Friday, August 10, 2007

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Songs 325 to 334

Whew, I'm in the final stretch I think. Before I turn to cleaning the kitchen, I thought I'd knock out some more tunes. If I could do a pictogram of my life at this point, it would be the words mommy as giant parentheses enclosing a FOIL math equation involving working, writing, cleaning, and worrying about every other word I've left out. Theoretically, I'll have two mega-projects off my plate this term (PhD and textbook), and if I can just prevent any more people in my life from dying, quitting, assigning me more duties, and/or flaking out, I'll be okay. Deep breath and onward . . . my mantra: "The Golden Globes are on Monday, The Golden Globes are on Monday."

Song 325: Shiny Toy Guns, "Le Disko." This was free. It is truly worth everything I paid for it. Really angry dance noise. If Garbage had been a retro synth-powered lounge band, it would have been this. Cold and confusing.

Song 326: The Tender Box, "Mister Sister." Again, free download. Wouldn't it have been cool if this had been a tribute song to Mister Mister? It isn't.

Song 327: Gillian Welch, "The Revelator." I don't actually own anything by Ms. Welch, likely because she reminds me of too many girls I went to grad school with. This is a pretty song. Very stark, spare, and ominous, long prairie road stuff--with some messed up guitar spelling trouble toward the end.

Song 328: John Mayer, "Waiting on the World to Change." God, I hope he's not really dating Jessica Simpson. He was on The Chapelle Show with ?uestlove and did his own special with Trickdaddy. This is a nice MOR/AOR song; John Mayer, the white Bill Withers.

Song 329: The Game, "Doctor's Advocate." How can anyone not like rap music? The back story on each of these guys and their love/hate, telenovela relationships with their mentors and proteges alone should keep you coming back. So, this one is the Game's "just one more drink" chronicle of his completely dysfunctional relationship with Dr. Chronic himself. Just give him one more chance, Dre, "when [you] say it's a rap, it's a rap." (I need a The ___ name!)

Song 330: Outkast, "Morris Brown." I know, another Outkast song. Still, ever since "Tusk," I'm a sucker for pop music that finds room for marching bands (this time it's MBC, not USC). Grab your cymbals and join in the drumline!

Song 331: The Cinematic Orchestra, "Durian." This is cinematic. A British kinda-jazz outfit that has a trippy feel. Lean back and delve in. At about five minutes, this seems to become a completely different song.

Song 332: Talib Kweli, "Listen." Rap with jazz flute. This is the Afro-centric stream of rap as opposed to the bling and Cris one. He has a strong voice, but this particular song doesn't stand out much from the general genre.

Song 333: The Black Angels, "Better Off Alone." Like, it's totally Jim Morrison if the Doors had been backed by a Native American drum circle (who also represented death). Either that, or the Cult changed its name.

Song 334: . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, "How Near, How Far." This kind of rock-pop makes me tired. It tries so hard, has so many sounds, keeps running so fast. It's funny, on their website is a little ornament that suddenly brought it all together for me. It reminded me of those Journey scarabs. This is the modern Journey rock.

31 to go.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Songs 315 to 324

As I sit here this morning drinking heated orange juice--my favorite cold cure--while starting to feel the odd effects of the meds I'm on for an equally odd laryngitis I developed, I thought I'd whittle some more on the blog. Everyone's still sleeping, so let's see how much I can accomplish before being forced to watch "Horseland."

Song 315: Danielson, "Did I Step On Your Trumpet." Song has a novelty-ish feel, very intentionally quirky. Apparently this band started as an art school thesis (big, flashing warning lights should be inserted here).

Song 316: Green Day & U2, "The Saints Are Coming." I first saw U2 when they opened for the J. Geils Band (yes, dear readers, I'm old) and stopped listening to them years ago around the time Bono started wearing those post-Onos. I do like Green Day quite a bit, though. Still, this collaboration seems to bring out the worst in GD and underscores why I stopped listening to U2.

Song 317: Shelby Lynne, "Where Am I Now." Shelby Lynne, at her best, cannot be beat for a lived-in, too-knowing, sad-weary-sexy delivery; and, this is a great example. Beautifully stripped down initially, it builds nicely with a lonely echoing track.

Song 318: Iron & Wine, "Each Coming Night." Turns out I already reviewed an Iron & Wine song but forgot. Still, I did buy this. Very spare, with a retro 70s folk vibe. This would make a nice hip-parent lullaby track.

