Friday, March 30, 2012

Freaky Friday

It's Friday and I'm still listening to the same things I was listening to last Friday.  So, just to keep things interesting I've decided to dig into my vast collection of strange things (mostly from the 90's) each Friday and find something weird and/or obscure for you.  I might have stuff more off-the-wall than what I put here, but I want to find you a video (or link or something), so that will limit what I can do.  For instance, good luck finding a video of Carbon Leaf performing "Whiskey in the Jar" (and I only say that because I want you to bombard me with links to videos of said performance because I sure as shit can't find it).

Okay, here goes, enjoy!

The Presidents of the United States of America - "Feather Pluckn"

I love the shit out of their self-titled album.  Maybe it's their only album, I honestly don't know.  I'm pretty sure it has almost no musical/artistic value, but it's hilarious and endlessly entertaining and sometimes that's enough.  This was a tough choice between this and "Dune Buggy"...maybe I'll put that one up next week.  But because of their use of the term "feather pluckn", this one wins for this week.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Don't Mean to Be This Way

I want to offer you new and different (and wonderful) things to listen to - I really do!  I want to find all the awesome music that I know is lurking out there and share it with you, but I am not shitting you when I say that this:


And this:

Are seriously ALL I've been listening to lately.  I understand that I'm not well, but nothing else sounds good right now, so I just listen to what sounds good to me.  But I also understand that you're sick to tears of hearing about them.  So...yeah.  I'll get over it one day and let them blend into my play lists...but today is not that day.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Not Really Any New Music Monday

I tried to listen to some new stuff for you this week, I really did.  I promise.  But after last week and then my attempts this week, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to postpone New Music Monday until I'm in a mindset that isn't so ready to hate everything.  That might be next week (hopefully) or 6 months (good grief, I hope not!) but either way it'll come back eventually.

By the way, I don't mean to say I haven't heard anything good this week.  I did get Plants and Animals' The End of That which kicks some serious ass, but it doesn't qualify for New Music Monday because I've already talked about it once.  So there you go, that's all I got. 

In the meantime, listen to some Centro-Matic (then go download it and give them some money), it's not new either (not to me or the world), but it is pretty sweet.  If you can't find something in this collection that you dig, then I can't help you:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Songs Are Like Onions

Someone asked me recently what I meant when I said that you could "move around inside" songs.  I can't answer that question in 140 character snippets, so I'm going to try to do it here.  The first time I listen to a song, I generally hear the vocal (unless it's instrumental...obviously).  Because I'm a lyric junkie, I always want to know the lyrics first, what's being said, what the song is about, all that.  I honestly didn't even realize how much of a door to the rest of the song the lyrics are for me...or how locked that door can be...until recently. 

There is this song that I love, love, love but I could not, for the life of me, understand the chorus.  Not grasping the verse is one thing (I actually really enjoy being able to pick up new phrases in the verses and catching unexpected, clever bits of lyric), but entirely missing out on the chorus was fucking me up.  In the perfect storm of my weirdness and the songwriter's awesomeness (!!), I was finally clued in to what he's saying.  As soon as I knew the words, the next time (okay, maybe the 4th or 5th time after that) that I listened to the song, I was able to move past the vocal and listen to the music behind it.  It wasn't until I did it that I realized I had just been so hung up on trying to understand the words that I hadn't really appreciated the song itself.

That's kind of what I do.  I like to go into the song and pick out individual instruments and listen to them separately.  (Which stands to reason because I also pick apart my food and anything else pick-apart-able)  I'll listen to the guitar one time, then the drums one time, then back to the vocals, etc.  For me, it's by listening to each of these things separately that I can appreciate the wonder that's created when they all come together to form the whole song.  There are few things more enjoyable than a song with an intricate arrangement because every time I listen to it, I can hear something different.  Speaking of that, no one creates depth of sound like Paula Kelley.  Check out the arrangement on this song and how the combination of the instrumentation and the vocal is absolute perfection: 

Is that not the most wonderful thing you've heard today?  Her arrangements are perfect examples of music that is tangible, that you can go inside of and wander around in.  (And you know, obviously Ryan Schmidt is not too shabby himself)

But a song doesn't have to include that many instruments to be dimensional.  It can be just a voice and a guitar.  In fact, some of my favorite songs to hang out in are "just" a voice and a guitar.  I guess, in the end, I don't know how anyone can listen to music and really be a fan of it and not get what I mean when I say those things.  Haven't you ever just closed your eyes and drifted through the song as it drifts through your ears?  If not, I highly recommend it.  It's like a little 3 minute vacation.  Just take your favorite song and look around inside it.  Observe how the drums and guitar work together (or push up against each other), see how they support the vocal and give it a place to rest or give it the energy it needs to hold up the song, or what the bass line is doing in there.  It's just amazing how much can be going on inside a song and how easy it is to miss what's really happening if you don't pay attention. 

