Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Classic Holiday Letter from Aunt Helene (1996)

My best guess is this letter is from 1996. "Aunt Helene" (also known as PSaur) authored this delightful missive on the exploits of her family. Sadly, I suspect by now Nana Lilibeth has left this mortail coil.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Everyday 25.0: "King Kong" by Tom Waits

Sure, the original by Daniel Johnston is better ("Who killed the monkey?"), but Waits knows how to pick a cover. Plus I like to watch the King Kong footage.

Halloween Everyday 24.0: "Ghost in You" by the Psychadelic Furs

Yeah, three in one day. I took the weekend off.

I still have this single. Great song -- Counting Crows' version? Snore...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween Everyday 22.0: "Bambi Meets Godzilla"

Is it really the Halloween season without a viewing of this classic?

Halloween Everyday 21.0: "Haunted Mansion Explained" by Walt Disney

Watch Uncle Walt give an "Imagineering" tour of Disney's Haunted Mansion to an equestrian.

(Yeah, I forgot to post this yesterday, but so what?)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Everyday 20.0: "Walking with a Ghost" by Tegan & Sara

Last Halloween I sang this song too often, almost like a nervous tick, and it drove my wife insane.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween Everyday 19.0: "The Cat" by Jimmy Smith

Look at that Halloween cat on the album cover! Also, great album, with music conducted by Lalo Schifrin!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Halloween Everyday 18.0: "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr.

I didn't put much thought into this one. But I will say that when this movie came out, I thought it was the coolest thing ever!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween Everyday 16.0: "Spooky" by Mike Sharpe

Not the classic, uh, Classics IV version, but rather the original instrumental version, which I'd never heard til now. It's moody. Oh, and spooky!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Halloween Everyday 14.0: "See You in Hell" by Grim Reaper

Who couldn't love a chubby metal singer? Nothing about this song does not rock in a most awesome fashion!

Thanks to Andy B. for reintroducing me to this classic a few years back!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Halloween Everyday 13.0: "Shocker in Gloomtown" by the Breeders

The only place I've ever wished I could've been. In the garage with the Breeders while Guided by Voices hung around outside.

The Breeders covering GbV (from the Breeders' 7" "Head to Toe; and GbV's "Grand Hour" ep). Get them both!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Halloween Everyday 12.0: "Turkish Song of the Damned" by the Pogues

When Shane sings "I come, old friend, from hell tonight", you better believe it!

My brother saw them last night at Roseland and says they were feckin' great!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Halloween Everyday 11.0: "Hell" by Squirrel Nut Zippers

I love big bands. And hell. So big bands singing about hell -- that's swell! A big Carolina band when I was living down South!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hallowee Everyday 10.0: "Sober" by Tool

Get creeped! Thanks for the suggestion, Jackie. Oh, and for the nightmares!

Time to get out the Brothers Quay bedsheets!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Halloween Everyday 9.0" "Moon Man" by The Original Moon Men

For today's song, I wanted to tie in with NASA's rocket-crash-into-the-moon project, so I just typed in "moon man" into You Tube, and ended up with this. What's interesting, besides its sounding like an early GBV song, is that the guys in this band (circa mid-60's) are from Plainview, NY, having met at a school there I'd never heard of: Fern Place Elementary School. Might've been closed before I started going to school. Maybe it turned into Park Place or Pasadena. It's 9 in the morning -- I haven't done any deep searching yet. Anyway, the only other mention of that school on the web refers to a collection of letters from authors to students housed at C.W. Post.

The song's about flying saucers and moon men, etc. Perfectly appropriate for the Halloween Everyday Project. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Halloween Everyday 8.0: "Rock & Roll Halloween" by Bobby Bare, Jr.