Song 319: Nick Drake, "Pink Moon." I've liked this song since it was in a VW ad years back. Another possibility for hip-parents. Mellow wanderings.

Song 320: Nara Leao, "Meditacao." Classic Brazilian lounge pop. Fantastic dinner/brunch music or just brain drifting music. I could listen to music like this all day sometimes; it just wraps you like a perfect blanket, deflecting the world.

Song 321: Blackfield, "Hello." Modern prog rock from the dales of England and Israel (?!) with a nice touch of Oasis to keep it from being to fairy/hobbit/twee. I like it. Keep those drum fills coming. Has an odd bit of silence at the end. Maybe it's a moment of reflection?

Song 322: Porcupine Tree, "Lazarus." This is the initial band of one of the guys in Blackfield--again prog rock. Very pretty prog rock, but because of the song's length (see genre), it gets a bit repetitive. Still, it is nice to see something that takes all those emo sentiments, plunks them in a new setting, and surrounds them with arena-ready drum fills.

Song 323: Switchfoot, "Faust, Midas, and Myself." It's "The Devil Went Down to San Diego"! I like this song; it opens up well and tells a narrative that's a sliver away from being a Tenacious D song but never crosses that line because of an honest sense of urgency. Cool.

Song 324: Amos Lee, "Colors." Folk music for the Norah Jones/"Grey's Anatomy" demographic (look, dear readers, I'm right there wit ya). Lovely voice, pretty tune.

41 to go.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Songs 302 to 314

Right, then. I'm back from some laundry folding and watching 49Up to try to finish up my purchased songs while my veggies roast for soup. It's a very grey day. Perfect for soup, baguettes, and house cleaning.

Song 302: Eberg, "Inside Your Head." Electronica with an initial beat that sounds Bjork-y. I know I know this song from a tv show or movie commercial. Female vocals mixed high, male mixed low. Sinks into the background fairly quickly.

Song 303: Esthero & Cee Lo Green, "Gone." This is the Cee Lo from Gnarls Barkley. It's a nice MOR ballad. She has a good lyrical flow and the chorus is hit nicely. The rap add-on is okay but seems layered too much on the surface.

Song 304: Field Music, "It's Not the Only Way to Feel Happy." The song takes a bit of time to get started. The instrumentation is interesting, but everything is mixed a bit close together so that it's too muddy. In quilting, you need to avoid making all your fabrics midtones, otherwise the pattern disappears; likely, the same is true in music.

Song 305: Guster, "Backyard." Pretty song. The lead singer's voice has a nice lilt that doesn't veer to the precious plaintive that so common with kids these days. Complex instrumentation, too.

Song 306: Kendall Payne, "Scratch." This song was playing on my iPod as I sat in my in-law's kitchen putting together my daughter's birthday Barbie's Real House, and it almost made me cry. Apparently, she's a Christian artist without a record deal and with a surprising number of photos of her puppy on her website, but I won't hold that against her.

Song 307: Masha Qrella, "Destination Vertical." More electronica with a scratchy sound and undermixed girl vocals. Again, good background music.

Song 308: MoZella, "You Wanted It." Sounds a bit like Corrinne Bailey Rae's musical cousin; there's a lot of this stuff out now. It's not bad, just pleasant and flows all together into one big Gap/Starbucks/West Elm soundtrack.

Song 309: Richard Ashcroft, "Music is Power." This song is so British. Not a judgment, just an observation.

Song 310: Sam Roberts Band, "Bridge to Nowhere." Again, I know I've heard this in a show somewhere. Fits in the new folky vein. Nice open voice. Nice description of my life. Canadian with album art by a guy who also can do your panel van.

Song 311: Sylvie Lewis, "By Heart." Very spare song, perfect for Grey's Anatomy. She has a fine but not remarkable voice; it has a certain depth to it, which is good.

Song 312: Tigarah, "Japanese Queen." A Gwen-a-like . . . the Harajuku girls take their revenge and it sounds pretty darn interesting. Japanese world music. I'd listen to more of this.

Song 313: TV On The Radio, "Wolf Like Me." Lots of ominous sounds; low-fi reverb with a good driving beat. This is a very hype-y band, but this sound justifies interest. I'd prefer the song without the break in the middle though; that seems a bit too.

Song 314: Peaches, "Do Ya." Grrl rockin empowerment that seems a bit tired what with the tamborines and all. And, who called for the synth break?

