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Mike Bennett writesiPod/MP3 Friday Shuffle — Happy Birthday Jack Elam Edition

It’s another Friday, and this time, we celebrate the birthday of the late character actor, who appeared in countless Westerns full of menace, and a lazy eye.  In ol’ Jack’s honor, grab your iPod/iTunes/MP3 player, hit shuffle, and share the first 10 tunes that come up.

  1. Morphine — The Jury (Yes): This Boston’s trio’s film noir music has aged really well.  The late Mark Sandman was like Tom Waits’ Boston cousin, and the combination of Sandman’s two string bass, cocktail drums and saxophone made for late night decadent magic.  This is a particularly atmospheric outing, with Sandman narrating instead of singing over disembodied sax wailing.
  2. Slow Jets — Up The Country (Good Morning, Stars): More oddball oblong rock along the lines of Big Dipper and Archers of Loaf, with a bit of a Wire influence creeping in.  Catchy, in a real offbeat way.
  3. The Rascals — Carry Me Back (Anthology 1965-1972): Why have these guys fallen off the radar when great ’60s bands are discussed?  The Rascals were a terrific white R & B band.  “Good Lovin’” and “Groovin’” were just the tip of the iceberg. This is a gospel inflected workout that a young Reginald Dwight probably studied a whole lot before changing his name to Elton John.
  4. *The Hollies — Searchin’ (30th Anniversary Collection): Speaking of great ’60s bands, while The Hollies deserve their glory for the amazing harmony laced pop hits they unleashed a year or two after this Coasters cover, they were a pretty fun British Invasion rock ‘n’ roll band before hitting their stride.
  5. Neko Case — Soulful Shade of Blue (The Tigers Have Spoken): Neko’s work has been so consistently high quality, evaluating her most recent albums is a matter of noting incremental progress.  On this live effort, what is most noticeable is that things twang just a bit more than the more Western type sounds on her last couple of studio efforts.  This isn’t a bad thing at all.  It’s nice to know that she won’t abandon the country tuneage that she made her reputation on.
  6. Split Enz — Wail (Corroboree): Early Split Enz had a bit of a prog-pop vibe, with influences such as Roxy Music (whose Phil Manzanera produced the second album) and Genesis.  Even as the band went to a more overtly pop sound that dovetailed nicely with the whole New Wave thang, they never totally abandoned some grander sounds, primarily thanks to keyboardist Eddie Rayner, who composed this instrumental.  Generally, I find instrumentals to be time wasters between the “real” songs with vocals, but Rayner’s contributions never disrupted the flow of the Enz’s albums.
  7. Betty Wright — Clean Up Woman (Can You Dig It?: The ’70s Soul Experience): This was a swell ’70s soul hit with a bright vocal by Ms. Wright.  She sings of the perils of neglecting her man — the clean up woman swept in and swept him away.  The syncopated bluesy lead guitar licks and horns sound fantastic.
  8. Cheap Trick — If You Want My Love (One On One): Cheap Trick was in the most peculiar position in the early-‘80s:* they were a big hit rock band with roots in The Beatles, The Who and The Move, surrounded by the likes of REO Speedwagon, Journey and Foreigner.  It’s no wonder they couldn’t sustain their commercial success.  While crap like Journey’s “Faithfully” and REO’s “Keep on Loving You” hit big, this substantially less overblown ballad (in the vein of ELO and John Lennon) couldn’t dent the charts.  This has two or three distinct melodic hooks and is one of the first exhibits in the “Robin Zander is one of the greatest rock vocalist ever” file, as he shows off his range and power, without ever showing off.
  9. The Sun — Demons (Did Your Mother Tell You?): This Ohio band put out two really good EPs of indie pop-rock back in the early part of this decade, before releasing their debut on DVD, which had to be one of the dumbest ideas ever.  Stylistically, their music was mix of scruffy Replacements rock, garage rock, The Clash with a bit of lighter melodic material, like this tender acoustic guitar number.  The band didn’t have a distinctive personality, but everything it did, it did quite well.  Until they put out their first full length on a DVD
  10. Tangiers — Your Colour (Never Bring You Pleasure): This Canadian duo put their own twist on post-punk revivalism, falling somewhere in between The Strokes and Spoon with tense songs that resolve in memorable choruses.  The Velvet Underground’s inspiration looms over everything, but I can also hear Modern Lovers, Pixies, Comsat Angels, Elvis Costello & The Attractions and others lurking in the mix.  This is the second of the band’s three albums, and the band’s best, where every song offered something extra.