Stumbled across this one, but it was no grave error! Great Halloween song! Destined to become a holiday favorite!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Halloween Everyday 7.0: "Underground" by Tom Waits

The first cut of Swordfishtrombones, my first and favorite Waits album. Possibly the most important music of my terribly awkward and insular teenage years. Not so much a balloon that lifted me from the neighborhood-at-large, but rather a freight elevator that pulled me deep into the guts of the imaginary world (where so much of the real world is revealed).

Oh, and as ever, a creepy song. See those bones dancing in the tunnels?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Halloween Everyday 6.0: "Goolie Get-Together" by the Groovie Goolies

Oh, lovable cadavers! It's the theme from the "Groovie Goolies" cartoon, a spin-off of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" (itself a spin-off of "The Archies"). Sounds like it was sung by, well, The Archies!

A Saturday morning favorite in the 70s and 80s. You could sit in front of the TV watching the Goolies while slurping down a bowl of Booberries! A spooktacular way to start the weekend!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Halloween Everyday 5.0: "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon

What am I gonna do? NOT include this song? Quick -- sing me a better lyric than "He's the hairy-handed gent who ran amuk in Kent."

Times up! Werewolves of London again...

Erin & I watched "American Werewolf in London" the other night. Still great. Not a rainy day goes by that I don't quote it. And the nightmare sequences are still intense.

What's Landis been up to lately?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Halloween Everyday 4.0: "I Want a Monster to Be My Friend" by Betty Lou

One of my favorite Sesame Street songs (and, oh, I've quite a few...) Nothing'll beat Raposo's "Somebody Come & Play" for the sweetest satisfaction. But who doesn't love monsters? You don't? Weirdo.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Halloween Everyday 3.0: "Boris the Spider" by the Who

Special request from Psaur, it's "Boris the Spider", Entwhistle's shining vocal moment! "Creepy creepy crawley crawley..."

Friday, October 02, 2009

Halloween Everyday 2.0: "Night of the Vampire" by Roky Erickson

The reigning king of ghoul rock! "On St. Swithin's Day, he was born." I love this acoustic clip. If David Lynch had directed an episode of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" I suspect this would be the result.


Another "Night of the Vampire", this time a creepy instrumental by the Joe Meek-produced Moontrekkers. No Halloween party should be without it!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Halloween Everyday 1.0: "Peek A Boo" by Devo

Today begins my "Halloween Everyday" project, whereby i intend on posting a spooky song every day this month. It won't last; I'll crap out in a day or two. Or maybe I'll stick with it. Named after a Frustrations song, the "Halloween Everyday" project begins with this live gem (Warner Music Group blocked the actual video from YouTube) by Devo.

Is Devo the greatest band ever? I'm beginning to think so!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Music Hitting You Hard

20 years ago today, "Do the Right Thing" was released in theaters. It was 1989 (a number)! Public Enemy dropped the needle on "Fight the Power" and people went out they goddamned minds! I know I did. Still do!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Southern Nights by Allen Toussaint

I've been listening to Glen Campbell's popular version of this summer favorite. After hearing Toussaint sing it, I don't know if I can listen to Campbell's interpretation again. Ah, who am I kidding? The song is inherently great!

Toussaint wrote the song; it's featured on his 1975 album Southern Nights.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The User's Guide to the Alpaca

The alpaca, or Alpaca, in the proper, is larger than a hen but not so tall as a horse, unless we're talking about a small horse, not a pony, but just a smaller horse, because it is younger or has been bred to grow no higher than, say, an alpaca. In such a case, the alpaca is taller than a horse, but no way is it to be mistaken for a giraffe, despite the long neck and unlaced sneakers (this has been determined to not be a fashion statement, but rather the result of both animals being characterized as even-toed ungulates, a condition which leaves you fucked it you want to open a jar of peanut butter, or lace up one's shoes).