51 to go.

Songs 294 to 301

Admittedly, this has taken me more than a year, but by the end of this post, I will have downloaded and reviewed over 300 songs by almost as many artists--most of which I never heard of before coughing up 99 for their music. (And, most of which, I will never hear of again!) I'll keep going until I hit the magic 365 mark--so here are some more entries, fueled by a generous dose of Starbucks' holiday blend and a peanut butter cinnamon raisin bagel, the breakfast of iPod champions.

Song 294: Laura Veirs, "Rapture." Lyrical singer/songwriter stuff. The delivery is nice and sparse--not little girl lost as so much of this seems to be. There's a choir element to her singing that's nice. The lyrics are interesting as well.

Song 295: Spoon, "The Way We Get By." One thing I've learned this year is that the OC may be an awful show, but it features fabu music. This is from the OC Mix 1 and is a solid rock of today song. Nice use of piano and cymbal work. Kind of like Ben Folds for the young people (rather than Ben Folds for the really, really young people, which follows below). Good song.

Song 296: Catherine Feeny, "Mr. Blue." This is one of those girl singer/songwriter songs that sounds like many, many others. It's not bad; it's just the same. Who signs these people? I can't believe the market supports all of them. She is British, maybe that makes a difference.

Song 297: Si*Se, "The Truth." Starbucks-friendly world music with an electronicity feel. If Shakira had a moody cousin, she would be singing for Si*Se (which is too difficult to type to make this music worth listening to. Phoney diacritics are so last year!)

Song 298: The American Analog Set, "Cool Kids Keep." This song is a love child of "Kids in America," "I Don't Like Mondays," and "Jeremy" with a lovely low-fi hum. Spooky and ominous. I like it!

Song 299: Ben Folds & William Shatner, "Rockin the Suburbs (Over the Hedge Version)." Like most parents of children a certain age, I now spend at least one weekend a month at the movies watching yet another CGI-animation fest--most of which are full-on awful but which the kids, as kids, like anyway. Over the Hedge was actually pretty good, and during it, I kept thinking--I know who's singing here, who is it? It's the five-less Ben Folds. Fun music, and Shatner is always gold, people. (Though seriously, Ben, wash the hair every once in a while. Even McConaughey has trouble rockin that look.)

Song 300: Athlete, "Tourist." Very emo.

Song 301: Band of Horses, "Great Salt Lake." Vocals have been recorded in another state than the music, apparently, which gives this a nice distancing sound. There seems to be a resurgence of a kind of anthemic, postemo power ballad. This is one of those. See, it all comes back.

64 to go.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Songs 276 to 293

All right, we're in the home stretch. Rather than clean on NYE, I'm trying to wrap up things here on the SAFTBRC front. With fewer than 90 songs to go, I'm feeling it. I actually downloaded these songs just before Christmas by scouring a bunch of "best of" lists. I'm not sure I agree that they're the "best of" anything, but I'm starting to run circles trying to find new bands to listen to. If this year has taught me anything, it's that a whole lot of music out there sounds exactly alike. Perhaps if I were more tween, I'd be differentiating these bands by eyeliner brand or suiting fabric or soy milk v. bio. I am clearly so very old.

Song 276: Regina Spektor, "Fidelity." Is it just me, or does she sound remarkably like Nellie McKay? This is a hooky song; nice popping along-kind of vibe. I don't know if the rest of her stuff has this staccato rhythm or if it's a delivery designed to match this one set of lyrics.

Song 277: Mary J. Blige, "Take Me As I Am." This is perfect anthem--grammatical errors and all. Ms. Blige puts her all in each song, and when she sings, "Put my life all up in these songs, just so you can feel me," you know she means it. The driving beats behind the lyrics are solid, too. All hail the queen!

Song 278: Beck, "Nausea." Beck's puppet performance on SNL earlier this year was perhaps the best moment in music for me. This is a great song: catchy, freaky, simultaneously low fi and high tech--total Beck. Rock on.

Song 279: Sophie Milman, "La Vie en Rose." The Piaf classic updated for a Starbucks world. Still, Milman's voice is quite lovely and may be Canada's latest attempt to make up for Loverboy. She does right (if light) by the song.

Song 280: Say Hi to Your Mom, "Blah, Blah, Blah." Okay, I picked this song by the band's name. It's totally undermixed murmuring about drinking blood, blah, blah, blah. The techno beat is very 70s, and their website is very "Structuralism doesn't account for vampires."

