Once again, I've wandered downstairs to pull out a random (and hopefully new) collection of CDs to rip to my MP3 players. But I'm going to start it with a couple of choice cuts before I move on to the random ones.
- She's the Car - "Vibeke" : I've been listening to this song a lot since I downloaded it a few weeks ago, after a mention on the Boston Phoenix's On The Download. What a rockin' great song! And I am totally blown away by the fact this "girlgroup" is comprised of four kids who aren't even 20 from my old stomping grounds, Derry NH. I don't know about you, but my creative output at the tender age of 18 was getting my English essay in on time. And for extra credit, I sometimes did it for my classmates. And here they are, with a long, intricate rock song, with powerful voices and confident music. I wish I had been able to break away and see them play locally earlier in the month. Now, I'll have to hold out until August 11 in Allston. Check out the review of the show here, also from the Phoenix. I haven't heard any of their other songs, but I think we can forgive them for working their way "from precious indie-pop to noisy rock", don't you?
- The Dresden Dolls - "Perfect Fit" (The Dresden Dolls ) : After being completely wowed by their latest album, Yes, Virginia, their debut album shot to the top of my "To Buy" list. I finally picked it up a few weeks ago and I have to admit to being slightly disappointed in my first listen. It seemed to be a little more scattershot and unfocused, despite having the great Coin-Operated Boy on it (which my girls really enjoy too). So I had put it away a for a bit. Then the other day I was listening to my "New Stuff" radio station, with these groups on it:
- Tiger Trap
- Mazzy Star
- Jeremy Enigk
- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
- Tegan and Sara
- The Dresden Dolls
- The National
And now, back to our regularly scheduled CD cabinet diving:
- Thompson Twins - "Hold Me Now" (Into The Gap ) : Neither twins (or even a duo) nor Thompsons, this British trio was among my favorite synth-pop groups of the early 80s, with this song being perhaps the most perfect synth-pop song of the era, hitting number 3 on the US pop charts. And there are plenty more synth-pop classics on this CD, including "Doctor Doctor", "You Take Me Up" and "Day After Day". An important slice of 80s new wave music history, forever conflated in my mind with Tears For Fears, whose first two releases sandwiched this one.
- Single Gun Theory - "Words Written Backwards" ( Millions Like Stars in My Hands, Daggers in My Heart, Wage War ) : Sort of a more pop sounding Dead Can Dance, this Australian group puts out some fine sounds. Somewhat low key, but with some interesting beats and nice lead singer. Hard to pick out just one song from this CD, as many of them are real good, but none of them are over-the-top great.
- Indio - "Hard Sun" (Big Harvest ) : Talk about your one hit wonders! Indio, led by Canadian Gordon Peterson, hit it big on the indie airwaves with this smashing song, and he disappeared after this CD. You know, I 'm not sure I've ever listened to this CD all the way through. Heck, I may have never listened to any other song besides this one! But it's enough, as it is a great song. His voice is reminiscent of Bruce Cockburn's, and even the music has that same World-music feel to it. Maybe it is something in the Canadian water?
when I walk beside her
i am the better man
when I look to leave her
I always stagger back again
once I built an ivory tower
so I could worship from above
and when I climbed down to be set free
she took me in again there's a big
a big hard sun
beaten on the big people
in the big hard world
This album is mentioned in a cool article called 10 Great Albums That You've Never Heard. Oddly enough, I have another one (the Voice of the Beehive's Let It Bee - a great album), and we have a Texas album, although it may be a different one.
- Love and Rockets - "So Alive" (Love and Rockets ) : the song that, somewhat ironically, marked the height of their popularity (peaking at number 3 on the charts) and the end of their creative impact. Ah well, it's a good way to go out, with this very T-Rex sounding song.
- Wang Chung - "City Of Angels" (To Live And Die In LA ) : Great soundtrack to a frenetic, if often confusing and disjointed, William Friedkin film. Every time I hear this song, I clearly see the scene from the movie, with the counterfeit money getting set up and the presses running. Many good 80s synth-rock songs to be found on this soundtrack.
- Bob Dylan - "I Want You" (Blonde on Blonde ) : A double album back in the day, now on a single CD, Blonde on Blonde covers nearly all the 60s Dylan country. This is one of the most accessible songs, and there's lots of stuff going on even in here. Speaking of CDs where it is hard to pick just one! How do you choose between such classics like "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again", "Just Like A Woman", "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat", "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" and "Obviously 5 Believers"?
- Treat Her Right - "I Got A Gun" (Treat Her Right ) : A Boston sensation in their day, Treat Her Right plays a bluesy rock that rocks the house. Saw them play a couple times live and the shows just blew you away. One of the members, Mark Sandman, went on to form Morphine, which was also a big local cult group, although I'm not familiar with their stuff. Sandman was to die of a heart attack on stage in Europe in 1999.
- Sleepy LaBeef - "Little Boy Sad" (I'll Never Lay My Guitar Down ) : This CD I picked up at one his shows at the Seaside in Nantasket, and I've got his scrawl on it to prove it:-) I still like the Strange Things Happening CD best, but this one has got some good tracks too, including this one and the wondrously sly lyrics of "Sweet Thang", about a wandering man and his woman looking for him:
I gave my baby all my money on payday
'cept what little she don't know that I got.
There's a cute little waitress at the corner cafe
she seems to like me quite a lot.
We were settin in the back booth havin a talk
she was believing every word that I said.
When the door flew open and Loretta walked in
yellin loud enough to wake the dead. Well, has anybody here seen my sweet thang
I had a notion he'd be headed this way.
When my sweet thang's out tom catting around
He finds a sandbox like this to play.
I want to tell all you barroom roses (2nd verse: barroom fluzzies)
if my sweet thang does happen by.
You'd better take my advise and if you blink more than twice
You'd better have something in your eye.