Saturday, February 25, 2006

February iMix

The February iMix is now up at

I've determined that iTunes must batch process entries into their database, so it will be a day or so before you can actually search for the list by its title: SAFTBRC February.

Songs Fifty-Eight and Fifty-Nine

I have off next week to study for my quals but have, of course, already been called into work on Monday to chat with a visiting state official, so I'm going to jump ahead in my blogging. My chicken soup is simmering (new recipe!), the children are watching Stuart Little 3 (which really looks bad), my husband is hooking up our new DVD burner (so we can have a copy of Barbie: Mermaida for all eternity)--all meaning I've got a good 15 minutes to knock this puppy out.

Song Fifty-Eight: Graham Coxon, "No Good Time." Right off the bat, this song made me think "why did I download this?" Which is not a particularly good sign. I wonder if I hit the wrong "buy now" button. I wonder what I meant to buy. Hopefully something better than this. Ick. Pseudo singer/songwriter rock that sounds fairly sloppy. The guitar solo in this song actually made me do a half-laugh, as in "is he serious." When I found his website, it turns out he was in Blur, which completely explains my antipathy. I was totally on the Oasis side in the big Blur/Oasis slugfest that was mid90s britpop. Sorry, Graham. (Though, I do like Gorillaz.)

Song Fifty-Nine: Snowpatrol, "Spitting Games." Okay, this one I meant to buy. It jumps right in with both feet rocking. I like the driving beat, the obsessive teen-love lyrics, and electronica-chorus. There's just enough distortion to balance the pop. The song ends in a really nice, recorded-through-a-tin-can effect. Well, done, lads!

306 to go.

Songs Fifty-One to Fifty-Seven

Another SAFTBRCAITD megapost coming at you. This has been a nightmarish week with parental health concerns and work surprises broken only by figure skating, eBaying, and a lovely few days of my own wicked stomach virus--which began, of course, on my birthday (a day on which I also got soaked in the rain twice and was regifted by a close family member. I mean, really, people!). That last parenthetical reminds me that I forgot to buy an umbrella at Target today, though I did get a cute silk throw pillow for $2.48 on clearance. And, we finally bought a garden gnome, which my son insists on calling a Wiggles Scarecrow; none of us are asking why. I am certain this gnome will make my life complete on some WereRabbit level. Though, as the virus is still a bit with me, I'll skip the cheese, Grommit, and settle for a glass of finely-aged Gatorade. Now, on to the entertainment.

Song Fifty-One: Onion Creek Crawdaddies, "Too Much Blood." This is a hootenanny hoot and a half. The remainder of the title lyric is "in my veins where the whiskey ought to be." I believe we have all had those days, dear reader. The song is a true knee slappin', sing along romp. Lots of jangly strings, including the requisite banjo. It's a bit of a poke at all the "O, Brother" bluegrass holiness, which is nice; OCC is from Austin (natch) and call their brand of fiddlin' beergrass. I just got an odd sideways glance from my husband as he wandered out the door to the store, so maybe it's not for everyone. Still, I say, YEE-HAW, y'all!

Song Fifty-Two: Phoenix, "Everything is Everything." Very, very catchy chorus. This is a well-polished pop song with every corner full of bouncy sounds, all of which sound a bit synthetic. Even before reading the band bio, I could tell they were some kind of Euro (turns out they're French); the song has that very Limited Express late 80s soundscape feel to it. Think banquettes and mirrored balls. The lyrics suggest a song heavily influenced by literary theory, which given its frenchicity is not unlikely. Extremely listenable.

Song Fifty-Three: Mates of State, "Goods." Apparently Mates of State is a fairly well-known indie band, reinforcing my out-of-itness as I've never heard of them. This is a fairly classic kind of indie pop song. Slightly annoying male lead singer, peppy female background vocals, organ/keyboards, shushy drums, distinct song parts (the overloaded-with-sound, the break-it-down, etc.). All that said, it's a decent song, though there's so much going on that I realized about the third listen that I consistently stop paying to the lyrics until the break-it-down part near the end (that also features an incongruous flying saucer sound that I initially ascribed to my clothes dryer). It does go on a bit, though.

Song Fifty-Four: Alexi Murdoch, "Orange Sky." I guess this is another OC discovery. Maybe I should start watching that show, though I can't help wax nostalgic for the Peach Pit AfterDark when it comes to teen music spotlights. Mr. Murdoch is a "singer/songwriter" (probably should be in all caps) like that guy on the now canceled Love Monkey. This song has a slow build and is inexplicably so soft at the beginning that you really can't hear him very well until about two minutes in. It virtually defines sparseness. Still, as much as I would prefer not to like this song--since I have a feeling Mr. Murdoch may eschew footwear and possess either a ponytail or aggressively sideways bangs, I do like it, surprisingly so. You might, too.