I'm not sure I've really explained myself very well, but I hope the next time you have a some quiet time with some good tunes that you'll investigate what you're hearing and take the time to truly appreciate what's been created.

**If you haven't seen Shrek, you might not get my title on this one but trust me, like onions - and ogres - songs have layers**

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Betty Goo - Superchthonic

Album: Superchthonic
Artist: Betty Goo
Release: November, 1995

As you may have noticed, I've been searching for Betty Goo's Superchthonic for a while now.  (Of course, you know by now that Aaron Tap sang and played guitar for Betty Goo...right??)  I can't even remember exactly when I started searching for it but it's been a while. Finally some dude in Pennsylvania let go of a copy of it (who knows why).  It's in perfect condition and ripe to be signed (someday).  My level of excitement at actually finding it was made apparent by the amount I paid for it and considering it's only 7 songs, my cost basis per song is kind of sick but let me tell you, it is 100% worth it.

Superchthonic (pronounced superthonic, by the way) did not blow my mind clear out of my head the first time I listened to it like Gooicide did, but it is still pretty amazing.  Of course I liked it right away, but to really love it, it kind of had to creep in quietly, it seeped in over time and as a result it has taken a firm hold.  It is just that damn good.  It makes me sad that I missed this band when they were around - that I missed these albums when they were new.  What the hell was I thinking in 1995??  Oh yeah, I guess I was busy finishing high school in the Midwest where Betty Goo wasn't exactly heavily marketed.  At least I've found them now and even with 17 years (good lord) stacked up on top of them these songs are no worse for wear.  They still sound new, at least to me, they're not crusty like some stuff from the 90's sounds when I listen to it now.

These songs cover everything from a distorted self-image to chauvinism it drug use? Anxiety? Both?  When taken as a whole, it's like a broad commentary on how fucked up everything can be, but from a very personal perspective.  Betty Goo strayed pretty far from the typical songs about romantic relationships - good, bad or indifferent - on this record and bless them for that.  Of course, from what I've heard, there is very little about Betty Goo that could be described as "typical".  At it's heart it's still largely guitar-driven rock music, but somehow it transcends that and becomes, you know, kind of magical.

The only overt references to the relationships between men and women deal with male chauvinism...when was the last time you heard that in a rock song??  "Thom Thumb" is perhaps the most satisfying 51 seconds of music I've ever heard.  It's the story of a man who is kind of a pig, the woman who lives in the shadow of that and her possible options for making him pay. Right in the middle of the song is this line: "a man needs a place to put his cock and a woman should do everything but talk" which is so completely perfect in the context of that song.  (and pretty sweet out of context too, to be honest)  And yes, all of that really is contained in 51 seconds - it's amazing.

Let me give you a few examples of what I love about Superchthonic (besides the title).  The line "b-e-d is an alphabet of self-hatred and mockery" in "Vanity".  That whole song is so quick-witted, you really have to pay attention, and I love that.  "Relapse" - the whole thing.  Which I've already rambled about here.  The mastery of the "choose-your-own-adventure-song" (at least, that's what I call them).  "Vanity" ends with "because you know I think I'm...." and "Thom Thumb" ends with "cause there's a good opportunity when the man has had 2 or 3 and he's sleeping sound as sound could be to..."  I dig it when songwriters leave open spaces like that.  When they give their listeners credit for being intelligent enough to get it without necessarily having it spoon fed to them.  "Uncommon Courtesy" (especially the plaintive delivery of the line "how could he do this to me") and "Washed Up" (I'm pretty sure I'm going to make this one my new theme song) both are pretty perfect.  That dramatic pause at the end of "Dear John, I'm Still Smiling" (which I've heard from an extremely reliable source was pretty epic when performed live) when you think it's over, but then it comes back for 30 more seconds of awesome.

