Tuesday, December 27

ANTONY & A JOHNSON
JOHN MICHAEL & CHRISTOPHER ANTHONY JOHN

LIVE IT UP

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "You Are My Sister" [live]/Antony & the Johnsons [Late Show with David Letterman]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "In the Sun" [live]/Michael Stipe with Coldplay [Joseph Arthur cover/Austin City Limits]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Nightswimming" [live]/Michael Stipe with Coldplay [R.E.M. song/Austin City Limits]

Saturday, December 24

BRIAN'S SONG

WAKE UP, CHRISTIANS: JESUS WAS A JEW & HIS DEATH WAS A SUICIDE

I hate religion. All of it. All of them. Doesn't matter how long they've been around or how many members they claim to have; they're all cults based on utter nonsense. I'd just as soon believe in ghosts (oh, wait a minute, there are whole RELIGIONS that believe in ghosts), UFOs, Big Foot, or the possibility of the United States electing Hillary Clinton president in 2008.

Yet, something like 90% of Americans believe in some sort of deity. Talk about mass delusion.... Makes me want to tear my skin off and set my eyes on fire.

All of this is to say that I have rather bitter feelings toward Christmas. But then, this is supposed to be a place for the sharing of music - nothing more - and all are welcome here. Just please leave your faith at the door; it'll be waiting for you when you leave.

End of rant (till this same time next year) (or, maybe, Easter).

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] Jeff Buckley/"Corpus Christi Carol"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] Ben Folds/"Jesusland"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] Morrissey/"I Have Forgiven Jesus"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] Treble Charger/"Christ is on the Lawn"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] The Whitlams/"Jesus Has Got an Erection (And I'm in the Mood for Romance)" [live]

Thursday, December 22

IF RADIOHEAD CAN TAKE THEIR NAME FROM A TALKING HEADS SONG, THESE GUYS CAN TAKE THEIRS FROM R.E.M.

WORLD LEADER PRETEND

Some good news out of New Orleans in this year of Katrina comes from the young band World Leader Pretend. They released their second album and reinforced themselves as promising upstarts in the indie-pop world.

Though named for an R.E.M. song (from 1988's Green), their sound seems to swing a bit more toward post-Radiohead Britpop. Muse comes to mind, as a comparison, especially on the title track to their 2005 LP.

These guys are still in their early-20s, apparently, so they should be well worth tracking over the next few years.

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Punches" [from the LP Punches, 2005]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Lovey Dovey" [from the LP Punches, 2005]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Fit for Faded" [from the LP Fit for Faded, 2003]

Tuesday, December 20

'60s POP IS FOREVER

LUCKY SOUL

It was probably a couple months ago that Indie MP3 - Keeping C86 Alive! turned me on to the English group Lucky Soul. I liked their alternately sleek and heartfelt, '60s-styled pop immediately (they obviously have listened to some Dusty Springfield and Phil Spector productions in their time).

I'm offering up my two favorites by them below. They don't have a full-length album available yet, but they are promising demos from it on their website in the not-too-distant future. I can only hope they hurry up.

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "My Brittle Heart"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Baby I'm Broke"

Monday, December 19

ST. SEBASTIAN-INSPIRED TRANSITION?

MATT POND PA

I didn't buy Matt Pond PA's latest LP, Several Arrows Later, until after I'd compiled my Top 10 Albums of 2005 list. Fortunately, I suppose, it wouldn't have cracked the Top 10 anyway (yes, yet another "near-miss"; I've got enough of those now to do a Top 40).

Regardless, I'm liking this record more than any other Matt Pond PA effort to date, and there are several good tracks on it. I posted a couple of them back in November or so, but here are two more relatively up-tempo numbers (as well as a rather solid cover of Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea").

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Several Arrows Later"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Emblems"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea"

Sunday, December 18

GHOSTS OF JIM CROCE...

JEFF HANSON

Jeff Hanson's self-titled LP from 2005 didn't quite make my Top 10, but it nearly got there on the strength of the following three songs alone.

I guess some people are bothered by the sheer "femininity" of Hanson's voice. Personally, I find it bewitching.

