24 Feb

Randomly posting ten

No theme this week, just completely random. I’ve been sick for the last week and a half so I haven’t really been up to much posting. But a random ten is pretty easy.

  1. “So Long Baby Goodbye” — The Blasters
  2. “Conversations” — The Posies
  3. “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes” — Patrik Tanner. OK, this is not a covers theme list, but I have so many of the darn things that they will appear anyway. An Elvis Costello cover.
  4. “Photograph” — Jason Falkner. Yes, a cover of the Def Leppard song!
  5. “Wide Boy” — Nik Kershaw
  6. “Honey Hush” — Big Joe Turner
  7. “Dancing With Myself” — The Donnas. Another cover!
  8. “This Is Pop” — XTC
  9. “Karma Chameleon” — Culture Club. Actually, this is one of my least favorite Culture Club songs. I think I have it because of the mix cds I made for my high school reunion (which didn’t get played anyway).
  10. “Finally” — The Frames
10 Feb

Random 10 Covers again

OK, I am listening to my Covers Smart Playlist in iTunes, so this is what you get for a Random Ten this week. Covers. Enjoy!

  1. “Common People” — William Shatner (Pulp)
  2. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” — Daryl Hall and John Oates (Righteous Brothers)
  3. “Hounds of Love” — Futureheads (Kate Bush)
  4. “God Only Knows” — Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet (Beach Boys)
  5. “Smash It Up” — Posies (Damned)
  6. “Hold Me Now” — Eijyu (Thompson Twins)
  7. “…Baby One More Time” — Fountains of Wayne (Britney Spears)
  8. “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” — Al Green (Bee Gees)
  9. “What Is Life” — Shawn Mullins (George Harrison)
  10. “Stop Your Sobbing” — Pretenders (Kinks)
01 Feb

“Wine Spodee-O-Dee, Drinkin’ Wine”

I have a post on MetaFilter today about the Pacific Northwest party beverage “spodee” (fruit and alcohol), and it’s possible relation to the old R&B song “Drinkin’ Wine Spodee-O-Dee”. Basically, I always wondered if the name of the drink was related to the song, and did as much Google research on it as I could; I couldn’t find anything directly tying the two together, but it just seems very likely that the song inspired the name. (But it’s possible it was the other way around, I guess.) I found a lot of great songs while looking, though. (From Stick McGhee to Big Joe Turner, Big Jay McNeely, Wild Bill Moore, and lots of other pre-Elvis rock and rollers, mostly found via the Rock Before Elvis website.)

The funny thing is that I generally don’t drink alcohol (only on the rarest of occasions), and I don’t think I’ve ever had spodee. But it was an interesting topic to look into.

27 Jan

The last random ten of January

Here we go… another Random Ten, courtesy of iTunes’ Party Shuffle:

  1. “Tracks of My Tears” — Mary Beth Maziarz. I don’t know anything about this artist, but I was looking for covers of this song and found this nice piano version.
  2. “Burning Down the House” — Talking Heads.
  3. “Teacher Teacher” — Rockpile. It wasn’t until recently that I knew that this too is a cover song. I can’t resist singing along with the harmony part during the chorus.
  4. “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding” — Speaking of Nick Lowe (in Rockpile)… he wrote this one.
  5. “I Can Feel Your Heartbeat” — Partridge Family. Um, yes. I ‘fess up to owning this. I had 3 or 4 Partridge albums as a kid, and two David Cassidy solo albums, for that matter.
  6. “Burn and Shine” — the Posies.
  7. “You Drew” — Ken Stringfellow.
  8. “Into the Sunset” — Neil Finn.
  9. “Valotte” — Julian Lennon.
  10. “p.s. you rock my world” — eels. Yes, this also ended the mix tape I posted a couple of weeks ago. Coincidence.
20 Jan

Random Ten Time

OK, here’s another Random Ten:

