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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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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11.07.2008

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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10.31.2008

FCM #14 - Halloween

FCM #14 - HALLOWEEN We're BACK baby, and we're killing it. Click here to download the whole FCM #14 - HALOWEEN 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 - Cover Songs #2!

"Halloween - Main Theme" Gareth Williams - 1978
Walt writes: The original Halloween remains one of my all-time favorite horror movies. I like John Carpenter movies and while several of them are cheesy, this one hit all the right notes. Carpenter wrote the theme and there's nothing like hearing those piano keys twinkling to get the blood rushing.

"Dream Warriors" Dokken - 1987
Felix writes: I have a sneaking suspicion that Brian L may also be submitting this track, Nightmare on Elm Street fan that he is. While I was never one for scary movies, I really got into these films when I was in middle school. When the third Nightmare film came out, I got to see two things I loved combined into something even more fantastic. Like a raisin covered in chocolate, or a monkey in a cowboy suit... I present to you a horror movie backed with heavy metal, in the form of Freddy Krueger and Dokken.

"Dr. Stein" Helloween - 1996
Jane writes: So, a year ago, when New Music Fridays was very young and we were trading entire albums, I made a HELLOWEEN comp on Halloween... but since it's now a year later (which means we should have had a birthday theme sometime recently), I feel like enough time has passed for a band repeat. And there really is, in my mind, no substitute for the rousing Germanic vibrato and militaristic drumming this time of year as we celebrate all that is dark.

"Dr. Stein grows funny creatures
let's them run into the night
they become great rock musicians
and their time is right"

"Zombie Graveyard Party" Be You Own Pet - 2008
Christine writes: "life is lame so let me eat your brain." Words that are sure to convince your mortal lover to let your zombie-self enjoy their innards as a little snacky. Then you both may enjoy the unded life together - until the comedic yet loveable zombie killer comes after you and shoots you both in the head.

"Smack Jack" Nina Hagen - 1982
Justin Step writes: This is a nicely operatic and dubbed-out selection to drop at your next death disco party. I like the tension between disco glamour and back-alley depravity in this song. Nina Hagen has a very powerful, dynamic voice, and reallly kicks up the gravelly alto notes here for a freaky, spooky effect. She sounds a bit like an undead, half-decomposed junkie zombie that's stepped from of the shadows of Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

"Zombie Prescription" Snapcase - 1997
Justin Sid writes: This was my favorite song off of this particular album, Progression Through Unlearning from Snapcase. I was handed this album when I was in high school from a friend. Snapcase was the beginning of my Victory Records obsession where I found a bunch of hardcore rock outfits I grew to love.

While the title of this track is a bit more of a metaphor than an actual song about the undead. I felt that it has merit for our Halloween themed mix.

"This Is Halloween" Marilyn Manson - 2008
Jennifer writes: This song is from the "Nightmare Before Christmas - Revisited" soundtrack. I am not sure what the thought process was to reissue this CD with different artists covering the songs but I felt this was the best song on the CD. Marilyn is one of the best at cartoon-y goth covers.

"Black No.1 (Little Miss Scare-All)" Type O Negative - 1993
Brian writes: Certain seasons call for certain bands. Every time Autumn rolls around, I get in the mood for Type O Negative. Everything they've done on their 8 releases captures the essence of the season. Narrowing it down to Halloween only, I could single out at least an album's worth of Type O songs. And while I will almost always go directly to the album "World Coming Down" when Fall creeps in, no song is more fitting for this mix than "Black No. 1" from the 1993 album "Bloody Kisses". By the way, the story behind the song is that most girls coming to Type O shows had their dyed black hair. When asked what type of hair dye they used, the most common answer was Black No. 1. Or so the legend goes...