Also, the elegant melodies have an early-to-mid '70s/Jim Croce thing going on. And this old man finds THAT rather bewitching as well.

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "This Time It Will"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Welcome Here"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "I Know Your Name"

Thursday, December 15

#1

Wednesday, December 14

#2
#3

STARS/"SET YOURSELF ON FIRE"

Favorite song: "Ageless Beauty"
[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "What I'm Trying to Say"
#4

THE ROSEBUDS/"BIRDS MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS"

Favorite song: "Leaves Do Fall"
[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "The Lovers' Rights"

Monday, December 12

#5

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE/"PLANS"

My favorite song: "Soul Meets Body"
[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Someday You Will Be Loved"
#6

EELS/"BLINKING LIGHTS AND OTHER REVELATIONS"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Railroad Man"
#7

THE CARDIGANS/"SUPER EXTRA GRAVITY"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Good Morning Joan"

Sunday, December 11

TOP 10 ALBUMS 2005

Well, I guess I've puzzled over this long enough (three weeks?!). Ack. I need a life.

I''ll offer a download for each entry, though not necessarily my favorite track from each album. In those cases where I've posted my favorite song previously on the blog (or where that particular song has been widely available from OTHER blogs), I've submitted a different, still-highly-worthwhile tune for your perusing.

Thanks to those of you who have visited here these past six months or so. I hope you'll continue to stop by as we careen treacherously toward 2006.
#8

I AM KLOOT/"GODS AND MONSTERS"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "No Direction Home"
#9

ED HARCOURT/"STRANGERS"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Loneliness"
#10

THE SPINTO BAND/"NICE AND NICELY DONE"

Favorite song: "Oh Mandy"
[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Direct to Helmet"

Thursday, December 8

THEY NEARLY NAMED THEMSELVES "NEGRO EYES"... YIKES!

R.E.M. X-MAS

We're going to call this a "holiday" package today, and Bill O'Reilly can just shove that up his tight, fat, insufferable ass.

There was a time when my once-beloved R.E.M. made music that sounded FUN. Alas, in recent years, their studio efforts have sounded... well... ANTI-FUN. Which leaves me ferreting around their vast back-catalogue to rediscover the FUN stuff.

Thus, in the spirit of the "holiday" season, we present yet another handy-dandy zip-file with some appropriately loose and festive selections. And I've decided to fill it out with tracks sung by R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills. Mills' backing vocals were always one of the things I found especially effective (and affecting) about R.E.M. in their early-to-mid career years. Nowadays, for whatever reason, Senor Stipe doesn't seem to want the competition/complement. Our loss. And R.E.M.'s.

Now, make no mistake: I don't think for a minute that Mills' somewhat John Denver-esque tenor is as rich or distinctive an instrument as Stipe's through-the-nose baritone. But the boy can hold his own. And R.E.M. have always known their way around a cover song.

So left-click [here] for that aforementioned handy-dandy zip-file.

TRACKLIST:
1) Good King Wenceslas
2) Ghost Reindeers in the Sky
3) Toyland
4) Christmas Griping
5) Silver Bells
6) Christmas Time is Here
7) Deck the Halls
8) Superman (The Clique cover) [from the LP Lifes Rich Pageant, 1986]
9) Near Wild Heaven [from the LP Out of Time, 1991]
10) Texarkana [from the LP Out of Time, 1991]
11) Love is All Around (Troggs cover)
12) Jesus Christ (Big Star cover)
13) Yellow River (Christie cover)
14) Out in the Country (Three Dog Night cover)
15) No Matter What (Badfinger cover)
16) Baby Baby (The Vibrators cover)
17) Roadrunner [Mike Mills with the Backbeat Band]
WISHING HIM A VERY-MERRY-CHRISTMAS CORONARY

Wednesday, December 7

2004... 2005... WHAT'S THE BIG WHOOP?

CROOKED FINGERS

Ah, hell.

As I get closer to finalizing my Top 10 Albums of '05, I have hit a formidable, unforgiving wall. For some ridiculous reason, I was ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED that the Arcade Fire's Funeral was released in the year 2005. Of course, not true.

Shit.

So there goes my #1. My no-brainer. My silver-lining. My shining light.

