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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1.31.2009

Eighteen From 2008

This is not an FCM post, this is just me, Ben.

For the last several years I've created a list containing 20 of the best songs I heard first in that year. December of 2008 had me laid out sick, so I'm running a bit late. In addition, I am only including 18 songs this year. I want this list to be ABSOLUTE favorites and didn't water it down with two more tracks solely for consistency. I'm not a critic, just a lover of good sounds so don't do that ever-so postmodern critique-the-critic thing, please? If you see a little pink star next to an album name, it's one of my favorites for the year. Lastly, the list isn't in order of greatness - rather I tried to create a nice flow for listening. Click here to download the whole thing.

"Soul '69 (Part II)" A-ko
When I'm happy I sneeze all day
This jazz-funk, sample laden DJ creation would be fun and happy without the vocals, but the charming and ridiculous nature of the vocal performance makes Soul '69 (Part II) legendary. The melodies, both instrumental and vocal, are infectious. The horns, the swirling wah wah, and the woodwinds ride ever so lightly and tightly upon the beat and bass groove. I've spent countless weekends with this song on repeat in my head, letting out an occasional "Aah-Choo," revealing my madness.

"As If Love Was a Sword" Steven Delopoulos (Straightjacket)
And the music above was a children's choir
A week after the great Iowa flood of 2008 peaked in my hometown of Cedar Rapids, I drove there to pick up my kids who had been staying with their grandparents. Because of the flooding I had to take local highways through Iowa, rather than my typical interstate route (290,88,80,380, if you care). A mix CD was left in the car and on it was this gem of a song. It's a waltzy 3/4 - for which i have a general weak spot. The arrangement starts with a straightforward folk approach and builds to a grand, bombastic crechendo complete with a choir and what sounds like tympani. I listened over and over and over, as much drawn to the imagery in the lyrics as to the odd musical trajectory of this short song. It seemed suitably apocalyptic for the moment, driving into the disaster that visited my hometown. "The orchestra roared."

"Damn I'm Cold (Feat. Lil' Wayne)" Bun B (II Trill)
Best to get you some sleeves
The swagger on this song is so thick it's impenetrable. Lil' Wayne and Bun B come together and take turns rapping about how absolutely great they are on this remarkably smooth production. This isn't a groundbreaking song, just a perfectly executed treatise on the coldness of these two rappers. Every time this song comes on, I get a little chill.

"Everybody (Feat. Kanye West, Sa-Ra & Andre 3000)" Fonzworth Bentley
Simple elegance looking better when you dance
Up late one night flipping channels, I happened upon a string of rap and R&B videos. At some point Destiny's Child and Sir Mix a Lot segwayed into Fonzworth Bentley. The video presents the entertainers in tuxedos on a soundstage doing dance routines like they're the commodores or something. It works because the music simultaneously throws me back and catapults me into the future. It's classy as hell, sensual, sexy, and fun. Andre's verse is immaculate, his tone is smooth and his cadence buoyant. Fonzworth's songs (see C.O.L.O.U.R.S. below) have a distinctly unique style that I can't get enough of.

"Camel" Flying Lotus (Los Angeles*)
...
It was hard to pick a song from Los Angeles because the album works so well as a unit, each track a twist or turn on a singular highway of sound. I don't even know what they call this music anymore, but it's essentially electronic DJ production with hip hop influence. Listening to this record reminds me of how I felt listening to DJ Shadow's Endtroducing... in 1997. The music sounds new but familiar. I can get sucked into it completely or live alongside it harmoniously, depending on my whim.

"Until We Bleed (With Lykke Li)" Kleerup (S/T)
If Cupid's got a gun, then he's shooting
I had an incredibly overwhelming panic attack in July. I was in World Market picking up some Malteasers and it hit me like a ton of bricks. If it weren't for my headphones and this song on repeat I would have certainly gone mad or been run over by a bus in the street. Maybe it's the beat, but for me this song manages to be incredibly soothing while giving me the distinct impression that the world may indeed be ending right before my eyes. Lykke Li makes a frail yet powerful performance and Kleerup turns out what just might be the sexiest song I've heard in the last three years.

