Monday, June 30

THE HUMAN LEAGUE

As I mentioned mere hours ago, the Sheffield, UK synth-pop outfit THE HUMAN LEAGUE will be touring this August with fellow Sheffielders ABC (and Hollywooder BELINDA CARLISLE). Unlike ABC, the Human League do not have a new album to draw from, so I guess we'll have to go back to the classics....

[MP3] "Don't You Want Me" [1981]

[
MP3] "Human" [1986]

[
MP3] "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" [1983]

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Sunday, June 29

SAM PHILLIPS - PART 2

SAM PHILLIPS at HOME and on MySPACE.

[
MP3] "Out of Time" [1988]

[
MP3] "Standing Still" [1991]

[
MP3] "How to Quit" [2004]

[
MP3] "Same Changes" [1994]

[
MP3] "Love is Not Lost" [1987]

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SAM PHILLIPS - PART 1

I'm not sure that SAM PHILLIPS quite deserves all of the critical praise that's been heaped on her over the past 20 years, but she could certainly use a hell of a lot more love and attention and commercial success. The woman has a small, likeable voice and a gift for penning tidy little pop songs with simple-yet-sophisticated arrangements. In more recent years, for whatever reason, she's opted for a more stripped-down approach, and -- for me, at least -- it hasn't been a change for the better.

What follows is the first part of a two-part sampler. As I tend to think of her late-'80s-to-mid-'90s period as her "sweet-spot"/"glory years," you'll find the bulk of the selections falling within that time-frame.

[MP3] "I Don't Want to Fall in Love" [1988]

[
MP3] "I Need Love" [1994]

[
MP3] "Five Colors" [2001]

[
MP3] "Where the Colors Don't Go" [1991]

[
MP3] "Little Plastic Life" [2008]

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Friday, June 27

BEST OF JUNE 2008

Left-click [HERE] to download the June jamboree.

Portal to previous monthly mixes [HERE].

JUNE 2008 TRACKLIST >>>

1 clint/los testigos no descansan en domingo
2 fabienne delsol/mr. mystery
3 get well soon/if this head is missing i have gone hunting
4 tilly and the wall/blood flowers
5 ratatat/mirando
6 cazals/somebody somewhere
7 the ting tings/we walk
8 the virgins/teen lovers
9 lovelikefire/unlighted shadow
10 clocks/old valve radio
11 boy kill boy/ready to go
12 the fratellis/babydoll
13 langhorne slim/spinning compass
14 five o'clock heroes [w/agyness deyn]/who
15 friska viljor/old man
16 south/a place in displacement
17 uh huh her/common reaction
18 sergeant/k-ok
19 cut copy/the twilight
20 mates of state/get better
21 the jayhawks/smile
22 the raveonettes/that great love sound

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Thursday, June 26

JEWEL

Holy yodeling Alaskans, Batman, what the f*ck is wrong with me lately?!

First: PHIL COLLINS. Then: ALANIS MORISSETTE. Now: JEWEL. Question: WHY?! Answer: Hell if I know. Maybe the summer heat is getting to me. Or all these mosquito bites I've been getting while feeding baby raccoons in my backyard every night. Anybody know if West Nile Virus has been known to cause one's taste in music to suddenly go all to sh*t? Somebody get C. Everett Koop or Sanjay Gupta or Jack Kevorkian on the case; this blog is beginning to go positively dodgy/wobbly.

Now... I may be one of the few people on the planet that thought Jewel's foray into dance-pop with 2003's 0304 was a good move. Mainly I thought that because I tend to find her folk-pop-poetry to be pretty damn dull (for proof of this, give 2006's GOODBYE ALICE IN WONDERLAND a listen). Now, with 2008's PERFECTLY CLEAR, the woman has up and gone country on us. Fine. Change can be a good thing. Let's just sit back and see how it goes....

It goes a little like the first two songs below. Not really all that different from most of the other songs below, which comprise nine of the 12 total Jewel songs that I am able to endure and endorse in any way whatsoever.


Then again, this all may be just the West Nile talking....

JEWEL on MySPACE.

From the LP PERFECTLY CLEAR, 2008 >>>
[
MP3] "I Do"
[
MP3] "Rosey and Mick"

From the LP GOODBYE ALICE IN WONDERLAND, 2006 >>>
[
MP3] "Again and Again"

From the LP 0304, 2003 >>>
[
MP3] "Sweet Temptation"
[
MP3] "Intuition"

From the LP THIS WAY, 2001 >>>
[
MP3] "Standing Still"

From the LP SPIRIT, 1998 >>>
[
MP3] "Hands"

From the LP PIECES OF YOU, 1995 >>>
[
MP3] "Foolish Games"
[
MP3] "You Were Meant for Me"

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Wednesday, June 25

MATTHEW RYAN

A little love today for underrated American singer-songwriter MATTHEW RYAN. If that first sentence causes you to quizzically query, "Who?"... well... that's exactly why this post is so necessary.