Song 281: Midlake, "Balloonmaker." Kind of like Beirut meets e. e. cummings at a one of those post-hippie Canadian band shows. Or, John Phillip Souza marries Brian Wilson and has a child for a new age.

Song 282: Lupe Fiasco, "Kick Push." A fantabulous song much prized on car rides and parking lot waits. I dare you not to sing along with the chorus and draw out the "coast" with as much cool joy as possible. ("I love that song," pronounces my daughter definitively as she walks through the room.)

Song 283: Bound Stems, "Western Biographic." Opens very electronically but then moves into an almost ska-light vibe. A perky song that has a post-Katrina and the Waves feel. Fun.

Song 284: Sparklehorse, "Don't Take My Sunshine Away." Raw low-fi sound, distortion heavy sections, especially at the end. Seems to take the listener in and out of the song fairly intentionally. Has softer lyrics. It's the kind of song you can stop listening to and then realize that you've stopped listening to . . . if that makes sense.

Song 285: Adem, "Launch Yourself." A bit too undermixed. This may be lazy on my part, but I don't want to have to try so hard to listen unless there's a really big pay off, which there isn't here. I'm not all shiny surface, but something needs to be glistening, I think.

Song 286: Hotel Lights, "AM Slow Golden Hit." This is a pretty song with a talky-singy vocal that glides along very closely with the backing tracks. Mellow mood music.

Song 287: As Tall As Lions, "Love, Love, Love (Love, Love)." The lead singer is a little too plaintive, but the chorus is rousing and has a nice upswell under it. The end is too precious for my tastes.

Song 288: What Made Milwaukee Famous, "Selling Yourself Short." Nice pop-y rock-y music with sing along choruses and lots of cymbal work. Probably a really good live band. Very uptempo but a little long--long enough to work in some brass at the end.

Song 289: The God Damn Doo Wop Band, "Rooftops of Bangor." The opening versifying is too long; it would be better to get into the doo wop earlier without drawing it out. It's fun in the vein that runs from the Shangri Las to the Go Gos.

Song 290: Outkast, "BOB." Just the best song ever. ("Dear, 'Bombs Over Baghdad' is, in fact, not the best song ever." "Yes, it is." "No, it's not." "Yes, it is." "No, it's not." --continue for as long as you wish, we did.) I can't find my copy of Stankonia, so I bought it. So should you.

Song 291: Ghostface Killah, "The Champ." Full on old school meets new school with amazing lyrics and anger. The mix recalls "Night of the Living Baseheads" and brings it big time. Who knew GK would be the Wu to break?

Song 292: Maritime, "Parade of Punk Rock T-Shirts." I picked this one for its title. The song is boppy sadness about loss, and it's quite catchy. I like the vocalist's phrasing and the spare arrangement.

Song 293: Shawn Colvin, "Even Here We Are." She's back, and sounds very much the same. Comfort food music.

71 to go.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Songs 250 to 275

Hi, remember me? I used to write about music. Much has happened between August and December--some good, some bad. But, right now, I'm just going to jump right in and hit it with my holiday mix of tunes. I spent many an hour (okay, about an hour) finding this assortment on iTunes, so here is the result of my incredible labor in Santa's mines (where I saw neither Leo nor Djimon). This whole list is available on iTunes as an iMix, "Malagueta's Holiday Mix."

Song 250: The Raveonettes, "The Christmas Song." I know, I already reviewed a Raveonettes song this year. This sounds a lot like that one. Probably everyone only needs one Raveonettes song . . . ever. Their sound is on that fine line between novel and novelty. Christmas for the disaffected Claire's Boutique set.

Song 251: Jane Monheit & Steve Tyrell, "Baby, It's Cold Outside." My husband thinks the song itself is worn out. I like it. This is a passable, new version. Apparently, Steve Tyrell has pulled a Freaky Friday with Dr. John. Also, remember when Jane Monheit was supposed to be the next big thing? I'll bet she's wishing Diana Krall never figured out that singing and playing the piano was possible--as is the former Mrs. McManus.

Song 252: Vanessa Williams, "What Child Is This?" Okay, this is totally one of my absolute favorite Christmas songs by the unstoppable Vanessa Williams. Is there anything she can't do? The song is Blue Note cool with her rich tones adding a sultry edge to the nativity (maybe Catherine Hardwicke should have cast her; she could have pulled it off, I swear).

Song 253: Smashing Pumpkins, "Christmastime." Ah, Billy Corgan. It is likely never a good sign when an adult man has a child's name. Still, back in the day, he was it, wasn't he? This is the very essence of SP with "Christmastime" thrown in where a noun is needed. You can just see little bald Billy sitting below the tree cutting himself with broken bulbs. Ho-ho-ho.

Song 254: The Weepies, "All That I Want." If writing this blog has done nothing else for me, it's turned me into a complete Weepies-head. I just love them. This is another super atmospheric piece--just the right combo of whimsy, nostalgia, and hopefulness. You go, Weepies!

Song 255: Sufjan Stevens, "Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!." What can anyone say about Sufjan Stevens at this point? He is a universe onto himself. Can you imagine what would happen if Beck and Mr. Stevens formed a supergroup? The Scientologist laying down with the Lamb? Would this be another sign of the Metalocalypse? The line about the sister cutting her bangs is priceless--though the song could be a bit shorter and still be Christmas-riffic.

Song 256: Brave Combo, "Must Be Santa (Polka)." This, dear readers, is the official, hands-down, children's favorite holiday song in my home. It's good for dancing, for singing, and for overall merriment. Do not deny yourself the joy that this song can bring! Seriously, go buy it now. (My son just this moment walked in and said, "We love this song!" Operators are standing by.)

Song 257: NRBQ, "Christmas Wish." The perfect follow-up. I can hear my daughter singing along right now (literally, in the living room). It's a beautiful song with a lovely message and a great singing in the car song.

Song 258: Stevie Wonder, "What Christmas Means to Me." You know it from any number of commercials that play while you dance around the living room suddenly captured with a desire to spend. What I love about the Motown sound is that you can actually hear each layer of a song, almost like it was a pile of Colorforms that could be taken apart and remixed in any way. This would be a cool game.

Song 259: James Brown, "Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto." I can almost hear Santa saying, "Yes, sir, Mr. Brown." I actually heard this song on Tom Joyner a couple days back, and it made me dance in the car with joy. I will tell all that "James Brown sent [me]."

Song 260: Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, "Christmas." A classic fill in the blanks Blues number. Could be about Christmas, could be about the Sony Wii, could be about pastrami: does it really matter? This song made me realize one thing: for Christmas, I want a "name."

Song 261: Ella Fitzgerald, "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" How can a holiday mix not include this song? And, can you find a better version? Lush as Christmas cashmere; sad as that last five minutes before the stores close on the 24th. Sit back and savor.

Song 262: Tony Bennett, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Mr. Bennett is the world's gift for Christmas: utterly hopeful, amazingly self-aware. My husband now does a mean Tony Bennett impression that slays me every time. So sweet.

Song 263: Bjork, "Frosti." I find this song achingly beautiful, a music box of crystalline perfection. Bjork--the posthuman Tony Bennett.

Song 264: Mariah Carey, "All I Want for Christmas Is You." I know, "Mariah?!" But, this song is such a crowd pleaser. Ms. Carey is the posthuman Liza--which is probably not good for any of us. Still, it's an entertaining Polar Express-wreck.

Song 265: June Christy, "The Merriest." When I was a little girl, my father adored June Christy, the alterna-Julie London. Ms. Christy never got a role on Emergency, but she did earn a place on my holiday mix with this wonderfully tinny number.

Song 266: Billy May, "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo." I'm not thinking about what this means, but this song is one of my son's favorite holiday numbers. Oh, and he wants to marry Jack Sparrow and have a pirate baby. Whatever. The kid's got great taste!

Song 267: Danny Elfman, "What's This?" The pacing of the song and the lyrics combine to form one of the most perfect evocations of a child's Christmas morning that I've ever heard: racing from shiny thing to shinier thing with a combustible combination of glee and gluttony. Ah, the meaning of the season in full effect! (He has a special Christmas wish on his website, too.)

Song 268: Elvis Presley, "Winter Wonderland." You can almost hear the pill bottles falling like little prescription snowflakes as the wonder of winter numbs Mr. Presley. Just one more take, E, for the kids, with a big finish. ("Oh, I love this song. I heard this song at school, and I love it!" my daughter just screamed while painting--I kid you not--a Jack Sparrow gun for my son.)

