A few of my dear readers have found purpose and meaning in facial hair and have started a blog chronicling their moustache progress from April 1 until May 5 (“growing season”), thus joining the Cinco de Moustache movement. Important topics such as “World’s greatest moustaches” (yes, Tom Selleck is in there) and “Take baby pictures of your moustache” are covered. One of these guys won my Stranger Than Fiction book title competition a few months back by saying if he wrote a book of his life, it would be entitled: “Facial Failure: My Everyday Struggle to Grow a Moustache (and Sideburns) that looks neither Pervy nor Predatory.” So there’s a precedent here.
Good luck, men. Be strong. And may the best . . . follicles win?
Music for the growing season:
Amy (Ryan Adams cover)
I don’t even know what to think of this concept album as a whole (see tracklist), but darned if I have to admit that I like this reinvention of Ryan Adams as fat-beat bossa nova soul funk from British DJ Mark Ronson. You can dance to it, and I’d never expect it to work but I think it does. Ronson says “With Version, I’ve taken these songs that I love and turned them into Motown/Stax 70′s versions. I keep the utmost respect and appreciation for the original songs I use. I’m just trying to find something in it, add something to the arrangement or change a groove. It’s not like I’m thinking it’s a shit song that I can make good, it’s more like it’s a great song and I’m now going to make it bounce.” Thanks to reader Sara for the download link.
California Saga (On My Way To Californ-i-a)
With summer coming, everyone should own at least one really good collection of Beach Boys songs. You’ve got myriad albums and repackaged reissues to choose from – I am liking the sunburned harmonies of their newest
money grab album release The Warmth Of The Sun. Out May 22 on Capitol, it’s got a few “new stereo mixes,” plus some songs notably featured in popular movies lately (Feel Flows from Almost Famous and Sail On, Sailor from The Departed) and lots of oldie goodies. You really can’t go wrong. I loved this particular song because listening to it was like playing a game of “Have You Ever” with the Beach Boys, with all the places in CA they’re asking if you’ve been.
I was like, “yes, yes, and yes.”
So for those paying attention at home, Los Angeles band Acute (featuring ex-members of Ozma and Poulain) just announced a string of tour dates supporting Jesse Malin. Jesse hasn’t announced these dates yet, but let’s just say . . . I know where I’ll be on June 15. I really like the new Acute album Arms Around A Stranger (May 1, Help Records). It’s produced by Dave Trumfio (Grandaddy, Wilco, My Morning Jacket) and shares some of that golden alt-pop goodness.
I can’t believe I haven’t posted this song before, but the advent of the upcoming release of Manchester band James‘ greatest hits double album (Fresh As A Daisy: The Singles, due next month on Universal) gives me just cause. Even though this tune originally came out in 1998 from James (think, “This bed is on fire with passion and love…”) I just heard it fairly recently and it’s been on one of my most-listened-to mixes in the car for months. A song about fame and being loved (and the fleeting nature of those things) set to these melodic jangly chords that I can always picture being hit with a flourish. I also love to sing the opening lines in my best Mancunian accent (that is to say, not very well).
Diamonds In The Dark
I’d read the NME yammering on about the hot UK superstars Mystery Jets for months, but didn’t pay much attention until I got their new album (Zootime, on Hollywood’s Dim Mak label May 8) in the mail yesterday. This is the lead-off teack and I find myself enjoying the Morrissey-esque vocals and the thrumming bass line. And then . . . I found out that the lead singer’s dad is in the band. That is so oddball and rad I don’t even know where to start. If I ever started a band and wanted to follow their model that means my dad could join and play trumpet — from his days in the Army. He does a mean Taps.