1.15.2010

For Now, Farewell

This is a photograph of Matt Miner, a fine man who I've had the pleasure to work with for over 2 years. He's leaving Emmis Interactive for awhile, and I wrote this farewell song for him:
For Now, Farewell

You can also see a video of my somewhat spirited performance of this song at his send-off party on felix's blog.

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10.29.2009

MCM#3 - HALLOWEENIEST

MCM #3 - HALLOWEENIEST We never talk anymore, you and I. Our relationship—so joyful and full in it's early days—has become as cold and unfeeling as the dead. I spend my nights in silence, shivering from pain, regret, and loss. Download the full MCM#3 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. The wonderful image on the mix artwork was created by Paul Sapiano.

"Nightmare On My Street" DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Mark D writes: My submission is from the "He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper" album that came out in 1988. I love this song because it uses the music and character from one of the best horror flicks of all times Nightmare on Elm St. This was when the Fresh Prince was just a rapper and not Will Smith the mega star actor and Dj Jazzy Jeff is still one of the greatest DJ's ever. If this song doesn't embody what Halloween is, then nothing will, it has the creepy music, the scary guy and the victims. Classic Halloween track IMO.

"The Time Warp" The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Tracey writes: When I was a kid the video for the Time Warp (Rocky Horror Picture Show) terrified me. I would fall asleep to the video channel, and it would always come on in the middle of the night, and I'd wake up right when it was coming on. Hunchback men with skullets and creepy voices are way too much for a pre teen with an over active imagination.

"Night Of The Vampire" The Moontrekkers

Justin Step writes: This spooky lounge track conjures vision of a hep cat Dracula, but Dracula's also a spy, and he's rifling through the diplomat's desk drawers while guests ponder the lovely daughter of the house, discovered prone behind a large potted plant with curious bite-marks on her slender neck. It's a swinging, cinematic track with a real gone vibe, perfect for Halloween happenings.

"Press Gang" Murder City Devils

Chris writes: Thank God we don't live in 18th century Britain, am I right? Squalid conditions, class struggles, violent crime, and the ever-present threat of a press gang were just a few of life's cruel realities. Well, prepare to be arrested by the terror of time forgotten as MCD spins this blood-chilling tale of a young man "twisting in the breeze / dripping something on the street" after becoming the victim of a press gang. Hear the haunting groans of the organ, the foreboding grit of the guitar, and the devilish details of the story as they are shouted and strained from the lips of one of the best frontmen in the business. Listen closely, friends, and let this man's fate serve as a warning to ye: "It could be you / it could be me / twisting in the breeze."

"Bloodflow" Smog

Ben writes: Cheerleaders chanting "Be eL double-oh dee eF eL Oh double-U, Bloodflow, Bloodflow! Yes, please.

"Sober" Tool

Contributed by TJ

"Sweet Dreams Are Made of This" Marilyn Manson

Tracey writes: Marilyn Manson, Sweet Dreams. Need I say more? Ok...Marilyn Manson. I said more.

"All I Want For Solstice Is My Sanity" Lance Holt

Justin Step writes: One part Yuletide carol, one part Cthulhuean pseudo-mythology, this song is as schmaltzy as evil can get. Your family may never forgive me. A truly maddening song, it will tunnel into the lovely, pristine places of your brain and drive you to states of frothy, babbling dementia. It frightens me nearly as much as The Hideously Terrifying Monster at the Centre of Mozambique, or The Horror at the Void Beyond the Stars.

"Thank Heaven For Little Girls" MGM Studio Orchestra

Christine writes: Why this is creepy: I remember the first time I saw the movie Gigi on TV I was horrified. It's basically a "coming of age" flick where an older guy ends up turning a girl into a "woman" and marrying her. The title soundtrack is sung in the movie by a creepy grandpa-looking guy who should not be thanking ANYONE for little girls and I think it's a good basis for most child protection laws.

Not the kind of creepy you were probably looking for, but it always gives me chills when I hear it.

"Marie Laveau" Bobby Bare

Contributed by JVO

"The Rainstorm" Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Juicy Justin writes: This track has the theme of the Psycho soundtrack weaved into it quite menacingly. If you have not seen the film it truly is a classic horror. I usually don't put much faith in these old B&W films, having sat an watched so many with my parents whilst growing up. But Psycho is in deed a creepily chilling flick. I was able to catch it over the summer for movies in the park. I highly recommend for your bewitching weekend festivities!

"Blood and Tears" Danzig

Jane writes: The Empty Bottle, October 31st 1997, begins a night that my best girlfriend Tonya and I still love to pore over and pick apart to this day.

On stage that night, Blackwell—a surprisingly effective KISS cover outfit from Detroit. Drinks were ingested, flirtation from the crowd ensued, and before we knew it, Tonya, Blackwell and I were closing out the bar. I was getting along with the Ace Frehley particularly well, and Tonya the Paul Stanley. These guys were funny, and though they still sported thick, smeared make-up at this point, you could tell they were fairly young and, dare I assume, handsome?

They lamented having a lot of cleaning up to do, but wanted to meet up with us right after giving an interview backstage, so we wrote down the address for Estelle's, and Tonya and I giggled our way into a cab and out to the bar to wait for their arrival.

At least 4 more beers were downed before a smiling pair of guys appeared at our sides... Only having height to recognize them by, I threw an arm around the taller of the two.

"ACE!" I shouted. He started laughing.
"We were just talking about the show..."
"What show?" he said.
... Silence ...
I started laughing, then Tonya, then all of us. Then another round of beer was ordered.

The rest of the night is a blur. We went to at least two more parties. I remember thinking Ace wasn't quite as smart or funny as my first impression had led me to believe, and he really seemed uninterested in talking about the band or Detroit... they just kept asking Tonya and I about ourselves. Oh, and how girls hate to talk about themselves. Looking back, the warmth of drunkedness prevented many clues from being recognized into the morning hours. It wasn't until about 5am when he picked up an acoustic guitar in this random party's livingroom and proceeded to serenade me and a half-dozen sleeping/passed out partygoers with "Blood & Tears" by Danzig that I realized the whole night had been a misunderstanding.

This was not Ace I'd spent the last several hours with gallivanting arm-in-arm around Chicago on Halloween night. This was just someone who probably decided after a certain amount of KISS references that he'd just play along. But one thing he WASN'T playing was this god-forsaken guitar. He could barely find the notes, and could not hold a tune vocally whatsoever.

