Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Songs that always make me cry, part 2

"Perfect Day". But only Glenn Gregory's recording of it on B.E.F.'s "Music of Quality and Distinction", not the Lou Reed version. The only time Lou Reed makes me cry is when I think about how he sabotaged  the Velvet Underground reunion concerts all those years ago. It still makes me mad. (At least, he sabotaged the show that was recorded and turned into the CD and DVD. An archivist friend-of-a-friend once told me that he has recordings of all the concerts and every other time Reed stuck closely to the script. Which, if it's true, well, sheesh.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Song of the day

"Caroline", by The Field. Has Axel Willner been listening to "Dark Side Of The Moon"?

(Available on the new Kompakt compilation/overview/scene report, "Total 11".)

2010 is not 1960

Where in this blighted modern era would you find an ad like this one in a mainstream, large-circulation, non-music-focused magazine?

(Found in the New Yorker magazine, 26 November 1960. As usual, click to enlarge.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Two songs that make me cry every time I hear them

1. "It Was A Very Good Year", by Frank Sinatra.

2. "Cat's In The Cradle", by Harry Chapin.

I have no idea why they do that. They just do.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Song of the day

"Tobacco Road", by The Nashville Teens. I heard this song today, as part of a very entertaining mix that can be had at Aquarium Drunkard, and it brought back some hazy memories of days long past. Specifically, Melbourne circa 1982 to 1989. Was it a staple of somebody's radio programme on 3RRR? Or was it covered by one of the local bands I followed back then, let's say the Huxton Creepers or the Sacred Cowboys? I suspect I will never know. Still, it's nice to welcome such a fine song back into my life.

It looks like everybody had a go at it. A version by the Blues Magoos appears on "Nuggets". Jefferson Airplane and Eric Burdon and The Animals can be found doing it on YouTube. Wikipedia tells me that Jimmy Page plays on the recorded version, but you can't always trust Wikipedia.

"The British group with the American name."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Song of the day

"Golden Age", by Beach Fossils. This song has something that the rest of the blog-huggin', zeitgeist-surfin', rainbow-chasin' class of 2010 don't have: Postcard guitars! Ah, God love ya.

Coincidence of the day: SFJ has some tasty Orange Juice YouTube goodness over on his Tumblr.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Song of the day

"The Plague", by Scott Walker. Is it just me, or are there times during this song when, if you closed your eyes, you would swear that the singer was Iggy Pop?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Song of the day (2)

"Dad", by Thug.

Not safe for work.

Or home.

Song of the day

"Get Back", by Woods. The knife-slash electric guitar that coruscates this song (I'm not sure if you can use "coruscate" in that way; I don't have time to check) entirely wrecks the mood of this otherwise gently gorgeous song. On the other hand, it also makes the song complete.

I don't entirely understand Woods. I can't figure out whether they just get so excited about their songs that they want to just slap them down and get on with the next one, or whether they actually work at making themselves sound so ramshackle. Either is good. Sometimes they make me think of a slightly feral Mercury Rev. Which is also good.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

8.45pm update


It's all good here.

I just can't seem to find the words.

Let's assume that normal programming will resume shortly. It usually does.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Song of the day

"Happy", by Best Coast. In theory there is no reason why I would have any interest in Best Coast. They do nothing I haven't heard before and nothing, again in theory, that I am not by now entirely jaded by.

But enough of the theory. A song like this comes on and it's like somebody has opened a window and in has come a blast of pure, fresh and clean 1989 air. All 1 minute 45 seconds of it. No time for beard stroking when that happens.

Featuring, as too few songs do, the word "cranky".

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Song of the day

"Babelonia", by School of Seven Bells. The thing about School of Seven Bells is that, while they may have all the right looks, and all the right moves, and all the right influences (and two magnificent voices), what they don't have, at least yet, is the ability to write songs that are strong enough for them to stand out as themselves, rather than for their good "taste" or whatever. For now, they seem content to generate echoes, admittedly very tasty echoes, of, amongst others, My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, and This Mortal Coil.

Take "Babelonia". If you ignore the drum programming, which sounds like it has come from another decade entirely, the song is pure Stereolab. (Stereolab, of course, famously made a career out of sounding like their influences, but they had so many things to draw on that the sum of the parts amounted to a very large number.) Which, in the absence of any new Stereolab product, well, this song will just have to do. And it does. Quite nicely.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Song of the day

"Calypso Frelimo", by Miles Davis. In which Miles grabs time in his long, thin fingers and stretches it further than you could imagine it being stretched. And then stretches it some more. But, being Miles Davis, he gets away with it.

Fans of Super Mario Brothers (or residents of houses where one member of the household is, not to put too fine a point on it, obsessed with the little plumber) will be surprised to recognise within its grooves a particular recurring three-note bass motif. Just one of the many ways in which Miles Davis predicted the future, and continues to do so.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Song of the year?

"Voi Parlate, Io Gioco", by jj.

Maybe, maybe not. But from where I am sitting, right here, right now, on the shag pile (not exactly), there is nothing I would rather be listening to.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Listening Wind

Today's soundtrack was brought to you -- well, me -- by Sasha Frere-Jones.

First we have "On The Corner", by Miles Davis. This is an album I cannot listen to without thinking that  Brian Eno and David Byrne must have been listening to it, either separately or together, while planning the strategies that became "Remain In Light".

Then it's "Cupid & Psyche '85", by Scritti Politti, an album I don't, in any sense, "need" to hear. But it can't hurt to do the actual listening thing every once in a while.

And "You Are In My System", by The System. A Robert Palmer-free zone.

And "The Golden Age Of Wireless", by Thomas Dolby. Here is another record that I have no recollection of ever having owned in any form, and yet upon hearing it for the first time in what must be decades every note, every shimmering sonic inflection, comes flooding back. I probably acquired a tape of it from Roger and thrashed it for a while until it got stuck in the machine and snapped. Cassettes were like that. Roger was a big Thomas Dolby fan. (He was also a big Martha and the Muffins fan, which I could less understand, but to each his own.) There are so many perfect songs on this album that it seems ridiculous that I could have lived my life without its presence, however fleeting, for so long. The song I find most affecting in 2010 is "Airwaves". Even though Trevor Horn had nothing to do with this record he is, in a very real sense, all over it.

Finishing off with "I Am Not Willing", by Moby Grape, which I have clung onto, in a kind of gentle desperation, ever since I first heard it, courtesy Art Decade, a couple of years or so ago. Not, of course, to be confused with its opposite, "Willin'", by Little Feat. Although they do make the perfect couple.

Song of the day

"The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love", by Jens Lekman. I can't imagine what kind of day it would be when a new Jens Lekman song wouldn't be the song of the day. Extra-specially when it's yours for an email address.