Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday Random Ten

There is nothing wrong with your computer screen. There is no need to update your lens prescription. This week, since the SSB family is going camping early tomorrow, the Friday Random Ten is taking place on Thursday, which, come to think of it, also happened last week. Whatever, that's just how we roll here at Music for Dumbasses (by the way, does anyone get that lazy little pun?).

1)Pearl Jam - Rearviewmirror.

One of the few songs I actually like off of Vs. This song does a good job of having music complement the lyrics...the tempo increases from fast to frantic, as if you're in a car desperately speeding away into oblivion. Or something like that.

2)Nirvana - Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle.

Let's keep it in the same locale and time frame, why not? Given Kurt's suicide, this song is just one of several fairly obvious "cries-for-help", along with such titles as "Negative Creep" and the highly cryptic "I Hate Myself and I Want To Die". Awesome song though.

3)White Stripes - We're Going To Be Friends.

What's not to like about this song? It's Sy and my song (replacing the highly outdated "I'll Stop the World and Melt With You" a few years ago), plus it was featured in the opening sequence of Napoleon Dynamite.

4)Tori Amos - Muhammad My Friend.

Off of the last of Tori's "Holy Trinity" (Little Eathquakes and Under the Pink being the other two). Amazing vintage Tori, with great crystal-clear production, you can actually hear her working the foot pedals on her Bosendorfer. Beautiful.

5)White Stripes - Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground.

Man, there is little in this world that annoys me more than having a band more than once in an FRT. Oh well, I shouldn't hold that against Meg and Jack, because they are impressive as always.

6)Pixies - Is She Weird

Yes, she is, but to me, weird is a complement. Kim Deal's subtle touch takes this song from "good" to "plaque-good".

7)Limblifter - Vicious.

Anyone remember this mid '90's act? Well, one of the two brothers that formed this band went on to join indie darlings The New Pornographers.

8)PJ Harvey - Snake.

This is off of the Peel Sessions record released last year (I think it was last year). I like this version even better than the excellent original on "Rid of Me". It's got a great live feel to it, and better wailing.

9)Violent Femmes - Hey Nonny Nonny.
Best homage to "Sympathy for the Devil" since World Party's "Way Down Now".

10)Best Friends Forever - Eisenhower is the Father of the Interstate Highway System.

Anyone who has been paying attention to me the past few weeks knows of my undying love for these guys. The cheese is delicious, and belies the wonderful talent they have.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Better know a sellout: Natalie Merchant

Way, way back in the day, when I was a naive schoolboy, I went to my first ever concert and saw 10,000 Maniacs. I was a little surprised at how mellow they were - with a name like 10,000 Maniacs, I was expecting something more Dead Kennedyesque - but overall I was very impressed and even went out and bought their In My Tribe cassette later that week. What I most liked about the band was the way that the musician's instruments intermingled with and accented her unique voice without trampling all over it.

Eventually, of course, she grew tired of sharing the spotlight (as though any of the spotlight was on her bandmates) and split from the least they think she broke up with them. It was around that time that she lost the ability to enunciate altogether, and she uttered to them, "E nucit loppit ralther toe," and she never returned to band rehearsal.

Right after they did their awesome MTV Unplugged version of "Because the Night" , when they reached the peak of their indie cred and power, is when she chose to leave the band that helped her get to the top. Now, you can hear her shooting up the charts in dental offices and soccer-mom minivans across this white, white nation of ours. Way to be, Nat!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's's random...there are 10

Let's get right to it, why not?

1)PJ Harvey - Highway 61 Revisited.

I really enjoy this Bob Dylan cover by Peej. She takes a classic song by a musical icon, put her own unique interpretation on it, and nailed it. I actually travel on Highway 61 on a fairly regular basis, and this version goes through my head whenever I do...sorry Bob.

2)Beck - Atmospheric Conditions.

The last song on his folksy "One Foot in the Grave" album, a fitting mellow, dreamy send off.

3)Foo Fighters - Low.

Hard to believe that the drummer for such an iconic band can accomplish so much on his own (take that Ringo!), unless you heard Dave Grohl sing "Marigold" back when was still with Nirvana and recognized his talent. Recognize, dammit!

4)Peter Gabriel - Stigmata.