"John Wayne Gacy, Jr" Sufjan Stevens - 2005
Margaret writes: If there was ever a song that could be described as both haunting and beautiful, this would be it. The last line of the song is one of my favorite lyrics of all time:

"And in my best behavior I am really just like him. Look beneath the floorboards for the secrets I have hid"

"Skeleton Key" Margot & The Nuclear So And So's - 2006
TJ writes: I'm going to be "that guy" that puts the song on the Halloween mix only because Skeleton is in the title and that relates to Halloween. I really like the strings in this mix and have been wearing this CD out lately so I wanted to share.

"Season Of The Witch" Luna - 2006
Allison writes: Allison is silent on this one.

"Nah Und Fern" Wolfgang Voigt - 2008
Nick writes: This is Wolfgang Voigt's "Nah und Fern," a way old unreleased track. I know I've used his work before, but if this song doesn't creep you out then I don't know what I can do for you.

"Experiment In Terror" Henry Mancini - 1962
Walt writes: I figured that we were going to have a Halloween-themed FCM so I planned in advance and had Henry Mancini's Experiment in Terror lined up but Brian beat me to the punch back in FCM #10 with the cover by FantÙmas. But that's okay, I'm a big fan of covers (hey, let's do another round of those). Anyway, here's the original by the great Henry Mancini (this is my second Mancini pick).

When I was a kid back in the 1970s, WGN-TV used to run a Friday night Horror-themed show called Creature Features and I loved it. It's where I first saw the Universal horror movies like Frankenstein, Dracula, The Creature form The Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man, and my all-time favorite ... The Wolfman. The movies had commercial breaks, of course, and when they came back from break, WGN would play a little bit of Experiment in Terror and show a drawing of Lon Chaney Sr. from London After Midnight. In my room, with the lights out on on my old B/W TV, it all looked very spooky. It's one of my favorite memories.

"DaDa" Alice Cooper - 1981
James writes: Camp has always ruled Alice's take on horror in rock, but I've always found this particular track chilling as fuck.

Don't buy the album; it's awful. Instead, enjoy this track and seek out "Love it to Death," "Billion Dollar Babies," and "Welcome to My Nightmare."

"Sinister Exaggerator" The Residents - 1986
Justin Step writes: I discovered this song, and this band, thanks to a cover version on Primus' Miscellaneous Debris, and became a huge fan all through college. It was music was like nothing I'd ever heard, like the soundtrack to a nightmare. A perfect blend of the dark and the childish, it was nervous-making music, and elicited emotions that most other music seeks to avoid. I got hooked, but consistently failed to convince my friends to share my appreciation. They formed in the late 60s, and are still together, and have gone to great lenths to never reveal the identities of individual members, like performing in tuxedoes and eyeball masks, backlit behind screens.

"I'm Evil, Jack" The Frogs - 1996
Ben writes: This song is a terrible bad song. A song to never play around your mother or your kids. Felix, Justin, Matt, and I realized it was also a song never to play loud at work sometime around 2003 when Rey kindly asked us to never play it aloud again. He's Evil, Jack. You will feel a bit evil too, laughing along to this one, unless you quickly delete it and vow to never listen to The Frogs again.

"Tubular Bells" Mike Oldfield - 1973
Walt writes: This piece of music always brings me back to the early 80s. I was a seminary student of the Archdiocese of Chicago living in the Niles College dorms on Harlem and Touhy. Almost every Friday or Saturday night, a bunch of us priests in training would drive downtown, hide some beers in our coats and take in a movie (I remember one of us knocking over a bottle of beer at a showing of Bo Derek's signature film,10, and listening to it roll all the way to the front of the theatre). On one such trip, we decided to see The Exorcist (we figured it was job training). One of my fellow seminarians decided that the movie wouldn't be bloodcurdling enough on its own so he bought a tab of acid from an enterprising gentleman in the bathroom. Luckily he made it though the movie in one piece. I, on the other hand, discovered a great film that mixed spirituality, psychology, science, and horror al in one neat little package.