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Crayon Angels - Fleet Foxes

Great song written by a great writer (Judee Sill) performed by a great band. There you go.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oh No Not My Baby - Carole King

I've never heard a song perfect at such a perfect and fitting pace. Carole King wrote this, with Jerry Goffin, I think. I still prefer Maxine Brown's recorded version, but something about this performance is low-key startling.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"The Dresses Song" by Lisa Germano

Lisa Germano played fiddle on "The Lonesome Jubilee" by John Mellencamp. That's why I bought her second LP "Happiness" (during the brief phase when I bought a bunch of cassettes (including Juliana Hatfield and PJ Harvey). I know I put "The Dresses Song" on a mixed tape, and it was one of the memorable hits of the Calabash days.

Apparently, this second album was released by both Capitol and 4AD, and each version had different remixes. I don't know which version I had, but I'm not familiar with the one above. However, it's the superior video (indeed the video below is just a still shot). But that's the better recording. More ominous, which I felt lent the song its alluring strength.

Enjoy them both. Then go listen to "Paper in Fire."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Laura Nyro: Gonna Take a Miracle

Laura Nyro: Gonna Take a Miracle, originally uploaded by Stepale.

My favorite album cover. Look at that face. The woman was a genius. When I'm not listening to Laura Nyro every day (as I have been recently), I'm at least listening once a week. She's my favorite early Thursday morning music, hovering over the wet ink of the day's papers, sipping a warm coffee from home.

The image was taken by Stephen Paley, of whom I admittedly know very little, but that's only because of my recent discovery of his work. Shane MacGowan mentions this cover in his autobiography, which somehow gave a curious depth to the music of the Pogues.

And in this case, you can indeed judge an album by its cover. I can hear that look on her face in the music. Speaking of covers, this album, "Gonna Take a Miracle" (with backing vocals by Labelle) is a cover album of old soul and Motown tunes.

An essential album, unless you're crazy like Mackey and don't like the sound of her voice (is that because Marilyn McCoo sang so many Nyro songs with the 5th Dimension?).

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Do It Yourself -The Story of Rough Trade

If you have 80+ minutes, watch this. The story of Rough Trade, the label, the icon.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Happy Monkey Day!

Today is the 14th Anniversary of Monkey Day! Celebrate as you will. This is an editorial from legendary lit zine Report to Hell ("where the worm dieth not and the fires are not quenched") helmed by PSaur and myself back in the mid-90's. Why Monkey Day? I don't remember, except we loved monkeys, even named our dog Monkey. Why April 7? Why, it's Jeff's birthday! Oh, so Happy 40th, Jeff!

Monday, March 16, 2009

For Nana

My grandmother (Nana) died 20 years ago today. She loved John Denver and I remember this song in particular being a favorite. Although I don't recall witnessing it, I'm under the impression my father played this song for her on guitar once. I do remember seeing the song sheet for it at her apartment.

Here's a version of the song Denver sings with the rest of the Chad Mitchell Trio, of which he was once a member.

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Will You Ever Write Your Masterpiece?"

My current favorite Billy Joel song, "James" is often overlooked in his canon. A beautiful tune, and wonderful tone. From my favorite Joel album, Turnstiles, this song also features possibly the greatest musical instrument ever invented (even greater than the might oboe): the electric piano. Indeed I've considered writing a piece on the emotional importance of the soothing percussive.

As for this performance, check out the solid gold microphone! That is, indeed, gold, Jerry!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Great Album Covers of My Youth 1.0: Darkness on the Edge of Town

Album covers: my favorite canvas for pop art. I've got a rotation of framed ones displayed above my record cabinet. Is there a record album art gallery anywhere? I mean JUST album art, no CDs (although I'd definitely love a cassette exhibition). I'm not down on CD art, but it lacks a certain aesthetic, do you not think? (Douche!)

So here's a new feature of LFW for all you dusty-fingered old folks for whom vinyl is final!

In this case, you can judge the record by the cover. Springsteen looks like an anonymous mook on the cover of his own album. It seems less a portrait of the artist than of his character. And the venetian blinds, with the harsh shadow from the cord, is almost the true focal point of the photo. Beyond it, that darkness.

The cherry on top is the bruised typewriter font.

Also, Bruce kinda looks like Fonzie filtered through the pen of Jim Thompson.

The Ballad of El Goodo by Big Star

Up against impossible odds, the human spirit, every fucking second of the day. This is the anthem for any human beings out there...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Maybe You, Too, Can WRITE...

...but probably not. I don't write nearly as well as I assume I do. But more crucial -- not as often as I should. Writing often often produces something of relative worth. Like the phrase "often often". Based on the idea that if you throw enough shit into your yard, a flower will emerge from it.

Sometimes, one will earn a lifetime of shit. Also, a yard full of shit.

Mostly, I'm frustrated. Frustration shadows me more than any other reaction, as a writer. First, in writing; next in considering selling it (how or even why)...

I can't even finish this blog, I'm so bored, which was going to be the next topic I'd cover: my short attention span. Often a flash! A spark of interest, a whiff of cap gun smoke, then I'm staring at the TV. Which offers me nothing, but a blue warmth.

And undying love! I love you, TV!

I guess that was all that I was getting at...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Anchorage by Michelle Shocked

Hey, I'm back! With something enlightening to say? No, just a video. I forgot about this song until today (and now I've forgotten why I remembered it -- something on the internets, certainly...)

Strangely, this song never occurred to me during the last election. Just listen.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

If for One Certain Moment in History I Was God in the Judeo-Christian System 1.0

This was rejected by the Long island Catholic.

Irene and I were discussing siblings vs. friends, or something, and I said Jesus didn’t have any family.

Irene: What about Mary & Joseph? Or God – the ultimate father! You know, He so loved the world, He had His Son die on the cross to show us.

Me: Yeah, thanks, Pop! Listen, sure, that was good, but if I were God, I would have sent a musical card.

I: What?

M: Like, here’s how much I love you, and mail everyone a musical card, maybe with the Theme from Love Story playing.

I: Love is never having to say you’re sorry.

M: Exactly. This is two thousand years ago – you get a card like that and, number one, you don’t know that song, even the structure is unfamiliar; and 2, where’s the music coming from? Everyone’s standing around like, what’s going on?

What is that, a chip? maybe someone asks.

No, jumps in an apothecarist, it’s a miracle is what it is! See how good the Lord is!

Jesus, have you seen what the Lord has given us?

Jesus says, I like it, wiping his brow.

Years later, he opens up a Saturn dealership.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


This is what I love so much about Sesame Street. These short films. Nothing has televisually left such an impression on me1 Look at this one: 55 seconds of a chick hatching. The music is terrific!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration of Barack Obama

Two scientists are racing for the good of all mankind
Both of them side by side
So determined

Locked in heated battle for the cure that is the prize
But it's so dangerous
But they're determined

Theirs is to win if it kills them
They're just human with wives and children

Upwards to the vanguard, where the pressure is too high
Under the microscope
Hope against hope

Forging for the future but to sacrifice their lives
Both of them side by side
So determined

They're determined if it kills them
They're just human with wives and children

Theirs is to win, it will kill them
They're just humans with wives and children

Friday, January 16, 2009

Let's Prog Rock!

Watch the BBC 4 documentary about prog rock here. This is for you, brother!

Monday, January 12, 2009

You Articulate Dead Fisherman

What can be said? Vic Chesnutt is one of my favorite songwriters, appearing in those desperately formative years of my 20s.

This song, "Independence Day" from his first album Little, remains an amazingly stirring performance, every time he sings it, and I imagine, any time anyone sings it. That's the power of this song.

I feel almost weightless in its atmosphere...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

We're Goin Out Where the Sands Turning to Gold

The first Lantern Fishworks post of the year! "Atlantic City"? Really? Gloomy at first listen, maybe, but there's something ultimately uplifting about this song. I have often been brought to tears by Springsteen's performance.

Also, it's one of the best videos ever assembled. (I couldn't embed the video so click the photo get get to it.)