Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones 1945-2012

Damn. You know you are getting old when your teenage crushes start passing away. I was totally into The Monkees in the mid-80s revival aired by MTV. I listened to their music endlessly on my Sony Walkman cassette player. Gawd was I cool. Singer Davy Jones passed away today at age 66 from a massive heart attack. Say what you will about the cheesiness of the Monkees television show, their pop songs were pure gold. Plus, they had great songwriters like Neil Diamond and Carole King pen some of their early work.

A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You.mp3
Buy: Headquarters (Deluxe Edition 2007, Orig. 1967)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chuck Prophet: Temple Beautiful

Is there anyone cooler than Chuck Prophet? OK, maybe Tom Waits, Paul Westerberg, and a few others, but he's easily in the Top 10 of rock star cool. And he consistently releases killer, albeit under-appreciated, rock albums. His latest release Temple Beautiful is no different. Prophet's twelfth studio album since the breakup of Green on Red in 1990 is an homage to his home town of San Francisco. Prophet said (from his label, Yep Roc), "The record's an unsentimental (though loving) tour of San Francisco. Made in San Francisco by San Franciscans about San Francisco. My effort to tap into the history, the weirdness, the energy and spontaneity that brought me here in the first place." The title track comes from a now defunct San Francisco punk club. You can guess by the title "Willie Mays Is Up At Bat" that the song is about the baseball Giants. Check out the video for "White Night Big City" below:

A description of the video from Prophet's label, Yep Roc:
The video is a tribute to San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, who were assassinated in City Hall by ex-Supervisor Dan White, on November 27, 1978. The White Night Riots erupted when White's conviction was announced. Instead of first degree murder, he was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. And if that gets a little heavy for you, try to spot Chuck dressed up as a cheesy, seventies-era newscaster and bartender.
"San Francisco. It's a great place to come and wave your freak flag or whatever you want to call it. It can suck you under. That first hit. It really does a whammy to you. And if you're like me you can find yourself chasing the San Francisco dragon for the rest of your life. That's what the record is about," Prophet concludes. This album is a really solid rock and roll album, which I highly recommend that you listen to (it's on Spotify). His upcoming tour dates are mostly in the western US and Europe. I am guessing that he will have more North American dates this summer.

Castro Halloween.mp3
Temple Beautiful.mp3
Buy: Temple Beautiful (2012)

Here's a fun article from the SF Weekly blog where Prophet, in celebration of the release of Temple Beautiful, takes a bunch of fans on a bus tour of San Francisco, followed by him and some guests playing the new album at a release party.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Justin Timberlake does Bon Iver

Sure....the one night that I don't watch Saturday Night Live is the one night where they rip on every bit of music pop culture. No one is safe in this skit: hip-hop, pop, country, alternative rock, and celebrity in general all get skewered.

As my friend @curtsgianthead once said, "When you're hot you're hot, and when you're not you spend a lot of evenings on the internets." So I was at my computer last night, watching my twitter feed out of the corner of my eyeball, and saw Justin Vernon, Mr. Bon Iver himself, tweet some gold.
@blobtower: holy shit, i was just watching SNL and JT did a Bon Iver hilarious thing! Also, Maya Rudolph saying "bon iver" is enough. I can die now!!!

@blobtower: JT! SNL peeps… that was hilarious. Armisen as Prince… Also, i WISH i looked that good bald. That was it… the most surreal thing! ever!

@blobtower: my texts is blowin' up!!!

@blobtower: JT was playing that guitar part well! I was red-face-embarrassed but laughing my ass off the whole time! I'm by myself out here people! #!

@blobtower: to all the folks racing to our defense right now…i assure you… ITS ALL GOOD! #NobodyBeatUsUp #IsToTakeOurLivesLessSeriously #LaughingIsGood

"@TaylorFails: @blobtower I never thought I would hear so many people on television pronounce Bon Iver correctly." THAT WAS THE SHIT!
At the end of the show Timberlake held up a sign that said, "I <3 Bon Iver."

