Monday, April 23, 2007

Song of the Week 4/20/07

Feist - "1 2 3 4"

My lifelong habit of singing and humming along to songs (especially in a car by myself) is something I picked up from my aunt. While I was visiting her this weekend she was humming along to some song, so I needed to get a tune into my head to combat the noise she was making. All of sudden "1 2 3 4" popped in there...and that was it. This song was stuck in my head for two full days until I was able to pop the iPod on and give it a spin. And another. And then another.

Such a simple chorus about moving on from a crappy relationship never seemed so uplifting:

"Oh, oh, oh,
You're changing your heart.
Oh, oh, oh,
You know who you are. "

You'd have to be even more of a cold-hearted son of a bitch than yours truly not to soak in the joy of this song. And while I know every other blog in the universe has linked to this, you'd have to be dead not top having fun watching the video:

Feist, I think you've reserved a place at the top of my singles chart for 2007.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Song of the Week 4/13/07

Guster - "Two At a Time"

If you're a band playing a sold out concert at New York's Beacon Theater the night before the biggest spring rain storm in the city's history hits, how do you mark this once in a lifetime occasion? If you're a great little quartet called Guster, you pull out a an old hidden track about Noah's Ark. "Two at a Time" isn't listed on the CD of Keep It Together (it is listed on iTunes, as you can see clicking the link above), yet when I interviewed drummer Brian Rosenworcel four years ago I felt compelled to ask him about it, even if we would never use that part of the interview for work purposes. The song has a weird keyboard loop that gets it rolling and features a ton of elementary school children singing the chorus. It's just a strange and hypnotic yet very catchy song, one of the many on Keep It Together that turned me into a full-fledged fan. When I asked Brian why the song was tucked away as a hidden track he said (I'm paraphrasing here), "Hmm...a song about Noah's Ark from three Jews with a bunch of kids singing background vocals on it--you try to drop that into an album sequence." I had to admit, he had a point.

During last night's show the band was joined on a few songs by their friends violinist Tom and cellist Jody (I didn't catch their last names). The live strings sounded just about perfect on "Two at a Time." And as I stepped into the rain after a few hours of boozing it up, I couldn't help but have these lyrics in my head:

"I could see the rains a-comin'
To wash away the filth and vermin
Hand-in-hand, we'll watch them runnin"

Alas, the filth and vermin didn't include Mr. Big. I think I'll let someone else tell that story down the road.

SOTW Bonus: Here's the aforementioned strings making "Satellite" sound the best I've ever heard it:

Monday, April 09, 2007

Song of the Week 4/6/07

The Hold Steady - "Atlantic City (Live)"

(pic borrowed from Fresh Bread)
It's not often I steal from myself, but what I sent in to the good folks at Stereogum about the Music for Bruce Springsteen tribute last night works just fine here:
"Overall, the gig was a snoozer (dear lord, why did someone let Kevin Bacon sing "Streets of Philadelphia") but the show's producers knew what they were doing by putting the best two performances at the end. First old folk legend Odetta came out (was wheeled out, actually) and did the best version ever of "57 Channels (and Nothing On)." And then the closing spot was our Brooklyn-via-Minneapolis guys. Not surprisingly, their version of Nebraska's "Atlantic City" was flat out amazing. Their arrangement was similar to the one Springsteen and the E Streeters used on their 99-00 reunion tour--slow through the first verse and chorus, and then exploding into a wall of sound for the rest of the song. The Springsteen fans in the audience ate it up. Craig Finn's smile and hand interpretations of the lyrics as he sang were infectious. These guys need to record that cover and put it out, maybe as a benefit for the event's charity, Music for Youth.
Then the crowd got the surprise they were waiting for with Springsteen walking on stage.

The Boss did "the Promised Land" and "Rosalita" solo acoustic then invited everyone on stage to do "Rosalita" again with the house band. He asked for volunteers to sing verses, and I felt compelled to yell out Craig's name. So he took the first verse and from my 8th row seat, I don't think I've ever seen Springsteen happier seeing someone else sing his word. Craig nailed it, and then pogoed to the side of the stage. Then as the song got to the fourth verse, Bruce called out for Craig to sing lead again. The best part was when Craig got to the line "There's a little cafe/where they play guitars all night and day," and he pointed to Bruce to do that infamous lick on the acoustic guitar. As a Springsteen and Hold Steady fan, it was a magical moment."
Damn, someone MUST have recorded it.