There is just something so unique and intelligent about this record...and Betty Goo in general.  I sincerely hope that you'll look for it and find it and love it - everyone should get to experience some incredible stuff like this in their lives.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

1st Quarter in Review

Because I'm a silly girl, I'm going to say that there is a vague possibility that I won't buy any more music before the end of this month.  Which, honestly is dumb because there are 10 days and another weekend before the end of March and I have every intention of buying The Afghan Whigs' Black Love in the very near future.  But hey, let's just go with it, shall we?  Under the pretense that I'm not buying anything else until April, here's a quick recap of the music I have acquired since the beginning of the year.  There have also been a few random songs and of course the singles for New Music Monday, but these are just the full albums.

In no particular order, as usual:
Plants and Animals - The End of That
Boy Wonder - Break the Spell, Etc. - EP
Betty Goo - Gooicide
Betty Goo - Superchthonic
The Black Keys - The Big Come Up
The Black Keys - Thickfreakness
The Black Keys - El Camino
Micah - Micah - EP
Buddy Guy & Junior Wells - Hoodoo Man Blues
Dr. Dog - Be the Void
Dr. Dog - Shame, Shame (vinyl)
Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope
Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
Simon & Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (vinyl)
Paula Kelley - Nothing/Everything
Paula Kelley - The Trouble with Success or How You Fit Into the World
Ryan Schmidt - White Horse - EP
Ryan Schmidt - Burning Bitter Years - EP
Matt Nathanson - Still Waiting for Spring
Matt Nathanson - When Everything Meant Everything
Green River Ordinance - Out of My Hands
Jesse Macht - Love is Another Drug
Carbon Leaf - Indian Summer
Ingrid Michaelson - Human Again
The Commuters - Rescue
Madi Diaz - Far From Things That We Know - EP
Rachel Platten - Be Here
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Concrete Blonde - Recollection
George Michael - Faith
Huey Lewis and the News - Sports (vinyl)

So yeah, now that it's all typed out here, it seems like an awful lot.  But, to justify it, I did get a few of them used for just a couple bucks (and, admittedly, I did get one of them online for probably way too much but it's worth it to me) and several are EPs that don't cost much.  Eh, look, I've got a problem, okay? Don't judge me!

Monday, March 19, 2012

New Music Monday

I have to be honest with you, getting myself to write this New Music Monday post has been like pulling teeth.  Totally uninspired.  I don't have anything this week that I really love and while there is plenty that I don't like, I'm just kind of indifferent to it this week.  In order to be really inspired by something you have to feel strongly about it, one way or the other, and I don't feel strongly about any of these songs.  So let's just get to it.

Gimme a Kiss - Madi Diaz
As a general rule, I really like Madi Diaz.  I like her voice and her style, but this song missed the mark for me.  I'm not even sure why and that's what irritates me about it.  It's a pleasant little pop song.  Her voice is pleasant, the song is peppy and easy to sing along with, but that's about it.  Honestly, I don't know what my problem is with it - maybe it was just the wrong week for an upbeat pop song around here. I'm still a fan of hers though, so I'm going to blame this one on me and not her.  Check it out and see what you think.

Overdose - Ducky
This song was written after a friend of hers actually overdosed.  Whatever.  Even knowing that, I still don't get it.  There is a hook, "I like the way you told me you'd stay, you told me you'd leave the blood on my face" that appeals to me for some reason, but that's really all this one has for me, which I guess is better than nothing.

In Your Mind - Mercies
According to Spin, this song is very personal and I'm sure it would be moving and profound if only it could hold my attention for the full 5 minutes for me to hear the lyrics.  It doesn't.  I have a pretty healthy insomnia thing going on and I seriously fell asleep two nights in a row while trying to listen to this song.  (So I might keep it around just for that and who knows, maybe someday it'll grow on me) In fact, I'm listening to it right now and even though I'm wide awake and trying to focus on it, I'm having trouble.

Here Now - Sean Bones
This is my second favorite of these four songs but really, that's not saying much.  It's a toe-tapper, I can say that about it, but the vocal is pushed so far back in the mix that I have trouble following it and I really dislike that.  So overall, I could really take it or leave it.