We seminarians used to have retreats to the Sait Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, IL. It was rumored that the technical advisor Fr. John Nicola had done much of his research on exorcism while a seminary student there. It was also rumored that his former room was under lock and key due to some strange phenomenon that happened in it while he was doing his research. While I never found his room, I gave it several good tries on my trips there.

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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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9.11.2008

FCM #10 - From the Movies

FCM #10 - FROM THE MOVIES Turn your cell phones and pagers off, we're headed to the cinema. We've got everything from Superman to Rosemary's Baby represented in this mix. Click here to download the entire FCM #10 - FROM THE MOVIES 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 - Dance Party! That's right, bring out the most danceable tracks you've got. Doesn't have to be "dance" music, but it MUST be danceable!


"Superman - Prelude and Main Title March" John Williams - 1978
Walt writes: The theme to Superman - The Movie is one of my all time favorites. I still get chills every single time I hear it. I love the majesty and joy of it and its ability to get the blood pumping. And when I watch the movie, I'm amazed that a 26-year-old unknown actor was so completely able to master the duality of the Superman/Clark Kent relationship and portray two believable and distinct characters. So here's to you Christopher Reeve, you never gave up!

P.S. I have a photo of me with Christopher Reeve from 1980. I'll try and dig it up tonight.

"Going Up The Country" Canned Heat - 1968
Christine writes: Appears in: Woodstock: The Movie (the original one - Margaret) and in Meet The Fockers (1994). The song was also used in the "Northern Exposure" episode when Dr. Cappra was travelling to replace Dr. Joel Flieschman as the town doctor (thank you google!). Anyways, this is one of those songs that I remember listening to when I was a kid and it just made you feel good. I was recently reminded of it when my sister put it on a comp CD for me. The singer has a really interesting voice that you can't help but try to imitate (poorly) and it is one of the few songs where I really appreciate the addition of a flute to the musical lineup... if only there were cowbells too...

"Ain't No Sunshine" Bill Withers - 1971
Ben writes: From "Notting Hill." Yes, I love the Julia Roberts. This fantastic song is used in a great scene where a year passes while Hugh Grant walks through Notting Hill. I love that scene, and the song is just perfect for it.

"Kaze Wo Atsumete" Happy End - 2003
Felix writes: Though I've seen "Lost in Translation," I never really heard this song until Liz played it for me. It's one of her favorites and she can sing it all the way through, word for word (despite the fact that she has no idea what the lyrics mean). Personally, I love the key changes and the slow, rolling tempo throughout. For some reason, in trying to figure out how to best describe the happiness this song elicits: it's like having someone hand you a large sum of money, but in slow motion. Good stuff.

"Are You Ready For The Sex Girls?" Gleaming Spires - 1984
Jane writes: Wha wha WHAT??!!! This incredible song just happened to be nestled inside the most pivotal movie from my pre-adolescent years?? The one that convinced me it was not only OK, but COOL to be in Scholastic Bowl??! It's true. Not only nestled in, but MADE FOR. You can tell by the brainstorm-style lyrics that someone involved with the movie said "OK, so we need a song about the Omega Mu's coming over for their first mixer at the Nerds' frat house... Riff on it!"

This is a splendid work of art. A bit long, but just try to keep its catchy chorus out of your head for the days to come.

"Dead Already" Thomas Newman - 1999
Masha writes: Here's an arrangement by Thomas Newman for the American Beauty score. I first heard it on a mix tape (remember those?) played in the background of an hs art class. Enjoy!

"I'm Shipping Up To Boston" Dropkick Murphys - 2005
Ben writes: From "The Departed." I was so completely blown away by the film, the anxiety and energy of it, particularly in regards to DiCaprio's character as he gets deeper and deeper undercover. This song was just perfect for the film and it was also my ringtone for some time. My kids and I used to run around the house like crazies with this song blaring.

"Big Bad Wolf" Bunny and the Wolf Sisters - 1985
Justin writes: I had to include this classic. It is probably one of the most ridiculous songs ever created for a film. And one of the catchiest. I inspire you to drop what your doing and do the "Big Bad Wolf".