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, lists

Nicole Oppenheim - Ear Candy writesMidwestern Housewife: Let’s Play Doctor

One of the most fun parts of parenting is becoming proficient in all the stuff each of my kids thinks is cool. Winchie is very clear about his likes and dislikes. He likes trains, trucks, cars, baseballs, basketballs, and soccer balls. He also likes to dig holes in the back yard. That’s pretty much it. He loves to jump and run around, but will sit and read a book, too, provided the subject matter is something from his list of likes. Oh, and he also likes to build huge Lego towers only so he can stomp on them or crash one of his many wheeled toys into them. He loves his sister and his parents and we love him back. That’s all he needs to know. Give him a Thomas toy, toast with peanut butter on it and a lap to sit on when he wants it, and he’s the happiest camper in the universe.

I’m totally comfortable letting him engage in typically-boy activities like playing sports and crashing toy trucks into things because these activities bring him obvious joy and satisfaction. And I’m always more than happy to indulge him when he wants to engage in typically-girl things like playing with dolls or putting on lipstick. He’s open-minded and willing to try anything that looks like fun to him. He’s curious, but uncomplicated. What a great kid!

When it comes to my daughter, though, things are a little different. Of course, she is also a fantastic kid in my humble opinion, but she’s much more complex than her brother—or maybe it‘s just my relationship with her that‘s more complex. I’ll admit that I have the usual parental dreams of her turning out to be a little version of me (minus my insecurities and hang-ups, of course). So while I’m more than happy to let Winchie play with his trains and dig up the garden, I find it much harder to hold my tongue when Squeaky wants to do something that falls under the umbrella of “girl stuff.”

For instance, as those who know me well can attest, my everyday uniform consists of black, black, and more black, silver jewelry, chunky shoes (black, of course) and, now that I’m a mom, an industrial-sized canvas tote bag for all of the essentials like stuffed animals, blankies, and extra diapers. I wear so much black, in fact, that my husband will occasionally refer to me as Morticia and is visibly shocked when I wear anything in another color. I don’t do it because I miss the heyday of Wax Trax! or harbor secret vampire fantasies. Rather, I do it because I’m the laziest person on earth. Black matches everything and I don’t have to spend ten years searching my closet for something to wear. Oh, yeah, and I look good in black—all of us dark haired, dark eyed, olive skinned girls do.

Then there’s my daughter. She LOVES frilly, puffy, sparkly pink clothing. If it’s not entirely pink or has pink on it somewhere, she won’t wear it. Because she’s only 2.5 years old, she doesn’t yet know that tiaras exist, but if she did, she’d want to wear one around the house at all times and expect her subjects to genuflect accordingly. Her best friend is a stuffed pink bunny named Pink, when she grows up, she wants to be “a mommy,” and she loves playing with the kitchen set at preschool.

I’ll be honest. All of this makes me want to gag. And, so help me, the day she asks for a Baby Alive doll or Easy Bake oven, I will need to strength of 1,000 Hoover Dams to hold back the verbal condemnation of such hyper-gendered products. Yet, on the same token, I have no problem buying entire train sets and various sport-related toys for my son.

