the old days. Even when he talks, he mumbles. It all makes for pleasant, mildly romantic background music of meager substance." So funny...especially the romantic part. It's a bit of insight into the personal life of Times critic Stephen Holden, don't you think? So who is he writing about? Any guesses?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

One Last "Woo-Hoo!" For The Pullman (Day 27)

Dan Zanes - "Sweet Rosyanne"
Magnetic Fields - "Drive On, Driver"
Frank Black - "Kiss My Ring"
Karen Dalton - "In My Own Dreams"
The Flatlanders - "All You Are Love"
Destroyer - "Queen Of Languages"
Paul Westerberg - "Strike Down The Band"
Calexico - "Bisbee Blue"
Husker Du - "Something I Learned Today"
Taj Mahal - "Linin'"
Wilco - "What Light"
Track Star - "The End"
When you have 10,184 songs on your iPod it's hard to remember how they all got there. Track Star is an example of a band that I've been listening to exclusively on the Pod (yes, I called it "the Pod") for a while and yet I have no clue when I uploaded them and from where. In fact, I don't know anything about the band outside of the fact that I think they're pretty great. Their sound is so simple it borders on elegant. A guy sings emotive lyrics over stripped down electric guitars (you know, that electric guitar sound that sounds, well, strummed?), drum and bass that usually start soft and slow and build into an emotional crescendo. I guess some people might now call this Emo - - but that makes me ill. (Emo is a genre that somehow I missed altogether and to be honest still don't understand. Faster than you can say Fall Out What?, it appeared and every band that is tagged with the name, as far as I can tell, sucks.) So what's Track Star's deal? I really don't know and even is not that illuminating. This much is revealed: It was started in the 90s in San Francisco by guitarists Wyatt Cusic and Matthew Troy. (Yet the receive such little respect that even the allmusic bio has a typo: "...the band continued to rehearse and perform before addiing [sic] a drummer.") And that's about it. They put out 2 records (1997's Communication Breaks and 2002's Lion Destroyed The Whole World) - - the latter of which, according to allmusic, "was described as sublime pop rock by many and earned critical acclaim." Really? Anyone else out there know anything about Track Star?
Fruit Bats - "Lazy Eye"
Seu Jorge - "Life On Mars?"
Sufjan Stevens - "One Last 'Woo-Hoo!' For The Pullman"
Today's Song With The Most Previous Plays is a bit of anomaly: It's only 6 seconds and it's not really a song. It's a smattering of applause that segues "Decatur, Or, Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother!" into the great "Chicago" on Sufjan's Come On Feel The Illinoise! record. Now this is all fine and good when you're listening to the record as a whole, but it's a a bit odd and kinda annoying when you're listening to songs on shuffle. Plus, it makes me feel guilty about listening to music exclusively on shuffle in the morning. While I like the spontaneity and the ability to be exposed to songs I might not immediately play, I was always a fan of the records as a whole entity, as opposed to singles. (Just the fact that I'm calling them records is probably making some of you think I'm headed for an old age home any day now.) Anyway, I like to hear songs in context, as part of the artists complete body of work, aka the record. And as if this 6 second interlude wasn't irritating enough this morning, it was followed by another one of those little bits that Outkast has on their records. It's nonsense... but thankfully just 34 seconds.
Outkast - "Bowtie (Postlude)"
Mojave 3 - "Most Days"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 17
Total minutes of music (approx.): 51
Song with the most previous plays: "One Last 'Woo-Hoo!' For The Pullman
" - 14
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I don't have a seasonal photo to share, but it was 58 degrees and sunny in Brooklyn this morning. And that's all good.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It Just Is (Day 26)

