Thursday, May 29, 2008

In Dreams

Song: In Dreams
Artist: Roy Orbison
Album: In Dreams

Thanks to my Dad, I grew up with the music of Roy Orbison. His tunes have a vaguely oldies-meets country vibe, and his voice is so clearly distinguishable… he truly is an original. I could go on and on about Roy’s career but don’t think I can really sum it up in a little blog. He’s just one of those artists that you simply NEED to have in your collection. From “Pretty Woman” to “Only the Lonely,” this man has crafted and sung some of the most important tunes in the history of rock & roll.

Despite my father’s love of the man, it truly wasn’t until I saw David Lynch’s haunting 1984 film “Blue Velvet” that I discovered my FAVORITE of Roy’s tunes, “In Dreams.” In the film, lead bad guy (and one of the creepiest most sadistic characters in film history) Frank Booth (played with menace by Dennis Hopper) is obsessed with the tune.

Check it out:

I just really love this tune (and Roy) and think the world should know it. It’s not as well know as some of his bigger hits, but thanks to Neil Jordan (and his 1999 thriller “In Dreams”) it is added to a list of movies who titles come from famous Orbison songs.

There are, at this point, so many Orbison compilations out on the market now it’s overwhelming. I took a look and recently a 2-disc “The Essential Roy Orbison” was released that is pretty comprehensive. Check it out here.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Song: Underneath
Artist: Alanis Morissette
Album: Flavors of Entanglement

I’m not a real HUGE Alanis fan, but like a lot of her work. I didn’t “get” her when she exploded on the scene in the 90’s and saw her debut album “Jagged Little Pill” become nothing less than a cultural phenomenon. Since that career intro (and high) Morissette has sold considerably less records and has found less fanfare come with each new record. Her latest, “Flavors of Entanglement” will be released next month.

While not a huge fan I have certainly felt for Alanis and her diminishing sales. I was NOT a fan of “Jagged Little Pill,” and was surprised at how much I liked her follow up, “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie.” The songs continued Alanis’ original vibe… but had much less of the lashing out (which I thought was juvenile vs. cathartic) and were just better songs. Even better was her third record, 2002’s “Under Rug Swept” which matched her ear for catchy melodies and quality song craft.

For her fifth album proper, Alanis has decided to add more electronic flourishes to her sound. Despite having some of her songs being reworked into successful club hits in the past, I just don’t feel Alanis has it in her to be a dance artist. For the most part, she is SO wordy with her lyrics that they just don’t fit with the simplicity needed for a dance track. I’ve only listened to “Flavors” once through but was not completely impressed. If you’re a fan you’re a fan… it’s not awful by any means. (Is that really a recommendation?)

First single “Underneath” is catchy enough, but I feel like it’s really TRYING to write a catchy pop song. I don’t know… am I being hard on her?



Friday, May 23, 2008

Too Young to Date

Song; Too Young to Date
Artist: D-Day
Album: Too Young to Date

I wanted to first thank you all to those that sent me songs and suggestions for your favorite obscure 80’s tunes. I have been searching them out and will be listening all next week to them. Because there have been so many, and I can’t imagine I’ll be able to pick just one… I think I will be doing another week of YOUR favorite obscure 80’s tracks. So stay tuned!

It wasn’t until I was in college that I first heard this song, but “Too Young to Date” certainly makes an instant impression. More on the punk-rock side of new wave, the tune by Austin TX based band “D-Day” was one of only three songs that I can find that they did. I have never heard anything else and surprisingly there is very little written about the band. One of the things that has been great about this age of the internet (an no doubt bolstered by the ease of file-sharing) is that so many music heads from around the world have been able to share their collections from years past with other fans of a particular genre. While I have my own thoughts about “sharing” music, as does the record industry, I for one am happy that lost gems and forgotten classics are being unearthed and shared throughout the world. I’m a firm believer that music, like a lot of things in life, is cyclical… as in a new generation of say, dance music fans can get to understand the roots of electronica by going back and listening to the classic influence of disco, a genre once condemned. And it’s finding a resurgence as it was clearly breaking new musical ground way before its time.