Song Fifty-Five: The Stills, "Lola Stars and Stripes." Definitely not sparse! This is a wall of sound from the get-go. Has a very Lush-vibe about it initially, but then the wall kind of peels away for the vocals, then re-emerges. This is a neat structure, you can almost see the music part for the lyrics to come center stage. You can also hear the longing in the song, which is nice. Overall, a quality, updated shoe-gazer tune.

Song Fifty-Six: The Thrills, "Big Sur." Rhymes with the Stills, but the similarity ends there. Any song that namechecks the Monkees is A-OK in my book. This is a bounce along, retro funfest. The chorus, "Just don't go back to Big Sur" is super catchy, as are the "doo-doo-de"s, as is the "baby, baby." All around goodness, I think, with weird zippery noises in the background. Music this authentically super charged-America 60s could of course only come from the UK, and the Thrills are from Dublin, it turns out, though they now seem to find their thrill in Montreal.

Song Fifty-Seven: Super Furry Animals, "Hello Sunshine." Okay, I picked this one completely for the band name, which seemed quite comforting in my virus-y state. The song itself is a bit narcotic-ly paced and, indeed, comforting in a drowsy way. It starts out with a little section that seems disconnected from the main song but serves as an entry point, kind of like its portico. There's something appealing about the way the lead singer says "m'life" for my life. The band is from Wales, which made me think of some fantastic vegetable soup I once ate in Aberystwyth that cleared up a vicious cold overnight. See, very comforting!

Note to this post. Look, I've tried to become interested in dropping a buck-minus for an Arctic Monkeys song, I really have. I know they are everywhere on both sides of the Atlantic. But, they are boring! So, clearly, though I'm a britpop sucker (I actually own a Robbie Williams cd and like it), I can't buy into this next greatest thing.

308 to go.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

January iMix

In response to no demand whatsoever, I have created an iMix of all the January songs. Wasn't that thoughtful and proactive of me? You can find it on iTunes under "SAFTBRC January."

In so doing, I learned that if you forget your iTunes password, you are actually sent to a page entitled "iForgot." At that point, iThrewUp.

PS--I've heard folks can't find the iMix on iTunes. This link should work:

Song Fifty

It's a nice damp grey winter day, so we went to the indoor playground big toy. Whoever created this concept deserves a Nobel. Why didn't we have these things when I was little? I played on rusted old swings that we repurposed as monkey bars (very playground dada) and went for a tetanus shot at least once a month. Nobody gets these anymore as far as I can tell; when I was small, we all got them . . . frequently. Maybe we just had more laissez-faire parents in my neighborhood (that's probably the most diplomatic way to put it). Anyway, I strongly recommend the big toys, and also have a big thumbs up for the new Laurie Berkner Band DVD. This morning, I got to read almost the whole NYT thanks to Laurie (I'm a fast reader and getting faster all the time!), and yesterday, we all stomped around to "We are the Dinosaurs." Although I started this blog to broaden my musical horizons, I would still recommend any toddler parent attend a LBB show. She's great fun live.

Our babysitter went completely MIA yesterday and never showed, so we missed our big night out. But, this meant I got to download a bunch of songs in preparation for this week (and make a quick, "I hate our bathroom rug" run--as Borat would say, "SUCCESS!"). We also watched what is perhaps the most bizarrely edited film ever, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. We were standing in front of the tv flipping through the HD stations (parents will understand) and simply could not move once we hit on this. We literally stood there in a hypnotic shock until insistent calls for more chocolate milk roused us. I'm not sure I can recommend BVD, but there will certainly be some small hole in your life if you never get to see it.

So, one of the artists I discovered whilst iTuning away my evening is the Fruit Bats with "When U Love Somebody." The "U" made me think Prince, but the song is a million miles away from Minneapolis. It opens with a church organ-y sound, then moves into a good ol' porch tune. You can picture them all sitting on rockers on a Saturday night pickin' away at this one, patting their knees, smiling away. The lyrics are a bit repetitive, but they offer a fun look at the fixative power of love. The song has a nice alterna-folk vibe without being precious. Their website says they have a Velvet Underground influence. Not on this song, which is probably why I like it.

315 to go.