For, you see, slotting everything else has been painstaking. It's been a chore. A bitch. I was sure of my ground only with #1. But no more....

Fuck.

But life, as they say, goes on. So I will strive to forgive myself for not having a blog at this time last year - and therefore compiling a list of the Top 10 Albums of 2004 (though I reserve the right to compile such a list, post-facto, any time from this day till December 31, 2009) (just for the hell/shit/fuck of it).

In the meantime, there is the 2005 (I double-checked) effort of Crooked Fingers - Dignity and Shame. I suppose now that it has an outside chance of making my re-shuffled Top 10. At the very least, former Archer of Loaf Eric Bachmann's work continues to be worthy of praise and potential contention. (And what with Neil Diamond's recent career resurrection, it seems appropriate to include Crooked Fingers covering the Jazz Singer, especially as Mr. Bachmann's distinctive pipes are so often connected with Mr. Diamond's).

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Call to Love" [from the LP Dignity and Shame, 2005]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "You Can Never Leave" [from the LP Red Devil Dawn, 2003]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "You Threw a Spark" [from the LP Red Devil Dawn, 2003]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "New Drink for the Old Drunk" [from their self-titled LP, 2000]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Solitary Man" [from the EP Reservoir Songs, 2002]

Monday, December 5

SO MUCH MORE ELEGANT THAN A F*CKING FORK

SPOON

Spoon's Gimme Fiction looks like another near-miss for 2005's Top 10 list. "Monsieur Valentine" makes my Top 20 song list, however, and there is much else to admire and celebrate when it comes to these Austin originals.

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Sister Jack"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "I Summon You"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Stay Don't Go" [from the LP Kill the Moonlight, 2002]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Everything Hits at Once" [from the LP Girls Can Tell, 2001]

Sunday, December 4

BAH HUMBUG?

BELLE & SEBASTIAN X-MAS

At the risk of running this recent Belle and Sebastian fixation of mine right into the ground, I am offering today a collection of ten Christmas tunes the band played at a John Peel party in 2002.

For your convenience, I have lumped them together in a handy-dandy zip file, which can be left-clicked and dowloaded [here]. Enjoy.

Tracklist:
1) O Come, All Ye Faithful
2) Christmas Time is Here
3) Santa Claus
4) Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto
5) Silent Night
6) O Little Town of Bethlehem
7) Santa, Bring My Baby Back to Me
8) O Come, O Come Emmanuel
9) I Took Some Time for Christmas
10) The Twelve Days of Christmas

Friday, December 2

NEW DAY DAWNING...

Well, I finally decided to invest a couple bucks so that visitors don't have to jump through Rapidshare hoops to download some tunes. Starting with today's Gentle Waves/Isobel Campbell post, people can do the right-click/"save as" thing. And we'll see how this goes....
ISOBEL[LE] SANS SEBASTIAN

THE GENTLE WAVES/ISOBEL CAMPBELL

Following fairly naturally from yesterday's Belle and Sebastian post is today's Isobel Campbell entry. Isobel used to play cello and, every now and again, sing for B&S. She has also led the '60s-styled folk-pop outfit the Gentle Waves and released a solo album (Amorino).

Most recently, she has teamed with former Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age singer Mark Lanegan on the 2005 EP Ramblin' Man [to be released December 13th.] [Go (here) to sample the tracks.]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Falling from Grace" [from the LP Swansong for You, 2000]

[MP3] [right-click/"save-as"] "Partner in Crime" [from the LP Swansong for You, 2000]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Evensong" [from the LP The Green Fields of Foreverland..., 1999]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Amorino"/Isobel Campbell [from the LP Amorino, 2003]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Ramblin' Man"/Mark Lanegan w/Isobel Campbell [from the EP Ramblin' Man, 2005]

Thursday, December 1

LET THERE BE LEAK!

NEW BELLE AND SEBASTIAN

Though their new LP, The Life Pursuit, won't be released until February 7th, 2006, Belle and Sebastian's new tunes are already leaking into the ether [see: Dreams of Horses, for starters].

And here's one that I've taken a shine to (though, granted, it ain't nothin' new for B&S)...

[MP3] [left-click] "Dress Up in You"
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