We still wonder if the real fake Ace & Paul ever showed up to Estelle's that night, or whether the fake fake Ace & Paul minded too much when we slipped out the door into the morning after saying we were going to find the can.

Either way, Another Foolish Story of Youth and Booze™.

Enjoy this not so Halloweenie, but darkish song from Danzig II Lucifuge.

"Wax and Wane" Cocteau Twins

Allison writes: This is an early cocteau twins track harking back to their gothier days. as a long-time lover of their later dream-poppier work, i don't often listen to the older albums (a little too theatrical to my taste, perhaps), but i find this one suitably spooky for a halloween mix.

"You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire" Queens of the Stone Age

A-NINNY-PUSS (anonymous) writes: Many moons ago, Queens of the Stone Age played a Halloween show at Metro (the show actually took place on Halloween night). The night of the show, those of us attending gathered at a friend's house to do a little pre-partying. One friend brought mushrooms. The magic kind.

Now, I don't condone that sort of thing these days—but on this particular evening, I indulged. Shortly thereafter we headed, on foot, to Metro.

To no one's surprise when we arrived at Metro there was a line to get in, as security needed to do a pat-down on all concert goers. The line was moving pretty slowly - and at a certain point, you could hear that the band had taken the stage. Right around this time I noticed that the mushrooms were kicking in.

For those of you unfamilar (and I sincerely hope you all are unfamilar), magic mushrooms cause hallucinations. You see things - but the things you see aren't really the things you think you're seeing. You hear things - but the things you hear aren't really the things you think you're hearing. And so on...

Fast forward twenty minutes and we are now in Metro, walking upstairs to the balcony and the fungi are in full control. We arrive and there are more people in the balcony than I've ever seen before.

And they're all in costume.

There's the Cat in the Hat. Freddy Krueger. Sluttly Alice in Wonderland. A zombie. A witch. Some guy dressed like a bear ate his face.

The air is saturated with smoke and humidity from the body heat. People are pushing, pulling, jumping and bumping.

And the Queens are putting out thundering, low-end bass sounds that, in a place as small as Metro, are louder and more impactful than anything I've ever experienced.

My heart is racing. My rib cage feels like it's vibrating. My hair feels like it is vibrating. The floor under my feet, it's vibrating.

As I'm processing these details, trying to determine what is real and what is not, the Queens finish the song and the crowd erupts in a frenzy.

At that moment I am hit with the type of thought you pray will never enter your mind while in a psychedelic state: the balcony is going to collapse and we're all going to die.

The balcony - IS GOING TO COLLAPSE!

We - ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!

I'm paralyzed by the (irrational, but very realistic) fear of this thought.

I consider heading for the stairs when, as if on cue, I am snatched back into a sea of insanity as the Queens rip into this tune (which at the time was unreleased). A few seconds pass and I am off on another roller coaster ride, battling ghosts and goblins, real and imagined, praying that I make it through the night alive.

That Halloween night wat the first and last time I took mushrooms.

Listening suggestion: Play this song at a time, and in a place, where you can play it LOUD!

"Thriller" Michael Jackson

Phil writes: Fellas...... it don't get anymore goolish then this...

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6.30.2009

MCM#2 Lip Synch or Sing Along

Month two, and it's a doozie! Thanks to Renata for the keen suggestion and thanks to everybody who participated - it's a fun one. The cover features Felix in a still frame from a video of him singing one of his favorite songs. Click here to download all of MCM #2 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.

"Mony Mony" Billy Idol

Jennifer writes: I have pretty much always been a big fan of Billy Idol which dates back to his GenX days. In fact, I'd have to admit that the biggest highlight of 2008 was seeing him at The Venue and getting to sing a part of "Ready, Steady, Go" with him from the front row.

"Mony, Mony" is not my favorite (cover) song of his - but the category is Sing Along songs and you cannot deny this is a classic Sing Along song.

I also wanted to pick an artist that was as much of an icon of the early MTV days as Michael Jackson as a mini-tribute to MJ's music and the music of that era.

"Say It Aint So" Weezer

Juicy Justin Sid writes: Besides being one of my all time favorite songs and my karaoke instant go-to choice this Weezer classic holds a special place in my nostalgic heart. This track has always and forever been one of the only songs I can even remember how to play on my guitar. So when introduced into a group of people and forced to play my guitar at shiv point I always default to the age ol' goodness that is Weezer. This is most definitely a song that you do not play quietly. You must crank the volume knob and scream/chant/wail the epic chorus up into the heavens!

"Ticket To Ride" The Beatles

Allison writes: It's The Beatles, it's infectious, it's highly sing-alongable, and in my opinion, one of John Lennon's finer song-writing moments. Though the majority of Beatles tracks were always authored as "Lennon/McCartney" this one in particular was always attributed to him.

(One of his other fine, much later, song-writing moments was also penned by Christopher, below. Yay for semi-synchronicity.)

Anyway, the accompanying video, as excerpted from the 1965 Beatles movie "Help!", is also a barrel of fun. When I was 12 (and very obsessed with the fab four) I'd watch this segment on VHS every day during the summer... for months on end... it's still a total delight!

"Ego Trippin' [Part Two]" De La Soul

Ben writes: There was a period of time when I owned a run-down 1986 Buick Centry station wagon. It had a tape deck and De La's Buhloone Mindstate was constantly playing. Listening now, I can't believe how completely ahead of their time they were. It's old school, for sure, but some of the production and techniques they used in 1993 didn't show up in the mainstream for years. ANYWAY... Some 12 or more years later i'm still singing along and i know every word. Yeah!

"Diva" Beyoncé

Tracey writes: I picked this song because like me, it has much attitude! AND you get to say “I’m a Diva” like 50 times. So, it’s sort of like brainwashing you into thinking that you are one (You will take me to Jabba now). I have a mic and some sunglasses with bling, underneath the passenger seat of my husband’s car just for when this song comes on. He hates it, but is amazed at how quickly I can whip them out when the song comes on. Now all I need is an air plane, so I can deny passengers like Beyonce! “NO PASSENGERS ON MY PLANE!” (Insert evil sinister laugh here)

"In The Street" Big Star

Jane writes: It was the summer of '98.

I was settling down in my apartment in Wicker Park to work on a big project for which I'd already been up 2 straight days. Delirious and wired on coffee, I heard a familiar song coming from the TV. I zombily wandered into the living room to see the opening sequence of some new show where kids in a car were singing along to... this song... from one of my Top 25 All-Time Desert Island Albums... Though it was being covered by somebody and the lyrics were changed up, I stood in wonder.