"2 Becomes 1" Karl Blau (Nature's Got Away)
All the hardships sail away
I'm sitting in a mostly-empty barroom with wood panel interior. The bartender, a woman in her 50's, hands me another jar of Miller Light, and i swivel on my stool back toward Karl Blau and his band. The warm tones of the guitar and vocals offset the draftiness of the place. I'm staring at the linoleum where my mind is projecting a slideshow of images starring the two of us. This song could never be true without you.

"Holes In Our Heads" Retribution Gospel Choir (S/T*)
It was just like she said
I was pretty exited to get a hold of Alan Sparhawk's new album, especially after reading that Mark Kozelek produced it. At first, Retribution Gospel Choir was a big letdown for me. It seemed to neither embrace the fragility of his work as Low or the heaviness that these songs seemed to yearn for. But after a couple of weeks this summer in the painting studio with this record on repeat, I figured it out. Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power, used massively layered guitars and vocals to become one of the heaviest and powerful rock productions ever (IMHO). There's power in numbers but there's power in singularity too. A single, passionate voice and one or two electric guitars strummed with abandon can be just as moving as twenty. That's where "Holes In Our Heads" succeeds - it pulls us in with a finger and pushes us out with the passion of a single, determined man.

"C.O.L.O.U.R.S. (ft. Lil' Wayne & Pimp C)" Fonzworth Bentley
I don't wear sneakers, I wear slippers
This low-key, ultra-smooth track features some of the most over-the-top lyrical content since R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet. By that I don't mean bat-shit-crazy, I only mean that when you hear a man talking at length about cashmere, cognac, and exotic animal furs and leathers... Ummmm... Fonzworth's verse stands out - for some reason I find myself believing that he's telling me the truth, that he actually has purple silk lining in all of his coats. Lil' Wayne and Pimp C are perfect choices for filling out the song - both have such interesting voices and tend to shine when the tempo is a bit slower. Best of all, the chorus spells out this wonderful acronym, and it's fitting - what we have here are Cool Outrageous Lovers Of Uniquely Raw Style.

"Mutha'uckas" Flight of the Conchords (S/T*)
He's gonna wake up in a smoothee!
Flight of the Conchords has been a highlight of my year. I've watched season one several times and the CD is in play at least once a week. I've probably spent hours laughing to Jemaine and Bret's antics. The magic here is that the songs work as songs but come to life as videos and get raised to art in the context of the show. It was hard to pick just one song, but I chose "Mutha'uckas" because it's catchy and stands well on it's own - but you should really watch the video.

"Mr. Carter (Feat. Jay-Z)" Lil' Wayne (Tha Carter III*)
I heard somebody say church, I'm-a need a suit
Lil' Wayne has been a highlight of my year. He's on 3 of the 18 songs in this list and only this one is from Tha Carter III. There's something about the combination of his wheezy flow, his outlandish rhymes, and his complete confidence that makes me want to eat whatever he's cooking. Jay-Z makes a solid contribution to this piano-plink ridden production. While musically it's not the most interesting track on his album - I love the samples and I'm particularly fond of the inventiveness of Wayne's rhymes.

"The Way We Ride" Fulton Lights (The Way We Ride*)
They were trying to take my land
Last year Andrew Spencer Goldman took us to the city, this year he's brought us out west. "The Way We Ride," is like a cowboy version of gangsta rap. It's brimming with bravado and unapologetic street (range?) cred. The dirty-muddy production that put me off at first kept bringing me back for another listen. It's a fighting song, but popping out from the plodding vocal delivery are some great melodies. "Six bullets says I don't give a good goddamn."