“Too Young to Date” is a bit of a novelty song, but as I have been researching these obscure 80’s groups I am realizing that was really the scene at the time. These silly songs were more about the movement, and the meeting point where disco, punk rock, and image clashed. And while attitude and lines like “got an older guy and his name is Michael, he just told me about my menstrual cycle” are sort of “cute” now, they don’t overshadow a fun killer song. It’s funny, in a climate where we’re looking for “substance” in pop music, it’s funny to look back and see that maybe it’s not substance that we are missing, it’s the concept of truly trying to push things forward.

I need to come clean a little bit because my obscure 80’s week has been HEAVELY influenced by a particular compilation that I discovered in college. Compilation kings Rhino released the 14+ volume compilation “Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the 80’s” back in the mid-90’s. It’s a great mix of more well know 80’s tracks like Toni Basil’s “Mickey” with less well know stuff like I’ve highlighted this week. I HIGHLY recommend this collection to any 80’s fan that likes the hits but wants to go a little deeper. You can check out the first volume here on Amazon.

Thank you all again for your suggestions, and look for them in a week or two.


The song, with pictures of the band.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Warm Leatherette

Song: Warm Leatherette
Artist: The Normal
Album: Warm Leatherette

While I jumped into this obscure 80’s week, I really didn’t have five songs picked off the bat. But I had thought, just because it’s so strange, that I needed to highlight this oddity from the “Me Decade.” But it also got me thinking of the state of the industry, and really how conservative it all is.

The Normal is the name used by English producer Daniel Miller, the creator of Mute records. He ended up only releasing one vinyl single… “Warm Leatherette.” The song despite, or maybe because of it’s strangeness, has been covered by artists ranging from Nine Inch Nails to Duran Duran.

Now while this song wasn’t like a huge pop hit, it reminds me that the 80’s for better or for worse were a really interesting experimental time in music. This is not to say that experimental music is dead, but it certainly lives well beyond the fringes of the mainstream… and while acts from the 80’s could take odd (and or novelty) ideas and turn them into hits… it just doesn’t happen now-a-days. Not to sound like an old man here but am I wrong?

Wow, shame of shame… I just realized this song was released in 1978. Oops!


Grace Jones… wow.

Trent Reznor’s Take

Duran Duran live

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mirror in the Bathroom

Song: Mirror in the Bathroom
Artist: The Beat
Album: I Just Can’t Stop It

It’s Obscure 80’s Week! And I want your input…

I’ve done 80’s week before but I’m bringing it back and would like to, dear readers, challenge you to give me an 80’s song that I don’t know. So for this week of highlighting 80’s songs that I love, please leave a comment in any of this week’s entries with an 80’s song you think I should know and I will post and review my favorite next week. Thanks!

While some may argue that this isn’t very obscure… I feel that not enough people know about The Beat (Known as “English Beat” here in the US) and this is just a killer song. Killer!

The Beat were formed in Birmingham, England in 1978. Their debut album “I Just Can’t Stop It” put them on the map and produced three singles. They released three records, yet have had double that made in best of compilations. Their ska-influenced dance pop is really infectious. I have one of their double disc compilations and really love it to top bottom.

You might know them best for two reasons; the band Harvey Danger (remember them?) covered The Beat’s “Save it For Later” which was featured on the soundtrack to the film “200 Cigarettes” (and was a minor alt-rock hit.) But probably the BEST known The Beat moment, was the use of their song “March of the Swivelheads” in the film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” It’s the song playing at the end of the film while Ferris is trying to beat his parents home. Fun.

I highly recommend getting into The Beat, they do a killer cover of Smokey Robinson’s “Tears of a Clown,” and have a just a ton of good originals. Check them out.


Mirror in the Bathroom

Save it For Later

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Beg Your Pardon

Song: I Beg Your Pardon
Artist: Kon Kan
Album: Move to Move

It’s Obscure 80’s Week! And I want your input…

I’ve done 80’s week before but I’m bringing it back and would like to, dear readers, challenge you to give me an 80’s song that I don’t know. So for this week of highlighting 80’s songs that I love, please leave a comment in any of this week’s entries with an 80’s song you think I should know and I will post and review my favorite next week. Thanks!

