11.26.2008

Little Thanks For You

I put together this little mix for you all. It's a thankfulness theme. So, go be thankful tomorrow and every day. All the best to you and yours, Ben.

Little Thanks (zip)

"Be Thankful For What You Got" Yo La Tengo
"Thank The Lord For The Night Time" Neil Diamond
"Appreciate (Ft. CL Smooth)" Pete Rock
"Cheer Me Up Thank You" New Buffalo
"Bread" Clem Snide

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11.20.2008

FCM #17 - Songs About Buildings & Food

FCM #17 - Songs About Buildings & Food I was afraid we'd be all food when this came together, but it's not. Big welcome to Tracey on her first week here. FCM alumni Bryan is back for a visit too, shipping in his contributin from SF. Big thanks to Allison for creating the cover this week. Click here to download the whole FCM #17 or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Next week we're off to be thankful. We'll pick it up after that.

"Savoy Truffle" The Beatles - 1968
Allison writes: Creme tangerine and Montélimar, a ginger sling with a pineapple heart! Cool cherry cream, nice apple tart!

"Savoy Truffle" is a cool little dessert-centric Beatles tune from their self-titled album circa 1968 (AKA The White Album). Apparently George penned this in honor of his buddy Eric Clapton's sweet tooth.

Bonus trivia: Montélimar is a town in the southeast of France known for being the birthplace of NOUGAT.

Bonus Bonus trivia: NOUGAT (soft white and hard black) comprises two of the Thirteen Desserts of Christmas in Provence, the other eleven being raisins, dried figs, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, dates, apples, pears, tangerines, melon, and the Pompe de Notel a l'huile d'olive (which I think is cake).

"Vegetables" The Beach Boys - 1990
Justin Step writes: Brian Wilson sings of life's simple pleasures: cars, sunshine, beautiful girls. Here, a simple ode to veggies, written with Van Dyke Parks and featuring Paul McCartney on celery-percussion. I absolutely love the innocence and naïve genius of this tune. He tried to kick the ball, but his tenny flew right off?! I sure hope the super 8 was running for that precious moment! The song was recorded in 1967, and originally intended for the (in)famous, lost-now-found Smile album.

It could be a fine theme song for the Grocer, don't you think?

"Sugar Shack" Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs - 1963
Margaret writes: No great story with this one, I just think this song is a lot of fun and I love the hook. I wish he wouldn't say "expresso," though - that really bothers me.

"Coconut" Harry Nilsson - 1971
Ben writes: I first encountered this song during my first year of college at MCAD. My friends Anisa and Denise would often play it in their apartment while we were cooking or just hanging out or whatever. To me, it's just one of the fun-time songs that keeps the spirits high and brings back the lightness of my days at art school in Minneapolis.

"Cherry" Ratatat - 2004
TJ writes: I like this song... Its relaxing, and one of the first I could find related to food. Since there are no words, we'll never really know if it is supposed to or not, or if it was just a random name the tacked to it. Does it make you feel like a cherry?

"Pink Cookies In A Plastic Bag" L.L. Cool J. - 1993
Tracey writes: This is LL Cool J, "Pink Cookies in Plastic Bags Getting Crushed By Buildings". I'm sure it's a metaphor. I wonder for what though. Anyway, I'm choosing this song, because it's a song about buildings AND food....or is it?!?! Moooooowaaaaaahh HAA! HAA! (evil laugh).

"Brick House" Commodores - 1977
Bryan writes: how do you not wanna get funky when you hear this track? if you say you dont, you're a liar and lying makes baby jesus cry.

"Kewpie Station" Kaki King - 2003
Justin Sid writes: I found this talented guitarist when I caught her performance on Conan O'Brien late one night in 2003. Her style was crazy unique and her performance was breath taking. I've been a huge fan of hers since then.

If any of you have caught the film "August Rush" the main character's bang/slap/tapping playing style was actually Kaki hands playing the guitar.

I also saw her live once when she came to Chicago and despite my attempts I wasn't able to track her down to accept my invitation for marriage.

