You'll most likely say this is completely derivative, and you'd be right. But when it sounds this good, does it really matter? You can check out Skywave's website, but it looks as if it hasn't been updated in a couple years. I'm guessing they're now defunct, but the truth is I really don't know. Synthstatic is the only album I have, their stuff seems pretty difficult to find. I first read about Skywave over at tonevendor.com a few years ago, those guys seem to be pretty big shoegaze fans and their writeup was very enthusiastic. I took a chance, bought the album and was not disappointed. This is one of the few albums for me that comes close to evoking My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, the Jesus and Mary Chain's Psycho Candy, or Ride's Nowhere. There's probably even a little Joy Division in there, somewhere, if you listen close enough (although I'm sure Jennifer will come along and set me straight). I like the way the album sorta floats along, but sounds like a plane crash drenched in feedback and reverb at the same time. Fucking gorgeous.

Skywave > Wear This Dress
Skywave > Here She Comes
Skywave > Nothing Left To Say

Neko Case is back, kinda...

While I'm still awake, there's a new Neko Case DVD available, which you can buy here or at your local video store. Here's the info from the Neko Case website and a video clip ("Behind The House"). Also, here's a link to the Austin City Limits site.

Neko's August 2003 debut performance on the legendary PBS program, Austin City Limits, will be available on DVD October 10th as part of New West Records' ACL collection!!

Performing on Austin City Limits, one of Neko and her grandmother's all-time favorite programs, was one of Neko's proudest career moments, and probably one of her proudest personal moments as well...

Neko and the band were so thrilled (and nervous!) to be in Austin for the taping (even in August's humidity!). Joined by JON RAUHOUSE on pedal steel, banjo and Hawaiian guitar, KELLY HOGAN on gorgeous backing vocals, and TOM V. RAY (and his GIANT BEARD) on upright bass and hidden tambourine, the performance includes songs from Neko's albums Furnace Room Lullaby and Blacklisted and the cover-heavy EP, Canadian Amp, as well as the previously unreleased song "Behind The House." There's also some pretty hilarious storytelling from Neko and Hogan.

Many, many thanks to ALL the wonderful folks at Austin City Limits including (but not limited to!!) Terry, Jeff, Maury (and Link!), Emily, Leslie, AND to the kind, kind people at New West Records including "Sweet Mother" Gary Briggs, Cameron, Katherine, Traci, Jay, and all the rest...

It's just the thought of you in love with someone else

It's Weezer's cool vid, "Gone Fishin", with the muppets. Happy, Ben?


I'm so tall, can't get over me...

Been listening to some random stuff this weekend. Weezer happened to pop up in the playlist, which was kinda cool. Their first album was really fun, catchy guitar pop complete with nerdy lyrics. The second album, Pinkerton, was pretty cool although it was slagged off by a lot of critics. Pinkerton didn't sell as well as blue (the first album), either, but the hardcore fans loved it. Anyways, it all pretty much went downhill from there and the albums seemed to get successively worse.

The song that inspired this post, "I Just Threw Out The Love of My Dreams," is a b-side from their single, "The Good Life" (aka the Oz EP from the Pinkerton era). The lead vocals are done by Rachel Haden, twin sister of Petra Haden . There's actually a third sister, Tanya (they're triplets and their father was jazz musician who used to hang with Ornette Coleman), but I don't really know anything about her. Anyways, I love the guitars and moog in this song and Rachel's voice sounds just as good as Petra's. Actually, I was convinced for a long time that it was Petra doing the singing, but it is, in fact, Rachel.

Weezer > I Just Threw Out The Love of My Dreams


Show a little faith, there's magic in the night

I've lately been obsessed with Mary Lou Lord's cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road". The original is on The Boss' "Born To Run" album, and this version is on her "Live City Sounds" album, which was recorded live, just her and a guitar, in the subway of Boston.

The album as a whole is solid. She does some very choice covers like The Magnetic Fields' "I Don't Want To Get Over You", Big Star's "Thirteen", Bob Dylan's "Your Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go", and Daniel Johnston's "Speeding Motorcycle". She also throws in a few originals which are fine songs, but the covers are what stand out for me.
Even if I didn't like her versions, I'd at least respect them as she lets the songs speak for themselves. They're pure and simple, not overproduced crap with overwrought vocal histrionics like that godfuckingawful Train cover song I wrote about a little while back. Anyways, check out her album, I think it's worth the ten bucks.

