Saturday, February 27, 2010

Men With Brooms

All of this Olympic curling talk made me dig out my DVD of the Canadian comedy Men With Brooms. Starring cutie Paul Gross, who also co-wrote and directed it, the movie follows four men trying to seek personal and professional redemption on the curling sheet. Throw in a love triangle, goofy Leslie Nielsen, a huge dude in a kilt, a cameo by the Tragically Hip, curling cheerleaders, and a flock o' beavers, and you have yourself one hell of a slice of Canadiana. The ironic part of this movie to me is that the actors have the worst curling form that I have ever seen! Its a really entertaining comedy, and recommended if you want to learn something about the coolest game on ice.

Buy (DVD): Men With Brooms (2002)

The soundtrack is really great too. It features Canadian artists like Kathleen Edwards, The New Pornographers, Our Lady Peace, The Tragically Hip, Matthew Good, Sarah Harmer, Tom Wilson, among others. It's available as an import on for $37.95, so order it below from for $14.99 Canadian, which is about the same in $US.

Buy ( Men With Broom Soundtrack (2002)

I don't actually own the soundtrack because I already have most of the songs from their original albums. Here is a little slice of Canada for you to enjoy.

Sarah Harmer - Silver Road.mp3
BuyAll of Our Names (2004)

Kathleen Edwards - Hockey Skates.mp3
Buy: Failer (2003)

Our Lady Peace - Life.mp3
Buy: Spiritual Machines (2000)

The Tragically Hip - Throwing Off Glass.mp3
Buy: In Violet Light (2002)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Concert Review: Tim Barry and Chuck Ragan, Wrongbar, February 6

This review is several weeks late because I have computer problems, and am addicted to Olympic curling, and have a severe case of the Februaries, and am just damn lazy. If you don't feel like reading the entire review, here's the four word summary: superb musicians, terrible venue.

Some background: Both Tim Barry and Chuck Ragan come from 90s hardcore/punk rock backgrounds, Barry with the punk band Avail, and Ragan from Hot Water Music. Both bands are on indefinite hiatus (I think), and both artists have gone on to release several solo albums in the singer/songwriter, folk, and alt country styles. I discovered them via their solo work. Barry released his first full length solo album Rivanna Junction in 2006, while Ragan did the same in 2007 with Feast or Famine. They have since put out a handful of wonderful americana albums, all of which I recommend.


Tim Barry is an angry dude. But he's also sincere, forthright, impassioned, and one hell of a storyteller. Wearing a "Conway Twitty Raised Hell" T-shirt, Barry played solo with an acoustic guitar to an incredibly knowledgeable crowd. In fact, I had no idea that Barry and Chuck Ragan were so popular in Southern Ontario. The Wrongbar was beyond sold out, but more on that later. The characters in Barry's songs are presumably semi-autobiographical: they are fucks-up who are trying to do the right thing, but keep stumbling into people who are constantly letting them down. Barry has an acute sense of history, and before launching into "Prosser's Gabriel" he gave a shout out to the late Howard Zinn for teaching him about working man's history. In fact, he gave a quick lecture on the Virginia slave trade, specifically in his home town of Richmond, including the slave revolt lead by Gabriel. Barry also showed his strong sense of family by talking about how he missed touring with his baby sister who recently brought his first niece into the world. He dedicated "Wait at Milano" to his new niece, and told everyone to focus on the positive and hopeful things for future.

The MAN (Canadian Customs) wouldn't let Barry sell his records on this mini tour of Canada. He said, "I have a new album out [28th & Stonewall], but I don't care if you buy it or steal it. Music is meant to be shared. But if you steal if, buy me a beer. Or a shot of JD." I highly recommend you buy 28th & Stonewall and buy Barry a beer. Or a shot of JD. Actually, buy all of his records. They are all tremendous.

1. Dog Bumped
2. Idle Idylist
3. Church of Level Track
4. This November
5. Downtown VCU
6. Prosser's Gabriel
7. Wait at Milano
8. Avoiding Catatonic Surrender

Wait at Milano.mp3
Buy: Rivanna Junction (2006)

Prosser's Gabriel.mp3
Buy: 28th and Stonewall (2010)

Edit: Barry was recently featured in the Richmond, VA, weekly magazine Style. Check out: "Ride Fast, Live Slow."

