I know the truth and I know what you're thinking

Man, the Stone Roses. So much promise. Their album was like a bomb when it came out. Then they got stuck in some stupid legal battle with label, Silvertone(?), which held up the release of their second album, "Second Coming", for something like five years...and it wasn't even that good. By that time, I'd pretty much forgotten about them. The tour for the second album made it out here; I went to see them and they were great. After that, they just dropped out of sight. There was some mild interest when guitarist, John Squire, formed a new band (The Seahorses) and released a new album, but the reviews were fairly tepid. Vocalist, Ian Brown, apparently released some decent solo albums, but I couldn't be bothered. It just seemed like there wouldn't be anything they could do that would live up to that first album. "Fools Gold" is probably my favorite track from that album. I fucking love that hypnotic beat. From what I remember, it was a single in the UK. It got some airplay here in the states and the record label decided to cash in and re-released the album in the US with the long (original?) version of "Fools Gold" on it. Memory lane is just a click away.

The Stone Roses > Fools Gold


How am I going to make it right?

Like a lot of people, I really love Bjork's music. One of my favorite gigs ever was seeing her when she was touring for "Homogenic". She played here in San Francisco at the Warfield Theater, which is a great venue for her. Coincidentally, I'll be seeing her at Coachella this weekend. Anyways, when "Medulla" came out, I have to admit I wasn't impressed with it at the time. There was a sorta hype about it that annoyed me; "Oh! Bjork is doing an acappella album, she's so daring!" Shit like that. I guess the thing was, and I know I've mentioned it on here before, that it's not the first time a pop artist has done an album like that. Todd Rundgren released "A Cappella" in 1985. Petra Haden has made at least two albums, 1999's "Imaginaryland" and 2005's excellent "Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out", in that fashion. I'd be willing to bet that those aren't the only ones, either. I dunno, it just seemed that all the interviews and articles were gushing over Bjork being a visionary and a trailblazer and it really put me off. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm no Bjork hater, I just feel that others should get credit as well. I mean, look at the Rundgren album, that came out 20 years before Bjork's.

This is the part where I start to get to the point. The point being, I initially dismissed Bjork's "Medulla". I would put it on here and there, but it didn't really grab me. So today, I queued up a few Bjork albums, as I was particularly busy at work. I just wanted to listen to something and not have to think about looking for a new album once the current one finished. I had "Homogenic" on, and "Medulla" came on after that. Today, for some reason, it really blindsided me. It made for a sorta surreal, almost magical, working experience. "Desired Constellation" came on and it was so fucking good I had to repeat it four or five times. So yeah, I'm gonna be paying more attention to this album, in addition to her new album which comes next month.

Bjork > Desired Constellation


Ain't no place like Motown, Hitsville USA

When you're feeling like shit, just head on over to 2648 West Grand Boulevard. Listen to this track, The Velvelettes' "Ain't No Place Like Motown", and just try to keep your toes from tapping. I swear, man, the world would be a better place if everyone listened to Motown on a regular basis. I picked this up from the "Cellarful of Motown" two-disc compilation of rarities and unreleased singles, that looks something like this:

If you're even remotely interested in 60s Motown soul, then this is completely for you. Plus the cool thing is that it's not the same songs that you hear over and over on the radio and in movie soundtracks. Chances are, it'll be completely new to you, while still having that familiar feel and sound.

The Velvelettes > Ain't No Place Like Motown


Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion

For some reason, this just popped in my head today. The theatrical release of Donnie Darko opened up with Echo & The Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon". The director's cut of the film opens with INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart". So if the theatrical release is essentially the studio telling the director, "We don't like your vision of the film", did they also make him change the opening song? "The Killing Moon" seems more appropriate to the tone of the film, to me. The INXS song isn't bad, but, to me, it doesn't really fit. Or does it? Maybe I just watched the theatrical release too many times before seeing the director's release.

The Bunnymen track has more of a (I hate to use this word) gothic feel to it, with an underlying sense of dread or even impending doom. The INXS track sounds good and big, but ultimately ends up coming across as another over-produced, self-important love song. But how do they fit in the context of the movie? Could it be a love story disguised as a sci-fi flick? If so, then maybe the INXS track really is the better fit. I don't know, I wish (director) Richard Kelly were here so I could ask him. I think I will check out the commentaries on each DVD (yeah, I have them both) and report back. It's been a long while since I've watched either of them. In the meantime, check out the tracks in question.

Echo & The Bunnymen > The Killing Moon

INXS > Never Tear Us Apart


What's this whole world coming to, things just ain't the same

Tracey Thorn has a new album, "Out of the Woods", you can stream a few tracks on her myspace page. I've listened to it only once so far, but it sounds pretty good, like how an Everything But The Girl album might sound. If you know who she is, then you know how gorgeous her voice is. I'm basically using this as an excuse to post one of my favorite tracks. It's actually billed as "Massive Attack featuring Tracey Thorn". I think it may be available as a single (probably out of print by now) or perhaps on a compilation. I know for sure it's on the soundtrack for Batman Forever, which I think was a shitty film. I remember going to see it, but I don't remember anything about it. In any case, it's a cover of The Marvelettes' tune on Motown, "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game". Both versions are well worth your time, check em out.

Massive Attack featuring Tracey Thorn > The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game

The Marvelettes > The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game

I've been looking around and I've found this kickass version of "Hunter" by a girl called Blinky, who was on the Motown roster way back when. I don't know anything about her, but this track is awesome.

Blinky > The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game


Skankin PUFFY

Okay, so my love of PUFFY is well documented. I picked up a new-ish single the other day; well, it's new to me. It's a collaboration with the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, I think it's called "Hazumu Rizumu" and I really like it. So check out the video and mp3 if you're so inclined.


Hang up the chick habit or you'll never get another fix

Hmm, looks like it's been a while, but I've had a friend visiting, so I have an excuse. The other day, we went to see Grindhouse, the new Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino flick(s). The whole thing was ridiculous, over-the-top fun, I really enjoyed it. The soundtrack for Death Proof, which was Tarantino's half of the double feature, is stellar. I honestly don't think there's ever been a bad soundtrack to any of Tarantino's films, no matter what you may think of the film itself. April March's "Chick Habit", which is a cover of a Gainsbourg track sung by France Gall, "Laisse Tomber des Filles," has been stuck in my head the past couple days.