So I don’t really know just how obscure this one is… it’s one that I found sort of out of nowhere, didn’t recognize it by title (or the band) but when I heard it I TOTALLY remembered it. It’s from 1989, so we’re at the end of the 80’s here… but still has that feel, versus the more popular late 80’s stuff that just continued into the 90’s.

Kon Kan were a Canadian synth-pop group formed in the late 80’s. “Move to Move” was their debut album and “I Beg Your Pardon” was their first big international hit. The song is of note for the many obscure samples involved, and it reminds me that it was at this time (but even more-so later into the 90’s) that sampling became common place, and then completely overdone.

Lead Barry Harris went on to form the remix collaboration known as Thunderpuss with DJ Chris Cox. They remixed tribal-house versions if many a pop hit for the likes of Amber, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Madonna. To name a few!

I stole this from Wikipedia, but thought it was interesting:

“The band's name is a parody of the Canadian content regulation (often referred to as "Can Con"), which mandates that thirty percent of songs played on commercial radio stations in Canada must be Canadian in origin.”

Not many American’s know that (unless you live near the border.) Isn’t that interesting? Thirty percent is a lot! We can officially blame Canada for Celine Dion.


I Beg Your Pardon

Arts in D Minor (Harry Houdini)

Puss ‘N’ Boots

Monday, May 19, 2008

88 Lines About 44 Women

Song: 88 Lines About 44 Women
Artist: The Nails
Album: Mood Swing

It’s Obscure 80’s Week! And I want your input…

I’ve done 80’s week before but I’m bringing it back and would like to, dear readers, challenge you to give me an 80’s song that I don’t know. So for this week of highlighting 80’s songs that I love, please leave a comment in any of this week’s entries with an 80’s song you think I should know and I will post and review my favorite next week. I’m not sticking to strictly New Wave, despite my leanings. Thanks!

If it weren’t for 80’s compilations (which I was obsessed with in college) I probably wouldn’t have ever discovered The Nails truly bizarre, but totally fun quirky hit “88 Lines About 44 Women.” Which contains, literally… eighty-eight lines about, you guessed it, forty-four different woman. It’s funny, filled with wit, humor, and a fun song I think all should know.

The Nails formed in Colorado in the mid 70’s and moved to New York to seek their fame. Debut album “Mood Swing” was released in 1984 on RCA and “88 Lines” became their hit, and still biggest to date. Their albums were only just re-released on CD for the first time in 2003, but I haven’t honestly listened to them. I only really know this song… oops!

But my intention for this week is to find songs you may not know (and for you music head readers… cut me some slack!) and I think this one certainly fits the bill.

Do you know it?


From an 80’s Video Show

Friday, May 16, 2008

Louie Louie

Song: Louie Louie
Artist: The Kinsman
Album: The Very Best of the Kingsmen

“Louie Louie” is probably most synonymous with “Animal House,” the end-all-be-all of college movies. To me it’s one of the best drunken sing-a-long songs around, made better by lyrics that are almost completely undeterminable. (Which got it in trouble.)

The song was written by Richard Berry in 1955 in the style of a Jamaican ballad. While having a drink at a bar a sailor talks about returning to the island to see the woman he’s in love with. It was the Kingsmen version that really made the song popular… and then notorious. If you have the interest, I recommend reading the details history of the song in Wikipedia. But the highlights…

The song is a staple of garage rock bands mainly because of the Kingsmen, whose slap dash version was originally a failure. The record sold so little when it came out that the group considered disbanding. But, when the song was given to Boston DJ Arnie Ginsberg, who played it in his “Worst Record of the Week” program, it immediately caught on.