"The Dishwasher" Ezra Furman & The Harpoons - 2008
Sarah writes: A few months ago my friend invited me to see his friend Ezra from high school play at Schubas. I tend to decline this genre of invitation based on previous experience, but he must have caught me in a good mood. Good thing I went because there's not much better than being genuinely pleasantly surprised. Ezra Furman carries that particular precocious gene of young uber talented folks - he's so good it manages to make you feel jealous and inspired at the same time.

The Dishwasher may not quite fit into this week's category, but it's in the general area - "people don't wanna eat their food off dirty plates." It's a classic ballad about work - and no, I am not passive aggressively complaining about dishwasher duties.

Regarding the category: I saw David Byrne when he was in town earlier this month and I think the US government should preserve his DNA for the benefit of future generations.

"House Where Nobody Lives" Tom Waits - 1999
Brian writes: I will spare you the sad story that led me here, but this is probably my favorite Tom Waits song.

"Love Lives Here" Faces - 1971
Chris writes: There's a buddhist principle that says, "Life is a bridge; therefore build no house upon it." It's a sentiment that relates to the ever-changing nature of our lives, the process of evolution and the idea that circumstances, no matter how lovely, will change and clinging to a certain stage along the way will only cause suffering. It's a principle that I learned and lived by when I first moved here to Chicago, and it's one that I found reflected in this song from The Faces. I played this song repeatedly as I busied myself around my apartment, returning to the terrible Caliphone record player I had brought up from Florida and resetting the needle for the umpteenth time to hear those opening guitar strains all over again. It reminded me of my past homes, it reminded me that tomorrow always comes calling, and it reminded me that all the homes we build in life -- at some point -- become old bags of lumber disappearing on a cart down the road.

"Chelsea Hotel No. 2" Leonard Cohen - 1975
Felix writes: Justin Step. introduced me to Leonard Cohen, and this ranks as one of my favorite tracks. Written about Janis Joplin, these are my favorite lines from the song:

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel / you were famous, your heart was a legend /
You told me again you preferred handsome men / but for me you would make an exception
.

In digging around online, I found this page that features both the lyrics and several covers of the song as well.

"Johnny McEldoo (Live)" The Clancy Brothers
Walt writes: This ia absoulutely my favorite song about food. I picked the slower live version of this because, quite frankly, in the regular fast version it's difficult to understand what the brothers are singing due to their thick Irish brogues -- but it's more fun. One can only dream about such a delicious repast.

"Put Me On a Plate" Gluecifer - 2004
Jane writes: Oh food... food and all of its metaphors. This song is ridiculous!! Ridiculous and addictive.

I'm a big fan of the Scandinavian cock rock, and Gluecifer (representin' Norway) definitely falls into that category. Much of what makes this music fun is their use of the English language, which you can tell they understand and speak well... it's just that sometimes idioms or cultural differences really shine through conceptually. It always leaves me scratching my head wondering if these songs are meant to be serious or tongue-in-cheek? Maybe a bit of both. Like "Trapped in the Closet" lite.

"Bring a big napkin... cuz it's gonna be a big mess!"

"Tower Of Song" Dax Riggs
Brian writes: This is originally a Leonard Cohen song. Hard as I tried to not post another Dax Riggs recording, this one was just too perfect for this theme, and (no offense to one of the greatest songwriters of all time, but...) I don't like the Cohen version.

"Punk Rock Academy" Atom & His Package - 2002
Christine writes: Ok, so it's a fictional building but hey, who wouldn't have wanted to go to High School here? It's listed as a release date of 2004 on iTunes but it's been around before then. My sisters and I spent our entire lives together (this happens with a set of twins and a sister whose only 11 months older) up until college. My twin sister, Lauren, decided to break the mold so to speak and went off to the University of Missouri in Columbia while my older sister Betsy and I stayed in town and went to Washington University in St. Louis. Up until that first week we were separated, my twin was, well, a bit difficult shall we say to get along with. We fought like crazy one minute and the next we would be in the car heading out to our favorite coffee shop together. I remember she called me after her first week away and was crying about how hard it was up there (she was a GDI at a very Greek school) and didn't have anyone to lean on like I did. Ever since then, our relationship has been a lot less volatile and more sane. I would go up to visit her as often as I could (somehow I won the battle on who got to keep the shared car) and we would go see bands together - including this guy. He is a one-man band and is hilarious and we would play this song all the time. We got in the habit of calling each other whenever a funny song came on like this one and, if you didn't pick up, the whole thing got left on your voicemail. This was before the advent of auto-delete so there were many a time I had to sit through all of "Informer" before I could erase.