Imagine just hanging out on a Saturday night, watching a little TV, when all of a sudden Maya Rudolph, Jay Pharoah, and Justin Timberlake start making fun of you on live national television. Awesome! My favorite line, "Oh no. Bon Iver just put himself to sleep." That's something that I would say!

I have to admit that I am not crazy about Mr. Vernon's music, but after seeing him be so genuine and humble during his Grammy speech (not to mention a shout out to my home state of Wisconsin!), and take the SNL ribbing in stride (seriously, how cool is it to be made fun of by Justin freakin' Timberlake?), I kind of like the guy. I want to share a few Leinenkugel's with him.

Minnesota, WI.mp3
Buy: Bon Iver (2011)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Somebody That I Used to Know

The only time I listen to the radio is when I drive. The only time that I drive is when I need something that is not accessible by the subway system (my curling club, Target, Ikea, other things in the 'burbs). I don't even own a car, and use a Zip Car maybe 3 to 4 times a month. The last two times I was oot and aboot I caught the song "Somebody That I Used to Know" by the Belgian-Australian artist Gotye. It's a catchy song - simple melody, easy lyrics, interesting instrumentation, and a guest verse by the New Zealand artist Kimbra. It's currently number three on the Billboard Alternative Charts (behind the Black Keys and the Foo Fighters). I went to check it out on YouTube, and found that the most fascinating video for the song is actually a cover. Watch Canadians Walk off the Earth covering "Somebody That I Used to Know" with ten hands and one guitar.

Compare that with Gotye's original. Not bad, eh?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Feel Bad For You February Comp

Your monthly mixtape from your favorite music bloggers, tweeters, members of the forum, friends of friends, friends of lovers, friends and lovers, friends in low places, and occasionally some enemies. Do you spell America with a "k"?


1. Shayfer James - Weight of the World
Counterfeit Arcade (2011)
Submitted By: Popa2unes
Comments: Shayfer James is devilishly captivating and deliciously unusual. A man of bewitching grace, grisly humor, profound story telling, and whiskey-flavored wit.

2. “Mississippi” Charles Bevel - Don’t Lie to Me.mp3
From: Meet “Mississippi” Charles Bevel (A&M Records SP-4412, 1973, out of print)
Submitted By: Simon
Comments: First heard this track on an Oxford American Music edition CD a couple of years ago and loved it, always gets me up and dancing around. I’ve managed to track down a dinked 7” single but still looking for the album……

3.Timothy Bracken - Unmade
Long Untied (2012)
Submitted By: philnorman
Comments: Great songwriting, great hooks, great guitar sounds all over this record. You need these songs. Name your price at

4. Valerie June - No Draws Blues
5 Dollar Cover Soundtrack (2009)
Submitted By: Autopsy IV
Comments: Stumbled across this song the other day. Had forgotten how much I liked it.

5. Robert Pete Williams - You Used to Be a Sweet Clover Shaker
Mojo: Brotherhood, a compilation of tracks from Mojo, from 2011, I think
Submitted By: Brad Kelley
Comments: Sometimes I think he’s the only blues artist that really matters, then sometimes I think he’s the only artist that matters. There’s nothing like him in the history of blues. His most famous song, "I’ve Grown So Ugly," was covered by the Black Keys (on Rubber Factory).

6. Dirty Bourbon River Show - One Way Or Another (I’ll Be Free)
Volume One (2010)
Submitted By: Romeo Sid Vicious
Comments: I have been in a little bit of a slump lately and digging through my older gems to find some solace and rediscovered this little beauty. I love the guys in DBRS and this song has music that’s kind of happy and jumpy as well as lyrics that give a nice big “Fuck you” to just everything bringing someone down. It’s a fun little tune!

