Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Your Guilty Pleasure: Hang a sign upon the door

Oh, it's back.

And this is a YGP in, like, triplicate, since the men behind the music in The System created the synth arrangement and programming for some big hits circa 1983-85. I submit (with absolutely no authority) that, without these guys, we wouldn't have had Tony! Toni! Tone! 

I've always loved this song (a familiar refrain); I remember hearing it while in a swimming pool at a family and friends-of-family bbq party in somewhere out in the country on the way to Richmond from Lexington. The lush synths, the detail (which is why they were called in by the big guns), the...groove.

I love how the video (or its initial scene) was clearly inspired by the metaphor of hanging a Do Not Disturb sign. Yeah, let's have the guys playing the song in a hotel room, just set them up with a microphone and whatever that keyboard/stick thing is.

Oh, 1986, you were so simple. You were, too 1990

And the feeling's so real.

(Also: this video and song makes me want to totally 1986 my hair one day for the hell of it, now that I have bangs again for the first time since then. I think with enough product I can get them to make that cascade I was always trying to get them to do.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Make me understand.


The best I got was watching video of JB (and it was what I believe is, or included, this particular concert/clip; I remember the red suit) with my parents under a tent during a rainy afternoon stroll through Blues Fest in Grant Park. Of all the performances at the festival, his--on a shitty teevee screen--was the one we lingered longest to see.

Anyway: this

is focusing on the future, so that I shall do.

All things grow.

Surprising play on Internet radio station today. This is really the only SS song that I remotely care for--but it is gorgeous and germane.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

With a thousand smiles she gives to me free

This was the first music I heard today, so it struck me full-force how much I love it. Even when sitting in that legs-dangling middle seat at the back of the bus.

In fact, it's even better from there, because you can see the steam rising from all the tall peaks of your city, and the sun filtering through that, and geese arcing through both that steam and sunshine, and the river winks a thousand times at you, there in your seat, legs dangling, on the 72 bus.

And, for the record, I will never, ever care that Sting is not what he once was. Or is allegedly not what he once was. I have seem him perform three times in two different decades, and the man will music your face off. I don't care that his recent and current output is primarily heard in TJ Maxx and that he seems to perform only in Italian castles or has been adopted by PBS pledge drives as pledge-driving programming.

And I have to add this album to my still-as-yet-unplayed-but-growing vinyl collection.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Today's Shuffle: I'm movin' past the feeling and into the night

Wherein (once again) I respond to Shuffle:

Neil Young, Broken Arrow Decade
This track led me to an interview at Neil's Broken Arrow Ranch--where I can finally see the damn Lionel trains and maybe get back into his memoir that I started at Christmastime.

Angie Stone, Come Home (Live With Me) Stone Love
A beautiful thought about moving forward from the past. Not so sure about the headspace girl is in when she's singing it.

Sweetback, Round & Round Stage 2
Once again, Sade's backing band. I need to play this album all the way through this week.

Mary J. Blige, Not Looking Mary
I'm not looking for no player shit.

Royaal, I Ain't Stoppin' (feat. All Rize) Hed Kandi World Series Miami
If I lived another life, I'd be at all of these (now designated as EDM) events, the biggest of which in the States appear to happen in Miami. Ultimately, the lifestyle that goes with this music is a bit too shallow. Or I'm a bit too much of the cynical generation to be in the jet set.

Alex Dolby, Hazy Way Hernán Cattáneo Renaissance: The Masters 
One of my favorite running songs, especially suited to night or sunless days.

Electric Light Orchestra, Telephone Line All Over the World: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra 
I always think of this observation when this song comes on. (Gawd, I am self-referencing). Funny, though, since today I noticed that the work phone system has new feature whereby I'm notified by email of the crazies who call every 15-30 minutes and don't leave a voicemail.

Paul Westerberg, Good Day Eventually
Paul remembers Bob.
The Roots & Cody Chestnutt, The Seed (2.0) Phrenology
One of Kerri's favorites!