"Eat The Menu" Sugarcubes - 1989
James writes: Long out of print and finally available digitally is this overlooked bizarro track from the Sugarcubes' 1989 release, "Here Today, Tomorrow, Next Week."

I have to eat something otherwise I'll die.  But the choice is too great...

"The Cheese Song" Julie Wachter - 2006
Margaret writes: My friend Julie is a singer/songwriter, and for some reason decided to write an ode to cheese. I heart cheese, and therefore I heart this song.

She pitched it to Kraft as a jingle, but they wouldn't pick it up because they don't offer all the cheeses listed in the song.

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11.17.2008

FCM #16 - Songs I loved In Elementary School

FCM #16 - Songs I Loved In Elementary School Wow, I totally feel dated. I bet you do too! Big Welcome to Dan today, glad we've got the QA department represented. It's Dan's birthday today, so be sure to wish him well. Click here to download the whole FCM #16 or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Next week's Theme - Songs about buildings and food!

"Saturday Night" Bay City Rollers - 1977
Dan writes: I was a huge Bay City Rollers fan was I was a kid. Couldn't get enough. Even bought the 16 Prix fan magazine (I think that's what is was called) when I had saved enough money and mom wasn't looking. When they became the stars of the Saturday morning Krofft Superstar Hour back in the late '70s, I was a very happy child, even though the show didn't last very long.

"Wot" Captain Sensible - 1982
Justin Step writes: I got my first cassette player from Santa in first grade, but with no cassette to play! My uncle grabbed an unlabeled, white mix tape from his room for me, and that collection of New Wave songs formed the cornerstone of my musical identity. I clearly remember singing this song in a highly affected accent many times as a young sprout -- in the backseat of the Dodge Aspen en route to Burdette pool, in a call and response with my friends after watching WWF. I loved it, but unlike the B-52s and other artists on the mix, I never learned who sang it. So I searched for years and years, singing the chorus to all my most musically knowledgeable friends. Many recognized the tune but none could name the artist. Then, in a strange and frustrating episode, a pranker called my friend's dorm room phone when I was hanging there. He had been pranking the room frequently whenever people gathered, and would somehow always play a song that mattered to someone present, but would never speak. He played the Pogues one day, presumably for for Jeremy Allen, and I decided to sing a few lines of Wot! Into the phone before hanging up. The pranker called back, played my song and refused to speak. I had been taunted. Someone connected to my circle who not only knew the song, but owned it! Eventually, in my first days in Chicago, some guy at a record store counter recognized the lines straightaway, handed me the vinyl, so my lifelong quest to solve the mystery of Wot ended not with a bang, but a whimper.

"Pinball Wizard" The Who - 1969
Sarah writes: I'm not trying to get out of admitting that I had bad taste for a good portion of my life by choosing this one. In junior high I went through a boy-band phase and then a serious pop-punk phase - complete with Blink 182 fansite. In elementary school, though, I was still solidly under the influence of my parents. In the car we listened to either public radio or Dick Biondi. Before my sister and I started playing instruments the only time our house was filled with music was on Saturday mornings when we cleaned. My mom's record of choice: Simon and Garfunkle - Bridge Over Troubled Water. My dad's: The Who - Tommy. I knew all the words to both albums by the time I was 8. Not until I was much older did I realize how creepy Tommy really is, and how inappropriate it probably was for an 8 year old to be dusting and singing along to 'Fiddle About' and 'Acid Queen'…

"Hey, Mister Sun" Bobby Sherman - 1970
Walt writes: I'm not proud to say that I was a Bobby Sherman fan when I was a kid but as the years have gone by I'm no longer embarrassed by it. Sherman was a mainstay of Tiger Beat and 16 magazines when I was young and was also on a short-lived TV show "Here Come the Brides" with David Soul (Soul went on to play Hutch on "Starsky and Hutch"). Sherman had some hits like "Easy Come, Easy Go" and "Julie, Julie, Julie" but I've always enjoyed "Hey, Mr. Sun."