Obviously, this whole group I could take or leave.  But I have listened to some really amazing music lately and I can't expect everything to measure up.  The songs for next week are probably screwed too because I bought Plants and Animals' new album The End of That tonight and I've heard it's mind blowing.  We'll see though, you never know, maybe I'll find something unbelievable.  I like to be optimistic.  (HA!)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What Is Cool?

After work today, we went to Louisville and stopped at two of my favorite places to browse for music.  First was Half Price Books where I flipped through the records for a while before finding a little treasure trove of cassettes - can you believe that??  I don't actually own a cassette player anymore, but I'm searching for two things in particular that were only released on cassette, so I browsed their selection anyway.  (I guess if I ever get my hands on these two things, I'll have to find a cassette player somewhere!) My chances of actually finding either of them in a used book store in Kentucky are slim to none, but that doesn't stop me from checking.  Imagine how excited I'd be if I actually found one of them!!  Of course, I didn't.  In fact, I didn't find anything there which is highly unusual.

So then we went to my favorite part of Louisville and stopped at Electric Ladyland.  I love it there but I can only take it in small doses because it's a head shop at it's core and the incense is kind of overwhelming.  Anyway, after perusing their impressive but fruitless cassette selection, I browsed the records and found Huey Lewis and the News' Sports on vinyl for $5.99.  I was 5 years old when that record came out (no need to do the math...moving on...) so it's just part of my soundtrack.  And it's an awesome part. Just straight up 80's pop music goodness to it's core! 

I mean, even Patrick Bateman (in American Psycho) had this to say about it: "Their early work was a little too new wave for my tastes, but when Sports came out in '83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He's been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor."

Anyway, some total douchbag (who had just acted like a jerk while arguing with the girl working there about the price of a bong, incidentally) made a snide comment about the coolness of the record I was waiting to pay for.  What makes this funny is that I told my husband that I was going to lose all my cool points for buying that record but I love it and I was getting it anyway.  Clearly, I was correct in that assessment.

So what makes something cool?  Popularity?  Sadly, I think that is a lot of it in today's society.  If something is massively popular, it is somehow deemed cool even if it is fucking terrible and largely without merit.  Of course the hipsters would probably say the exact opposite - the less popular something is, the cooler it is.  But I think to them something being cool in the first place ultimately makes it uncool...or something like that.  Talent obviously has little to do with it because there are a lot of things that a lot of people apparently think are cool that involve no talent whatsoever...except perhaps a talent for packaging and bullshit.

Honestly though, the important thing to remember about coolness is that it doesn't matter.  Not one little bit.  If you find something you love, something that speaks to you, then that's all you need.  That's enough, perceived coolness be damned.

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Music Monday

I did really good for New Music Monday...well, until Jon Palmer and the New Complainers showed up.  After that I sucked.  I literally listened to nothing but their song "Radio" for a solid day.  Then I made this sweet playlist with them and a bunch of other people who are all connected somehow in real life (a.k.a. outside of my iPod) and listened to pretty much just that for the rest of the week.  But, in spite of all that, I DO have some new songs for you and they ARE by people who are genuinely new to me (as far as I know, at least) so here we go:

Song for Love - Plants and Animals
This song from their album The End of That opens with this line: "Sittin' in the sun, blowin' smoke and talkin' shit with no reasons."  Between that line and the delivery of it, I like the song right away.  They keep up with the catchy lines through the whole thing.  The guitar gets a little fuzzy for me in the middle and the song itself is a wee bit too long, but overall I really like it.  The more I listen to it, the more it grows on me.  Apparently these guys have been releasing albums since 2005 or so, which means they're not new to the world, just to me.  I've listened to a couple other things and I dig 'em, so I'd definitely recommend checking them out.

Apparition - Leland Sundries
Oh, Leland, why so sad?? Sure, I get that the song was written in the aftermath of a bad breakup and that it's about the destruction left in love's wake, but still.  You don't have to sound quite this down trodden to get that point across.  Of course, I haven't heard anything else by this guy...maybe he just always sounds this way.  The bitch of it is, I really like this song.  It totally gets stuck in my head, but he just sounds half asleep and it kind of annoys me.

Don't Just Sit There - Lucius
"Don't Just Sit There" is a pretty song, it kind of reminds me of Lucious Jackson or Portishead.  There are two female lead singers and they have very pleasant voices that harmonize remarkably.  All that being said though, it doesn't excite me.  I like it, I listen to it, but I'm not in love with it.  Check them out though, you might be moved.

