Monday, January 30

INSPIRING US ALL TO REVISIT THE GENIUS OF BILLY SQUIER'S "THE STROKE"

THE STROKES

I'm not a huge Strokes fan, though I liked "Hard to Explain" from their first album and "12:51" from their second. With First Impressions of Earth, I find myself responding to only three of the 14 songs. "You Only Live Once" has been all over the Internet for quite some time now, so I think we'll go ahead and skip that one.

[MP3] "Heart in a Cage"

[MP3] "Electricityscape"

Saturday, January 28

GIRLS JUST WANNA

Tuesday, January 24

HE OF THE HIGH CYANIDE-WHINE

PLACEBO (PART DEUX)

Thanks go to Torr and Ear Farm for two more tracks from the upcoming Placebo LP [Meds, available March 13th]. Apparently, it's "Because I Want You" that's the first single, not "Song to Say Goodbye," as I suggested in my post of a few days ago. My bad.

"Broken Promise" features Michael Stipe and some stark, haunty piano. Not sure it all adds up to much beyond that, however. Alas, alas....

Anyway, for those of you who haven't already snared these songs from their original sites...

[MP3] "Because I Want You"

[MP3] "Broken Promise" [w/Michael Stipe]

Monday, January 23

NO, REALLY, THIS TIME WE MEAN IT...THE NEXT ONE'S GONNA SOUND JUST LIKE "THE BENDS"

RADIOHEAD IN '06?

As I wait for my favorite band on this particular planet to get its shit together for an expected [?] 2006 release, I stumble upon the news that their long-time producer, Nigel Godrich, will not be participating on the upcoming project. Apparently, they are considering Mark "Spike" Stent as a replacement - this a man who has worked with the likes of the Spice Girls and No Doubt. Granted, he has also worked with Bjork, Massive Attack, U2, and countless other decidedly less pop-gloss acts, but still....

In truth, though, I like the band's explanation for the change. After a decade of work with Godrich, they had become too "comfortable" with him and needed, essentially, to yank the rug out from under their own feet. Which is just fine by me. (I only wish R.E.M. would look to follow their lead.)

Today's offerings include some tracks that Radiohead have played live in the past few years that may or may not appear on the forthcoming album. Also, we have a very early demo from the band when they were still called On a Friday. They haven't written all that many "happy" songs since. Which, by the way, is just fine by me as well.

[MP3] "Last Flowers Till the Hospital" [live]/Thom Yorke [2005]

[MP3] "House of Cards" [live]/Thom Yorke [2005]

[MP3] "Reckoner" [live]/Radiohead

[MP3] "Arpeggi" [live]/Thom Yorke/Jonny Greenwood/The Nazareth Orchestra [2005]

[MP3] "Happy Song"/On a Friday [Radiohead] [1988]

Saturday, January 21

GET YOUR MEDS

PLACEBO

Placebo's new single has been making the rounds of late. Can't say that I'm especially impressed with it, though I generally enjoy the band and hope the rest of the album will prove superior to this initial sampler.

Regardless, the other three tracks I offer today are personal favorites, including the great, semi-obscure "Johnny and Mary" (thankfully, you'd never guess it's a Robert Palmer song).

The new Placebo CD, MEDS, will be released on March 13, 2006.

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Song to Say Goodbye" [from the LP MEDS, 2006]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "The Bitter End" [from the LP Sleeping with Ghosts, 2003]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Johnny and Mary" [Sleeping with Ghosts bonus track, 2003]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Every You Every Me" [from the LP Without You I'm Nothing, 1998]

Thursday, January 19

DANCE THIS MESS AROUND

THE B-52'S

Yesterday's post leads rather directly to today's, as yesterday I was trying to think what groups Imperial Teen borrowed some of their sound(s) from. The B-52's seemed a fairly obvious starting point.

I must have been in my early teens when I first head "Rock Lobster" on the radio. It remains brilliant and mad and catchy and so "stupid" it's "stoopid."

"Private Idaho" is just a brilliant pop song (so brilliant, of course, they made a movie title out of it).

And I'm going to forego the pretty swell (but overplayed) "Love Shack" for another favorite of mine from their big comeback album of 1989.

Rumor had it that the B-52's were going to release an album of new material back in the summer of 2005, which obviously didn't happen. But they continue to play together, and 2006 may yet see new tunes from one of the original "Athens" bands, and - as they themselves are wont to say - "the world's greatest party band."

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Private Idaho" [from the LP Wild Planet, 1980]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Roam" [from the LP Cosmic Thing, 1989]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Rock Lobster" [from their self-titled LP, 1979]

Wednesday, January 18

SURELY IN THEIR 20'S BY NOW...

IMPERIAL TEEN

Bored stupid the other day, I took a weary glance at my CD shelves and pulled out oldie-but-goody Imperial Teen. Hell, I'd damn-near forgotten about these playful popsters. If you're not familiar with them: think the B-52's, Placebo, and Sonic Youth in one big-time blender.

Checking their website, I see that Imperial Teen are scheduled to spit out some new tunes in the not-too-distant future. Good news. And, in the meantime....

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "You're One"

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Water Boy"

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

Saturday, January 14

SELF-EXPLANATORY SATURDAY

SATURDAY LOOKS GOOD TO ME

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Until the World Stops Spinning" [from the LP Every Night, 2004]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "The Girl's Distracted" [from the LP Every Night, 2004]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "We Can't Work It Out" [from the LP Every Night, 2004]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Alcohol" [from the LP All Your Summer Songs, 2003]

Friday, January 13

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN'

NEST

The female-fronted, Los Angeles band Nest released their self-titled debut EP back in December. They list Frou Frou and Goldfrapp amongst their influences, and the former seems especially fitting, what with their subtle and moody musical backdrops serving to spotlight singer Ayana's highly evocative voice.