"The Vowels Pt. 2" Why? (Alopecia*)
Playing the wall at singles bingo
Vocals are clearly driving us through this song, but the vehicle we're riding in is one of those toddler pull-toys with wooden oval wheels. The punchy, lunge-release, lunge-release, of the track is relentless and powerful - giving way only when we recite the vowels. Every phrase of lyrical content is an image-inducing head scratcher, delivered swiftly and melodically in series. This song makes me smile and move - I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

"Half Of Two Times Two (Newer Version)" Barr (Summary*)
So let's all be special art rebels together
On the train listening to Barr's Summary last month, a man near me interrupted to ask me what I was listening to, what kind of music was in my headphones. All I could think to say was that it was sort of like a guy talking. He said, "Like rap?" and I said, "No, not really." The truth is that on a basic level, this song really is a lot like a guy talking over a simple, repetitive bed of piano, drums, and bass. The value of this song and most of the brilliant work on Summary will not be separated from the lyrics. While these songs are certainly about the words, they are absolutely meant to be songs. Brendan Fowler's vocal delivery and approach to melody breaks up the stream of consciousness into distinct movements, emphasizing the most important phrases and infusing the words with passion. Please don't give this song one listen, listen five times in a row because I need you to see that this is so much more rich and important than a guy talking. "That's what i'm saying. Oh my god, there is soooo much!"

"Archangel" Burial (Untrue*)
...
Untrue is a sexy and nearly perfect electronic album. "Archangel" manages to be atmospheric and undulating without relegating itself to the background. The beat is gorgeous - but not just the beat - every tone and texture of every sound that creates the beat is immaculate. That apparent attention to detail is present in every aspect of this production. Each layered crackle and synth is absolutely meant to be. The vocal is repeated and manipulated with speed and pitch shifts and never comes off gimmicky or contrived.

"New Hollywood Babylon" Don Cavalli (Cryland)
And when I talk... Violence!
This quirky song could easily be tossed off as a novelty due to the vocal delivery and lyrical content but it's just too damned funky and unique. It's hard for me to pin down what keeps me coming back to it. Sonically, it's funky and weird and bouncy and joyful. I love the little wah wah guitar solo moments. This guy's accent and vocal approach makes hearing phrases like "Put your hands up, ya'll!" and "Cadillac cars, Pussycat Girls!" like eating little delicious desserts - perhaps it may be low in nutritional value, but it's pretty damned tasty.

"Bring It On Home To Me" Sam Cooke
Bring it to me
Seriously, how did I miss this song for 31 years? One night I was waiting for the blue line downtown and the trains were delayed. There was a subway musician who was playing soul music with an acoustic guitar with a crowd of delayed passengers around him singing along. I've never seen anything like it - with every song the crowd grew bigger and people around him were not just watching, they were actually singing and clapping along. At some point he went into Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me." While it certainly sounded familiar to me, I couldn't place it and quickly wrote down some of the lyrics so I could hunt it down when I got home. Sam Cooke's voice is amazing, and this type of soul music is rich and evocative. Thank you, infectious street musician, for bringing this song to my attention. Better late than never.

"Joe's Waltz" The Dodos (Visiter*)
YOU NEED HELP! YOU NEED HELP!
It's been a frustrating year for me. Maybe that's why this list has more fighting songs on it and less singer-songwriter material than years past. "Joe's Waltz" is a little of both. The first half is a good-but-harmless, folksy, melodic waltz. What the song morphs into at four minutes is something entirely different. Sweetly sung melodies give way to shouts, angst, distortion, banging drums, and energetic obscenities. There's conflict in the composition but there's continuity as well. "C'mon, this shit is real."

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12.05.2008

FCM #18 - Have A Very EI Holiday

FCM #18 - HAVE A VERY EI HOLIDAY Well... Happy holidays, folks. Do you feel that wintery cold outside and the wintery warmth in your heart's hearth? Special thanks to NickD who created this stunning cover. Click here to download the entire FCM #18 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 - "I love this song because the video is awesome!"

"Fairytale of New York" The Pogues
Jane writes: One of my all time favorite holiday songs. A gorgeous tune with a devastating theme of how love turns cold over time -- just like the air turns bitter at this time of year. Oh, gentle fate, warm our toes this holiday season. Flush our collective cheeks with the comfort found only in the communal exchange of song. Dab our running noses with your inspiration, and quiet our unrest with cottony slumbers... What??! I don't know what I'm talking about. Happy holidays, gang.

"The Blizzard of '96" The Walkmen
Allison writes: This is a joyously wintry little tune from the Walkmen. Although I think lyrically it concerns a patched-up relationship, the music conjures storybook winter scenes: snowball fights, sledding down neighborhood hills, and my imaginary pet reindeer.