I Can't Stand Up - The Energy
And here's the one I don't like. It's just noise to me.  You can listen to it for yourself at the link above, but this one definitely won't be on my New Music Monday Hitlist.  I listened to it a few times and it's just not getting in there.  Oh well, you win some you lose some. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Songs Are More Than Poems With Melodies

As you may have noticed, I'm a big fan of lyrics.  I have always loved the way words work together. They way the sound, the way they feel, the way they taste.  This started as a love of poetry when I was a kid.  When I was in 7th grade we had to memorize one of three Robert Frost poems.  They were "Fire and Ice", "The Road Not Taken" and "Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening". Each was worth a different amount of points which, looking back, doesn't make sense because the last two are the same length.  Anyway, we had some ridiculous amount of time to memorize one of them and recite it to the class.  I came back on Monday and with all three of them memorized, which kind of irritated my teacher, as I recall, but it gave me a crap ton of bonus points.  I have known many, many people in all my years in school that hated poetry, but I just don't get that.  Where else do words dance and play and get along as well as in poems?

Well in songs, of course!  Obviously songwriters are poets, that goes without saying.  But I think they're so much more than that.  They are able to elevate a mere poem to the level of a song.  They infuse it with magic and marry it to a melody and make it infinitely better.  I can write a poem, I have in fact written several, but I've never written a song. I wouldn't know where to begin to make sense of the process.  A poem can be anything, it doesn't have to conform to any rule (unless of course it's haiku or a sonnet or whatever), but what I'm saying is that it stands alone.  It can look and sound however the author wants it to.  But with a song, the words either have to fit existing music or music has to be written to fit existing words - are both ever written at once?  Either way, the two things have to get together and work together to become better.   Simply put, a song is greater than the sum of it's parts.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sometimes It Just Can't Wait

I had my plan for next Monday all worked out, I had the play list made and on my iPod - I was determined to get back to the origin of New Music Monday and only have honestly new music.  Not necessarily new chronologically speaking, but by artists that are new to me.  In other words, not stuff written or produced by artists I've rambled on about at length, no guitar or backing vocals by anyone I may have already mentioned 500 million times.  See?  I had good intentions.

Then out of the blue (or perhaps not so much) these guys popped up on my radar.  Jon Palmer and the New Complainers.  Who are they?  I dig the name, so on that alone I decided to check them out.  The first one I listened to was "5 O'Clock" and it has horns!  Which is kind of different, you know?  And I love things that are different in a good way.  Then I listened to "Radio" which has such an infectious groove, I'm not ashamed to say I've listened to it about 10 times in a row this morning.  Plus the clever little line "all's fair in love and war, I'm just not sure, which this is" hooked me.

So then I get to googling to find out more about these guys and lo and behold, but who do I find is associated with this band??  None other than Ryan Schmidt.  Holy shit.  At least I liked their music before I found that out, so it wasn't because I was biased (as I might tend to be). 

It doesn't matter about New Music Monday though, because I'm digging this song (I just have the one on my iPod right now, which in hindsight was a mistake) so much that I just couldn't keep it to myself that long.  Also, apparently they're in the process of recording an album as we speak.  I don't mean to rush the creative process or anything, but the world definitely needs more of this:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Get Outside Your Head

Do you ever feel an urge to listen to music that doesn't make you think?  You know, the kind of stuff that just flows around you and in one ear and out the other without disrupting what's in between?  Obviously, I prefer my music profound.  I like for it to really have an effect on me one way or the other.  But every so often, I like to just jam and not think about anything in particular.  Everybody needs that once in a while.  Personally, I find that "popular music" is good for this kind of listening.  Not to say none of it has any deep meaning but, well, you know what I mean.  So here are a few I can think of that are just fun to listen to, whether they're great songs or not is debatable, but at the very least they have entertainment value and that's definitely something.  These are in no order whatsoever (okay, okay, they're alphabetical by artist).

Pretty much anything by AC/DC

It was hard to pick just one AC/DC song - but this one rocks and makes me giggle - win win!