I actually hear quite a lot of Dar Williams and Sarah McLachlan in that voice, but Sarah-haters shouldn't think that Nest plays that particular brand of adult-contemporary, sleepy-time Muzak (though they may compare somewhat to her pre-Lilith Fair material... Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, perhaps).

Regardless, Nest are already starting to carve out an audience around the L.A. area at small clubs and on local radio, and they will be interesting to track as their sound continues to develop. I, for one, would love to hear them amp up the arrangements a bit - making them a bit more grandiose and dramatic to fit their Goldfrappian inclinations. With Ayana's already top-tier voice, that might just make for the perfect mix.

If you like the songs posted below, you can purchase Nest's EP from their website. You can also hear more samples of their music on their myspace page [here].

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Part of You" [from their self-titled EP, 2005]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Ultraviolet" [from their self-titled EP, 2005]

Wednesday, January 11

SINGLE-ARTIST WEDNESDAY

JOSEPH ARTHUR

Not so long ago, I posted Coldplay and Michael Stipe covering the Joseph Arthur song "In the Sun." I had been intending to shine a little light on Mr. Arthur well before that, so now seems as good a time as any to finally do so.

Apparently, this Ohio singer-songwriter was "discovered" by Peter Gabriel in the mid-'90s. Since then, he's put out solid work that has gone a bit under-the-radar. Which is too bad, really, because he's quite the accomplished artist (in every sense, it would seem).

So let's show the man some love by doing the click-and-listen thing....

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "In the Night" [from the LP Redemption's Son, 2002]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Honey and the Moon" [from the LP Redemption's Son, 2002]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "All of Our Hands" [Our Shadows Will Remain outtake]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Bill Wilson" [from the EP Junkyard Hearts II]

Tuesday, January 10

LET IT BE... AND A BIT OF CHEESE

A real post is coming tomorrow, but for now...

Why not find out which songs were #1 on the American and British charts on the day you were born. A quick click will clue you in if you go [here].

For me, the Beatles' "Let It Be" was #1 on the American chart. As for the Brits... well... for whatever reason, they chose to elevate Dana's "All Kinds of Everything." Um... yeah... sure.

Never heard of Dana. Never heard of the song. But, through the wonders of the Internet (and Google), we can all hear it now....

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "All Kinds of Everything"/Dana [1970]

Sunday, January 8

NO, NOT *THAT* GUY...
...*THIS* GUY (WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM HIS FRIENDS)

CHARLEMAGNE

I discovered a song by the Madison, Wisconsin band Charlemagne by my own devices quite some time ago, but then it sort of slipped my mind entirely. Just the other day, though, *Sixeyes posted four more of their tracks in the middle of a ten-pack sampler (where I easily could have missed them; damn your generosity, Alan!).

Fortunately, I didn't miss them. I listened to them. And I liked them very much, thank you very much. Then I ran a little search on my mix CD "archives" and re-located that old song I'd discovered by my own devices quite some time ago.

Well, I'm globbing them all together for you here.

Now, on the off-chance you're interested in what these folks sound like... for the most part, you should think gentle folk-pop with melodies that are sometimes subtle, sometimes more in-your-face, but always worth your time. They also frequently make use of that thing that's nearly as addictive to me as alcohol: boy-girl vocal interplay. Ahh, those bastard enablers....

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Your Scars" [from the LP Detour Allure, 2005]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Nematode" [from the LP Detour Allure, 2005]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "Pink and Silver" [from the LP Detour Allure, 2005]

[MP3] [right-click/"save as"] "August Evenings" [from their self-titled LP, 2004]

Friday, January 6

WOULD YOU LIKE TO TOUCH MY MONKEY? TOUCH HIM! LOVE HIM!

Tuesday, January 3

OCTOBER ->> DECEMBER 2005

[Sorry that I forgot to include the tracklist for the zip. Thanks to the three people who downloaded it anyway. On faith, I guess. Hope you're enjoying it. Tracklist now appears below. And regular updates should resume shortly.]

Well, I'm back from the near-dead after yet another one of my patented, week-long, kamikaze binges. I did manage to do one productive thing, which was to put together a collection of my favorite tunes from the last three months of 2005. I've posted a number of them here previously, but now you can grab them all in one snazzy (not to mention "handy-dandy") zip file by left-clicking [here].

TRACKLISTING --->
1) Madonna/Hung Up
2) Depeche Mode/Precious
3) Dragonette/I Get Around
4) We Are Scientists/Inaction
5) Lucky Soul/My Brittle Heart
6) Belle and Sebastian/Another Sunny Day
7) The Cardigans/Good Morning Joan
8) Dave Matthews Band/American Baby
9) The Rosebuds/Leaves Do Fall
10) Split Squad/Hairless Youth of Bosnia
11) Bloc Party/Banquet
12) The Loose Salute/Photographs and Tickets
13) Editors/Blood
14) Matt Pond Pa/Several Arrows Later
15) Silver Jews/Punks in the Beerlight
16) Crooked Fingers/Call to Love
17) Goldspot/It's Getting Old
18) Pelle Carlberg/Summer of '69
19) The Fine Arts Showcase/Chemical Girl
20) The Coral Sea/In this Moment's Time
21) Delaware/Loss

I hope you enjoy them; I actually was sort of loving this collection while pouring enough vodka down my gullet to put John Belushi in a coma. Now, I have to go lay down and listen to my liver shriek & wheeze.

Happy 2006, everybody.
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