Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Obvious Child

Song: The Obvious Child
Artist: Paul Simon
Album: The Rhythm of the Saints

It took Paul Simon four years to follow up the massively successful “Graceland,” but in 1990 he went back to the jungle and released “The Rhythm of the Saints,” a complex percussion driven set that didn’t reach the commercial set of his previous work but was critically praised, and rightfully so.

“The Obvious Child” is the opening, stunning track and still my favorite on the record. Is it me, or did Shakira sort of blatantly rip off the open for her hit “Obsession (Tango)?” Don’t know if he got credit, or if it’s just different enough to satisfy the lawyers? Although Shakira is like ACTUALLY from Latin America, where Simon is a Jew from Queens, New York, (by way of Newark Heights New Jersey.)

Ah well, who cares… this is a killer song.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Suffer Well

Song: Suffer Well
Artist: Depeche Mode
Album: Playing the Angel

Depeche Mode hit their sales peak with the monster album “Violator” in 1990, including the instant hits “Policy of Truth,” “Enjoy the Silence,” and “Personal Jesus.” Although anyone who was deep into New Wave knew their back catalog and semi-hits “People Are People” and “Just Can’t Get Enough.” While “Violator” was massive, and thought to be their “Joshua Tree” they never built on its success like U2 did. Lead singer Dave Gahan was sidelined by a heroin problem, yet they continued to release good albums straight through with middling success.

Last year they released the very, very good “Playing the Angel,” to unfortunately little or no fanfare. They have a strong fanbase that buys the records, but nothing close to a top forty hit. This is unfortunate because the songs are great, but seem to point to a pretty sizable shift in what is popular in music right now. “Suffer Well” is just one of many strong songs on the record and sounds like vintage D.M.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Crazy (Richard Vission Remix)

Song: Crazy (Richard Vission Remix)
Artist: Gnarls Barkley
Album: Crazy

As we sail quickly into December and the close of 2006 my mind can’t help but be distracted by something very important to me at the close of ever year… my best in music picks! Look for more as we get closer into December…

Arguably, Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” is the song of the year. It debuted by breaking the digital download record which it still holds, and was met with pretty universal praise from critics and the public at large. I actually don’t know if there has been another song this year that has gotten so much play from so many different formats, from hip hop to alternative, pop radio and even adult contemporary… this song was everywhere.

I do think it’s an amazing song, one so simple yet catchy with an unmistakable new sound to it. The album it came from, “St. Elsewhere,” was a bit of a disappointment for me. It’s good, though doesn’t have anything that matches the highs of “Crazy.” But Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo have no doubt edged themselves into a pretty important spot when discussing the music of 2006. Danger Mouse is on a serious winning streak with the Grey Album of 2004 introducing him to the music world, and then in producing last years international smash, the Gorillaz’ “Demon Days.” He also produced a handful of tracks on the Rapture’s 2006 release and has many more projects lined up in the next year, including another Gnarls record.

Since ubiquitous doesn’t begin to describe “Crazy,” I am choosing to highlight the amazing Richard “Humpty” Vission remix which I have been listening to in equal measure with the original. It has a great build and keeps the elements of the original in tact. You’ll like it.


And if for some reason you have been living under a rock this year, please enjoy the clever and visually exciting video for “Crazy”:

Monday, November 27, 2006


Song: History
Artist: Madonna
Album: Jump Single

Last week saw the network premier of Madonna’s “Confessions” tour on NBC (replaying this Thursday on Bravo.) As this was a Madonna show, it was of course not without controversy. Conservative religious groups took issue with Madonna’s performance of “Live to Tell” which started with the pop star raised up on a disco-ball like cross a-la Jesus complete with crown of thorns. While the intent of the performance was to raise awareness of the growing orphan situation in Africa due to AIDS… using quotes from Chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew, and the cross thing, proved too much and NBC caved to growing protest.