Gives You Hell - All American Rejects - When the World Comes Down
Runaway Baby - Bruno Mars - Doo-Wops & Hooligans
The Lazy Song - Bruno Mars - Doo-Wops & Hooligan
Crazy Bitch - Buckcherry - 15
Pepper - Butthole Surfers
Short Skirt/Long Jacket - Cake - Comfort Eagle
Fire Woman - The Cult - Sonic Temple
New Age Girl - Deadeye Dick - New Age Girl EP
Right Round - Flo Rida - R.O.O.T.S. (yeah, that's right - I went there)

Weren't expecting this one, were you??

Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz
Rock Your Body - Justin Timberlake - Justified (yep, I went there too)
U.R.A. Fever - The Kills - Midnight Boom
Sex and Candy - Marcy Playground
One Night in Bangkok - Murray Head (love this one, as should you)
I Write Sins Not Tragedies - Panic! At the Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat Out
John the Fisherman - Primus - Frizzle Fry
Don't Care What Time It Is - Rachel Platten - Be Here
I Wanna Be Sedated - The Ramones - Ramones - EP

Ah...the Ramones

Smoke Two Joints - Sublime
Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes
Seventeen - Winger

I didn't intend to make this post video-heavy, but no woman can resist the pull of Kip Winger's hair and seductive '80's stare

Given the majority of the content on this blog, some of these selections might surprise you.  Trust me, if you had ever been subjected to my play lists on a long road trip (or a short one) you would not be shocked at all. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Music Monday

I only have one legitimately new song for you, but I have five legitimately awesome songs for you, so it seems like a fair trade.  All of these are relatively new to me, as in I've come to own them recently, so by my broad definition of "new music", they qualify.

"Relapse" - Betty Goo
This song is from their album Superchthonic.  I just got that one in the mail this past Wednesday but I already know all the words to this song (and two others) because I can't stop listening to it.  Have you ever heard a song that literally made your heart ache from the very first listen?  Like, the first time you hear the lyrics and the delivery, it just slices right through you?  That's this song for me.  I kind of hope, for your sake, that it doesn't strike you that way.  But either way, it's a great song.

"Another Relapse" - Betty Goo
From Gooicide, this is another one that got in immediately.  Well, as I'm sure you know by now, this entire album infected my brain pretty instantly, but this song stands out.  No wait, that's not really right - there are a lot of standouts - I just picked this one because it fits so nicely with my first choice up there and it causes a lot of that same feeling of a literal ache.  The difference is that "Another Relapse" has some loud parts that are less brooding and more cathartic and singing it in the car just feels so ridiculously good.

"X-Large" - Boy Wonder
I got this album, Break the Spell, Etc. Thursday night and I loved the shit out of this song immediately. You know how fond I am of Paula Kelley and Aaron Tap's work, but when the lyrics were written by him and the music was written by her and the song is a duet??  Are you fucking kidding me?  It doesn't get any better than that.  The juxtaposition between the dark tale of a relationship gone to hell in a hand basket and the fast-paced music is pretty sweet.  Also, it gave me a fun new goal which is to learn the words (you'll know what I mean when you hear it) and I'm getting there.  I know what they're saying, just haven't been able to quite keep up for the whole song. 

"These Days" - Dr. Dog
I haven't listened to this one enough to have any profound (HA!) insight, but I do know that I dig it.  It's one of those songs that has a little of this, a little of that, a little piano, a little something I can't identify, but what really draws me to it is the vocal.  Somehow it is face-paced and kind of sleepy at the same time.  He sounds like the most laid back person on earth, I love it.  By the way, this is from their latest release Be The Void (so see?  Pretty new!).

"Thickfreakness" - The Black Keys
I told my husband that I had been so fixated on the same couple artists lately (like he didn't already know that) that I was lacking in variety for this post.  He suggested this song off the album by the same name.  And he offered to tell me what it sounds like.  Here's what I got from him: "It makes you feel like you should be in some sweaty bar in New Orleans with some hot Creole girl [and I think I know the one he means] grinding on you.  The cover art of that album says everything you need to know about that song."  So I'm listening to it right now and you know what?  He's not wrong.  Hell, it makes me want to be in a sweaty bar in New Orleans with some hot Creole girl grinding on me!  Just in case you don't know, here's the cover art he's referring to:
So Perfectly Nasty

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tour Genius

During my weekly (biweekly, whenever-I-think-of-it) internet search (by the way, I search for them in real record stores too, but my chances of finding them there are even less) for a couple obscure cassettes that I'm becoming more and more convinced I'll never find, I came across the Stop Pop and Roll website.  From this website, I learned that Betty Goo broke up in this means that we will soon be due for a 15 year reunion tour!!  However, because I'm impatient, I think the tour should be in 2013 which would be 15 years from the last full year they were together (and, incidentally, will also be the summer we celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary).  So it all makes total sense, right?