Song 269: Guster, "Donde Esta Santa Claus?" A great new Christmas classic. My children have been taking Spanish this fall, which has resulted in them learning that "chocolate" in Spanish is "chocolat-A." Ah, money well spent. Plus, the song has "mamacita" in it, which brings me great joy for some reason.

Song 270: Chris Isaak, "Mele Kalikimaka." Following on 269 above, you have now entered the multicultural section of my holiday mix. And, who says international diversity more than Chris Isaak? Oh, wait.

Song 271: Sufjan Stevens, "Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserve It)." Proof positive that Mr. Stevens isn't all light and love. And, a great song to boot! Plus, given that his holiday album is the Berlin Alexanderpatz of the season, it deserves two cuts on my mix.

Song 272: Hem, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Second time for this song on the mix, but a different, very stripped down version. Emo-sad with not quite enough strength to decapitate the snow people.

Song 273: Vince Guaraldi Trio, "Skating." A classic. But, have you watched any of those Charlie Brown specials lately? They are really awful.

Song 274: Bette Midler, "Cool Yule." Admitted, no one beats Louis Armstrong at this song, but I already owned that version. Ms. Midler does a fine job with modern production that adds a technological gleam to the already glitzy tune. Jump and jive, y'all.

Song 275: Aimee Mann, "The Christmas Song." Again, no one will win the cage match with Nat King Cole. But, Ms. Mann adds a note of regret to this that Mr. Cole's slick veneer of perfection would never allow. And, with this, I wish you a very merry holiday season!

90 to go.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Songs 241 to 249

Back for more after a brief break to plead with my children to nap and to swap loads of laundry. I feel so accomplished when the laundry's done and put away; it's so sad. But, almost nothing in my life is finished, so the sight of empty laundry baskets is awe inspiring. That and a made bed. It's the little things, dear reader. On Friday, my son tripped on the playground at school and bit a hole through his lip. The doctor told me that if I wanted it to look "perfect," I could have a plastic surgeon put a couple of stitches in it, otherwise it would just heal on its own. "Perfect," isn't that Jon-Benet creepy. Iquickly made the "heal on its own" choice, which he seemed to agree with (as did the nice overanxious intern with him). I guess they found it creepy, too. But, today, whilst reading the NYT, I looked up to see him standing next to his sister (they were robot-dancing, of course) and realized exactly why my son tripped over his own feet. He's had an atomic blast-worthy growth spurt and now is taller than she. He's a biggun, that boy! Such cuties, and now back to our show.

Song 241: Joshua Radin, "Star Mile." I believe this was off a Scrubs list. It has an early Simon & Garfunkel feel to it--all the way down to the line endings. Very relaxing and harmonic. The lyrics are sad, but it all sounds so pretty. I can picture rocking my babies to sleep to this.

Song 242: Quad City DJs, "Come on Ride It." I bought this picturing how my kids would like it--and robot dance to it. We've also just bought a new edition of The Little Engine that Could, so this seemed fitting. Over seven minutes of completely pointless party music complete with whistles and choo choo noises for less than a buck. How can you go wrong?

Song 243: Quien Es, Boom! "Our Home, Edna." Tinkling percussion and vague electronica. The vocals are mixed so low, it's kind of difficult to discern them. This song is compelling, nonetheless. There's something there in the music that's missing in a lot of current indie stuff; it has a depth that's interesting and makes you want to listen again.

Song 244: Ray LaMontagne, "Trouble." This is a retro Muscle Shoals song that may be aiming for Otis Redding but actually sounds more like Janis Joplin. His voice is too light for the Otis growl. I don't get the sense he's had enough real trouble to get the gravitas needed.

Song 245: Serena Maneesh, "Her Name is Suicide." Yep, it's more chilly soundscapes from the Norweigan triangle. This doesn't have the bone break sparseness of Sigur Ros, though. It's got a little too much new age-iness about it. And, there are moments when the instrumentation has a 70s feel, like a tv movie theme.

Song 246: Sergio Mendes & the Black Eyed Peas, "Mas Que Nada." I grew up on the Sergio Mendes/Herb Alpert lush production streaming from my parents' stereo credenza. This is a nice street-friendly remix. It would be ideal in a Fame update. There's something about the BEP's sound that's immediately appealing and forgettable at once.

Song 247: The Streets, "Never Went to Church." An odd anthemic song about loss, religion, and a stereotypically British stiff-upper-lip emotionally wrenching father/son relationship. What if R. Kelly were a Britkid chronicling his inability to deal with parental lost? Here ya' go.