"Christmas All Over Again" Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Chris writes: Yes, it's Christmas all over again. It's hard to believe we've arrived, but here we are. Christmas was, at one time, a welcome distraction and a reason to be giddy. But with age comes pessimism and it's now more of an unwelcome distraction that reminds me how terrible I am at gift-giving and keeping in touch with family. Tom Petty's affectation is something I've always loved, but when he lends it to a Christmas song it takes on this sort of resigned sarcasm that I can really appreciate. He puts together a pretty remarkable hook that somehow makes Christmas's arrival palatable. By the end of the song I'm comfortable with my aversion but I also know why people love this season so much. Thanks, Tom Petty, for helping me tolerate another holiday season!

"Christmas In Hollis" Run DMC
Mark writes: The song I picked was Christmas in Hollis by Run DMC. I picked it because it has to be the best Christmas Hip-Hop song ever! Along with the fact that DMC's whole verse is actually how Christmas was in our house when I was coming up.

"Deck Five" Saturday's Children
Justin Step writes: I feel a little cheap for selecting another Office Naps track, but what the hey? It's a nice Christmas tune, and it's performed by a Chicago garage band. They mash up Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" with a splash of "Deck the Halls" with some nice, psych-folky harmonies.

"Place To Be" Nick Drake
TJ writes: This entire album (actually just anything from Nick Drake) makes me want to just walk around when there is snow on the ground and crank this up in my headphones. Personally it calms me, I love it.

Happy Holidays!

"King's Crossing" Elliott Smith
Brian writes: Let's face it...the holidays are equally joyous and depressing. And I don't know about you, but while I like my tunes a lot of ways I mostly like them sad. For whatever reason it's the sad ones, with a small sprinkle of hope, that make me feel warm and cozy on my insides. This, in turn, actually renders their depressing powers useless, and transforms them into uplifting songs.

When I first discovered Elliott Smith, I was still living in the 'burbs, but working full-time and going to school full-time in the city. I was in the process of selling my place that I moved into with my recently ex-girlfriend, and I had high hopes of moving downtown to start a new life. I vividly remember the train rides, late nights and early mornings spent listening to this song (repeatedly...especially in the winter months).

The Christmas references are clearly drug references in actuality, but those references, along with my winter listening habits have concretized the connection for me.

This song appears on "From a Basement on the Hill", which was the last Elliott Smith album. It was recorded before he threw in the towel, but released afterwards.

Merry Christmas!

"Christmas Song" Dave Matthews Band
Margaret writes: This is quite possibly my favorite song of all time - and I don't say that lightly.

I love the simplicity with which he tells the story, and the way he weaves the message of "love" throughout. Even if you hate Dave (which I'm sure most of you do), humor me and listen to this one - it's truly a beautiful song, and it sounds like a lullaby.

"Babylon" David Gray
Felix writes: Back when I first arrived in Chicago, fresh out of grad school, I worked my first real job at a small company in Barrington, IL, doing Flash work.

I spent a few late, late nights in the office (situated in a strip mall called The Foundry), meticulously and laboriously hand-updating Flash keyframes for a humongo project. I remember having this song on loop, and heavy snowfall out the window as my car gradually became the only one left in the lot.

This song makes me think of winter, and of being lonely. It makes me remember being the only one at the office, away from my grad school friends, a warm table lamp by my computer, and an expanse of white snowfall just outside.

"Christmas Time Is Here (vocal)" Vince Guaraldi
Tracey writes: It really isn't Christmas until you see the Charlie Brown Christmas special. I remember fighting my brother for a spot in front of the TV when this cartoon was on. However, that memory was overshadowed in the early 90's by an episode of the TV comedy show Martin Lawrence. On this particular episode, Martin was hosting a Christmas show, and had two little people ballet dancing to Christmas Time is Here, which abruptly switched to Kurtis Blow. Now, when I hear this song, I think of me and my brother dancing around the Christmas tree with little people.

"Still, Still, Still" Mannheim Steamroller
Renata writes: My most meaningful memories of the Holiday have always been music-related. I grew up in a Mennonite church where the congregation sang in 4+ part harmony every chance they had. Come Christmastime, there would be various music-based services held each week. I always took part in the impromptu choir that would "perform" one or two special Hymns during the services. One of my favorites we performed remains Still, Still, Still. Enjoy.