In case you need some inspiration...

"Less Than Zero" Glenn Danzig & the Power and Fury Orchestra - 1987
Jane writes: If you're ever playing "8 Degrees of Separation" and get stuck trying to connect 80's Brat Pack chump Andrew McCarthy with Misfits frontman Glenn Danzig, never fear because this sweet tidbit is the missing link that will save your hide. Believe me. That situation happens more than you're probably thinking it does.

Boasting over-production, female backing vocals, and general syrup, I'm positive that this concoction remains the ugliest of stepchildren in Danzig's catalogue, but MY GOD it's a guilty pleasure.

"Tommib" Squarepusher - 2001
Nick writes: Squarepusher's "Tommib" was featured on Lost in Translation. It's a short song, but very good - it doesn't need to do a whole lot to get the point across.

"Child Psychology" Black Box Recorder - 1999
Margaret writes: I am a huge Gilmore Girls fanatic. I love the quirky characters, the rapid dialogue and witty banter, and getting bombarded with hundreds of pop culture references in each episode - on a good day I'll catch about 1/3 of them. I got the soundtrack as a gift, and this has got to be one of the most obscure songs I've ever heard in my life - but totally fitting for the show. It surprises me that I like this song, but I find myself listening to it fairly often.

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Theme" Jon Brion - 2004
TJ writes: Jon Brion has made some very awesome soundtracks to some of my favorite films including this theme for the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He also did the "I Heart Huckabees" soundtrack. Check it out. Hope you like it.

"Hide and Seek" Imogen Heap - 2005
Justin writes: This is a song off the soundtrack of the film, The Last Kiss. For those not familiar with Imogen Heap she is one half of the group Frou Frou. And Frou Frou is well know for their song that was featured in another Zack Braff film, Garden State. Because I was a huge fan of the Garden State soundtrack, and Frou Frou it was easy for me to spot Imogen's track in The Last Kiss.

I saw her live around a year ago and she had an awesome performance. She talked a lot with the crowd and shared some of her stories, methods, and ways she made her music. This track is also featured on her album "Speak For Yourself" which is one of my favorite albums of all time. I love it, and I hope you do too. :)

"Mad World" Gary Jules - 2001
Allison writes: Is the end of the world nigh? Is the tangent universe near collapse? Hell if I know. Rent the Donnie Darko DVD for more on that note (however abstracted). More to the point, however, this is a Gary Jules heart-swelling cover of the Tears for Fears 1983 track "Mad World". The lyrics are gripping, sad, and -- especially these days -- immediate.

It's one of those three-minute gems I wish was twice as long. It plays and I wish it was playing me just a little bit longer.

"Simple Man" Graham Nash - 1971
Renata writes: I stumbled upon Graham Nash's Simple Man semi-recently while renting the movie Reign Over Me. As the opening scenes played, I remember being overcome by the song … it really spoke to me that day, having struck my mood just right. I was moved. I immediately jotted a few of the lyrics down on a Post-it with the intention to later Google them in hopes of finding the song title so I could then download the track.

I ended up watching the movie for a second time a few weeks later with my mom. As the song played, I told her how much I enjoy this song and, because of this movie, had downloaded and now play it regularly. Her smile widened. She was very familiar with the song and even had a few records from the various guys’s attempts at solo careers (which she immediately whipped out of storage from the family room)—one of which had Simple Man on it! It would up being a really neat bonding experience as mom shared stories of her various concert-goings and reminisced over her favorite artists and albums.