Mr. Ryan (born RYAN CHRISTOPHER WEBB, but that's neither here nor there) has been releasing albums since 1997. In fact, he's released about 11 albums in those 11 years, while shifting his base of operations from Pennsylvania to Delaware to Tennessee.

The guy is known for his distinctive, everyman rasp, and is compared to everyone from RYAN ADAMS to LOU REED; TOM WAITS to LEONARD COHEN. For my money, though, SPRINGSTEEN, DYLAN, and JOSHUA TREE-era U2 are the most obvious touchstones. See if you agree....


From the LP MAY DAY, 1997 >>>
[
MP3] "Guilty"
[
MP3] "Railroaded"

From the LP EAST AUTUMN GRIN, 2000 >>>
[
MP3] "Heartache Weather"
[
MP3] "Me & My Lover"

From the LP REGRET OVER THE WIRES, 2003 >>>
[
MP3] "Come Home"
[
MP3] "Return to Me"

From the LP FROM A LATE NIGHT HIGH RISE, 2007 >>>
[
MP3] "Everybody Always Leaves"
[
MP3] "Babybird"

From the LP MATTHEW RYAN VS. THE SILVER STATE, 2008 >>>
[
MP3] "Drunk and Disappointed"
[
MP3] "American Dirt"

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Tuesday, June 24

THE NICE DEVICE

THE NICE DEVICE is a female-fronted indie-rock outfit outta Detroit Rock City. Even though they're right here in my backyard, I've never seen/heard them play live because... well... I don't particularly like to leave my house. And I somewhat doubt that they'd be willing to play a personal show for me here in my living room, garage, or sun porch.

Today's songs come courtesy of their 2006 debut LP, LET THE NIGHTLIFE DOWN. They are currently working on a follow-up EP, to be released later this year.

Oh, and their last names are GBUR, LANNOO, GERHARDT, ALBER, and SMAK. It seemed somehow crucial to inform you of that fact....

THE NICE DEVICE on MySPACE.

[
MP3] "Public Transportation"

[
MP3] "Lights Always On"

[VID] "Innocent"

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LANGHORNE SLIM

FOGHORN LEGHORN... er... LANGHORNE SLIM is a Brooklyn singer-songwriter with a CD he'd like you to buy. It's called LANGHORNE SLIM. The songs below are extracted from said CD.

Langhorne Slim (the man, not the CD) was not always called Langhorne Slim; he was called SEAN SCOLNICK. Sean Scolnick was not always from Brooklyn, New York; he was from Langhorne, Pennsylvania. So you can kind of see how that works, then.


SEAN SCOL... uh... LANGHORNE SLIM (the man) on MySPACE.

[
MP3] "Spinning Compass"

[
MP3] "Restless"

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Monday, June 23

THE SHORTWAVE SET

THE SHORTWAVE SET are ANDREW PETTITT, ULRIKA BJORSNE, and DAVID FARRELL. One of them is Swedish. Guess who?

The Shortwave Set specialize in "Victorian funk." That's their phrase, not mine. But it sort of works.

Think: Indie-pop/boy-girl vocals/'60s-'70s templates/with a hip-hop-beat sheen. (Hey, DANGER MOUSE likes them, so what more do you need to know?)

THE SHORTWAVE SET on MySPACE.

From the LP REPLICA SUN MACHINE, 2008 >>>
[
MP3] "Glitches 'n' Bugs"
[
MP3] [VID] "No Social"

From the LP THE DEBT COLLECTION, 2006 >>>
[
MP3] [VID] "Repeat to Fade"
[
MP3] "Is It Any Wonder"

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Sunday, June 22

PETER GABRIEL - PART 2

PETER GABRIEL's HOME.

[
MP3] [VID] "Shock the Monkey" [1982]

[
MP3] [VID] "In Your Eyes" [1986]

[
MP3] [VID] "Digging in the Dirt" [1992]

[
MP3] "San Jacinto" [1982]

[
MP3] [VID] "I Don't Remember" [1979]

[
MP3] "I Grieve" [2002]

[VID] "Don't Give Up" [w/KATE BUSH] [1986]

[VID] "Red Rain" [1986]

[VID] "Red Rain" [w/NATALIE MERCHANT & MICHAEL STIPE] [live] [1996]

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PETER GABRIEL - PART 1

Well, this seems the logical next step after last Sunday's posts, wouldn't you say?