Mary Lou Lord > Thunder Road



One of the coolest albums you've never heard. Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda hook up with Russell Simins from JSBX (Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) and some other dudes who I don't really know. The album has a kinda punk feel to it, with some beats and fuzzy guitars. Don't be put off by my poor description, it's a really good album. Some of it is hilarious, like the spoken bit in "Degobrah", where Simins (presumably) is screaming about how he doesn't want to be a role model. Anyway, my favorite song off the album is "Butterfucker." It's got a lazy hip hop beat, guitars that rip a hole in space, and Miho's sassy voice underneath it all. It's very sexy, so turn it up.

Butter 08 > Butterfucker


Broken Flowers

I'm outta town for the rest of the week. I'm heading to a wedding (not mine) in Maine, so I'll leave with this. I've been listening to the Broken Flowers soundtrack quite a bit this week. There's a lot of cool tunes on here that I really know nothing about. The movie itself is very good, if you haven't seen it before. It's about a guy (Bill Murray) who receives an anonymous letter from an ex girlf telling him that he has a twenty year old kid. So Bill Murray sets off to visit a few of his exes from way back when to try and figure out who might be the mother of his child. The journey is unsettling and poignant and there are some fairly uncomfortable moments.

I felt like I identified with Bill Murray's character a little bit too much, and I don't know if that's good or bad. Credit Jim Jarmusch for creating such a realistic character, I guess. Also, the guy who plays Murray's neighbor (in the pic above) is fantastic and the woman who plays the neighbor's wife is lovely, she just seemed so sweet and down to earth. In any case, check it out if you haven't seen it and grab the soundtrack if you have a chance, it's worth it. Here's one of the tracks I really like.
Sorry, I haven't done my homework and I know nothing about the artist.

Dengue Fever > Ethanopium



I've been following the NHL's San Jose Sharks since their inception in 1991, and one of my favorite things is celebrating a Sharks goal. The song they've been using for the past I don't know how many years is Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2", which you've probably heard at one time or another. It's great, it's got handclaps, thumping drums, and the irresistable shout of "HEY!" People really get into it, I know I do. Actually, I think quite a few NHL teams (and teams in other sports) use it as their goal celebration song, it's all good fun. Ooh, and by the way, the above pic is the game-winning overtime goal by the Sharks' Curtis Brown (in black) from the game I attended last week.

This season, the Sharks have changed their celebratory song from "Rock and Roll Part 2" to Green Day's "Holiday", presumably because of Gary Glitter's arrest and conviction in Vietnam for committing obscene acts with minors. I'm guessing that removal of the song is a league wide decision, and I can kinda understand it, but the Green Day song sucks. It doesn't have that same tribal rhythm. Billie Joe does some "HEY!" shouting, but it gets lost underneath the buzzsaw guitars. I went to the Sharks game on opening night last week, and it was just weird after they scored their goals. People were cheering and clapping, but it wasn't nearly as impressive as the "Rock and Roll Part 2" celebration.

I want my old goal celebration song back.

I guess the deeper question is this: If an artist falls on hard times and ends up committing crimes against society, should we write off their previous output? Don't get me wrong. If the guy slept with 11 year old girls, fuck yeah he should go to jail for that. He was convicted in a court of law and, from what I've read, he's lucky they didn't cut off his dick and have a firing squad cap his stupid ass. However, most of his music was written some 20 or 30 years ago, before he fell from grace. Yeah, he was probably high on dope or strung out on cocaine, but that's the sort of baggage that's accepted with rock n rollers, especially back then. It's kind of a double standard, isn't it, but at least he's (theoretically) destroying only himself with the smack. Abusing little girls is a whole other story.

So yeah, I want the old song back at the Sharks games. My reasoning is that it's a better song and it was written when Gary Glitter was an entirely different person. If he had written/recorded/released it within the past 10 years, when all his troubles began, I doubt I, or anyone else, would have anything to do with it.