The following year, after Robert Kennedy received a complaint that the song was obscene by a parent, the FBI launched an investigation. (File that under “you’re kidding me.”) After a law suit that lasted five years and cost $1.3 Million Dollars, the Supreme Court ruled that the song was not offensive because… they couldn’t understand what they’re singing! How crazy is that? Our government has ALWAYS been crazy. It makes me wonder… if “My Humps” had been released back then… would it now be legendary?

The most interesting thing I found in my “Louie Louie” research was that the Kingsmen version actually contains a mistake that has since been replicated by other bands covering the tune not realizing there is a mistake. Here’s the explanation, lifted directly from the Wiki article:

“The most notorious error left on the Kingsmen's version of "Louie Louie" comes after the guitar break. To some ears, singer Jack Ely begins singing the verse in the correct place, but thinks he's come in too soon, and pauses for another cycle of the riff. To others, he comes in too soon and corrects himself, but the band doesn't realize that he's corrected himself. Either way, drummer Lynn Easton covers the pause with a drum fill. But then, before the verse has ended, the rest of the band goes into the chorus at the point where they expect it to be. They recover quickly, but the confusion would seem to indicate that the rest of the band couldn't hear the vocals while they were recording. This error is now so embedded in the consciousness of some groups that they actually duplicate it when performing the song. There is also a persistent and oft-repeated story that the microphone for Ely was mounted too high for him to sing without tilting his head back excessively, resulting in his somewhat pinched and strangled sound through most of his vocal. This seems unlikely, however, in view of the fact that it was recorded by professional personnel in a dedicated recording studio.”

The Kingsmen

Here’s “the history” of Louie Louie:

And in Animal House

Thursday, May 15, 2008

In Your Room

Song: In Your Room
Artist: The Bangles
Album: Everything

So I went to see Tegan & Sara this Monday here in the city, the girls were great… played to a packed house. But seeing them has made me listen to their music more and just this morning I put them on shuffle on the iPod and randomly their cover of “In Your Room” popped up. (I believe they did it for a Target ad.) Anyhow, I realized I hadn’t heard The Bangles version in ages and dug it out. What a great tune! And actually… The Bangles are pretty overlooked in my opinion. So get hip to them!

Actually, I had convinced myself that this was in fact a cover the girls did. Not of the Beach Boys song… but it just sounded so familiar. I don’t know. Anyhow, it’s not… and was a top five hit for the girls, and their follow up to the breakthrough album “Different Light,” which contained the mega hits “Walk Like and Egyptian” and “Manic Monday.” But their biggest hit came with the follow up to “In Your Room,” the ballad “Eternal Flame” which was, to my surprise, produced by Simon Cowell. Crazy huh?

“Everything” is often seen as a big clue to the band falling apart. Inner turmoil erupted when the band saw lead singer Suzanna Hoffs become the face of the band, as pushed by their record label. Also, their sound was growing with the record, as evident by the various world music elements, whose instruments were played by non-Bangles. It was to be the last record before the band split, and Suzanna went off to make an ultimately unsuccessful solo record. And one disastrous movie.

The girls returned in 2003 with a new album “Doll Revolution,” which didn’t reach the highs of their early material (actually not even close) but it was a welcome return… and I really liked the single “Something That You Said” and album track “Stealing Rosemary.”

The Bangles had a really interesting career and unfortunately one that should have been better. If in fighting hadn’t torn the band apart at its heyday (which is arguably not their fault entirely) we might have seen even bigger things from the girls. Oh well. In the meantime, take a listen how kick ass “In Your Room” is!


In Your Room

Eternal Flame (Live at Top of the Pops)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Driver's Seat

Song: Driver’s Seat
Artist: Sniff ‘n’ the Tears
Album: Fickle Heart

What’s in a name? I don’t know… but “Sniff ‘n’ the Tears” has got to be one of the WORST band names to come along in the history of rock & roll. And yet that didn’t stop them from having a top twenty hit with their most well known song, “Driver’s Seat.” But I’m afraid that’s all I know of the band… did they ever have another hit? (Wikipedia says no.)