PETER GABRIEL on WIKIPEDIA.

[
MP3] [VID] "Solsbury Hill" [1977]

[
MP3] [VID] "Big Time" [1986]

[
MP3] "Mother of Violence" [1978]

[
MP3] [VID] "Games Without Frontiers" [1979]

[
MP3] [VID] "Mercy Street" [1986]

[
MP3] "More Than This" [2002]

[VID] "Sledgehammer" [1986]

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Friday, June 20

ODDS 'N' SODS #16

[MP3] ELVIS COSTELLO AND THE IMPOSTERS/"No Hiding Place" [2008]

[
MP3] THE RASCALS/"I'll Give You Sympathy" [2008]

[
MP3] JAKOB DYLAN/"Valley of the Low Sun" [2008]

[
MP3] CLINT/"Los Testigos No Descansan En Domingo" [2008]

[
MP3] BONNIE "PRINCE" BILLY/"I'll Be Glad" [2008]

[
MP3] STARFLYER 59/"I Love You Like the Little Bird" [demo] [2008]

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Thursday, June 19

ALANIS MORISSETTE

Call me a glutton for punishment. Call me a guy with too much time on his hands. Call me a coroner; I'm ready to surrender. Give up the ghost. Do the dutch.

Because, you see, I really don't like ALANIS MORISSETTE. At all. Yet, recently, I spent the better part of an afternoon listening my way through her discography. All of it. Put a rush on that coroner. Clean-up on aisle three.

In part, this sudden and unexpected immersion in masochism was inspired by the release of Morissette's latest LP, FLAVORS OF ENTANGLEMENT (the woman has a gift for catchy, roll-right-off-the-tongue album titles, does she not?). Mainly, though, I was remembering the head-over-feet phenomenon that was 1995's JAGGED LITTLE PILL. The fellatio-emblazoned "You Oughtta Know." The ironically non-ironical "Ironic." The boatload of Grammys and Junos. The 30+ million units sold. The question was: How would that album hold up 13 years down the line -- with grunge gone to ground and Lilith Fair a distant, misty memory?

Answer: It doesn't hold up very well at all. Yet Morissette has never entirely abandoned the musical blueprint that she and producer GLEN BALLARD (the Jerry Bruckheimer of audio overseers) were working from back then. Musically, we get faux-funky confessionals built upon bland, drum machine-driven rhythms and LED ZEPPLIN-esque storm & stress. Vocally, Alanis cycles from "hysterical howl" to "woeful wail"; from "bitter whine" to "grrrlish growl." And it grrrates. It rrreally, rrreally grrrates.

Always worst of all, though, was (is) the woman's insistence on ripping her lyrics directly from her personal journals, and singing them as-is -- syntax be damned. It gets old right quick, and you sort of want to slap her. Anything to get her off that self-pity/self-empowerment teeter-totter of hers. Anything to put a stop to all that endless, self-obsessed navel-gazing. Alanis, honey, here's a thought: Not every emotion you've ever felt deserves its own song. Sometimes, you just gotta swallow that shit.


ALANIS MORISSETTE on MySPACE.

From the LP FLAVORS OF ENTANGLEMENT, 2008 >>>
[
MP3] "Giggle Again for No Reason"
[
MP3] "Versions of Violence"

From the LP UNDER RUG SWEPT, 2002 >>>
[
MP3] "Hands Clean"

From the LP SUPPOSED FORMER INFATUATION JUNKIE, 1998 >>>
[
MP3] "Joining You"
[
MP3] "One"

From the LP JAGGED LITTLE PILL, 1995 >>>
[
MP3] "Wake Up"

BONUS TRACK >>>

[
MP3] "Uninvited"

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Wednesday, June 18

BOY KILL BOY

Upon the release of their first long-player back in 2006, I compared BOY KILL BOY to THE KILLERS and THE BRAVERY. Now, upon the release of their somewhat colorless second record, STARS AND THE SEA, I'm ready to banish them from the Killers' class. But the Bravery? Sure, they can still hang with the Bravery. (And that, my friends, is what we like to call "faint praise." Kind of like: "John McCain will make for a better presidential candidate than Bob Dole." Or: "Tyra Banks is less of a raving-bitch diva than Naomi Campbell." Or: "Adam Sandler is more talented than..." uh... hmmm... okay, I can't think of anybody I can plug in here to make this one work.) (Except, maybe, "Dane Cook.")

BOY KILL BOY on MySPACE.