It was most definitely a tune I never expected to hear on prime time – kinda like how T.G.I.Fridays is using that Tight Bros song in its commercials now – a jawdropper.

Though there are better tracks on #1 Record/Radio City by Big Star, "In the Street" from that point on was catapulted into synonymity with "sing-a-long”... at least in a cheesy sitcom sort of way.

Note: The TV program was the premiere of That 70's Show, and with a little research I found the person covering the song was a gentleman by the name of Todd Griffin. Season 2 sported a shiny, new Cheap Trick version, complete with "Hello, Wisconsin!" by Rockford's own favorite son.

"Time For Me to Fly" REO Speedwagon

Dan writes: When I was getting near the end of a not-so-fun 3 year relationship, this song helped me belt out a lot of pent up frustrations. Glad my apartment had really thick walls. Although I no longer have any of the feelings this song describes, it is still fun to sing along. Go ahead, try it.

"Summertime" Kenny Chesney

Mike writes: While Country music has been around for some time, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered it. The music just feels more "relatable" to me than most these days (for lack of a better way to put it) and there's a storytelling aspect to many of the songs that I also find very appealing. And lyrically, the songs tend to be pretty straightforward. Hence my selection: a sweet, summer ditty by one of the current kings of Country. One that I often find myself singing along to in the car, the office, on the train; when I’m shopping for cowboy hats, loading up my twelve-gauge, popping in a plug of chew or changing the oil on my pick-up...

"What's Up?" 4 Non Blondes

Renatá writes: The College of Business at UIUC is a huge fan of group projects. Sometimes such projects are incredibly boring … while others are actually fun. My senior Marketing Communications project (one of the fun ones!) encompassed building a team with other students, starting our own “agency” and creating an Integrated Marketing Campaign for FIJI Water. (FIJI had approached both UIUC and USC with this concept — and so the FIJI Bowl was born.) Hours upon hours upon HOURS were poured into the project by my team (Team Tabua). Touted as the group that enjoyed the work and each others’ company “too much,” we were of course the winners at UIUC. In preparation for our final presentation to the FIJI CEO and assorted executives out in LA, we really ran ourselves thin on sleep and fun. To remedy this, we all decided to go out, let off some steam and get super drunk together. I'm not really sure why What’s Up spoke to us on this particular night, but as soon as it came on at the random campus bar we were at, the six of us belted out the whole song at full blast. Random, really, but ever since we’ve considered it our team anthem.

A few weeks later, we trekked out to LA, dominated our presentation and won the competition. To celebrate our victory, FIJI treated us to a wild night in the clubs … and we very well might have belted out What’s Up a capella on a cab ride between parties. Now any time I hear the song, I really can’t help but sing along. Loudly. Good times!

"Oh Yoko" John Lennon

Chris writes: Oh, John Lennon. I could sing this song 1,000 times and never grow tired. Listen to that jangly piano, the harmonica solo, the double and triple-tracked vocals, the bouncy drum beat. The words are so simple, the sentiment so pure. This is a song about thinking of that special someone at any time of the day (in the bath, in the middle of a shave, etc.) and crying out with joy and love. I hope everyone can experience that feeling at some point, and I know I share Lennon's urge whenever I think of my lovely wife. It also happens to be one of the many songs Leslie and I belt out in pure adulation whenever it comes on the radio.

"Ain't Too Proud To Beg" The Temptations

Margaret writes: It took me a long time to master the timing of this song (especially the “beg and plead” lyric), but since I got that down this song has been a mainstay in my “songs that get sung at random” playlist. How can you not like this song? I know you do, because when I sing it at the office, y’all join in. It’s just one of those songs.

"Rise Above" Dirty Projectors

Sarah writes: Dave Longstreth (the lead singer) is the king of inserting R&B vocal runs into indie rock - and I love it. I’ve probably learned more about ear training from attempting to sing along with Dave Longstreth than from four years of music school. Rise Above is one of Dirty Projectors’ most straight forward songs, but that doesn’t stop him from ornamenting like whoa. Highly recommended solo sing along track here, folks - plus, if you’re too lazy to sing along with Dave, you can harmonize with the ladies.

Most people know how I feel about Dirty Projectors, so I’ll keep my proselytizing to a minimum. But, if you like this, let me know - I’m always eager to spread the Good Word.

"Life Is Shit" The Dead Milkmen

Ben writes: This is one of those great sing-alongs that I turn to when others might turn to booze or the crack pipe. There's something wonderful about joining in on this chorus when everything in your life is up in flames. Next time you get your ass kicked all day long at the job, crank this one up and join in.

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5.31.2009

MCM #1 - Live Songs That Don't Suck

We're back! Due to an overwhelming inability for me to cajole songs out of people and post them up weekly, we've switched to monthly. Click here to download all of MCM #1 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.

"Ágætis Byrjun [Live]" Sigur Rós

Allison writes: If there is one show I can recommend you ever attend in your life, it is one by the Icelandic band Sigur Rós. The sheer epic beauty of it all will blow your mind.

This track in particular was part of their return home to perform a series of concerts across the island (i.e. at the base of mountains, on the street, next to waterfalls, inside an abandoned factory, etc).

I must also take this opportunity to plug one of the most lovely DVDs released last year: Heima. It's their documentary of their aforementioned live music adventure across the incomparably strange and wondrous country of Iceland. There is a strong likelihood that watching it will enhance your life in some way, however small. Or at the very least give you a new travel destination.

The trailer is here, and contains one of my favorite most explosive songs of theirs, Í Gær. (I would have included it here but the recording is technically is not live): http://www.heima.co.uk/video/

Watch and get some chills!

"Airtap" Eric Mongrain

Felix writes: While many folks have attempted a similar style before (most notably, I'm thinking of the blind guitarist Jeff Healey, from the late 1980's), Eric Mongrain is someone that caught my eyes and ears a year or so ago.

He plays guitar normally, but for this particular track has the guitar flat on its back, across his lap. He strums and plays with both hands, tapping frets as well as the body of the guitar, and makes a pretty great song out of everything combined.

I liked this track when I first came across it, so much so that I took great pains to figure out how to convert the track over to an mp3. I still play it on my iPod from time to time.

The quality of the audio isn't great, but the performance is a good one. And it's quite stunning to actually see him perform it via video.

"Comfortable" John Mayer

Margaret writes: I've always appreciated the sentiment of this song - it's very sweet and tender, and a bit heartbreaking. I'm especially fond of this lyric:

"I loved you...grey sweatpants...no makeup...so perfect"

"Lola" The Kinks

Walt writes: How could I not start off the Monthly Collective Mix Tape with a Kinks song? This live version of Lola is from The Kinks One for the Road album – the album that connected me to the Kinks. Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, it's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world except for Lola!