"Ben" Michael Jackson - 1972
Chris writes: Ben was a horror film released in 1972. Here's the synopsis:
A police detective investigating the death of a young man named Willard makes the shocking discovery that the victim was attacked and mutilated by a pack of rats. Ben, the leader of the pack, was Willard's pet, and now the nasty rodent has a new master.
The synopsis neglects to mention that the "new master" is actually a 10-year-old kid with an upper-register voice who cries when the pack of killer rats is decimated by the townspeople. (SPOILER ALERT! Ben survives.) Despite a dismal showing at the theaters, Ben managed to come away with an Academy Award Nomination. Why? Because Michael F'ing Jackson sang the theme song. A young, silver-tongued Michael Jackson who melted hearts with a song about a killer rat and sung for a horror film's end credits. It's a touching song and it makes me think of our very own Ben - Ben, you've got a friend in me.

As a final note, the fairly recent Crispin Glover film "Willard" was set up as a prequel to Ben. Here is Glover's video from the Willard DVD, featuring him singing the title song. It's a gem (and slightly NSFW, but whatever).

"Rosemary's Baby" Fantômas - 2001
"Experiment In Terror" Fantômas - 2001
Brian writes: Named after a super-villain from a series of old French crime novels, Fantomas are an endlessly unique and interesting band, featuring members of Faith No More, The Melvins, Slayer and Mr. Bungle. How could a lineup like that possibly go wrong? The answer is, it can't. In 2001, Fantomas released one of the greatest albums of all time, The Director's Cut. The Director's Cut is a 16-song album consisting of various movie theme songs. They are covers, but just barely. They really took the originals and put their own insane twist on them. I slowly narrowed down my selection from 16 to 2, and I just can't decide. So, I'm including 2 songs. These are the themes from "Experiment in Terror" and "Rosemary's Baby". Also, the band will be performing this album in it's entirety for the Don't Look Back series in December of 2008. For more info on that and a full track-listing, click here.

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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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8.07.2008

FCM #5 - Driving Songs

FCM #5 - DRIVING SONGS Start your engines! Make one last weekend road trip - at least to the Mars Cheese Castle. We've put together 15 driving songs to go along with you. Click here to download the entire FCM #5 - DRIVING SONGS 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 - Instrumentals! Sometimes it's time to tell the vocalist to shut up. Scour your collections for that brilliant instrumental!

"Intro / Sweet Jane (Live)" Lou Reed - 1973
Christine writes: Road trips... lot of memories I’d love to block out and some I hope to never forget. The essential roadtrip survival pack had to include mutually agreeable soundtracks for everyone in the car. Not an easy task when one wants to listen to their entire collection of Guided By Voices, the other wants nothing but Japanese Ska, and I just want to know if anyone has EVER heard of the radio. So, compromises were made prior to takeoff on what was even allowed in the car. One song everyone agreed to as the perfect “takeoff” song is what I present to you now. It’s this particular version that starts off low and unidentifiable and then rises to the culmination of Reed in one of his finest performances that sets off a great tone for any roadtrip... check your mirrors, peel out and enjoy.

"The Body Says No" New Pornographers - 2000
Nick writes: So here is a somewhat long story of the last time I got behind the wheel of a car, which was in April 2007.

My girlfriend Erin and I were still long-distance, and what had been the longest period of our not seeing each other was about to end with my flying to Chapel Hill on a Friday so we could drive up to DC and see the Dismemberment Plan's reunion show that Saturday. I get to O'Hare at 5:30p for an ostensible 7p departure, and by this point storms are pounding most of the eastern seaboard. My flight is cancelled, as is the next flight, and the next eight flights into RDU are booked solid with standby. So I ask about flights to several other airports around Chapel Hill and DC, figuring I can find some way to get up to DC by Saturday night. Turns out there is a 8:32 flight to DCA that I can get on. They book me for that and a DCA-RDU flight at 4:12a. Fine.

(In case you're wondering, I'm checking all of these numbers against an old blog post. I am not that good at remembering things.)

So waiting at the security barrier I start calling people I know in DC for crash space. One of my friends says he's game to have me crash, but he will also offer his car for me to drive down to Chapel Hill to see Erin. I take up the offer.