Song 248: The Strokes, "You Only Live Once." How could I have gone eight months without a Strokes song? I seem to see one of Fabrizio's many floppy fro'd cousins every day. They're fine enough, but this music seems kind of limited. I feel like one Strokes song is all Strokes songs.

Song 249: Vaux, "Are You With Me?" This was a free download. It's worth that much. Pose-y rock that's too repetitive and seems to rehearse a billion other songs. I can see them being a big deal in their local market, but I think we've all heard this band before.

116 to go.

Songs 231 to 240

I am determined to catch up on so many things this weekend, which is sad since it's halfway through Sunday and I'm still doing laundry and trying to clean off my counters (Surfaces, darling, surfaces!). But, the dog is freshly washed, so I've got that going for me. The Emmys are on tonight, which gives me prime clothes folding time, and dinner's planned. Huzzah! The children made these adorable yet creepy paper/patchwork likenesses of themselves at their new school this week. I bought shadow boxes at my mothership (read "Target") yesterday, and we hung them amidst the stairway photo exhibition. This has lent the whole mise-en-scene a vaguely Night Gallery feel, and I expect any morning to be awakened by my paper/patchwork son and daughter and find my real children inside their shadowboxes. See what 70s tv did to my brain! Ah, cue the music.

Song 231: Band of Horses, "Great Salt Lake." There's something oddly Beach Boys-y about this song. Like if the BB's mated with a grunge band, this would be their indie-club playing children. It's a good song, but I think I'm just sick of plaintive male vocalists. Man up, boys, it's a surprisingly tough world out there; acknowledge and move on.

Song 232: Fleeting Joys, "Lovely Crawl." Ah, the shoe gazing wall of sound is back, with a retro wallpaper courtesy of the latest issue of Domino. Nice genre piece, but the vocals are too deeply mixed for me. It's all a little too murky.

Song 233: The Heavy Blinkers, "Try Telling That to My Baby." Retro 60s pop, but again, the mixing doesn't seem sharp enough to distinguish the many (MANY) elements. Clever repro with a very pleasant feel, though I don't sense much new being brought to the party here--which makes me wonder why they're mining this vein.

Song 234: Joe Cuba Sextette, "Joe Cuba's Mambo." I got this off the So You Think You Can Dance iMix. It's full on dinner/dance mambo joyousness. Slim dresses, pointed pumps, black eyeliner, sticky bouffants--it's all here, dear readers. Mambo!

Song 235: Josh Ritter, "Come and Find Me." This song reminded me of Jim Croce, whom my dad loved. We used to listen to him late at night in our basement on an old credenza stereo, and I remember staying up to catch him on the Midnight Special. He has less bar-earned cred than Mr. Croce, but there's a good soul there.

Song 236: Justin Timberlake, "SexyBack." Yeah, there's no soul here, just plenty of industry savvy. Honestly, this is so cranked with production juice that my dog could have sung it and achieved the same results--which are quite catchy. Still, it's pretty funny to here JT acting all street, when I doubt he's stepped a foot on the street sans moisturizer, sunscreen, and bronzer in a decade.

Song 237: Langhorne Slim, "In the Midnight." Cracking falsetto over a rave-up fiddlin' music track. There's a nice call and response bit that makes me think this plays fairly well live. It sounds a bit too derivative digitally.

Song 238: Love is All, "Talk Talk Talk Talk." Retro new wave that sound kinda Missing Persons-y, complete with the Dale Bozio bleats. There's also some Quarterflash sax mixed in. Very busy. But fun--peppy; only a Euroband would be this faithful. Break out those patent Candies, girls!

Song 239: Mission of Burma, "2Wice." Yep, that Mission of Burma. Nice mid80s college rock--big rolling percussion with top mixed vocals. Full of the arty urgency only a liberal arts education can bring forth. I'm heading to the closet to find my olive hole-y Izod cardigan as soon as this is over!

Song 240: Mystikal, "Shake Ya Ass." I know, Mystikal is a problem (a big problem), but this is a fantastic song. It has just enough hoodoo to evoke New Orleans. I've been thinking a lot about the city since watching "When the Levees Broke" earlier this week. There's a rawness about Mystikal that escaped the No Limit and Cash Money crews--something that elevates this song and captures the essential intoxicating danger of NO.

125 to go.