"Home on the Range" Vic Chesnutt - 1997
Jennifer writes: I loved this song in grade school because I had a strong affinity for the west due to too many readings of Laura Ingalls Wilder books. This song made me think of little Laura out on the plains.

"America" Neil Diamond - 1980
Ben writes: I spent A LOT of time at Super Skate when I was in elementary school. Almost every saturday morning (and some Friday nights) I would show up to wait in line and rent my skates. Anthemic songs like Diamond's "America" were so amazing to me - the perfect soundtrack for my deft maneuvers. I was never big on fancy skating, but I loved to skate fast, weaving in and out of traffic, avoiding certain colors of lights as they hit the floor of the rink.

"Photograph" Def Leppard - 1993
Jane writes: Fourth Grade was a music awakening for me. Mtv was now a household name, and they still played videos. The music coming out of the boomboxes at the park and the jukebox at the afterschool hangout had just reached this incredible level of relevance. I finally got it! I think I'd been a little young up until that year to begin to pick up on what music excited ME… not just listen to what music my big sister and her trashy boyfriend listened to (although he did introduce me to Ratt).

But the timing couldn't have been more perfect for my epiphany, it was bumpered on either side by what may have been the most important album releases of my youth -- Def Leppard's Pyromania in '83 and Van Halen's 1984. If I remember correctly, The Police and Duran Duran had ruled my world up until this point, but there was a different kind of passion and danger in this music that enthralled me. It's a funny thing to say now because listening to these today, they're so mellow & tame.

Does this mean I'm a jaded mess? …always.

"Casino Royale" Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass - 1967
Walt writes: I was (and still am) a big James Bond fan, so it's only natural that one of the my favorite songs while I was in elementary school was the theme to "Casino Royale." Although the movie wasn't that good (and is not considered part of the movie canon), the theme by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass is outstanding. It was also the first 45 that I begged my parents to buy for me. I remember playing it over and over when I was 6 years old.

And yep, I'll be heading out to see Quantum of Solace this weekend.

"Slow and Low" Beastie Boys - 1986
Chris writes: As an elementary school student with friends who had wise, older siblings with infinite musical wisdom and interests, I had the privilege of being subjected to everything from Iron Maiden to Ice-T during my formative years. I didn't own much of my own music then, but I borrowed countless tapes and dug through my parents' vinyl for semi-relevant material. When I was about 8 years-old my mom, who was a skilled garage sale shopper, took me on one of her Saturday morning sojourns and it was amongst a pile of worthless items that I discovered the first vinyl record I would ever own: a bootleg rap compilation that included tracks from The Fat Boys, RUN DMC, KRS One, and "Slow and Low" by the Beastie Boys. This was the last track on the record and combined the shouting urgency of hair metal and the bass-heavy beats of Def Jam alumni. The music world opened a little wider and my love for listening (and crate digging) was just beginning.

"Whoomp! (There It Is)" Tag Team - 1993
Margaret writes: This was one of the first tapes I ever owned - I think I was 8 or 9 when I bought it. I have no clue how I even came across this song in the first place, but I listened to that tape pretty much non-stop, until I knew all the lyrics - which I can still recite to this day.

"…a party over here, party over there, wave your hands in the air, shake your derriere"

with lyrics like that, what's not to love?

"Chariots Of Fire" Vangelis - 1981
Allison writes: The 80s brought us a handful of one-named wunderkinds, musical stars whose cultural gravitas exceeded the trappings of a cumbersome surname. Madonna. Prince. Vangelis.

And just who WAS this Vangelis? Self-taught Greek composer. Pianist. Scorer of films, like Blade Runner (the soundtrack for which I came to love when I was much older) and Chariots of Fire.

Seriously, Chariots of Fire seemed like it was all over the place in the early 80s. I loved it with all the pure triumphant joy of a pigtailed girl running in circles around the backyard. Kid-faved music just feels more earnest than the teenage-faved tracks that are so often filtered through the self-conscious lens of social identification. It's just VICTORY! And JUBILATION! And RUNNING! What could be better at that age?