It’s like I’m living in one of those Frosted Mini Wheats commercials. The feminist adult in me wants to destroy all Easy Bake ovens, princess-themed toys, and anything that comes in both a blue version (for boys) and a pink version (for girls). If it appears in that Pepto Bismol colored aisle in the toy store, I’d like to take a blowtorch to it. I know toys are supposed to be all about escapist fantasies, but Bratz dolls? Really? I’d much prefer my daughter pretend to be a construction worker or a doctor or a rabbit than an empty-headed, materialistic, boy-crazy prostitot.

On the other hand, the kid in me knows Squeaky hasn’t read feminist theory and likes frilly, sparkly girlie stuff simply because she likes it. I didn’t teach her to like pink. She has always liked it. I didn’t teach her to like baby dolls. She just does. When my grandmother bought me a baby doll when I was three, I took one look at it and told her to give it to my cousin Jimmy. I wanted a Dukes of Hazzard guitar! When my mom bought Squeaky a baby doll, her face it up, she hugged it tightly, and asked for another one so her baby wouldn’t be lonely. She likes dolls and inwardly, I seethe. Her brother likes trucks, and I’m all for it.

So what’s a mom to do? In private, I throw up my hands and wonder aloud what planet my daughter came from. In public, I talk to my friends who also have kids and ask if they are as bothered by this gendered-toy dichotomy as I am. As one of them (a very intelligent and doting father of an adorable girl) recently pointed out, the problem isn’t with the products themselves, it’s with telling girls that they don’t have a choice and that cooking and childrearing are their only options in life. They can play with that stuff as long as they know it’s not a death sentence. As adults, they will have other options.

Of course, he’s right. These kinds of toys are only one avenue of many available for girls to explore. This may just be a passing phase for my daughter en route to another set of likes and dislikes My hope is that when Squeaky grows up, she will have even more avenues to choose from than those available to me or my mom. Fortunately, society seems to be moving in that direction, it just isn’t reflected in the toy aisle—yet.

And no, it hasn’t escaped me that I am a homemaker, so I shouldn’t be shocked when Squeaky asks for kitchen-related toys because she sees me cooking something everyday. My days consist of adult versions of the Easy Bake oven and child-sized dolls. But I don’t revel in it the way my daughter does and perhaps that’s the source of my ire. I did, however, choose this life (for now), and I know that it is temporary. Once the kids go to school full time, I plan on devoting more time to the business that I am just now starting up. (It would be off and running if I only had more time…) So I am definitely one of the beneficiaries of societal changes wrought by First- and Second-Wave feminists. I made a choice to stay home and I still have the option to work when I want to, how I want to.

But all that doesn’t stop my blood from boiling at Target when I see the face of a smiling little boy on a Doctor toy set (in a red and white box) on the shelf above the face of a smiling little girl on a Baby Care toy set (in a pink box). Yes, I can tell my daughter she has choices, but how can she believe it when faced with an option like this in the toy aisle? As a kid, I decided to reject all things pink and frilly when selecting my preferred toys and maybe that will be Squeaky’s decision as well. A mom can dream. Until then, I’m off to write a flame latter to Fisher Price, creator and distributor of the previously-mentioned toys on the Target shelf. I mean, really. How difficult would it be to use a picture of two kids—a boy and a girl—to sell both products?

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Categorized: Midwestern Housewife

Topics: midwestern housewife

Mike Bennett writesiPod/MP3 Shuffle — Happy Birthday Jonathan Harris Edition

What’s the iPod/MP3 Shuffle? It’s just a way to get people to share music and foster some discussion. I started doing this on my Facebook page a while back and it’s been great seeing friends exchange comments on each others lists. Every Friday, I get out my 120 GB iPod (which has about 24,000 songs now), hit shuffle and write about the first 10 songs that come up. Sometimes the 10 songs are kind of conventional, sometimes there’s a lot of obscure stuff. So check mine out and please add your own shuffle or discuss other people’s shuffles!

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Hey everyone! Let’s a wish a happy birthday to the late Jonathan Harris, the actor who portrayed the diabolical, and downright creepy, Dr. Smith on the cheesy ’60s sci-fi “classic” Lost In Space. In his honor, go grab your iPod/iTunes/MP3 player, hit shuffle and share the first ten tunes that come up.