Missy Elliott, Work It Under Construction
Ahem. I like Missy, and this track is one of her best.What happened to her? I like the manifesto at the end of the album version. It's hip-hop, man, this is hip-hop.

Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The World And His Wife Punch The Clock
...followed by the world's worst Elvis Costello song. Sorry, but he has one, and this Shuffle is insistent on playing me every track from Punch The Clock, my least favorite EC album. I mean, I like Goodbye Cruel World better.
LCD Soundsystem, Beat Connection LCD Soundsystem
That's it. The LCDS is coming off the 'pod. You've tried one too many times to get me to care. SKIP.
The Jam, Smithers-Jones Extras: A Collection of Rarities
Oh! That cruel turn at the end! There's no longer a position for you! Sorry, Smithers-Jones. Work and work and work til you die.
Led Zeppelin, Immigrant Song  Led Zeppelin III
What the---did Youtube change the rules or is there a dispensation for honoring a Kennedy Center Honoree? In any case, watch this. It was silenced for four years. SILENCED.
Smashing Pumpkins, Soma Siamese Dream
Not in the mood. SKIP.
Fleetwood Mac, Gold Dust Woman Rumours
Pick up the pieces and go home

Arcade Fire, The Suburbs The Suburbs
Sometimes I can't believe it.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Today's Shuffle: Out the blue, life's energy

The Brand New Heavies, Dream Come True The Brand New Heavies
The Cure, Lullaby Disintegration
Elvis Costello, TKO Punch The Clock
Gadjo, So Many Times (Club Mix)  Hed Kandi: Disco Heaven
India Arie, Beautiful Acoustic Soul
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, I'll Still Be True I Learned The Hard Way
David Bowie, Hang Onto Yourself The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
MGMT, Time To Pretend Oracular Spectacular
David Bowie, The Man Who Sold The World  The Man Who Sold The World   
Duran Duran, Secret Oktober The Singles 81-85
Me'Shell Ndegeocello, Outside Your Door Plantation Lullabies
Beck, Where It's At Odelay
Size Eight, Baby Crying Soundtrack from The Age of Entitlement
Stephanie Cooke and Diephuis feat. Han Litz, Beautiful Life Hed Kandi: Beach House 2011
Crowded House, Weather With You Woodface
Wynton Marsalis, Melancholia Hot House Flowers
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Me And Mia Shake The Sheets
Iron and Wine, Faded From the Winter The Creek Drank The Cradle
John Lennon, Out Of The Blue Mind Games

Thank you for this big heart sandwich, Shuffle.



Well, I'm in a daze

This is my favorite track from Jessie Ware's new release. This performance of it from Sunday night's show at Lincoln Hall reveals Jessie herself exactly as she was: intoxicating, classy, normal, charming and so, so earnest and genuine.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The motor of emotion

Well, I'd taught myself a pretty good version of this song tonight--until I got to the key change at the end. I don't have the dexterity to do all those flats (Ab Fm Bbm Eb--come on), so this'll be a version that repeats the third verse exactly.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Today's Shuffle: It's a loss, it's a find

Wilco, Spiders (Kidsmoke)  A Ghost Is Born
Nirvana, Scentless Apprentice  In Utero
Amadou & Mariam, M'Bife  Dimanche a Bamako
David Bowie, After All  The Man Who Sold The World
John Hartford, I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow  O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack
Pixies, I Bleed  Doolittle
Elis Regina & Carlos Jobim, Aguas de Marco   Elis & Tom
Ike & Tina Turner, Acid Queen  Proud Mary: The Best of Ike & Tina Turner
Radiohead, Give Up The Ghost  The King of Limbs
Madonna, Skin  Ray Of Light
Michael Jackson, I Can't Help It  Off The Wall

I distinctly remember this song issuing from my Granddad's console stereo when I was a child. And Hearing it now, I realize it has the sound of a nursery rhyme--for adults. That must have attracted my attention, along with its downward steps, the throaty Portuguese, and especially the way they crack up near the end. It was some kind of dialogue, I'm sure I perceived, but about what?