Then I had a total epiphany a few minutes ago while I was lounging in my giant bathtub (totally unrelated, I promise).  They should come over here - "over here" being the eastern half of the country - and do their 15th anniversary reunion tour as a co-headlining tour with The Paula Kelley Orchestra!!

AND, they can have Ryan Schmidt open for them! 

How fucking perfect is this plan??  How blown would my mind be by the end of that show?  Totally, that's how much.

Supporting My Local Record Store

Today my husband and I ventured out into the world (even though we didn't really have to) and killed two birds with one stone.  By that I mean that we supported my record habit and our local record shop at the same time.  Our store is Joe's Records - they have 4 locations so if you ever find yourself in Corydon, Indiana; Evansville, Indiana; Mt. Vernon, Illinois; or Defiance, Ohio stop in and buy something so they can stay open!

Pickin's were kind of slim today (or I was was especially picky), but here's what I ended up with:

I was actually looking to add Bookends to my Simon & Garfunkel collection but I ended up finding Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme instead.  I haven't listened to it yet, but it's Paul Simon writing songs and Art Garfunkel singing them, so there's no possible way it will be bad.

I was digging through the "D"s looking for Bob Dylan's Oh, Mercy when what to my wondering eyes did appear?  Dr. Dog's 2010 release Shame, Shame, that's what!  This record has been on my shopping list for a little while and I didn't really expect to find it here, much less on vinyl.  It's another one I haven't heard (have you ever even heard of such living on the edge??) but I've heard that it's awesome, so now I have it - I'll let you know what I think.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why So Positive?

I've been asked on a couple of occasions why I don't write more about things I don't like.  Why this blog is just all syrupy goodness about the music and artists that I adore.  Well, I have written a couple posts about less-than-awesome songs (although it's early in the morning and I don't feel like digging them up right now...just trust me, they're there) but things I don't care to listen to don't exactly inspire me to write about them.  Call me crazy, but I don't necessarily think it's fair to devote an entire post to the statement "I just don't like it." 

Believe me, there is a crap ton of stuff out there that I dislike.  My husband knows what pretty much all of it is...poor guy.  But I wouldn't feel right about ripping someone to shreds on here, even if no one ever read it, without listening to the music a number of times and developing specific examples of what I dislike. But obviously if I don't like it, I'm not going to waste my time studying it.  The only place you're likely to find things that rubbed me the wrong way is on New Music Monday because I purposely don't listen to those songs very many times before I write about them so I can give an accurate first impression, so usually I hang in there and stick with my Monday plan even if the music is Ick.  Occasionally I come across something for New Music Monday, or just in general, that I find so distasteful that I just skip it and move on.  Other times it's so bad that I have to mention it, kind of as a public service announcement.

They say that we know within like 11 seconds of our first meeting whether or not we'd have sex with someone.  Oddly enough, music isn't always that quick, at least not for me.  Sometimes it takes a few spins to know if something is really good.  I understand that.  I'm not usually super-quick to dismiss anything, but I know if something doesn't inspire me (Adele) or if it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth (Coldplay, Taylor Swift).

I like to use this platform more to pimp out things that are new to me that I think other people might enjoy.  In that search I have been fortunate enough to find some artists that just really yank my chain that I probably would not have found if not for this blog.  Wanting to discover new things and feeling motivated to write about them keeps me from getting stuck in musical ruts like I used to.  (Seriously, I went for, oh, easily 2 or 3 years and listened to the same 3 bands...almost exclusively.  That's not healthy)  Or sometimes things that are old to me but I just really love and want to make sure other people have heard them.  No one pays me to do this (sadly), so I have to be really inspired to ramble on as much as I do. However, when someone starts writing me a check and tells me to write about Justin Beiber...well, honestly, I'll quit that job and find one where they at least want to hear about my issues with Bon Iver.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Latest Purchases

You know me, I'm always buying some music.  I can't have a drug habit because it would cut into my music fund and that would not be cool.  Wednesday and Thursday were lovely days for procuring music.  Here's what joined my collection:

First, the first Betty Goo CD Superchthonic arrived in the mail Wednesday afternoon.  I say the first "CD" because they had a debut release that was only released on cassette (want, want, WANT).  I scoured the internet for Superchthonic for months until some dude in Pennsylvania finally came off a used copy of it.  I found Gooicide first and LOVE, in a big way.  I've been looking for that debut cassette just as long but I have a feeling that search will carry on for some time to come.  Anyway, I've listened to it a couple times and while it isn't quite the religious experience that Gooicide is, it is pretty sweet.  Some of these Betty Goo lyrics really hit home and while that probably means that deep down I'm totally fucked up, that's cool, I've never minded that too much.