I do find it unfortunate that re-interpreting the bible or using its universal language to highlight situations in our world that demand attention from the apathetic public is somehow considered against the bible or God, and therefore unfit for the general public. Old Madonna may have fought this decision a bit more, but new, mature Madonna found another way to get her point across.

See it here:

While her music may be aimed at the dance floor, lyrically Madonna is looking back and forward at our world and society and wondering what on earth we are doing to each other. B-Side “History,” recently released on the new “Jump” single addresses this and aims for some universal understanding between us all. Amen!

I hear that there is a better, shorter remix of this song which has not been officially released. I like this one just fine and feel it could have easily been included on the “Confessions” album.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wonderful Life

Song: Wonderful Life
Artist: Gwen Stefani
Album: The Sweet Escape

While promoting her first solo album, the smash “Love, Angel, Music, Baby” Gwen Stefani boasted that she had so much great material that she had more for a second record. This sounded great while working the first record, but upon the release of her second record “The Sweet Escape” (In stores December 5th) with an okay first single (“Wind it Up”) it felt like what we were getting was a CD of leftovers, and not coincidentally, right before the holiday shopping season. I have been listening to “Wind it Up” for a while now and while I do like it, it’s hard not hear that it’s basically a “Hollaback Girl 2.” Because of this, and knowing that some of these songs were hold overs from the first record, it’s hard not to think that Gwen is losing her edge a bit.

I’m pleased to say that after a few spins of “The Sweet Escape” it is far from the disaster I thought it might be, and contains a lot of nice surprises. Yes, “Wind it Up” comes across as “Hollaback Girl’s” less fun little sister, making boasts about being original yet sounding like a “My Humps/London Bridge” knock off. To be fair though… Gwen was here first. And as The Sweetest Escape goes on, I’m reminded of the Scissor Sisters, not that it sounds like them, but Gwen is taking bits from the past (though not going any further back than say 1984) and making music for the future. And my guess is that they did the similar sounding “Wind it Up” at the same time as “Hollaback Girl,” decided “Girl” was better, and saved the other for this disc. Which now seems to make perfect sense as the lead single.

After “Wind it Up,” we get the reggae-lite “Sweet Escape” featuring rapper Akon (Who’s latest album just had a top three debut this week.) It’s a bit ska like, and feels like a song Gwen could have written and performed in between her days with No Doubt and her super-slick solo material. It’s really a nice song that I liked right away. “Orange County Girl” sounds like rapper Nelly as produced by the Neptunes, who produce a total of five tracks on the record, including a duet with Pharell called “Yummy” that sounds like a mid-temp “Milkshake.” As much as I usually like their hip-pop productions, the Neptunes songs are by far the least interesting.

“Now That You Got it,” produced by Swizz Beats, is a summery, fun block party style song and my favorite of the more hip hop sounding tracks. It has a Ring the Alarm-style siren that comes up throughout. Actually, the entire record, despite coming in the winter, has a very sunny, summery vibe to it. “Don’t Get it Twisted” seems to nab the music break from The Sound of Music’s “So Long, Farewell” for its hook. (She also took The Sound of Music’s “Lonely Goatherd” for “Wind it Up.”) While these are fun party songs, they resist the attention-grabbing in your face style which was employed on many of “L.A.M.B.’s” singles. The vibe is much more laid back this time, which I appreciate.

I loved “L.A.M.B.” and specifically for the 80’s style ballads “Cool” and “the Real Thing,” which I both thought sounded just as good as any ACTUAL 80’s ballad hit. Gwen once again goes back to this territory as produced by Tony Kanal (of No Doubt and the subject of “Don’t Speak” and “Cool”) and Nelle Hooper. I immediately liked “Early Winter” and “4 in the Morning,” for this vibe as they reminded me of those song. Best of all is the closing track “Wonderful Life,” produced by Nelle Hooper (Of Soul II Soul who has produced Madonna and Bjork amongst others) and contains guitar work by Martin Gore of Depeche Mode, it sounds like Madonna meets D.M. I love it.