  1. “Beyond Belief” — Jon Auer, covering one of my favorite Elvis Costello songs.
  2. “Casimir Pulaski Day” — Sufjan Stevens
  3. “The Ghost that Feeds” — Ray Parker, Jr./nine inch nails — mashup by nathanchase.com. This is a mashup of “Ghostbusters” with “The Hand that Feeds”, and it’s hilarious. The two songs do fit perfectly together. Genius.
  4. “Something About You” — Level 42. I don’t know why I love this song in all it’s 80s glory, but I do.
  5. “So Sad About Us” — Steve Brown. This is from the Who’s Not Forgotten tribute album. A fairly straightforward cover, until the middle, when with a resounding “cello cello cello”, it suddenly kicks into an excerpt from the Who’s mini-opera, “A Quick One,” then back to “So Sad…”, ending with the bass riff from “Happy Jack.”
  6. “All of My Heart” — ABC. This is actually a perfect segue from the previous song. We still hear “Look of Love” all the time, and sometimes “Poison Arrow”, but this song never gets played on 80s radio stations. But it’s great, if you like that lush, dramatic ABC thing.
  7. “Coming Right Along” — the Posies.
  8. “Walk — Don’t Run” — the Ventures. Well, now, that is an odd juxtaposition. The previous song: dark and slow. This one: not so much.
  9. “If It’s Love” — Squeeze. Getting even more cheerful! This song is one of the greatest power-pop songs Squeeze ever recorded. The record company let it rot, as record companies do. It’s great anyway. You can’t help but bounce your head side to side like Ringo when you hear it. (If this wasn’t Random Ten, though, I would have put Glenn Tilbrook’s solo track “One For the Road” before this song, as the perfect follow-up to “Walk — Don’t Run”.)
  10. “Look Sharp!” — Joe Jackson.
13 Jan

Rainy Day not-random mix

We’ve had 26 consecutive days of rain in Seattle. No, this is not normal, despite our reputation. It’s awful.

Last year I made a Rainy Day mix cd, and I don’t think I ever posted it here. So in lieu of the Random Ten this week, here it is. For this mix I was thinking of music that is sort of melancholy. Notice that a bunch of the songs are in waltz time? Notice that the R.E.M. song is sort of a Beach Boys homage? (I should have placed it right after “God Only Knows” in the song order.)

  • “Sherman” — Paul Melançon (find a copy to download here)
  • “Union Station” — Gavin Guss (I’d point you to his site, but it appears to be down).
  • “Nothing Is Good Enough” — Aimee Mann
  • “Miss Misery” — Elliott Smith
  • “The Ballad of El Goodo” — Big Star
  • “Narcolepsy” — Ben Folds Five
  • “God Only Knows” — Beach Boys
  • “Boy With a Problem” — Elvis Costello (piano version from the extended CD)
  • “Hide and Seek” — Howard Jones
  • “At My Most Beautiful” — R.E.M.
  • “A New England” — Billy Bragg
  • “See How We Are” — X
  • “Nothing Wrong With You” — The Finn Brothers
  • “Ordinary World” — Duran Duran
  • “The Man I Used to Be” — Jellyfish
  • “Look What You’ve Done” — Jet
  • “Battered Old Bird” — Elvis Costello
  • “Steppin’ Out” — Joe Jackson Band (the version from Afterlife)
  • “p.s. you rock my world” — eels: the song in which the sun comes out again.
06 Jan

Random Ten: Covers edition

This week I decided to dig into the massive collection of cover songs I have (yeah, I’m slightly obsessed) for a Random Ten. Here goes:

  • “So You Are A Star” — Wondermints. The original was by the Hudson Brothers, in the mid-1970s. I remember watching them on their variety show when I was a kid. This version is pretty close to the original.
  • “Just When I Needed You Most” — Millie Jackson. But this is not much like the original at all. The song was a minor hit by Randy VanWarmer around 1978: a very mellow, quiet song. Millie brings more anger to it, less sadness, and a nice rant about how the guy waited to leave until after he got his hands on that month’s welfare check.
  • “King Midas in Reverse” — the Posies. This Hollies song is essentially the perfect showcase for the Posies.
  • “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” — Shawn Colvin. A lovely version of a Talking Heads song that captures the song’s essential sweetness.
  • “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass” — Marti Jones. I like this one well enough. Original is by Nick Lowe.
  • “Sugar Sugar” — Wilson Pickett. I got this this week on Rod’s recommendation, and it’s great. I am ashamed of myself for never noticing it before, as I do love all the Pickett I’ve ever heard.
  • “Baba O’Reilly” — Guided by Voices. Live, messy, and very cool. And probably very loud, which is the only way to play the Who.
  • “How Much About Last Night Do You Remember?” — Eric Kassel and Friends, from a Young Fresh Fellows tribute album.
  • “Come Dancing” — The Briefs. And also from a tribute album, this fast punk version of a great Kinks song from 1983.
  • “This Will Be Our Year” — OK Go. This Zombies song has been covered a few times, including a version by the Posies. This one is great, but I think it’s hard to ruin this song.
24 Dec

A Christmas song for you

In 1991 I was in a band with the very goofy name “NOT!” We recorded a Christmas song, along with another batch of songs for an album. And then we broke up. Immediately. Before the album was completely finished. Yes, it is the story of my life.