So what happens when your favorite artist (or celebrity) runs afoul of the law? If you're a fan of Michael Jackson, did you throw out all of his albums that you own? Does that make "Thriller" or "Off The Wall" lesser albums? Are all those great Jackson 5 songs now crap because of who he is now? In the case of Gary Glitter, is it better to wipe the slate clean, not play the song and thereby deny him royalties? Actually, does anybody know if he still gets to collect royalties while he's in jail? Do the checks go to the government? I have no idea.

So here are the songs in question. I feel compelled to add that, despite their Bay Area origins, I'm not really a fan of the Green Day or that song, but it's there for fair play. I'm not even a fan of Gary Glitter, but I do like that song and have since I was a kid. Oh, and the other songs that were up for consideration were U2's "Elevation" and Blur's "Song 2". If anything, "Song 2" would work better than "Holiday", plus I like Blur much, much more. "Elevation" is simply shit.

Gary Glitter > Rock and Roll Part 2
Green Day > Holiday


The Worst Cover Song EVER!

I forget where I found this, but it was billed as the worst ever cover song. Sadly, I looked at the title and saw it was a cover of one of my favorite Sugar songs, "If I Can't Change Your Mind." What sucks even more is that the covering band is San Francisco's own Train. I know terrible bands can come from any part of the world, I'm just embarrassed because I love my city. I was gonna post a picture of Train up here, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Ew.

The original is quick and lively despite the unhappy lyrical subject matter, it's almost as if the song can barely keep up with itself. Bob Mould's voice has a sort of glimmer of hope to it, but he mostly sounds resigned to the fact that things are the way they are and it's not gonna change.

Train's version of IICCYM certainly lives up to the worst cover song billing. Well, if it's not the worst, it's pretty goddamn close. First of all, they cut the tempo in half which really drags it out. Secondly, the guy's voice is so whiny and emo, it's almost like a falsetto. WTF is that all about? It sounds so overproduced and soulless, like it should reside on the soundtrack to the latest blockbuster chick flick starring...fuck, I dunno who's in these movies...umm, Meg Ryan? Sarah Jessica Parker? Well, whatever, it's absolute crap. The only good thing about it is that Mould is getting royalties from all the GAP office casual clone chicks who are buying this shit.

Compare and contrast:
Sugar > If I Can't Change Your Mind
Train > If I Can't Change Your Mind

Sugar > If I Can't Change Your Mind (live BBC version)(because I think this is even better than the original)

Words that could've moved mountains

This track, from the album "Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward", really fits my mood tonight. The dialog is moving, sort of sad yet hopeful and the music feels that way as well. The band is an offshoot of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, who seem to be on indefinite hiatus. You can check info and purchase music at the following internet stops.

A Silver Mt. Zion (official site)
Constellation Records
Mountains Made of Steam (fan site)

The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band > Built Then Burnt (Hurrah! Hurrah!)

Dear brothers and sisters
dear enemies and friends

Why are we all so alone here ?
All we need is a little more hope, a little more joy
All we need is a little more light, a little less weight, a little more freedom.

If we were an army, and if we believed that we were an army
And we believed that everyone was scared like little lost children in their grown up clothes and poses
So we ended up alone here floating through long wasted days, or great tribulations.
While everything felt wrong

Good words, strong words, words that could've moved mountains
Words that no one ever said
We were all waiting to hear those words and no one ever said them
And the tactics never hatched
And the plans were never mapped
And we all learned not to believe
And strange lonesome monsters loafed through the hills wondering why
And it is best to never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever wonder why

So tangle - oh tangle us up in bright red ribbons!
Let's have a parade
It's been so long since we had a parade, so let's have a parade!
Let's invite all our friends
And all our friends' friends!
Let's promenade down the boulevards with terrific pride and light in our eyes
Twelve feet tall and staggering
Sick with joy with the angels there and light in our eyes

Brothers and sisters, hope still waits in the wings like a bitter spinster
Impatient, lonely and shivering, waiting to build her glorious fires
It's because of our plans man; our beautiful ridiculous plans
Let's launch them like careening jetplanes
Let's crash all our planes in the river
Let's build strange and radiant machines at this jericho waiting to fall