"Rid of Me (Live at the Vic Theatre)" P.J. Harvey

James writes: Great slow-burner of a song laid bare in front of a crowd of 1500 rabid Polly Jean followers in Chicago.

"Now I'm Here" Queen

Dan writes: I’ve been a Queen fan since the late ‘70s and quickly started enjoying some of their more obscure tunes. When I finally got my hands on Live Killers, their first live album, from a second-hand album store in Evanston sometime in the early ‘80s, I was pleasantly surprised by the live rendition of one of my all-time favorite Queen songs, “Now I’m Here”. I’ve never seen this performed live, but whenever I hear part of this song where Freddie is stating more than singing, “Now I’m Here” several times, I imagine that he is running from one spot on the stage to another. Who knows, could be true. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

"The End Is Begun" 3

Juicy writes: This band is chalk full of talent and it oozes out of every member. Of the 100+ bands I've seen live I have to say 3 is the best live performance I've ever seen. Each band member is very good at playing their instruments and that doth please the musician in me. The show stealer is most definitely their lead singer Joey Eppard who has a R&B type vocal style that is juxtaposed on top of his very unique and impressive guitar playing. He is probably the only person alive that rocks the shit out of a venue playing an acoustic guitar. (you get a taste of this in the song) I recommend picking up some of their albums and catching their next live show!

"Willie The Wimp" Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

James writes: Two-bit Chicago gangster Willie Stokes, Jr. was immortalized in this SRV live classic. While it's true that crime doesnt pay, it kinda kicks ass that Stokes was buried in a Cadillac coffin.

"Mystery of Iniquity" Lauryn Hill

Utopia writes: Live from MTV's Unplugged series, Lauryn Hill brings thoughts and verses of years of absence from the limelight. I am always amazed at the depth and craft of her lyrics-both raw and thought provoking, Lauryn proves to be a true MC. Many may know this song from the hook of Kanye West's song, "All Fall Down." Lauryn is the original songstress and here is where it all began.

"You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies" Simon & Garfunkel

Sarah writes: Thanks to my mother, I'm a big Simon and Garfunkel fan and this live album is my favorite by far. Just their voices, acoustic guitar, and the songs . . . this is the way they are supposed to be heard/played. After hearing this album, the other ones sound way over-produced. I picked this particular song for Paul Simon's stellar guitar playing. They were both 25 years old at this performance.

"Rosa Lee McFall" Grateful Dead

Mike writes: I voted for this category and yet found it incredibly hard to settle on a song. That said, my submission is by the Grateful Dead, a band that (arguably) owns the notion of “live performance.” The song is called “Rosa Lee McFall” and is from a two-disc set of live, acoustic material recorded in September and October 1980 (for a live album called “Reckoning”). I have nothing prophetic to say…I hope you enjoy this two minute and fifty-four second tune about love and love lost.

"Everybody's Talkin' (Live)" Fred Neil

Brian writes: I don't really have any proclivity towards the live version of this song, but it is a fine song that I happen to possess the live version of. You may or may not be familiar with Harry Nilsson's version of this song in the movie Midnight Cowboy. Fred Neil wrote the original version, and this is it.

But what would the first MCM be without a Dax Riggs reference?: I've had Neil's Bleecker and McDougal album for some time. There is a song on there called "Little Bit of Rain" that I highly recommend. Anyway, when I was in Baton Rouge and New Orleans on April 24 and 25 this year, Dax played "Everybody's Talkin'" and I could not get it out of my head. I sing/play music every night and every morning before work. Since April 26 I have sang this song in particular, every morning and every night.

"Coxcomb Red (Live)" Songs: Ohia

Ben writes: There was a period in time when I was infatuated with Jason Molina. During that time I saw him play as Songs: Ohia at the Empty Bottle. The crowd was unruly and nobody was listening. Near the end of the show, he attempted to play this song just as you year it but was almost drowned out by the chatter from the bar. He stopped playing mid-song and said goodnight. I always liked him for that. In this recording, he finishes it.

"Cortez the Killer" Built to Spill

Chris writes: I first heard Built to Spill's Live when I traveled up to New York with my girlfriend towards the end of college. Her brother was going to NYU for music composition and spent a lot of time sitting in his room, getting high and listening to records that would "take him to another place" in order to reveal some deep thread of musical importance he had yet to consider. This type of behavior is not at all uncommon amongst students of music (or college students in general, for that matter). Although I wasn't high at the time, listening to this epic (20+ minute) rendition of Neil Young's classic "Cortez the Killer" with the lights out and the volume cranked definitely "took me to another place." Close your eyes, climb aboard the soaring, aching guitar and hug its neck as it carries you back to the past to reveal heart-breaking Aztec atrocities.

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9.29.2008

FCM #12 - Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

FCM #12 - PLANES, TRAINS, & AUTOMOBILES Lots of transportation related songery here and nothing about those two pillows. (we'll save that for booty-shaking theme week!) Click here to download the whole FCM #12 - PTA 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 friday's theme - VERBS! So pick a song that deals with one of your favorite action words and (if safe for work) submit alongside your song and description a photo of you or someone else performing that action.

"Paper Planes" M.I.A. - 2007
Margaret writes: I've been obsessed with this song for the past month or so - it's dang catchy and fun. She mentions planes, trains, trucks and pumping gas - apparently she's all about transportation. That's all I got.

"The Letter" Box Tops - 1967
Christine writes: Hold up Mister, the trainís not fast enough for this reignited lover, get him an airplane! Put aside the fact that she mailed him a letter that probably took at least two weeks to reach him and could be over him again by now, itís a pretty endearing song. This Memphis-bred group led by husky-voiced sixteen-year-old Alex Chilton broke free from the bubble-gum pop so many were apt to chase after in this era and instead relied on more local influences. Their first and probably best single skyrocketed to #1 but the rest of their "best of" CD still has some charmers like "Cry Like A Baby" and "Neon Rainbow."

"Flight 180" Bishop Allen - 2006
Ben writes: "My friends, my friends, I'm coming' home." Bishop Allen wrote a bunch of great songs in 2006 - this is only one of them. It's the lyrics and vocal delivery that keep me coming back to this tune. I love the way he weaves the flight narrative together with his own thoughts and preoccupations. It reminds me of the way I think and so it strikes me as being "true" - if you know what I mean.