What occurs to me now that I listen to this and think back to Gwen’s first record and her work with No Doubt, she is definitely on the crux of being an artist and being a pop star. The girl can write some great adult lyrics, as evident on much of No Doubt’s “Return to Saturn” and a couple tracks on “Hella Good” and the solo record, but she also feels the pressure to write that hit song, which she does. While Hollaback Girl is a great party song, nobody’s going to confuse it with Joni Mitchell, and I guess the thing that gets me is that she CAN write like Joni. (See “Running,” “Simple Kind of Life,” and “Cool.”) So will she ever write the perfect pop record where her poetic artistry and mainstream pop sensibilities meet? I think she can, though she’ll have to do without fluff like “Wind it Up.”

So “The Sweet Escape” isn’t the disaster it could have been, and while I don’t think it’s as good as “L.A.M.B.” it has it’s moments that are worth the price of admission.


The video for Wind it Up:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Wound Up

Song: Wound Up
Artist: Office
Album: Q&A

Office hail from Chicago, lead by lead singer and songwriter Scott Mason who recorded two albums by himself in 2001 and 2003, moved to Chicago, created the full lineup and released “Q&A” last year. They recently signed with Scratchie Records (James Iha’s label) and are recording their debut for a 2007 release. Much of it will comprise of songs off “Q&A” though in re-mastered supped-up versions.

I am really enjoying their album and think it’s pretty solid. Nothing is currently available by the bad as I assume they will be making the big push once the new record is complete. In the meantime, here is a great preview. “Wound Up” is the first track off of “Q&A.”


Monday, November 20, 2006

Silent Shout

Song: Silent Shout
Artist: The Knife
Album: Silent Shout

The Knife’s “Heartbeats” was one of those songs that you hear once and immediately want to know who it is. A synth-ballad so commanding and structurally complex, it was no wonder the rest of the album in which it came, “Deep Cuts” was ultimately disappointing as there wasn’t much else that came even close to it. The album was not bad by any stretch, just didn’t live up to “Heartbeats.”

Fellow Swede Jose Gonzalez did a beautiful acoustic cover of “Heartbeats” on last years “Veneer,” placing it in a commercial for Sony’s Bravia, and launched his career around it, much as the Knife did. This year saw the release of The Knife’s third full length album “Silent Shout.” Upon my first couple of tries, I found this album un-listenable. An absolute mess of icy blips and bleeps with absolutely none of the emotional directness of “Heartbeats” or much of anything else on “Deep Cuts.” The lead track, “Silent Shout” has been getting a fair amount of alterative radio airplay lately and has been a staple around the office. It was growing on me, so I recently took a few more listens to the album. Mute recently re-released their self-titled debut and “Deep Cuts” this fall, so I’ve been listening to A LOT of The Knife.

I can not argue with the fact that this electronic band is different. “Silent Shout” as an album is less dancy and more… scary. Which is odd. The vocals are distorted, married with off-kilter beats that bring to mind images of icy landscapes, desolation, and overall bleakness. Not exactly made for the dance floor. I must say that I haven’t been able to quite wrap my head around what I feel about this band and its music. It’s wildly interesting, but not altogether enjoyable. Yet that seems to change with me daily. Take a listen (or several) and see what you think yourself.


The odd video for "Heartbeats":

The freak out trip video for "Silent Shout":

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bitches Ain't Shit

Song: Bitches Ain't Shit
Artist: Ben Folds
Album: Bitches Ain't Shit

Now this is one of my favorite covers, and a good way to get into the weekend. Ben Folds, the idiosyncratic piano player turns Dr. Dre’s sexist gangster heartbroken epic “Bitches Ain’t Shit” from his seminal “The Chronic” into a tender ballad. The results are mind blowing. Where the heartbreak didn’t necessarily come through in Dre’s version, the stripped down piano version shows true sadness underneath despite the graphic and coarse language. Ben’s lilting voice makes you even feel a touch sorry for the narrator as he is sent reeling from a lovers indiscretion yet needs to maintain his cred and remain all gangster and “street.” Word!