Of course, the ORD-DCA flight is delayed until 12:15a. Also, as if this couldn't get any more ridiculous, I get airsick for the first time in my life because we're flying through 850 miles of violent thunderstorm, and puke for two hours straight. At this point I miss my girlfriend a lot. Also, flights into DCA involve flying a really wonky path over the Potomac and then nosediving right at the end, cf.

wikipedia.org - Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (The River Visual approach)

, which doesn't help my stomach very much. Touch down at ~3:15a eastern, chug two venti mochas on an empty (emptied, ahem) stomach at the sbux kiosk, grab my luggage, take the car keys from Dave, promptly almost run his car off the 395 bridge into the Potomac in a panic - and drive the entire way to Erin's house through the storm, blaring bombastic, noisy rock at full blast, yelling the words to every song. Including this one.

Got there at sunup, around 7a.

flickr.com - photo of nick in sweaty crowd

I know that this song was featured on a CD Thursday some months ago, but I don't care.

"Roadrunner" Joan Jett - 1986
Walt writes: Hey, I'm on vacation -- so what better week for driving songs. Since we generally drive when we holiday, this one's a great rocker to get the blood pumping on the road. The cool thing about this song is that Joan Jett did quite a few local site drops in for it for many different cities.

"Little Honda" Yo La Tengo - 1997
Masha writes: It's as fun as a barrel of monkeys on a two wheel bike!

"Strange" Wire - 1977
Jane writes: Hey gang, remember cassette tapes back in the day? Remember how there were 3 or 4 cassette tapes that sat in your glovebox in case of driving emergencies where you forgot to bring along one of your supercool NEW cassette tapes? For me, one of those was a wonderful compilation of Wire. I even had a back-up of this compilation in the case that the tape would melt in the hot car (it happened twice!).

So my selection was the song that I would inevitably rewind and play at least one extra time whenever it came up. It's a song that accompanied me through happy drives and sad. The trip home from Six Flags, feeling so triumphant that I finally conquered the Giant Drop; or driving home from "the city" (downtown Peoria, at the time) bawling my eyes out over some loser guy...

The cadence lends itself well to driving too. It's a head bobber. This, and "The Zoo" by the Scorps may be my favorite head bobbers ever.

"She's Tight" Cheap Trick - 1986
James writes: Cheap Trick was (and remains) a big Midwest band whose songs are built for speeding on big Midwest roads (I-90 from Chicago to Rockford being the obvious choice here). Come for the sexual frustration and innuendo, stay for the arena-ready riffs.

"Punk Rocker" Teddybears - 2006
Chris writes: This song gets double points because it's both a driving song and a song ABOUT driving (and looking good). It's a silly little sing-a-long courtesy of the Teddybears, and everyone's favorite punk rocker Iggy Pop leads the charge. Just try to get that synth hook and chorus out of your head after driving to this one for a few hundred miles...

"Living is A Problem Because Everything Dies" Biffy Clyro - 2007
Justin writes: A while back I had to return to the world of auto theft after my brother breached a contract with a Russian crime lord to deliver high end cars. So I had call up all my old friends for a one night 'boost' to grab all these cars all the while avoiding apprehension by this dirt-bag auto-theft cop whose wanted to nail my ass for years. Needless to say when that pig of a cop got close, I was outta there in a minute! Boooyah!

Uh, this song reminds me of then.

"Boys Peel Out" Mercury Rev - 1993
Allison writes: Mercury Rev, in their early/mid-90s heyday, seemed to be most often described as space rock, though I'd place them on the more earnestly psychedelic Flaming-Lipsian side of the spectrum as opposed to the shuffling shimmering shoegaze of the day. This track is from their second album, Boces, and it made multiple appearances on a couple of my own roadtrip mixtapes. It's sweetly buoyant and fizzy, and a bit more suited for winding local highways (max speed 45mp/h) as opposed to a high speed tear down I-35.