"Red Eye" Ace Enders - 2008
TJ writes: This song is from the singer of a band I used to love back in my own band days called The Early Novemeber. I don't know if I've put anything from them on here bit I feel like I have. Anyways, whatever, here is a song called "RED EYE" by Ace Enders.

"Mission Control" No Knife - 1998
Chris writes: The second offering this week comes from an oft-overlooked post-rock band by the name of No Knife. They embody the opposite of the Louvin Brothers, though many things remain the same: two voices, an ambiguous story, travel to places unknown, and a lamentable fate. No Knife, however, is a pounding, swerving, diving ship of distorted guitar and throaty vocals that might certainly seem futuristic to the Louvin Bros. Here, No Knife is happily losing their shit over a botched space mission ("Monkey's a goner!"), whereas the Louvin Brothers were just saying goodbye to a girl they'd never see again. Ahhh, simple times.

"Planes Over the Skyline" Swervedriver - 2005
Nick writes: I am pretty convinced that every single Swervedriver song could fit this mix somehow, so here is one of them.

"No Train to Stockholm (Lee Hazlewood)" Dax Riggs - 2008
Brian writes: I know, I know..."Another Dax Riggs song? Isn't this thing supposed to be about discovering and posting new/different music?" Well, hear me out. I've only actually posted 1 Dax song so far, and the others that have followed are just really, really good songs made even better by Dax. So, I look at it as a 2 for 1 deal.

Dax has introduced me to the music of Leonard Cohen, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Nick Cave, Nick Lowe, Nick Drake and countless others not named Nick. In this case, Dax introduced me to the music of Lee Hazlewood (RIP).

In 1970, Hazlewood released Cowboy in Sweden as a soundtrack of sorts to accompany the TV show, also called Cowboy in Sweden, that Hazlewood starred in. Being an album for a TV show, it is somewhat on the poppier side, and very, very catchy. Near the middle comes a song that is fantastically catchy (especially the chorus), but with lyrics that are extremely powerful and way too relevant today. That song is No Train to Stockholm.

I had never heard of Hazlewood at the time, but in early February 2008 I came across this video of Dax performing No Train... It was instantly in my head. I looked up the lyrics and learned to play it on guitar immediately.

A couple weeks later, I saw Dax at Double Door, and he didn't play it. I was talking with him afterwards, and I mentioned the video and how great I thought it was. He asked if I wanted to hear it, and when I managed to form the word "YES", he grabbed his guitar and took me "backstage" (which at Double Door is pretty much like a boiler room in the basement...but with a couch and chair) to play it. It was just me, Dax and a girlfriend of his, and he played the hell out of this song, and a couple new songs, for me. It was a pretty awesome experience.

Anyway, here's a bootleg version of No Train to Stockholm from a couple weeks after that night. I believe it was the last show of the tour.

Wow! This is really long again...Ah well...

"In The Pines" The Louvin Brothers - 1956
Chris writes: I'm bringing two to the table this week because it was so damn hard to choose between the past AND the future of transportation. First up is an old country classic that dates back to days when a loved one could get on a train and never be seen or heard from again. It's "In the Pines", a number that's been covered and recreated throughout the last 100 or so years, but no one's done it quite as well as the Louvin Brothers (Smog came very close, however). Just try and get that train-whistle-like mournful harmony out of your head!

"Train Song [Live]" Tom Waits - 1988
Jane writes: Something tells me that the train songs for this theme are going to be waaaaay under-represented. I hope I'm wrong, because trains are fantastic.

Anyhoo, here's my contribution. I promise not to lay too much Tom Waits on the FCM, though it is by far my largest collection from any one artist. Blame it on me being a drunk in college and friends in record stores (records!!). I chose the live version of this song because it kicks off with a humorous story... a humorous story that leads into the most gutwrenching of laments. Weird juxtaposition. A rollercoaster of emotions. The tears of a clown.

I love this line:
"a steeple full of swallows that could never ring the bell"

I picture them, and it's the saddest part of the song for me. But I'm a sucker for birds and animals.

"Love In Vain" The Rolling Stones - 1969
Brian writes: This is one of my favorite Stones songs from possibly my favorite Stones album. It also happens to be a great train song (and it sort of sounds like Mick Jagger says blueline and redline when he's actually saying blue light and red light). It was originally written by Robert Johnson in the '30's, and later re-worked by the Stones on the album Let it Bleed. So, there you go...2 for 1.

"I've Got A Gal In Kalamazoo" Glenn Miller - 1942
Renata writes: Perhaps a loose interpretation of our Trains, Planes, and Automobiles theme, Kalamazoo is a song my cousins and I grew up with as we spent time together on our annual Kouka family vacation up at Moose Lake in Wisconsin (Kouka = mom’s side of the family). The song is about a guy about to travel to Kalamazoo, MI (via plane!) to visit his love—the toast of Kalamazoo, of course! A loose fit, but a fit nonetheless :)

Grandpa always had the radio set to a big-band station and so Kalamazoo, along with other classics such as The Chattanooga Choo Choo and Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing), are songs I will always hold a certain fondness for! To add the story, this past April I drove through Kalamazoo on my way to a student advertising competition. I found this hilarious and immediately texted my cousin, Kimberly (who now lives out in California) to share in the excitement.

A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-IIIIIIII got a gal in Kalama-zoo-zoo-zoo-zoo …

"The Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side" Magnetic Fields - 1999
Felix writes: I remember someone mentioning this album to me while in grad school (2000), but I didn't pick it up until after I arrived in Chicago. At the time, I was dating someone still living in Ohio, and from time to time would make the brutal drive from Barrington, IL to Columbus, OH after work on a Friday (oftentimes not arriving until 1AM, factoring in the time change).

Back when I was still listening to actual CD's, Volume 1 was one of my favorites of this album. This was a great song to sing to, and that final high G note at the end of the song is just... ridiculous.

"Motorway" The Kinks - 1972
Walt writes: Okay, it's been a couple of weeks since I tossed a Kinks song out there. Here's Motorway from the Everybody's in ShowBiz album from 1972 . Motorway food is the worst in the world!

"Always Crashing in the Same Car" David Bowie - 1977
Allison writes: Okay, here's a Bowie track from a seminal Bowie album (Low, circa 1977) that apart from a lyrical metaphor about crashing a car, also provides me a vehicle (Ha! Vehicle! Get it?!) for me to link to the video for one of my most favorite, most hilarious bits by Flight of the Conchords, "Bowie in Space."