Willie Nelson - "Hallelujah"
A Willie song to kick things off...perfect. I get to mention this, right off the bat. It's a Vanity Fair feature (graphic, really) called "Inside Dylan's Brain," and it's amazing. Basically it's a cataloging of what interests Bob, compiled solely from what he says and plays during his XM satellite radio show, Theme Time Radio Hour. I've only heard the show a few times (I don't have XM, but my father-in-law does in his car). What I have caught has been great - - Dylan opines about whatever the heck he feels like (from baseball to the Bible), and then plays lots of esoteric Americana. (How esoteric? Well he's played the music of four different groups that call themselves playboys:
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys , Vince Taylor & The Playboys , L.C. Smith & His Southern Playboys and Jimmie Revard & His Oklahoma Playboys!) So how does this relate to Willie? Well, included in the VF list are some Dylan "one-liners" like this little zinger about Nelson: "Willie Nelson’s tour bus runs on cooking oil….I’ve toured with Willie…sometimes late at night you can see us, I’m filling up my tank at the gas station and he’s filling his up at Denny’s.” The "real" Dylan just oozes this kind of hokey charm. Another example: “I once had a friend who said liquor will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no liquor.” What else does Bob talk about during his show? Believe it or not, pop culture. On the list of TV shows he's mentioned is, yes, The Wire. As well as The Simpsons and Welcome Back Kotter. And what are some movies that are on Bob Dylan's radar? Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Raising Arizona, and Rocky III. The world's greatest songwriter...he's just like us!
David Bowie - "Kooks"
Destroyer - "To The Heart Of The Sun On The Back Of The Vulture, I'll Go"
Pulp - "Monday Morning"
The American Analog Set - "The Hatist"
The Divine Comedy - "Mother Dear"
Richard Buckner - "Canyon"
The Fiery Furnaces - "My Dog Was Lost But Now He's Found"
She & Him - "Sentimental Heart"
Rilo Kiley - "It Just Is"
Outkast - "Intro"
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion - "Gotta Prove"
Nirvana - "Swap Meet"
Tom Waits - "Walking Spanish"
Destroyer - "Painter In Your Pocket"
That's two songs today from Mr. Dan Bejar (aka Destroyer). Obviously, like many fans, I was turned on to him via The New Pornographers. (And who doesn't think "Myriad Harbor" is the best song on Challengers?) With his unique voice, and even more unique lyrics, he's definitely making some very cool and very enigmatic indie rock. This is a particularly good track off of Destroyer's Rubies which I find to be one of his most accessible records. Do my twisted Canadian pop loving friends out there agree?
The Beach Boys - "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times"
Sloan - "Fading Into Obscurity"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 17
Total minutes of music (approx.): 57
Song with the most previous plays: "The Hatist,
" "It just Is" - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Has spring sprung, I wondered. (Some photographic evidence supporting the affirmative, below.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Long Time Ago (Day 25)

Sparklehorse - "Dreamt For Light Years In"
This song had me thinking a lot about this band (mostly since it clocks in at 10:34 and I had a lot of time to think). A few things I do want to mention: This is one of those bands that I feel I own. I mentioned this a bit with my remarks earlier about Eleventh Dream Day. It's just that perverse thrill that you discovered a band and not that many other people you know are really into them. From what I know about Sparklehorse (not too much, really), it's basically the work of singer-songwriter Mark Linkous. The band is a kind of a lo-fi look into the brain of this former chimney sweep (who also nearly killed himself by mixing a bunch of antidepressants), and there are moments of pop brilliance combined with atmospheric weirdness. This song, for example, is nothing but the soft, trippy side; and it really spends a whole lot of time going nowhere. However, it illustrates that with a slight nip and tuck everyone of Linkous' albums would be pretty great. I did see Sparklehorse live once. I believe it was around 1996, at a cool NYC gallery/performance art space called Threadwaxing Space (which I think is still around). The second most memorable thing that happened that night, after seeing a predictably weird set by Sparklehorse, is that I bought a Steve Keene painting for a buck. If you've never heard of him, Keene's the dude that made this album cover. Besides his work with indie bands like Pavement, The Silver Jews and The Apples In Stereo he's known for producing mass quantities of colorful comic-like art. That night, the place was covered with his paintings and all you had to do was leave a dollar to take one home. My Keene is a painting of President William Howard Taft with the words "The Big Man" written next to his face. It hangs next to the sink in my kitchen.
Bishop Allen - "Butterfly Nets" (live)
Les Savy Fav - "Roadside Memorial"
Outkast - "Reset"
The Early Years - "All Ones And Zeros"
The Go-Betweens - "This Night's For You"
Belle & Sebastian - "The Model"
Golden Smog - "Long Time Ago"
Bob Dylan & The Band - "Yazoo Street Scandal"
Tom Waits - "Buzz Fledderjohn"
Just want to take a moment and blog here about Waits, because a) he rules, and b) I feel like I'm still working my way through 2006's Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards. One Tom Waits song can be inscrutable (in a good way), but 56 boggles the mind. So, by slooowing things down and looking at each song maybe I'll eventually be able to wrap my head around it. For example, this song is a bluesy Waits tune that apparently was previously only available as a European single and on the Japanese version of Mule Variations. I'm glad it has a proper home here. Waits hungover croon is subtly backed by bluesmaster John Hammond Jr. on slide guitar and harmonica. Damn, I
really have to throw myself more fully into this collection.