Then Wednesday night I got The Black Keys' The Big Come Up (which is their debut) from iTunes (mostly for my husband) but I listened to it this morning and all I can say is that it's like getting slapped in the face with a handful of awesome.  I mean, seriously, where do these two young white boys get that sound??  Amazing.

Then, the most exciting thing ever happened (ok, maybe not EVER but it was pretty cool).  My music guru (don't say "Who?" you know who I'm talking about) actually recommended an album to me.  Not like, in a "Song of the Week" kind of way, but in a "Here, try this one" kind of why.  Very awesome.  (Can I do that?  Can I use very and awesome together?  Well I just did and the grammar police can suck it)  Oh, and you know what the best part is?  It's an album by Boy Wonder - a quartet, half of which are none other than the wicked talented Paula Kelley and Aaron Tap.  Built-in amazing. So, naturally there was nothing else to do but immediately become the proud owner of a digital copy of Boy Wonder's Break the Spell, Etc.  Of course, I have a sneaking suspicion that this is going to be another band that I want to see live and can't. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Where's the Good Shit?

I have heard it said that the first song on a record is always the best one.  To defend this argument, The Black Keys' Rubber Factory and El Camino were sitedIn fact, one might go so far as to say that the first half of a record is always the best half.  Personally, I have to respectfully disagree.  IF I'm going to prefer one part of a record over the other (this used to be referred to as the A Side and B Side, but in this age of CDs and digital music, those terms have all but lost their meaning), I will almost always favor the second half.  In fact, back in the day when I bought singles on cassette, I invariably ended up liking the B Side better than the song I had originally intended to purchase.  I'm just funny that way I guess. 

To prove my point, I scrolled through (so sad...) my music collection and pulled out a few examples.  The first one I came across could actually be used for either argument, so I'll offer it up first, just to be diplomatic or whatever.

AC/DC - The Razor's Edge - I love the shit out of this album and have forever it seems - I've listened to it so many times over the years that when I hear a song from it on the radio, I expect the next song on the album to come up next.  The first song is "Thunderstruck" which could possibly be called the best AC/DC song of all.  I mean, it is really great, but the second half of this album is loaded with some of my personal favorite AC/DC songs: "Are You Ready", "Got You By the Balls" and "Let's Make It" so of course I prefer it.

Matchbox Twenty - Yourself or Someone Like You - although "Long Day", my all-time favorite of their songs is the second one in line on this album, the last part is far and away better with "Damn", "Argue", "Kody", "Busted", "Shame" and "Hang" all in a row.  What a killer lineup of tunes.

Nirvana - Nevermind - Obviously a classic album from my youth (although not at good as the Unplugged album, if you ask me), but the songs at the end, the ones nobody every talked about like "Drain You", "Lounge Act" and "On a Plain" are definitely some of the best songs they did. 

Rob Thomas - Cradlesong - I love this album.  My sister gave it to me and I had it for a long time before I really came to appreciate it.  I couldn't tell you why that is, but whatever.  Anyway, when I finally got to really listening to it, I played the absolute shit out of it and have come to really adore the last 5 or 6 songs on it.

Anna Nalick - Wreck of the Day - another album that came from my sister that I had for a really long time before it grew on me.  I liked the radio hit off of it, but that was all, I wasn't in love.  Until I finally got around to listening to songs like "Bleed", "Catalyst" and my personal favorite of hers "Consider This" - all on the "B side".

My point is, don't give up on an album until you've listened to the whole thing at least once.  Sometimes the diamonds in the rough are hiding at the end of the record.  Because of my nature, this leads me to wonder even more about how albums are arranged - you know, how they decide what order to put the songs in.  Maybe someday I'll get around to asking someone who would actually know.