From the LP STARS AND THE SEA, 2008 >>>
[
MP3] "Ready to Go"
[
MP3] "A OK"

From the LP CIVILIAN, 2006 >>>
[
MP3] "On and On"
[
MP3] "Ivy Parker"

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Tuesday, June 17

TILLY AND THE WALL

TILLY AND THE WALL -- the indie-pop quintet from Omaha, Nebraska with the tap-dancing percussionist -- release their third album today. Me likee.

TILLY AND THE WALL on MySPACE.

From the LP o, 2008 >>>
[
MP3] "Blood Flowers"
[
MP3] "Dust Me Off"
[VID] "Pot Kettle Black"

From the LP BOTTOMS OF BARRELS, 2006 >>>
[
MP3] [VID] "Bad Education"
[
MP3] [VID] "Sing Songs Along"
[VID] "Rainbows in the Dark"

From the LP WILD LIKE CHILDREN, 2004 >>>
[
MP3] [VID] "You and I Misbehaving"
[
MP3] "Nights of the Living Dead"

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Monday, June 16

FRISKA VILJOR

It was just this past November that I typed the following succession of letters:

"FRISKA VILJOR are two merry music-makers from the enchanted land of Stockholm-in-Sweden. According to a free-and-convenient online translation service I spent many seconds seeking, their name means "Fresh Wills" in English. This was a disappointment to me. I wanted their name to mean "Frisky Villains." Is that asking so much? (Regardless, "Fresh Wills" is preferable to the translation provided by a rival free-and-convenient service -- "Freshen Want" -- which I believe was actually the title of a popular, Nazi-era breath-mint jingle composed by GUSTAV MAHLER.) (I could be wrong about this, but I don't think so.)

The men of Friska Viljor have pledged to never compose sober. (A noble notion, but somebody needs to tell them that PETE DOHERTY and AMY WINEHOUSE have already blazed that trail, thank you very much.)"


Apparently, the Absolut has been flowing freely, because Friska Viljor have already gone ahead and completed another happily ragged LP. So, today, we toast their libertine livers; we drink to their blind(-drunk) ambition.


FRISKA VILJOR on MySPACE.

From the LP TOUR DE HEARTS, 2008 >>>
[
MP3] "Old Man"
[
MP3] "On and On"

From the LP BRAVO!, 2007 >>>
[
MP3] "Four Points"
[
MP3] "Puppet Cabaret"

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Sunday, June 15

PHIL COLLINS - PART 2 (GENESIS)

This will officially end our PHIL COLLINS-palooza. I promise. Cross my heart. Hope to die. Cherry on top.

These tracks were recorded 5-11 years after PETER GABRIEL jumped ship, but the picture above was simply too irresistible to... um... resist. Who knew that Mr. Gabriel once had bigger (read: "worse") hair issues than Mr. Collins? Damned unsettling....

[MP3] "Abacab" [1981]

[
MP3] "Home By the Sea" [1983]

[
MP3] "No Reply at All" [1981]

[
MP3] [VID] "Misunderstanding" [1980]

[
MP3] [VID] "That's All" [1983]

[
MP3] "Turn It on Again" [1980]

[
MP3] [VID] "Land of Confusion" [1986]

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PHIL COLLINS - PART 1 (SOLO)

Okay, so maybe this is destined to be one of those half-tongue-in-cheek entries in the Sunday Showcase series. The way that BARRY MANILOW was. Or NEIL SEDAKA. Then again, "half-tongue-in-cheek" is in the eye (and ear) of the beholder. Some may have assumed that past CARPENTERS and ABBA posts were ironically intended, but not me. No, sir. Those were on-the-level. 100% facetious-free. (Okay, maybe 99.9%.)

PHIL COLLINS, on the other hand, well... let's just say that I've had my hands full trying to minimize the '80s "cheese" factor with these selections. I'll ask you to kindly ignore the fact that "In the Air Tonight," "I Don't Care Anymore," and "Long Long Way to Go" are essentially variations on the same song. And I'm not sure why "Against All Odds" won the Treacly Big Ballad derby at the expense of "One More Night," "Take Me Home," and "Separate Lives," but it did, so there it is. And here they are....


[MP3] [VID] "In the Air Tonight" [1981]

[
MP3] [VID] "Easy Lover" [w/PHILIP BAILEY] [1984]

[
MP3] [VID] "You Can't Hurry Love" [1982]

[
MP3] [VID] "I Don't Care Anymore" [1982]

[
MP3] [VID] "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" [1984]

[
MP3] "Long Long Way to Go" [w/STING] [1985]

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