I really can’t say that I’ve loved everything that Ben Folds has done, either solo or with his three-piece the Ben Fold Five. (Yes even their name was a bit of a joke.) He mined similar material on his first album with the song “Rockin’ the Suburbs,” another white boy goes street anthem. I am wondering how much Ben is trying to make honest to goodness racial satire, or does he bleed the line of actual racism? You tell me.

I think it’s more of a joke than anything else.


Thursday, November 16, 2006


Song: Dreams
Artist: Deep Dish
Album: George is On

Can this be considered a cover? Well… while those are Stevie Nicks vocals, they are newly recorded vocals for this version of the song. Deep Dish contacted her to get permission to mix the song for their latest album “George is On,” and she thought it best to come in and do new vocals that would fit the beat better. How cool is that? But can that be considered a cover? You tell me.

“Dreams” is of course a dance floor “re-imagining,” if you will, of the Fleetwood Mac classic from their seminal 70’s album “Rumors.” While remix collections are popping up from 80’s mixes(Future Retro), jazz (Verve Remix vol. 1-3), and the likes of Shirley Bassey & most recently Nina Simone, Deep Dish’s “Dreams” begs for that 70’s soft rock remix collection you know you were afraid to ask for. (Can you imagine Fatboy Slim remixing Seals & Croft? HOT)

The rest of “George is On” is rather good, standouts being the other singles, “Say Hello” and “Flashdance.”


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Since You've Been Gone

Song: Since You've Been Gone
Artist: Ted Leo
Album: Now That's What I Call Indie Covers! Vol. 1

Back when the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s were promoting their latest album “Show Your Bones,” lead singer Karen O mentioned Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” and how it stole the hook from their MTV2 hit “Maps.” She was not overtly nasty or accusatory, just said simply, “that was surprising.”

I’ve never quite heard it myself when I compare the songs, but shortly after came Ted Leo’s acoustic take on “Since” which segways (quite nicely) into “Maps.” It’s really just another irony-laced pop cover by an indie semi-weirdo, but I dig it.

Take a listen to both “Maps” and “Since You’ve Been Gone” and tell me if you hear the similarities:


(This is not the original video, but man is it creepy!)

Since You’ve Been Gone

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's Not Unsual

Song: It's Not Unsual
Artist: Belly
Album: Baby Silvertooth

Originally found on the Japanese EP “Baby Silvertooth” then on the soundtrack to “With Honors,” Belly’s bouncy cover of the Tom Jones cheese-ball classic “It’s Not Unusual,” is a classic example of an indie band taking something totally dorky and making it cool. This just might teeter on the edge of “cool” actually considering it came from the “With Honors” soundtrack, but its fun none the less.

Belly recorded two versions of the song, one slower, one more upbeat. I personally like the more upbeat version. I had thought the song was included in their Best Of but was wrong when I did a little more research. (Their Hendrix cover, “Are You Experienced” made the best of cut though.)

This one will keep you smiling, even if it’s only Tuesday.


Monday, November 13, 2006

First We Take Manhattan

Song: First We Take Manhattan
Artist: R.E.M.
Album: The Automatic Box

Shortly after releasing what I consider their best album, “Automatic For The People,” R.E.M. released “The Automatic Box,” an 18 track (over four CD’s) set of B-Sides, Covers, Live, and Instrumental tracks. These were recorded during the sessions for “Automatic” and while I don’t quite understand why they were spread over four CD’s (aside from packaging purposes) it’s a fun collection for super fans.