Anyway, the Christmas song we did is a goofy little tune (and I mean “goofy” in the best possible way), written and sung by rhythm guitarist Michael Cox, called “Xmas Won’t Be Xmas”. You can download it here. I’m one of the background singers and I might have played a tiny bit of guitar (I think the drummer, Erin Ressler, is the other backup singer). I know I also played jingle bells. 🙂 The other band members were Joel Marquez on bass and Nial McGaughey on guitar.

The recording is a little rough as the tape isn’t in the best of shape, and it was only recorded on a 4-track cassette deck in the first place, but it’s not too bad, considering. Anyway, I don’t think I’ve posted this for you all before, so I hope you enjoy it.

(The picture is NOT!, but it’s from before Michael joined the band. Left to right: Nial, Erin, me, and Joel.)

13 Dec

It’s Gray Tuesday

I forgot that it was AmericanEdit.org: Dean Gray Tuesday already. Here’s the belated link. The Dean Gray American Edit album is a great mashup of Green Day’s American Idiot, which was pulled from the net when Warner records sent the creators a cease and desist. Today, more than 200 protesters are hosting copies of the album that you can download. As the website says:

“Doing so is not intended to be a mass organization of music piracy but, rather, one single display of the consumptive power of the mash-up and home remix community in the hopes of encouraging the labels, publishers and artists who are curious about the mash-up community to consider giving the high quality productions of ‘illegitimate’ music a legitimate consideration as a promotional avenue for all music.”

I managed to get a copy of the album before the C&D, and it really is good stuff. I recommend.

09 Dec

“Random” means I only post this on random Fridays

It’s Friday! And you know what that means? It means I’ll probably forget to post another Random Ten! Oh, wait. I remembered! And it’s only almost 4pm! Here you go:

* “The Cutter” — Echo and the Bunnymen

* “Cleveland Rocks” — Ian Hunter

* “Brick (iTunes Originals Version)” — Ben Folds

* “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” — Billy Joel
You know, my theory is that this song was inspired by Joel’s 10 year high school reunion. The timing is about right. But he dropped out of high school, so did he get to attend?

* “Freakin’ Out” — Graham Coxon

* “Here Today” — Paul McCartney
I guess even iTunes shuffle remembed what December 8 is.

* “Headful of Something/The Devil in Me (Live)” — John Wesley Harding

* “My Ever Changing Moods” — Style Council

* “Definite Door” — Posies

* “Small Talk” — Scritti Politti

A bit retro this time. The Coxon track is the newest one. I have my Christmas songs in the shuffle now too, but none of them popped up this time.

08 Dec

25 years ago today

(This is a repost of the entry I posted here on 8 December 2005, slightly updated. I can’t really think of anything to add to this.)

25 years ago today, I was on the phone with my friend Dave Wright, talking about god knows what (probably our pirate radio aspirations), when he interrupted the conversation: “Oh my God, I just heard John and Yoko got shot.” I ran in the other room and asked my parents if it were true. They hadn’t heard anything about it yet, but about 30 seconds later, the news flash came through. Dave had gotten a garbled version of it; John was shot. (John Lennon, for you youngsters.)

At first there was still some hope that he might live — all they had said was that he was shot, that’s all. But the news came along pretty quickly that he was dead. I went upstairs to my attic bedroom and flipped the radio dial. “Imagine” was everywhere. If it wasn’t “Imagine,” it was the new single that had just come out to mark John’s return to the pop world, “Starting Over.” And if it wasn’t that, it was the seasonally appropriate yet sadly incongruous ”Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” Every station, up and down the dial. Stations that didn’t normally play pop or rock, stations that didn’t normally play music — programming stopped to pay tribute.