But all of that said, “Driver’s Seat” is a killer song. I distinctly remember it from the early 80’s… I think it was on a new wave compilation I had on vinyl, not sure though. But it’s really evocative, sexy, and a little confusing. I honestly don’t know what it’s about… driving on a Saturday night, some girl named Jenny (she was “sweet”) and something about the “news is blues.” I don’t know… and it’s amazing how little it matters… maybe that helps with its mystery.

The song was used to good effect in the 1997 film “Boogie Nights.” It’s such a great moody song and one everyone should know.


Driver’s Seat

Monday, May 12, 2008

Night Moves

Song: Night Moves
Artist: Bob Seger
Album: Night Moves

I am a far away from considering myself a Bob Seger fan, and to be honest… aside from “Old Time Rock & Roll,” don’t really know a lot of his work. And frankly, if I NEVER hear “Like a Rock” again, I won’t be missing anything. (Though those truck commercials have pretty much made that an impossibility.) But I feel that there might be things I’m missing not knowing a little Seger… and my first inclination was getting to know his tune “Night Moves,” from the 1976 album of the same name. I’m a big Springsteen fan, and think of all the American rockers that have come along he’s really the best at getting what being and living in America is really like… but “Night Moves,” is a really great track. A sexy moody tune about sexual awakening that rides a delicate line between nostalgia and truth.

It came up on random via my iPod on Friday night and just hit me. Check it out.


Night Moves

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Always on My Mind/In My House

Song: Always on My Mind/In My House
Artist: Pet Shop Boys
Album: Introspective

I’m a huge fan of the Pet Shop Boys, and my parents were always huge Willie Nelson fans, so there is no better meeting of these two worlds than the second to last track off the Boys 1988 album “Introspective,” their half cover of the classic “Always on My Mind.” They pair the song with an original, “In My House” and together they create an epic, emotional anthem.

“Introspective” is an important record in the history of dance records (for a pop act) because the songs on the album are in what is typically thought of as 12” remixes. Usually the radio version (or something close) gets inclusion on the album, and then extended remixes are made for club play. On “Introspective” (which only has six tracks,) the songs range from over six to nine minutes long. Radio edits were done as singles, and those versions appear on their greatest hits “Discography.”

This remains my favorite of the Pet Shop Boys records, and apparently their most successful in international sales. “Domino Dancing” is one of their biggest and most recognizable hits and really is SO good in its full version. It’s odd that they’ve never released another album like it.


Always on My Mind

Domino Dancing

The controversial video… do you think it seems gay?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I Don’t Want to Grow Up

Song: I Don’t Want to Grow Up
Artist: Scarlett Johansson
Album: Anywhere I Lay My Head

Getting my vote for one of the strangest records I’ve heard in a long time is none other than “Anywhere I Lay My Head” by Scarlett Johansson. The actress. Since there is a general consensus that actors can’t sing, and singers can’t act… I am assuming this record is going to be reviewed with a heavy hand. But there are a few things going for it… first, instead of writing these songs herself she has decided to almost strictly (save one inconsequential original) cover Tom Waits. Also, she has managed to enlist TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek to produce the album, as well as enlist guests Nick Zimmer of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and David Bowie.

So what is it like? Strange. Her voice sounds very Nico, a deep almost speaking like singing voice that is often seemingly drowning within the mix. I’m not saying this is BAD per say… but it’s obvious she’s no Aretha Franklin. But she’s also no Stevie Nicks, which is how I envisioned her to sound. Her take on “I Wish I Was in New Orleans” is almost unlistenable… but she turns one of my favorite Waits songs, “I Don’t Want to Grow Up” into an 80’s inspired synth freak-out. Moody for sure, and it works.

I don’t think I am necessarily recommending this record… I just find its existence so odd. Aside from picking Tom Waits of all people to cover (whom I love) she decided to stick almost exclusively sing songs from later in his career. So it’s also not meant as a “greatest hits of Tom” record at all. The more I think about it, I wonder who the heck this record is intended for. I don’t really see it taking off with Waits fans (her arrangements are not much like the originals) and her vocals, while strange, aren’t even HALF as strange as Mr. Waits’. And aside from all the hipster cred the record has… I can’t imagine a die hard hipster listening to a Scarlett Johansson record for Pete’s sake.

