Fats Domino’s version of “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide (except for me and my monkey).
I know it exists, and I can imagine it. But I haven’t actually heard it.
If anybody can send me it I’d be almost as grateful as I would if you could put in touch with Jeff Tweedy’s people. Yes, there’s the case of Continuous Peasant’s “So Denied” (2003)—the main riff and guitar solo was later used by Wilco on their crowd-pleaser, “At Least That’s What You Said.” Now, it can’t be plagiarism if you can’t prove someone knew about it, but I’d love to go up to Jeff Tweedy and just say “hey, great minds think similarly….so when you gonna introduce us to your manager?”
George Harrison, Wonderwall Music
For years I went back and forth on this album. I knew I liked it better than Electronic Music (on the Zapple label), with its proto Metal Machine Music, but in part it felt like a novelty. Felt like too many throw-away novice sitar noodlings, juxtaposed with half-baked piano or guitar riffs that seem like early versions of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” but I made a tape of it for a friend and she really liked it, as a kind of ambient music—and, in that context, it suddenly hit me. This album is a bonafied classic, and not just because Oasis named one of their most catchy songs after it.
Not trying to jumpstart the early 1990s retro-craze yet. Actually I was just trying to figure out the chords to David Bowie’s “Quicksand” and, well, it ended up morphing into this.
The Flaming Lips, “She Don’t Use Jelly””
The Flaming Lips absolutely hate when people single out this hit single of theirs. After all, they fancy themselves a serious band. But that’s kinda the problem, isn’t it? Hell, the great melodic (with just a touch of yearning) novelty single was so much of what I loved about Camper Van Beethoven (to say nothing of classic rock and roll radio (circa ‘56-’73)—”Where The Hell Is Bill?” “Joe Stalin’s Cadillac,” etc)—and The Flaming Lips extended this into the grunge (or post-grunge) era—for a moment.
Garrett Caples, Surrealism’s Bad Rap
A ‘spoken word’ album for people who may not generally like ‘spoken word’ albums. Some of you may know Garrett Caples for his many reviews (and cover stories) in The Bay Guardian on (mostly local) Bay Area hip hop artists; other may know of his books of poetry . Caples slummed it for a few years in academia, getting a Ph.D iwith a dissertation on Surrealism, and not just the french kind, but the Freedom kind (uh huh!) and so yes, well he may be better as a surrealist than a rapper (hence the album title), part of what makes this album so great is that he’s bringing these two styles, and worlds, into heated dialogue with each other (there’s also a couple more ‘indie-rock’ sounding pieces (tracks8 and 27). In fact, the album gets much more musical as it goes on (in the process suggesting a narrative similar to Caple’s own journey away from white academic teachers to sitting at the feet of teachers likeShock D and E-40and such. Helped out by such musicians as Jeff Mellin, Graham Connah, “Rob Norris, Matt Mitchell, J-Stalin, Geoffrey Dyer and Andrew Joron (the last two are also great poets), and featuring samples by Andre Breton and Zora Neale Hurston, this album not only creates a wide-ranging sonic experience that is pleasurable in its own right (and reminds me a little of Edwin Torres’s Holy Kid released on KillRockStars around the turn of the century) but also may direct listeners to Caples’ published works. Includes such cuts as “Prufrock Shakur” (which recalls some of David Byrne’s ‘spoken word’ experiments with Brian Eno on both Remain In Light and My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts), or the Tom Waits sonic textures of “Turning On The Tongue” as well Caples’ great send up of Marc Bolan’s songwriting abilities in T.Rex
Evolution Control Committee, “Now You’re Angry”
Pretty damn catchy and effective for a so-called ‘spoken word’ piece combined with music. The synths still have soul, the horn parts add guts, the female lead singer/croaker’s voice is pleasing in that sexy/sarcastic kind of way. “I wanna raise, I wanna go home, I want sex. I want a cookie”—-good drums.
Counting Crows, “A Murder Of One”
More 90s retro. I had great hopes for this band largely because of this song. “All your life, it’s a shame shame shame…” Is this “emo”?
Ruin, “Famous Blue Raincoat” (by Leonard Cohen)
I still may write a lengthy review of that recent Leonard Cohen Montreal tribute concert film, but the short version is this: the concert footage gets a C-, but the interview with Cohen himself gets an A. Cohen is one of best interviewers because he’s more willing to talk about the craft of songwriting (and is damn good at it) than most other contemporary songwriters I respect. Of course, I feel a special kinship with Cohen because, like me, he had developed an international reputation as a poet before he released his eponymous debut album rather late in life by 1960s standards—and his decision to ‘make the switch’ from primarily focusing on poetry on the page to songwriting in many ways parallels my own. As for the interpretations of his songs in this movie, too many of them reeked of reverentiality, like I was sitting in the church of Cohen. There was some good performances, but nowhere near the best cover version of a Cohen song, which was a screaming melodic hardcore re-invaisioning of “Famous Blue Raincoat,” with searing emotional guitars and voice, and absolutely danceable. I didn’t even realize it was a Cohen song too later; Cohen’s influence and importance to many 1980s hardcore bands is almost erased by the new crop of reverential singer/songwriters or vocal stylists represented by this new 2006 film, which in my opinion does a disservice to Cohen’s achievement. So, check out the Ruin song, and tell me if you think I’m crazy, but it would be nice if it were invited to the party alongside of, say, Jennifer Warnes, Bono or Rufus Wainwright
Larry Darnell,”Son Of A Son Of A Slave”
Classic hard driving funk-soul single—-Its message could be seen as ‘black power’ but it also does something else in bragging about his strong stock, his lineage, on the values of hard work, and viscerally conjuring an image of his grandparent that counters much of the pious pussfooting around the “S” word.
Mohammed Raffi, “Jan Pehechaan Ho”
I used to hear this song in New York City on WFMU so it was definitely in hipster circulation before Terry Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes made use of it in their Ghost World(2001); one of the best movies of the last decade, and definitely a classic song, although I couldn’t tell you what its lyrics translate to in English
Bonnie Prince Billy “Hard Life”
From Will Oldham’s 2003 Master And Everyone album, which was strongly recommended me as a comeback for him. For me, by far, the best song on the album. Since it’s also the last song on the album, I get this sense of a build-up similar to Lou Reed’s _Coney Island Baby_Yes, I feel a little cheated because I’m finally getting really into the album at this point but at only 34 minutes it abruptly ends.