And an aside about that console. It was beautiful. Walnut, or something like that. Not particle board. He paid a lot of money for it, Granddad did. During the holidays, my uncle relayed the story of how he sold the stereo to a guy recently and in cleaning it up (or getting it cleaned up) its bill or invoice was found. It cost several hundred dollars, and this was in the sixties, I think. I'm kind of sad that a stranger has it now. Granddad liked his music, and he purchased a nice piece of equipment on which play it, and listen to it.

So this song, rolling out of those textured fabric-covered speakers like waves of rain down the streets of Rio, you must understand, sounded lush, ambrosial--and from another world.

A few years ago I was researching songs to use for a dialogue-free comedic sketch in which we would battle a rainstorm with unwieldy umbrellas. We'd done a series of these, the two of us uniting against a natural or unnatural foe--cabs that won't stop, disgusting ladies restrooms, and so on. Seriously, I could do a whole show of nothing but physical bits and lazzi set against obscure music (don't say I didn't warn you). For some reason, I remembered this song, and, somehow, I traversed the Internet and found it--I should say, not knowing the title, or the singers, or anything besides the fact it was a goofy gibberish song that I was pretty sure was Brazilian jazz.

I love the lyrics. It's a nonsensical list that slowly makes sense, that, as I found pointed out this time during my Internet search, flows downward, like rain.

No, wait, I have to excerpt some:
A fish, a flash,
A silvery glow,
A fight, a bet,
The range of a bow

The bed of the well,
The end of the line,
The dismay in the face,
It's a loss, it's a find

A spear, a spike,
A point, a nail,
A drip, a drop,
The end of the tale

A truckload of bricks
in the soft morning light,
The shot of a gun
in the dead of the night

A mile, a must,
A thrust, a bump,
It's a girl, it's a rhyme,
It's a cold, it's the mumps

The plan of the house,
The body in bed,
And the car that got stuck,
It's the mud, it's the mud

Afloat, adrift,
A flight, a wing,
A hawk, a quail,
The promise of spring

And the riverbank talks
of the waters of March,
It's the promise of life
It's the joy in your heart

Footnote: and this video? Dude, at some point she picks up a freaking cig because at the 2:30 mark she's waving one around with abandon in her right hand. I mean, did she interrupt the whistling bridge to go grab a Pall Mall? God. The Seventies.

Friday, January 11, 2013

On Repeat: I’m glad to be alive and kicking

That phrase will never become a cliche for me.

But this? Knock me off my feet.

Holy shit, previously-unreleased bonus track from Exile remaster that I am finally paying attention to--thank you.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Heard In The Car: It's magic.

If you have to be driving around in the spitty rain at night (even when it oughta be snow), then this should be what you hear amid the radio commercials (allllllll the radio commercials) after you've  pushed, held, and then jabbed the AUX button on the radio console so that you might (unsuccessfully) listen to your 'pod instead of radio commercials.

I gave up--just in time to be given a four-minute, slightly electric, delectable plea built on gauzy, over-the-shoulder looks and fun-in-Fair-Isle-sweaters. I didn't realize how much I had loved this song until recently, since, you know, ABBA is the great unsung, underrated everything. Who writes pop songs like this now?

...My brain is too fried from driving in the rain to think of anybody.

But, as long as we're together...

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Today's Shuffle: And if you're lucky

De La Soul, Do As De La Does 3 Feet High and Rising
Japandroids, I Quit Girls  Post Nothing
Stevie Wonder, Love Having You Around  Music Of My Mind
Chicane, Saltwater  Behind the Sun
Thin Lizzy, Jailbreak Jailbreak
Kaskade, The X  Love Mysterious
Billy Joel, If I Only Had The Words (To Tell You)  Piano Man
Boukman Eksperyans, Zan'j Yo  Libete
Stevie Wonder, Saturn  Songs In The Key Of Life
AC/DC, Big Balls Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Flavor  Orange
Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Girls Talk  Get Happy!!

