'Youth Nabbed As Sniper'
While the Licorice Pizza interns were hard at work on Christmas posts last week, I was busy searching for other things that I thought might entertain you. In my quest, I happened to pick up a couple of pretty cool albums: The first I’ll post from today; one of the others I may get into in a few days. Plastic Letters
, Blondie’s 1978 sophomore release, has never been one of my favorites from the band. Although it does have a couple of decent songs – i.e. “Denis” and “(I'm Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear” – I’m mostly inclined to agree with the scribe who said it sounded like leftovers from their debut disk.
But here’s why I was happy to get my hands on the 2001 re-released version: It contains “Once I Had A Love,” which is the original version of “Heart of Glass.” Blondie recorded this much slower version in 1975, and would sometimes play it live, but never released it. It wasn’t until Parallel Lines
in 1978, when Mike Chapman would pump up the bass and increase the beats to 120 per minute, that the song was officially released.
This original version is more in keeping with the pop-oriented Blondie songs, while it also looks forward to the funky reggae that would come with “The Tide is High” in 1980.Once I Had A Love.mp3
Labels: new wave, outtakes
Woozy Viper Speaks in Tongues
From Kansas, via New York, come the brothers Meseke. The duo, which goes by the name Woozy Viper, have just released their eponymous debut, an album of back-to-basics acoustic rock.
Don’t be misled into thinking these guys play peace and love coffee house music, though. From the album’s opening line, “I’ve got graveyard dirt in my mouth,” you know they’re up to something a little different. Without a doubt, there’s more blues influence than folk on this disk.
The brothers write with a sense of humor as well, with songs about King Kong (“He didn’t give a shit / Until some girl messed with his head and he wound up dead”) and hypocritical faith healers (“Slip out them blue jeans, get down on your knees / ‘Cuz, I’m gonna teach you, baby, how to believe”).
Check these songs, and then click over to Woozy Viper’s MySpace page
, where you’ll find a link to download their album for free. Speaking in Tongues.mp3 The Switchblade Swing.mp3
Labels: acousticness, new stuff
Happy Christmas to you and yours.
I’ve decided to finish off this Christmas song season with quality rather than quantity. These three songs are right up there with my all time favorites. I hope you enjoy them as well.
Like every year at Christmas, there’s been a slight uptick in visitors to my little blog, most of them searching for seasonal music. I hope at least a few of you come back. Once in a while I post some listenable stuff. Little Drummer Boy (extended version).mp3
~ Jimi HendrixChristmas (demo).mp3
~ The WhoWinter Wonderland.mp3
~ Dean Martin
Labels: demos, guitar heroes, holiday
Down the Holiday Trail, pt. V
Maybe it’s the colder weather but I’m feeling a little more Christmasy than a couple of days ago. I’d like to see this chill continue on through the weekend, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.
I was looking around the Internet a couple of days ago, trying to find out if the Stones had ever released any kind of a Christmas song. I know there’s Keith’s version of “Run Rudolph Run,” which I posted the other day, but beyond that, it doesn’t seem there are any Rolling Stones Christmas releases . Being the anti-Beatles they were, apparently Christmas music wasn’t their style. About the closest I found is “Winter” from the Goats Head Soup
album. I’m not a hundred percent sure what the song is about but it’s – no surprise – a winter sorta tune with the line “And I wish I'd been out in California / When the lights on all the Christmas trees went out.”
Actually, if you look at the lines around that line, the song seems to be about someone being exiled for sexual sins. And if that ain’t Christmas, I don’t know what is. Winter.mp3
~ Rolling StonesJoy to the World.mp3
~ Pure DefianceDead By Xmas.mp3
~ Hanoi RocksLet Me Sleep (Christmas Time).mp3
~ Pearl JamSanta Bring My Baby Back to Me.mp3
~ Charlie Sexton
Labels: holiday, Pearl Jam, Rolling Stones
Down the Holiday Trail, pt. IV
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas here in Mee-yami. For at least a couple of days anyway as temperatures plunged into the 40s last night. I suspect that by Christmas Day I’ll have the air conditioner back on, so I’m enjoying the seasonal weather while I can.
Today’s music consists mainly of classic rock classics, with a couple of exceptions: I posted the Fiona Apple version of “Frosty the Snowman” last year and I thought it was quirky / cool enough to pull out again this year. “Together in Our Holiday Sweaters” is a brand new track this year; it just recently showed up in my mailbox. I thought I’d share it, since I like Christmas songs with bad attitudes. Frosty the Snowman.mp3
~ Fiona AppleAve Maria.mp3
~ Pacific ChoraleFather Christmas.mp3
~ KinksChristmas (Baby, Please Come Home).mp3
~ U2Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!.mp3
~ Brian Setzer OrchestraTogether in Our Holiday Sweaters.mp3
~ My First Earthquake
Labels: holiday, U2
Down the Holiday Trail, pt. III
My personal little slice of Christmas spirit and why I’d prefer to shop online: I went this morning to a big box retailer, looking for two specific items and an unspecific one. I couldn’t find the two specific items and decided not to get the third.