"Concerto for 2 Violins & Strings in D Minor" Perlman/Zukerman - 1986
Felix writes: The bulk of the music I heard as a kid was mostly classical (I was taught violin at an early age). I trained under the Suzuki Method (which involves a lot of memorization), with ten books total. Both parts of the Bach Double were in the Suzuki books (the 2nd part was in Book 4, the 1st part in Book 5). I've played both sides of the double, and it's a song firmly etched into my childhood.

One neat sidenote: I was at a music camp one summer where all the kid were Suzuki students. As an exercise, they grouped about 20 of us in two circles of ten. One circle played the first part, another the second… and the instructors had us walk in a circle as we played. After both parts were going, the instructors combined the circles, and made us do figure eights - as we moved from one circle to the other, we had to switch parts. For as nerdy as music camp can be, that was a pretty cool experience that I still remember fondly.

"Nothing Lasts For Long" The Samples - 1992
Christine writes: Is it bad when you have to pull out a calculator to figure out how old you were in a year gone past? Anyways, I was 13 when this album came out which puts me in 7th or 8th grade at the time. I remember my sister had this tape and it just captured my attention for some reason. I've always loved this song but was disturbed by his acceptance of the inevitable disintegration of his relationships. Makes a little more sense now, but it's still one of my older favorites.

"Blood Money" Bon Jovi - 1990
Brian writes: Ah Bon Jovi … My guiltiest of pleasures. I was even embarrassed to admit I was a fan when I was 10. It's also when I was 10 that JBJ released his first solo album, "Blaze of Glory" (aka the "Young Guns II" soundtrack). One of my favorite songs from that album was "Blood Money". I used to, just barely, play it on guitar and sing it anytime no one was home (I was too embarrassed to do it front of anyone…Some things never change). That aside, I dug up the tablature recently, and I still love playing/singing this song. It survives on it's melody and simplicity. You just have to ignore the awful Pat Garrett and Billy "the Kid" themed lyrics. Please destroy this after reading it.

"Wannabe" Spice Girls - 1996
Renata writes: This one was a struggle … I was quite obsessed with the likes of Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston from very early on. But, I've gotta give this one to my fifth grade graduation song: The Spice Girls’ Wannabe. Zig-a-zig-ahhhh! C’mon. Lyrics don’t get better than that! I have no idea how my fifth grade class managed to get this one through, but hey, it was worth it! (In case you were wondering, Hanson Bothers’ Mmm Bop was also one of our graduation songs. I want to say that one was played to appease the boys, though I can’t imagine their ever choosing it! “Girl Pow-ah,” as Posh would say.)

"Down" 311 - 1996
Justin Sid writes: This song, this album has huge nostalgia for me. I had just gotten my first portable player a very large and in charge Sony and I was ecstatic to have it. It came with far from noise canceling headphones and when played at high volumes everyone around you got a little concert too.

This was back when lived in South Bend, IN and I had just moved there with my family in the middle of the school year. Before school I would grab my CD player and this album and go wait outside our apartment complex with a few other kids for the bus. When the bus arrived I would plant my ass in the back seat and blast this 311 album on full volume. And because of the generic crappy headphones that accompanied the player everyone else got a little morning taste of rock. This was my morning routine for a long time. After awhile of this I was called the "311 Kid" by the other kids on the bus which actually went very well with my AOL screenname "A311Manic" that I had at the time. I even got in trouble with the bus driver for playing it so loud she could hear it all the way from the back of the bus. She even tried to ban CD players on the bus because of me! I grew to love this album and this band. Never loved the bus driver though.

"Coma" Guns N' Roses - 1991
Brian writes: Coma - Guns N' Roses - Use Your Illusion ITo celebrate the upcoming November 23, 2008 release of the new Guns N' Roses album, I've chosen a song from their last album ("The Spaghetti Incident" does not count). Released only 17 years ago, I was 11 years old when the "Use Your Illusion" double-album took over my life. I was already a huge GN'R fan from "Appetite…" and "Lies…", so I cracked open my piggy-bank and bought "Use Your Illusion" I and II the day they came out. I was pretty obsessed for a long time after. Not anymore though…Well, I start group therapy next week, so fingers crossed!

Anyway, one of my favorite GN'R songs then, and now, was "Coma". No verses, no choruses, just over 10 minutes of fantasticalness that I may or may not have (pretend) performed on occasion…From my stage (bed)…To my (imaginary) fans…When I was in elementary school (yesterday).

