Thursday, May 31, 2007

Song-A-Day #31: Hey, Do the Mouse

You can do it in your house! One of the best dances ever (along with Costello's "High Fidelty" jerky moves). Soupy sort of gives up on the moves half-way through the song (some people just can't lip-synch and do the Mouse at the same time). Still, Soupy's the only one doing the true Mouse -- those fancy-pants dancers are a bit too B'way for such a simpleton's groove.

Oh, and worst song ever, too.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Song-A-Day #26b: The Right to Robot Arms

"Arms Aloft" by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros. "May I remind you of that scene / We were arms aloft in Aberdeen." A summoning of the power of the early days of the Clash. How you needn't merely reference the past, but burn it as the fuel for the future. This song inspired by today's phone call to Psaur (yeah, sometimes we use the phone...)

Radio Shack's "Armatron" was spotted by our mothball-and-cobweb-fueled nostalgia field guide, Psaur, at an estate sale this morning. It could pick up stuff two feet out of your reach. Why do we even still have to go to work? Why have the robots not followed through with their promises?

Song-A-Day #26a: Did I Say Nipple?

"Private Eye" by The Nips, Shane MacGowan's pre-Pogues band (when he was known as O'Hooligan). A punk rockabilly outfit (supposedly the descriptive "punkabilly" was coined for them) who never quite made it (no surprise, what with hundreds of other London bands going punk in the wake of the Pistols, etc.). Good song though. A slight hint at the sound to come from Shane and the Pogues.

Mostly, I thought of this song because I saw this sign on Hawthorne Blvd this afternoon. I love Hawthorne.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Song-A-Day #19: I Don't Care That Your Mother's a Thoughtless Pain in the Ass

"I Don't Care" by The Boys, ostensibly the first UK punk band to sign an album deal. Released on April 9, 1977, the single coincided with their first tour, supporting ex-Velvet John Cale.

I never had a hope, never had a chance
Nobody ever taught me to begin to understand

Why so glum? I miss the days when you believed the singer believed what they were saying.

Know who don't care either? Baldwin -- that's who. Just ask Dora...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Song-a-Day #17: Drugs and Wine and Flattering Light

Dammit! My monkey swizzle stick fell out of my margarita glass onto the keyboard! Now I have to lick the keyboard. Instead of the screen, which is what I usually do, especially when watching this 1984 Carvel commercial for the Cupie the Chocolate Nut ice cream cake for Valentine's Day. Tom gets a bit of a chuckle out of its name. They accept most major credit cards. Hey, remember that Tom Carvel joke? About taking a shit?

Today's song? I don't know yet. I'll get back to you after I knock out a few more swizzle sticks. I also have to finish the next installation of my Food column for the Bee (serving the Sellwood/Moreland/Woodstock area). Well, Urn creates the recipes and cooks it, and I eat it. I totally eat it!

The song? Not yet. The drink? Well, number three...

Wait! I've got it! "The French Inhaler" by Warren Zevon. Someone wrote of its thinly-veiled reference to Norman Mailer and Marilyn Monroe: "And your face looked like something Death brought with him in his suitcase." Mailer has wrote extensively about Monroe: a book, a play, and some text for a calendar my grandfather once had. I don't know what it's about, but the lyrics are fantastic! I'm listening to the studio version, though I prefer the live take, although it's not the best recording. What? Mmm...muddled pineapple and gin! "So I drank up all the money,Yes, I drank up all the money,With these phonies in this Hollywood bar..."

Hey, I'm back. It's Thursday now. What was I talking about?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Song-a-Day #6: Well, That's Tough Shit

Yeah, I didn't post anything yesterday. But that's just because I only had one song running through my head all day, "Jesus Was a Cross Maker", and I already wrote about it. Well, anyway...

Just downloaded an old favorite that holds up very well. Yeah, the lyrics are dated, but that good ol' american fuck-you-jackass attitude still prevails. It's a pretty good political song, too. Not as douchey as I feared. Cool as shit, pal!

"Storm the Embassy" by the Stray Cats, from their album Stray Cats, a UK import Jimmy bought in the eraly 80s. I can't remember if he still has it. You got it?
A rockabilly protest song! What the fuck happened to FM radio? Here's the lyrics (No offense, Iran!):

Fifteen man taken captive in a hostile foreign land
Scorchin' sun beaming down onto miles and miles of sand
A mideast country being ruled
By a man who thinks it's fun
To hold our people in return
For a shah that's on the run

I think it's funny
Freedom takes money

It's a heartache and it's hard luck
Well that's tough shit
Man it's no fun
Storm the Iranian embassy
Before they start shootin' down you and me

Scourge of suits in control
Of the diplomaticness
While the nations of the world
Look on and can't care less
The Soviet Union won't agree
To an economic plan
And then they laugh and march their troops into Afghanistan

