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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11.17.2008

FCM #16 - Songs I loved In Elementary School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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11.07.2008

FCM #15 - Covers and (one) Mashup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And how about a disco-themed FCM?

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5.15.2007

Wear silk stockings with golden seams

I feel like i need to make something clear: I love the new Feist record, The Reminder. My last post about Feist came before i heard the entire record, which is fun and beautiful and sexy and warm and springlike. My favorite songs so far? "Brandy Alexander" - "I Feel it all" - "Sea Lion Woman." So... I just had to say, go get that record and let it color your spring the way it's colored mine. Today's nuggets? Nina Simone's "See Line Woman,"

Nina Simone "See Line Woman" - the original to Feist's remake

Elsewhere, Sean at saidthegramophone.com agrees with me about Amy Winehouse's "Me & Mr. Jones" - but he's also posted a great acoustic version of her "Love is a Losing Game"

Feist iTunes ($)

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3.13.2007

An agent as well as a patient

Now, in the clear light of an accepted duty, he felt fear indeed, but with it a sober sense of confidence in himself and in the world, and even an element of pleasure. It was the difference between a landsman in a sinking ship and a horseman on a bolting horse: either may be killed, but the horseman is an agent as well as a patient.
 - C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet



Greg tipped me off to Bohren und der Club of Gore a couple of years ago. Horror jazz, it's been called - i can't help but think of Twin Peaks when i listen to this song.
Bohren und der Club of Gore "Constant Fear"

Amazon ($$)

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