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 10
Total minutes of music (approx.): 47
Song with the most previous plays: "Long Time ago
" - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Got a thrill out of seeing my wife's name in the paper today next to an excellent review for her new show, The Paper. Please watch it tonight on MTV at 10:30pm ET.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dink's Song (Day 24)

Iron & Wine - "Sodom, South Georgia"
Oneida - "The Beginning Is Neigh"
Broken Social Scene - "Boroque Social"
Dinosaur Jr - "Over Your Shoulder"
Beirut - "Closing Song" (live)
Sufjan Stevens - "You Are The Rake"
As faithful reader Comoprozac (thanks for your support, by the way) pointed out recently, Sufjan's song titles are long as shit. Well, maybe not this little ditty from A Sun Came. But generally it's true and I feel like taking a moment to find the longest Sufjan Stevens' song title on my iPod. Buckle up, it's a doozy: "
The Black Hawk War, or, How to Demolish an Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself in the Morning, or, We Apologize for the Inconvenience but You're Going to Have to Leave Now, or, 'I Have Fought the Big Knives and Will Continue to Fight Them Until They Are Off Our Lands!'" is the second track on Come On Feel The Illinoise. Nice. Shortest title you ask? "Kill" and "Rake" are two tracks also on A Sun Came, Sufjan's 2000 debut. Mr. Stevens apparently hadn't flexed his song-naming muscles quite yet.
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - "Gulf Shores"
Ben Kweller - "Thirteen"
The Verve - "Lucky Man"
Bob Dylan - "Dink's Song" [home recording]
I think this marks Robert Allen Zimmerman's first appearance on the blog. Welcome, friend. Obviously I'm a fan, but considering his output there's only a modest 107 Dylan songs on my iPod. This tune comes from the excellent No Direction Home soundtrack (oh no, forgot to add it to my soundtrack list the other day!), which serves as a nice retrospective for a career that is virtually impossible to retrospect. "Dink's Song" has had an impressive 9 previous plays - - making it the second most played Dylan tune after personal fave "Yea! Heavy And A Bottle of Brew" from The Basement Tapes which has played 12 times. It is a prime example of Dylan's early folk recordings. "Dink's Song" is actually an American folk standard with the sad, repeated refrain, "Fare thee well, my honey, fare thee well." Dylan recorded it for his eponymous first album, but it never made the final cut. So why, you may wonder, is it called "Dink's Song"? Sounds like a job for Mr. Wiki...take it away: "
The first historical record of the song was by ethnomusicologist John Lomax in 1908, who recorded it as sung by an African American woman called Dink, as she washed her man's clothes in a tent camp of migratory levee-builders on the bank of the Brazos River, a few miles from College Station, Texas and Texas A&M College." All I can add to this is, awesome.

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 10
Total minutes of music (approx.): 41
Song with the most previous plays: "Dink's Song
" - 9
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Other then being faked out by the weather report this morning and dressing way too warmly, not much to note. Although I did mess around with my phone's camera again on the train, discovering another odd function: borders. There is a pre-loaded assortment of tacky borders that you can automatically attach to your pictures, including hearts, balloons and stuffed bears. This one is equally bizarre, but kind of funny. I call this composition "Mo Money, Mo Problems."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Angeles (Day 23)