Orders from Moscow
Invade Teheran now

It's a heartache and it's hard luck
Well that's tough shit
Man it's no fun
Storm the Iranian embassy
Before they start shootin' at you and me

A nation worries and reads the papers
Hoping that no-one has died
Hearin' rumours that the hostages
Will soon be tried as spies
Demonstrations on the street
Saying that the end is near
The man from New York Times on vacation
Wants to know what happened here

Aggressive acts now
We want the best now

Fifteen moms crying
Is my son dying ?
It's a heartache and it's hard luck
Well that's tough shit
Man it's no fun
Storm the Iranian embassy
Before they start shootin' at you and me
Massapequa rules!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Song-A-Day #4: Dial "C" for Cool!

I picked up this Geraint Watkins albums at Borders on a whim a couple of years ago. There was a time when my choosing music "on a whim" (say, because I liked the album cover or the title), I'd usually end up with crap (i.e., the Rainmakers, and my classic faux pas, Black Tape for a Blue Girl).

But in the mid-nineties I hit my stride and most of my random pics have panned out well. Case in point, Dial "W" for Watkins, his 2004 release. I had no idea who he was, just liked the cover and some song titles. Turns out he's been around for quite a while as a session man for some of the greats (of which he is indeed one), including Dave Edmunds, Rory Gallagher, John Martyn, Van Morrison and Paul McCartney. Nick Lowe is a huge fan, playing bass and singing on the album. The Dave Edmunds connection led Watkins to record with the Stray Cats on their album Rant n' Rave with the Stray Cats. That's his piano playing on "Look at that Cadillac."

Oh yeah, the song of the day is "Soldier of Love," written by Watkins (there's a few other same-named songs out there ).

How to describe? A song to roller-skate to on Valentine's Day. Slow and lovely, so hip it's perhaps beyond extrapolation, made only for listening and absorbing into your psyche. God damn, the whole f-ing album is royalty!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Song-A-Day #3: Incredibly Drunk on Music!

Memphis' "Incredibly Drunk on Whiskey" from their 2006 release A Little Place in the Wilderness is today's selection. I don't know much about the band, except that it's a side project of some other bands, Canadians, you know. An obvious choice for a drinking song mix tape (I've been compiling a playlist on my iTunes for months), the song is one of the more cheerful odes to being tanked on mash (ha, like Hawkeye!).

The Chorus:

You looked at me
Pointed out that I was drunk on whiskey
You looked at me
Said, “let’s get incredibly drunk on whiskey”

That's gold, Jerry! But my favorite part is the opening verse where his sister drives him to the Megaplex. I think he's singing from a youthful viewpoint. Either way, it's funny.

It's jazzy! A touch of the Smiths, Gypsy Jazz, etc. Torquil Campbell, musician, actor, and member of indie-pop-canuck chamber combo Stars, fronts Memphis, with Chris Dumont, who may or may not be related to Allen B. DuMont, ostensibly the inventor of network television.

You can listen to the song on their MySpace page or can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Song-a-Day #2: Sill the One!

I heard Judee Sill's "Jesus Was a Cross Maker" for the first time the other day on KBOO and instantly declared it the greatest song I ever heard. I make such declarations often (I continue the legacy of Irish hyperbole...) But really, it's a brilliant song, both in composition and performance. As I listened I tried to guess who was singing. Sill sort of sounds like Nancy Griffith, or vice versa.

Judee Sill's debut album, Judee Sill, was also the first release on David Geffen's fledgling pre-Geffen Records label, Aslyum Records. She'd release only one more album in her lifetime, dying of a drug overdose at 35 in '79.

A singer in the vein of Nyro and Mitchell, but quite on her own in style, Sill has become an immediate favorite of mine. Rhino Handmade re-released her albums a few years ago, and they're now out of print. But they're on iTunes. So I downloaded her first album.

Recommended. No shit.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Pstealing from Psaur: Song-a-Day for the Month-of-May

In solidarity with Psaur's resolve to post to his blog every day for the month of day, I reciprocate in kind with a daily post myself commenting on one song a day.

May 1: "The Lights of Cincinatti" by Scott Walker.

Before he started going Krupa on a side of beef, Walker recorded this Macaulay/Stephens composition, drenched in syrupy echo.

Tony Macaulay & Geoff Stephens also collaborated on The Hollies' "Sorry Suzanne", and "Smile a Little Smile for Me", immortalized by Flying Machine. All three songs were hits in 1969. The pair wrote a number of other songs together, including "Silver Lady" for David Soul in '77.

from "Silver Lady":

Here I am a million miles from home
The Indiana wind and rain cut through me
I’m lost and alone
chilled to the bone
Silver Lady

Macaulay & Stephens kept the 70's casual!