Headliner Chuck Ragan tore up the place, and again, I was thrilled by how audience knew every word to every song. His style is different from Barry's direct storytelling, but no less powerful. Ragan played acoustic guitar and harmonica, and was backed by bad-ass fiddler Jon Gaunt. Their songs ranged from Celtic folk ("Its What You Will"), to bluegrass ("Coal Tattoo"), to country rock ("Glory"). He even pulled out an old Hot Water Music song ("Jack of All Trades") and a bluegrass tune from Bristle Ridge, a 2008 collaboration with Austin Lucas (track name escapes me). Opener Dave Hause (who I missed, it was an early show) joined Ragan and Gaunt on stage for a rousing version of "For Broken Ears." Local band Cavaliers, the second act, (who I also missed because I'm a dumbass and got off at the wrong streetcar stop and had to walk several blocks) filled in to make a full band for the last five songs of Ragan's set, and Barry joined Ragan singing an amazing version of "California Burritos." Cavaliers sounded fantastic and I definitely want to see them again.

After you pick up Barry's albums, pick up all of Ragan's albums too.  I just got into his 2009 release Gold Country, and it is wonderful  All of Barry's and Ragan's albums are on eMusic.

1. The Boat
2. It's What You Will
3. Rotterdam
4. Coal Tattoo (Hazel Dickens cover)
5. Cut Em Down
6. Between the Lines
7. Symmetry
8. Jack of All Trades (Hot Water Music)
9. God Deciding
10. Something of off Bristle Ridge
11. For Broken Ears
- fiddle interlude -
12. Don’t Cry (If You’ve Never Seen The Rain)
13. Do You Pray
14. Geraldine
15. Glory
16. Do What You Do
17. California Burritos
18. ??? (maybe "Let It Rain," I can't remember)

It's What You Will.mp3
BuyFeast or Famine (2007)

Buy: Gold Country (2009)

Despite the fantastic musicians, I came away from the show with a sour taste in my mouth. And no, I wasn't drinking skunky Blue. In fact, getting a cocktail was a huge problem in general. This was my first trip to Wrongbar, and they had obviously oversold the show. The place was crowded to the point of being dangerous. My friends, who are huge Chuck Ragan fans, left half way through his set because they were feeling claustrophobic. I was actually trying to hatch an escape plan in case of disaster. I've been to sold out shows at the Horseshoe, Phoenix, Lee's Palace, Opera House, etc., but I have never felt unsafe at these venues. Many people were moshing and crowd surfing. Here's a hint, people: when there is a fiddler on stage playing bluegrass, its not really appropriate to slam dance, take off you shirt, and throw beer. When the fiddler stops to tell you to chill, maybe you should chill. I'm not a big girl, and even though I was standing to the side, I got my ass kicked. I've never come away from a show with bruises on my legs from getting pinned to the railing or randomly kicked. I'm pretty sure that I will never go to Wrongbar again.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Feel Bad For You February Comp

Is February over yet?  Everyone in Canada, and most likely our friends in the US capitol, gets terrible seasonal affective disorder this time of year.  All things considered, its been a pretty mild winter in Toronto, but even so, after I drag myself to and from work, all I want to do is become one with my couch and hibernate under a huge pile of blankets and pillows.  Is a little sunlight too much to ask for?

Load up on the Vitamin D and download this month's comp from our friends over at  Its a good one, especially if you like Will Oldham/Bonnie 'Prince' Billy.  Download the zipped comp for one week only. Removed due to copyright infringement. (But which track?)

Feel Bad For You February 2010
1. Albert King - That's What the Blues Is All About.mp3
From: The Devil's Music: Keith Richards Compilation of Blues, Soul and R and B Classics (1973, out of print)
Comments: Funky blues groove cited by Keith Richards as one of his favorites.

2. Chris Cacavas - The Crying Shame.mp3
From: Dwarf Star (1999, out of print)
Comments: Lonesome drinking song. Good things from ex-Green on Red keyboardist.

3. Beausoleil - "Tous Les Deux Pour La Meme"
Best Of Beausoleil (1997)
Comments: Cajun goodness from Lafayette. C'est bon!

4. "Little" Walter Jacobs - "Mellow Down Easy"
Complete Chess Masters: 1950-1967 (1988, orig. 1955)
Comments: Classic blues harp from Little Walter Jacobs.

