I had high aspirations for posting this on Monday, but then I had Christmas shopping to do (meager shopping since we’re still half-jobless this holiday season, which is actually kind of freeing cos no one expects anything but cookies from you). My sister and I actually braved the shopping scene to find some fun little inexpensive gifts. They’re selling shirts like that on the right at Target, which confused me.
Sis has been feeling the stress of helping to care for my sick uncle (she’s the closest-located relative to the hospital in CA) so she had expressed a desire to bake the most complicated Christmas cookies we could find while she was here in town. Her exact instructions to me were, “Go online to Martha Stewart.com, and find a recipe for something like talking reindeers with 8 layers of phyllo dough and green glitter.” We didn’t get quite that adventurous but we did manage to make even more basic cookies than truly necessary. They were good snackin to eat warm from the oven on Christmas Eve while the whole family watched A Christmas Story as we do each year in the hours before Santa comes.
“Sons of b*tches! Bumpuses!“
The Beauty Shop
At first, I listened to The Beauty Shop out of curiosity – their moniker was incongruous for the sound described (Mojo says “as much J Mascis as Johnny Cash”), but also probably because it made me reminisce of the cosy little Beauty Bar in San Francisco that I used to go to on occasion. See, both use the name and the promise of beautiful things to entice the unsuspecting. I am glad I clicked to listen to this trio out of Illinois because they get under my skin. This song feels a bit like that cover of Cash covering Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage,” and when frontman John Hoeffleur sings about punching a hole in the sky, punctuated by little yelps and a rough and ready acoustic guitar, you believe him. More tunes here.
Fitting nicely onto your mix between Feist’s 1234 and something from The 220.127.116.11.s, this new numerical scorcher from Oxford’s Supergrass is just as slicing as the other new track “Diamond Hoo Ha Man” was. If these tunes are any indication of what’s to come from the forthcoming album in 2008, they’ve been listening to more White Stripes and smoking less supergrass. I felt a little frisson of electricity when this first came over my speakers.
Endless Conversation (acoustic)
The Alternate Routes
One of the Fuel/Friends favorites in 2007, The Alternate Routes keep on putting out sublime melodies with this new acoustic EP, which they’re selling exclusively at shows. Eric the guitarist tells me that the band had these alternate versions echoing in their heads of songs from Good and Reckless and True, so they recorded the EP themselves and now their label, frankly, is trying to figure out what to do with it. Let’s hope it gains an actual release in 2008 because it’s simply lovely — dusty backporch Sunday, sweetly aching, Willie Nelson-styled versions of their roosty music.
Heart It Races
(Architecture in Helsinki cover)
I mentioned this song some months ago as the b-side to a Dr. Dog 7″ Beck remix, and now I finally have the mp3 from a friend who put it on his annual Best-Of-2007 mix CD which he distributes to his lucky friends. Track #9 on the mix, I’ve been listening to this tune non-stop on repeat. It took me a while to place this song as an AIH cover that I’d streamed months before, but either way it made me love Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog even more. With equal parts Sixties doowop, git-down handclapping rhythm, and spacey My Morning Jacket-esque vocals, this is a perfect song. Perfect.
Cut Your Hair (Pavement cover)
Cassettes Won’t Listen
This is what happens when Stephen Malkmus gets channeled through your Casio keyboard, and even though it’s impossible to improve upon the original, this updates it in a strangely danceable, slightly-weird but pleasing way. Part of a free EP of Nineties covers with album art that hits right at the heart of the Class-of-’97 nostalgia bin, Cassettes Won’t Listen and the blog Music For Robots take care of you with this free collection. They also give Liz Phair, Butter 08, Blind Melon, and Sebadoh their unique treatment, just for kicks and giggles.