"Mighty Good Leader" Audio Adrenaline - 1999
Sean writes: This song brings back good memories of our first ever roadtrip here in the States. We had just bought our first van in 1999 and our best friends from South Africa were visiting. We drove them around the Midwest and Audio Adrenaline's new album Underdog was blaring for a lot of that trip. This is the first track from that album.

"Undiscovered" Ashlee Simpson - 2004
Margaret writes: I know what you're thinking - more crappy music from Margaret - but just give this one a chance! I always listened to this song on the way to and from my crappy waitressing job, and although it's a bit sad (think unrequited love), the lyrics struck a chord with me at the time. Aside from the bit of scream-singing at the end, her voice sounds pretty good, and I love the intro music.

"Don't Stop" ATB - 1999
TJ writes: Well well, I'm going to go in a different direction this week. ATB, I don't know anything about them honestly, for the most part I only know this one song because many of my friends in high school loved this song and we'd always play it on the weekends when we were hanging out. Techno-ish but addicting as hell, and awesome driving music.

"Jack and Diane" John Cougar Mellencamp - 1982
Renata writes: To me, a great driving song is one that all passengers are able to sing along with. For my friends and I, Jack & Diane always hits the spot. Why? Well, it doesn't hold any particularly deep meaning for us, but it’s damn catchy and always a great excuse to stretch otherwise unused vocal chords …

"The Golden Age" Beck - 2002
Brian writes: Beck used to pick me up from my house every morning around 3:10am. He would drive me around wherever I felt like going. One day I told him he should mix it up and do a mostly-acoustic album. He asked what he should sing about? I told him to sing about driving me around empty highways in the middle of the night and early morning. He then started writing the first song off of Sea Change, The Golden Age... Right there behind the wheel! Guitar and all! That is, of course, all bullshit, but I think Sea Change is the perfect driving album, and The Golden Age is the perfect driving song (especially on late nights, early mornings or really anytime you just feel tired/defeated).

"Range Life" Pavement - 1994
Ben writes: In the summer of 1996 I took an impromptu road trip with two friends to northern California from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. My friend Jim brought a couple of Pavement CDs and I fell in love with the music during my driving shifts. I have a particularly vivid memory of coming down from the mountains into San Francisco just after sunset with my two friends sleeping and "Range Life" playing.

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6.25.2008

Friday Collective Mixtape #3 - Cover Songs

FCM #3 - COVERS  This week's theme is "Covers," and we've collectively contributed novelty, sincerity, and reinvention. Click here to download the whole FCM #3 - COVERS 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 - Childhood Memories! Songs that were important to you when you were a child, or songs that bring that childish day back to you.

"Ever Fallen In Love" Nouvelle Vague - 2006
Christine writes: Originally from the Buzzcocks (pop-punk band from Manchester) circa 1978. Some of you already have this from a previous swap but for those of you who don't it's worth a listen. I like the original but the cover provides a sweeter side to the lyrics as is Nouvelle's style.

"Pure Imagination" Smoking Popes - 1997
Margaret writes: If you've seen "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" you'll probably recognize this tune. I first heard it a few years ago, and I've been obsessed with it ever since. It's got a killer hook (in my opinion) and I love the Kermit The Frog-like quality of the lead singer's voice. Good stuff.

"Brown Eyed Girl" Everclear - 2000
Walt writes: I love covers, pure and simple. But I hate bad covers. What's a bad cover? One where the artist doesn't make the song his own. That's one of the reasons I love Everclear's cover of Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl." Not only do they put their own spin on the song but they also honor the original in the lyrics. It also doesn't hurt that my blushing bride also has brown eyes.

"Since U Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson)" Ted Leo - 2005
Nick writes: I was going to put on the Sea and Cake's cover of Bowie's "Sound and Vision", but it's a bit too rote and boring. I was going to put on Bran Van 3000's cover of "Cum On Feel the Noize", but a previous CD Thursday had the album that that's from. And so here we are. Have Ted Leo singing a thing.