“First We Take Manhattan” is an odd Leonard Cohen song that the band really has fun with. It sure sounds like the rest of “Automatic” though it is very rare when R.E.M. will have a cover on an official album. (I can only recall two instances: “Superman” from “Life’s Rich Pageant” and “Strange” from “Document.”) Other highlights include a cover of the Tokens’ “Lion Sleeps Tonight,” as well as one great B-Side, “Fretless” which ended up being on the “Until the End of the World” soundtrack. That’s bassist Mike Mills singing the chorus, who last sang on “Out of Time’s” “Near Wild Heaven.”

Listening to old R.E.M. really makes me long for a return to form for them. I have been pretty disappointed with their last three albums, and while there have been hidden gems, their records just haven’t been as consistently good since Bill Berry left the band. I do not know how much his exit effected the other members as songwriters, but there is definitely something missing.

This will kick off a week of highlighting different cover versions you may or may not know.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

New Nelly Furtado Videos

Say it Right

All Good Things (Come to an End)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Landspeed Song

Song: Landspeed Song
Artist: Tanya Donelly
Album: Lovesongs for Underdogs

The early 90’s saw a slew of indie bands suddenly gain mainstream recognition due to the explosion of both Nirvana and Pearl Jam. While indie rock had been around for some time, major labels and mass audiences hadn’t really paid attention until the Nirvana/Pearl Jam “Alternative Rock” explosion happened, helped, no doubt… by the media. Caught up in this “alternative” wave was Belly, the band formed by Tanya Donelly, who had co-formed Throwing Muses with Stepsister Kristin Hersh, who ran away with that band for herself, and then The Breeders with Kim Deal of the Pixies, who ended up doing the same thing. So Belly was Donelly’s baby and after their debut “Star” was released, things looked very good for her and the band.

“Star” spawned the modern rock hit “Feed the Tree” and Belly was soon nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy, which was just about unheard of for bands in her peer group. For the follow up, after all the success of “Star,” 1995’s “King” was poised and discussed as their mainstream breakthrough… and it tanked. Donelly soon broke up the band to go solo and released “Lovesongs for Underdogs” in 1997. Since then she has released two other solo albums as well as a live collaboration album which was released last month.

I was full on in love with Belly’s dreamy guitar pop when “Star” was released my junior year of High School. My friend and I even got their very odd but very fun song “Slow Dog” played at our prom, to the confusion of… well, everyone but us. (But that’s what you get when you highjack a playlist!) It felt like a decade before “King” was released while I was in college, especially since my good friend and I got to hear the songs, played for the first time live, at their concert more than a year before. I ended up loving “King,” which was a bit harder than the previous album (no doubt due to hard rock chick Gail Greenwood on base) and I tend to listen to it more so than the debut, which I could have possibly just worn out in the final years of high school.

I remember being emotionally distraught when I heard that they broke up (though not as much of a mess when “Twin Peaks” was cancelled,) but it was not before long that Tanya had released her solo debut “Lovesongs for Underdogs” which basically sounded like a third Belly record. I lost touch, and interest, in Tanya after a very sleepy and disappointing follow up record and haven’t heard any of the new material. Pulling “Underdogs” out again and taking a listen I was pleasantly surprised at how well it has aged. I highly recommend the album, though if you don’t know Belly at all it might be best to start with their “Best Of” which is very strong despite being basically culminated from just two albums. (And you thought Britney’s Greatest Hits was pre-mature!)

Tanya has a beautiful girly voice but is most proficient both lyrically and writing insanely catchy hooks. “Landspeed Song” is a good example of this.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

LOVE it or HATE it: We Are One

Song: We Are One
Artist: Kelly Sweet
Album: We Are One

For this installment I present to you KellySweet, eightteen years old, possibly the next Norah Jones. Or the next Dido. Or Sarah McLachlan. Her album is being released in March of next year. You can find out more about Kelly at her website, listen to other songs (including her haunting cover of Aerosmith's "Dream On,") as well as watch some performance clips.