While at the store, I was subjected to crowds, rudeness, and a couple of people who apparently decided it was more important to shop than bathe. I also caught sight of an individual unironically wearing full Ed Hardy
gear, including a hat carefully cocked and tilted. That made me laugh, which made the whole trip worthwhile.
Enjoy today’s music. Must Be Santa.mp3
~ Bob DylanJingle Bells.mp3
~ Pearl JamStory of the Magi / Silent Night.mp3
~ White StripesHave Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.mp3
~ Christina AguileraSanta Baby.mp3
Labels: holiday, Pearl Jam, White Stripes, Xtina
Down the Holiday Trail, pt. II
This picture is of a car I actually saw a few days ago here in Miami. I only wish I could have seen it at night: It seems like a truly glorious holiday spectacle.
And so Christmas draws ever nearer. I watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” the other night, so I suppose you could say my holidays are coming together nicely.
Once again, here are a few random, seasonally appropriate songs. Enjoy. Winter Wonderland.mp3
~ Ray CharlesThe Christmas Spell.mp3
~ Peggy LeeSanta Claus and His Old Lady.mp3
~ Cheech & ChongChristmas (Baby Please Come Home).mp3
~ The RaveonettesPeace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy.mp3
~ Bing Crosby and David Bowie
Labels: comedy, holiday
Down the Holiday Trail, pt. I
Ten days before Christmas and 10 days since my last post seems like a good mid-point and a good place to jump up on the holiday song bandwagon.
I’m going to take it a little easier on myself this year than I did last year and post just a few random songs a day, every other day until Christmas Day. Then I’ll do a massive Christmas song dump – haha, just kidding.
I’ve picked up a couple of new things since last year, but for the most part, these are holiday standards we all know and love. From today’s post, one of the new things for me is the Flirtations’ “Christmastime is Here Again,” which I found when I was looking the other day for “Nothing But a Heartache.” A beautiful version by a woefully underappreciated 60’s “girl group.” The other song I just recently found is the Boss’ version of “Blue Christmas,” a live version that I think was recorded in December 2000.
So, settle down, put another log on the fire – or, if you’re in someplace like Miami, turn the air conditioning a little lower – and let’s all get in the holiday spirit. Run Rudolph Run.mp3
~ Keith RichardsBlue Christmas (live).mp3
~ Bruce SpringsteenMerry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight).mp3
~ RamonesChristmas Time is Here Again.mp3
~ The FlirtationsSilent Night / Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis.mp3
~ Tom Waits
Labels: acousticness, holiday, live music, punk, Springsteen
Music From My Mailbox
Say you’ve got four lanes of traffic, all going the same direction. The far outside lane exits, the next one over has the option to exit or go straight. What the hell is that causes Miami drivers in the two inside lanes to come to a complete stop? During my commute I go through these traffic jams daily and I cannot, for the life of me, understand why it happens. Please, if you can explain this mystery, drop me a note.
In other more relevant news, there turned out to be some pretty decent things in my mailbox. Particularly, I want to mention Acrassicauda. These guys were featured in the 2007 film Heavy Metal in Baghdad
. Acrassicauda formed in Iraq, fled that country because of the war, first going to Syria then to Turkey. Earlier this year they were resettled in the U.S. with assistance from a relief agency. The song here, “Garden of Stones” will be on their debut EP, Only the Dead See the End of the War
, which is scheduled for release in March.
A couple other things worth mentioning: The Getdown! offers up the oft-covered “Leave My Kitten Alone,” a tasty slice of garage rock from their forthcoming EP. I also sorta liked the tracks from The Stone Foxes and I’m Not A Band. There’s also some other pretty decent things here. Have a listen and see what you think.
As always, follow the links for more information. Acrassicauda
Metal / Rock / Death Metal
From: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Band MySpaceGarden Of Stones.mp3 Bear Ceuse
From: St. Louis, Mo.
Band MySpaceAmerican Wit.mp3 iChoRa
Alternative / Rock
From: Western Australia, Australia
Band MySpaceLunafire.mp3 Codeine Velvet Club
From: United Kingdom
Band MySpaceI Am the Resurrection (Stone Roses cover).mp3 Le Corps Mince de Françoise (LCMDF)
Pop / Pop / Pop
From: Helsinki, Finland
Band MySpaceSomething Golden (Zebra and Snake remix).mp3 Zambri
Rock / Soul / Other
From: New York, New York
Band MySpaceFrom the Starts.mp3 The New Fidelity
Powerpop / Soul
From: Long Beach, Calif.