5. John Dee Graham - "Beautifully Broken"
It's Not As Bad As It Looks (2010)

6. Van Morrison - "Saint Dominic's Preview"
Saint Dominic's Preview (1972)

7. Surfer Blood - "Swim"
Astro Coast (2010)

8. I See Hawks in L.A. - "Shoulda Been Gold"
Shoulda Been Gold (2010)

9. Amalgamated Songs of Rest - "Major March"
Amalgamated Songs of Rest (2002)
Comments: A tiny little gem of a song, in a tiny little gem of an album, from the one-off collaboration between Will Oldham, Jason Molina and Alasdair Roberts.

10. Palace Brothers (Will Oldham) - You Will Miss Me When I Burn.mp3
Buy: Days in the Wake (1994)
Comments: Very early Oldham awesomeness.

11. Midlake - "Roscoe (Acoustic)"
Oak and Julian EP (2007)

12. A.A. Bondy - I Can See The Pines Are Dancing.mp3
From: Daytrotter Sessions (2010)

13. Sibylle Baier - Tonight.mp3
Buy: Colour Green (2006)

14. Bonny Billy and The Picket Line - The Glory Goes/Wolf Among Wolves.mp3
Buy (vinyl): Funtown Comedown (2009)
Comments: This is from a record Oldham that was released in December '09, and I didn't knew existed until an hour ago. Bonny Billy live with a bluegrass band.

15. Bonny Billy and The Picket Line - "Idle Hands Are The Devil's Playthings"
Funtown Comedown (2009)
Comments: Just go pick up this album... It would have made my Gamblers for sure last year, if Oldham let people know it existed.

16. Chris Mills - I Wish I Was a Bomb.mp3
Buy (eMusic or iTunes): Wall To Wall Sessions: Acoustic Outtakes and Alternates (2005)
Comments: Rare Chris Mills track. Short and sweet.

17. Chris Mills - "All's Well That Ends"
Living in the Aftermath (2008)
Comments: Chris Mills is your prophet of doom.

18. Tim Barry - "Thing of the Past"
28th and Stonewall (2010)

19. Chuck Ragan - "Let It Rain"
Gold Country (2009)

20. Slithering Beast - "Honestly"
Midnight Royalty (2008)
Comments: A good country truck drivin' ballad.

21. State Champion - "Bite the Dust"
Stale Champagne (2010)
Comments: This song has grown on me more than any other I can remember. The breakdown part about halfway through just kills. Sort of indie-country-rock.

22. Archie Fisher - Western Island.mp3
Buy: The Man with a Rhyme (1976, reissued 2000)
Comments: The sweet sharp Scottish brogue of a Celtic folk master.

23. Archie Fisher - "Queen of the Heather"
The Man With the Rhyme (1995)

24. Charlie Daniels Band - Big Man.mp3
From: Honey In the Rock (1973, out of print)

25. Lynyrd Skynyrd - All I Can Do Is Write About It (Acoustic).mp3
Buy: Lynyrd Skynyrd Box Set (1991)

26. Dylan Hears a Who - "Green Eggs and Ham"
Dylan Hears a Who (2004?)
Comments: Found this years ago and since then the Theodore Geisel estate requested the website be taken down and the artist cease and desist.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

U.S.Eh! U.S.Eh! U.S.Eh!

I love watching and playing sports, and I especially love watching the Winter Olympics. Snowboard cross and short track speed skating are like demolition derby on snow and ice. My quads burn just watching the alpine skiers. And how bad-ass is biathlon? I imagine my great, great uncle Sven skiing across the Norwegian hinterland hunting caribou for his evening dinner. (I actually do have a great, great uncle Sven from Norway. No clue if he hunted on skis).

Being an American in Canada is awesome during the Olympics. I love that I don't have to watch Bob Costas. I have five other channels to watch the Olympics, including one in French. My job is very multi-national so we have a lot of trash talk at work. My current work group includes (by birth) three Americans, four Chinese, four Germans, three Brits (including my boss), one Scot, one French, one Egyptian, one Dane, and one Israeli, among 10+ Canadians. I cheer for both Canadian and American Olympians, except when they are facing each other. Then it's USA all the way. I will be keeping a low profile during the US vs. Canada hockey games, lest I get pummeled when the US wins.