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11.07.2008

FCM #15 - Covers and (one) Mashup

FCM #15 - COVERS & (one) MASHUP This is our second round of covers, and I dare say that this one is even tastier than the last. Hats off to Chris, who provided the only real mash-up on this mix. Also, I forgot to welcome Justin (Step) last week, so i'll thank him for the excellent songs on this mix as well as the horrible delights he offered for FCM #14 Click here to download the whole FCM #15 - COVERS & (one) MASHUP or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Let's VOTE again for next week's theme! Vote in the comments for (a) Autumn, the season! (b) Songs I loved in elementary school (c) Songs about buildings and food

"Paint It Black" The Love Sitars - 1967
Justin Step writes: I downloaded this track from one of my all-time favorite blogs ever, OfficeNaps. DJ Little Danny, the guy behind the site, is a curatorial genius. He posts tunes ripped from his massive and massively impressive collection of 45s, generally on Mondays, and generally in groups of three. This gem was posted alongside other 60s rock songs employing that most psychedelic of instruments, the sitar - visit Office Naps.

"Many Rivers To Cross" The Walkmen - 2006
Ben writes: On a backdrop of bright cymbals, a simple rock beat, strumming acoustics and zum-zumming strings, three jets take off in the form of electric guitars to sing us the sweetest sliding riff. That's what I picture swirling around Hamilton Leithauser's head as he guts out this song. He was born to sing it, you see. The Walkmen take Harry Nilsson's cover of Jimmy Cliff's original to the next level - the music is crisper and more cinematic, the vocals more gutteral and desperate.

"This Land Is Your Land" Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - 2006
Sarah writes: Folk/Funk = Best Genre Ever. I've been through both a Folk and a Funk phase over the past couple of years and this cover of Woody Guthrie's classic tune is a huge hit in my book. Even though "This Land..." has turned into the grade school theme song for all things wholesome, the lyrics aren't entirely shiney-happy:

"One bright sunny morning
in the shadow of the steeple,
down by the welfare office
I saw my people they stood there grumblin'
and I stood there wonderin'
if this land was made for you and me"

The change of key and tone totally emphasize the bittersweet, melancholic, introspective side of the song. And besides, who can resist those funky trumpet trills? You may recognize the Dap Kings from Amy Winehouse's album.

"What It's All About" Girl Talk - 2008
Chris writes: Girl Talk has become something of a phenomenon in the mixing/mashup world, finding a particularly fond audience in the indie dance crowd. His latest record, "Feed the Animals," condenses so many great samples and so many ridiculous mashups that it's hard to pick just one cut - this 4 minute track alone samples The Beastie Boys, Busta Rhymes, The Police, Ini Kamoze, Argent, KRS-one, Living Colour, and Paula Cole, to name a few. Listening to the album as a whole is a joy for total music nerds like myself who's knowledge of hooks spans a number of genres - there's a "what?! no way!" moment every 30 seconds or so on this record. Pick it up if you enjoy this kind of stuff, though I guess I should also mention that this may be the cleanest track on the record (there are a number of awesome mashups the use some of the filthiest lines from modern hip-hop mixed over the top of innocent and catchy piano lines from, say, Billy Joel).

"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" Devo - 1978
Jane writes: From their first album, and in my humble opinion, one of the finest examples of a complete rearrangement cover... or as Randy Jackson on American Idol would say "Makin' it your own, dude".

I know there was much gushing when Devo made a multi-album appearance in Friday Music last year, so I'll spare my own except to say, they were light years ahead of their time and one of the best live shows I've ever seen in my LIFE!

"You Really Got Me" Van Halen - 1978
Walt writes: I got into The Kinks relatively late — 1980, to be exact and grew to love their music. Ray Davies writes great songs and his first one out of the gate, "You Really Got Me," is a masterpiece that has not only been covered but copied by too many bands to mention. Van Halen covered "You Really Got Me" back in 1978 and it lead to a resurgence in the popularity of The Kinks and nudged The Kinks further towards arena rock.