Band MySpace2nd Once in a Lifetime Girl.mp3 Blackmarket
Rock / Indie
From: Lake Havasu, Ariz.
Band MySpaceTongue Twister Typo.mp3 The Stone Foxes
Rock / Blues / Soul
From: San Francisco, Calif.
Band MySpaceSweep a Road.mp3 Gooding
From: Los Angeles, Calif.
Band MySpaceMake the Devil Cry.mp3
From: Portland, Ore.
Band MySpaceOpposite People.mp3 The Getdown!
Rock / Rock / Rock
From: Denver, Colo.
Band MySpaceLeave My Kitten Alone (Little Willie John cover).mp3 I’m Not A Band
Electro / Indie
From: Berlin / Leipzig, Germany
~~~~~pictures, top-to-bottom: Acrassicauda, LCMDF, The Stone Foxes, I’m Not A Band
Labels: "alternative", electronic, garage rock, indie, metal, pop muzik, rock, soul
Say It Ain't So, Lily
Gossip around the tabloids has it that Lily Allen is chucking the music biz. There is no truth to the rumors that she is giving it up to be with me.
Lily on Wednesday told the BBC
that she plans on taking “one or two years off from recording and performing music.” Her last scheduled performance is a March show with Dizzee Rascal at the O2 Arena in London. She also told the Beeb’s Radio 1 that she plans on setting up a fashion shop with her sister and working with new bands. “I’m just going to concentrate on doing some behind the scenes sort of stuff,” she said.
I’ve got say that Lily Allen taking a break from music will have no major impact on my life. However, I can admit to having been a casual fan since I saw her on Saturday Night Live a couple of years ago. I thought she was adorable looking and I kinda dug her infectious, pumped-up, ska-type music. And I have a weakness for girls with British accents.
Over the last couple of years I’ve picked up a handful of her songs here and there, but I never got around to buying a full album. I think what scared me away were tunes that veered away from ska and more into Pink territory. To be honest though, I haven’t really hated
anything I’ve heard from Lily Allen.
Anyway, to see her off, I’ve rounded up a few live and non-LP tracks. And Lily, if you get bored with all this new found free time, there’s always a chip butty waiting for you in Apt. 104. Everybody’s Changing.mp3
~ Keane cover – non-LPNaïve.mp3
~ live, BBC Radio 1Oh My God.mp3
~ Kaiser Chiefs cover – non-LP LDN.mp3
~ live, 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C., Feb. 16, 2007Blank Expression.mp3
~ Specials cover – live, 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C., Feb. 16, 2007.
Labels: covers, live music, pop muzik, ska, unplugged
‘Hard to Explain’ This Decision
I may have mentioned in the past that I’m not a fan of end-of-year lists. I have to admit, though, NME has shown some pretty big balls by putting together not just an end-of-year list, but a list of the top 100 songs and albums of the decade
Topping the album list was the Strokes’ 2001 debut, Is This It
. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I know that over the past 10 years there have been plenty of disks I’ve liked more and listened to more. But there was an undeniable excitement around that first Strokes release. They grabbed all at once punk rock and garage rock, and added something uniquely new, something uniquely 21st century.
I think the Strokes were just starting to break when they made an early 2002 appearance on Saturday Night Live. I didn’t know much about the band at the time. I remember a co-worker telling me they were “like the Ramones.” Honestly, I think he formed that opinion based solely on the fact both bands came from NYC and wore Chuck Taylors. But I watched the SNL appearance and was mesmerized. I'm pretty sure I bought the CD the next morning. I wanted
to believe they were going to be great and I wanted
to feel the same excitement from their album as I felt with the Ramones. I was ready to drink the Kool-Aid. Is This It
, while a good, possibly even great, album, somehow didn’t and doesn’t get my nerve ends jangling like the raw blitz of, to go back to my co-worker’s comparison, the Ramones. Or the Stooges. Or the White Stripes. I like the Strokes, but I can’t see the fuss, nor can I agree with their album being the best release of the past 10 years.
Anyway, with that all said, tonight’s music is “Hard to Explain,” which was the Strokes’ first single and the second song they did that night on SNL. I love this song because of the sudden stop at about the two-minute mark. There’s a little bit of tension the first time you hear that, wondering where they’re going. I still get that feeling today, even though I know the song is barely half gone. Hard to Explain.mp3