"Lo! How A Rose E'er Blooming" Sufjan Stevens
Ben writes: This hymn is one that I remember from my childhood as tedious, yet enjoyable. Sufjan has transformed it into something different, a delicate, and beautiful tune where the beauty of the words and story can shine through. THere's something magical about the repeated phrase, "when half-spent was the night." Also, if you like this track, ask me for a listen to the rest of Sufjan's Christmas EPs.

"Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" Elmo & Patsy
Christine writes: You can ask Kisha and Margaret... I do not like Christmas music. I just find it irritating to the highest degree. But this particular song will always be welcome this time of year for me. I still remember us begging Dad to put on the album at Christmas-time and laughing over and over at this whole thing.

"I'm Giving Santa a Pikachu for Christmas" Pokémon
Nick writes: My contribution to the holiday mix CD is a song that always reminds me of the spirit of gift-giving and togetherness that pervades the holiday season.

"12 Days Of Christmas" Straight No Chaser
Margaret writes: This is a recording from the founding members of Straight No Chaser, Indiana University's a cappella group. One of the original members dug up some old videos from a 1998 concert and posted them on YouTube for the other members to see. Around the holidays, the video for this song received over 8 million hits. The group was then contacted by Atlantic Records, and they signed a 5-album deal, to which this album is the first.

Listen for "Africa" at the end - that's the best part.I have the whole album if anyone wants to upload - it's a great one for the holidays!

"Coldest Winter" Kanye West
Kisha writes: So I was obsessed with the new Kanye album and specifically this song. He repeats a lot on the entire album, but he was clearly working thru a lot of emotions. I love the new sound!

"Long Way Around The Sea" Low
Ben writes: Ever since this record came out, this song has been one of my Christmas favorites. As a kid, I loved "silent night," particularly at Christmas eve service when everyone lit candles. For me, this has the feel of that dark night and candle-light. There's magic in the harmonies, as well as the story told.

"Lake Shore Drive" Aliotta, Haynes, and Jeremiah
Walt writes: It could easily be argued that Alliota, Haynes and Jerimiah's superb Lake Shore Drive is a summer song but I think it works equally well in the winter. So much so, that it's my holiday pick. No, there isn't any snow in it and you won't hear any bells a jinglin' and Santa doesn't make an appearance. For me, however, it always reminds me of winter as I would play it on my way home after a long night of ushering at one of many of Chicago's fine venues. Since I lived on the south side of Chicago when I was a kid, I would drive home from Auditorium Theatre via LSD to I-55. I vividly remember the gray night sky with snow twinkling in the air from the light cast by the drive's light poles as the blustery wind buffeted my Ford Maverick -- all the while with LSD playing in the tape deck.

Hey, how about a Chicago-themed FCM where people pick songs that make them think about Chi-Town?

"Snow Days" Trip Shakespeare
Jane writes: It was Christmas Eve 1992, I had just finished my first semester of college and was returning to my hometown for the first time since I'd left. What was supposed to be a relaxing 2.5 hour drive through lazy, scenic roads straight down to the heart of Illinois turned into a 5 hour white knuckle adventure as horizontal snow gusts basically blew my car over a sheet of ice all the way home. I didn't even trust myself to take my hands off the steering wheel for a moment, so when this song came on, a relaxing little ditty about snow falling, I chose it as my theme for the remainder of my journey. I hit repeat, and it guided me safely towards my mother's pot roast.

Thanks, weird 90's band I never heard from again... thanks.

"Christmas with the Devil" Spinal Tap
James writes: "The elves are dressed in leather
And the angels are in chains"

The greatest fake band of all time-arguably better than many of the ultraserious NWOBHM bands of the day-are responsible for one of the greatest Yuletide songs ever. It's like, how much more red and green could this be? And the answer is none. None more red and green.

"Shooting Stars" Ozma
Justin Sid writes: While this is not very X-Mas themed it is cold weather friendly. Ozma is a band I fell into in high school one very cold winter, the same winter I saw them with Weezer shortly after the release of the Green album. Enjoy!