"Cruisin'" D'Angelo - 1995
Bryan writes: How can you not like this song unless your ears were tainted by Gweneth Paltrow & Huey Lewis. The original by Mr. Robinson is great and definitely has that great old school feel/sound to it but i like the way d'angelo gave it a more contemporary feel without destroying it. Plus since its summer, this is a great road trip/driving song.

"Hazy Shade Of Winter" Bangles - 1987
James writes: The Bangles weren't all that bad. Their first album, "All Over the Place," was a fun, jangly, garage pop record. The releases after that were hit or miss, but those few songs that "hit" still hold up today. One of the Bangles' biggest songs wasn't their own; it was as a Simon and Garfunkel song from two decades prior, "A Hazy Shade of Winter." Bangles wired the song through some amplifiers and presented it with a sense of real guitar menace. "A Hazy Shade of Winter" definitely connected on a grand level, snagging the #2 position on the charts in 1987.

"You're So Vain" Faster Pussycat - 1990
Jane writes: Yes, THAT Faster Pussycat. Carly Simon would be rolling over in her... luxurious Southern California 4-poster bed right now if she only knew. But for some reason, the hair metal take on this works. I almost submitted it for last week's "summer songs" theme because it so reminds me of warm nights long ago.

"Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? (Album Version)" Revolting Cocks - 1993
James writes: Revolting Cocks were the "playful," humorous outlet for the malevolent, addicted-to-many-things-that-should've-killed-him-in-the-90s, Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen. On this cover song, he and Rev Co "straight man" Chris Connelly eviscerate the uncontested nadir of Rod Stewart's 70s output.

"Baby Got Back" Throwdown - 2001
Justin writes: This song was on an album I bought in high school called "Too Legit for the Pit". It's the best Hardcore to Rap translation I've ever heard. Hands down, .....er uh.... Throwdown.

"Paranoid" Type O Negative - 1992
Brian writes: Type O Negative is definitely one of the most original sounding bands I know of. They have been known to include a cover song on almost all their releases, but they always make that cover their own. They've done everything from Beatles and Santana medley's to reworked versions of Cinnamon Girl by Neil Young and Hey Joe by Hendrix. One of my favorites is their cover of Black Sabbath's Paranoid, so here you go.

Honorable mentions that I can send if you are interested:
Dax Riggs acoustic version of Skulls by The Misfits
Ramones cover of I Don't Want to Grow Up by TomWaits (both are awesome)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds cover of Death is Not the End by Bob Dylan
The Life Aquatic soundtrack (Seu Jorge covering David Bowie)
Faith No More's cover of Easy by Lionel Ritchie

"Hallelujah" David Bazan - 2007
TJ writes: Here is a song that I really love (originally written by Leonard Cohen), done by David Bazan (Pedro the Lion, Headphones). It has it's religious moments here and there :) but I still love it (hopefully it doesn't offend anyone). Check out more of his stuff as well as his other bands if you get the time. I highly recommend him. His voice is one of my favorites.

"Hurt" Johnny Cash - 2003
Chris writes: For me, a good cover song is about taking something familiar and giving it a whole new context or instilling new meaning so that you're hearing that song for the first time, in brand new ways. I love a good cover, and after poring over my collection of great soul covers / cheeky indie covers / updated oldies-but-goodies, I settled on "Hurt," originally written by Trent Reznor and covered here by Johnny Cash. Cash covered this song the year before he died, and it's absolutely haunting and real and honest about life. While Trent's version is a desperate, angsty plea, Cash's version plays as more of a soft surrender to the life he's lead, like he's read the writing on the wall and reflecting on all of life's peaks and valleys. If you haven't seen the video, grab some tissues and click here.

"Atlantic City" Tom Thumb - 2006
Ben writes: Tom Thumb takes the emotion and heart of my favorite Bruce Springsteen song and (because Bruce isn't singing) they put all of it into the music. Their version is true to the essence of the song - but different enough in approach that it works for me.

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