  1. Supergrass — The Return Of… (Diamond Hoo Ha): These ’90s Britpop standard bearers still make good music, but they never seemed to hit the next level.  The first two albums were wonderful, and from there, they’ve blundered around, never making a stinker, but not really hitting a home run either.  I think that frontman Gaz Coombes has plenty of musical ideas, but can’t always imbue them with much meaning.  That being said, he had a way to make a melody simultaneously peppy and melancholy, which works well on this mid-tempo track from an album that came out last year.
  2. Bruce Woolley & The Camera Club — Goodbye to Yesterday – Reprise (English Garden): Woolley was a Bowie inspired new wave dude, who co-wrote “Video Killed the Radio Star” and had a band that included future one-hit wonder Thomas Dolby.  His music was a bit of synth-pop and a bit of angular guitar rock.  It’s too bad he never made a follow up to this album, as it is quite good.  This isn’t really a prime track, being a variation on an earlier cut on the album.  This sounds like something in the vein of early Ultravox mixed with early XTC, though the chord progression is actually standard blues-rock fare.
  3. The Smugglers — Invitation Only (In The Hall Of Fame): “Most of the time I think you’re an idiot/most of the time I think you suck.“  This Vancouver band is a personal favorite of mine.  They are a mix of punk (more on the glammy side, a la The Dickies), old fashioned rock and roll and garage rock with a smart ass streak a mile wide.  Their first full length pulled together tracks from a variety of singles and other releases, but it plays like a consistent album.  This is a mid-tempo rocker with a strong hook in the chorus.
  4. Al Green — Love and Happiness (Greatest Hits): What more can you say about this?  Not as overplayed as some of Reverend Al’s classics, but just as good.  Willie Mitchell and the Hi Records studio cats lock into that sexy groove and Green’s voice rides all over it.  The genius of Al Green is how he always held just a little back, never getting into full soul shouting mode, making his music so tantalizing.
  5. The Pretty Things — The Letter (Parachute): This is from The Pretties’ 1970 concept album, the follow up to the psych-rock classic S.F. Sorrow (arguably the first rock opera).  Rolling Stone actually named this the best album of 1970.  And I’ve owned it for years, and I still can’t get into it like I get into Sorrow.  Which isn’t to say it’s bad, but it’s so much lower key.  This track is typical of this mellow approach.  It’s an appealing acoustic ditty, but it doesn’t hang around long enough to really resonate.  Still, it’s too bad this album didn’t break, as the band’s career would have turned out a whole lot differently.
  6. Duke Ellington — The Minor Goes Muggin‘  (The Centennial Edition — Highlights From 1927-1973): I am slowly but surely trying to learn more about jazz, and one of the best places to start is with the Duke.  I don’t know what I can really say about this awesome big band swing number, other than it has what so many Ellington songs have — a great compositional structure that is accessible and appealing, but then played by musicians who are really trying to push things.  These numbers were, of course, recorded live, and the excitement just jumps out of the speakers.  Seeing any of Ellington’s bands in the ’30s or ’40s must have been one of the most incredible experiences anyone could have.
  7. Paul Kelly & The Coloured Girls — Somebody’s Forgetting Somebody (Gossip): Kelly is true troubadour.  This singer-songwriter mixes rock, folk, country and blues with aplomb.  After his first few records, I lost the thread, but I’m not surprised that he’s still out there, fighting the good fight.  This country tinged lament is from his debut, which is an excellent album.
  8. Sector 27 — Total Recall (Sector 27 Complete): When the Tom Robinson Band dissolved, Tom formed Sector 27.  The band was a little less trad rock than TRB, with a slight post-punk influence, and a number of songs that integrated some reggae and ska elements.  This added a certain tense atmosphere to his songs, which became less sloganeering while remaining very socially aware.  Sadly, this didn’t take off, so the band only made one excellent album.  This isn’t one of the best cuts on the album, but it mixes some pulsing bass and moody verses with an oddly jaunty chorus. 
  9. Stevie Wonder — Love’s In Need Of Love Today (Songs In The Key Of Life): Songs In The Key Of Life was the culmination of one of the most amazing creative runs in pop music history.  That Stevie never came close to this artistic peak isn’t a knock on him.  Very few artists have come close to something this amazing.  This is the first song on the album.  The main melody of the song is typical Stevie, but the arrangement, the massed wordless backing vocals, and the passion of Stevie’s passionate performance elevate this song to the heights.  On most albums, this would be the easy highlight.  There are at least four or five songs that are markedly better than this one, two of them on the same album side.
  10. The Four Tops — Bernadette (The Singles): One of the things that sucks about oldies radio is that it often reduces great artists to two or three songs that get played and played to death.  That’s certainly true for The Four Tops.  This was a hit for them, but, for whatever reason, it hasn’t had the same staying power as songs like “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)”.  This is a classic Holland-Dozier-Holland song, in the tradition of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” and “Nowhere to Run”.  It crackles with urgency, and no one could possibly convey that urgency better than the amazing Levi Stubbs. 