Enjoy. Or try.

I Don’t Want to Grow Up – Tom Waits killer video

And the Ramones covered it first!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Slip

Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Album: The Slip

I had posted last week about the surprise new Nine Inch Nails track that showed up as a free download on his official site with more to come on May 5th. Well come it did... a whole new album, and it's free! Simply go to the official NIN website, and the link is right there. There are no less than four options for the download, (of different formats and quality) and for a fun kick, they have somehow managed to have many different artworks come up with iTunes. (On the iPod certain songs come up with different artwork.)

There is little information or explaination (which is really a NIN staple)just simply a quote from Trent that reads: "thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years - this one's on me" He gives you the files and means to remix it, and asks that you forward it on, blog about it, do what you want.

Thanks dude! But how is it?

Track one, "999,999" starts off typically ominous and creepy. An instrumental that builds tension, then leads dirrectly into the second track, "1,000,000." "1,000,000" is a pretty straight forward NIN track that reminds me of the material on "White Teeth." Aside from a few other instrumentals near the end, the songs are pretty tight and pop-like (for NIN.) He might never do another "Pretty Hate Machine," but this is pretty close.

Not sure what this means from an industry standpoint... though I love that he literally has nobody to answer to. He is just doing whatever the heck he wants. (In the past bands that have put tracks up for free get the wrath of their label.) This may truly be just a gift to his fans.


American Boy (f/Kanye West)

Song: American Boy (f/Kanye West)
Artist: Estelle
Album: Shine

Last week I was in the Virgin Megastore in Times Square and heard a groovy, loungy song that I immediately dug being played by the in-store DJ. It sounded vaguely familiar in a way, but I couldn’t place it so I decided to hang around the store in the hopes that he mentioned who it was. (But who was I kidding, I’m in a record store… and if they’re going to use the money to have a DJ, they’re going to be getting him to try to sell product.) So lo and behold after the song was over he mentioned it was Estelle. Of course!

Estelle (Fanta Estelle Swaray) is a female British singer, rapper, and producer. “Shine” is her second album, following “The 18th Day” which was released in 2004. I was a fan of her single(s) “Free” and “1980” from that record, but never listened to the whole thing. With “Shine,” it seems Estelle has not only pushed things forward… but also is trying to crack the elusive American market which is VERY difficult for European artists. Though with the recent successes of Leona Lewis and Amy Winehouse… maybe the tides have turned. She has collaborated with Will.I.Am, Wyclef, Cee-Lo, Swizz Beatz, John Legend, and Mark Ronson… some of the hottest in American Hip Hop & R & B.

So it wasn’t until listening to “Shine” as a whole that I realized I HAD heard “American Boy” before. Not that particular song… but the music. See, Estelle had a couple of the tracks produced by Will.I.Am of the Blackeyed Peas… and the music of “Boy” can be found as the song “Impatient” from his weak performing third solo record, “Songs About Girls.” While basically an instrumental, (aside from some whispers of “I can’t wait.”) “Impatient” had a good loungy vibe that I played a lot at cocktail parties for “mood music that lets you talk.” Estelle’s version is a bit more attention grabbing, but I totally dig it. She’s got a great voice and does nothing to hide her English accent. Blimey!

“American Boy” went to number one in the U.K., and is currently sitting at #93 here in the States. Does it have a chance?


American Boy



Monday, May 05, 2008

Iron Man

Song: Iron Man
Artist: The Cardigans
Album: First Band on the Moon

The summer movie season officially got kicked off this last weekend with the release of “Iron Man,” the first big popcorn action flick of the season. The movie had an extremely successful opening weekend and is getting great reviews from both critics and audiences. I got to see it last week and thought it was really fun, smart, and quick witted. Robert Downey Jr. is getting raves for his performance, and much deserved. His Tony Stark is incredibly charming and ball to watch, even when he’s not blowing things up or flying (and falling) through the sky.