My introduction to Van Halen's cover of "You Really Got Me" happened late one Friday night at St. Francis College in Joliet. I was down visiting some friends and we were all imbibing waaay too much and an 8-Track of Van Halen's eponymous album was in the deck. Everyone was sprawled all over the room and too blasted to either turn the music down or off. Every 10 minutes or so, the deck would loudly ker-chunk to switch tracks and every time that would happen happen, everybody would rouse and every fourth time David Lee Roth would start in on that classic Kinks hit.

"Take Me To The River" Talking Heads - 1978
Christine writes: I have always been a fan of Talking Heads and this is one of their best. I have much respect for the Reverend and think these guys did him justice in their cover.

"Eleanor Rigby" Thrice - 2005
Justin Sid writes: A punk-rock version of the Beatles classic. I hope I don't offend any true Beatles fans. Enjoy!

"Just Like Heaven" Dinosaur Jr. - 1991
Justin Step writes: In my book, this is a well-nigh perfect cover. Dinosaur, Jr. takes a played-out post-punk pop classic from the Cure. They juice it with their grungy, 90s flavor, but don't depart far from the original in the first verse. Then when you've been lulled into comfort, and your brain is hungry for the saccharine sweet chorus that burned itself deeply into your synaptic pathways long ago, your expectations get shattered and your wig flipped. With one stomp on the pedal, Dinosaur, Jr. makes the song their own.

By the way, this MP3 file isn't borked... the song actually ends abruptly like this. As a bonus, here's a lo-fi video I found whilst searching for a digital copy.

"Jump" Mary Lou Lord - 1997
Felix writes: I know precious little about the artist (Mary Lou Lord), but I somehow got a hold of this track via Ben... and it's been a little gem that I've kept in my library ever since. Doing some quick searching this morning, I found out that this track is part of a tribute album entitled Everybody Wants Some: A Loose Interpretation of the Musical Genius of Van Halen. This song makes me feel like I'm sitting in a bar at 3PM, or 5AM.

"Here's to the State (Live)" Eddie Vedder - 2004ish
Brian writes: Originally written by Phil Och, "Here's to the State of Mississippi" was the closing track on his 1965 release, "I Ain't Marching Anymore". The song has been re-worked and covered many times, including Och's own re-worked version, "Here's to the State of Richard Nixon".

This re-worked version of "Here's to the State" saw the light of day around 2004. The rest of the story is in the song. And as inspiring/soothing as I have always found it, it just got better.

"$1000 Wedding" The Mekons - 1989
Jennifer writes: It is a shame that the death of the CD means the death of compilation and tribute albums because I have a certain fondness for comps and tributes.

This song comes from a tribute album for Gram Parsons. He was an amazing song writer from the Bakersfield scene that died far too early. The tribute album is great from start to finish so I suppose that is testament to what a great song writer he was. It was difficult for me to pick just one - but I like the way Jon Langford makes the song sound like a real bender.

"Across The Universe" Rufus Wainwright - 2002
Margaret writes: This song is truly beautiful, and I think Rufus did it justice for the "I Am Sam" soundtrack.

"Let Down" David Bazan's Black Cloud - 2007
TJ writes: This is a cover tune of Radiohead's "Let Down" from O.K. Computer. The entire cd has been redone by artists such as Doveman, Vampire Weekend, John Vanderslice, Cold War Kids, The Twilight Sad and more. So this is in a way a cover and a mashup contribution. You can stream it in it's entirety here - enjoy.

"Believe" Macha Loved Bedhead - 2000
Ben writes: This cover of Cher's "Believe" has been in my iTunes library since 2004, but at some point I deleted the ID3 tags and have never, UNTIL TODAY, been able to determine the artist that released it. Back-story aside, this is a clever and mopey version of a song that is so dramatic and over the top - the original makes me want to hide under a table. It begins with dial-tone phone beeps and just sort of sucks me in after that. A re-interpretation of the highest order. Remember when autotune was new?

"(Anew Hope) Star Wars" Meco - 1977
Walt writes: I've never been a BIG Star Wars fan, Star Trek was more my style but I'll always have a soft spot for the first film (really, the fourth chapter). At the time the film came out, disco was still quite popular and a guy named Meco came out with a bunch of disco inspired covers of the popular movies of the time. So it's time to put on your leisure suits and slinky cocktail dresses and dance on over to a galaxy far, far away!

And how about a disco-themed FCM?

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