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod

Jenny Lizak writesLocal Community Radio Act Call In Day: Friday - Vote Next Week!

We are so pleased to report that the Local Community Radio Act is moving along quickly in the House of Representatives, and may be voted on next week! The bill has never been this far, and we feel confident that we will prevail in passing it out of the House. However, we need your help to make sure that this happens. This FRIDAY November 6, 2009, we are asking all friends and supporters of CHIRP to participate in CHIRP House of Representatives Call In Day.

The Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) asks you to tell your Representative to VOTE YES on The Local Community Radio Act of 2009 (HR 1147). There are currently over 800 LPFM stations operated by schools, churches, civic groups, and other nonprofit organizations across the country – but, because of limitations imposed by Congress in 2000, there are still many more groups like CHIRP who are waiting for LPFM service to be expanded so we can have a chance to apply for a station too. The Local Community Radio Act of 2009 (HR 1147 / S 592) would expand Low Power FM radio, potentially opening the airwaves to tens of thousands of new community radio stations across the country.

Please help CHIRP have a chance to apply for a low power FM signal by asking your Representative to VOTE YES when the Local Community Radio Act comes to the floor – maybe as soon as next week! It takes just a few minutes to make one phone call following the instructions below, and you’ll be helping ensure that this bill passes in the House of Representatives next week!

Action Steps for CHIRP House of Representatives Call In Day

  1. Look up your Congressional Representative. Go to http://www.congress.org if you don’t know who your Representative is.
  2. Find out if he or she is a co-sponsor of the Local Community Radio Act.
  3. Call your representative and follow the appropriate script below.

For your convenience, we have provided a list of Illinois-area representatives, their phone numbers, and where they stand on the Act.

Already Co-Sponsors

Hi, my name is (NAME) and I’m calling from Chicago, Illinois. I’m calling Representative (NAME) today to thank her/him for her/his support of the Local Community Radio Act, HR 1147. This bill is important to me because I am a supporter of the Chicago Independent Radio Project, a group working to bring a low power FM community radio station to Chicago. This Local Community Radio Act will expand low power FM radio service to hundreds of community organizations, churches and other groups like CHIRP across the country. I thank the Representative for taking leadership on this issue, and hope that she/he will continue to do everything possible to help this Act pass in 2009. The Act is going to come to the floor of the House for a vote next week, and I would like to ask that the Representative do everything that he/she can to help it pass. Can I count on the Representative for her/his support? Thank you.