How did you know I was obsessed with this song from December 13 - 21 and had forgotten about it while I was away?

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Today's Shuffle: Life is beautiful.

Damn, you're good. You're really good.

David Bowie, Rock n Roll Suicide  The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Grand Resonant, Central  Hernán Cattáneo Renaissance: The Masters
Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Sleepless Nights (live) Goodbye, Cruel World
New Order, 5 8 6  Power, Corruption and Lies
The Replacements, Talent Show Don't Tell A Soul
Tears for Fears, New Star  Saturnine Martial and Lunatic
Radiohead, Go To Sleep (Little Man Being Erased)  Hail To The Thief
LCD Soundsystem, All I Want  This Is Happening
Radiohead, Ripcord  Pablo Honey
Weezer, Undone (The Sweater Song)  Weezer
Erykah Badu, A.D. 2000  Mama's Gun
Roxy Music, More Than This  Avalon

I queued up this track for the last several meters of the half marathon I ran on Saturday night in Los Angeles--on my other iPod.  Damn, you're good.

This track pushed me to finish mid-sized to long runs when I had just started doing them two years ago. March, April of that year I was dragging my arse out Cortland to Lincoln Park and back at night, running at 8 or 9 pm when I just could no longer deal with the day. One night I got out of bed, where I'd climbed in immediately after work to completely shut down, and ran this five-miler.

Finishing 13.1 in Los Angeles to this tune, then, and looking up at the downtown skyline from the finishers' corrall, was a sort of completion. Hearing it again today was euphoric.

We kissed as though nothing could fall

I swear Shuffle shuffled up this--this, my most beloved song* by this man on my mind today (and a lot of days)--for me tonight while I was walking beneath the engorged stars and across from my night-gilded city and beside the lake that gradated from alien green by the shore to ink way out there.

It was so god damn beautiful.

*I realize that, because I first truly engaged with this song when it played over the credits of the end of the CBS Sports broadcast of the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, my love of it probably is and should be suspect. But, hell, I don't know, I'd heard it before, and I'm sure very recently before that on WKLH, but I remember this moment because it stopped me across the room, my bedroom in the apartment on Bartlett. It was around the time I was starting to think about moving to Chicago, yes, and while that doesn't have anything to do with why CBS Sports was playing it as it scrolled all the names of the technicians and camera people and coffee people and translators and ski wranglers and what-have-you who'd worked long hours for weeks in a foreign country (which itself is not a an achievement that necessarily deserves an accolade such as "hero"), I find it wonderful and strange that I think back to that moment that this song first (or finally) wove a spell over me at the very moment that I'm gaping at the skyline of the place that was merely a flicker of a possibility in the back of my mind while I was busy being spellbound by Bowie in the front. Or, rather, struck still by the decision of a Bowie-loving television network producer.

I've loved this song since 1998.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Today's Shuffle: Home again and feeling right

It's good to be in sunny C....hicago. It's good to be home. Maybe I'm not absorbing as much vitamin D was I was through the windshield the last six days, but it's still shining.

I'll take it, 2013, I'll take it.

Level 42, Something About You  World Machine
U2, Pride (In the Name of Love)  Unforgettable Fire
Talk Talk, It's My Life  It's My Life
Beastie Boys, Jimmy James Check Your Head
Lauryn Hill, Doo Wop (That Thing)  The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Carole King, Home Again Tapestry
Elvis Costello & The Attractions, I Hope You're Happy Now  Goodbye Cruel World
Juliana Hatfield, Stay Awake  Made in China
Nickel Creek, Beauty and the Mess  This Side
Uncle Tupelo, Watch Me Fall  Still Feel Gone
The Whites, Keep On The Sunny Side  O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Keep On Looking  100 Days, 100 Nights
Late Night Alumni, I Knew You When  Hed Kandi: Beach House
Beck, Strange Apparition  The Information