"Passenger" Deftones - 2000
Justin writes: This is probably one of my favorite songs on the White Pony album, if not my favorite. I absolutely adore Maynard's singing voice and at the time was a really big Deftones fan. I felt the title and lyrics fit well for this week's theme and I thought I would share this with you.

"This time won't you please, Drive faster!"

"Flipside (featuring Peedi Crakk)" Freeway - 2003
Justin writes: I feel like there isn't enough rump shaking hip hop in the mixes so I'm ever so slyly inserting this into the list. Mostly because the artist has dubbed himself "Freeway" and discusses many automobiles in the rhymes that he drops. I mean just examine the first few lyrics he spits in this energetic piece.

"Cars (Jlab Mix)" Gary Numan - 1998
Walt writes: It's the only way to live...

"The Glass Is Half... Awesome" Inkwell - 2005
Justin writes: I found this band a few years ago whilst I was attempting to start a clothing line of the same name. Upon my "is this copyrighted" searches I found this group and generally liked their stuff a lot. I thought is was funny that had I not been pursuing the name check I would've never found them.

Anyway this one is very much about automobiles and it's catchy too!

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8.29.2008

FCM#8 - Labor

FCM #8 - LABOR Most of us really like the work we do. That's how we know eachother, in fact. However, I'm certainly happy it's Friday and I think we all are. Click here to download the entire FCM #8 - LABOR 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 is not yet determined. Let's have another vote! The choices for next week are (a) Get Political (b) From the Movies (c) Colors. Vote in the comments, please! Voting closes tuesday at noon!

"Government Center" The Modern Lovers - 1973
Jane writes: There are some artists that conjure vivid imagery of landscape and love and loss and joy... but Modern Lovers' songwriting tends to sound like the lyrics were made up about 2 minutes ago about something that just happened. I love it.

Here's the essence of "Government Center". Dude was waiting in line at the post and thought the workers looked bored. In his mind he daydreamed about rocking the joint and cheering up the staff in the process. The end.

"Bang The Drum All Day" Todd Rundgren - 1983
Walt writes: What better way not to work than bang the drum all day? Matt B says that you get tired of a song after hearing it 200 times. For this song, I say ... nonsense! Enjoy the day off, I know I will!

"Found A Job" Talking Heads - 1978
James writes: It's the American Dream! True entrepreneurial spirit! The bored protagonists of this song decide to start their own reality show (decades before the genre dominated television, I might add), and save their relationship in the process.

Consider this song a gateway drug to a near-perfect Talking Heads album.

"Working Man" Rush - 1974
Chris writes: The summer I turned 16 years old my family and I moved to Florida from Virginia, a move I both welcomed (thanks in part to the promise of sunny beaches and sun-kissed women) and despised (gaining vehicular independence while losing all your friends is a downer). Being a one-car family kept me from doing much exploring on my own, but after scoping out the local sunny beaches and sun-kissed women (it was all true!) I decided my life in Florida would be much improved with my own set of wheels. So I, like any red-blooded American worth a damn, went to work at the nearest Wendy's fast food restaurant. I worked my skinny, teenage ass off and before long I was working the drive-thru, the grill, and other positions of power within the Wendy's institution. Within four months I'd saved a grand, drove up to the outskirts of Alabama with my dad and drove back in an $800 1965 Ford Fairlane 500 that had sat in a yard for more than a few years.

It was in reasonable shape, and after tweaking the engine timing, rewiring the whole damn vehicle and spit-shining every piece of chrome, I roared (literally - this car had original glass packs!) off toward school with my sister next to me on the bench seat. My sister was later replaced with a girlfriend, and there were other things in that vehicle that were replaced and improved - the best of which was a CD player installed under the dash and a pair of bass-heavy 6x9 speakers I cut into the rear deck. I loved the way music mixed with the rumble of the muffler - everything was loud, proud, and probably obnoxious. I continued to work at Wendy's through high school, and this song became something of an anthem as I drove home at 10 or 11 following a closing shift. I'd roll down the windows, crank this song and drive my way down a mostly deserted street, feeling very much like the rough-and-tumble blue collar worker this song epitomizes. I was, of course, just another obnoxious teenage fast-food worker driving a car that was as painfully loud as the music I was playing, and I wasn't going home to crack a cold beer like the song suggests. No, I was just going home to climb into bed, wake at seven, and do it all again - just like the working man. This song takes me right back to those days, that car, and my pure love for heavy guitar. Just have a listen to that solo, would ya?

"I Hate My Fucking Job" Moto - 2003
Jane writes: May I also submit the super-catchy "I hate my fucking job" by MOTO? You can't get more base than this one. That's why I felt compelled to put a little more thought into our theme (see above). Well... that, and I DON'T hate my fucking job.

"For The Workforce, Drowning" Thursday - 2003
Justin writes: I'm going to have to leave this week's description up to Geoff Rickly the lead singer of Thursday. Here is an excerpt of his thoughts about this week's theme:

"Falling from the top floor your lungs
fill like parachutes
windows go rushing by.
people inside,
dressed for the funeral in black and white.
These ties strangle our necks, hanging in the closet,
found in the cubicle;
without a name, just numbers, on the resume stored in the mainframe, marked for delete."

"9-5ers Anthem" Aesop Rock - 2001
Ben writes: We the American working population hate the fact that eight hours a day is wasted on chasing the dream of someone that isn't us. And we may not hate our jobs, but we hate jobs in general that don't have to do with fighting our own causes. We the American working population hate the nine-to-five day-in/day-out when we'd rather be supporting ourselves by being paid to perfect the pasttimes that we have harbored based solely on the fact that it makes us smile if it sounds dope.

I think any artist can relate with this statement.

"Why Don't You Get A Job" The Offspring - 1998
Christine writes: Offspring is one of those guilty pleasure bands for me. This song is awesome because it's catchy and hilarious. Who doesn't know a friend (or maybe yourself) that is constantly complaining about a friend or significant other who is a constant moocher? These people have Labor Day everyday.

"Surf Wax America" Weezer - 1996
TJ writes: This is just about blowing off the day and going surfing. Pretty basic yet when I think about it... I wish I could just do that (if I only knew how to surf and lived near an ocean). At least thats what I want this to mean so cause I want it to, it does, enjoy :)

"East Bound and Down" Jerry Reed - 1977
Felix writes: I probably first heard this song from the seminal first Smokey and the Bandit movie. However, I was re-introduced to it by my friend Ron Fuhler, who was my Flash mentor back in 2000... the first guy who showed me the ropes, and taught me a lot of the fundamentals of the program.