"Red Water (Christmas Mourning)" Type O Negative
Brian writes: "Let's face it...the holidays are equally joyous and depressing. And I don't know about you, but while I like my tunes a lot of ways I mostly like them sad. For whatever reason it's the sad ones, with a small sprinkle of hope, that make me feel warm and cozy on my insides. This, in turn, actually renders their depressing powers useless."

Can I add that I actually also really love Christmas music. My Dad put strict start/end dates on when my brothers and I were allowed to listen to the "Christmas with the Chipmunks". To my delight, my Mom plays John Denver and the Muppet's "A Christmas Together" every year. I had more than one VHS tape with Jon Bon Jovi's video of "Please Come Home for Christmas", and also that entire "A Very Special Christmas" album. The only time of year I really listen to any radio stations is during the Christmas months (maybe I should have left that one out)... Oh, and then there's, well...there's this...

"Christmas Time Is Here (instrumental)" Vince Guaraldi
Allison writes: This one's a bit of a nostalgic pick, from the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas (which also features "Linus and Lucy", the track most people recognize as THE Charlie Brown song). The vocal version more directly harkens the TV special, while the longer instrumental version makes me think of hot cocoa, a crackling fireplace, jammies, and cinnamon-scented candles at my family's house during the holidays.

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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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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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9.04.2008

FCM #9 - Colors

FCM #9 - COLORS We've put together a fun one this week. Lots of good things to listen to and think about. A warm welcome to Sarah, who's joining us for the first time. Also, a big thanks to Allison for making this week's cover. If you want to do the next one, drop me a line! Click here to download the entire FCM #9 - COLORS 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 - From the Movies! Could be a song from a soundtrack or a song featured in a movie, whatever. Get your thinking caps on!

"Green" Ken Nordine - 1966
Allison writes: Please know that this track, GREEN, is part of an entire delightful album of colors by the great voiceover artist and word jazzist Ken Nordine. 34 tracks, each for a certain hue, from black to blue and crimson to puce! Funnily enough, this album's origins were in a handful of mid-60s radio spots Nordine recorded for a household paint company. People began calling in asking where they could find the music, and shortly thereafter, his record COLORS was born.

"Pretty Green" The Jam - 1980
Jane writes: I went through a huge Jam phase back in college, and this song was always one I would skip over because it's such a diversion from their 70's sound I'd grown to love. This was 80's, and I didn't dig it. What was this, disco?

But, like most of my music obsessions go, once you leave it behind for a while, you're much more able to say "This one song was my favorite by so and so" or "Looking back, I can see where they were going with this...", etc.

This was not my favorite song by the Jam, and I'm still not sure where they were going with it, but when I go back and play these records, I no longer skip it. That's saying something, right? In fact, I think Pretty Green is Pretty Great. And it's talking about buying fruit and jukebox plays with everyone's favorite green. The money kind.

"The Village Green Preservation Society" The Kinks - 1968
Walt writes: The Village Green Preservation Society by The Kinks is a great little song about the loss of tradition and how old things should be preserved and passed down while still leaving room for what's new. This version of the song is from the BBC sessions that many British artists performed in studio. And it's a Kinks song, so there, Ben! ;P

"Red and Purple" The Dodos - 2008
Nick writes: Here is a very good song by indie folk band The Dodos, who are from San Francisco.

"Blue" The Jayhawks - 1995
Felix writes: I first heard this song while an undergrad, but didn't really get hooked on it until late in my grad school career. Mostly it makes me think of being single, or of those transitional periods where friends are moving away... or you're moving away from friends.

"Red" Okkervil River - 2002
Ben writes: This is the first Okkervil River song that I ever heard. I love it for its soothing rhythm and the lovely melody.The lyrics in general and the way it comes together at the final climax - "...she still remembers your touch. I know that it's not much, but you still haven't lost her" - beautiful.

"Silver Lining" Rilo Kelly - 2007
TJ writes: This is a track from the latest Rilo Kiley cd. I really love Jenny Lewis for mainly her voice :) AND the fact that she was in "The Wizard" (I'm pretty sure I've stated this on one of these mixes already so sorry for the broken record :)

"Blackpowder" Jucifer - 2008
Brian writes: Sorry this is long, but I like to talk about music...

