Monday, September 27, 2010

Song of the Week 9/24/2010

Pavement - "Conduit for Sale!"

I'm still digesting (mentally, that is) how great Pavement were last Wednesday. I'm sure it'll end up being one of my Top 10 shows of this year, so I'll have an apt description of the joy it brought put into words by December. "Conduit for Sale" was the final song of lightning and rain-soaked set, and my goodness, Bob Nastanovich just makes everything better.

(This clip is from the night before at Central Park, but I think you'll understand my point.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Song of the Week 9/17/10

Superchunk - "Digging for Something"

Holy shit. Holy SHIT. This song is so damn good. After my first listen, I wanted to hear it again. And again. And then, yup, again. The whole damn album is just as good, which is kind of stunning for a band that hasn't released a full album in nine years.

As my my friend John commented to me, "Phenomenal. Might be their best since Here's Where The Strings Come In."

Oh, and this video is pretty good too:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Song of the Week 9/10/10

Nine Inch Nails - "Hurt"

It took two bucks to reignite my love and respect for Nine Inch Nails. That's how much I spent on a copy of their 1999 double album The Fragile at a moving sale on Union Street in Park Slope a few weeks ago. It was a total impulse purchase--I haven't listened to any NIN in at least three years, and even then it was a one-time only spin of Year Zero before I filed it away in my library. I ripped The Fragile into my iTunes and listened to it all the way through on a lengthier-than-expected trip from my house out to the U.S. Open on the Friday of Labor Day weekend. And it blew my mind. It was perfect for an overcast, kind of steamy day filled with slow moving F and 7 trains. The following day I ordered three used Nine Inch Nails discs through Amazon and downloaded The Slip, which Trent Reznor gave away for free in 2008.

I was always amazed I ended up liking Nine Inch Nails. When Pretty Hate Machine was released in 1989 I just lumped the band in with all the other gothy/industrial dance acts that the guys and gals that wore black at WICB played with a righteous fervor. The Broken EP in 1992 won me over because a) it rocked and b) I finally could get the angst and rage that Reznor was spitting out in his lyrics. With a much more discerning ear 18 years later it's not Reznor's words that hook me in songs like "Wish" or "Happiness in Slavery," it's the pure wall of (sometimes almost joyful, if that makes any sense) noise that he's painstakingly constructed that gets down into my very core. I've started jogging again this year and that NIN playlist I assembled might be the best thing on my iPod to get my blood flowing.

"Hurt" from 1994's The Downward Spiral took a life of its own after Johnny Cash covered it. In the hands and voice of a man near the end of his time on this planet, it become probably more powerful than Trent Reznor ever imagined. The original is the song that won me over completely 16 years ago. The only time I've seen Nine Inch Nails was the week after their mud-soaked appearance at Woodstock '94. When they performed "Hurt" -- the exact same way it is in the video above that was released in 1995 -- it overwhelmed me. The combination of the visuals and Reznor's passionate delivery is still one of my favorite concert moments ever, and that entire show is definitely on my short list of Top 10 concerts. I've played this live version multiple times in the past week, and it hasn't lost it's power to move me yet.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Song of the Week 9/3/10

Mighty Mike - "Imagine a Jump"

Wow. Five days after first hearing it and words still fail me. One of my Top 3 favorite mashups ever.