He and I worked for a small company in Barrington, and this was a song he'd play whenever there was a rush project, a fire, or something that required a lot of focused energy/attention. It was a playful thing, but it stuck with me over the years.

I tend to employ this song during all nighters, and have had it blasting, full-volume, from my computer more times than I care to remember. But it's a great tune, and it works. At 3:30 AM, when you're bleary-eyed and wanting an extra burst of energy... this song is as good as a strong cup of coffee or a cigarette.

"I Don't Wanna Grow Up" Tom Waits - 1992
Brian writes: This was a difficult theme for me. I really have no Labor Day/song connection in my mind...Which is very odd, because I have some sort of music-related connection to pretty much everything else in my life. Well...As of today, I can now say I have a Labor Day song. While it's not really a song about the working man/woman, or taking a break from the grind, it is a song that celebrates having a mind free of the responsibilities and headaches that come with being a working citizen in the U.S. of A. It's also a reminder to not let the complexities that come with being an adult (like a job), overshadow the simple joys in life. And on top of all that, it's just a great f'ing song. Covered by The Ramones, Cold War Kids, and more, here's the original I Don't Want to Grow Up by Tom Waits.

"Fred Jones Part 2" Ben Folds - 2001
Margaret writes: Poor Fred Jones - he got canned and no one even notices. This is basically Milton from "Office Space". This song depresses the hell out of me...I wish I could find this guy and give him a hug and tell him that it'll all be okay.

"Yulquen" Autechre - 1994
Nick writes: I listen to this pretty often at work.

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8.21.2008

FCM #7 - Songs That Tell A Story

FCM #7 - SONGS THAT TELL A STORY Plenty of sad tales in this weeks edition of FCM. This week's cover art is inspired by the true story of Marie Prevost outlined in Jane's contribution. Click here to download the entire FCM #7 - SONGS THAT TELL A STORY 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 is for Labor Day - bring out those songs about loving work, hating work, just about work (or being off work!) or the work-a-day life. Labor! Work!

"Levon" Elton John - 1971
Chris writes: My mom was a fan of Elton John. She was particularly fond of the early Rock 'n Roll Elton that I still enjoy today. She played records quite a bit at home when I was growing up, the same ones in a continuous rotation, and this song found a particular place in my heart. Maybe it's the epic strings, the drum flourishes peppered throughout nearly every change, or the earnestness in Elton's voice as he sings - whatever it is, it captured me every time it came on the stereo. It wasn't until later in life that I really heard the song and appreciated the story that went along with it all. For me, it's all about the relationship between father and son, tradition and change, dreams and reality. The words are few, but they paint such a perfect portrait of the kind of man Levon is and the kind of man Jesus is afraid of becoming. It poses a question about truly living and the unspoken rules that govern what being a "good man" is all about. Is it following tradition, fighting for your country, earning money and raising your kid the same? Or is it about living life your way, traveling to Venus and disregarding your past? That's a question that only Jesus can answer.

"Real Talk" R. Kelly - 2007
Jennifer writes: When Ben said this week's theme was "Songs That Tell A Story", I immediately thought of all the folk and country singers that fit that criteria. Would I pick a song from Neil Diamond, Tom Petty or Johnny Cash? Did Pete Seeger seem appropriate? Or was Barry Manilow too much? Then it all became clear to me...... a modern day story teller is what we needed. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you R Kelly.

The obvious choice was a song off the monster that is "Trapped in the Closet" However, after listening to the thousands of ditties in Chapters 1-22 - such luminaries as "The Package", "You Can Do It, Pimp Lucious" and "The Reveal of the Little Person/Cherry Pie" - I realized I couldn't parse down such a classic at my whim. No - this story is best enjoyed in its entirety. I will leave that to Ben's New Hire Induction for the 25 or so people that have been hired since Allison had her Induction/Viewing Party of the Chapters.

I have selected one of R's newer songs that covers all the bases. "Real Talk" tells a story but also is a bit of a tale of morality - much like the Greek myths or Viking sagas of yore. Listen and learn, my friends. (Just don't listen to it too loudly as R has a potty mouth on this one)

"Don't You Want Me" The Human League - 1981
Christine writes: This week's submission come s with the assistance of my sister, Betsy. I was talking with them about how, with the exception of maybe the "humpty dance", most songs tell some sort of story so I found this week's topic difficult. She suggested this song and I have to agree with her for a few reasons. One, it's an awesome song from the 80's. Two, it's definitely got a story line - albeit the typical love and loss. Three, the unique (and sometimes comical if you think about it) two sides of the story line that are presented. I can picture these two going at while listening to this song.

"A Postcard To Nina" Jens Lekman - 2007
Nick writes: My selection this week is Jens Lekman's "A Postcard to Nina," the greatest song ever written about faking being someone's fiancee to their father. In 2007.

"Marie Provost" Nick Lowe - 1977
Jane writes: To lighten up this pack of (what I know will be) terribly depressing songs... because aren't most songs that tell a story depressing? I mean, who writes a song where the plot is running to the Jewel to pick up cheese and TP? Anyway, I'm bringing you this TRUE STORY song about Marie Prevost, a silent film star in the 20's/30's who turned to booze and eating disorders when the double-whammy of prohibition ending and the "talkies" beginning left her washed up and quite alone.

This isn't just a fallen star story though... in fact, many may have forgotten her amidst the other debaucherous tales of Hollywood Babylon except for the post-mortem scene she left behind after drinking and starving herself into an early death in 1937.

You see, she was found in her bed by the police almost two weeks after her death, HALF EATEN BY HER DACHSHUND.

"She was a winner/Who became her doggie's dinner."

So, yeah, I was just kidding about this not being depressing. It's crazy depressing. But like I said, no one writes story-telling songs about the mundane.

"Tennessee Waltz (Live)" Dax Riggs - 2008
Brian writes: Okay... I've stayed away from contributing any of my bootleg recordings in the past, but I guess that ends here. Some of the "best" songs I possess were never properly recorded, and they should be shared...crappy quality or not. Anyway, songs that tell a story...

Tennessee Waltz, was written in 1947 by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King. It was made popular in 1950 by Patti Page. It's been covered a zillion times since then. Leonard Cohen performed it live on occasion, adding an additional verse. His version was performed live by my favorite singer/songwriter, Dax Riggs, on May 1, 2008 at Chelsea's Cafe in Baton Rouge, LA.

