Remember in this movie when John Malkovich went through his own portal and got freaked when he realized that subconsciously it was ALL about him? This is kinda how this post feels for me, rattling on and on about myself, confronting my narcissism head on…but I guess that’s the essence of blogging in the first place: being silly enough to think anyone cares what you have to say. So, there’s that…on with the show…
In honor of my 100th post and my (ahem) 38th birthday, I’ve got a celebratory mix for the mass of fans (translation: all 200 of you that read regurlarly – 50 who like the music and musings, and the rest who come for the fetish photos).
10. “Birthday,” [The Bird and The Bee] One Too Many Hearts.
The Bird and The Bee – comprised of Greg Kurstin and Inara George (former Shakespearean actor and daughter of Little Feat’s Lowell George) – are a quirky duo whom decided to turn the post-grunge era on its heel and produce a series of releases heavily influenced by both jazz and tropicalia. Which make sense since Greg studied under renowned jazz pianist, Jaki Byard in college. Don’t know how Inara got there, but glad she did…
What I find bewitching and befuddling about B & B is that their sound is often classified as either pop or electronica, yet their record label is/was none other than jazz hitching post, Blue Notes Records – whom helped them produce a hit on the dance club charts. Oh and they always seem to tour with alternative acts (not jazz or pop outfits)…which I guess brings the term eclectic to a whole other level. Anyway, Mama likes. Mama likes it a lot 🙂
9. “1000 Hours,” [The Cure] Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.
Well, most of you don’t need me to write a bio on The Cure. Robert Smith and crew – with their perma-bed-heads and goth-styled makeup – have been a seminal part of alternative music for as long as I can remember. So many of their songs are part of the internal soundtrack I have in my head from my college years. I saw them live once in Miami, and while I really wanted to be blown away by their show, I found myself underwhelmed by their lackluster performance (it was almost like a sold-out crowd of thousands arrived at the Miami Arena and asked “so sorry to disturb your latest life crisis, but can you entertain us puhleeeze?”). Which I think is complete bullshit, especially considering what major music acts charge for their live shows these days.
Anyway, this one was recommended to me by one of my favorite bloggers, Becca from Magic Jew Ball and, as expected, she’s spot on.
8. “Happy Birthday,” [Tender Forever] The Soft and The Hardcore.
I’m sure most of you have never heard of Tender Forever…I myself have only just recently discovered Melanie Valera and crew. Born and raised in Bordeux, France, Valera was part of a popular all-girl cover band for years before deciding to move to Portland, Oregon and strike out on her own. Personally, I really like this record (showing my age by using the term “record” but fuck it) and think this emerging indie gal is developing quite well…in another release or two, she’ll be revved on all eight cylinders – so to speak.
7. “Congratulations,” [Blue October & Imogen Heap] Foiled.
When PJ Harvey first came on the music scene, Rolling Stone reviewed her and said something along the lines of her record being an impressive effort worthy of consideration, but not always for enjoyment. While I certainly think PJ is all that and a bag of kettle chips, I feel that paraphrased statement can also apply to both Blue October and Imogen Heap. This track was recommended by a loyal reader of Mix Tape Therapy, so I don’t mean to offend…but I kinda feel both BO and Imogen are overrated, with the latter trying too hard to be a Kate Bush reincarnate. After launching a solo career, Ms. Heap of Whatever joined one of my favorite alternative/electronica outfits, Frou Frou – which was a most worthwhile collaboration. But this one just doesn’t do it for me.
6. “Good Day,” [Paul Westerberg] Eventually.
Like many of my fellow music blogger colleagues, I’m a fan of The Replacements (Westerberg’s brainchild BTW)…a band with critical acclaim without the significant record sales to back them up. Which was a shame for sure, and also a strange and unfortunate foreshadowing for Westerberg’s solo career as well. He came out with a couple of tracks for the movie soundtrack, Singles (a Cameron Crowe film which I adored in its day) initially and I remember thinking “finally, Westerberg is going to have his moment.” Shortly afterwards, he released “14 Songs” and later on, “Eventually.” Time and again, he got the music industry props, but no significant fan base following.
I have no delusions that this little holla is going to change anything for Paul, but a girl can’t help but try.
5. “My Idea,” [Evan Dando] Baby I’m Bored.
More often than not through the years, I “discover” an artist or band in non-linear order…meaning, I get turned on to someone as an artist before even realizing they had a full musical life with a fairly well-known band before I ever knew who they were…
Case in point: Evan Dando.
A friend of mine lent me his “Baby, I’m Bored” CD, which I listened to for months on and off before even thinking to look him up to see what other solo releases he had on the shelves… and lo and behold, finding out he was part of The Lemonheads. Duh. Ms. M & B has what she calls “blonde moments” and this was no exception. Anyhooooo, I urge you all to explore both worthy efforts for yourselves.
4. “Thank You,” [The Redwalls] De Nova.
There’s not an exciting story behind this band out of Deerfield, Illinois, kids. Before forming The Redwalls, these Midwestern boys were known around town as The Pages, which was their British-invasion cover band (they certainly got the look down in the above photo – all lanky-framed and pasty-skinned – who knew the Brits and the Midwest had so much in common?). Wilco’s drummer produced several of their releases – and they all lived happily ever after. Next…
3. “I Wanna Be Adored,” [Year of the Rabbit] Hunted [EP].
While YOTR only has a couple of releases to their name, these guys have been playing and producing in LA since they were jerking off pubescents in middle school. Yep, their musical resumes are THAT extensive and impressive. And both releases have the musical chops to back up such credentials. I love these guys, although I’m still a bit annoyed that they won’t tell us minions the story behind their name. Like the expecting couples who won’t find out if they’re having a boy or a girl before the big day. Give me a motherfuckin’ break…but whatever…to each his and her own.
2. “Lighting Candles,” [The Weepies] Hideaway.
I’ve already plugged The Weepies enough.
1. “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio,” [Joni Mitchell] For the Roses.
(I know this is a WAY dated picture, but I like seeing people in their prime. Me and the NY Times obits 😉
Anyone who’s a fan of the neo-folk movement has artists like Joni Mitchell to thank for its existence in the first place. She’s like its Earth Mother or something. This is actually not my favorite song in her cannon, but I think it suits the purpose of this post perfectly:
Without you all writing in, tuning in…this human “radio” would have nothing to play. So thanks 🙂
Now, can I please go lay down and digest all this cake already?