Nirvana - "Marigold"
Dan Zanes - "Smile Smile Smile"
Well, it was only a matter of time. Dan Zanes, who takes up some prime real estate on my iPod with 67 songs spread over 4 albums, finally hit the playlist. Am I just a huge fan of the former Del Fuegos frontman? I like him, yes, but the fact that I have so much of his music is really thanks to another reason: I'm a dad. Zanes has recreated himself as a bard for the playground set. And make no mistake - - in terms of kids music, he's amazing. He doesn't make music for kids, per say. He makes really good music that appeals to kids. (Or more importantly appeals to their wannabe hipster parents who then force it down their kids' throats. Present company included.) His albums have a lot of traditional folk and country tunes (yes, he revived Seeger even before Bruce), with a real, solid and enthusiastic backing band and plenty of expert mandolin play. There are also several really great guest vocalists (Sheryl Crow, Suzanne Vega, Bob Weir, Debbie Harry, etc.) that add to the adult-interest factor. Of course, since I like him, I wanted to make sure my daughter Georgia (now 2 1/2) liked him too. When she was just weeks old, I played Rocket Ship Beach over and over while I wore her in a baby sling and rocked her to sleep. And for a while, it worked! The bouncy sounds of "Polly Wolly Doodle" would calm her almost instantly. (Okay, it didn't always work. I remember one car trip when my wife and I got stuck in traffic trying to get back to NYC over the George Washington Bridge. Georgia was hysterical, so we played "Polly Wolly Doodle" about 18 times in a row, but she continued to wail. Frankly, it's a little hard to listen to now.) So now that she talks, and has ALOT of opinions she must be an official member of the Dan Zanes fan club, right? Not so fast. Somewhere along the way, Zanes became "Daddy's music." I guess it sounds too much like Bruce or Neil or Ryan Adams or whatever other acoustic-ish music I play. All that hard work and she still wants to hear an abominable collection called Music Together (there are kids music classes that use the same music) exclusively. And I still have a ton of Dan Zanes on my iPod. But that's okay, because one of us still thinks he's cool.
Elliott Smith - "Angeles"
The Mendoza Line - "Names Names"
Calexico and Iron & Wine - "He Lays In The Reins"
The Cure - "Other Voices"
Ben Kweller - "Different But The Same"
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - "Chin Up, Cheer Up" (live)
Weezer - "Butterfly"
Nirvana - "Floyd The Barber"
Feist - "Inside Out"
Tony Scherr - "Black Sheep"
Les Savvy Fav - "Dishonest Don (Pt. 2)"
Pavement - "Summer Babe" (live)

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 14
Total minutes of music (approx.): 52
Song with the most previous plays: "Angeles
" - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I was absolutely starving. Usually I grab something at home. But today there was nothing in my stomach but 4 cups of coffee. This is not a good feeling.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Shameless Plug

If you watch one TV show this year, then by all means see The Wire. However, if you choose to watch two, please check out The Paper (Mondays at 10:30pm on MTV).

Full disclosure: This TV series was co-created and executive produced by my wife. But that is not enough for me to mention it here. It's also great.

It's a reality series that follows the staff of a high school newspaper. Think of it as the anti-Hills with equal parts drama and funny.

Take a look.

And then tune in Mondays.

Winter A Go-Go (Day 22)

Neko Case - "Fox Confessor Brings The Flood"
Yo La Tengo - "Winter A Go-Go"
There's so much to love about Yo La Tengo, I could write a book. But today I just wanted to mention that for about 11 years they've helped free form, non-profit radio station WFMU raise cash during their pledge drive by performing a set of covers by request. By request! They basically manage to play everything from tunes by The Feelies to The Eurythmics on demand. Of course the band has a lustrous history of covers. (Their covers record Fakebook is amazing and live they always sprinkle in some gems.) The awesomeness of this annual event can only be matched by the lameness of my missing it every single year. I've been aware of the covers marathon forever, but I've never actually heard it. They do have a CD that they sell on their website featuring many of the hits (misses?) from these sets - - and I don't even have that! Loser, me. This video from this year's marathon will at least give you a taste of these loose and fun performances. There's no Georgia on drums, sadly, but Ira's inability to remember the lyrics leads to a great editorial riff on the plummeting career of Jack Nicholson.
Modest Mouse - "Little Motel"
Ben Harper - "Both Sides Of The Gun"
Ra Ra Riot - "Each Year" (live)
Iron & Wine - "Love Song of the Buzzard" (live)
Sufjan Stevens - "Happy Birthday"
Golden Smog - "Think About Yourself"
The Clientele - "The Dance Of The Hours"
Joan Baez - "Here's To You"
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros - "At the Border, Guy"
Devandra Banhart - "Insect Eyes"
Jens Lekman - "Another Sweet Summer Night On Hammer Hill"
I've only recently started listening to this Swedish singer-songwriter but I'm digging him. His lyrics are wry and hysterical. This song features the following couplet, which cracks me up:
"I had a friend who was slightly overweight
that means fatass in the seventh grade
I still remember the steamy dressing room
where they beat him black and blue
yeah they beat him black and blue"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 13
Total minutes of music (approx.): 53
Song with the most previous plays: (tie) "Fox Confessor Brings The Flood," Winter A Go-Go," "Little Motel
" - 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I look forward to the Wednesday commute. And it's not because it's "Hump Day." (Who came up with that, anyway? I checked, but Wikipedia was no help, offering only: "An English language idiom for Wednesday is "hump day," a reference to making it through the middle of the work week as getting "over the hump." A pretty idiotic Idiom, if you ask me.) The reason is a tad humiliating, but here goes: I really get pumped to read the Dining In/Dining Out section of the NY Times. The features! The reviews! The recipes! It all excites my burgeoning foodie sensibilities. And while I'm on the subject of The Gray Lady, it might be time for my ranking of (drum roll) Favorite Weekday Special Sections of the New York Times In Order of Interest And Excitement. (I nominate this for dorkiest list of all time before I even begin to type it.)
1. Dining In/Dining Out (Wednesday)
2. Weekend Arts and Escapes (Friday)
no special section, but the Monday business includes extended Media coverage (Monday)
House & Home and Thursday Styles (Thursday)
5. Science Times (Tuesday)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Beanbag Chair (Day 21)