The next day I wore my Beatlemania shirt to school, because it was black. Eric Oberg read the morning news on the school’s closed-circuit tv station, and he was crying. I think those of us in high school then were among the youngest people to really care about the Beatles that much. Remember that in 1980, the Beatles had only been broken up for 10 years — it’s been 11 years now Kurt Cobain died; does that really seem like a long time ago? In 1980, tenth-graders like me had heard the Beatles from birth, if not earlier. Now I have students who were born well after John Lennon died, and the Beatles have been broken up more than twice as long as they were together.

To this day, “Happy Xmas” makes me cry.

21 Oct

I remembered! …to post a Random Ten

OK, this time the darned Random Ten is posted. Early on Friday, at that. Nothing new in this ten — strange. But c’est la vie for random shuffle.

“The Ghost In You” — The Psychedelic Furs
The chorus of this song is what made me buy it. I don’t remember liking it back in the 80s, but I like it now.

“That’s The Way of the World” — Earth, Wind & Fire
One of the most disappointing concerts I ever went to was a circa-1982 EW&F show. We were seated where a large hanging speaker would block our view of the stage. And they never played the song I wanted to hear most: “Got To Get You Into My Life.” But I suppose they played this one.

“Walking Through Walls” — Jon Brion
From his great Meaningless album. In this song you get to hear sweet background harmonies singing “Motherfucker!” A bit odd, that.

“Extrovert” — XTC
One of my favorite XTC songs; a b-side for… I forget, “Dear God”? or “Grass”? Anyway, I bought the 12″ single just to get this. I always wanted to cover this song.

“Fog Cutter” — The Frantics
The Frantics were a 1950s-60s Seattle band. My uncle was the drummer. This is not my favorite Frantics tune (that would probably be “The Whip”), but it’s a good example of instrumental dance music of the period.

“Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby?” — Joe Jackson
Joe did an album of big band songs and this is one. Good stuff, though why not get the originals?

“Suspicious Minds” — Fine Young Cannibals
Another cover! I think liking FYC probably gets me no respect whatsoever. But I will admit to liking them a lot.

“Atomic Dog” — George Clinton
It’s Friday! Time to dance!

“Come Anytime” — Hoodoo Gurus
Ah, I do love the Hoodoo Gurus. This particular song is 3:21 of hooky double entendre (“Come anytime, I’m a man of measure”) and what’s not to like about that?

“Who’s Lovin’ You” — Jackson Five
Back when Michael Jackson was a child prodigy with an afro and a normal nose. And none of the weird vocal mannerisms he later adopted. This is just flat out great. (And another cover, actually — of Smokey Robinson.)

13 Oct

I think this thing still needs some work

I was trying a new feature in the iTunes Music Store — the “Just For You” section in which they make recommendations based on your previous purchases. It gives me the following:

“You bought ‘Sexuality’ (by Prince).
We recommend: ’16 Most Requested Songs: Les Paul & Mary Ford'”

I… don’t think so.

11 Oct

Things I could have blogged about, but instead I knit a hat

Here I am wearing the hat I made out of the Noro Kureyon left over from the Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers.

While knitting this, I should have blogged about these instead:

But, no, I finished knitting a hat. And worked.

23 Sep

Random Ten for summer’s end

OK, it’s officially autumn now, so let’s see what autumnal tunes iTunes Party Shuffle gives me today:

  • “I Got You” — Split Enz: One of the greatest pop hooks ever. The verse was weak; Neil Finn’s songwriting still had some improvement ahead. But it didn’t matter — that chorus!
  • “Daily Mutilation” — The Posies: Why are there always Posies songs in my Random Ten? Well, I have more than 300 Posies tracks on my computer. That would do it.
  • “Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off the Sucker) — Parliament: Apparently Party Shuffle really wants to party today.
  • “Lost in Space” — Glenn Tilbrook: Ex-Squeeze guy, now doing great solo stuff.
  • “Voices” — Cheap Trick
  • “Precious” — Pretenders: This is probably one reason why I wore Chrissie Hynde’s haircut for most of the 1980s.
  • “Tall Cool One” — The Wailers: Not the reggae Wailers, but the Pacific Northwest band from the early 1960s. One of the all-time great instrumentals.
  • “Brighter Than Sunshine” — Aqualung: I generally avoid bands named after anything related to Jethro Tull. But hey! I like this.
  • “The Man I Used To Be” — Jellyfish
  • “Obvious Song” — Joe Jackson

Hmm. Not that autumnal, really.

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