I moved to Canada just after the Salt Lake games in 2002. Though I am originally from Wisconsin, which is practically Canada, and my hometown is farther north than Toronto. Out of boredom/curiosity I took a "learn to curl" class in 2004, and totally fell in love with the sport of curling. What glorious game! Curling originated in Scotland in the 1500s. Can you imagine some bored, frozen Scotsmen deciding that it would be a good idea to throw a rock on some ice to hit a target? Now its a phenomena in Canada, where an estimated 1 million people regularly curl.

I have been playing in a weekly curling league since 2004. My current team, the Sheetheads, is in first place in an open league at the High Park Curling Club. Sportsmanship is paramount; the game starts with handshakes and introductions and the winning team must buy the losing team beer. So really, everyone wins!

Yesterday ChartAttack posted "Ten Great Songs About Curling." I wouldn't call all of these "great," but many are highly amusing. I do like the idea of Walter Osteneck covering the "Curling Club Polka." And why hasn't Stompin' Tom recorded a curling song?

In 2005 Toronto rock stalwarts the Constantines put out an album called Tournament of Hearts, a nod to the Canadian women's curling championships. While none of the songs are directly about curling, the entire album is solid, working class rock music, which all curling fans can appreciate. Constantines play at the Olympics in Vancouver at the Ontario House on Friday, February 19.

Working Full-Time.mp3
BuyTournament of Hearts (2005)

Winnipeg's The Weakerthans stepped it up a notch in 2007 by recording a song called "Tournament of Hearts," the current best curling song in existence (until Walter Ostaneck and/or Stompin' Tom writes one). They are currently on tour down under where it is summer. One of my Kiwi friends once told me that curling is mostly done outdoors on frozen mountain lakes of New Zealand, where the curlers sip whiskey between ends to try to keep warm.

Tournament of Hearts.mp3
Buy:  Reunion Tour (2007)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Album Review: Kasey Anderson - Nowhere Nights

2009 was a really great year for music, but one of my complaints about last year's releases was the dearth of rock records. Where were the guitar solos, the back beat, the "three cords and the truth?"  Asides from albums by Dinosaur Jr.and Them Crooked Vultures, who bring their own unique styles to the rock genre, it was a pretty sparse year for good, old-fashioned, rock and roll.

Fortunately, Kasey Anderson is rectifying this trend in early 2010. His third album Nowhere Nights is officially out next Tuesday, February 16, and is currently available through iTunes or Anderson's label Red River Records.  This record contains eleven tracks of solid rock songs: some slow, some fast, some you can dance to, some that will make you think, and some that will just make you rock out. 

Anderson's rock influences are all over this album. You can hear Tom Petty in "Sooner/Later," Bruce Springsteen in "Leavin' Kind," and Mike Cooley-penned Drive-By Truckers songs in "All Lit Up."  "Real Gone" is an obvious nod to Tom Waits, but it also seems like it could be Anderson's "Desolation Row."

"I Was a Photograph" will be the song of the year.  I can't see how any other song will top this one. Anderson wrote this song about Lance Cpl. James Blake Miller after reading an article about the Iraq veteran in Rolling Stone.  You can read Anderson's thoughts on the song on a post he did for

While the album is largely autobiographical, the themes and stories easily resonate with everyday folks (in other words, me). Two songs specifically hit home for me. The first track, "Bellingham Blues," reminds me of never feeling at home in the town where you grew up.  Similarly, the song "Home" reminds me of my home town. I'm assuming that this song is also about Bellingham, a city similar in population to my home town.  "That's how it goes in a town this small. You either play your hand a little closer to the vest, or you don't play at all." Great lyrics.

Nowhere Nights sets the standard for what I hope will be a more rock and rollin' 2010.

Buy: Nowhere Nights (2010)

Make sure to check out some Kasey Anderson live tracks over at A Truer Sound.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Those Darlins Tuesday Night in Toronto

Those Darlins were my "best new artist" of 2009, and they are playing a free show tomorrow night (Tuesday, February 9) at the Horseshoe Tavern as part of Dave Bookman's Nu Music Night.  It's gonna be awesome.

Here are two of my favorite songs from their 2009 self-titled debut.  The first is my theme song and the second is about getting drunk and binge eating.  What's not to like?

Wild One.mp3
Whole Damn Thing.mp3
Buy: Those Darlins (2009)

Those Darlins also have a nice session on Daytrotter from back in March 2009.