District 2 Rep. Jackson, Jesse – (202) 225-0773
District 4 Rep. Gutierrez, Luis – (202) 225-8203
District 17 Rep. Hare, Phil – (202) 225-5905
District 14 Rep. Foster, Bill (202) 225-2976
District 15 Rep. Johnson, Timothy – 202-225-2371
District 9 Rep. Schakowsky, Janice – (202) 225-2111

Not Current Co-Sponsors

Hi, my name is (NAME) and I’m calling from Chicago, Illinois. I’m calling Representative (NAME) today to ask her/him for her/his support of the Local Community Radio Act, HR 1147. This bill is important to me because I am a supporter of the Chicago Independent Radio Project, a group working to bring a low power FM community radio station to Chicago. This Local Community Radio Act will expand low power FM radio service to hundreds of community organizations, churches and other groups like CHIRP across the country. I am asking Representative (NAME) to join with his/her colleagues in signing on as a co-sponsor of the Act, and voting YES next week when the Act comes to the floor of the House for a vote. Can I count on the Representative for her/his support and vote of YES? Thank you.

District 1 Rep. Rush, Bobby – 202-225-4372
District 3 Rep. Lipinski, Daniel – (202) 225-5701
District 5 Rep. Quigley, Mike – 202.225.4061 (CHIRP’s office is in his district)
District 6 Rep. Roskam, Peter – (202) 225-4561]
District 7 Rep. Davis, Danny 202/225-5006
District 8 Rep. Bean, Melissa 202-225-3711
District 10 Rep. Kirk, Mark 202-225-4835
District 11 Rep. Halvorson, Deborah (202) 225-3635
District 12 Rep. Costello, Jerry (202) 225-5661
District 13 Rep. Biggert, Judy 202-225-3515
District 16 Rep. Manzullo, Donald (202) 225-5676
District 18 Rep. Schock, Aaron 202.225.6201
District 19 Rep. Shimkus, John (202) 225-5271

If you’re from outside Illinois, you can find your elected officials and their contact information at congress.org.

General Tips for Calling Congress

  • Call during regular business hours (between 9am and 5pm), when Congressional offices are open.
  • You’ll most likely be speaking with an assistant to the Congressperson who will take down your name, address, and a note about what bill you are calling about, which side of the position you are on, and what you are asking the Congressperson to do. Speak clearly and slowly so they can understand you.
  • Always be polite! Your call is a reflection on all supporters, and loosing your head could hurt our cause. Remember that the staffer who answers the phone may be busy, overworked, or unfamiliar with the issue.
  • Add in your personal connection to the Act – tell your Congressperson why this issue affects you. For example, if you are a musician, you may want to talk about how your band could get more exposure on an LPFM radio station.
  • Keep your call brief, no more than five minutes.
  • If you are transferred to a voicemail, leave your name, address (including zip code) and one or two sentences about the bill and what you are asking the Congressperson to do.
  • When you’re finished, hand the phone to a friend, roommate, family member or co-worker, and ask them to call too. The more calls in one day, the more impact!

Thank you so much for your help!

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Categorized: CHIRP Radio News and Info.

Topics: local community radio act

Mike Bennett writesiPod/MP3 Friday Shuffle — War of the Worlds Edition

What’s the iPod/MP3 Shuffle? It’s just a way to get people to share music and foster some discussion. I started doing this on my Facebook page a while back and it’s been great seeing friends exchange comments on each others lists. Every Friday, I get out my 120 GB iPod (which has about 24,000 songs now), hit shuffle and write about the first 10 songs that come up. Sometimes the 10 songs are kind of conventional, sometimes there’s a lot of obscure stuff. So check mine out and please add your own shuffle or discuss other people’s shuffles!

————————————

It was 71 years ago that Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre scared the living you-know-what out of everyone with a radio production of H.G. Wells’ War Of The Worlds that fooled some people into thinking that Martians really were invading Earth. In honor of this Grade A chicanery, grab your iPod/iTunes/MP3 player, hit shuffle and share the first 10 tunes that come up with everyone.