I wasn't sure about this theme at first, but upon searching iTunes for colors I came across so many random songs/bands I never would have thought of. I'm listening to one of them (Black Flag) as I type this. The color black seemed to bring back the best results, and I narrowed it down to two; The Black Art of Deception by Goatwhore and Blackpowder by Jucifer. In the end, I chose Blackpowder by Jucifer (sorry Goatwhore)!

Jucifer gets big points in my book for many reasons.
1. They are a guitar/vocal and drum duo (who also happen to be married)
2. The sold their home 8 years ago, and replaced it with an RV that they take around the world touring, almost non-stop
3. The guitarist/vocalist, Amber Valentine, is BEAUTIFUL and badass. She literally plays through a "wall of amplifiers" to create a textured guitar tone and bass guitar substitute.
4. The release that Blackpowder appears on, L'autrichienne, is a 21-song concept album about the French Revolution (with some songs sung in French). It was supposed to be a double album, but they squeezed it onto one disc to keep the price down for fans.

"I Think It Is Beautiful That You Are 256 Colors Too" Black Moth Super Rainbow - 2007
Chris writes: Black Moth Super Rainbow is an explosion of color and light and sound. It's a fuzzy, washed-out landscape of motion trails, blown out television tube hues and a bouncy late-70s PBS fantasy. It's visions from a softer sphere that are all played out in the swirling hiss and buzz of their music (bonus: no drugs needed). This is music that emanates from technicolor children's shows lost to the ether, re-bottled by this band in the form of sound collage. Listen to some of their other material and prepare to relive some faint, hauntingly happy childhood memories that aren't even your own.

"Black Hole Sun" Soundgarden - 1994
Justin writes: This track is a perfect addition to this weeks theme for color. Being post Temple of the Dog and pre Audioslave I loved this is a song as a kid and is really drew me in to become a big Soundgarden fan. Remember the creepy video with all the characters and their distorted expressions? It was a definitely a music video I will never forget.

"Sunken Cathedral" Claude Debussy - 1991
Sarah writes: When I think of colors and music, I think of timbre. Timbre (tone color) is what makes an oboe sound like an oboe, a tuba sound like a tuba, and Art Garfunkel sound like a cherub.

Impressionist painters emphasized how light effected subjects and focused more on the overall 'impression' of an image rather than the details - Debussy was an impressionist composer. Sunken Cathedral is for solo piano, but the piece is all about colors - especially when you listen to it with Monet's series of paintings of the Rouen Cathedral at different times of day in mind.

It moves pretty slowly, but try to make it to 3:30!

"Mellow Yellow" Donovan - 1966
Margaret writes: An old Gap commercial from the late 90's introduced me to this song, and I've had it stuck in my head ever since. I love the simplicity of it, and I also love the word "saffron" -- so it's a win-win for me.

"Green" Locash - 1998
Christine writes: So I was going through my collection trying to decide what to choose for this week's topic. After self-eliminating any bands that had a color in their name I came to realize that I was narrowed down to about 5 different versions of "Blue Moon". After contemplating for a moment why everyone and their mother covers that song, I kept scrolling and came upon this little gem. This is actually Rob's kid brother's band from highschool. Obviously now defunct, but for a group of teenagers, they really could put on a show. I have to admit their album fell short of what they could do live. I have to give them credit though for mixing in a DJ prior to Linkin Park coming on the scene. They've all pretty much moved on as most kids do except they can claim that one "made it" - their bass player Allen is now in Story of the Year on Epitaph Records.

"Little Green" Joni Mitchel - 1971
Masha writes: I confess! I used to love Joni Mitchell. The acoustic arrangements on her album "Blue" struck with me in high school. Here is "Little Green," a personal song written about the child she had to give up for adoption. "All I Want" "River" and "California" are other great ones on that album.

"99 Red Balloons" Nena - 1983
Walt writes: 99 Red Balloons is the English cover of 99 Luftballoons (99 Balloons) by the German band, Nena. The song made a big red splash in 1984. The song is about an over reaction between nations but most importantly it references both Captain Kirk and super-heroes.

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