Monthly Archives: January 2008

“They don’t make stationary like that where I’m from”

Weezer – “Across the Sea” from Pinkerton (1996) and “I Just Threw Out The Love Of My Dreams” from The Good Life single (1997)

Something must be in the air. After I spent a good portion of the weekend listening to good ol’ Weezer, P-fork runs an interview with Rivers Cuomo himself. Here’s one of the best tracks from the Puccini-rippin’ Pinkerton (a stone-cold classic, if you ask me), as well as one of the crucial Pinkerton-era B-sides, featuring Rachel Haden (of that dog., daughter of jazz bass great Charlie Haden).

Here’s an interesting undergrad thesis on the canonization of Weezer in their latent period of the late ’90s and early aughts. Especially check out the graphs in chapter 5; they provide an interesting visual representation of how we got a hold of our music in the pre-Internet daze.

Buy the Weez here

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1990s, Pop, Rock

“Oh love, keep me warm, keep me satisfied”

The Kinks – “Sitting by the Riverside” from The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society [1968] and “Strangers” from Lola Verus Powerman and the Moneygorround, Part One [1970]

Yesterday, I saw The Savages starring Laura Linney and PS Hoffman. It was very good. And it, like several other very good, recently-released movies, features a Kinks song. To SWR loyalists, I must admit that The Darjeeling Limited has grown on me considerably since I first gave it a lukewarm reception here. In penance, I have attached “Strangers,” which has become a favorite of mine since I saw the film.

It seems that filmmakers are looking for genius melodies without resorting to the Beatles, which would be very easy and not too original. In these instances, there is a huge reserve of Kinks’ tunes that is begging for mass revival among Americans.

Buy the Kinks here

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1960s, 1970s, Pop, Rock

“Thin thin dime”

Ugly Casanova – “Smoke Like Ribbons” from Sharpen Your Teeth (2002)

I prefer this album to Modest Mouse these days because it exhibits Isaac Brock’s songwriting talent without all the “Float On” baggage. But mostly, I like the tones added by Brian Deck (drummer/producer extraordinaire) and Tim Rutili (of Califone) whose work Glenn and I deeply respect.

This song’s hickish laxity is a balm to any abrasions you may have suffered from Modest Mouse as of late.

Also excellent is “Hotcha Girls” on the same record.

Buy it here

Posted by Jordy

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Filed under 2000s, Rock

“We must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers”

John Coltrane – “Alabama” from Live At Birdland (1963)

In tardy celebration of a real American hero, we offer John Coltrane’s interpretation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s eulogy for the four girls killed in the Birmingham, Alabama 16th Street Church bombing. Learn about the connection between song and speech (and listen to a sample) here.

Chase the Trane

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1960s, Instrumental, Jazz

“Let’s put it out before the flames go higher”

Yo La Tengo – “We’re An American Band” from I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One (1997)

Another song that calms and soothes. This one works on what you might call the solar principle: concentrate enough face-melting atom-powered guitar work into one dense mass, and wind up with something warm and reassuring.

By the way, both Yo La Tengo concerts I’ve attended have been incredible, and I highly recommend hearing them live if you ever have the chance.

Do you have it?

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1990s, Rock

“To remind you where the stars went to get off”

Kings of Convenience – “The Build Up” from Riot on an Empty Street (2004)

This has long been my go-to song when I need to calm myself. It features the precious vocals of Leslie Feist who co-wrote the song and is now more famous than the Kings of Convenience have ever been.

Anyway, I hope it helps you relax this weekend.

Buy the KoC here

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 2000s, Pop

On a rainy afternoon

Bob Dylan and the Band – “On a rainy afternoon” from Tree With Roots (1967, 2001)

When I first heard TwR, I paid particular attention to this song because it shares a name with a half-finished Dylan song recorded on Eat the Document. However, I can’t find any other real parallels between the two songs.

Watch/listen to Cate Blanchett-era Dylan perform it here with Robbie Robertson and compare it to the enclosed recording. The former is delicate and beautiful while the latter is an outright foot-stomper featuring the whole Band.

At any rate, both of these songs could have been classics had they been cultivated a bit more.

Other Tree with Roots tunes at SWR

Posted by Jordy

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Filed under 1960s, Americana, Folk, Rock, Tree With Roots

This is not radio Clash

The Clash – “Time is Tight” from Super Black Market Clash (1994) [originally released on Black Market Clash 10” (1980)]

Sometimes I think this odds ‘n sods collection is the best Clash record. Super Black Market Clash shows the boys at their poppiest and least self-important, and at their funkiest. This Booker T. & MG’s cover is the best of the bunch.

Buy the Clash

Listen to more Clash on SWR

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1970s, Instrumental, Punk, Rock

“I don’t understand this reference to ‘prog.’ What is a ‘prog’?”

Shudder to Think – “9 Fingers On You” from Pony Express Record (1994)

A punky take on prog-rock from DC’s other great ’90s rock band.

That other DC band

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Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1990s, Prog Rock, Rock

“The sunshine in mountains sometimes lost”

Yes – “South Side of the Sky” from Fragile (1972)

Edmund Hillary died yesterday. By all accounts he was a pretty great guy, always emphasizing his normality despite the astounding thing he did.

Speaking of astounding, the musicianship on this Yes track about mountaineering blows my mind each time I revisit it.

Yes? No? Yes

Posted by Jordy

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Filed under 1970s, Prog Rock, Rock

“It might be one o’clock or it might be three/time don’t mean that much to me”

Sam Cooke – “Good Times” and “That’s Where It’s At” from Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 (2003, both originally 1964)

What a voice. Sam’s delivery on the former track, superficially a party song, hints at submerged tragedy, while the latter re-works Sam’s gospel roots into what is essentially a one-line mantra-song (cf. The Replacements’ “Unsatisfied” for another soulful example). To listen to the full best-of comp is to be in awe of the complexity inside such simple songs.

Buy the Man and his Music here

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1960s, Gospel, Pop, Singer-Songwriter, Soul

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Ennio Morricone – “Il Triello” from Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo OST (1967)

I give you the full-length Italian release of the final track from the greatest film score of all time.

Popular instrumental music is deeply indebted to Ennio Morricone. There would be no Calexico or Explosions in the Sky without Morricone’s unabashedly bold and triumphant soundtracks.

Nothing consistently gives me shivers like the trumpet passage here. When I hear it, I can see a vivid rendition of that final showdown and I am reminded that this is the perfect intersection of film and music.

Buy the film and/or soundtrack (version Italiano)

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1960s, Soundtrack

“Gonna wade right in.”

The Louvin Brothers – “Let Her Go, God Bless Her” from Tragic Songs of Life (1956) and “The River of Jordan” from Satan is Real (1960)

In my journey into country music, I have not heard two voices mingle as perfectly and with such conviction as those of Ira and Charlie Louvin. I dare say that these are the best vocal harmonies in popular music.

“Let Her Go, God Bless Her” showcases Ira’s superb mandolin work while “The River of Jordan” is a rousing testament to the boys’ ability to translate their religious fervor into gorgeous songwriting.

Check out two great tunes from Satan is Real over at The Rising Storm.

Some video of the Louvin Brothers

Buy the Louvins here

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Bluegrass, Country, Gospel