7. John 5 - Behind The Nut Love.mp3
Buy: Songs for Sanity (2005)
Submitted By: erschen
Comments: I make to no bones about my metal head past and I love to watch That Metal Show on VH1 Classic. They have a different musician (mostly guitarists) that take them to break on each episode. I was quite intrigued by John 5, unique and varied styles. I knew he was a shredder and was most famous for being Marilyn Manson’s guitarist but I didn’t know that he has been a session guitarist for folks ranging from K.D. Lang to Garbage to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Ozzy. He’s a big Buck Ownes fan and has a penchant for chickin’ pickin’ as well. Really love this track, a bit of twang on this one. He’s fingering the strings behind the nut to make it sound like a pedal steel.

8. Folk Family Revival - Unfolding
Unfolding (2011)
Submitted By: Mike Orren
Comments: My friends literally dragged me out to McKinney, Texas, to catch this young Houston band a few weeks ago and I’ve worn out their album since. In their early twenties, these three brothers and their best friend are turning out some of the most mature, nuanced lyrics I’ve heard in a while with a sound that at times echoes the Avett’s, the 97′s and Ray Wylie Hubbard. It’s spiritual music, but not in a preachy way. It sneaks up on you and manages gravitas and fun in the same number. My only quibble is another tune where they have a beautiful line about being alone and maybe, like Johnny, finding your June Carter when you’re old. (Sorry boyos, I refuse to call 36 old.) That said, it’s a varied and polished disc without a clunker– but this song, the title track is my favorite. It’s become the theme song of my 2012 to date.

9. Ola Belle Reed - My Epitaph
Rising Sun Melodies (2010)
Submitted By: Truersound
Comments: Beautiful song from one of Appalachia’s most unsung artists.

10. The Bear - Jack and Joan
7″ split w/ Belle Adair (2012)
Submitted By: Corey Flegel
Comments : Just another Muscle Shoals band…doing good things. This is from their recent split w/ fellow Shoals-ians Belle Adair. This is available via Itunes and you can order the 7″ through Pegasus Records. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that they will have a new record done at some point later in the year. Backtrack to their 2010 self-titled one if need be. I love it…lots.

11. David Allan Coe - Spotlight
Longhaired Redneck (1976)
Submitted by: Adam Sheets
Comments: The best song from a truly underrated, but deeply divisive songwriter.

12. Roky Erickson (with Okkerville River) - For You.mp3
Buy: True Love Cast Out All Evil [Deluxe] (2010)
Submitted By: annieTUFF
Comments: Roky Erickson doesn’t need any explanation. And if it does, then watch his documentary “You’re Gonna Miss Me.”
Also, and this is just a silly random note, next time you need to pass anyone anything (for instance…the telephone, salt, the remote, french fries) sing the first line of “For You” but replace an actual lyric with the item you’re handing them. Just like this….”For You, I’d do anything for you, For You there ain’t nothing I wouldn’t do…For you, your beauty makes the sunrise, For You, so I’m passing you these fries” and see if they get it…if they do, give them a high-five and become best friends forever.

13. The Setters - Don’t Love Me Wisely
The Setters (1994)
Submitted By: toomuchcountry
Comments: Though we have no defined theme for the month of February, I felt compelled to submit some sort of love song. Right? The Setters was a Super … err, umm … Way-Above-Average Group featuring Alejandro Escovedo, Walter Salas-Humara from The Silos, and Michael Hall, who once fronted The Wild Seeds before releasing several solo albums. The release was produced by solo performer, guitarist for Lucinda Williams, and champion of the music and legend of Blaze Foley, Mr. Gurf Morlix. Hall – who now writes for Texas Monthly magazine – is on vocals with Escovedo on guitar. Salas-Humara contributed percussion rhythms by riffing on snare drum cases, Tropicana orange juice crates, and metal shelving.

14. The Clash - I’m So Bored With The U.S.A.
The Clash (1979)
Submitted By: BoogieStudio22
Comments: Here I sit, wearing my Clash t-shirt. I wanted to hear something from the 70s, created a playlist, hit play and this was the first song up. Must be an omen.

