Saturday, August 25, 2007

Song of the Week 8/24/07

Elvis Costello & the Attractions - "Blue Chair"

About two months ago I stumbled upon an Elvis Costello podcast titled The First 10 Years that was centered around the 800th reissue (okay, it's just the third, but it seems like more) of his catalog. Every week this brief feature (none clocked over 10 minutes) had some interesting interview clips from Mr. McManus talking about the various stops in the first decade of his career. Monday's podcast focused on Blood and Chocolate, an album best known for the epic, creepy, stalker-like love song "I Want You." Costello's frank discussion of the tension he felt with the Attractions at the time (echoed in his fine liner notes in the 2002 Rhino edition) compelled me to listen to the album on the way home from work. It was the second time I've listened to this bitter masterpiece this year (the first was, well, when I was bitter for some reason) and what struck me this time around is how loud it is. To paraphrase Spinal Tap, every instrument seems turned up to 15, battling to be heard over Costello's shouting. Blood and Chocolate has such a fascinating and unique sound that perfectly compliments Costello's blunt lyrics about divorce, breakups and comfy furniture. I think that's why its aged so well.

The next morning I rolled out of bed and when my feet hit the floor WFUV played the Blood and Chocolate track "Blue Chair." I like it when the SOTW is that simple.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Song of the Week 8/17/07

XTC - "Grass"

Sometimes it is this simple--"Grass" was the first song I heard when I woke up Wednesday. And then by some stroke of fate, the World Cafe played it just as I went to bed Wednesday night. Great song, kind of freaky moment.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Song of the Week 8/10/07

The Hold Steady - "Your Little Hoodrat Friend"

(Photo credit)

"I hope the Hold Steady plays rock and roll like Kent Hrbek played baseball." --The Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn, while wearing an authentic Hrbek jersey, at Brooklyn's Prospect Park last night

I could go on and on about how great this show was, but Finn's Twins analogy is about as apt as a description as I can think of for the band and how much joy they have on stage. (Those in the audience who weren't baseball fans might not get what Finn was saying, but I understood it perfectly.)

Picking one song out of the set to be SOTW wasn't that hard -- I had played "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" the previous Thursday at the Klimpter album release party, and after it was done guitarist Michael Boyd shared a story about seeing the band play that song at Bowery Ballroom before Separation Sunday was released. After that story, I ended up putting the song in a mix I'll be using in a couple of weeks. And the band's performance of it included a very touching story from Craig Finn about Minneapolis.

Someday I gotta go back there.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Klimpter's Release Party 8/2/07

I was honored that the guys in Klimpter (which includes three buds of mine from the bar) asked me to play some tunes at their album release party. Here's my pre-show playlist:

Buzzcocks - "Everybody's Happy Nowadays"
The Jam - "The Modern World"
The Replacements - "Color Me Impressed"
The Hold Steady - "Your Little Hoodrat Friend"
Dead Kennedys - "Bleed for Me"
Jawbox - "Breathe"
Naked Raygun - "Rat Patrol"
Soul Asylum - "Sometime to Return"
Gang of Four - "To Hell With Poverty"
Bloc Party - "I Still Remember"
Guided By Voices - "Game of Pricks"
Superchunk - "Hyper Enough"
Sugar - "Changes"
Husker Du - "Books About U.F.Os"
Firehose - "Down With the Bass"
Dinosaur Jr. - "The Wagon"
Mission of Burma - "That's When I Reach for My Revolver"
Interpol - "Heinrich Maneuver"
Nada Surf - "The Way You Wear Your Head"
The Undertones - "Teenage Kicks"
The Clash - "I'm So Bored With the U.S.A."
Ramones - "Pinhead"
Dead Boys - "Sonic Reducer"
The Minutemen - "This Ain't No Picnic"
Black Flag - "Rise Above"
Lackthereof - "What a Fool Believes"

Monday, August 06, 2007

Song of the Week 8/3/07

The Figgs - "One Hit Wonder"

(Photo by Lynn Hanson)

I'd write more about how amazing this performance of the band's 1996 single about being screwed over by the record business was Saturday night at Bowery Ballroom, but I've written so much crap at work in the past few weeks that my brain has kind of short circuited. So this brief entry will have to do.

Holy shit, I never thought I'd see a guitarist and bassist jump off the stage and play amongst the crowd at the Bowery. It was about as rock n' roll and rock n' roll gets.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Song of the Week 7/27/07

Ryan Adams - "Goodnight Rose"

Sometimes I think to myself, "Gosh, for a 37 year old guy, I'm a bit susceptible to outside forces influencing my life." I could write a book about how that applies to various parts of my life, but for now I'll stick with how that applies to the Song of the Week.

When I first listened to Ryan Adams' Easy Tiger, I dismissed it rather quickly. "There's nothing new here and it sounds like some rejects from Gold," I thought. Then my pillars of public radio -- WFUV here in New York and WXPN in Philadelphia --changed my opinion bit by bit. It seemed like one station or the other were playing Easy Tiger album tracks for most of this amazing summer. And all these spins seeped into my head somehow. The second time I listened to Easy Tiger it still seemed familiar, yet now it was in a good "these chicken wings at Bonnie's are just as good as the first 200 times I've eaten them" kind of way.

The public radio brainwashing reached its apex last week as I heard"Goodnight Rose" every single morning. I kept thinking it was a track from one of the 200 other albums Adams has released this century. Nope, it was Easy Tiger again.

If I ever date a woman named Rose, she's going to get sick of this song really quick.