Mark Mothersbaugh - "Let Me Tell You About My Boat"
Strange little tune to kick things off today courtesy of The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou soundtrack. Since I already mentioned my fondness for Wes Anderson, I'll take a moment to talk about soundtracks in general. They're not my favorite thing. Music in a film is obviously supremely important and so often makes the film great, but listening to the soundtrack removed from the images is like having a sandwich without the bread (or some other better metaphor). Also, there are two distinctions to be made here. Obviously genuine songs on a soundtrack make a great listen and can live comfortably on an iPod playlist. But this is not a "song." It's really an instrumental tune that sets a scene in the movie. The reason this soundtrack is even on my iPod is because of the cool Seu Jorge Bowie covers. (If you haven't heard them, check it out. Basically this Brazilian singer-songwriter covers Bowie - - in Portuguese!) Of course I could have left the Jorge tunes and deleted the rest, but this goes against my completist sensibilities. There aren't too may soundtracks represented on the iPod: A Hard Days Night, Darjeeling Limited, The Harder They Come, The Pick of Destiny - - I think that might be all. In terms of all-time great soundtracks, IMHO (and using my criteria of being comprised mostly of "songs," not incidental music), I'd have to list the following: The Harder They Come, Rushmore, Saturday Night Fever, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Purple Rain, The Graduate, Dazed and Confused, High Fidelity, Kids, Boogie Nights, Singles, Reservoir Dogs, Goodfellas...what'd I miss?
The Elected - "I'll Be Your Man"
Money Mark - "Brand New By Tomorrow"
The Besnard Lakes - "For Agent 13"
Yo La Tengo - "Beanbag Chair"
Nirvana - "Hairspray Queen"
Of Montreal - "Eagle-Shaped Mirror" (live)
Franz Ferdinand - "Do You Want To"
Common - "Real People"
The Fall - "Craigness"
Sonic Youth - "Rats"
Max Roach - "Mr. X"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 12
Total minutes of music (approx.): 47
Song with the most previous plays: "Beanbag Chair
" - 11
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I have next to no interest in March Madness. I'm just not a huge basketball fan, plus my attention this time of year is diverted by the start of baseball season. But, after reading the Sports section this morning I realized I missed a classic championship game last night. Wish I'd watched.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sunday Under Glass (Day 20)