From "The Last Temptation of Christ" album. Nice psuedo-Middle-Eastern flavor, and good to fall asleep to...but not in a bad way. My roommate in college introduced me to this album, which I am to this day grateful to him for. He also introduced me to "Catching Up with Depeche Mode", but you can't win 'em all. ::Shudder::

5)Bob Mould - Can't Fight It. can't go wrong with a little Bob Mould. And you can't go even wronger with Husker Du (Please excuse the absent umlauts).

6)10,000 Maniacs - Verdi Cries.

My favorite 10,000 Maniacs song. No, I'm not a sissy-boy, but thanks for asking. I have to go weep softly in the corner now.

7)Veruca Salt - Earthcrosser.

Last song on "Eight Arms to Hold You", their uneven but ultimately endearing (to me anyway) follow-up to the muy excellente "American Thighs". Louise Post rocks.

8)Weezer - The World Has Turned and Left Me Here.

The title is the first line - just like Emily Dickinson would do. I wonder if I'm the first person to compare the two? Great song, by the way.

9)Beastie Boys - Shadrach.

"Riddle me this, my brother"...great opening line. From the album that marked the transition from frat-rock to...well, something else, I'm not sure what.

10)Sleater-Kinney - Buy Her Candy.

Funny story about this's more complicated than it sounds, apparently. Harder than "Surf Song", at any rate.

So...anyone can sit there and complain about how sucky my list is (which it totally is not!) - can you do any better?


Sunday, June 17, 2007

"Good Night Springton...There Will Be No Oncores!"

What I learned this past weekend:

Hippies, like the Amish, should not be entrusted with the task of setting up a sound-stage...

Sy and I went (with a couple of friends in tow) to the Bike-in-at the-Bell, which is an outdoor festival organized by people whom some might refer to as "biketards". Now, when I say organized, I'm using that word in its most liberal sense, and when I say liberal, I'm using that word as another way of saying clusterf*@%.

I arranged this whole outing in order to see my new favorite local band, Best Friends Forever, unseating my previous favorite local band, February, in the process...which is just as well, seeing as they've been defunct for about four years now.

The show opened with a trio called Ladyslipper. They played a few songs, five or six I think, before the singer announced, "We are Ladyslipper, and we have no power." We weren't sure if he meant that the power to the amps and stacks had gone out, or if this was just a general observation of the bands socio-political standing.

They (Ladyslipper) were competent enough; in fact, I was quite impressed with the drummer. I suppose the singer/guitarist was OK, but what I'll remember most about him isn't his hard-driving riffs or his gravelly voice, but the sight of him striking out while trying to arrange a three-way with a couple of girls in the crowd after his set had ended. Ouch!

Following Ladyslipper, a tap dancing trio called the Shim-Sham Shufflers took the stage. I have only one piece of advice for them: if tapdancing is your "thing", maybe you shouldn't have the music blaring so loudly that it drowns out any noise those little metal plate thingies on the soles of your shoes make. Put a microphone down on the floor of the stage or something, for goshsakes!

Finally, BFF took the stage. They opened up with a cover of a Steely Dan song:

Now I can't get that damn song out of my head. They were able to play three more songs before the power went out again, and that was all we got. Four songs. Man, that sucks. It was real fun while it lasted though...they had great stage banter and the least awkward crowd interaction I think I've ever experienced.

They're going out on tour now, and won't be back in my area until late August, so maybe I'll have to go see them again then. Check out their MySpace page for tour info...I guarantee a good time if you catch their show.*

*Not a guarantee.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Best Friends Forever

I'm sure that many of my readers, by which I mean more than two, know that I have a soft spot for women musicians. Not the Jessica Simpson or Britney types...I much prefer talent and intelligence over looks. And being that I am a fervent believer in supporting local music, I would be remiss in whatever duties I imagine I might have if I didn't let all of my readers (by which I mean more than two) in on a wonderful Minneapolis band I've come across recently.

They're called Best Friends Forever, and they actually have been, in the parlance of the times, BFFs for over 12 years. Their music is simple, funny, and catchy as hell, but also with some depth to it. Do yourself a favor and check them out.

They have a show in Minneapolis on the 16th, and hopefully I'll be there.

Hmmm...seeing as this post is a little thin, hows about I leave you with one of my favorite videos ever: