Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Listen to THE OLD ONES by the Bats.

The Bats are a great band, especially if you like them. I mean, even an impartial observer can appreciate their sound & their longevity. However, that's more something to admire than love. On the other hand, if you really like anything by the Bats, then you're in Kiwi heaven, because they've been so consistent for years and years.

The Old Ones is off "Fear of God," from 1991. I'm not sure it counts as their best record (I'm personally not enough of an aficionado), but the point is, it doesn't matter, since it's pretty good, just like everything they've done.


Sunday, March 29, 2009


Triangle, Virginia
Listen to HURRY UP JOHN by The Idle Race.

Just about to watch the second half of the basketball today, but I've had this one playing all afternoon, so why not let you hear it to?

This is the last track on the last Idle Race LP before Jeff Lynne joined The Move. You can hear a few Lynne-ish touches in there, but no space choirs just yet. It's a pretty excellent alternative universe single.


Saturday, March 28, 2009


Listen to AIN'T IT STRANGE by Dr. Dog.

And we're back! I just deleted about six months worth of mp3s on the server so things should be running a little quicker now.

I've had this song queued up for a little while but just today I snapped a photo that kinda fits it. Because it's a little strange--a little hard to figure out exactly what's happening there.

Also, Dr. Dog seems kind of like a Laura-style groop, but maybe I've got that exactly backwards.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Hi folks!

Just checking in for a second to say thanks to Laura for an excellent week of Spring songs (especially Raffi, I have to say!).

I don't have anything ready yet but may in a little bit or over the weekend. One thing I need to do, no question, is to delete some songs off of my server--it seems like Laura's photos (which she loaded onto the server) are taking forever to load. Or maybe that's just me.

As I said, back soon with more, have a good weekend...


Thursday, March 26, 2009


Listen to Come Next Spring by Scott Walker.

It seems mother nature is cruelly laughing at my spring posts, since this week has been especially cold here in NYC. But, as Scott Walker so dramatically reminds us in today's song- there's always next year.

The elusive Scott Walker - I doubt anyone reading this really needs a refresher from me on this topic. So please enjoy his usual over-the-top Scottness in Come Next Spring.

Well, this is the end of my little spring song series but I'll be back in a month or two to break out some summer tunes!

Photo: Crocuses.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Listen to
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (Manchester, 1966) by Bob Dylan.
What is there really to say about this song that hasn't already been said. But it's my absolute favorite Bob Dylan song. And, since he mentions Easter, I have always thought of this as a spring song. This live version is from 1966's famous "Judas" concert in Manchester.

I ask you- has there ever been a better opening musically and lyrically in all of pop music than: "When you're lost in the rain in Juarez/and it's Easter time too/and your gravity fails/and negativity won't pull you through"? I think the only possible candidate is another Bob song (see: Idiot Wind).

According to my rock consultant, Corbett: Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues represents everything that Bob does best. How true: there's corrupt authorities, shady but alluring women, a cryptic song title, bittersweet lyrics scathingly delivered, a swaggering tune, and an outrageous final line. Yep, Bob at his best.

Photo: Crabapple Trees, Conservatory Garden.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Listen to
Robin in the Rain by Raffi.
As some of you know I've spent the last year enjoying and taking care of not one-- but two babies. In fact, today is their first birthday! I can't believe it.

So, in honor of their birthday I'm posting a lovely little diddy by my current favorite singer for kids, Raffi. This one-name-only Canadian from Egypt plays "real" music, has extremely catchy songs, and best of all his lyrics don't condescend to little ones. So please enjoy this track from 1976: 'Robin in the Rain.' He's such a saucy fellow!

Photo: Spring Flowers in Central Park.


Monday, March 23, 2009


Listen to Rise in the Springtime by Lavender Diamond.

Hi, Laura here, and I'm happy to be this week's guest blogger. I'm also extremely happy that this year's frigid winter is finally over! And to mark the first week of spring, I'm going to feature some of my personal favorite springtime songs. There are some great selections on tap.

First up is what I think of as a quintessential springtime band-- Lavender Diamond. Led by the adorably quirky and classically trained singer Becky Stark, Lavender D are an LA based folk pop (I guess?) band. I've always liked their uplifting lyrics and Becky's lovely vocals.

One time in a record store my husband and I were buying some Eliot Smith and also a Lavender Diamond record. I was complaining that Smith was just so depressing that I could never listen to it. The guy behind the counter piped up to say: "Well the Lavender Diamond will cheer you up!!" Exactly.

Photo: Conservatory Garden.


Friday, March 20, 2009


High Bridge
Listen to TREAD WATER by De La Soul.

The other night, instead of watching Lost & American Idol, I caught up with my back catalogue for a couple of hours. One of the tracks that popped up on random was Tread Water. Serendipity! Why? Because it's good! I don't have much to add, 'cept De La is another (the original?) hip hop group beloved by dorks.

Anyway, I think I'll be taking the weekend off, and there may be a guest blogger back in the saddle next week, so I might be out for a little bit. Til next time...


Thursday, March 19, 2009


Listen to DADDY'S LITTLE GIRL by The Knux.

I know the Knux have gotten some love this past year. Actually I don't know, since I haven't been reading the music press. But I assume so. Daddy's Little Girl sounds like a third or fourth single off a good album -- maybe not what you lead off with, probably no chance of hitting big, but has most of the qualities of a successful tune. The rapping is fine, but that chorus is catchy!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Listen to REVERBERATION (DOUBT) by the 13th Floor Elevators.

Quick one, blast from the past. Would grace any music blog or any blog post.

Roky (Roger Kynard) Erickson, an 18 year-old Austin high school dropout, was riding high in the Fall of 1965 as the frontman of the Spades, a garage combo that had a local hit with "You're Gonna Miss Me" and held a residency at Austin's Jade Room club. He had caught the attention of Tommy Hall who had come to see the band play a few times. Hall introduced himself and invited Erickson to meet and jam with some of the Lingsmen. The meeting was a success and plans to form a new "super-group" took shape. Tommy Hall then added the X factor: a communal LSD trip where the agenda for the new band was outlined. Erickson and Lingsmen lead guitarist Stacy Sutherland were impressed enough to agree, and two more members, bass player Bennie Thurman and drummer John Ike Walton, joined in somewhat reluctantly. A few days later an appropriately clever and enigmatic band name was selected, and the 13th Floor Elevators were born.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Listen to MAD OVER ME by Yellowman.

I'm pretty sure that Yellowman is best known in this country as being sampled on an Eazy-E track. Is that possible?

This particular tune (several versions about, btw) doesn't really deserve any great notoriety, but it is pretty funny. And if it was better known, people wouldn't give you such funny looks when you started talking about "Fresh Jamaican Ketchup!"


Monday, March 16, 2009


Listen to MASIMBABELE by The Unknown Cases.

For me this is the quintessential Bumrocks track. I don't know if you know bumrocks.com, but it's a really great, long-lived music blog, which basically just posts a link to a song every day. No fuss, no muss. But the songs are consistently high quality, with a lot of proto-world music electro-dance obscurities. Plus lots of every other thing too! Hard to describe exactly, but after downloading dozens, if not hundreds of tracks there over the years, I feel like I know them well enough to judge. Seems like the blog is in remission currently, let's hope it comes back soon.

As for the Unknown Cases, check out the youtube version of this track. Vintage.


Sunday, March 15, 2009


Listen to AMERICAN BOY by Estelle (ft. Kanye West).

So, what am I, nine, ten, fifteen months behind on this? One of the casualties of me no longer posting on I Love Music is that I miss the big fat crossover hits. To be fair, I miss the little skinny ones too--I'm becoming the old man who doesn't know what the kids listen to, no question. But I'm not afraid of wearing last year's model. I've been digging this tune since I heard it a couple of months ago. Perfectly fine Sunday night entry, I think.


Saturday, March 14, 2009


Listen to THAT'S ALRIGHT (Guitar & Vocal) by Buckingham & Nicks.
Listen to THAT'S ALRIGHT (Bass & Vocal) by Buckingham & Nicks.

An unplanned detour this afternoon. The plan was to post another version of You'll Never Walk Alone (I had a particularly preposterous version lined up) in honor of Liverpool's inevitable humiliation. Things did not go according to the plan.

Instead, I got this email from Stu:

Re: Buckingham Nicks - Designs Of Love (That's Alright)
hey bro,
needing some tips as i'm at my wits end. this tune is my fave off Fleetwood Mac's overproduced 1982 album Mirage.
never knew it was first recorded 10 years earlier as a demo. i'm trying to track down the original MP3 that has surfaced on CDR's. any clues on how to sleuth this down/narrow the search?

Well, I never give away my secrets, but this one turned out not to be too difficult. Here it is, man. Sharing it with the world, in fact! Two different versions, in fact!


Friday, March 13, 2009


Listen to ZANA by Toquinho.

We're having Brazilian friends (including by way of London) over for brunch tomorrow, so see if you can figure out why this post is put together the way it is....

I've had Toquinho on the blog before, and to be honest I posted his best stuff already. Even so, this is a pretty smart tune to play out the rest of the afternoon.

I'm sure I mentioned that Toquinho is best known for his work with Vinicius, and this is him solo. So in theory, it shouldn't be as good. However, I really love this album all the way through, so it deserves a listen. See you next time!

...Oh, and happy birthday CS!


Thursday, March 12, 2009


la grande dame
Listen to NICE UP DANCEE by Natural Beauty.

If I was DJ'ing, I really shouldn't have sandwiched Dungen between The Scientist and this. But this is a blog! No DJ skills required! I never heard this song growing up, but I can imagine there are loads of people out there in the world who hear this and immediately think of the Eighties, and their departed youth.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Listen to LIPSILL by Dungen.

Not much to say about this one. It's pretty. Good record. Hump day. Happy Birthday JW.


Monday, March 9, 2009


Listen to QULA by Brenda Fassie.