So tell me... LOVE it or HATE it? You can post a comment below and we'll see what the tally is in a day or two!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Mystery of "I Am"

Song: I Am
Artist: Nelly Furtado
Album: Unreleased

Before Nelly Furtado’s latest hip-hop influenced album “Loose” was released earlier this year, four tracks had been leaked on the internet. Future first singles “Promiscuous” and “Maneater,” the reggeaton jam “No Hay Igual,” and the mid-tempo piano ballad “I Am.” I pretty much liked them all, the first three for their pop dance floor-readiness, but “I Am” stuck with me more lyrically. The music that accompanied them was also excellent mind you, but the “I Will Survive”/”Since You Benn Gone” kiss-off of the song just works for me, and as a writer, I’ve envisioned many scenes between two people with a serious history while listening to this song.

You can imagine my surprise when the song was nowhere to be found on the album. I really do not understand the omission, and in my research have not found any. From what I have researched, the song has not been officially released anywhere, not as a b-side, not as a bonus track on a Japanese version… nothing. What’s the deal? It’s not like it wouldn’t have fit on the album, on the contrary, it’s really a great example of the melding of Nelly’s style with the hip-hop beats she wanted to explore with the album. And with a handful of limp tracks (“Showtime,” “Te Busque”) that actually made the cut, it makes the whole thing more perplexing.

My only thought is that the sessions went so well that she had enough material for two records and we will basically see a “Loose II” coming once this record has died down. This is VERY rare, as it’s usually best to put your best songs forward and release one solid batch of songs vs. two discs of some killer tracks and some filler. (Apparently Gwen’s Stefani’s latest, coming in December, is made up of many extra tracks from the prior album, and doesn’t “Turn it Up” sound just like that, leftovers?) I don’t know what the real story is, but the song is amazing and deserves to be released!

If anyone has information on what is up with this song... let me know!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Video: Land of a Thousand Words

Right on the heals of a new Bond movie, we have a Bond theme spoof from a non-Bond-Bond Theme. The video is fun, but it's official... this song is tops. Could this song break them in America? (This is me not holding my breath.)

Our Time

Song: Our Time
Artist: Imperial Teen
Album: On

While their albums are spotty, I truly LOVE this song.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Love Me Or Hate Me

Song: Love Me Or Hate Me
Artist: Lady Sovereign
Album: Public Warning

I’m really surprised by the push Britian’s Lady Sovereign is getting here in the States for her new album “Public Warning.” While hip-hop is still the most popular form of music currently being released in the U.S., Lady Sovereign’s more Grime influenced hip-hop, while popular in the U.K., has not yet made the impact here. With major support from Jay-Z, and the media making tons of noise about “the biggest midget in the game,” Lady Sovereign has the chance to expand the current scope of today’s hip hop. I really liked her EP that came out a few months ago and “Public Warning” is a nice mix of her brash humor-soaked delivery with a variety of fresh beats and fresh point of view. “Love Me Or Hate Me” is the first single and along with “Random,” comprise my favorite songs thus far on the album. Just try getting either chorus’ out of your head after just one listen.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Once & Never Again

Song: Once & Never Again
Artist: The Long Blondes
Album: Someone to Drive You Home

The five-piece The Long Blondes are from Sheffield, England and formed in 2005. They are a fun mix of new-wave and rock & roll and will no doubt be described as Blondie meets The Pretenders. Seems like any female fronted new new-wave band that comes out is compared to Blondie but this one really fits. Their debut, “Someone to Drive You Home” came out this summer in the UK on Rough Trade. They have yet to sign a deal here in the states.

I’ve been listening to this record for about a week and it has really stuck with me. They have a retro 50’s vibe to their style, which is a little annoying given the 40’s influenced Puppini Sisters and Pipettes, but maybe this is just a natural response to the more flesh is MORE FLESH shown on today’s pop stars. If this is behind the reason I am all for it… I love the femme fatal on the cover, sexy yet covered up!

