I am warning you Javert, I'm a stronger man by far

It's pretty hard to post one song from Les Misérables without giving it some context. This song is a confrontation between Javert (police inspector) and Jean Valjean (the main character of this story). Valjean did some time in a chain gang for stealing bread, Javert was his primary captor. Eventually he was paroled, but skipped out on it in order to make a living. In the process, his life is changed by God and he becomes a really really good guy. At this point in the story, Valjean has just revealed himself in because an innocent man is about to be imprisoned for his crime (mistaken identity). BUT there's more! Valjean promises a dying woman that he'll take care of her child. That's when Javert catches up with him and we have this confrontation. Two minutes into this song there's a switcheroo - Javert continues to direct his words to Valjean, but Valjean directs his to the dying woman (Fantine).

"Confrontation" has always been my favorite song in the musical, which, until recently i had not listened to in about 10 years. Something about listening to the Arcade Fire's Neon Bible made me think about these songs and I went out and bought the CD. The music is a bit dated, but the songs are as compelling as they ever were. I listened to my tape as a teenager over and over and over. After 10 years i still had much of it memorized.

Valjean eventually ends up saving Javert's life, some 15 or 20 years later. Javert, who's life has been driven by rules and order and strong black and whites, has up till then believed that a man cannot change his ways - he's hunted Valjean his entire life. He kills himself, singing "There is nothing on earth that we share, it is either Valjean or Javert."

True fans of the musical will hate my synopsis. Sorry. It's absolutely inadequate but it serves its purpose.

Les Misérables - Confrontation (Javert / Valjean)



Nowadays, you don't mean dick to me

When i first heard "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse i was immediately and completely floored by the swaggering naughty new/old/soul, so much that it made my top 20 songs of 2006 list. The full record was less impressive to me at the time... then 3 weeks ago i'm waiting for justin at rodan, and i'm thinking "what is this great record they're playing" and after a bit i recognize it - Ms. Winehouse's Back To Black. Context changed everything for me, and now i'm listening and i can't stop. There are a few obvious "hits" on the record (rehab, you know i'm no good, back to black) but this post is my favorite of all of them. For me, it's the perfect juxtaposition of Winehouse's naughty raw drunken bad girl and the sweet old soul vibe of the production. Plus, i love the word "f#$kery."
Amy Winehouse "Me & Mr. Jones"

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Jordan says i've been posting a lot of females. So i have. Next song will be a dude song.

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There's no tears left

I admit it. I'm a regular reader of pitchfork. While i don't put as much stock in what they have to say as i did a couple of years ago, i'm always curious to listen to records they give the "best new music" label to. The Twilight Sad was featured last week for their (really good) record Fourteen Autums, Fifteen Winters. It's guitar driven, dense, and intense but at the same time kinda laid back - and this guy's accent is rich. Sometimes the music behind this guy's voice reminds me of old Dinosaur Jr.
The Twilight Sad "Walking For Two Hours"

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I am gonna make it through this year, if it kills me

I first heard of The Mountain Goats in 1995 during my complete obsession with Simon Joyner. I was dutifully trying to buy everything Simon put out - which included Why You All So Theif, a split 7" with The Mountain Goats - which is basically a guy named John Darnielle and whatever friends he brings along. It's been years since i actively persued Darnielle's work, but i was completely delighted to get "This Year" on a mix-cd last week. This is a full-band, full-tempo, full-nostalgia song (and the video is really good too). Darnielle has a way of writing songs that you can believe, and i'm inclined to let myself believe this particular one right now. The video is also quite wonderful.
The Mountain Goats "This Year"
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As a bonus, here's the first Mountain Goats song that i heard and loved, from a split 7" with Simon Joyner called Why You All So Theif?
The Mountain Goats "Going To Tennessee"
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Shed some light

Feist brings the magic to my ears. She's the creator of one of my favorite songs in the past couple of years, "Mushaboom" (great video!) and member of the much-beloved (by me, at least) Broken Social Scene. Anyhow, "My Moon, My Man" has been making the online buzz rounds for awhile now but i've had this gourgeous melody stuck in my head for a week straight now and i thought it would be a good idea to infect you with it as well. Be prepared for the involuntary whistling that will surely follow.
Feist "My Moon, My Man"

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the biggest little marching band i know

It's been over a year since i first saw the wonderful exciting inspiring Mucca Pazza at the hideout. If you know me, chances are you've heard me talk about this band. They released a CD late in 2006 and i've been enjoying it off and on since i got it. It's good for rolicking around the kitchen and for keeping yourself upbeat while doing menial tasks.
Mucca Pazza "Coat Czech"

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Chico friend

For some reason I just couldn't connect with The Concretes back in 2004 when their self-titled record was released. It might have been due to the fact that i was gobbling up new records at an alarmingly gluttonous pace that year, searching for material to post up on the mp3 blog. At that time, if a record didn't catch me on the first listen, chances are i wasn't coming back for another listen. This song grabbed me last night and arrested my full attention - the simple bass/drums/bells, the spaciousness of it all with it's narcotic guitar and string arrangements. I had to STOP and listen, REALLY listen. That's a good thing. So i'm catching up to The Concretes - going back to pay closer attention, and i really like what i'm hearing.
"Chico" The Concretes

When i was preparing this post i found another version of this song, remixed by The Avalanches. It's quite good too (but the original is better!)
"Chico (Avalanches Remix)" The Concretes

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When I say "Hey!" thou shalt not say "Ho!"

Last week a lot of blogs were hyping the video for this song by Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip. It's a great song, with a great video. The song has a lot in common with the sound of LCD Soundsystem, crossed with a little Mike Skinner (the streets). You will laugh and you will love it and more than likely you will find his accent compelling but in the end Dan Le Sac is just a band.
Dan Le Sac & Scroobius Pip "Thou Shalt Always Kill"

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Next time I see ya I won't be this desperate or be feeling so spent

Tonight as i've been working on some really dull freelance i decided to mix up all of my Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon, Red House Painters) records into a playlist and get swept away with his folksy dramatic push-broom. Sun Kil Moon's Ghosts of the Great Highway is far and away one of my favorite records from the past few years - but tonight what stood out for me is how GREAT of a record the Red House Painters Old Ramon is. If you like this song (and really, how couldn't you?) - I suggest going on a major buying spree and purchasing both Ghosts of the Great Highway and Old Ramon. Luckily for you - Ghosts is newly back in print.
Red House Painters "Kavita"

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