Time flies! I thought I had just posted a minute ago, but it turns out it was last Thursday!

So, Qula. This is a Kwaito track, meaning South African house / hip hop /garage music. It's pretty interesting, but if you're just dabbling, maybe it's more interesting to read about the singer, Brenda Fassie. There's a Time magazine essay online from 2000 that calls her "The Madonna of the Townships." That's kind of silly, but she certainly led an eventful life (Unfortunately, she died in 2004. Unlike Madonna, I guess, she was 4 real). Here's an extended excerpt:

In recent years, with her girly, high-pitched delivery ripened into a strong-woman wail, Fassie has entered a new phase of her career. The kids call her the Queen of Kwaito, a pulsating pop style that exploded out of the townships in the early '90s and that Fassie quickly adopted. Kwaito (slang for "these guys are hot") fuses slowed American house and hip-hop, British garage and Jamaican reggae, held together with laid-back bass lines and percussion from traditional African chants. Like hip-hop, kwaito has become a cultural movement that incorporates lifestyle and fashion.
Fassie, 36, is doing so well because while such younger kwaito acts as Arthur Mafokate create dance-party standards, her lyrics address more complex themes dealing with African culture and life. In Sum' Bulala (Do Not Kill Him/Her), she asks taxi operators in the provinces to end their violent rivalries. Fassie has also mostly abandoned English and now sings mainly in Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho.
Fassie's personal life remains a work in progress. By her own admission, she spent much of the early '90s in a cocaine haze, missing gigs and becoming a promoter's nightmare, until the overdose death of her lesbian lover, Poppy Sihlahla, impelled her to clean up her act. Ridiculously generous with family, friends and even friends of friends, she has been broke many times, and was once arrested for nonpayment of debts. Those experiences have colored Fassie's perception of success. "I'd rather have happiness than money," she says. "People ask for [money]. Sometimes when I don't have it. I make other people's problems my problem because they want me to; they ask me to. So sometimes I wish I didn't have the little money that I do."


Thursday, March 5, 2009


Mr. Marcus Garvey
Listen to DANGEROUS MATCH ONE by The Scientist.
Listen to LOVE IS UNIVERSAL by Johnny Osbourne.

I used to think Dangerous Match One was the heaviest dub of all time. I mean, obviously, I bought this album for the cover ("Scientist Wins The World Cup"), but I distinctly remember putting it on for the first time and almost being fearful for my life.

From that moment on, my respect for The Scientist knew no limits. Who else could possibly coax such monstrous beats and sounds out of what was surely a pretty ordinary reggae cut?

See if you can spot the flaw in the reasoning there...It took years, but someone finally told me I should hear Johnny Osbourne's "Never Stop Fighting" record. Well, I put it on, and it's just as heavy. Indeed, The way the Roots Radics play on Love is Universal, it makes me wonder what exactly the Scientist did -- because he couldn't make the beat any deeper than it already was!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Listen to TEMPO by Anthony Red Rose.

This song reminds me of London for some reason. In particular, the record shops in Berwick Street. The last time I spent any significant time down there was in May 2005. I think I heard a remix of this tune at "Sounds of the Universe" but I may be imagining that.

I wonder how long those shops will last. Most of the record stores around here have closed, of course, a phenomenon I've noted in the past. I'm not that regretful about it -- the internet really does render a lot of what record stores did totally obsolete -- and frankly, I've become a little anti-nostalgic. But I suppose even I should admit it would be better to have "Rocks In Your Head" back than some idle real estate office down the block from me.


Monday, March 2, 2009


Listen to LET'S DO IT AGAIN, PARTS 3 AND 4 by Charlie Whitehead and the Swamp Dogg Band.

I'm listening to Emotional Rescue and it's sounding pretty good, and Let's Do It Again is the closest thing I've got cued up. So let's do it! Actually, it's not the worst comparison. Both surprisingly funky given how daft the songs basically are.


Sunday, March 1, 2009


Listen to ESTERGON KALESI by Band of Ottoman Military.

I've been uploading and tagging photos all evening, which means I don't turn on iTunes, because this poor computer can't handle having Photoshop and iTunes on at the same time (to be fair, it's about 160 gigs of stuff).

So, I need a new song to listen to. Estergon Kalesi is a Turkish March, and a popular one. I only know that because every CD I bought in Istanbul had a version of it on there, seemed like. This version is my favorite. (Oh, okay, I guilted myself into doing a minimum of internet research. Esztergom is a very old, important, city in Hungary, northwest of Budapest on the Danube. A former capital, in fact. The Turks invaded and held the city for a length of time. The fortress ("kalesi") was repeatedly besieged, including, and finally, by the Austrian Army in 1595. The march presumably is honor of the troops who bravely held on to the castle without being relieved, before finally being forced to surrender.)

It's not been all antique music around here. In fact, Comrade Stu has been all over the internet today with a front-row boot from the Grizzly Bear show from last night. That little camera he has is something else -- it sounds pretty decent! Go have a listen then.