Of course the movie did not lose the chance to use the Black Sabbath song of the same name, both in the trailer and the final film (it plays over the end credits.) For me, hearing the original only reminds me of the cover done by The Cardigans back in 1996. If you are familiar with The Cardigans (and believe me you are, if not by name then you certainly know this) you might wonder how on earth they covered such a heavy song… well it’s done in their soft 60’s psychedelic pop style that they employed on their first couple albums. (They have since done harder, softer, and more electronic stuff.) Even odder is the fact that this was their second straight Sabbath cover on an album, as they did “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” on their debut “Life.” They are obviously fans, despite the odd re-working.

It’s funny, I never noticed that the “Iron Man” in the song comes back from the future to tell the world about mass destruction, only to be turned into steel in a magnetic field, and unable to communicate the coming apocalypse because he can’t move or talk. He turns to steel… but is called IRON Man. (Though Steel is an iron alloy) And beyond that he had “heavy boots of lead.” Lead also is not iron. I suppose that what they’re really saying, (despite the science) is that this guy is HEAVY. He’s got heavy things going on, he’s responsible for some heavy times ahead, and the song should therefore be HEAVY.


Iron Man Trailer:

Not an official video…

Yet ANOTHER Sabbath cover, this one live:

They are officially fans I gather.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Evil Urges

Song: Evil Urges
Artist: My Morning Jacket
Album: Evil Urges

Everything about My Morning Jacket has been a small build. The Kentucky based country-alt-rock band has been recording and touring since 1998, and with “Evil Urges,” the bands 5th full length, they have once again delivered a challenging and catchy work, and I think I like it even better than 2005’s “Z.”

The band has been touring endlessly since inception and while I haven’t ever seen them, they have been quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best rock performers around. (They released a very well received live DVD entitled “Okonokos” in 2006.) On record, they have taken elements of country-infused southern rock, and added everything from reggae influences to electronica. With “Evil Urges,” they are getting buzz as an American Radiohead… and I see the comparison. The songs on “Evil Urges” are equally strange but totally listenable, and catchy. The lead title track sets the stage for something big and song for song, they deliver.

I’m still listening to “Evil Urges” and new layers and delights keep coming up. It could be one of the most talked about records of the year.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Worrying Kind

Song: The Worrying Kind
Artist: The Ark
Album: Prayer for the Weekend

Back in 2006 I put the Ark’s “State of the Ark” on top of my favorite albums for the year. Little did I know that while it was released here in the states in 2006, it was released in their homeland in 2004. Talk about old news. Oh well, that’s how it goes. On a complete whim I looked up the band two weeks ago to see if they were working on new material, turns out they had… and released the follow up in April… LAST YEAR. Boy, where have I been.

The Ark are a big fantastic Glam Rock explosion that mixes insatiable hooks with melodramatic swagger. They’ve been called Sweden’s answer to the Scissor Sisters. I haven’t listened to their first two albums (selected songs I heard didn’t impress me) but from start to finish I couldn’t get enough of “State of the Ark.” Single “One of Us is Gonna Die Young” was a huge favorite of mine, as well as “Let me Down Gently,” “Trust is Shareware,” & “Deliver Us From Free Will.”

So it came with a little bit of disappointment that “Prayer for the Weekend,” their follow up, didn’t quite match those highs. Don’t get me wrong though… it’s a good record, just not as tight as “State.” I really like the lead title track, as well as “Absolutely No Decorum,” which was the initial single from the record. The most notable track (and probably my favorite) is “The Worrying Kind,” which won the 2007 Swedish Melodifestivalen contest. (Yeah, I haven’t heard of it either.) Sweden then entered the song into the Eurovision Song Contest the same year, but it came in at #18. (Marija Serifovic’s “Molitva” took the top prize. “Umbrella” was obviously disqualified.)

While not great, “Prayer for the Weekend” is a good album if you dig the Ark, but if you’re interested in the band you should certainly pick up “State of the Ark” first. Watch the videos below though… they are wacky!


The Worrying Kind

Prayer For the Weekend

One of Us is Gonna Die Young (My favorite!)