Dolorean - "Put You To Sleep"
Giant Sand - "Lean"
The Flaming Lips - "The Spark That Bled"
Sunday Under Glass - "Beulah"
The National - "Murder Me Rachael"
Tenacious D - "Wonderboy"
Miles Davis - "Fall"
Viva Voce - "Drown Them Out"
Uncle Tupelo - "Postcard"
Damien Rice - "Accidental Babies"
My Morning Jacket - "Oxen" (live)
I don't think I've mentioned My Morning Jacket in this space yet, but they're a band I like a lot right now. They are yet another outfit working through and updating what is basically a roots-y rock sound that I'm very vulnerable to. (In fact Angry John is very aware of this specific area of my eclectic taste in music - - and resents it, of course - - but he was still kind enough to recommend MMJ. He basically guaranteed I'd like them, and I went out and bought It Still Moves without even hearing a note of their music. It turns out to be one of AJS' best suggestion since advocating the combination of beer and a bar-top video game called Hot Hoops. But that's a story for another day...) Unfortunately MMJ is a band that highlights a condition I am currently suffering from called Not-Enough-Live-Muisc-itis. The symptoms I believe are obvious, the cause is more complicated. There was a time that I would see any and every band that I remotely had any interest in. And I'd see them multiple times. (The number of They Might Be Giants concerts I've seen may be in the double-digits. Need more proof?) Over the past few years
(5 or 6) that's changed considerably. The last show I saw was Kings of Leon (like 'em, don't love 'em, was more about hanging out with a couple of friends) about 9 months ago. About another 9 months before that I saw the Silver Jews (fun time again, not a great show). Obviously other more important things have superseded going to concerts (family, scarcity of free time, budgetary restrictions: in other words, boring, adult stuff). Mostly I'm okay with it, but every once in a while I get the urge and feel remorseful. And occasionally there is a band that I just really want to see live. MMJ is one of those bands. (Another band in today's set that falls into this category is The National.) I think their sound would lend itself to a great show (lots of room to experiment, jam etc.), and the live tracks I've heard only reinforce that. Naturally they tour a bunch, but every time they come to town I manage to miss them. Just recently a friend mentioned he has tickets to see them at Radio City Music Hall in June. It's sold out. I won't be there - - again.
Branford Marsalis Quartet - "Steep's New Tune"
Elvis Presley - "Good Rockin' Tonight"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 13
Total minutes of music (approx.): 66
Song with the most previous plays: (tie)
"Put You To Sleep," "Sunday Under Glass" - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I really don't want this to become a forum to complain about the MTA, but, yes, my commute really
did suck again today. And actually it's impossible to fault the MTA (this time) because both trains I take to work had serious delays due to sick passengers. So really, the fact that it took me over an hour to get to work today is most likely due to lactose intolerance or one too many chalupas or some other gastrointestinal scourge. (Apologies if anyone was seriously ill.)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken (Day 19)

Sufjan Stevens - "To The Workers Of The Rock River Valley Region, I Have An Idea Concerning Your Predicament"
Stars - "Window Bird"
X- "Universal Corner" (live)
Camera Obscura - "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken"
The Early Years - "High Times and Low Lives"
The Kinks - "Animal Farm"
In the middle of this classic rock block (who knew I even had Zeppelin on my iPod?), let me sing the praises of one of the genre's most underrated bands. Can a band as big as The Kinks really be underrated? I think so. When it comes to the Kinks, most people think of "Lola," "You Really Got Me," etc. But those people have not heard epics like The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur - Or The Decline of the British Empire. Both albums put the Kinks in the same stratosphere as late 60s across-the-pond megastars like The Beatles, The Stones and The Who. But funnily enough, I think what holds the Kinks back is that they're just too British. Ray Davies sings a bit British and he writes songs about very British cultural circumstances. If you have only recently become aware of said brilliance, it's probably due to director Wes Anderson. The man really has a knack for picking some great music to put in his films (and skillfully using the tracking shot). Just look:

Led Zeppelin - "You Shook Me"
My Morning Jacket - "Run Thru" (live)
Ida - "Lovers Prayers"
Bishop Perry Tillis - "Nobody's Fault But Mine"
Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint - "Nearer To You"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 11
Total minutes of music (approx.): 51
Song with the most previous plays:
"Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken" - 14
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: A steady drizzle did not dampen my spirits. How is this possible? New coat. Allow me a moment to wax metrosexual. I really like my new raincoat - - a lot. There are a couple of reasons:
1. I've never owned a raincoat before. (Usually, in inclement weather, I wind up wearing something that would make more sense if I were hiking in a rain forest.)
2. It's navy blue and seems to go with everything.
3. It's trench coat length - - very flattering, gents.
4. It doesn't scream, "I'm a raincoat." In fact, I like to think of it more as a trench coat - - and I can definitely wear it when it's not raining.

This is what it looks like. (This is not what I look like.)

Photo courtesy of JCrew.