December 18, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

The internet can be so eerily voyeuristic (you know this, anonymous blog reader). I’ll admit to being fascinated by sites like PostSecret and Found Magazine; now I have a new place to click and look inside the ephemera of other people’s lives. The To-Do List Blog collects and reprints people’s lists for your perusal. Seems fitting in this list-making season, and you get to see charming resolutions like #5 above: “Let my eyelashes grow.”

A noble aspiration for us all.

This week’s tunes, a day late:

The Silence Between Us
Bob Mould

After former Hüsker Düer / Sugar frontman’s dancetastic side project last year, Bob Mould returns in early 2008 with his 7th solo album District Line. I am digging this first single, it’s all my favorite fuzzy guitars and big hooks [via]. I’ve heard that Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty is holding down the percussion end of things here, and this intro heavily reminds me of Pete Yorn (“For Nancy” – listen and see). Plus, do you hear an echo of the Sugar song “A Good Idea” here like I do? This is a very strong, rocking return to form, and I look forward to hearing the whole album.

200 More Miles (feat. Ryan Adams)
Cowboy Junkies
Other than a hazy SNL appearance with really foxy hairstyles where they performed their cover of Sweet Jane that I’ve seen in re-runs, I will admit that I don’t know much about the Cowboy Junkies. I’ve heard that this is an oversight on my part, and I should probably rectify that. Eh, we’ll see. But to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their Trinity Session album, the Junkies released a CD/DVD combo of performances in the same Toronto church where the original album was recorded. Ryan Adams sings lead vocals here on this tune (I love the way his voice quavers when he sings the lyric, “Atlanta’s a distant memory / Montgomery a recent blur“). Adams plays guitars, drums and trades harmony vocals on a few other songs [pics here], and Natalie Merchant and Vic Chestnutt also appear. Trinity Revisited is out now, but maybe only in the UK.

X Marks The Spot

Here is another fresh discovery from my year-end list perusing, this time from the formidably-almost-always-right Aquarium Drunkard. Of this independent Los Angeles artist, Justin writes: “an absolute must for fans of Nilsson, Lennon/McCartney, et al. I recently described the sound of the LP as the orchestration and instrumentation of latter era Elliot Smith, combined with the songwriting and world view of Richard Swift.” After reading that descrption, I said “Okay.” And I am glad I did. The album is called Lullaby For The Passerby.

I Came Here To Say I’m Going Away
(Serge Gainsbourg cover)
Okkervil River
Artists behind another fine album from 2007 that missed my list, Okkervil River is feeling generous this Christmastime. They’ve put together an EP of live cover tunes available for free on their website, and they have dug up some wonderful, obscure tunes to make their own. Called the Golden Opportunities Mixtape, the collection includes this cover by risque French songwriter of the ’60s Serge Gainsbourg (wherein they also tag a bit of “96 Tears”), plus Joni Mitchell, The Fugs, John Cale and more. The mix also includes the evocative original tune of theirs called “Listening To Otis Redding At Home During Christmas” that I recently posted. Nothing says Christmas like free music; go get it.

Paper Planes

Several of you have suggested I should have named this song of the year, but since I didn’t do a list like that, it’s a moot point (like a cow’s opinion, it doesn’t matter). I will admit an affinity for this catchy song, built entirely on a foundation of The Clash’s Straight To Hell, with one of the best and most un-singable choruses all year (I kinda do a head bop to one side for the gunshots, then two to the other side for the cash register sounds. I look really cool doing it, especially at the gym where I am most prone to listen to it, and people think I am having a seizure). The video [via GvB] is entertaining: even if her rolling-ocean-flow hand motions lose their charm after about the second time, the Beastie Boys cameo where she sells them food off the back of her trailer restaurant doesn’t.

Straight To Hell – The Clash


  • My sister had that exact notepaper. Given the way she organizes things, she may still have that notepaper. Well do I recognize the bear.


    Anonymous — December 18, 2007 @ 12:09 pm

  • The “Paper Planes” download is in fact pointing at “Straight to Hell” at the moment….

    Kari — December 18, 2007 @ 12:09 pm

  • Fixed, Kari. Thanks.

    heather — December 18, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

  • Heather -

    I’ll own the fact that I said “Paper Planes” might be my song of the year. If you weren’t talking about my comment then never mind. I agree with you that it’s very catchy and unlike anything out there. I have nothing but love for your awesome site, like the guy in Topeka, or Tulsa, I forget.

    - Neil (aka the guy who manhugged w/Josh Ritter)

    Anonymous — December 18, 2007 @ 1:14 pm

  • I can’t decide if I really do like M.I.A. I think it’s completely dependent on my mood when listening to the music. The first time I heard the album, I thought, ‘how the hell can people like this?’ But I’m really starting to warm up to it now. What’s changed? Who the fudge knows? I guess I just really enjoy hearing gun shots and cash registers mixed with persistent bass…

    I’m definitely going to be visiting those sites more often than I’d like to admit, Heather, haha…

    Steve — December 18, 2007 @ 7:28 pm

  • Trinity Revisited can be found in Canada. I picked up a copy of the cd/dvd in October while driving through Hamilton. It is excellent. Ryan sings or plays on most of the songs and on one he plays percussion. The dvd is spectacular and the behind the scenes segment is enlightening. It was also available on line at the Junkies website, but due to the 2008 US release they may have pulled it.

    rwgrzech — December 19, 2007 @ 12:17 am

  • there is no possible human way to resist ‘paper planes’.

    Chad — December 19, 2007 @ 11:36 pm

  • Thanks for the Ryan Adams and Cowboy junkie track. Good stuff

    jcroach — December 20, 2007 @ 10:05 am

  • By original Trinity Sessions…. Mining for gold is the most haunting minute plus of music I think I’ve ever heard… you won’t regret the buy…

    Anonymous — December 20, 2007 @ 10:19 am

  • Correction …the Cowboy Junkies CD/DVD is out in Canada. I have but haven’t listened to it yet, although I was a big fan of there’s early on. I did lose interest in them for a while(well more like decade) but I saw them for the first time live in over decade this past summer and their wonderful performance reminded me of why they’re one of Canada’s most underrated(ie in terms of ppularity in their home country) bands ever.

    Michael — December 20, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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