15. Mark Lanegan - The Gravedigger’s Song
Blues Funeral (2012)
Submitted By: Ryan (Verbow @
Comments: Love me some Mark Lanegan. First track off of his new album that should be out by the time this mix is posted (2/7/12).

16. The Louvin Brothers - The Great Atomic Power
Weapon of Love (1962)
Submitted By: Rockstar Aimz
Comments: One of my new years resolutions is to listen to more pre-1970 classic country music. You don't get much more classic than the Louvin Brothers.

17. Dax Riggs - Say Goodnight to the World.mp3
Buy: Say Goodnight to the World (2010)
Submitted By: Shooter

18. Bee Gees - Marley Purt Drive
Odessa (1969)
Submitted By: TheSecondSingle
Comments: An unexpectedly great homage to The Band by one of the lamest (and secretly greatest) bands of the ’60s. Sure to turn even the most ardent Bee Gees hater around (however slightly).

19. Old Crow Medicine Show - Angel From Montgomery.mp3
Buy: Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs Of John Prine (2010)
Submitted By: Mike Beebe
Comments: I defy anyone to listen to this song and not instantly be a fan of both John Prine AND Old Crow Medicine Show.

20. Texas Wettnex - Get Your Ass On Out Of Here
Leaning In (2006)
Submitted by: Mando Lines
Comments: Just discovered Michael Wren in the last couple of weeks. He was the singer songwriter for the Texas Wettnex, now he’s a solo act. His most recent record is Rien Vraiment. You can stream some of his songs at Good stuff.

21. Some Dark Holler - Sweet Red Wine
Some Dark Holler EP (2011)
Submitted By: TheOtherBrit
Comments: These guys/gal are awesome live plus their EP is FREE on This is American Music!

22. Bombino - Tar Hani (My Love)
Agadez (2011)
Submitted By: April @ Now This Sound Is Brave
Comments: The recent Rubber City Review post about Bombino reminded me that you all need a shot of this desert rock. This is another one of those gems that Rick Saunders introduced me to, and it is sublime stuff. This song is a particular favorite because it makes me think of Sandinista!-era Clash.

23. Kim Janssen - Drift (Live on
to be released on “Ancient Crime” – March 2012
Submitted By: Slowcoustic
Comments: As a member of The Black Atlantic, Kim Janssen is no secret to the “folky” community and this song proves he is coming into his own. His sophomoric album “Ancient Crime” should see him gain many fans on the genre. This audio rip is of the video of his performance that can be seen at

24. Anthony Leon & The Chain - Uncle Sam.mp3
Buy: The Pistol, The Bottle & Shaded Pastures (2011)
Submitted By: Dusty Vinyl
Comments: Good friends of the Imperial Rooster; Santa Fe’s Anthony Leon & The Chain are really great country rock and roll. This is an awesome song about getting weed.

25. The Maldives - Blood Relations
Listen to the Thunder (2009)
Submitted By: Captains Dead

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Puppy Bowl Sunday

While we're all indulging on wings and nachos, let's not forget to throw a bone to our furry friends. And maybe "accidentally" drop a cocktail wienie on the floor.

John Hiatt - My Dog and Me.mp3
Buy: Beneath This Gruff Exterior (2003)

The Great Outdoors - Chekhov and I.mp3
Buy: Food, Booze, and Entertainment (2007)

Harry Nillson - The Puppy Song.mp3
Buy (mp3): Harry (1969)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fashionable People

I've had the plague something fierce for the last week. It's so bad that I have to skip a beer festival tonight, and you all know how I feel about beer. So until I kick this batch of germs, instead of posting some mildly coherent and amusing musical anecdotes, I'm just gonna post some vids and some tunes.

Our good Canadian indie rock hero Joel Plaskett does a toddler version of "Fashionable People" with Mamma Yamma, a yam who represents Ontario on the CBC children's show Kids' Canada. You can follow Mamma Yamma on twitter.

Compare to the original by Joel and his band the Emergency.

Fashionable People.mp3
Buy (Maple Music): Ashtray Rock (2007)