“Once & Never Again” takes that 50’s vibe, adds a little Franz Ferdinand, and mixes in the new wave for a Go-Go’s-like rockin’ good time. I didn’t know which song to specifically highlight so I checked out what the singles were, played them down and then really didn’t know what to do. The songs are varied, which means the album doesn’t seem like one really long song (a-la the Pipettes.) I am strongly recommending looking into their stuff, it is very very good.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

I Buy The Drugs

Song: I Buy The Drugs
Artist: Electric Six
Album: Switzerland

I had wanted to highlight Electric Six for some time because I had really enjoyed their first two albums, 2003’s “Fire” and 2004’s “Senor Smoke.” Electric Six could be grouped along with other joke-metal bands like The Darkness, though they mix disco, funk, punk, and new wave into their goof-ball rock. You might know them best from the singles on “Fire,” “Danger! High Voltage” with guest vocals by The White Stripes Jack White, and “Gay Bar” which had one of the funniest videos I’d ever seen. Lead singer “Dick Valentine” (ah… probably an alias) is the only one remaining member from the original lineup, which changed completely for album #2. “Smoke” took a year to get released here in the States, but their latest album “Switzerland” just so happened to be released simultaneously both here and in Europe. I just found out yesterday that they had released the “Senior Smoke” follow up, which came out last month.

Once again the lineup changed for this album, which makes me think that Mr. Valentine might be a touch difficult to deal with… I don’t know. Despite the change in band members, “Switzerland” continues Electric Six’s dance rock vibe and lyrics with tongue firmly planted in cheek. With lines like “Be my, be my, be my dark angel, be my, be my, be my… Capri Sun!” or “If money talks then I’m a mime” it is hard to take anything much Electric Six do as serious. But under the joke-y exterior, you’ll find some killer rock songs on these records. One of my favorites, “I Invented The Night” from debut “Fire” has a ridiculous title, but is actually a killer rock song about betrayal, hurt, and jealousy. You’ll be laughing at yourself for singing along to some these songs, yet Valentine manages to deliver these joke lines pretty convincingly. “Three, two, one I’m the bomb… and I’m ready to go off in your shit.” I love it!

I haven’t had much time with “Switzerland,” but a lot of the album seems like classic Electric Six. There are a few songs, “I Buy The Drugs” included, that by the third listen was in love with. Despite the jokes, they make songs that are just plain listenable.

I highly, highly, recommend the first two albums and it seems given a few more spins I will be doing the same for “Switzerland.” Electric Six strike again… but will the world listen?


The quality is a little poor, but here is one (of three) videos for "Gay Bar."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Don't Know Why

Song: I Don't Know Why
Artist: Ben Kweller
Album: Ben Kweller

Ben Kweller is a bit of a music prodigy. He began writing his own songs at the age of eight and won an honorable mention from Billboard magazine for their yearly songwriting contest the following year. He was eleven when his first official band, Radish was formed, and fifteen when they were signed to Mercury. He has now released a total of three albums with his latest, the self titled “Ben Kweller” coming out this year.

I wasn’t familiar with Kweller aside from his contributions to the Hedwig tribute “Wig in a Box” and his cover of “Wait” on the Rubber Soul tribute “This Bird Has Flown.” His quite singer-songwriter flare can come across as inconsequential at first but this album has been making my daily playlist for the last two weeks and the songs are slowly creeping up on me. All day yesterday a song of his would come on and I would have to check out who it was, every time it was from this album. Because of this, picking a single song to highlight had proved to be pretty difficult, so “I Don’t Know Why“ was basically chosen at random.

“Ben Kweller” is filled with longing indie-pop songs about love and relationships made sweet by Kweller’s soothing delivery and earnestness. I can just imagine that this guy was deemed pretty adorable as he grew up, learning instruments and singing so young. I do highly recommend this album as it is pretty consistent throughout.