Who's That Knocking at My Window.mp3 (Carter Family cover)
From: Daytrotter (2009)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chuck Ragan and Tim Barry tonight in Toronto

I'm very excited to see Chuck Ragan and Tim Barry at the Wrongbar tonight in Toronto, the culmination of Ragan's and Barry's Canadian mini-tour. How bad-ass is their tour poster (above)? Ragan and Barry are being supported by locals Cavaliers! and acoustic folk pop artist Dave Hause.

Tim Barry put out a tremendous album last year called Manchester. This album contains great rock and folk/rock songs with lots of biting social commentary supported by Barry's strong and gruff vocals. But the song that just slays me is Barry's eulogy to a friend, "'222.'" The first time I heard this song it reminded me of my friend Kathleen, who died in 2003 at age 31 from cancer, and I cried and cried and cried. (Photo to the right, taken by her mother. Its a terrible scan, but appropriate, as Kath hated having her photo taken.) In this song Barry just nailed everything I was feeling about Kath. The only other song that gets this kind of emotion out of me is Townes Van Zandt's "Kathleen." I hope Barry doesn't play this song tonight because it's so embarrassing bawling in public.

Buy: Manchester (2008)

Barry's new album 28th & Stonewallcame out on January 26, and it's getting a lot of buzz in the Americana community. I haven't heard it yet - I plan on buying it tonight - but the good folks at Suburban Home Records are allowing jokers like me to stream the album from our blogs. Enjoy!

I admit that I don't know Chuck Ragan's music as well as I know Barry's. He released the album Gold Countrylast September, which I also plan on picking up tonight. In 2008 he put out a killer bluegrass album with Austin Lucas.

Simple Life.mp3
Buy: Bristle Ridge (2008)

Last December Suburban Home Records made a Mix Tape for fans like me to share. In the chaos of the holidays, I completely forgot to share it with my fellow blog readers. My buddy Autopsy IV who runs posted it to his blog yesterday. You can head over there to see the song list and download the mix tape. Here are two tracks from the mix tape appropriate to today's blog post.

Tim Barry - Shoulda Oughta.mp3
Chuck Ragan - Don't Say a Word.mp3
From: Raising Hell & Living Cheap, Suburban Home Records Mix Tape Volume 1 (2009)

Suburban Home also recently posted their second Mix Tape, Greetings from the Left Coast. Per their web site:
Just like last time, you can get 5 copies for FREE. We ask that you please keep 1 and give 4 to friends. We also ask that you only order 1 set of mix tapes so there are more people who can get them. We believe that music is meant to be shared. If you hear an artist that you like, please consider finding their releases and see if they are touring through a town near you. You will just need to pay for shipping.
They don't have a track list for this one, but they hint that fans of Two Cow Garage will like it. Which means that I will like it. Yay!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Album Review: Matthew Ryan, Dear Lover

A few years ago a friend of mine gave me a bunch of MP3s and said, "You have to check out this guy. He's the next Paul Westerberg." Of course, this immediately made me extremely skeptical. Especially after I realized that my jackass friend had given me dozens of MP3s tagged as "unknown artist" and "track 8" and so on. I had to do a mess of MP3 archeology until I finally discovered that I now had a wide range of tracks by Matthew Ryan spanning eight albums from 1997 to 2004.

While I enjoyed the Matthew Ryan sampler from my friend, it wasn't until I head Ryan's 2008 album, Matthew Ryan vs. the Silver State, that his songwriting skills really hit me. I loved this album, and named it one of my top ten of 2008. Then I went back to my sampler MP3 collection, and really started to understand and appreciate his immense talent, and in the process I filled in my Ryan collection with what I could find on eMusic. Maybe I'm old school or something, but I needed to hear his music in the context of an album before I could really get into it.

Ryan is officially releasing this twelfth album Dear Lover on Feb. 16, but I pre-ordered it and have had it in my hot little hands since October. I really wanted to put it on my Best of 2009 list - that's how good it is. Patience is not my virtue, but at least I held out until early 2010 to review the album.

Dear Lover is completely different from MRVSS, and this is one of its major strengths. In true Westerberg DIY style, Ryan recorded the entire album in his home studio, and is releasing it on his own record label. Although Ryan's music has been published on major and indie record labels in the past, according to a lot of interviews that I have read, this album is something that Ryan wanted to do by himself. The gloss of a professional studio may be missing, but Dear Lover sounds the way he wanted it to sound.

The entire record revolves (evolves?) around the theme of a romantic relationship. Relationships are complicated, wonderful, confusing, stressful, exhilarating, scary, empowering, and even lonely, sometimes all at the same time. "I could be your super hero. I could be your biggest disappointment." Ryan is telling stories in his songs, but the stories are vague enough where each listener can interpret the song in his/her own way. The mark of a great songwriter is the ability to let his audience decide what the song is about, and Ryan thrives in this aspect of musicianship.

Unlike MRVSS, which is largely a rock album, the songs on Dear Lover are power pop anthems, indie rockers, soft ballads, and electro/synth tracks you could hear in a Manhattan martini bar. Some people may be turned off by the ambient/electro-sounding songs, but I think they really add to the overall feel of the album and show Ryan's willingness to experiment with diverse sounds. In fact, one fan called Dear Lover "Matthew Ryan's synth/techno/electro Nebraska."

Ryan is also one of the only artists that I follow who excels at using social media to promote his music. He interacts with fans on Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. I've seen him take requests for new videos and for songs for upcoming gigs on Facebook. On Twitter he announces streaming radio shows and new gigs, plus promotes fan reviews and fan blog posts. He had fans help him make the video for "City Life," which I posted back in November. He recently posted three "raw" videos on YouTube, two of which he filmed in his living room. Two of the raw videos are songs from Dear Lover, and one is a fan request for the song "Guilty," which is from his 1997 album May Day, and which was also included in the original groups of MP3s my friend gave me.

Here is a great article from Tech Dirt that discusses musicians who embrace the changing business side of music. The article doesn't mention Ryan, but he is doing everything, if not more (albeit, with a way smaller budget and fanbase), than the Trent Reznors and Amanda Palmers of the music world.

Ryan's Dear Lover tour just started yesterday. Check his website to see if he is coming to your town. Sadly, no Canadian dates have been announced (yet?).

The Wilderness.mp3
Buy: Dear Lover (2010)
CD available from retailers on Feb. 16, or from his website now. Download from iTunes,, or eMusic NOW!
The entire album is streaming on

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Music of LOST: Season 1

I admit it. I'm one of those geeks who can't wait for the start of LOST Season 6 tonight. Its really the only TV show that I watch, and I fully blame my buddy Gorrck's wife Sa-Rock for getting me addicted at the start of Season 2 (when the castaways were trying to find out what was in "The Hatch").

Last year I started a project where I was going to re-watch all of the previous LOST episodes, take detailed notes, and start a LOST reading and song list. The LOST writers, editors, producers, whoever do a really good job at using music and literature to enhance the scenes as well as the mythology. Well, I only got through Season 1. So here is my Season 1 reading and song list. Yeah, I know I can look up all of this on Lostpedia, but its more fun to do this yourself. I'll try to get through the next four seasons by the end of Season 6.

Spin has a fun list of the 12 Best Musical Moments from LOST (all five seasons), which includes songs written specifically for the show.

LOST Season 1 Reading List
1. Lewis Carroll - Alice In Wonderland (orig. 1865)
Episode 5 is entitled "White Rabbit."

2. Richard Adams - Watership Down (orig. 1972)
Sawyer is reading it on the beach in Episodes 5 & 8.

3. Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time (orig. 1962)
Sawyer reading it on the beach in Episode 18.

LOST Season 1 Music List
1. Patsy Cline - Leavin' On Your Mind.mp3
Buy: Patsy Cline - 12 Greatest Hits (1990)
In Episode 3 this song is playing in Ray's (Australian farmer) truck while he drives Kate to the train station.

2. Joe Purdy - "Wash Away (Reprise)"
From: Julie Blue (2004)
Episode 5, this songs plays from Hurley's headphones, and as the closing music.

3. The Beatles - "Strawberry Fields Forever"
From: Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
Charlie's tattoo is a lyric from this song: "Living is Easy with Eyes Closed."

4. Billy Bragg - "The Internationale" (Bragg's arrangement)
From: The Internationale (1990)
Lyrics are incorporated into Jack's speech in Episode 6, "We'll live together or we'll die alone."