  1. D.O.A. — World War 3 (The Dawning Of A New Era):  This is old style punk from this Canadian band.  The music is pretty basic, made for raising one’s fist in the air, with the requisite angry left wing political stance.  This sound is dated, but the feelings and attitude still translate.
  2. Elvis Costello & The Attractions — Brown to Blue (Almost Blue):  This is my favorite song from Elvis’s country album from way back when.  I think this was originally by George Jones.  It’s a pretty classic honky-tonk tune — “you changed your name from Brown to Jones/and mine from Brown to Blue.”  This album was produced by Billy Sherrill, an architect of the ’60s Nashville Countrypolitan sound.  Sherrill was best known for producing Tammy Wynette.  The Attractions fit uncomfortably with standard country motifs.  And Elvis is not anyone’s idea of a classic country singer, but on this track, and a few others, he gets the emotions underlying the clever lyrics, and connects pretty well.
  3. Nouvelle Vague — Friday Night Saturday Morning (Nouvelle Vague):  Yes, this French band, who does mellow bossa nova versions of old punk and new wave songs, is a novelty.  But, for the most part, they do a good job of capturing something in each song they choose.  This Specials song was a B-side of their classic “Ghost Town” single.  Unlike some of their interpretations, this song isn’t recast too much.  Terry Hall was a hangdog loser on the original, and now it’s a cute French gal (I’ve seen them live — she’s a looker) doing the same thing.  It still works.
  4. Lush — Hey Hey Helen (Gala):  Lush worked with Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins, who were a big influence on the band’s sound.  They combined that airy, floaty Cocteau thing with some shoegazer guitars and the winsome harmony vocals of Emma Anderson and (major crush object) Miki Berenyi.  I think this was an Abba song.  It certainly sounds like it could have been.
  5. The Minutemen — Swing to the Right (Post-Mersh, Vol. 3): A short buzzing live track from what may be the greatest American rock band ever.  They were lumped in with punk, but incorporated funk, jazz, CCR and so many other things into their music.  But this is a quick punk riff type of tune.
  6. Buddy Holly — Peggy Sue Got Married (The Buddy Holly Collection):  I wonder if Buddy would have dropped some of his vocal affectations if he hadn’t died so young.  This sequel to one of his best known songs has some rock ‘n’ roll twang, but also has a little bit of a Latin flavor.  A good, but not great, Holly tune.
  7. Robert Gordon — Sea Cruise (Red Hot 1977-1981):  Gordon was an early rockabilly revivalist, down to the duck’s ass haircut.  He was generally reviled by mainstream rock critics.  He wasn’t authentic enough.  Perhaps.  But he had a really good voice and worked with ace guitarists like Chris Spedding and the legendary Link Wray.  This is a rocked up version of Frankie Ford’s one big hit.
  8. k-os — B-Boy Stance (Joyful Rebellion): This Toronto hip-hop artist seems to come from the school of acts like A Tribe Called Quest, as his songs are pretty introspective.  This was the first single off this album, and the rhythm track is sample heavy and constantly moving, with two big hooks in the chorus.  The production is creative, and when he breaks into the flamenco styled middle eight, you get the idea that k-os isn’t going to play by anybody’s rules.  His first three albums are all worthwhile.
  9. XTC — This is the Way (Drums & Wires):  This is a lesser track from the band’s first album with guitarist Dave Gregory replacing keyboardist Barry Andrews, who went on to form Shriekback.  This almost sounds like it was written for one of the two prior albums, as it has a bit of that herky-jerk sound.  But they slow it down just a bit, and then throw in this languid pretty instrumental break coming out of each chorus that is totally cool.  A lesser XTC track is better than about 96% of everything else out there.
  10. The Morrells — Beatnik (The Morrells Anthology “Live”):  This ’50s style instrumental is a showcase for guitarist D. Clinton Thompson.  It’s not quite surf rock, not quite Duane Eddy or Link Wray.  But it’s insinuating.  This comes from a limited edition 4 CD set with four full concert recordings of this Springfield, Missouri bar band.

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, lists

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