Here's the audio and video of that performance. It's a great song, with a great melody, that tells the classic, universal story of having your heart broken (but it's told from a very unique perspective), and I've never heard anyone sing it quite as good as Dax.

"Last Kiss" Pearl Jam - 1999
Renata writes: Nothing against Ricky Nelson, but I’m partial to Pearl Jam’s rendition of Last Kiss. I’m one of those people who easily becomes fixated on one song and runs it on repeat for weeks. This was one of those tunes. The painful, yet everlastily-love-saturated lyrics hooked me. I want to say I stumbled upon Last Kiss sometime in Junior High, but could be totally lying to you right now—I really can’t remember! This is one of the few MP3s that has survived two computer swaps. Enjoy.

"Ghetto Cowboy" Mo Thugs - 1998
Margaret writes: I first heard this song the summer before I started high school. My friend's and I made it our mission to memorize all of the lyrics - and we sang it all summer long, usually in parts. It's ridiculously awesome.

"Stagger Lee" Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - 1996
James writes: Parental warning: If profanity, violence, and deplorable sexual acts upset you, please don't listen to this song.

The story of Stagger Lee was first put to song close to 100 years ago. Since then, a variety of artists have put their spin on Stagger Lee; who, considering the time, has to be considered the "O.G."

Of all the versions that have been made, none leave a mark like Nick Cave and the Bad Seed's 1996 take on it. The Stagger Lee of this story could wipe the floor with both Bad Leroy Brown and Manowar with his shooting hand tied behind his back.

"Waterloo Sunset (Live)" The Kinks 1996
Walt writes: Ray Davies is a master storyteller and this is one of his masterpieces. While I've always loved the original 1967 version of this song, The Kinks performed acoustic versions of many of their songs in 1996. I really like Ray's vocals on this "newly" recorded version. The melancoly of song really gets me even through the veil of paranoia.

"My Sister" Tindersticks - 1995
Allison writes: My selection this week is from Tindersticks, one of my absolute favorite bands in the dark, lovely chamber pop category. "My Sister" is a shimmering, tumbling, Edward Gorey-esque narration of the life of vocalist Stuart Staples' fictional sibling. Staples lets loose quite an ode to this ill-fated lass, who among other things goes blind at age 5, burns down their house at 10 (inadvertently killing mum and the cat in the process), falls down the well on a drinking binge at age 13, moves in with her gym teacher at 15, and so on... I'll leave the rest to the song.

One caveat: the vocals are often hard to distinguish, so I'd recommend taking a gander at the lyrics online while listening. Otherwise you're liable to miss gems like these, her description of what she sees while blind:

I can see little twinkly stars, like Christmas tree lights in faraway windows / Rings of brightly coloured rocks floating around orange and mustard planets / I can see huge tiger striped fishes chasing tiny blue and yellow dashes, all tails and fins and bubbles.

"1000 Times A Day" The Early November - 2005
TJ writes: Sappy sappy love song about a boy and a girl who start going out when they were kids, breaking up and then getting married in the end. I like the fingerpicking in this song a lot as well as the melodies. The random trumpets at the end are nice too.

"Elizabeth Childers" Richard Buckner - 2000
Ben writes: Richard Buckner's The Hill consists of one single audio track that weaves through alt-country instrumentals and song versions of some of the poems from Spoon River Anthology (1915, Edgar Lee Masters). Each poem in Spoon River is an epitaph of a dead citizen (from Spoon River), delivered by the dead themselves. This is my favorite of Buckner's songs on The Hill (which I have liberated from the rest of the record). It's the story of Elizabeth Childers... a woman who died in childbirth along with the baby she was carrying. She sings about how it is well that her child did not come into the world, and tells a story about what hardship that child might have endured had he lived. It's tragic and even as I write this I feel tears welling up in behind my eyes!

"Medication" Damien Jurado - 2000
Felix writes: I first heard of Damien Jurado from Ben, and got entranced with this song. I have a thing where I'm able to loop a song, incessantly, for more times than is healthy. I mean, like a lot. What gets me most from this song is how all the characters intersect through the speaker, and the complexities/similarities between all the relationships.

"Tecumseh Valley" Townes Van Zandt - 1969
Ben writes: Townes Fan Zandt is one of my all-time favorite songwriters. This is from a live album where Townes plays by himself called A Gentle Evening WIth Townes Van Zandt. The story this song tells is tragic - quite possibly the saddest song I've ever heard. It's country folk, and in it we hear of financial hardship, affection death, depression, whoring, and despair. Sounds kind of like a joke about country music, I know, but Townes writes it real and sings it realer. I can barely get through singing this song without crying.

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5.14.2007

Songs for Dave to listen to

I'm posting a bunch of songs that i made over the last 10 years or so for dave to sample. They represent a variety of flavors, phases, and styles that i've transitioned through, but each of these songs has held up for me over multiple listens and plays. These are also the songs others tend to respond to. Dave, hopefully this isn't too much. It was hard to get it down to this short list.

Silent Chicago - 2004

Perfect Set - 2004 (m4a: right-click to download)

Always Dancing - 2002
I've never put the effort into making a recording of this song that i like, but the song itself works pretty well when i play it live.

Any Song That Wasn't Sad (Collaboration) - 2000
Any Song That Wasn't Sad (Unarranged)
The first link was part of a mail collaboration with my friend Greg. I recorded acoustic guitar and vocals and sent him the 4track tape. He put in the rest. Later, i recorded a different version with just me and the guitar. I'm posting both for reference.

10.13.97 - 1998
Part of a tape release i put out in 1998 called "One Month to Matrimony." I realize that it's quite a departure from the rest on this list, but i wondered if the open spaces and the 2-part vocal thing in the last half might create some neat opportunities.

Airplane Ride - 1997
Part of a tape release i put out in 1997 called "They May Have Liked Mystery For Its Own Sake." Very lo-fi DIY recording (i was super into sentridoh at this time). Try and ignore the outdated stylings.

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3.25.2007

Please don't take him just because you can

Did anybody besides me write off Dolly as just a set of ridiculously large breasts, 9 to 5, and appalachian theme parks? Luckily, by chance encounter with this song on a hip-hop mixtape, I've had my perception redefined. This song is an all-out country JAM.
Dolly Parton "Jolene" - iTunes ($)

I also had NO IDEA that she was the originator of "I Will Always Love You" - a song that is tied forever to over-the-top Whitney Houston. Mr. Viking Moses does an excellent version of it here that i'm able to enjoy (though Dolly's version isn't bad).
Viking Moses "I Will Always Love You"

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