5. The Animals - "House of the Rising Sun" (The Animals arrangement)
From: 1964 single
Episode 6 is titled "House of the Rising Sun."

6. Willie Nelson - Are You Sure.mp3
From: Nashville Was the Roughest (1998, out of print)
Episode 8, playing from Hurley's headphones during the closing music.

7. Blind Boys of Alabama - "I Shale Not Walk Alone" (Ben Harper cover)
From: Higher Ground (2002)
Episode 9 closing music as Sayid walks away.

8. Bizet, Carmen - "Intermezzo"
Episode 10, the tune from Danielle Rousseau's music box.

9. Perry Como - "Catch a Falling Star"
From: 1957 single
Episode 11, Claire's dad sang it to her as child.

10. Pete Townshend album - All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes (1982)
Episode 11 title is a modification of this album name. "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues"

11. Charles Trenet - "La Mer"
From: 1943 single
In Episode 12, Rousseau writes the lyrics on her map, and Shannon sings the song in French to Sayid.

12. Damien Rice - Delicate.mp3
Buy: O (2003)
Episode 17, this song plays on Hurley's discman when the player runs out of batteries.

13. James Brown - "I Got You (I Feel Good)"
From: 1965 single
Hurley sings it to try to get the baby to stop crying in Episode 21.

14. Bruce Springsteen - "Born to Run"
From: Born to Run (1975)
Title of Episode 22

15. Bob Marley - "Redemption Song"
From: Uprising (1979)
Sawyer sings it on the raft in final episode of season 1 (Episode 24).

Monday, February 1, 2010

OK Go Video: This Too Shall Pass

Back in 2002 I saw OK Go open for The Vines, and they put on a great show. Much better, in fact, than the spastic Vines themselves. I went to chat with OK Go's lead singer after their set, but he was more interested in talking to girls much prettier than myself (who can blame him?). So I chatted with their keyboard player instead - nice dude! I admit that I am not a huge fan of OK Go's music, but they do make above average alternative rock and pop songs. However, I am a HUGE fan of their videos.

Remember the good old days when MTV and Much Music actually showed videos? Who can forget that classic Twisted Sister video for "We're Not Going to Take It." With the guy screaming at the kid, "What do you want to do with your life???" And the kid say, "I Wanna Rock." Or Weezer's "Buddy Holly" video as an episode of Happy Days. Or Madonna's controversial "Like a Prayer" video. I couldn't take my eyes off of any of these videos, and quite often the videos were better than the songs.

So, is making good music videos a dead art form? Not for OK Go. In 2006 they released a now classic video for their song "Here It Goes Again." If you don't recognize the name of the song, you will surely know The Treadmill Video. All four members of the band do a choreographed dance on moving treadmills, and the entire sequence is done in one filmed take (no editing). I wonder how many takes they had to do to get it right? The video going viral was largely responsible for the success of their 2005 album Oh No, which peaked at #69 on the Billboard 200 charts, and the single for "Here It Goes Again" remains OK Go's only song to land on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #38. The video won a Grammy in 2007 for Best Short Form Music Video of 2006.

OK Go recently released another extremely clever video for their song "This Too Shall Pass" off of their 2010 album Of the Blue Color of the Sky. However, this time their label (EMI) is making it difficult for them to get the word-of-mouth recognition that followed their previous videos. YouTube pays a little royalty to the label for every time the video is viewed on YouTube. If the video is embedded in another website (for example, in a music blog) the label does not get paid. Therefor, the label disabled the ability to embed any of OK Go's videos from YouTube. OK Go themselves explains the entire situation in a well written piece on their own web site's message board. Its a really good read, and a sad commentary on the selfishness of major record labels. A short quote from it:
And, voilá: four years after we posted our first homemade videos to YouTube and they spread across the globe faster than swine flu, making our bassist’s glasses recognizable to 70-year-olds in Wichita and 5-year-olds in Seoul and eventually turning a tidy little profit for EMI, we’re – unbelievably – stuck in the position of arguing with our own label about the merits of having our videos be easily shared. It’s like the world has gone backwards.
But, the band does post the embedding codes, so you can view the video here! Way to stick it to The Man, OK Go. Keep bringing the creative videos. This video warms my cold marching band geek heart (yes, I was band geek in college, and I loved every minute of it).

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass from OK Go on Vimeo.